One area in the U.S. economy that is booming, despite the sluggish recovery, is technology. Facebook and Groupon are expected to go public in the coming year, and tens of billions of dollars of venture capital continue to pour into the tech industry every year to support new companies.
But one of the first challenges new companies face is coming up with a name, which can be a difficult task.
It appears as just a speck on the horizon, a slightly darker shape against a vista of Arctic ice. Soon enough, the ship's bridge makes the announcement: "Polar bear, starboard."
Crew and passengers onboard the CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, head to the open deck, binoculars and cameras ready, and watch as the bear lumbers from one ice floe to another, quickly dipping into the inky blue water and effortlessly pulling himself back up again.
Evil though Saddam Hussein may have been, his oldest son, Uday, was in some ways worse. In the years before 2003, when Uday Hussein was killed by American special forces, he was a drug-addled playboy capable of rape and murder on a whim.
In the 1980s and '90s, Uday was a dangerous man — but he was also in danger. Like his father, he needed a body double, so he called upon Latif Yahia, an old school chum who looked just like him, and forced him to fill that role.
Photographer Elliott Erwitt loves babies, bare bottoms and dogs — specifically, jumping dogs. And he'll go to great lengths — however unorthodox — to get the shot. To get a dog to jump? Bark at it, Erwitt says: "You have to speak their language. ... Sometimes they bark back, sometimes they jump." But it's a perilous approach. "Once, one of them peed on my leg as a consequence," he says.
The NFL got back to the playing field this past week for its first preseason games since the players and owners agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. But the scene at NFL training camps is a bit different this year.
New rules now limit the amount of full-contact practice that players can participate in. Gone are the grueling summer two-a-days.
For comic book fans, writer Grant Morrison is something like a god. He's worked for both DC and Marvel comics, writing stories for Superman, Batman and other heroes. In his new book, Supergods, he discusses what comic books can tell us about being human.
Growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, Morrison says his love of American comic books was regarded as slightly suspect.
Tim Pawlenty's out, Rick Perry's in, and Ron Paul's up, but not as high as Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachman. And where the heck is Mitt Romney? NPR political editor Ron Elving reveals all to guest host David Greene.
Of World War II's many fronts, the one you've probably never heard about was the theater of war in the Arctic. Combat there centered around a crucial supply route that stretched from North America to the tiny Russian city of Murmansk, across the border from the northern tip of Norway.
"It was not the easiest route," U.S. Naval historian Tim Francis tells NPR's David Greene. And it might have been impossible if it weren't for help from some of Santa's friends.
"The truth of poetry is not the truth of history," says Philip Levine, the newly-named poet laureate of the United States.
Levine is 83 years old. He grew up in Detroit, working at automobile factories in his youth, and published his first book of poetry in 1963, at the age of 38.
He went on to win the 1991 National Book Award for his collection What Work Is, and the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for poetry for The Simple Truth. His appointment was announced by the Library of Congress on Wednesday.
Tim Pawlenty made headlines Sunday but not the sort he had hoped to. He announced on ABC News' This Week that he has dropped out of the hunt for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination after coming in a disappointing third in Iowa's Ames Straw Poll.
The Midwestern country-rock ensemble The Bottle Rockets have been playing together for close to 20 years. Along the way, they selected an audacious nickname for themselves — "The Best Band on the Planet" — which they've worked hard to live up to ever since. Frontman Brian Henneman says he prefers that name to the one some fans have settled on: "America's Greatest Bar Band."
On Monday, President Obama flies to Minnesota to begin a bus tour devoted to job creation, confidence restoration and to reviving his own image as a leader. Guest host John Ydstie talks to NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro about the president's itinerary and the motives behind the trip.
The Mars rover Spirit conked out in May, but its twin, the rover Opportunity, is still functioning and has just arrived at a spot NASA's dubbed Spirit Point. Guest host John Ydstie speaks with geologist John Grant about his decades working on the Mars Rover project.
Libyan rebels have reached the important port city of Zawiyah, where they are engaged in fierce clashes with government forces. Zawiyah is the site of Libya's sole remaining refinery and it's on the road to Tunisia. If the rebels hold it, they will control the port, the refinery and one of Libya's main roads. Guest host John Ydstie gets the latest on the fighting from NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro in Libya.
The whereabouts of an American development expert are still unknown 24 hours after he was abducted by a group of armed men in Pakistan. NPR's Julie McCarthy reports on the abduction of Warren Weinstein, who was within days of leaving the country when he was kidnapped Saturday during a brazen early morning raid on his home.
Famines like Somalia's might be a thing of the past if farmers in the Horn of Africa could grow enough crops to protect against hunger. Making that possible would require a number of things, including international development aid to small farmers, but that's been in decline over the past 25 years. Guest host John Ydstie talks to author and Harvard Professor Robert Paarlberg about U.S. investment in farm development in Africa.
Less than two months into her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachman won Saturday's Iowa straw poll. Bachman won what is considered to be a bellwether event and one measure of a presidential candidate's strength. NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.
Texas governor Rick Perry declared Saturday that he's entering the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Perry spoke at the Red State Gathering conference in Charleston, S.C. WFAE's Julie Rose reports.
The political landscape in California is on the verge of drastic change. On Monday, the state's Citizens Redistricting Commission is expected to give final approval to a new map of congressional and legislative districts. Those newly drawn districts, combined with a new primary election system, are likely to shake up California's political status quo for the first time in two decades. Guest host John Ydstie talks to Bruce Cain, director of the University of California Washington Center, about the national implications of redistricting in California.
Psychologists have found that great stories can't be spoiled. Guest host John Ydstie has more on a UC San Diego study that says film buffs and bibliophiles not only don't mind spoilers, they actually like them.
South America has produced more than its share of soccer superstars. The soccer giant Real Madrid is banking on Leonel Angel Coira of Argentina to become one of them. Last week the club signed the soccer prodigy to a one-year contract. When the contract expires, young Leonel will be all of 8 years old.
"Well everyone's looking for the next big thing," Tim Stannard, who writes for the soccer publication FourFourTwo, tells Weekend Edition guest host John Ydstie.
In the 1890s, Russian Jews fleeing anti-Semitic violence and discrimination arrived by the thousands to a remote corner of the Argentine Pampas. They founded hamlets similar to the shtetls they left behind. They spoke Yiddish, built synagogues and traditional Jewish schools — and became farmers and gauchos, the mythical Argentine cowboys.
President Barack Obama's Midwestern bus tour will focus on job creation and restoring confidence, but the Federal Reserve doesn't seem very confident about the future.
Last week, the Fed committed to near-zero interest rates until 2013, indicating that the Fed board isn't anticipating much growth in the job market. That's a troubling prospect for Americans, and it leaves a big challenge looming over Washington about whether the government can push growth above the painfully low bar set by the Fed.
How can you feed starving people without feeding an insurgency as well? That is one of the challenges the Obama administration faces in providing aid to Somalia.
As the U.S. and other donors scramble to help Somalis survive a famine, some experts see an opportunity of sorts. The drought, they say, seems to be starving the Islamist militia group al-Shabaab of resources, limiting its ability to wreak havoc in Somalia.
It may seem hard to believe after such a tumultuous week on Wall Street, but economists do see a few bright spots.
For one, Americans with good credit scores can get some of the best housing bargains in decades. Freddie Mac's latest survey shows the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages has dropped to 4.32 percent. That's down to the half-century lows set during the fourth quarter of last year.
Last Friday would have been the 100th birthday of the Mexican comic legend Cantinflas. By the time of his death in 1993, Cantinflas had acted in 50 films, won a Golden Globe, and even inspired a new Spanish verb — cantinflear — in honor of his ability to play with the sounds of Spanish for comedic effect
When the creators of NBC's hit sitcom The Office approached Aziz Ansari about a new mockumentary style sitcom, Ansari said yes. Thing is, the then 25-year old stand up comedian had no clue what the show was going to be about.
Now three years later, the show that was a mystery to Ansari is a hit. It's called Parks and Recreation and Ansari plays the scene-stealing character Tom Haverford.
As the rest of the Republican field jockeyed for support in Iowa's straw poll Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a feisty late entry into the presidential race before hundreds of conservative bloggers in South Carolina, encouraging voters to "give a pink slip to the current residents of the White House."
Perry launched his bid touting his home state's record of job creation as a central reason to elect him, but Texas' economic picture is more complex than what the governor shares on the stump.