It's something you can see on every block in most major cities. You probably see it every day and never give a second thought to. But in Yangon, Myanmar, an ATM is a small miracle.
For decades, Myanmar was cut off from the rest of the world. There were international sanctions, and no one in the U.S. or Europe did business there.
But last year, when the international sanctions started to be lifted, companies like Visa and Mastercard were excited to come in. The country has about 50 million people — that's a lot of potential customers to pay ATM fees.
This is the season of night noises, chirps, buzzes, little cries. The air is telling you, "Things are going on out here," and if you like you can step out onto the porch and do what the writer Rachel Carson did back in 1956: She played a hunting game. The rules were simple: You stand outdoors, near the house. You go quiet. When you hear something interesting, you either: a) take a flashlight and go hunt for it; or b) you don't go anywhere. You just imagine it.
The best find Rachel Carson ever made, she never found.
As thermometers start to creep up toward the triple digits, office menswear starts getting casual. It makes sense; having a thick ribbon tied around your neck in the sweltering heat is, by all accounts, a revolting experience.
Our very unscientific polling of the NPR newsroom revealed only 8 percent of men wear ties on hot, summer days. We wondered: Could we, humble fashion pioneers, be on the brink of a cutting-edge fashion trend?
The French weren't the first to make wine? Mon dieu! But as anyone who has sipped a Bordeaux, Champagne or Burgundy can tell you, the French got pretty good at it once they learned how. And thanks to some molecular archaeology, researchers can now confirm they picked up these skills as early as 425 B.C.
So who taught the French the art of viniculture? Probably the ancient Italians, says the man with perhaps the coolest nickname in science research — the "Indiana Jones of alcohol," Patrick McGovern.
Ira Glass, host of This American Life, recently received a medal from the Academy of Arts and letters. A portion of his talk revolved around a photo of Ira and Michael Jackson. See that photo and watch the humorous video of his acceptance of the award for spoken language.
Open any Torah, Bible or Koran, and the passages about homosexuality seem clear: being gay is an abomination; a sin; something that incurs the wrath of God. But for some, these interpretations are changing. Gay in the Eyes of God, explores the ways in which the major American religious traditions (Christianity, Judaism and Islam) grapple with acceptance of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The program presents personal stories as well as interpretations of scripture and theology - both traditional and progressive.
Every day in America, more than 7,000 students drop out of school. In a State of the Re:Union first, Summer in Sanctuary combines radio drama and documentary to explore America's dropout epidemic through the intimate story of one man's attempt to make a difference in the lives of a group of high-risk kids. Based on the celebrated off-Broadway show by SOTRU host Al Letson, this episode chronicles his journey teaching at a summer camp at the Sanctuary on 8th Street, a community center in an economically challenged neighborhood of Jacksonville, Florida.
The sun provides less than one percent of American electricity. But there is a solar surge underway and the number of installations grew 75% in 2012. Wind power is also on the upswing and it is happening in places you might not expect.