We end this hour with an update on the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Here's what we know. In total, 28 people are confirmed dead, including the gunman. And NPR has confirmed his identity. He was Adam Lanza, 20 years old. That's according to federal law enforcement officials. Earlier today, his brother Ryan was taken in for questioning. Ryan Lanza is not believed to be involved in the shootings.
The One Voice Choir is not officially part of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but the ensemble is invited to perform this weekend at an LDS church-sponsored event intended to reach out to the LGBT community.
Credit Andrea Smardon / KUER
The choir's musical director, Bryan Horn, leads the ensemble in rehearsal.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:22 pm
Horrible acts of violence have forced President Obama to speak to a shocked nation after several mass shootings — at a shopping center in Arizona, a Colorado movie theater, a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and, on Friday, a Connecticut elementary school.
Each time his sadness has been readily visible, mirroring the feelings of millions of Americans.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:10 pm
Newtown, Conn., the town where Friday's mass school shooting took place, is described on its website as a "scenic small town" 60 miles northeast of New York City, with a 110-foot flagpole that serves as an unofficial town symbol.
Newtown is bordered on the south by Easton and Redding, on the north by Bridgewater and Southbury, on the east by Oxford and Monroe, and on the west by Bethel and Brookfield. It is the fifth-largest town, areawise, in the state.
The Mariner 2 probe at an assembly facility in Cape Canaveral, Fla., on Aug. 29, 1962.
Radio signals from the Mariner spacecraft were received on three 85-foot antennas like this one, which were built in California's Mojave desert, near Johannesburg in South Africa, and near Woomera in southern Australia.
In the California receiver control room, personnel await confirmation that Mariner has begun to scan the planet Venus.
Data from the receivers were teletyped in a coded format to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California.
There, the data was routed to the digital computer at JPL.
Printouts of the data were made available to the experimenters.
At the operations center at JPL, the spacecraft's status was posted on the wall.
A model of JPL's Mariner 2 spacecraft above a floral "Venus" moved down Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena, Calif., in the 1963 Tournament of Roses Parade on Jan. 1.
Scientists show off reams of data collected by Mariner 2 as it passed by Venus. The probe flew by the planet on Dec. 14, 1962, and scanned the surface for 42 minutes.
A technician wears a hood and protective goggles while working with a full-scale model of the Mariner spacecraft in a space simulator chamber at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., in 1962.
Fifty years ago, on Dec. 14, 1962, reporters gathered for a press briefing at NASA headquarters and heard an unearthly sound: radio signals being beamed back by a spacecraft flying within 22,000 miles of Venus.
The Mariner 2 mission to Venus was the first time any spacecraft had ever gone to another planet.
These days, vivid photographs showing scenes from all around the solar system are so ubiquitous that people might easily forget how mysterious our planetary neighbors used to be.
Police and medical staff work outside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., where 27 people — 20 of them children — were killed Friday morning. Police have not officially declared a suspect, but news accounts have named Adam Lanza, 20, as the suspected gunman.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 7:40 pm
As details emerged about the tragic shooting deaths of more than 20 children and adults at a Connecticut elementary school today, law enforcement sources first named Ryan Lanza as the suspected gunman. But that account, reported by NPR and other news outlets, was later called into question by reports that identified Lanza's younger brother, Adam, as the suspect.
Update at 7:28 p.m. ET: Suspect's Identity Confirmed.
The world mourned the death this week of Indian maestro Ravi Shankar, whose name became synonymous with the sitar. Tributes eulogized Shankar as the great connector of the East and West who'd hobnobbed with The Beatles and collaborated with violin virtuoso Yehudi Menuhin. Less has been said about the roots of the music he spent a lifetime perfecting and innovating.
Supporters hold up posters of Japan's former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a rally in Osaka on Thursday. Considered a nationalist hawk, Abe is expected to become prime minister for a second time after parliamentary elections Sunday.
Credit Yoshikazu Tsuno / Getty Images
Japanese nationalists condemn China at a rally in Tokyo in September. Japan and China are locked in a bitter dispute over a group of islands claimed by both countries.
Police gather at the east entrance of Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., on April 20, 1999. School security has improved markedly since the Columbine shooting, experts say, but there still are problems.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 5:22 pm
Even as Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., suggests that more could be done, the whole culture of school security has undergone a revolution since the 1999 Columbine school shooting, experts say.
"Schools are far more secure than they were at the time of Columbine," says Paul Timm, president of RETA Security Inc., a school security consultancy.
For one, he says, "They keep most exterior doors secured, which is something they didn't pay much attention to before."
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 6:32 pm
Transcript of President Obama's speech on Dec. 14 following a deadly mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. Source: White House
This afternoon, I spoke with Governor Malloy and FBI Director Mueller. I offered Governor Malloy my condolences on behalf of the nation and made it clear he will have every single resource that he needs to investigate this heinous crime, care for the victims, counsel their families.
Gov. Bill Haslam speaks to reporters after announcing in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday that that he had decided against creating a state-run health insurance exchange. The Republican governor said he will leave it to the federal government to run the marketplace.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:48 pm
Few people expected that the Obama administration would be running health exchanges in more than 30 states when the federal health law was signed two years ago.
But with the deadline for states to decide just hours away, only 18 states and the District of Columbia have proposed operating their own insurance marketplaces. The exchanges are a key tool under the law to expand health coverage to an estimated 23 million people over the next four years.
A Syrian woman carries a ration of bread on her head in the northern city of Aleppo. The Syrian opposition now runs local councils in many cities, particularly in the north. They often face major challenges in providing basics likes food, water and electricity.
Credit Odd Anderson / AFP/Getty Images
Customers shop by candlelight in a grocery store in Aleppo. The city has been hit hard by fighting in recent months, with both the opposition and the government controlling parts of the area.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 2:18 pm
As the Syrian opposition gains control of large swaths of territory in the country's north, local councils are emerging as the first alternative authority after 21 months of revolt.
It is still unclear if the civilian councils can impose order in war-torn areas where rebels have the power of arms. And at least parts of major cities remain in the hands of President Bashar Assad's forces.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli sitting in for Terry Gross. Ravi Shankar, who popularized the sitar and Indian music in America, died this week at the age of 92. He befriended the Beatles, gave George Harrison sitar lessons, and inspired Harrison to launch the first superstar benefit concert, 1971's the Concert for Bangladesh.
That's when Ravi Shankar, tuning up before his performance, responded to the polite but clueless support of the U.S. audience. His ad lib was good humored but pointed.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli, editor of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. This week, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame announced its latest round of inductees, and among them is singer/songwriter Randy Newman. You have to have 25 years as an artist to qualify for the Hall of Fame, but Newman has clocked a lot more time than that.
On Friday night on PBS, Great Performances presents a documentary about the making of a Beatles TV special from 1967 — Magical Mystery Tour — then shows a restored version of that special. Magical Mystery Tour has the music from the U.S. album of the same name, but it's not the album. It's a musical comedy fantasy about the Beatles and a busload of tourists taking a trip to unknown destinations.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Of course we'll be following any updates in the school shooting in Connecticut that has left dozens of people dead, including children and the gunman. Any updates that are necessary, we'll break in and let you know.
Imagine one day, just one day, where the world you saw was upside-down: water poured up; smoke drifted down; balloons acted more like lead weights. It might be enough to drive you crazy. Could you handle two days? Three? How about 10 days with your vision turned completely on its head?
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:50 pm
The world isn't going to end next Friday, but Dec. 21, 2012, has come to be known as the Mayan apocalypse because that's when the Mayan calendar ends. As scientists have told us repeatedly, the end of the calendar year was actually a time for celebration and renewal — the equivalent of an ancient New Year's Eve. So breweries around the country have decided to celebrate with — what else? — beer.
Nothing beats the smell of a live Christmas tree in your home, but how can you keep the needles on your tree and off your carpet? Rick Bates, professor of horticulture at Penn State University, offers tips for how to properly care for your Christmas tree this holiday season.
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:03 pm
Did you know plants use quantum mechanics every day? That quantum computers can hack the encryption used in online commerce? Or that a 'quantum internet' could someday teleport your emails? MIT's Seth Lloyd discusses those and other quantum mysteries in this episode of "Ask a quantum mechanic."
Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 1:03 pm
Alan Alda founded The Flame Challenge last year to promote better science communication, and he started by asking scientists to come up with a kid-friendly explanation for a flame. Now, Alda is back with round two of the popular contest, and kids want to know: What is time?
Egyptians are voting on a new constitution - but the vote is polarizing the country. Meanwhile, in Syria, the main opposition group is now recognized by the U.S., but there are questions about al-Qaeda affiliates fighting alongside them. To make sense of the developments, host Michel Martin talks with Abderrahim Foukara of Al Jazeera International.
Lawrence Guyot spent his life fighting for civil rights - but often at great personal cost. He was jailed and beaten regularly by police in the Deep South while helping black people get involved in politics. Host Michel Martin speaks with Washington, D.C. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, who worked alongside Guyot, about his life and activism.
In this week's Barbershop, the guys weigh in on U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrawing her name from consideration for secretary of state. They also discuss Michigan's right-to-work law and whether unions are still relevant today.
An Egyptian activist holds a banner used to spray paint graffiti on a wall urging Egyptians to vote against a draft constitution. The opposition says the constitution does not represent all Egyptians, but their efforts have not been particularly well organized. President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist supporters support the draft constitution. Voting begins Saturday.
For three consecutive weeks, the Egyptian opposition has called mass protests against a controversial draft constitution that Egyptians are being asked to vote on beginning Saturday.
At each rally, protesters chanted against the document and its key proponents: The Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohamed Morsi, who was among the group's leaders before he was elected Egypt's president.
But the opposition appears to be losing momentum, while the Islamists still appear to be going strong.