In 1990, a fire broke out in a house in Jacksonville, Fla., killing two women and four children. The husband of one of the women became the prime suspect, and that's when a fire investigator named John Lentini was called in.
At the time, Lentini says, the initial evidence pointed to a fire that was deliberately set. He calculated that it would have taken about 20 minutes for the house to become engulfed in flames — what's called a flashover — leaving plenty of time for someone to set the fire and get out.
President Obama wrapped up a nine-day trip to Asia today, during which he announced a troop build up in Australia and a rare State Department visit to the isolationist country of Myanmar formerly known as Burma. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host host Laura Sullivan speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent for The Atlantic, about the trip — as well as other stories from the past week.
The number of student athlete injuries has decreased greatly since the early 1970s thanks to the work and recommendations of Fred Mueller, longtime director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. Mueller's ground breaking changes in high school pole vaulting and swim competitions have saved lives. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host host Laura Sullivan speaks with Fred Mueller about his latest area of concern: Cheerleading.
The Department of Justice plans to tighten current laws regarding websites' terms of service conditions. That means if you press that "Agree" button on websites, you better mean it. Some say broadening the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act could even make using a pseudonym on social media outlets a felony. Weekends on All Things Considered guest host host Laura Sullivan talks with Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington University Law School, about how the government can strengthen the Internet's defenses against cyber warfare while keeping the law reasonable.
Billy McCarthy lost his mother to suicide when he was a teenager. He cared for his schizophrenic brother as best he could after that, but his brother landed in solitary confinement in prison, where he eventually took his own life, too. Somehow, McCarthy found a way to rise above his anguish — as a songwriter. He began playing music while living in foster care in California.
Kurt Vonnegut was a counterculture hero, an American Mark Twain, an avuncular, jocular friend to the youth — until you got to know him.
"Kurt was actually rather flinty, rather irascible. He had something of a temper," author Charles Shields tells weekends on All Things Considered host Laura Sullivan. Shields is the author of a new biography of Vonnegut, called And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life.
"But as I also point out in the book," Shields adds, "he was a damaged person."
Operation Pedro Pan shaped the lives of a generation of Cuban-Americans. Between 1960 and 1962, the program airlifted more than 14,000 Cuban children from Havana to the U.S. Fifty years later, those children are recalling how that flight changed their lives.
In Miami this weekend, a group of Cuban-Americans — now in their 50s and 60s — are gathering to commemorate the flights that took them from their homeland to America.
The journey began in early January 1959, after Dictator Fulgencio Batista fled the country. Fidel Castro arrived in Havana soon after and took control.
The bipartisan supercommittee enters the final weekend prior to its Nov. 23 deadline with little tangible progress to show for over two months of work. NPR's Andrea Seabrook tells guest host Linda Wertheimer that several of its members are huddling in Washington this weekend, trying to come up with a way to reduce the government's budget deficit.