After failing to predict the Arab Spring, intelligence officials are now exploring whether Big Data, the combing of billions of pieces of disparate electronic information, can help them identify hot spots before they explode. The intelligence community has always been in the business of forecasting the future. The question is whether tapping into publicly available data — Twitter and news feeds and blogs among other things — can help them do that faster and more precisely.
With a growing population of baby boomers, officials are bracing for a surge in senior drivers. Statistics tell us that accidents increase after the age of 65, and fatal accidents are more likely after the age of 75.
William Lowndes was a congressman from South Carolina who served in the early part of the 19th century. He was once asked to describe who should serve as chief executive.
"The presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," he said.
In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes didn't even vote for himself. He saw it as unseemly. And in 1916, Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions."
For many of us, no matter where we go, we'll always have a home. We'll always be from somewhere. But what if that somewhere no longer existed?
That is the strange position in which Mikhail Sebastian finds himself. Officially, he is from nowhere and has nowhere to go. The 39-year-old is stateless and stranded on American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.
Sebastian is an ethnic Armenian born in what is now Azerbaijan, but back then was part of the Soviet Union. When war broke out in the late 1980s, Sebastian says his aunt was stoned to death and he fled.
We turn now to Pakistan where a big motor convoy has been snaking across the map. It was led by Imran Khan, a former cricket star who is now a top politician. Khan and his supporters set out yesterday from the capital Islamabad and headed for South Waziristan in the tribal belt bordering Afghanistan. The plan was to hold a demonstration there against U.S. drones. But as NPR's Philip Reeves reports, it didn't work out that way.
When a California company developed a product to be used in spinal fusion surgeries, the firm's president said he knew it faced a new "ethical dilemma," even noting a recent NPR news investigation questioning the high profits some firms were making from donated human tissue.
In California, state officials are planning a multibillion-dollar environmental restoration of the inland delta near San Francisco Bay. There's only one problem: No one knows what the landscape used to look like. Ninety-seven percent of the original wetlands are gone, so the state is turning to historians for help.
This detective story begins on a sunny day in a dry field of corn, about an hour east of San Francisco.