Weekend All Things Considered

Weekends at 4pm
Guy Raz
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3:22pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Research News

Of Flybots And Bug Eyes: Insects Inspire Inventors

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:49 pm

These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon AAAS/Science

A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.

But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.

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3:22pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Middle East

Sea Of Syrian Refugees Threatens To Overload Jordan

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 8:23 pm

There are more than 100,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Jordan's fastest-growing city lies in the middle of the desert, where the sand is so white that from a distance it looks like snow. There's little running water and not much electricity.

The name of this place? The Zaatari refugee camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

"This is a city — not one that anybody would want to create if they had a choice," says Caroline Gluck of Oxfam, one of the aid agencies working in the Zaatari camp. "It's certainly not urban planning at its best."

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3:21pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Shots - Health News

Colorado Weighs Reopening Psychiatric Hospital For Homeless

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 3:22 pm

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, center, exits the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Colo., on Wednesday after touring the facility. Hickenlooper has proposed closing the facility due to budget concerns.
Andy Cross Denver Post via Getty Images

Last summer's mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., led Gov. John Hickenlooper to call for stricter gun control and big new investments in mental health care.

Several significant gun bills passed, and a package of mental health reforms is moving forward. But there may not be enough support to win funding for 300 new inpatient psychiatric beds.

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1:09pm

Thu May 2, 2013
Africa

With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:27 pm

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, shown on a visit to Libya in 2010, has been widely criticized by human rights groups. Eritrean exiles have organized passive protests, calling on people to stay home Friday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

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5:40pm

Wed May 1, 2013
The Salt

Bones Tell Tale Of Desperation Among The Starving At Jamestown

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 6:48 pm

The four cuts at the top of this skull "are clear chops to the forehead," says Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley. Based on forensic evidence, researchers think the blows were made after the person died.
Donald E. Hurlbert Smithsonian

"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."

So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.

They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.

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