As part of the NPR Cities Project, we're exploring some "gee-whiz" questions about how cities work. Melissa Block talks to Gideon Berger, Fellowship Director for the Urban Land Institute, on the street in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown. They talk about the trickiness of timing traffic lights
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 3:32 pm
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in far eastern Ohio on Tuesday — seemingly in the middle of nowhere.
But Beallsville is in the middle of coal country, and this site was carefully chosen. There's a battle over messaging on coal in Ohio, a state with huge coal reserves and an important but troubled coal industry.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 5:10 pm
Last Friday, when Tammy Smith was promoted to Army brigadier general, her wife, Tracey Hepner, was the one who pinned her star on her uniform.
With that, Smith became the first openly gay general in the country. When Smith joined the military 26 years ago, the moment would have been unthinkable. But she explains the historic moment by focusing on its simplicity.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 10:08 pm
Delmonico's, the New York City steakhouse, has been around forever.
The New York Public Library's archival menu collection doesn't go back quite that far. But it does have a Delmonico's menu from 1918. The archive also, sort of randomly, has a Delmonico's menu from 1988. Delmonico's current menu is online.
Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:28 am
You've all heard a lot about this year's devastating drought in the Midwest, right? The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced last Friday that the average U.S. cornfield this year will yield less per acre than it has since 1995. Soybean yields are down, too.
Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 4:29 pm
After months of sitting on their wallets, Americans went shopping in July. The uptick reported Tuesday is boosting economists' hopes for a reasonably strong back-to-school season. And retailers are looking for clues about how the holiday shopping season will turn out later in the year.
"This is a good report," Chris Christopher, an economist with IHS Global Insight, a forecasting firm, wrote in an assessment of the latest report. "It indicates that consumers came back after hunkering down" during the year's first half when sales were "dismal."
A worker on a newly constructed transmission tower near Buetzow, Germany, earlier this month. The German government plans to shut down nuclear power plants and is seeking to replace that production with power from renewable energy sources, especially wind turbines and solar parks. New power transmission lines will be needed.
Credit Eric Westervelt / NPR
Wind turbines near Ellhoeft, in northern Germany, close to the Danish border. The challenge for Germany's new energy plan is how to transmit power generated in the north to the population centers in the south.
After Japan's Fukushima disaster last year, Germany announced a groundbreaking energy plan: It would phase out all of its domestic nuclear power in a decade and make a transition to safer, carbon neutral energy.
The goal is to have solar, wind and other renewables account for nearly 40 percent of the energy for Europe's largest economy in a decade, and 80 percent by 2050.
Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 1:49 pm
Who Is He?
Joe Biden: Biden, whose own presidential aspirations sputtered in 1988 and again in 2008, brought to the Democratic ticket foreign policy chops and an ability to relate to working-class voters. In his 36 years representing Delaware in the U.S. Senate, he became known as more pragmatist than ideologue. He has also made a somewhat dubious name for himself because of his volubility and not infrequent verbal stumbles. But he has parlayed those potential liabilities into an effective, if occasionally unpredictable, campaign trail presence.
As a kid, Nancy Hogshead-Makar wanted to be the best swimmer in the world. At 14, she got her wish when she was ranked number one in the world for 200-meter butterfly at age 14. Four years later, she was part of U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and at 22, she swam in five Olympic finals at the 1984 Los Angeles games, winning three gold medals and one silver medal.
"I knew that the 1984 Olympics were really going to be my swan song," she tells NPR's Lynn Neary. She retired after those games and went to finish out a year and a half at Duke University.
Actress Julie Delpy first beguiled American audiences in 1995, playing the enigmatic French student in Richard Linklater's film Before Sunrise. Ever since, Delpy has enjoyed life on the Hollywood fringe, preferring indie projects where she can help shape her roles.
She co-wrote the Oscar-nominated script to Linklater's sequel, Before Sunset, and has also begun directing her own projects. For her latest, 2 Days in New York, she directed, produced and helped write the script.