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.
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.
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 3:02 pm
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.
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.
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:
In his new book The Everything Store, Brad Stone chronicles how Amazon became an "innovative, disruptive, and often polarizing technology powerhouse." He writes that Amazon was among the first to realize the potential of the Internet and that the company "ended up forever changing the way we shop and read."
Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 10:05 am
It's no exaggeration to call Bill Monroe one of the most influential and important musicians America has ever produced. He's the undisputed father of bluegrass music: The style itself was created by and named for his band, The Blue Grass Boys, in the late '40s.
This is FRESH AIR. Our rock critic Ken Tucker has a review of the new album, "The Blow" by the music and performance are duo called The Blow which was conceived by its singer, Khaela Maricich. Melissa Dyne plays a more behind the scenes role, arranging, mixing and co-producing much of this new collection. The music made by The Blow can be broadly labeled as electro pop, but Ken says it goes further than that.
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 11:53 am
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.
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 6:34 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.