And I'm Flora Lichtman. In 2007, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets, protesting the price of tortillas. In three months, the price of corn had gone up 400 percent. Why? According to my first guest, it all started with a spike in oil prices triggered by Hurricane Katrina. That led to increased demand for ethanol, and U.S. farmers who grow a lot of the corn that Mexicans eat planted less corn for eating and more corn to make ethanol.
Bioengineers are developing microchips, about the size of a thumb, that can behave like human organs. Donald Ingber, director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, discusses how the "organ-on-a-chip" works and why the technology could replace the animal model for drug testing.
A flurry of extreme weather events, including wildfires, heat waves and droughts may have convinced more Americans that the planet is warming. A poll by the Brookings Institute found that 62 percent of Americans now believe in global warming, and nearly half of them have cited warmer temperatures or change in weather patterns as the reason for their belief.
The universe is being pushed apart at a faster and faster rate. And the culprit? Dark energy. Astrophysicist Adam Riess shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for that discovery, and now's your chance to ask him about it--or anything else you've been wondering about the cosmos.
Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 12:46 pm
The London 2012 Summer Games are set to begin in earnest, with today's opening ceremony kicking off a weekend of gold-medal competitions. But if you're in America and you hope to watch the Opening Ceremony live, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed: NBC is tape-delaying its broadcast until Friday night.
No surprise: The economy grew only sluggishly in April, May and June. The U.S. Commerce Department says gross domestic product — the sum of all goods and services produced in the country — grew by just 1.5 percent in the second quarter.
Federico Macheda of Manchester United (center) challenges players from Shanghai Shenhua during a friendly match between the two teams in Shanghai, China, on Wednesday.
Credit Hong Wu / Getty Images
Speculation is rampant over the salary of Shanghai Shenhua's Didier Drogba, formerly with Chelsea, shown here during his Chinese Super League debut against Guangzhou Fuli in Guangzhou in southern China, July 22.
Aspiring soccer stars try to score against former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams in Beijing. Local soccer clinics provide visiting international teams publicity for themselves and their sponsors.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Hardcore fans were allowed to watch a Manchester City training session ahead of a match against rival Arsenal in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium Friday.
Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 12:20 pm
On a gray, polluted Beijing morning, parents peer through a fence anxiously at their little darlings' wobbly dribbling skills on the soccer pitch, as they try to score goals against former Manchester City goalkeeper Alex Williams.
A Dallas hard-luck case (Emile Hirsch, left) hires a corrupt cop (Matthew McConaughey) to kill his estranged mother when he hears about her rich insurance policy. Needless to say, the plot of <em>Killer Joe</em> doesn't quite work out as planned.
Credit Skip Bolen / LD Entertainment
Calvin (Paul Dano) with the woman he manifested from his typewriter, Ruby Sparks (Zoe Kazan). Kazan also wrote the film <em>Ruby Sparks</em>, which is directed by the team behind <em>Little Miss Sunshine</em>.
Amid the slapstick comedies, sequels and superhero movies that have come to define summer moviegoing, two films opening today center on disturbed and disturbing romantic ties. Ruby Sparks and Killer Joe aren't fantasy or horror pictures, but they're within screaming distance — close enough to remind you how much deeper artists go when they barrel past realism into weirder areas of the psyche.