An idle North Korean factory, seen from the Chinese border.
Credit AFP / Getty Images
North Korea used to be an industrial powerhouse. Not anymore. Today, the country can't feed its own people. Its cities go dark every night for lack of electricity.
Yet helplessness wasn't the original plan. The original plan for the country's economy had a name. It was called "juche," or self-reliance. The idea was that all North Korean problems should be solved by North Koreans.
This week, an online petition concerning Sesame Street's Bert and Ernie started making the rounds. The Facebook petition asked that Sesame Street allow the two male Muppets, who share a house and a bedroom, to be married on the show.
"We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful," the petition read. "Only that they allow Bert & Ernie to marry or even add a transgender character to the show. It can be done in a tasteful way."
Jimmy Weekley, 71, shown here with a friend, says that when he was a kid, there were more than two dozen homes in Pigeonroost Hollow, W.Va. "But right now no one else lives in this hollow except me, James Weekley, and the coal company."
Credit Andrew Lichtenstein
James "Jimmy" Weekley has lived in Pigeonroost Hollow in West Virginia for 70 years. He grew up surrounded by family and friends, part of a tight-knit community in the state's southern mountain valley. Like his grandfather, father, uncles and sons, Weekley worked as a coal miner. And like most West Virginians, Weekley saw coal as the economic lifeblood of his community.
The turmoil in the stock market could curb the spending spree that's been underway in the tech industry, making it for start-ups to raise capital.
Money was on the mind of a group of about two dozen, carefully selected entrepreneurs gathered in Seattle this week.
They're all participants in TechStars, a boot camp and incubator for start-ups. By the end of the three-month program, most of them will be looking for funding from angel investors or venture capitalists.
Three years ago, the global economy was brought to the brink by a near meltdown of the international banking system. Now we're in trouble again, but this time our economic woes stem largely from the actions of governments. Escaping from this crisis is more of a political challenge than a financial one.
That doesn't necessarily mean it will be any easier.
Long before you reach the circle of women, you hear them and feel their exuberance and warmth. These are the "grandmothers," fondly called les grandes-meres and dressed in brightly colored boubous — the voluminous traditional gowns with dramatic matching head wraps worn by the women of Senegal.
On today's All Things Considered NPR's Kelly McEvers brings us an update on a story she reported in May. The story was about how the Bahraini government had started targeting women in effort to quell a rebellion that raged in the country since February.
Kelly reported on one women who agreed to be interviewed by NPR only if she could whisper and talk in English so the government could not track her down.
Researchers have found that the oft-maligned banana peel can grab heavy metals out of polluted water.
Banana peels don't get a lot of respect. Though we here at Shots have never actually heard of anyone slipping on one, it seems they're stuck in the cultural lore as a nuisance, or even a hazard.
But a Brazilian researcher, who also happens to be a banana lover, has taken an interest in the lowly banana peel and is helping to remake its image. The banana peel, it turns out, can take water dirtied by heavy metals from mining operations or other activities and turn it to clean drinking water.
A new type of sensor uses flat, flexible electronics printed on a thin rubbery sheet, which can stick to human skin for at least 24 hours.
Credit John A. Rogers / Science
Researchers have created a new thin flexible sensor that can be applied with water, like a temporary tattoo. Measuring activity in the brain, heart and muscles, the innovation could cut down on the number of wires and cables medical personnel use to monitor patients, among other applications.
The electronics can bend, stretch and squeeze along with human skin, and maintain contact by relying on "van der Waals interactions" — the natural stickiness credited for geckoes' ability to cling to surfaces.