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On Campus, Older Faculty Keep On Keeping' On

54 minutes ago

Ken Nickerson could have retired from his job as a professor of biological sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln 10 years ago, when he turned 62.

He could have retired five years ago, when the university offered faculty a year's salary to step down as part of a buyout to encourage more of them to leave.

He could have retired last year, when, in yet another buyout offer, administrators dangled the equivalent of 90 percent of one full year's salary in front of faculty who would finally agree to go.

But Nickerson stayed.

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'Secret Chord' Sings A New Song About An Ancient Hero

57 minutes ago

Two kinds of readers might exult over Geraldine Brooks's biblical epic about the life of King David, The Secret Chord. The first can cite chapter and verse of the Good Book. The second craves the resonance of the best historical fiction. Both will relish this new novel, which brings alive the Old Testament world of a thousand years before the Christian era.

National Dialogue Quartet, a group that helped preserve Tunisia's dreams of democracy in 2013, has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize, with the Nobel Prize Committee citing its "decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia."

"We are here to give hope to young people in Tunisia, that if we believe in our country, we can succeed," said Ouided Bouchamaoui, president of The Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, a group that's part of the Quartet.

Kevin McCarthy Gone, In 60 Seconds

1 hour ago

There was chaos on Capitol Hill Thursday after frontrunner Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name from the House speakership election. The closed-door House Republican meeting that was supposed to emerge with a speaker nominee spilled out into the hallway outside of the House Ways and Means Room in the Longworth Office Building. That's where reporters rushed lawmakers to find out exactly what had happened and where the conference might go from here.

Here's a peek into that hallway, in 60 seconds:

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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

2015 Nobel Peace Prize Announced

3 hours ago
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Wendy Sherman, the lead U.S. negotiator on the Iran nuclear talks, was the third-ranking official at the State Department until she left her position just last week.

One of the most meaningful gifts she received during her job at the State Department was a small thing, she said.

"It was a plastic Rubik's Cube that was given to me by my team that was emblematic of the Rubik's Cube we were trying to settle in the Iran nuclear negotiation," she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

After the mass shootings in Roseburg, Ore., last week, the national media gave a lot of attention to the fact that the local sheriff, John Hanlin, is an ardent supporter of gun rights. He'd written a letter to Vice President Joe Biden shortly after the Dec. 14, 2012, massacre of schoolchildren at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., saying gun control was not the answer. In the letter, Hanlin pledged not to enforce gun regulations he believed to be unconstitutional.

What wasn't widely reported was how common views like Hanlin's have become in law enforcement.

Today, in a federal courtroom in Tucson, Ariz., an agent of the U.S. Border Patrol for the first time will be arraigned on charges of murder for shooting and killing a Mexican national across the international border.

On Oct. 10, 2012, Agent Lonnie Ray Swartz, standing behind the border fence in Nogales, Ariz., shot 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, who was walking along a sidewalk in Nogales, Sonora. The agent claims he acted in self-defense against rock-throwers on the other side.

North Charleston, S.C., has reached a settlement with the family of an unarmed black man shot in the back and killed by a white police officer in April

An iconic luxury ocean liner, originally designed and built in 1952 to be the fastest ship on the seas and a symbol of America's post-war strength and pride, may soon be reduced to scraps of metal.

It probably won't surprise you that there's a growing polarization among Americans over how to deal with several immigration policy proposals.

Whether it's Donald Trump's idea for a massive border fence or the proposal to change the Constitution so that babies of unauthorized residents aren't automatically made citizens, Republicans and Democrats are hardening their views, according to a new national survey issued by the Washington, D.C.-based Pew Research Center.

The nail in the coffin of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy's hopes of being the next speaker was opposition from the House Freedom Caucus. The rogue conservative group of about 30 members instead wants it to be Florida Rep. Daniel Webster.

But Webster might not even be coming back to the House in 2017, thanks to a redrawing of his congressional district that might make it unwinnable for the GOP.

How many emotions does a human experience? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? Maybe it depends on the language you speak?

"Man, in New Orleans we really are fortunate — we got some of the best things in the world," Chef Paul Prudhomme once said. "And one of those things is the mufaletta sandwich."

And one of the best things about New Orleans was Prudhomme himself.

He was known for introducing blackened redfish to the rest of us, for his cooking demos and for his line of magic spices. Needless to say, Prudhomme changed the way the world saw Louisiana cooking.

He has died at the age of 75.

Amazon is firing yet another shot at a competitor. This time it's a mega-artisanal shot, at Etsy — the popular craft site. The e-commerce giant on Thursday launched Handmade, a new marketplace for, well, handmade goods. This could be wonderful news for the artisan movement, or terrible news for Etsy, its staunchest supporter to date.

Valerie Nethery got a message out of the blue, from Amazon. "They emailed me directly. I'm not sure how they found me."

Something unusual is happening in America's wilderness — some animals and plants are moving away from their native habitats. The reason is a warming climate. It's getting too hot where they live.

Species that can't migrate may perish, so some biologists say we need to move them. But they admit that's a roll of the dice that violates a basic rule of conservation: If you want to keep the natural world "natural," you don't want to move plants and animals around willy-nilly.

The Nobel Prize has a special aura. Winning one instantly certifies you as someone who has reached the pinnacle of science.

But what does it take to win the prize? And what does it do to your life? There are different answers for every scientist, of course. But for Nobel laureate and chemist Harold "Harry" Kroto, some of the answers might surprise you.

"I've always felt that the Nobel Prize gives me nothing as far as science is concerned," Kroto told me when I visited him earlier this year in Tallahassee, Fla.

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Paul Prudhomme, the internationally renowned Louisiana chef who popularized Cajun and Creole cuisine around the world, died Thursday morning. He was 75.

It's hard to overstate Prudhomme's influence on Cajun and Creole food. JoAnn Clevenger, owner of Upperline restaurant in New Orleans, says Prudhomme modernized it but kept the distinctive flavors.

Efforts to protect children in foster care from being inappropriately medicated with powerful antipsychotic drugs got a big boost forward on Tuesday, when California Gov. Jerry Brown signed three bills into law designed to reform prescribing.

Overprescribing of psychiatric meds for foster youth is a persistent problem nationwide, with children given the drugs at double or triple the rate of those not in foster care.

No one knows who will lead House Republicans next, but for now, chaos reigns among the House GOP. Rep. Kevin McCarthy shocked Washington on Thursday when he dropped out of the race for speaker of the House.

If you aren't watching Capitol Hill closely, you might not know what the big deal is, or why the GOP is having such a hard time picking a speaker. Here's a quick rundown of what's going on.

Mars is cold and dry, but billions of years ago, it was cold and wet. That's according to new evidence from NASA's Curiosity rover, which is currently exploring a large crater on Mars.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., was supposed to win the GOP leadership election to succeed retiring House Speaker John Boehner easily. Wrong.

Faced with a conservative revolt and an inability to win over his caucus, McCarthy made a stunning announcement Thursday that he was withdrawing from the race.

Democrats rejoiced in the ensuing chaos. There was reportedly crying in the halls of Congress. And 2016 contenders even offered up their thoughts on successors.

Here are some of the best reactions.

Russian cruise missiles that were fired from warships in the Caspian sea and were intended to hit Syrian targets crashed in Iran, instead, a U.S. official tells NPR's Tom Bowman.

Tom reports that the missiles landed in a rural area of Iran. Local television, Tom reports, said "that something crashed and exploded near the northern city of Tekab, shattering windows and leaving a large crater."

In an unexpected announcement Thursday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the race to succeed John Boehner as House speaker.

Although the Republican representative from California was expected to win, his support was undermined Wednesday night when the Freedom Caucus, a 40-member conservative splinter group, endorsed Republican Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida instead.

Here & Now’s Robin Young speaks with Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, a member of the Freedom Caucus, for his reaction.

Fifty years before Rosa Parks helped spark the modern civil rights movement by refusing to give up her seat in the colored section of a city bus to a white passenger, the African-American community in Nashville, Tennessee, took a bold stand – with a dash of entrepreneurial spirit – against Jim Crow laws on their streetcars. Nina Cardona from Here & Now contributor WPLN has the story.

Dealing With Alcoholism In The Family

16 hours ago

A memoir called “A Common Struggle,” released Tuesday by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, bears all about his family’s health and alleged addictions.

The portrait of his father, the late U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy, and his mother Joan, breaks what he calls a “conspiracy of silence” about how alcoholism poisoned the family. Others are disputing the account, including his older brother, Ted Kennedy Jr., a Connecticut state senator.