This week, Americans have been remembering Neil Armstrong. But before he walked on the moon, he had to solve a much more prosaic problem.
"You're about to embark on a mission that's more dangerous than anything any human has ever done before," Robert Pearlman, a space historian and collector with collectspace.com, told me. "And you have a family that you're leaving behind on Earth, and there's a real chance you will not be returning."
Scientists have known for decades that lab rats and mice will live far longer than normal if they're fed a super-low-calorie diet, and that's led some people to eat a near-starvation diet in the hopes that it will extend the human life span, too.
But a new study in monkeys suggests they may be disappointed.
The long-awaited results of this study, which started back in 1987, show that rhesus monkeys fed a diet with 30 percent fewer calories than normal did not live unusually long lives.
On a placid summer morning last month, before the Virginia heat could hit them, a former U.S. Marine and his partner lifted their rowing scull into the glassy water of the Rivanna River, near Charlottesville.
"First thing I do is take these legs off," said Rob Jones, who like his rowing partner, Oksana Masters, is a double, above-the-knee amputee. They're the U.S. team for mixed-doubles rowing at the 2012 London Paralympics, which started Wednesday.
Samuel Clemens, who is said to have taken his pen name Mark Twain from the cries of riverboat crewmen, found the inspiration for his classic works while growing up in the river town of Hannibal, Mo. Today, more than 125 years after the first pressing of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, there's a new set of artistic characters in Twain's boyhood home.
Standing outside the Central Minnesota Ethanol Co-Op in Little Falls, Minn., there's not a lot going on. The pungent smell of fermentation that typically hangs in the air here is absent. And trucks piled high with corn are nowhere to be seen.
They're idled in part because of high corn prices. And it's unclear when that will change.
"Most of the industry is just breaking even in terms of profitability or actually running at slightly negative margins," says Geoff Cooper, vice president of research and analysis at the Renewable Fuels Association.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning.
We've been hearing, all morning, reports of Hurricane Isaac coming ashore along the gulf coast, and we're going, now, to Craig Fugate. He is the FEMA Administrator, the Federal Emergency Management Agency - and he is spending the morning on the gulf coast. Mr. Fugate, where are you now?
Now, Greg mentioned Plaquemines Parish. Look at a map of Louisiana and you'll see that parish, a finger of land sticking far out into the Gulf of Mexico. Jennifer Hale of WVUE Television is in the parish, spent the night there. And Ms. Hale, where are you now?
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Hurricane Isaac made landfall last night in Louisiana and it is battering the Gulf Coast with high winds and a lot of rain. For the latest we turn to NPR's Greg Allen. He's in New Orleans and we have reached him by telephone. And Greg, give us a sense of this storm. It sounds like, you know, Category 1, which, you know, makes you not worry so much, but a lot of people fearing that it could just stay in one place for a good while.