Originally published on Sat September 22, 2012 11:33 am
The emoticon, punctuation to depict a facial expression, began 30 years ago this week. Using three keystrokes, the colon, dash and parenthesis, to suggest a smile may not be a great scientific advance, like the coronary stent or computer chip. But the emoticon has been simple, useful and enduring.
There had been previous hints of emoticons. A newspaper transcript of Abraham Lincoln drawing a laugh in 1862 follows it with a semi-colon and parentheses, but that may have simply been a printer's typo.
Despite a series of political fumbles, Mitt Romney is "still very much in the game," according to political strategist Steve Schmidt. But, he says, it will take some work.
Schmidt served as John McCain's senior strategist in the 2008 election and helped George W. Bush get reelected in 2004. He spoke with Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about the Romney campaign's stresses.
Anyone who watches movies knows that when a mysterious disease breaks out ... or when zombies show up ... or when a meteorite causes people to mutate into giant glowing worms, the place you go for answers is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We've invited CDC Director Thomas Frieden to play a game called "Try to stop these viruses!" Companies are constantly trying to make their campaigns "go viral," infecting brains all over the world. Frieden will answer three questions about viral marketing ideas gone awry.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Chicago teachers voted to end their strike this week, the first in 25 years, and came back to class. It brought an end to a heated confrontation between leaders of the Chicago teachers union and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who repeated this phrase time and again during the strike.
MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL: This was a strike of choice and it's a wrong choice for the children. Really, it was a choice.
In a couple weeks, the prestigious Nobel Prizes will be announced. But this week, the Ig Nobels honored the silliest discoveries of 2012. A study on the physics of the ponytail; a paper on why coffee spills when you walk; and a prize for a group of psychologists who scanned the brain of an unpromising patient: a deceased Atlantic salmon. Even more unlikely were their findings: the dead fish had thoughts. Who knows - maybe dreams. Craig Bennett did the experiment and accepted the award with good humor, and a couple of fish jokes.
It's been more than a quarter century since the federal government enacted any immigration legislation which wasn't about enforcement and over that time, the government has spend hundreds of billions of dollars on fences, aircrafts, detention centers and agents. NPR's Ted Robbins looks at what taxpayer money has bought and why it's not likely to go away, even as budgets shrink and illegal immigration lessens.
Imagine you're strolling down a dark and steamy alley. In the distance, you think you overhear Adele jamming with some combination of country and bluegrass pickers. As you round the corner and get a look at the band, you realize it's actually Lake Street Dive: singer Rachael Price, drummer Mike Calabrese, bassist Bridget Kearney and guitarist Mike "McDuck" Olson.
President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney have made multiple trips to the battleground state of Nevada this year. Romney was there again Friday. Nevada has the worst jobless rate in the nation, and it's a place where recent distractions from Romney's economic message could hurt his chances of winning. NPR's Don Gonyea reports.
In South Africa, thousands of mineworkers have embarked on industrial action that began with a deadly pay strike by platinum workers. They've agreed a wage deal with their management, this week, but the labor unrest is spreading to other platinum and gold mines in an industry that's the engine of South Africa's economy. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton discusses the repercussions with host Scott Simon.