Earlier this month, a ceremony took place in Baghdad that was unthinkable under Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein: Ashura, the annual Shiite ritual marking the slaying of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad and one of the most revered figures in Shiite Islam.
As the trumpets sounded in Baghdad's notorious Shiite slum of Sadr City, boys and men wearing white shrouds brought swords down onto their shaven heads. Thick red blood gushed onto their faces. Hussein sacrificed for us, the belief goes, and devoted followers are ready to sacrifice for him.
There's been some consternation on the Web about what happened this weekend at a post office in Silver Spring, Md., when three Christmas carolers — all decked out in shawls, bonnets and a top hat (for the guy) — popped in and started singing.
It seems that one of the USPS managers on duty jumped into action, telling the trio that they couldn't do that because they were on government property.
The protests that have spread across Russia took a big political toll today, when the speaker of parliament announced his resignation. As the AP reports, the move appears to be tailored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an attempt to "stem public anger."
Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 2:59 pm
The only aspect of Tinariwen more urgent and heartbreakingly human than its unique blend of electric rock and North African traditional music is its story. Tinariwen's members fought as rebels in Mali to protect their land and the Tuareg people, and out of the rebel camps formed a counterculture — and a rock band.
Tammi Warren has lived on the same winding street in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Mich., all her life. But as she drives down the block in her Ford pickup, Warren points to several houses on her street that stand vacant, casualties of the housing market collapse.
Vacant houses mean less tax revenue for the city, and less revenue makes it harder for Inkster to provide basic city services.
"[The] city of Inkster has eliminated 38 positions," says City Treasurer Mark Stuhldreher. "It's about 25 percent, roughly, of the workforce."
Now, we all have reason to complain about the speed of our Internet connection. Scientists announced yesterday that they have broken the Internet speed record by transferring data at 186 Gbps between two cities.
Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 11:36 am
The eyes of Texas have been upon James Richard "Rick" Perry ever since he boot-scootin' boogied onto the public-service stage. Now political observers are watching Perry's fortunes fluctuate as a Republican candidate for president.
Political junkies have followed the career of Perry — an Eagle Scout, veterinary student and son of a farmer and a bookkeeper — from his initial election as a Democrat to the state House of Representatives in 1984. They have studied his endorsement of Al Gore for president in 1988. They watched him as he changed parties in 1989.
Kids and parents can join us at Woodland Mound Seasongood Nature Center and get in on the fun, before everyone else does! The Family New Year’s Eve Nature Celebration will be on Saturday, December 31 with festivities starting at 6:00 p.m. and a ball drop at 9:00 p.m. The celebration will be filled with crafts and activities for the kids along with special guests, including a magician , live animals and balloon sculptures. The highlight of the party will be a special ball drop at 9:00 p.m.
(Note: This post was first published on Dec. 14. It was reposted Monday — the 26th — because that's when it was broadcast on Morning Edition.)
The Voyager 1 spacecraft is 11 billion miles from the sun. And every minute, it gets 636 miles closer to its destination: the frontier of interstellar space.
The craft is currently in what NASA calls, not undramatically, "the boundary between the solar wind from the Sun and the interstellar wind from death-explosions of other stars," an area that astrophysicists also call, less dramatically, a stagnation layer.