More than 20,000 high-temperature records have been broken so far this year in the United States. And the heat is especially bad in cities, which are heating up about twice as fast as the rest of the planet.
High temperatures increase the risk of everything from asthma to allergies, and can even be deadly. But a researcher in Atlanta also sees this urban heat wave as an opportunity to do something about our warming planet.
Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 11:06 pm
The bus is always the center of attention. Partly because it's a hulking 1970s tour bus that somehow made it from Arizona all the way to Charlotte, but mostly because of what's inscribed on the side of it in thick, black letters.
"Sin Papeles, Sin Miedo," it reads in Spanish. "No papers, no fear."
Carrying a bunch of undocumented activists, the bus rolled through the country, through states like Arizona, Texas, Louisiana and Georgia, and into Charlotte on the eve of the Democratic National Convention.
Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 11:48 am
Actor Michael Clarke Duncan has died at age 54, according to his fiancee, the Rev. Omarosa Manigault. Known for his huge size and deep, resonant voice, Duncan received an Oscar nomination for his performance in The Green Mile, the 1999 prison film in which he starred alongside Tom Hanks.
Duncan's death was announced by Manigault, who in July said that she performed CPR on the actor after finding him in a state of cardiac arrest late at night.
Is Mitt Romney shifting his abortion position again?
It's fairly well-known that Romney proclaimed himself in favor of abortion rights when he ran for office in Massachusetts, then reversed himself before launching his presidential bid. But recently, the GOP nominee seems to be softening his opposition somewhat. Or is he?
Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 6:06 pm
The astronomer in me will tell you that summer officially ends on Sept. 22. That's the date of the Autumnal Equinox, the point in Earth's orbit where the hours of day and night are equal. That definition is fine for a scientific understanding of the cosmos, but when it comes to experience, we all know that summer really ends on Labor Day. And in that division between the ways we meter time (for science or business) and the way we actually live time, there is a Labor Day lesson we might keep close to our hearts all year long.
Syrian air force jets bombed the rebel-held town of Al-Bab in northern Syria on Monday, killing at least 18 people, according to Syrian activists.
Over the summer, the rebels gained control of a number of towns and villages along the Syrian-Turkish border. Now, those places are being bombarded from the air and from the ground by government forces.
Azaz, in northern Syria's Aleppo province, is one of these places. There, the tombstones in the old section of the town's cemetery are laid out in neat rows.
Crowd funding began as a way to support the arts on the Internet. Artists could go online to pitch a new album, for example, in the hope that thousands would give small amounts. But now it's expanded to entrepreneurs, and the rules aren't quite as clear.
In Afghanistan, girls are required by law to go to school. However, many of them never do.
Death threats, acid attacks and bombings by Taliban militants and other extremists lead many parents who support female education to keep their daughters at home.
Sometimes, it's the families themselves who stand in the way. School officials in conservative communities say relatives are often more interested in marrying off their daughters or sisters than in helping them get an education.
But some girls, like 18-year-old Rahmaniya, are fighting back.
Despers USA practices on a big parking lot off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, N.Y. Band members start wandering in around 6 or 7 p.m. and slowly take their places behind racks of steel drums. Like a symphony orchestra, they're organized by section — the thin tenors ringed around the outside; the big, deep, oil-drum basses toward the center; the midrange "guitars," as they're called, nearby.
Their section leader counts them in. He stops them, and then stops them again, saying the opening needs to be stronger. Eventually, they get it.
Urban Pakistan assaults your senses: tangles of traffic; Pakistani pop competing with the mosque's call to prayer; pungent spices in the steamy air. And then there are the transvestites.
At traffic lights, you see people draped in elegant pink and red clothing, with sparkling makeup. They tap their painted fingernails on your car window, asking for money. And that's when you notice the stubble on their chins.
"Begging here in traffic is just a part-time job," says 32-year-old Mina Mehvish. "I really want to be a dancer."
Originally published on Mon September 3, 2012 12:22 pm
Unlike what Republicans did in Tampa last week, Democrats will lay out a clear plan to get the country back on sound footing, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said during news briefing in Charlotte, N.C., moments ago.
Villaraigosa, who is the chair of the Democratic National Convention, said that by the time the convention wraps up Thursday night, the party will have crystalized its platform and explained that this election is about a stark choice.
The new quartet album by alto saxophonist Miguel Zenón and pianist Laurent Coq is called Rayuela, which means "hopscotch." It's named for Julio Cortázar's novel, the fragmented tale of a wandering bohemian and his social circles in Parisian exile, as well as back home in Buenos Aires.
Jordan Hull has always been a creative type. Growing up in Dayton, Ohio, Hull explored theater, writing and painting, and eventually got into music as an escape during his rebellious high-school years. Now in Nashville, the 23-year-old singer-songwriter writes lyrics that draw inspiration from great troubadours of yesteryear, including Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie.
Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:14 pm
Ladies, if the thought of showing up at a party or a picnic with a box of wine seems a little gauche, there's now a product for you: Vernissage's "bag-in-a-bag" of wine. It's boxed wine, shaped like a handbag.