When Priscilla Graham-Farmer went to get her hair done in Newark, N.J. recently, she noticed the elevator in the building was broken, so she took the stairs. And that's when Graham-Farmer saw him: a young guy sprawled out, not breathing.
"He was literally turning blue," she says. "And everybody was walking over him."
But Graham-Farmer stopped. And looked closer. She saw that he had a needle and some cotton balls. The guy had clearly overdosed.
"I'm screaming in the hallway," Graham-Farmer remembers. "Nobody's answering."
This is the time of year when it's not uncommon to see big trucks barreling down highways and streets spreading road salt.
Steve Corsi, a hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, says that translates into high levels of chloride concentrations for rivers like the Milwaukee in Wisconsin or 18 other streams near urban areas in Illinois, Ohio, Colorado and several other states.
"At many of the streams, concentrations have now exceeded those that are harmful to aquatic life," he says.
Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 5:02 pm
If you've ever listened to karaoke at a bar, you know that drinking can affect how well someone can sing. Christopher Olson and his colleagues at Oregon Health and Science University recently set out to find if the same was true for birds, specifically zebra finches.
The Turkish man who tried to kill Pope John Paul II and subsequently spent three decades in jail, has laid flowers at the tomb of the former pontiff.
Mehmet Ali Ağca shot John Paul twice at close range on May 13, 1981 as the pope was traveling in an open car through St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, an attack that left the pope in critical condition.
The gunman was quickly arrested. John Paul recovered and later met Ağca in prison, where the pontiff forgave his would-be killer.
Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 2:32 pm
Wars raged in the Middle East and beyond. Economic woes stretched across continents. Crashing oil prices boosted some countries and slammed others. World leaders had a lot on their plate this past year. They were responsible for some of their trouble, and some of it just happened to them.
Whether they earned their good fortune or got hammered by bad luck, here's a look at the leaders who fared the best and the worst in 2014, plus a peek at what they can expect next year:
Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 11:07 am
A senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards was killed by a sniper's bullet in the northern Iraqi city of Samarra as he was training Iraqi troops and Shiite militiamen fighting militants of the self-declared Islamic State, Iran says.
Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 2:50 pm
Most Americans know about the Underground Railroad, the route that allowed Southern slaves to escape North. Some slaves found freedom by hiding closer to home, however — in Great Dismal Swamp.
The swamp is a vast wetland in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina. In George Washington's time, it was a million acres of trees, dark water, bears, bobcats, snakes and stinging insects. British settlers, who first arrived in 1607, believed the swamp was haunted.
By 1620, some of their slaves may have overcome that fear to find freedom there.
Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 3:31 pm
U.S. troops and their NATO allies in Afghanistan have formally ended what became America's longest war, furling their flag 13 years after a 2001 invasion to topple the country's Taliban regime in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
The holidays are here, bringing joy and, for some, wistful feelings.
Doctors are no different. Even for a profession that prides itself on scientific proof, the long nights of December afford ample opportunity for reflection and even doubt.
As we take stock of what we've accomplished and where we've failed to measure up, I find my scowling mask of medical skepticism falling away. I have to admit that there is so much wonder and mystery that science and medicine still can't explain.
Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 7:26 pm
John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.
Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.
Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 5:54 pm
In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."
Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.