Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm
The White House has been fielding questions lately about President Obama's travel — what's official, what's political and whether taxpayers are getting stuck with the bill. It's the same issue that rolls around every time a president runs for re-election.
Take President Obama's trip to Florida earlier this month. It featured an official presidential speech on the economy at Florida Atlantic University. On the same trip, the president hit two fundraisers.
Today, a group of entrepreneurs unveiled a new company that aims to mine precious metals and other resources from asteroids. The idea of exploiting the natural resources on asteroids has been around for more than a century, and this is not the first company to lay out such grand plans.
But as NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, this one does have the financial backing of some big names in high tech.
If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.
Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:38 pm
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win all five of the Republican presidential primaries being held Tuesday. The GOP front-runner hasn't had to worry about real competition since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month.
But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running for president, even though he's short on money and lagging far back in the polls.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:42 pm
In his first public comments about the prostitution scandal that has engulfed the Secret Service, President Obama praised the agency and said those implicated in the scandal should not the diminish the work of everyone else.
"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," Obama said according to Politico. "They protect me, they protect our girls... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do."
A new study has determined that some automated essay graders can do as good of a job as humans. Melissa Block talks with New York Times education columnist Michael Winerip about the study and the weaknesses of automatic essay readers.
The Mexican-born population of the United States is huge, 12 million. And a little over half of that is people who are unauthorized, they're here illegally. Well, now a new study from the Pew Hispanic Center reports that after rising for many years, the number of Mexicans coming to the U.S. is now roughly equal to the number of Mexicans migrating away from the U.S., back to Mexico. In short, net migration has fallen to zero.
Pew finds several causes for that decline: Mexican demographics, the U.S. economy, U.S. border enforcement.
In 2010, former inmate Ross Walton describes mistreatment he says inmates received from guards. Faced with a court order to reform the Walnut Grove juvenile prison, the company managing the prison is leaving Mississippi.
One month after a federal court ordered sweeping changes at a troubled juvenile prison in rural Mississippi, the private company managing the prison is out. A report by the Justice Department describes "systemic, egregious and dangerous practices" at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.
As those words imply, the official report is scathing.
Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that the youth prison "has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk."
Joshua Bell, the violin prodigy who grew into what some call a classical-music rock star, has taken the helm of the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields. Bell is the orchestra's first music director since Sir Neville Marriner, who created the group.
On his first tour with the group as both music director and conductor, Bell plays the violin while conducting the orchestra simultaneously, gesturing with his bow. And he leads from the concert master's chair, rather than the podium, which seems unusual to some audiences.