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The origin of the universe, the nature of space, the reality of time: These are ancient questions.

Libraries across the world are filled with heavy books that are, themselves, heavy with equations on these issues. But how many graphic novels are exploring these questions? More importantly, how many graphic novels written and drawn by expert theoretical physicists are there?

One of the most common reasons patients head to an emergency room is pain. In response, doctors may try something simple at first, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. And, at least up until recently, if that isn't effective, the second line of attack has been the big guns.

"Percocet or Vicodin," says Dr. Peter Bakes, an emergency medicine specialist at Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colo. "Medications that certainly have contributed to the rising opioid epidemic."

Annihilation -- the movie, not the experience — is creepy. Very creepy. There are elements of traditional horror in the latest film from Alex Garland (Ex Machina), which is based not very closely on the Jeff VanderMeer novel of the same name. But more than that, it's a film that capitalizes on its ability to create creeping, visceral dread.

For the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled Myanmar and what authorities describe as a brutal campaign of ethnic cleansing, the prospect of returning to their home villages might be more than just daunting. As satellite photographs show, a return home might be simply impossible.

A top official at the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund has announced his resignation following allegations that he engaged in inappropriate behavior during a previous job at the aid organization, Save the Children.

The United Nations Security Council is expected to try again on Friday to approve a draft resolution calling for a 30-day ceasefire in Syria.

The cease-fire is meant to allow emergency aid to be delivered and medical evacuations to take place in some of the country's hardest-hit regions, such as Ghouta, the rebel-controlled eastern suburb of the capital, Damascus, which has been pounded by government warplanes for more than a week.

California's attorney general has charged five former and current employees of the Panoche Water District in central California with felonies, including using public funds for personal items and illegally burying barrels of hazardous waste.

Three executions were scheduled. Two were called off.

If the death sentences in Alabama, Texas and Florida had all gone ahead on Thursday night as originally planned, it would have marked the first time in eight years that three convicted killers were executed on the same day.

However, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott granted clemency to Thomas Whitaker, 38, commuting his sentence to life in prison. And late Thursday, the execution in Alabama of Doyle Lee Hamm was postponed after last minute legal wrangling pushed late into the evening.

Australia's beleaguered deputy prime minister has announced his resignation over allegations of sexual harassment that followed on reports earlier this month of an adulterous affair with a former staff member who is now pregnant with the couple's child.

At a news conference on Friday, Barnaby Joyce said he would step down Monday "as leader of the National Party and deputy leader of Australia."

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens was indicted on one count of felony invasion of privacy and taken into custody in St. Louis in connection with reports of an extramarital affair that surfaced last month.

During that affair, Greitens is alleged to have taken a semi-nude photo of the woman and then threatened to blackmail her by publishing it if she revealed their relationship.

Iran has announced its intent to establish a national cryptocurrency. In a tweet posted Wednesday, an Iranian official said that a test model for a "cloud-based digital currency" is being developed for submission to the Iranian banking system.

The official, Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi, heads Iran's Ministry of Information and Communications Technology. Jahromi made the announcement after a meeting with the state-owned Post Bank of Iran.

The school resource officer, a uniformed and armed deputy, was on the scene but didn't enter Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last week when a gunman started firing at students and faculty members, Broward Sheriff Scott Israel said Thursday. Israel said the deputy stayed outside of the building in a defensive position during last week's attack.

Throughout his career as a preacher, the Rev. Billy Graham's message of faith drew massive crowds of believers to tents, arenas and stadiums. Next week, mourners will have a final opportunity to turn out for Graham.

His casket will lie in honor in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 28, and Thursday, March 1.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is changing its mission statement to eliminate a passage that describes the U.S. as "a nation of immigrants."

The agency's new mission statement as it appears on the agency's website reads:

West Virginia's public schools were closed Thursday, as teachers across the state walked out and protested for better pay and benefits from state lawmakers.

Gov. Jim Justice signed a bill Wednesday to give teachers a 2 percent pay raise starting in July, and an additional 1 percent pay increase in 2020 and 2021.

NPR's senior management and board members faced skepticism as they sought to rebuild trust with the network's workforce following the release of a report on the network's failure to curb inappropriate behavior by former top news executive Michael Oreskes.

On Thursday, NPR board members faced tough questions from NPR employees at an open Board of Directors meeting and then a tense all-staff meeting.

The fishing industry has long been hard to monitor. Its global footprint is difficult even to visualize. Much fishing takes place unobserved, far from land, and once the boats move on, they leave behind few visible traces of their activity.

'Game Night' Is Winning

18 hours ago

Restraint seems an odd word to apply to a film this crowded with car chases, gunplay, sneering bad guys, panicky good guys and one gleefully gruesome instance of ad-hoc, back-alley, gunshot-wound surgery.

And yet, here we are.

State legislators in Florida came together on Wednesday — the same day student activists gathered outside the House chamber in Tallahassee to demand stricter gun laws, one week after the school massacre in Parkland — to pass a measure related to schools, but not guns.

No immediate relief is in sight for a swath of the Midwest where heavy rain, melting snow and rising rivers have shuttered schools, closed roads and prompted several evacuations.

SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket Thursday morning.

But the hard part came next: trying to catch the rocket's falling nose cone with a big net on a ship in the ocean.

Wait, what?

A Mongolian horse that has long been hailed as the last truly wild horse species in existence isn't really all that wild.

It turns out that Przewalski's horses are actually feral descendants of the first horses that humans are known to have domesticated, around 5,500 years ago.

What's more, the modern horses that people ride today cannot be traced to those early steeds. That means humans must have tamed wild horses once again later on, somewhere else, but no one knows where or when.

Tens of thousands of years ago, the first artists painted images on the walls of caves. They collected, painted and ground holes in shells, presumably to wear. It was the very first art, created by what we call "modern humans," or Homo sapiens.

When humans talk to each other or walk alongside each other, we tend to match each other's subtle movements.

Called interpersonal movement synchrony in the science literature and mirroring in the popular media, it's an often-unconscious process during which we match our gestures and pace to that of our social partner of the moment.

A quarter of a million Americans die every year from sepsis, which is the body's reaction to overwhelming infection. This cascade of organ failure can be nipped in the bud if health care workers know it's ramping up, but that's often not easy to do.

The Federal Communications Commission is working toward officially taking current net neutrality rules off the books. The agency took the requisite formal step of publishing the rules on Thursday, opening the door for lawsuits from a number of state attorneys general and advocacy groups.

Fig and pomegranate trees, grapes, carrots, and narcissus flowers are some of the plants that Aveen Ismail like to grow in the Domiz refugee camp in Northern Iraq where they live. That's because these plants remind her of Syria and home.

At first, Ismail did not find the dry land welcoming. But she values greenery and gardening, so she cultivated a small patch of land next to the house her family built in the camp.

Russian police detained Alexei Navalny for less than an hour Thursday, the prominent opposition leader tweeted Thursday. Navalny said that during the brief arrest, which came just as he was leaving a dental appointment, officials warned him that he faces up to 30 days in prison for organizing illegal protests.

"They offered me a lift somewhere," he said, according to a translation by Reuters, "but I declined and have gone to work. I don't understand what happened, and why it took seven people to detain me."

Updated 10:30 a.m. ET

Ford Motor Co.'s North American President Raj Nair has been forced out over allegations of "inappropriate behavior." The company didn't offer many details.

In a statement, Ford said that Nair, 53, is leaving the company effective immediately.

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