Our brains are filled with billions of neurons, entangled like a dense canopy of tropical forest branches. When we think of a concept or a memory — or have a perception or feeling — our brain's neurons quickly fire and talk to each other across connections called synapses.
How these neurons interact with each other — and what the wiring is like between them — is key to understanding our identity, says Sebastian Seung, a professor of computational neuroscience at MIT.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
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And I'm David Greene. We have learned this morning that North Korea has agreed to a moratorium on nuclear tests and uranium enrichment activities. This is according to State Department officials just back from a trip to China, where they met with North Korean negotiators. NPR's Michele Kelemen has more on what could be a step towards reviving nuclear disarmament talks.
In what could be a diplomatic breakthrough, the United States said today that North Korea had agreed to cease nuclear weapons tests and enrichment and will allow U.N. inspectors to verify activities at its main reactor.
The announcement comes just two months after the country's leader Kim Jong Il died and the Communist Party handed the reins of power to his son Kim Jong Un. The AP reports that the agreement also includes a moratorium on long-range missile tests.
Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 10:07 am
No, this isn't a make-believe place. It's real.
They call it "Ball's Pyramid." It's what's left of an old volcano that emerged from the sea about 7 million years ago. A British naval officer named Ball was the first European to see it in 1788. It sits off Australia, in the South Pacific. It is extremely narrow, 1,844 feet high, and it sits alone.
Media baron Rupert Murdoch's son James, 39, is leaving his job as executive chairman of News Corp.'s newspaper arm, the company said Wednesday. He'll focus instead on the international TV business at the company, which has been embroiled in a scandal over phone and e-mail hacking in Britain.
Concussions affect the thinking of teenagers more than they do that of adults or children, according to a new study. But all three age groups show lasting problems with working memory after sports concussions.
During the last three months of the year, the U.S. economy picked up its pace of growth. The Commerce Department revised its previous estimate today and said the gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent, which exceeded the previous estimate of 2.8 percent and was better than the third quarter's 1.8 percent pace.
The AP reports:
"The growth estimate was revised up because consumers spent more than first thought, and businesses cut spending by much less.
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 2:59 pm
(The top of this post was updated at 1:45 p.m. ET with news of the prison sentence, and at 3 p.m. ET with the U.S. Attorney's reaction.)
A federal judge in West Virginia has sentenced Hughie Stover to three years in prison. Stover is the former security chief of the Upper Big Branch mine, where 29 miners died in a massive explosion in 2010.
The AP reports that "security and airport officials" said Mohammed Ibrahim Makkawi was arrested when he arrived in the country on Wednesday from Pakistan.
Makkawi, who the FBI says is also known as Saif Al-Aldel, is wanted in connection to the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya. Makkawi, the FBI says, is also suspected of being a high-ranking member of al-Qaida.
A line of severe storms moving across the Midwest left death and destruction in its wake early today.
The storms moved through Kansas and Missouri overnight, destroying one trailer park and leaving at least one dead in Buffalo, Mo.
The hardest hit area is Harrisburg, Ill., where authorities say at least six people have been killed after what is presumed to be a tornado raked the town before dawn. (Note: in situations such as this, details such as the number of people killed and injured change as more information comes in. We will be updating this post.)
At this year's fishing contest on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin, they weren't just fishing for sturgeon. People arriving to fish parked their cars too closely, and the ice gave way. No one was hurt but three dozen vehicles were pulled out of the lake.
Originally published on Wed February 29, 2012 3:56 pm
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney notched two big wins Tuesday, upping his Republican presidential delegate count and taking modest-plus momentum into the week leading up to Super Tuesday on March 6.
With the Michigan and Arizona primaries in the history books as Romney's fifth and sixth victories, we're looking ahead to Super Tuesday, when presidential contests will be held in 10 states and 413 delegates will be up for grabs.
The deadly violence in Afghanistan over the burning of Qurans by the U.S. military has brought the American-led NATO mission to a crossroads. Among the dead have been four Americans, two of them by an Afghan policeman inside what was thought to be a highly secure government ministry building. The U.S. pulled all of its advisors from those ministries. The entire international community is on virtual lockdown.