National News

Ashjame Pendarvis, a first-year community college student, works on her math homework at the University of District of Columbia.

Who Needs Algebra?

Let's start with a little word problem. Sixty percent of the nation's 12.8 million community college students are required to take at least one course in subject X. Eighty percent of that 60 percent never move on past that requirement.

  1. Let Y = the total percentage of community college students prevented from graduating simply by that one subject, X. What is Y?

    The answer: Y = 48.

  2. And if you haven't guessed it by now, What is X?

A photo taken on September 9, 2014 shows part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at the crash site in the village of Hrabove, Ukraine.

Dutch Authorities Say One Malaysia Airlines Victim Was Wearing Oxygen Mask

Dutch authorities said one victim of downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was wearing an oxygen mask around his neck.

If you remember, that was the flight that is believed to have been shot out of the sky by a missile over eastern Ukraine.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

How College Students Battled Textbook Publishers To A Draw, In 3 Graphs

College textbooks are expensive. You probably already know this. A new biology or economics book can cost $300.

And prices have been soaring, doubling over the past decade, growing faster than the price of housing, cars, even healthcare.

But, surprisingly, the amount students actually spend on textbooks has not been rising. In fact the best data we could find on this shows students have been spending a bit less over time.

A handful of restaurants across the U.S. are experimenting with no-tipping models, opting instead to charge higher set prices for menu items and give their servers higher hourly pay.

Customers Can Keep The Tip — Which Might Please Restaurant Workers

Imagine there's no tipping. By getting rid of gratuities, a few restaurants believe they'll make life easier for customers, while providing a more stable income to servers.

"It eliminates the pressure on the guest to worry about paying our staff," says Brian Oliveira, chef at Girard, a French-style restaurant opening in Philadelphia in a few weeks that intends to offer its staff up to $13 an hour in salary, plus health benefits, but with no tips.

British cosmologist Stephen Hawking gives a talk to workers at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, in April 2013.

Stephen Hawking In Guest Vocal On Pink Floyd's New Album

Stephen Hawking will bring his iconic synthesized voice to Pink Floyd's new album, The Endless River, set for release in November. It's the famed physicist's second collaboration with the British band, having appeared on the 1994 track "Keep Talkin'" from The Division Bell.

Rolling Stone says the new song, called "Talkin' Hawkin,'" "will not be a sequel to the earlier track.

That lactic acid is the very thing that gives smen its blue cheese-like scent, and it's what keeps it from going rancid.

Smen Is Morocco's Funky Fermented Butter That Lasts For Years

If you get a hankering for cheese in the western Maghreb, you may be stuck with an (imported) Laughing Cow triangle wrapped in tinfoil.

Morocco doesn't have much of a dairy tradition, but there's one exception that dates back centuries: It's called smen, and it's a stinky, fermented butter made from sheep, goat or cow milk.

Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., was the first to report a surge of children with serious respiratory illness in August.

4 Things We've Learned About Enterovirus D68, And 1 Mystery

On Aug. 15, doctors and nurses at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., realized they had a problem.

Children were coming into the emergency room with an illness that caused wheezing and breathing problems so severe that some children ended up in the ICU on ventilators. And it was spreading fast.

Smoke rises after a U.S.-led airstrike in the Syrian town of Kobani on Wednesday. The Kurdish border town has been fiercely contested in a three-week assault.

The War With No Name

The U.S. has been bombing the Islamic State for two months now, and several developments stand out: The extremists are still on the offensive, the U.S. is struggling to find partners on the ground, and for the first time in a quarter-century, a major U.S. military intervention lacks a formal name.

When President Obama launched the aerial campaign in August against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq, followed a month later with similar strikes in Syria, it carried the expectation that it could grind on for years.

Harvard scientists made insulin-producing beta cells from human stem cells. After transplantation into mice with diabetes, the lab-made beta cells produced enough insulin to cure the animals.

Scientists Coax Human Embryonic Stem Cells Into Making Insulin

A team of Harvard scientists said Thursday that they had finally found a way to turn human embryonic stem cells into cells that produce insulin. The long-sought advance could eventually lead to new ways to help millions of people with diabetes.

Right now, many people with diabetes have to regularly check the level of sugar in their blood and inject themselves with insulin to keep the sugar in their blood in check. It's an imperfect treatment.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits Breeding Station No. 621 of the Korean People's Army on Aug. 21. He hasn't been seen in public since Sept. 3.

Where In The World Is Kim Jong Un?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hasn't been seen in public in more than a month, leading to speculation that he might have been deposed or is merely indisposed. For now, though, Western and South Korean officials are awaiting a Friday event to mark the 69th anniversary of the North's ruling Workers' Party to see if Kim makes an appearance.