Here is a question that social scientists have been pondering for years: How much of your success in life is tied to your parents, and how much do you control?
The academic term used for this is "social mobility." And a striking new finding from economic historian Gregory Clark of the University of California, Davis claims your success in life may actually be determined by ancestors who lived hundreds of years ago. That means improving opportunities across generations might be a lot harder than anyone imagined.
The Somali-born rapper and singer-songwriter K'Naan can sure pack a lot into a 3-1/2-minute pop song: clever wit, heartfelt angst, a hook you can't shake — and, in the new track "Hurt Me Tomorrow," honky-tonk piano. That's the sort of quirk that helped win K'Naan his earliest fans. All sorts of eccentricities survive on Country, God or the Girl, his most expansive and elaborately produced work to date. Mostly, though, the new album soars with pairings of sharp, confessional rap and catchy vocal hooks.
U.S. military academy like West Point are 19th century relics that infantilize their students, produce officers no better than those that emerge from ROTC and look increasingly outdated in comparison to their counterparts in other western democracies. That's all according to Bruce Fleming who's taught at the U.S. Naval Academy for the past 25 years. In a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fleming argues that these academies have lost sight of their goals, and he questions whether they should even exist anymore.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last month, customers of Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Wells Fargo and several other banks were unable to access their bank accounts. Hackers overwhelmed the sites with traffic that made them extremely slow or totally unresponsive. No funds were lost, but it was a nuisance.
Months earlier in Saudi Arabia, a virus named Shamoon spread through 30,000 of the computers of ARAMCO, the world's largest oil company, and erased file after file.
Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:15 pm
NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about previous show topics including the demise of community policing, the people on the front lines of suicide prevention and the argument that women should stop trying to be perfect.
Thousands of children with physical and mental disabilities live in institutions, isolated from their families and decades younger than other patients. The institutions are often better equipped to handle their medical needs, but can fall short when it comes to other aspects of the kids' lives.
President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney speak almost every day throughout the campaign season, sometimes two or three times a day. They deliver everything from commencement addresses to foreign policy analyses. But at rallies and union halls, high school auditoriums, at county fairs and a thousand other venues, they offer slight variations on a set of standard remarks known as the stump speech.
The Budapest String Quartet has always been my standard-bearer for chamber music. I grew up listening to their recordings, and especially admired not only their gorgeous sound, but also the uncanny interaction among all four players, even when there were changes in personnel. They had a way of playing as if they were speaking to each other, expressing deep and sometimes complicated feelings.