Great works of ancient engineering, like the Pyramids or Stonehenge, inspire awe in every beholder. But some onlookers also get inspired to figure out exactly how these structures were made.
Howard Stone, an engineer from Princeton University, had such a moment in Beijing's Forbidden City — a city-within-a-city of palaces and temples built in the 15th and 16th centuries. A carved, 300-ton slab that formed a ramp to one structure particularly caught Stone's eye. "How in the world did it get here?" he wondered.
Aja Brown made history this past summer when she became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton, Calif. There is a lot of buzz there around the charismatic 31-year-old.
The city of about 100,000 people just south of Los Angeles has long struggled with gangs and street violence. But it wasn't always that way. Compton flourished in the '50s and '60s, when its factory jobs were a beacon for African-Americans fleeing the South.
These days, you'd be forgiven if you're more excited about watching the "big game" — whether that's football, basketball, hockey — on TV rather than from inside a sports arena. At least, that's a trend that the Chicago-based sports graphics company Sportvision is banking on.
As the federal government consumes humble pie over failures in the health insurance exchanges, some states that have set up their own exchanges are also struggling. Oregon has yet to enroll one single person, and it's been reduced to pawing through paper applications to figure out eligibility.
Weight-loss surgery is becoming increasingly popular because it's the only treatment that pretty much guarantees weight loss.
There is very little evidence on how it will affect people's health over the long haul. But people who had surgery maintained substantial weight loss three years later, according to a study that's trying to figure out if it works.
Vancouver musician Jay Arner has played in all kinds of bands over the years, be they pop, punk or otherwise. When it came time to make his new self-titled record, he decided to take the DIY route: Arner moved into his studio and played everything on the album himself.
The result is a concise set of songs that highlight the multi-instrumentalist's arsenal of capabilities. Hear a pair of tracks from the album and download this week's World Cafe: Next podcast.
Some writers you read and move on, but every now and then you read one whose work knocks you back against the wall. This happened to me with the great Italian novelist Elena Ferrante.
I first encountered her through her scalding 2002 novel, The Days Of Abandonment, whose narrator, Olga, may be the scariest jilted wife since Medea. What makes Olga scary is not what she does, but what she thinks and feels, and her ferocious precision in describing everything from lousy sexual encounters to her not-altogether-maternal feelings about her children.