This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, discovering the universe inside your skull, and it is a universe. According to my next guest, a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue contains as many nerve connections as there are stars in the Milky Way - billions and billions just in a tiny bit of your brain. Never mind the other three pounds of brain matter. It's a vast world inside our skulls, and much of it operates without us really knowing or thinking much about it or even understanding it.
In Commerce, Mich., today, The Associated Press reports, Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney told supporters that he and his wife, Ann, had been born in nearby hospitals. Then, Romney added, "no one's ever asked to see my birth certificate; they know that this is the place where both of us were born and raised."
FLATOW: Yup, they were cheering again this week at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Mars Rover Curiosity made its first moves on the Red Planet. It wiggled its wheels, and it's rolling away from the landing site, toward a spot called Glenelg, actually you can spell it backwards and forwards the same way because it's going to return there.
Between mass tourism and the Internet, it's never been easier to learn about other cultures. Yet we often stay on the surface. Watching the Olympics opening ceremony a few weeks ago, I was struck by how much of what was presented as quintessential Britishness came from pop culture — James Bond and Mary Poppins and the chorus to "Hey Jude." Although Britain had a global empire not that long ago, the show's director, Danny Boyle, grasped that the world's image of his green and pleasant land now largely derives from movies and songs.
One of the first activities of the new school year at the University of Alabama is Hands On Tuscaloosa, a morning of community service. On Sat., Aug. 25, students can choose to refurbish a neighborhood baseball diamond, clean-up a local high school, create a carnival or do something else worthwhile.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Today's shooting in New York City draws special attention because of the location: at the base of the Empire State Building, perhaps the most famous building in New York, one of the most famous buildings in the world. The gunman opened fire there. Several people were shot and wounded. We're getting conflicting accounts of how many, although news photographs from the scene do show a number of people down on the ground.