Science
10:41 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Are Iran's Centrifuges Just Few Turns From A Nuclear Bomb?

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inspects the Natanz nuclear plant in central Iran on March 8, 2007. The tall cylinders are centrifuges for enriching uranium.
EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:19 pm

Tuesday in Geneva, negotiators from six nations will sit down to talks with Iran over that country's nuclear program. At the heart of the negotiations are Iran's centrifuges: machines that can be used to enrich uranium for use in nuclear power plants, or for use in a bomb. This double role of centrifuges has negotiators in a bind.

Read more
The Salt
10:36 am
Mon October 14, 2013

This Isn't Your Granny Smith's Harvesting Technology

Ripe Gala apples are ready for picking at an orchard in South Haven, Mich.
spablab Flickr.com

Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 2:12 pm

In West Michigan, it's apple harvest time. That may conjure up images of picturesque orchards and old-fashioned fun: growers harvesting apples and then selecting them by hand.

Think again.

Robotic arms, computer vision and high-resolution photography are helping Michigan growers wash, sort and package apples at top speeds in the business — think 2,000 apples per minute.

With this modern technology, farmers are expanding production and getting Galas and Ginger Golds from Michigan orchards to grocery stores faster and more cheaply.

Read more
U.S.
10:21 am
Mon October 14, 2013

A Night At The Rock: Former Alcatraz Inmate Journeys Back

Bill Baker returned to Alcatraz for the first time since he was an inmate there more than 50 years ago.
Laura Sullivan NPR

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:19 pm

For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud.

Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80.

Read more
Research News
10:16 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Trapped In A Fossil: Remnants Of A 46-Million-Year-Old Meal

A very old squished mosquito found in fossilized rock from Montana. Analysis of the insect's gut revealed telltale chemicals found in blood.
PNAS

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:19 pm

Scientists who study why species vanish are increasingly looking for ancient DNA. They find it easily enough in the movies; remember the mosquito blood in Jurassic Park that contained dinosaur DNA from the bug's last bite? But in real life, scientists haven't turned up multi-million-year-old DNA in any useable form.

Fortunately, a team at the Smithsonian Institution has now found something unique in a 46-million-year-old, fossilized mosquito — not DNA, but the chemical remains of the insect's last bloody meal.

Read more
All Tech Considered
10:10 am
Mon October 14, 2013

'Menstrual Man' Had An Idea To Help Indian Women

Arunachalam Muruganantham installs his machine in a village in Chhattisgarh, India.
Amit Virmani

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 11:02 am

Arunachalam Muruganantham had his light bulb moment when he was 29 years old, and holding a sanitary napkin for the first time.

Examining the cotton pads he was buying as a gift for his new wife, the Indian entrepreneur realized that the multinational company that produced them was probably spending cents on raw materials, and making a huge profit.

Read more
The Two-Way
9:47 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Rome And Church Officials Block Nazi War Criminal's Burial

Former SS Captain Erich Priebke, seen here in Rome during his war crimes trial in 1996, died Friday at age 100. Authorities in Rome, Germany, and Argentina have rejected becoming his final resting place.
Plinio Lepri AP

The late Nazi war criminal Erich Priebke, infamous for his role in crimes that included a massacre in Italy, is proving to be difficult to bury, after church and government officials in Rome blocked his funeral there.

Authorities in Germany and Argentina have also rejected the idea of becoming the final resting place for the former SS captain, who died Friday at 100.

Read more
The Two-Way
8:38 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Taliban Urges Rejection Of U.S.-Afghan Security Deal

Afghan men stand at a livestock market set up for the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, or "feast of sacrifice," in the center of Kabul Monday. In an email, the Taliban is calling on Afghans to reject a new security agreement with the U.S.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

As a bilateral security agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan begins an approval process, the Taliban's leader urged Afghans to reject the deal, calling it a colonial arrangement with elements of slavery.

The message came in an email on the eve of the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday. In it, Mullah Mohammad Omar told Afghans to keep fighting, as NPR's Sean Carberry reports for our Newscast unit:

Read more
The Two-Way
7:53 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Collectible Art At Street Prices: Banksy Sells Pieces For $60

An image from a video posted by Banksy shows a man representing the artist staffing a sidewalk stall featuring signed works for $60. Banksy says he only made $420 Saturday, with one customer negotiating a 2-for-1 discount.
Banksy NY YouTube

New Yorkers who love a good bargain missed a golden opportunity Saturday, when the artist and provocateur Banksy, whose sly graffiti art adorns collectors' walls, opened a sidewalk kiosk in Central Park to sell his work for $60 apiece.

Read more
The Two-Way
6:17 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Reid And McConnell Cite 'Progress' As Default Deadline Looms

Still Right Twice A Day: Visitors look at the Ohio Clock outside the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill Sunday. The clock that has stood watch over the Senate for 196 years stopped running shortly after noon Wednesday. Employees who wind the clock weekly were furloughed in the federal shutdown.
Jose Luis Magana AP

Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 2:34 pm

This post was last updated at 6:10 p.m. ET.

The House and Senate were in session on Columbus Day, the 14th day of the federal government shutdown. A meeting that had been arranged between President Obama, Vice President Biden and the four main leaders of Congress was postponed, as the White House cited the progress being made in negotiations.

The latest word of a possible deal calls for raising the federal debt limit through Feb. 15 and funding a return to work for the government through Jan. 15. We'll update this post as more news comes in.

Read more
Code Switch
6:15 am
Mon October 14, 2013

How Columbus Sailed Into U.S. History, Thanks To Italians

Though he sailed in 1492, Christopher Columbus was not widely known among Americans until the mid-1700s.
Spencer Arnold Getty Images

It's been 521 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue/in fourteen hundred and ninety-two." Since then, there have been thousands of parades, speeches and statues commemorating Columbus, along with a critical rethinking of his life and legacy.

But the question remains, how did a man who never set foot on North America get a federal holiday in his name? While Columbus did arrive in the "New World" when he cast anchor in the Bahamas, he never made it to the United States.

Read more

Pages