Call it the Smithsonian's bubble problem. One of the Smithsonian museums — the Hirshhorn museum for contemporary art — came up with an ambitious new design to add more space: Why not build a giant, inflatable structure that would be big enough for people to walk around in?
But some of the Smithsonian's trustees in Washington, D.C., haven't been blown away by the bubble.
The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Credit Steve Inskeep / NPR
A child plays in a dusty courtyard of half-finished apartment buildings, now housing refugees, in a suburb of Damascus. The complex is deemed safe because artillery has landed across the street but not yet here.
The small patch in the middle of the image is Aulacomnium turgidum, a type of bryophyte plant. Researchers in the Canadian Arctic say they are surprised the bryophytes were still green, even after being covered by ice.
Credit Courtesy of Catherine La Farge
In the lab, scientists grew cultures of some of the plants found beneath the receding Teardrop Glacier. These are Aulacomnium turgidum, a relative of moss.
Credit Courtesy of Catherine La Farge
As the Teardrop Glacier on Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic recedes, researchers have found a kind of evergreen plant called bryophytes coming out from beneath the ice. Here, a researcher stands next to part of the glacier for scale.
We've asked you to send us stories about the vintage sounds of technology you miss, and we've been listening to those stories on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. Today, Scott Smith of Duncan, South Carolina, with the help of his own vintage sound collection, tells us about something he recalls first hearing when he was a small child.
SCOTT SMITH: I can remember I fell in love with the startup sound of an electromechanical pinball machine, oh, when I was 3 or 4 years old.
Credit Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana / De Agostini/Getty Images
A portrait of Italian philosopher, writer and politician Niccolo Machiavelli (Florence, 1469-1527) by Antonio Maria Crespi. Half a millennium after he wrote The Prince, the slim volume continues to play an important role in political thought and evoke strong response.
Credit Sylvia Poggoli / NPR
An exhibit in Rome marking the 500th anniversary of The Prince includes a display of T-shirts and teddy bears emblazoned with Machiavelli's face.
Credit Courtesy of Donato Pineider
One of the first editions of The Prince, published in Florence in 1532 after Machiavelli's death.
The name Niccolo Machiavelli is synonymous with political deceit, cynicism and the ruthless use of power. The Italian Renaissance writer called his most famous work, The Prince, a handbook for statesmen.
An exhibit underway in Rome celebrates the 500th anniversary of what is still considered one of the most influential political essays in Western literature.
Grilling is a pillar of the American summer and the world's oldest form of cooking. From Latin America to Africa, grilling is at the heart of many cultures. This summer All Things Considered is setting out to explore some of them with the "Global Grill" series.
Arizona Sen. John McCain spent his Memorial Day in Syria. As NPR's Jonathan Blakley reports from Beirut, McCain's spokesman says the senator crossed into northern Syria from Turkey to meet with rebels in the country, ripped apart by the 2-year conflict turned civil war.
Israeli prison officials invited reporters last month on a first-ever tour of the Ofer prison, a concrete-and-barbed wire compound on the northern edge of Jerusalem. More than 700 Palestinians are detained here for alleged security violations in connection with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. From saying goodbye to the kids in the morning to leaving a job after 25 years to the end of life, exits are universal. Long or short, big or small, we've all left home or ended friendships or marriages.
Cassia Mendes, who has worked as a housekeeper for more than 20 years, cleans a house in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Feb. 19, 2012. Brazil enacted on April 2 a constitutional amendment to grant domestic workers health insurance and other benefits.
The phone is ringing off the hook at the crowded waiting room at the Domestic Workers Union in downtown Sao Paulo, Brazil.
In the past decade, millions of Brazilians have joined the middle class. Advocates say this isn't just the result of a growing economy or social spending, but also laws like the one just passed that enshrine domestic workers' rights.
This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.
City officials in Paris are experimenting with an unconventional way to keep urban lawns trimmed.
Agnes Masson used to be simply the director of the Paris city archives. Now, she's also a shepherdess of sorts, responsible for four black sheep munching the lush grass surrounding the gray archives building at the eastern edge of the city.
Masson says the ewes are efficient and easy to care for.