Some worry the nation is vulnerable again to racial, social tensions.
Massive storm snarls highways, grounds thousands of flights
The National Weather Service has issued ice and winter storm advisories for more than a dozen states. Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee have already declared states of emergency. Snow, ice and freezing rain are moving to the Northeast.
Photos: Johannesburg celebrates Mandela
Large crowds gather outside former South African President Nelson Mandela home on Vilakazi Street in Soweto to celebrate his life on December 6, 2013. Johannesburg, South Africa on December 6, 2013. (Photo by Charlie Shoemaker/Getty Images for Yahoo News)
Travelers left behind $531,395.22 at U.S. airports in 2012
Travelers left behind a record $531,395.22 in loose change at security checkpoints in US airports in fiscal 2012, the Transportation Security Administration says. In a report to Congress, seen by the Washington Post, the TSA said more than $10,000 in change was forgotten at each of 13 major airports in such cities as New York, Dallas, Atlanta and San Francisco. Passengers at Miami International Airport, a prime gateway for Latin American travellers, left $39,613, more than at any other airport. Under US law, the TSA -- with a $7.6 billion budget for the fiscal 2012 year that ended September 30 -- is supposed to spend any loose change it finds on civil aviation security.
Supreme Court will decide if software can be patented
The Supreme Court agreed on Friday to rule on the divisive issue of what kinds of software are eligible for patent protection in a case being closely watched by the technology industry. The court said in a one-line order that it would hear a case brought by Alice Corporation Pty Ltd, which holds a patent for a computer system that facilitates financial transactions. The deep interest that the software industry and patent experts have in what is a threshold issue in patent litigation was underscored by the number of companies and industry groups that asked the court to decide the issue. Companies including Google Inc, Hewlett-Packard Co, Facebook Inc and Netflix Inc had already signaled their interest in the issue by asking the court to hear the WildTangent case.
Scientists to Congress: We can find alien life
To find extraterrestrial life, be it microbes or intelligent life, scientists need telescopes capable of detecting Earth-like planets in Earth's neighborhood and ways to detect biological signatures of life or signs of alien technology. "This is the first time in human history we have the technological reach to find life on other planets," Sara Seager, a planetary scientist at MIT, said at a House Committee on Science, Space and Technology hearing today. "Astrobiology has become a crosscutting theme of all NASA space science endeavors," and continued funding is important, said Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). The Kepler mission has identified more than 3,500 potential planets outside Earth's solar system, including 10 that are Earth-size and lie within their star's habitable zone.