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 1:02 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:
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 9:53 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 4:34 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.
It's been 521 years since the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus "sailed the ocean blue/in fourteen hundred and ninety-two." Since then, there have been thousands of parades, speeches and statues commemorating Columbus, along with a critical rethinking of his life and legacy.
But the question remains, how did a man who never set foot on North America get a federal holiday in his name? While Columbus did arrive in the "New World" when he cast anchor in the Bahamas, he never made it to the United States.
Originally published on Mon October 14, 2013 7:12 am
Three American professors have won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Economics for their work in identifying long-term trends in the prices of stocks and bonds, based in part on analyzing the role of risk.
Professors Robert J. Shiller of Yale University and Eugene F. Fama and Lars Peter Hansen, both of the University of Chicago, won "for their empirical analysis of asset prices," the Royal Swedish Academy said in announcing the honor Monday.