This mystery has plagued arachnologists for decades. William Eberhard and Daniel Briceno untangle the web question in a paper in the journal Naturwissenschaften. The answer has to do with spiders' oily, hairy legs.
In The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand the Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain, Nobel Prize-winning neuroscientist Eric Kandel writes of turn-of-the-century Vienna, where artists mingled with writers, scientists and physicians, and explains how the brain perceives a work of art.
The film director James Cameron has just completed a dive to Challenger Deep, the deepest point on Earth at nearly 36,000 feet under the sea. His manned descent is the first in 52 years, since the oceanographers Don Walsh and Jacques Piccard explored the Mariana Trench in the bathyscaphe Trieste.
From a young age, Fletcher Wortmann spent countless hours absorbed by his obsessions. In third grade, he became consumed with the idea that every nonwater substance on the planet would soon freeze. He spent hours laying plans for how he and his family would survive. Over and over, he replayed an imagined apocalypse.
Though he wouldn't be diagnosed until many years later, in retrospect Wortmann realizes the episode marked his "first full-blown bout" with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
Everyone loves to hate riding the bus — passengers complain about cleanliness, overcrowding, timeliness and inefficiency. In a piece for Salon.com, writer Will Doig argues that disliking the bus is "practically an American pastime," but buses are key to improving mass transit. Doig thinks that rather than spending money on expensive new systems like light rail or streetcars, cities should focus on making buses better.
The Louisville Cardinals will face the University of Kentucky Wildcats in the Final Four of the 2012 men's NCAA tournament. The long-time rivalry between these two Kentucky teams is just one example of conflicting team loyalties that can divide families, friends and neighbors for generations.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. All this week, the U.S. SUPREME COURT commanded the nation's attention through three days of oral arguments on what may well be its most important case in decades.
The court's ruling could affect the lives of millions, redefine the role and limits of the federal government, and change the character of the 2012 election. We don't expect to know how the justices will rule until late June, but that doesn't stop journalists and legal experts from reading between the lines.
In the new biography Hitler, A.N. Wilson describes the Nazi dictator as the "Demon King of history" — who instigated the Holocaust and forced the world into a second world war — but also as an ordinary, even boring man.
"We like to distance ourselves from anything to do with him because he was an essentially evil character," he tells NPR's Neal Conan. "But actually, many of the ideas that he had and expressed were very ordinary ideas, and they were ideas that more or less everybody had at that time."
Though he insists he's not suspending his run, GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich announced he's cutting his staff and shifting his campaign strategy. NPR's Ken Rudin and veteran campaign manager Chip Saltsman discuss the decisions candidates face when a win seems unlikely.
Passengers tackled a JetBlue captain yesterday in mid-flight after he acted erratically and talked about a bomb on board. Retired pilot John Cox, of USA Today's Ask the Captain column, explains what we don't understand about relationships between pilots and crew.