Scientists say that understanding how the cocktail party effect works could help people who have trouble deciphering sounds in a noisy environment. Guests make it look easy at a Dolce and Gabbana Lounge party in London in 2010.
Scientists are beginning to understand how people tune in to a single voice in a crowded, noisy room.
This ability, known as the "cocktail party effect," appears to rely on areas of the brain that have completely filtered out unwanted sounds, researchers report in the journal Neuron. So when a person decides to focus on a particular speaker, other speakers "have no representation in those [brain] areas," says Elana Zion Golumbic of Columbia University.
Arkansas has approved a law banning most abortions after 12 weeks of gestation, as both houses of the state's legislature vote to override a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The Republican-backed Human Heartbeat Protection Act will become the nation's most restrictive law.
In vetoing the Senate version of the bill Monday, Beebe said that it "would impose a ban on a woman's right to choose an elective, nontherapeutic abortion well before viability."
More than three decades ago, Soviet soldier Bakhretdin Khakimov went missing in Afghanistan after he was wounded in battle with Afghan mujahedeen forces.
His whereabouts remained unknown until two weeks ago, when he was tracked down by a team from the Warriors-Internationalists Affairs Committee, a Moscow-based nonprofit that looks for Soviet MIAs in Afghanistan.
Kenyan election observers and voters in the mixed slum of Kiambiu — where the first fires started in Nairobi after the disputed presidential election of 2007 — vote in this year's elections. Could something as innocent as the color of the ballots and ballot boxes be contributing to voting "irregularities"?
Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 2:44 pm
In Kenya, colorblindness may be contributing to more than just questionable sartorial combinations. Some observers say it may have something to do with the hundreds of thousands of spoiled ballots — a term for disqualified or invalidated votes — in Monday's presidential election, adding new delays to declaring a winner and raising the possibility of a costly and contentious runoff election in April.
Home-brewing will become legal in Mississippi in July, if the governor signs a newly approved bill. Mississippi and Alabama are the last two states in which brewing beer at home is illegal or in a gray area.
Brewing beer at home, which had occupied a "gray area" in Mississippi, is on its way to being legal. Pictured is Mac Rusling, who opened a home-brew-supply store in Jackson several months ago.
Mississippi is poised to make home brewing legal, after its Legislature approved a beer-brewing measure Wednesday. The bill now heads to Gov. Phil Bryant, who last year approved a move to raise the state's maximum alcohol limits on beer — something the current bill's supporters point to with optimism. The governor's office has not indicated whether he intends to sign the bill.
A coffin holding the body of Hugo Chávez moved through the streets of Caracas, today.
The 58-year-old leader died yesterday after a battle with cancer. The flag-draped casket was moved from the military hospital where Chávez died to a military academy, where he will lie in state. The whole way there, his casket was flanked by thousands of adoring supporters dressed in red and waving the tri-colored Venezuelan flag.
Guitarist Alvin Lee, whose incendiary performance with the British band Ten Years After was one of the highlights of the 1969 Woodstock festival, has died.
He was 68. Lee's website says he "passed away early this morning [Wednesday] after unforeseen complications following a routine surgical procedure." An assistant to his daughter also confirmed the news to NPR.
His band's biggest hit — "I'd Love to Change the World" — came a couple years after Woodstock. We'll embed a clip from that.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, was accused Tuesday of giving money and advice to terrorists. The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that Khan helped plan a suicide bomb attack on Pakistan's intelligence headquarters in 2009.
A Portland, Ore., resident was arrested Tuesday on charges of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists. The FBI alleges that Reaz Qadir Khan, 48, gave money and advice to a man involved in a deadly 2009 suicide bomb attack on the headquarters of Pakistan's intelligence service in Lahore.
The attack resulted in an estimated 30 deaths and 300 injuries. Khan, a naturalized U.S. citizen, could face a maximum sentence of life in prison if he is found guilty. FBI agents arrested him at his home Tuesday morning.
"If you could go swim down in the ocean of Europa and taste it, it would just taste like normal old salt."
That's California Institute of Technology (Caltech) astronomer Mike Brown talking about Jupiter's moon Europa. Brown and his colleague Kevin Hand from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory believe that if you could drill your way through the moon's frozen exterior, the ocean beneath it would taste a lot like our own sea water.