When Catholics arrive at church for the beginning of Advent this weekend, they may find themselves stumbling over not only the words, but also the music. The Vatican has changed the English-speaking Mass to make it more faithful to the Latin — and as a result, the sung portions of the Mass often don't work.
It's the most dramatic change in more than 40 years, and it has Mike McMahon working overtime with his choir.
A new kind of shoplifting has hit stores in Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia. "Flash robs" occur when a group of people organized over social media steal by mobbing a store. Police are advising store employees not to try and stop the robbers, and to take steps to make the quick removal of items difficult.
There was a time when Greeks were proud of being Greek, of being a people known for dancing, being happy without material wealth, enjoying life. Now, Greeks are known for being deeply in debt, accused by some of living the high life on other people's money, of dragging Europe's economy to the brink of disaster.
When the euro was rolled out nearly a decade ago, it was touted as a unifying force across European cultures. Uwe Boek, a 48-year-old Berliner, has seen and embraced these changes: "It's us being Europeans in the European Union. Because the euro is money but the European Union is about identity."
This time of year, pleas for donations are as plentiful as eggnog and door-buster sales. Americans give around $300 billion a year to charity. And as NPR's Alix Spiegel reports, psychologists have started to look more closely at when and why we're motivated to give.
In his new book The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways writer Earl Swift looks at the history and people behind the world's largest public works project — the U.S. interstate superhighway system.
This year's 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year's festivities.
The first stethoscope, invented by the French physician René Laennec, was simply a hollow wooden or ebony tube. Laennec named the device using the Greek roots stethos, or chest, and skopein, to look at or to observe. Medical historian Howard Markel discusses how Laennec came up with the invention. Unlike the stethoscope familiar to patients today, the original device was a simple tube.
In his book An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine, medical historian Howard Markel tells the story of how Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, and Halsted, the acclaimed surgeon, fell under the addictive spell of cocaine.