When we heard that astronauts aboard the International Space Station took a spare toothbrush along on a spacewalk today and used it to help clean debris from around some bolts they needed to secure in order to install a power unit, it got us thinking.
Just how versatile are old toothbrushs? We know we've used them to:
-- Clean bike gears.
-- Get grime out of our hubcaps.
-- Get at the crust around a car battery's terminals.
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, I had some thoughts about why we so love to show our scars. We, meaning the public and our leaders. That's my Can I Just Tell You essay and it's in just a few minutes.
But, first, it's time for our Wisdom Watch. That's the part of the program where we speak with those who've made a difference through their work and, in this political season, we're talking with a political pioneer.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:33 pm
Alex Zanardi, who was a star racecar driver when he lost his legs in a 2001 crash, has won a gold medal in the London Paralympics. The Italian, 45, beat Germany's Nobert Mosandl by more than 27 seconds to win the men's handcycle time trial. The race took place at Brands Hatch, a track that Zanardi has previously tackled behind the wheel of high-powered racecars.
"Last time I was here I was going about five times faster but I still love this circuit," he said this week.
The organizer of a proposed permanent one-cent hike in state sales taxes on Tuesday defended earmarking 10 percent of the proceeds for road construction.
Ann-Eve Pedersen said Arizona has cut state aid to education in the last five years more than any other state. She said Proposition 204 would provide needed tax dollars the Legislature cannot take. If approved, the measure would initially raise $1 billion a year. But 10 percent automatically goes for roads. Pedersen said that is justified.
Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 4:45 pm
In public, at least, they're the best of friends. And no one will have a more public role extolling President Obama than his Democratic predecessor, former President Bill Clinton.
Clinton, who has already been featured in an Obama campaign ad, is speaking tonight at the Democratic National Convention in what is traditionally the prime spot reserved for the vice presidential nominee.
"He's clearly the best asset the Democrats have," says GOP consultant David Carney. "Clinton is their best surrogate."
The image of the lone genius toiling in isolation, finally emerging with a brilliant new concept is compelling, even romantic. Too bad it's not true.
Instead, innovation thrives in ecosystems, much as microbes flourish in a warm, cozy petri dish.
"There's an important geography to where innovation happens," says AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies how regional differences affect innovation.
Switching gears now, school is back in session in much of the country and for many high school students that means it's time to look at colleges and, increasingly now, as more students go to college than ever, they and their parents are turning to rankings, such as the one published by U.S. News and World Report, to try to figure out the best fit.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, there are a lot of college ranking guides out there, but we're going to tell you about one of them that says it rates colleges and universities on their value to you and to the country. That's ahead.
But first, we're following the Democratic convention in Charlotte, and while the spotlight is on national debates during the convention, we remember that old saying that all politics is local.