Earlier this year in the run up to the primary election, political analysts explained that Florida really isn't a Southern state anymore and would not vote the same way as Alabama or Mississippi or Georgia. Then the shooting death of Trayvon Martin prompted some to argue that nothing's changed in a part of the state steeped in racial violence. In a way, both statements hold up.
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics including extreme rivalries in sports, those living with obsessive-compulsive disorder and the legacy of legendary women's basketball coach Pat Summit.
After 911 tapes were released, the story of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teen who was killed by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman, received a flurry of national attention. Much of the subsequent news coverage is focused not on the case itself, but the narrative constructed by the media.
Linguist David Crystal describes English as a "vacuum cleaner of a language." Speakers merrily swipe some words from other languages, adopt others because they're cool or sound classy, and simply make up other terms.
In his new book, he tells The Story of English in 100 Words, using a collection of words — classic ones like "tea" and new words like "app" — that explain how the the English language has evolved.
Crystal thinks every word has a story to tell, even the ones as commonplace as "and."
At least 70 countries, including the U.S., pledged millions of dollars in aid to the Syrian opposition. U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan has set a deadline of April 10 for compliance with the U.N. peace plan. Some analysts believe it's too late for peaceful negotiations.
Writer Donna Britt's 26-year-old brother was killed by Indiana police officers decades ago. Amidst the news of Trayvon Martin's death, she is reminded of the unanswerable questions surrounding her brother's death. She talks about the challenges of coming to terms the violent death of a loved one.
Want to hear a joke about sodium hypobromite? NaBrO! Can science be the butt of a good joke? Ira Flatow and guests test the hypothesis in an annual April Fools' joke-a-thon. They share the best gags in the business. Sidesplitting or groan-worthy? You decide.
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.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. My next guest won the Nobel Prize in 2000 for his work on learning and memory, and he really needs no introduction as a neuroscientist. But there is another side to Eric Kandel that you may not know. He is an art collector, an historian of early 20th-century art in Germany and Austria, and he says he could have seen that passion as an alternate career path.