Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.
Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.
While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.
Chris Truitt holds a photo of his daughter, Alyssa, who died when she was 2, at his home in De Forest Wis. After donating her organs and tissues, he decided on a career change that made him rethink tissue donation.
The story of how Chris Truitt went from being a tissue industry insider to an industry skeptic starts with a family tragedy.
In 1999, his 2-year-old daughter, Alyssa, died of a sudden health complication. Truitt and his wife, Holly, donated their daughter's organs and tissue, which saved the life of another young girl, Kaylin Arrowood.
An Afghan man rests after walking on his new artificial leg at the International Committee for the Red Cross Ortho Center in the eastern city of Jalalabad, last month. Many Afghans continue to be injured by mines.
Credit Rahmat Gul / AP
A de-mining expert demonstrates how to find land mines in a training area near Hakim Village in central Afghanistan, where Soviet mines dating to the 1980s are still a danger.
Credit Sean Carberry / NPR
Afghan soldiers walk toward a U.S. Army mine-sweeping vehicle in southern Afghanistan on June 10. Roadside bombs remain a major threat to U.S. and Afghan troops, as well as civilians.
Windblown villages of mud houses surround the huge Bagram Airfield north of Kabul. These poor villagers make a living in ways that can also kill them: They graze their animals or forage for scrap metal — often on a NATO firing range.
The East River Range dates to the 1980s, when the Soviet army occupied Afghanistan. It's full of mines, grenades and other ordnance that should have detonated during training exercises over the years. It sprawls along a mountainside and grazing areas. It's poorly marked, and only small sections are clearly identified by signs and concrete barriers.
Republican Mitt Romney's presidential campaign says a recently formed arm of the organization collected more than $10 million a week during a three-month period this spring. And most of the money care from high-end donors.
Romney Victory Inc., got its first four contributions on April 6 — three donations of $50,000 each and one check for $350. Since early April, it's pulled in $140 million.
In 2008, just a few days before the Democratic presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, a large group of Pennsylvania voters got a very unusual phone call.
It was one of those get-out-the-vote reminder calls that people get every election cycle, but in addition to the bland exhortations about the importance of the election, potential voters were asked a series of carefully constructed questions:
Syria's ongoing fighting is increasingly a sectarian conflict with the majority Sunni Muslims facing off against the Alawites who make up most of the country's ruling elite. Here, government opponents rally in the northern town of Mareh on June 29.
The violence in Syria is increasingly being called a civil war, and it can also be called a sectarian war, because much of the fighting pits the majority Sunni Muslims against the minority Alawites who make up much of the country's leadership.
Yet not everyone fits neatly into a category. There are some Alawites who have joined the uprising.
One 30-year-old Alawite man, who doesn't want his name revealed, is nervous as he lights another cigarette and tells the story of how he came to side with the opposition and turned his back on the Alawite rulers.
Some young adults say their student loan debt affects their dating and marriage potential. A few have had partners break up with them over debt, while other couples forge ahead, but keep finances separate and avoid legal marriage.
The increasing debt load of college graduates has affected young people's lives in untold ways, from career choices to living arrangements. Now add another impact on a key part of young adult life: dating and marriage.
Rachel Bingham, an art teacher in Portland, Maine, learned this a few years back, when a guy broke it off after four months of a budding relationship. Among other reasons, he cited her $80,000 in student loan debt.
"He said it scared him," she recalls, "that it really made him anxious. And he just did not want to take on my responsibility."
As legal observers have sifted through the ashes and the tea leaves of the recent Supreme Court term, one justice has stood out for his dissents.
Justice Antonin Scalia was the first name on the joint dissent filed by four justices in the health care case. But it was Scalia's dissent in the Arizona immigration case, written for himself alone, that drew particular attention, and especially harsh criticism.
Kenya's attempt at universal education faces multiple challenges. In many rural areas, families want their kids to work during the day. At this school in central Kenya, Samburu kids who herd the family livestock are now taking classes in the evening.
Credit Tony Karumba / AFP/Getty Images
Kenya has made its public schools free, which has dramatically increased the number of students. But this has also led to overcrowding. Here, four boys share a desk and a single textbook at the Amboni Secondary School in central Kenya.
Parents of U.S. students often complain about things like too many standardized tests or unhealthful school lunches. Kenya wishes it had such problems.
Kenya dropped or greatly reduced fees at public schools nearly a decade ago in an effort to make education available to all children. On one level, it's been a success — school attendance has soared. Yet this has also exacerbated chronic problems that include shortages of qualified teachers, books, desks and just about every other basic need.
The new Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises, is perhaps the most anticipated movie of the summer. It's the last film in the Batman trilogy that writer-director Christopher Nolan has crafted over the past 7 years.
Nolan wanted The Dark Knight Rises, which will be released in theaters July 20, to feel like a historical epic. As he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, he looked to films like Fritz Lang's Metropolis, David Lean's Dr. Zhivago, and Ridley Scott's Blade Runner.
Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan. Hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," to coax out oil and gas has led to a natural gas boom, but some remain concerned of the potential environmental impact.
This past week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a report linking climate change to some of the extreme weather events of 2011, like the devastating drought in Texas and record high temperatures in Britain.
None of this bodes well for the future, but there is a glimmer of hope. It turns out that U.S. carbon emissions are down nearly 8 percent since 2006.
A legal showdown is evolving. It affects an American university, the British government, a brutal Irish paramilitary organization and the murdered mother of 10 children.
Journalist Ed Moloney is fighting to keep secret interviews with former paramilitary members of the Irish Republican Army out of the British government's hands. Those interviews are kept under lock and key at Boston College as part of an oral history project that Moloney started in 2001.
Although videos posted by Syrian activists show dozens of people buried in a mass grave in the village of Tremseh, Syria has rejected claims made by the United Nations that it used heavy weapons in the attack alleged to have taken place on Thursday. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with NPR's Deborah Amos who is watching the story from Turkey.