April showers bring May flowers, and in this case they bring us a selection from the garden for NPR's Backseat Book Club. Each month we ask young people to read a book along with us, and for this month, our pick is Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:09 pm
Pity the poor percussionist in Mozart's day. He didn't have much to do in the orchestra, save for the occasional punctuating roll of the kettledrum (usually supporting a burst of brass) or the rare ping of a triangle.
Onlookers study a map of the electoral college system during a Nov. 5, 2008, U.S. presidential election party in Brussels. This year, the electoral vote landscape could be more challenging for Mitt Romney than national popular vote polls might suggest.
The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.
In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 11:41 am
Twelve years ago, I was an intern working with the American Museum of Natural History on marine protected areas. One afternoon, after reading mountains of articles that documented the declining state of fisheries and reefs, I naively proclaimed that ocean conservation must be the most depressing field in the world of science.
"Not at all," countered my mentor. "It's the freshwater scientists that have it the worst." He was right.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:38 pm
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win all five of the Republican presidential primaries being held Tuesday. The GOP front-runner hasn't had to worry about real competition since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month.
But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running for president, even though he's short on money and lagging far back in the polls.
If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.
Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.
Terrence Jennings (right) lands a kick during a taekwondo match last fall. Jennings, who says his love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drew him to the sport, will compete in his first Olympics this summer.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 3:37 pm
Taekwondo is fairly new to the Olympics; it was first officially included in 2000. But in just a few years, the Olympics have become the pinnacle event of the Korean martial art. And the odds of earning a spot competing on that stage are incredibly slim. There are only four slots for Americans — two for men, and two for women.
Terrence Jennings has beaten those odds, by defeating opponents over months of qualifying matches. In July, he'll head to London for his first Olympics.
Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:42 pm
In his first public comments about the prostitution scandal that has engulfed the Secret Service, President Obama praised the agency and said those implicated in the scandal should not the diminish the work of everyone else.
"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," Obama said according to Politico. "They protect me, they protect our girls... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do."