Paula Cooper admitted to killing a Bible studies teacher as part of a robbery in 1985. Back then, Cooper was 15 — and she was 16 when she was sentenced to die.
A civil lawsuit that shifted into U.S. district court in Idaho last week alleges that the United Potato Growers of America has become a veritable OPEC of spuds. The group is accused of using high-tech, strong-arm tactics to inflate potato prices.
Scientists and parents have long been baffled by the fact that children with autism often don't pay attention to human voices. Researchers say that may be because speech doesn't activate a reward system in the brain for those children the way it does for typical children.
The saga of Edward Snowden and the NSA’s data collecting program, PRISM continues. Snowden did a live chat today with the Guardian newspaper in which he defended his leaking of those NSA documents a week or so ago.
Jaron Lanier is a computer scientist, author of "Who Owns the Future?" and a researcher at Microsoft though he’s quick to say he does not represent the company. “The details are tremendously surprising to me,” he says. “On the other hand, what we have heard has not been entirely consistent and it’s very hard for people to articulate what software does so it might be that the impression we’re getting about what’s been leaked is not quite accurate.”
He has a suggestion for those worried the U.S. government has gone a step too far. If “information costs money,” the government might be more judicious.
“We should have a market for information where prices are set by market forces and the government has to pay the market rate,” Lanier explains. So for example, you make a phone call and the NSA listens in. The NSA will send you a check for that information they gathered.
The wealthy become those who create more useful data. Take for example, someone who likes walking -- the government could track their movement to study the safety of sidewalks. “It’s information that wouldn’t exist if the people didn’t exist.”
And this solution -- turning data generated by the technology people use every day and the personal information it generates -- also helps solve another problem, that of technological inequality.
Lanier points out how the wealthy can profit because they have access to better and faster computers. But under his solution, it’s not about speed but the quality of data you produce.
As part of NPR's series marking 50 years since the summer of 1963 — a formative time in American politics and culture — we turn to Jackson, Miss. There the story of a summer youth workshop meant to bring the Civil Rights Movement out of the past and into the 21st Century unfolds.
President Obama and his European partners at the G-8 summit in Northern Ireland this week will likely use the meeting to launch their plan for a Transatlantic free trade area.
The talks had been in doubt, thanks to French insistence on keeping their system of cultural support -- subsidies and quotas for French movies and music. Paris had refused to approve the trade talks unless this principle was upheld.
Over the weekend, all parties finally accepted the French ultimatum. For the French, this was vindication.
"We just think that culture is not a commodity and cultural diversity should be protected in Europe," said the French ambassador Bernard Emie. "It’s extremely important to have subsidies, to have support, in order that there is a vibrant cultural production."
The ambassador cites popular French movies as proof that subsidies work. For instance, the silent comedy "The Artist" was made with public money -- and it won five Academy Awards.
And yet, the director and producer of "The Artist" have both denounced the French system of movie finance. As does Sylvain Charat, formerly a senior official in the French Ministry of Finance.
"The French subsidy system does not guarantee quality," he said. "It guarantee s only an income for movie producers or actors or artists."
Charat, who now works as a public policy consultant, argues that many French movies are rather dismal, and that the industry would be better off without support because much of the subsidy goes into paying inflated salaries for the leading actors.
Vincent Cassel is a case in point. The Frenchman played the bullying ballet instructor in the Hollywood movie, "Black Swan."
Hollywood paid him $300,000 for that role, and the movie grossed $330 million. But in the subsidized French film "Mesrine," Cassel was paid more than six times as much, while that movie grossed barely $30 million.
Perhaps the most telling indictment of the French subsidies, claims Charat, is that Hollywood isn’t bothered by them. The American movie industry has not be lobbying for the system to be dismantled.
"Look at what filmgoers watch in European cinemas, there’s a lot of Hollywood films that do very, very well, in France, Belgium, all round Europe," said Jim Killick, a trade attorney.
In France -- Europe’s biggest cinema market -- only four of the 20 most popular films last year were French. Most of the others were American.
Dr. Judith Salerno, a geriatrician, is replacing Nancy Brinker, the cancer philanthropy's founder and longtime chief executive. The change comes more than a year and a half after a decision to halt grants to Planned Parenthood plunged the group into controversy.