Bright lights are part of a city's ecosystem. Think of Times Square or the Las Vegas Strip or right outside your bedroom window.
Electric lighting is ubiquitous in most urban and suburban neighborhoods. It's something most people take for granted, but appreciate, since it feels like well-lit streets keep us safer. But what if all this wattage is actually causing harm?
"We're getting brighter and brighter and brighter," warns Paul Bogard, author of the upcoming book, End of Night: Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light.
Students at Westlake High School in Waldorf, Md., participate in an interactive digital conversation with historian Kenneth C. Davis about late 19th and early 20th century American history on Thursday. The school uses a state of the art "telepresence center" for students to connect with experts all over the world.
The hallways at Westlake High School in Maryland are just like thousands of other school hallways around the country: kids milling around, laughing and chatting on their way to class.
On a recent morning, about 30 kids took their seats in a classroom that initially seems like any other. The major difference here is that instead of a chalkboard and a lectern at the head of the class, there are two enormous flat-panel screens and thin, white microphones hanging in four rows across the ceiling.
Margaret Bonds, who died in 1972, is perhaps near the top of the very short list of African-American female composers. Thanks to her partnerships with Langston Hughes and soprano Leontyne Price and others, she's remembered in some circles as an important figure in American composition. But, mostly, she's been forgotten.
"It's amazing that people don't know who she was, although she was quite well known in her time," says Louise Toppin, an opera singer and a voice professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Syrian President Bashar Assad, in apparent response to Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks last week in support of opposition forces in Syria, says only the Syrian people can tell him to step down.
"Only Syrian people can tell the president stay or leave, come or go. No one else," he said in an interview to Britain's Sunday Times.
It was a rare TV interview for the Syrian president, whose regime has battled rebels as well as calls to step down for nearly two years.
Cardinals from all over the world are gathering at the Vatican, as they take their first steps toward electing a new pope. They'll meet Monday for their first official meeting since Pope Benedict stepped down last week. Host Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Sylvia Poggioli.