In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.
Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.
"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.
The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.
This famous bet — between a biologist and an economist — was over population growth. It started three decades ago, but it helped set the tone for environmental debates that are still happening today.
The biologist at the heart of this bet was Paul Ehrlich at Stanford. He wrote a best-selling book in 1968 called The Population Bomb. It was so popular he appeared on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:52 am
At NPR, we constantly strive to be better: as an organization, as storytellers, as individual human beings. It's a year-round gig, yet there's something especially powerful about hanging up a new calendar. It gets us reflecting on the past year – and thinking intentionally about the year ahead.
Enter three dreaded words: New Year's Resolutions.
Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 12:41 pm
Friend of the blog Rembert Browne and the folks at Grantland put together their annual year-end, winner-take-all tournament bracket to determine just who won pop culture in 2013. Yeah, it's a jokey project, but Grantland is better than just about anyone at considering our popular culture without moralizing didacticism or snarky dilettantism.
Rembert came up with a diverse field full of 32 entities that we had to reckon with this year, including:
Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:35 am
Are we witnessing the twilight of DVD and Blu-ray?
Kinda-sorta. With the emergence of various digital distributions systems — streaming and downloading through your laptop, your cable system, your game console — it's easy to see how these discs will be the next physical media formats to fade away. DVD and Blu-ray could well go the way of CDs and vinyl, becoming a niche boutique market for collectors.
Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:00 am
Here's why picking a Top 10 list of best TV shows has become such treacherous work for critics this year: Quite simply, 2013 was the year quality exploded in the television industry.
Thanks to the simultaneous maturing of Netflix, AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, BBC America, Sundance Channel, iTunes and many more media platforms, fans of great television had more options than ever to find high-quality product whenever and wherever they liked.