Imagine being able to access the Internet through the contact lenses on your eyeballs. Blink, and you'd be online. Meet someone, and you'd have the ability to immediately search their identity. And if your friend happens to be speaking a different language, an instantaneous translation could appear directly in front of you.
That might sound farfetched, but it's something that might very well exist in 30 years or less, says theoretical physicist Michio Kaku.
In October, President Obama announced that most U.S. troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, after negotiations with Iraqi leaders failed to extend the troops' presence. Only Marine embassy guards and liaison troops will stay behind in the country, where more than a million troops, in total, have served over the past eight years.
The sort of offenses that might land a student in the principal's office in other states often send kids in Texas to court with misdemeanor charges. Some schools have started rethinking the way they punish students for bad behavior after watching many of them drop out or land in prison because of tough disciplinary policies.
In a downtown Houston municipal court, Judge David Fraga has presided over thousands of cases involving students "ticketed" by school police. His docket is still relatively small at the moment, with only 45 to 65 cases per night.
Home prices across the U.S. are still only "back to their first quarter of 2003 levels" and "drifted lower in September and the third quarter," according to the widely watched S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, which were just released.
As The Associated Press says, the news is "the latest evidence that the troubled housing market won't recover any time soon."
Diagnostic errors account for as much as 40 percent of medical malpractice claims. And communication lapses, including failing to pass along test results, make up a growing proportion of those claims, according to a recent study.
The work, published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology, shows that malpractice payouts due to communication failures more than quadrupled between 1991 and 2010, to $91 million annually.
NPR's business news starts with American Airlines filing for bankruptcy.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
INSKEEP: Let's find out why the parent company of the giant airline sought Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. One of the corporate press releases does not offer too much help - not even using the word bankruptcy. Instead, headlined: American Airlines Begins Legal Process in United States to Improve Competitiveness.
NPR's Chris Arnold is covering this story. Chris, what does that actually mean?
Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 5:18 am
A second day of voting is underway in Egypt's parliamentary elections, with turnout being described as "massive and unexpected" and things moving along peacefully, The Associated Press and NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro report from Cairo.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. It's never too late to settle a score. Joe Kapp and Angelo Mosca are former Canadian Football League stars. They supposedly haven't liked each other since competing in 1963.
Last week, the 73-year-olds were honored at a lunch. Kapp offered a flower as a peace gesture. Mosca rejected it, and lashed out with his cane. Kapp advanced with his fists.
The short animated film Hungry Hobos created by a young Walt Disney starred a rabbit. It was one of about 26 cartoons featuring Oswald the rabbit. Hungry Hobos screened in 1928 but sat on the shelf for decades. It will be sold at auction.
In New York, yesterday, a federal judge rejected a settlement of a fraud case involving Citigroup. The Securities and Exchange Commission, which brought charges against the bank, had agreed to the $285 million deal. But Judge Jed Rakoff said he didn't believe the settlement was in the public interest. NPR's Jim Zarroli reports.
The housing crisis has stalled home building but apartment construction is undergoing a bit of a renaissance. There's now a huge pool of people forced to rent because they can't afford to buy a home, or they were a victim of foreclosure. In Denver, there aren't enough apartment vacancies.
The long running NBC comedy series The Office is about a group of workers employed by fictitious paper company Dunder Mifflin. The Wall Street Journal reports that an office supply website called Quill.com has struck a licensing agreement with NBC to sell copy paper using the fictitious brand name.
According to the latest Census, the wealthiest Americans saw huge jumps in their income, while the rest had their incomes go down. For a deeper understanding of the wealth gap, Steve Inskeep talks to Tyler Cowen, an economist at George Mason University, and Matthew Yglesias, who writes about economics for the website Slate.com.
Peaceful voting in Egypt has given the country's stock market a boost. Cairo's market was closed on Monday when the landmark elections started. When trading opened Tuesday, the benchmark stock index surged more than 5 percent.
Another college campus is facing a scandal. A criminal investigation is under way at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee. It comes after the death of a drum major who was in the school's marching band. Allegations that the 26-year-old man died because of hazing have shaken a group many consider one of the best university bands in the nation. Florida Public Radio's Lynn Hatter reports.
LYNN HATTER, BYLINE: The first thing people associate with the Florida A&M University band is the sound.
Because of the ability to cheaply process terabytes of information, companies can analyze all kinds of things that weren't possible before, like <a href="http://www.decide.com">Decide.com</a>'s price prediction tool that exposes the surprising volatility of consumer electronic prices.
What do Facebook, Groupon and biotech firm Human Genome Sciences have in common? They all rely on massive amounts of data to design their products. Terabytes and even zettabytes of information about consumers or about genetic sequences can be harnessed and crunched.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has been unofficially running for president for the better part of five years, and in that time, he has been asked about immigration over and over again. Now some of his rivals are arguing that his answers to the question have been inconsistent. And the issue blew up last week at a CNN debate on national security.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said someone who has lived peacefully in the United States for many years with a family, a community and a job should have an opportunity to become a legal permanent resident.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been labeled a flip-flopper. And when it comes to abortion, the former governor of Massachusetts appears to have changed his position from being in favor of abortion rights to being opposed.
But now some people are asking if Romney ever supported abortion rights at all? Backers of abortion rights don't think so.
To understand how important remotely piloted aircraft are to the U.S. military, consider this: The U.S. Air Force says this year it will train more drone pilots than fighter and bomber pilots combined.
And that's changing the nature of aerial warfare — and the pilots who wage it.
Steve, a lieutenant colonel, grew up wanting to be in the Air Force. And that meant one thing: wanting to be a pilot.
To him, flying is physical: the pull of gravity, the sounds inside the cockpit.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich surprised viewers of last week's Republican presidential debate with his take on illegal immigrants.
"If you've been here 25 years and you've got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out," he said.
His GOP opponents accused Gingrich of endorsing amnesty, a policy many conservatives deem unacceptable.
The congressional to-do list for the month of December is long.
The list includes things like agreeing on a way to keep the federal government funded past the middle of the month, making some routine and annual tax fixes, and deciding whether or not to continue the payroll tax holiday and extended benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Dawn Deane, a 49-year-old human resources professional from Philadelphia is particularly interested in that last item.