At age 11, actor Alan Alda asked his teacher what a flame was. He received a confusing answer: "oxidation." In the spirit of better communicating science, he's created the "Flame Challenge," a contest in which scientists do their best to define a flame. Eleven-year-olds from around the world will judge the entries.
If Ben Petrick's career had gone the way the scouts expected, he'd still be in his prime — a star baseball player, maybe even a megastar. He came up to the majors as a catcher for the Colorado Rockies in 2000 with speed, power, a fine arm and maybe a better head for the game.
But the year before, at just 22-years-old, he learned that he had early-onset Parkinson's. He struggled to hide the symptoms, but, frustrated by his shaking and growing lack of mobility, he retired in 2004. Petrick has since focused on coaching, parenting and giving motivational speeches.
Like many grade schools, a growing number of universities are turning to standardized tests to measure students' educations. Advocates say they are an important tool to help gauge what students learn. Critics insist no single exam can ever accurately measure the value of four years of college.
A NATO ally with close ties to the West, Turkey's economy has grown significantly, and the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken active roles in several international crises. But reporter Dexter Filkins paints a complicated picture of Erdogan under threats of coup and paranoia.
Nearly a month after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Florida, the widespread shock and outrage has grown into a nationwide movement calling for justice. This week, the Justice Department announced it would conduct a federal investigation of the incident.
But the Trayvon Martin story has also turned into a dialogue about race in America, a conversation that NPR's Michele Norris has been engaged in for over a year with her Race Card Project.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Romney recovers in Puerto Rico and romps in Illinois. House Republicans draw a line. Santorum wants a do-over, maybe in Louisiana. It's Wednesday and time for a...
RICK SANTORUM: Saddle up...
CONAN: ...edition of the Political Junkie.
PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.
VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?
SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.
The Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network went live in 1979. Its founder and CEO, Brian Lamb, became a pioneer in cable television when he pushed for public access to government proceedings. Congress at first resisted, but the House eventually opened its doors to cameras, and the Senate later followed.
The network now includes three cable channels, C-SPAN radio and an online video archive of all programming that has aired since 1987. Lamb is stepping down after 34 years with the network.
Agile quarterbacks like Michael Vick, Tim Tebow and Robert Griffin III are gaining ground on traditional players who sit in the pocket, timing the perfect pass. NPR correspondent Mike Pesca and Super Bowl-winning QB Joe Theismann talk about how quarterbacks and the game of football have changed.
A pair of new studies find that taking aspirin daily may significantly reduce the risk of many cancers and prevent tumors from spreading. Many experts view the findings as promising, but public health officials warn that the risks may still outweigh the benefits.