When Hollywood imagines the future, from Logan's Run to Avatar, it tends to picture living spaces as sterile and characterless, without any cultural clues to the person who lives there. No record library, no DVDs, no Hemingway on bookshelves ... often no bookshelves.
A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.
Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.
"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.
Florida's legislature has released its new legislative and congressional maps as part of the once-every-decade redistricting process, and the lawsuits are already flying. Democrats and watchdog groups say the new maps violate constitutional amendments that require districts to be drawn without regard to political parties or incumbents. The process is likely to be tied up in the courts for months, but the proposed maps are already having an impact — including forcing Tea Party favorite, Congressman Allen West, to leave his old district for one that's friendlier to Republicans.
The eurozone crisis has focused attention on debt-burdened Greece spiraling into decline. Meanwhile, Portugal is seen as the international creditors' poster-child for obediently slashing spending and welfare benefits.
Nevertheless, the Portuguese national debt continues to grow, and the country is mired in recession and soaring unemployment.
The Portuguese national character has long been identified with Fado music. Raquel Freire, an activist with the local Occupy movement, says the melancholy style helps explain decades of resignation.
Photojournalist Danfung Dennis has captured the brutalities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for major publications, including The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post.
Inspired by these experiences, Dennis embedded with the U.S. Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan and created the documentary Hell And Back Again.
Stories about life on Native American reservations often focus on the hardships — alcoholism, drugs, violence and poverty. In Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life, Ojibwe writer David Treuer strives to capture stories about the beauty of life on Indian reservations.
And now, The Opinion Page. Does freedom of speech include the right to lie? After he boasted about his Medal of Honor, Xavier Alvarez became one of the first people convicted under the Stolen Valor Act, a law that makes it a crime to falsely claim military decorations. The case goes before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
While Western officials believe Iran is seeking to enrich uranium for a nuclear weapon, Iran's leaders contend it is for peaceful purposes only. NPR's Mike Shuster discusses Iran's regional, diplomatic and nuclear goals.
An image captured on Feb. 20, 1962, by NASA shows astronaut John Glenn during his space flight in the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft, weightless and traveling at 17,500 mph. The image was made by an automatic sequence motion picture camera.
The Two-Way is formally off-duty for the Presidents' Day holiday. But not only does the news not take a holiday — often, holidays are the news. Here's a quick roundup of some of today's important and most-discussed stories:
Syria is reinforcing its military in what seems to be a bid to control Homs. (AP)