When mother and calves or allied males were separated, they used specific whistles to call each other. Dolphins are the first animals — other than humans — to be known to do that.
Canon law calls for a papal conclave 15 to 20 days after the papacy becomes vacant, but that rule takes into account a funeral. Benedict is retiring.
Florida's expansion of Medicaid will provide health insurance coverage to more than a million people. Florida will also become the seventh state headed by a Republican to agree to take the federal offer to provide Medicaid to all state residents with incomes up to about $15,000 a year.
3-D printing can be used to make food, guns and maybe human ears. Researchers say that using collagen to print out ear cartilage solves a lot of the problems in making new ears for people with birth defects or injuries.
The spots can lead to eruptions of radiation on the sun called solar flares. This huge spot formed over the course of 48 hours.
Palestinian Emad Burnat got a video camera to document his son's childhood. But he has spent the past several years filming the conflict between Palestinian residents of his village and Israelis who are building a separation barrier. His work is now up for an Oscar.
Tomatoes grown on organic farms contained significantly higher levels of vitamin C, sugar and lycopene than their conventionally grown counterparts, a study finds. Turns out, organic farming techniques "stress out" the plants in ways that make them more nutrient dense.
Alex Brown, a senior at Guilford High School in Connecticut, is taking two AP classes: statistics and chemistry.
“They’re both really intense,” she says. “I don’t think people understand how much AP classes actually take out of us. It’s going to be really rough.” Then she laughs nervously.
More high school students than ever are taking Advanced Placement courses, the College Board announced. And, they are doing better on the exams. The average score rose to 2.83 from 2.80, out of a maximum of 5.
Yet despite all the hard work, students like Brown may not be able to place out of required college courses or even skip freshman year if they score well on the AP tests. Some prestigious colleges have stopped giving academic credit for AP tests scores.
Brown doesn’t. Columbia doesn’t, and most recently, Dartmouth said it won’t let AP students skip ahead.
“We want a Dartmouth education to take place at Dartmouth,” says school spokesman Justin Anderson.
Translation: APs aren’t Dartmouth. Will more schools follow suit? David Conley, a professor at the University of Oregon and CEO of the Educational Policy Improvement Center, says: No.
“We’ve always seen a certain group of colleges not give much credit to AP. It’s not unusual and not new,” he says. “They’re highly selective and can get away with that.”
Conley says prestigious schools can afford to be picky about what credits to accept. But there are “more general admissions schools where they want students to bring AP credits and they do want to reward them for doing that.” In other words, AP credit is like bait for the best students.
Behind this question of college credit for AP tests is a deep-seated anxiety felt by educators that students aren’t prepared for college.
“Three out of four students who get to college come lacking in foundation and strong skills that a good college education requires,” says Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities.
Specifically, she says students lack skills in research, writing, and evidence-based analysis. Schneider says the general problem of college readiness “raises questions about whether the courses students took in high school, that might’ve been labeled AP or dual enrollment, were really providing students the preparation in writing and research that college itself will emphasize. Different institutions are making different judgments about that.”
Ken Bernstein, a retired teacher who writes on education, thinks more schools might join Dartmouth, Brown and Columbia on the AP question. Even though a third of high school students are taking AP tests, he says, “There aren’t that many kids prepared at a college level. Let’s be realistic.”
Trevor Packer, a Vice President at the College Board, the organization that runs the AP tests, points out that AP scores weren’t originally used as a replacement for college credit.
“The original use in 1956…was as a tool for placing students appropriately”, he says. That means determining whether a student should be in French II instead of French I, but not about placing out of French altogether.
Packer says the College Board is revamping the AP exams to make them more rigorous. But there is no question, he adds, that APs are making students more prepared for college.
“The research does consistently show that students who participate in AP courses in high school and earned a score of 3 or better perform at a higher level than matched peers,” he says.
Even if some top schools aren’t giving college credit, AP tests look good on high school transcripts. So they may not let students get out of freshman year, but they’ll help them get into college in the first place.
Republicans delayed a vote on President Obama's defense nominee, saying they wanted more answers about the attack in Benghazi, Libya, last year. In recent months, Benghazi has become a sort of catchword. To Republicans, it symbolizes everything bad about the Obama administration.
Going public is typically considered an achievement. But reverting to private ownership — as computer giant Dell plans to do — can have benefits, too, like enabling managers to focus on long-term strategies or conduct shake-ups in private. Still, withdrawing from the stock market also carries some risks.
Through a lawyer Armstrong said he would be willing to cooperate in an international tribunal but not in "American prosecutions that only demonize selected individuals."
Essential benefit requirements apply mainly to individual and small group plans. The federal requirements also affect benefits provided to people newly eligible for Medicaid coverage. Now, for instance, we know that insurers won't be allowed to can't charge consumers a copay for a screening colonoscopy, even if a polyp is removed.
Don't look now, but gas prices are on the rise again -- 45 cents in the past month, 33 straight days of increases, according to AAA.
Sure, oil prices are going up too, but how does it work down at the retail level? Why is one station $4-a-gallon and the one down the road $4.05? We called a guy we know who runs a gas station. Oz Elam has a place on Boston Post Road in Pelham, N.Y.
Right now, gas at Elam's station is going for $3.99. Elam said he came up with the number by checking his wholesale numbers and the shipment costs. "Then I'll make a quick ride around the neighborhoods, I check my margins, add a couple pennies. But we think the $4 is the red line that we shouldn't cross...$3.99 is definitely much more effective than $4."
Contrary to popular belief though, Elam said he isn't making money as the price of gas goes up. "Everyone blames the markets; I think it's Wall Street. I know we are not making, I know my wholesaler's not making as much money as the people think." Most of the revenue he makes these days, he said, comes from his convenience store. He said he can make at least a 30 to 40 percent profit margin off the coffee he sells.
Still, he hears the complaints of the high gas prices from customers. "It is ridiculous," he said. "Of course they cannot go to Wall Street or they cannot contact the wholesaler. We are the only person they have contact with; of course they complain to us."
For nearly three years, the Afghan parliament has tried to pass a law banning violence against women. Supporters say they've made concessions to address conservatives' concerns. But critics say the proposal still violates Islamic law.
The speech at next month's Conservative Political Action Conference will be the first extended public remarks from the former Republican presidential nominee since losing the November election. It was at this event last year that Romney famously declared he had been a "severely conservative" governor.
The brash, young champion Brad Keselowski will begin defending his racing title this month. Candid and funny, he has a knack for connecting with both blue-collar fans and savvy, young Twitter users. And some of the sport's executives say he's the key to NASCAR's future.
The company is seeking testers for Google Glass, an augmented technology eyewear. Applicants who are selected for the program will be allowed to buy the device for $1,500.
The storm moving out of California, could stretch from Oklahoma to the Ohio Valley.
Congress is off this week, and lawmakers are back home in their districts, doing town halls and meeting with constituents. What makes this congressional break a little more newsy than others is that the sequester cuts are due to hit March 1. These cuts are big and broad, and many senators and representatives think they could do great harm to their states.
Virginia Democrat Mark Warner sits on the Senate Budget Committee and he says that the sequester plan is "the most stupid option possible."
The cuts, should they happen, will be across the board without any regard to what programs are more valuable than others. Every budget will be affected equally from the Federal Aviation Administration to the Food and Drug Administration, and cuts to the Defense Department will hit hard in Virginia, which is Sen. Warner's home state.
"Just like families, when the military goes out and buys 10 tanks instead of one tank we get a discount," he explains. "Because each account will get cut equally, some of these contracts will have to be broken and the discount that we recieve will end up costing us more than the savings."
He adds: "When you do this across the board without regard to merit, the American public will have a right to be outraged at all of us."
So why create the sequester when it was doomed from the start? Well, says Warner, it goes way back to the summer of 2011 when Congress was fighting over whether to raise the debt ceiling. "It was set up around the whole debacle around the debt ceiling ...with the expectation that the so-called supercommittee would do its job."
But, he says, that congressional "super" committee forged to come up with a deficit reduction plan didn't do its job, which leaves us where we are now.
"There are a lot of folks in Washington that, quite honestly, I'm not sure want to reach the compromise that we need," says Warner. "We have to do more revenues, we have to reform entitlements, we have to do cutting -- but there seems to be a lot more about who is going to win the political argument of the day or the week versus how do we make sure we get this economy going."
Paying for parking is a lot like sitting in traffic. Iit's a regular part of city living, which means we end up hauling around rolls of quarters, or standing in line at the kiosk to pay. And there's always the risk of getting a ticket when your meter runs out.
But what if there was a way to skip the meter, altogether? Some cities are testing new technology that could make it so.
Portsmouth, N.H., is one of those charming New England towns where the busy central square is lined with bookstores, boutiques and coffee shops -- the kinds of places where you like to lose yourself for a while.
It’s also lined with parking spaces and hungry meters, and the city’s parking enforcement officers write an average 170 tickets a day. The town has parking kiosks that take credit cards, but drivers here have another option aimed at saving them time, money and stress.
For $20, they can buy a wireless device the size of a credit card. It's called an EasyPark. It works kind of like a stopwatch to track how long a car is parked in a space, then charges the driver for only that time.
“For the person using the device, they come, they park, they walk away,” says Tom Cocchiaro, Portsmouth’s head of parking operations. “They don’t have to worry about putting tickets in their windshield or worry about how much time they need to buy.”
Drivers pre-pay for parking online, so the money goes straight into the city’s bank account, leaving fewer coins to collect. Local laws still apply -- if there’s a two-hour limit on a space you still have to move in that time. But taking meters out of the equation means you can let that lunch meeting go longer than you planned without worrying you’ll get a ticket.
Across the country, more cities are testing technology like this alongside traditional parking meters, to see which method prevails. Another way to pay that’s catching on is the free smartphone app; there’s one called ParkMobile that’s available in 32 states.
The company’s V.P. of business development, Laurens Eckelbloom, says pay-by-phone technology suits a lot of Americans’ new habits.
“We don’t have a lot of cash with us, and the increase in popularity of smartphones in the United States... there is a huge change and shift in behavior of people,” Eckelbloom explains.
Washington, D.C., signed on to ParkMobile two years ago and the District now gets more than 40 percent of its parking revenue through the app.
“The beauty of the system is you can remotely extend your transaction,” says Eckelbloom.
In other words, you can add money to your meter without giving up the cozy chair at Starbucks. ParkMobile says it has over a million users and adds more than 50,000 new members each month.
The company banks a 35-cent fee per transaction, and there’s a monthly membership fee for the EasyPark system Portsmouth uses, so there’s big profit potential for the products that win drivers over.
“There’s lots of competition for the best way to charge people for parking,” says Donald Shoup, who teaches urban planning at UCLA. Shoup says high-tech parking payment systems are widespread in Europe, but Americans are just catching on.
“The manufacturers tell me it’s a nightmare selling anything to cities in the United States,” Shoup explains. “They’re so cautious and they seem to be afraid the customers won’t accept it or understand it, but it is changing.”
Shoup says the latest technology is making life easier, even for drivers who don’t have it. Some cities are collecting data from parking apps and wireless devices to find ways to free up more spaces for everyone.