In this video, we are flying over the Earth, looking down and seeing what astronauts see when it's nighttime, when lightning storms flash like June bugs, when cities look like galaxies, when you can see where people are. It's quietly astonishing.
This montage of space footage was assembled and narrated by NASA scientist Justin Wilkinson. There's another one, which takes us around the Earth in daytime.
From now until November, President Barack Obama and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will emphasize their differences. But the two men's lives actually coincide in a striking number of ways. In this installment of NPR's "Parallel Lives" series, a look at Romney's time at Cranbrook, an all-boys prep school in Michigan.
Cranbrook has been coed since the mid-1980s, its overall diversity is quite evident and the dress code is casual. None of that was true when Mitt Romney, class of 1965, was a student there.
"I grew up wanting to fly," says Graham Bowen-Davies. "I guess I just settled for being an engineer."
He's standing on an indoor track in southern Maryland, watching a giant helicopter take flight. At the end of each of its four spindly arms — arms he helped design and build — a giant rotor churns the air. In the cockpit sits the engine: a 0.7-horsepower, 135-pound graduate student named Kyle Gluesenkamp.
Gluesenkamp is pedaling like crazy to keep the rotors spinning and the craft aloft.
Later this year, director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will reintroduce moviegoers to Middle-Earth, the fictional setting for J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tales.
The high adventure and climactic battles of Tolkien's world were last seen on the big screen in 2003, in The Return of the King. The final scene featured a climactic battle between the men of the West — as well as elves, dwarves and hobbits — against the forces of evil.