On Dec. 26, 2004, Sonali Deraniyagala was vacationing with her husband, her two sons and her parents in Yala, Sri Lanka. The day was just beginning when she and a friend noticed that something strange was happening in the ocean. Within a matter of minutes, the sea had wiped out life as she had known it. In a new memoir, called simply Wave, she recalls her experience with the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people, including her own family.
This image represents a chunk, or "cube," of brain. Each different color represents a different neuron, and the goal of the EyeWire game is to figure out how these tangled neurons connect to each other. Players look at a slice from this cube and try to identify the boundaries of each cell. It isn't easy, and it takes practice. You can try it for yourself at eyewire.org.
An image from Foldit's Puzzle 48.
Daniel Berger, a researcher at MIT, traced these neurons using the EyeWire game.
In the EyeWire game, participants identify different neurons by coloring in their shapes using a Web-based 3-D interface.
People can get pretty addicted to computer games. By some estimates, residents of planet Earth spend 3 billion hours per week playing them. Now some scientists are hoping to make use of all that human capital and harness it for a good cause.
Right now I'm at the novice level of a game called EyeWire, trying to color in a nerve cell in a cartoon drawing of a slice of tissue. EyeWire is designed to solve a real science problem — it aims to chart the billions of nerve connections in the brain.
The cost of college can range from $60,000 for a state university to four times as much at some private colleges. The total student debt in the U.S. now tops credit card debt. So a lot of people are asking: Is college really worth it?
There are several famous and staggeringly successful college dropouts, including Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Larry Ellison. You may not end up with fat wallets like them, but Dale Stephens says you can find a different education path.
The oldest of the baby boomers came of age in the 1960s and are beginning to retire. Their younger cohorts are still putting kids through college and building careers. Baby boomers are a giant portion of the population — 78 million people, by one estimate.
They grew up in an era of rising living standards, but the Great Recession destroyed any sense of financial security — and many nest eggs. Financial planner Tim Maurer outlines a variety of issues boomers face.
Who is a baby boomer, and what defines their financial situations?
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the son and brother of presidents, says the United States should overhaul its laws to make immigration easier and to give illegal immigrants a way to legal residence, not citizenship.
Bush lays out his plan with co-author Clint Bolick in the new book Immigration Wars. Bush tells NPR's Steve Inskeep that they propose legalizing undocumented immigrants "after there is a recognition that if people come here illegally, they have to pay a fine or do community service [and] make sure they don't commit any serious crimes."
Activist Irom Sharmila is flanked by a policeman, left, and a supporter, on Monday in New Delhi. Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 12 years to protest an Indian law that suspends many human rights protections in areas of conflict.
Hunger strikes are often used in India as a method of protest — but try being on one for 12 years.
That's how long it's been since Irom Sharmila last ate on her own. She is protesting an Indian law that suspends human rights guarantees in conflict-ridden parts of the country. The government is force-feeding her through a tube. And on Monday, Sharmila was charged with attempted suicide.
You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.
Can we keep evolving as we get older? That's a question comedian and commentator Kevin Heffernan decided to explore. And his approach to changing himself was an aromatic one.
KEVIN HEFFERNAN, BYLINE: Cologne, it's a life choice. Some say it's hereditary. If your dad did it, you will. Like what sports team you root for or circumcision. Some say it's cultural. Some say it's a necessity.
With President Obama nominating Ernest Moniz to be the nation's next energy secretary, he continued a relatively recent trend of putting scientists atop a part of the federal bureaucracy once overseen by political types.
If confirmed by the Senate, Moniz, an MIT physicist, will follow Nobel laureate Steven Chu, a University of California physicist who served as Obama's first-term energy secretary.
A mashup of innovation and old-school hacking (though none of the participants was bent on doing harm, we're assured), the goal of the competition was to improve the nation's health system and help people navigate the complexities of the Affordable Care Act.
A child born with HIV has been cured of the virus, researchers say. Audie Cornish talks to Richard Knox about what was different about this child among the millions who've been treated in the past and what it means for the prospect of an HIV cure in adults.
The nation's last coal-burning ferry, the SS Badger, sits on Lake Michigan in the port town of Ludington, Mich. The EPA permit that has long allowed the ship to dump coal ash into the lake is now under review.
Credit Courtesy photo for NPR
Sally Cole, co-owner of Cole's Antiques Villa in Ludington, Mich., displays some of the shop's memorabilia from the SS Badger.
Credit John Flesher / AP
The Badger pulls out of the Ludington harbor for its four-hour journey to Manitowoc, Wis.
Credit Denise Stocker / Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images
On the shores of Lake Michigan, the tiny town of Ludington, Mich., is home port to the last coal-fired ferry in the U.S. The SS Badger has been making trips across the lake to Manitowoc, Wis., during the good-weather months since 1953. And as it runs, the 411-foot ferry discharges coal ash slurry directly into the lake.
An Environmental Protection Agency permit allows the Badger to dump four tons of ash into the lake daily. But now, the agency has put the permit under review — and that means the Badger could stop sailing.