National News

Competency-Based Education: No More Semesters?

"I went to a four-year university." "That job requires a one-year certificate." "It's a two-semester course." "She's a fifth-year senior." What do these expressions have in common? They use time as the yardstick for higher education.

Essentially, this means measuring not how much you've learned, but how long you've spent trying to learn it.

A screen shows the laureates of the Nobel Prize in physics at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm on Tuesday.

3 Scientists Win Nobel In Physics For Development Of Blue LED

A trio of scientists, two from Japan and one from the U.S., will share the Nobel Prize in physics for the invention of blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs), which led to a new, environmentally friendly light source.

Isamu Akasaki and Hiroshi Amano of Japan and U.S. scientist Shuji Nakamura were selected by the committee of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences to share the 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million) prize.

Nobelprize.org says:

The construction of a 300-bed Ebola treatment unit is underway in front of the former Ministry of Defense building in Monrovia, Liberia's capital.

The U.S. Ebola Hospitals In Liberia Are Going Up ... Slowly

Last month, the United States made two promises to Liberia.

On Sept. 8, Obama pledged that the U.S. would construct a 25-bed hospital outside Monrovia, the capital, to treat health care workers. They've been bearing the brunt of the outbreak: In Liberia alone, at least 188 health workers have been infected and 94 have died.

Then, on Sept. 16, Obama announced a massive response to the outbreak, involving thousands of U.S. troops on the ground to train health care workers, deliver relief supplies and build 17 Ebola treatment centers for the general public.

Joan Biskupic, author of a new book about Justice Sonia Sotomayor, says she was "intrigued by the fact that ... the arc of her life was actually the same trajectory of the rise of Latinos in America."

How Justice Sotomayor Is 'Busting' The Supreme Court's Steady Rhythms

What do salsa dancing and the Supreme Court have to do with each other? A lot, according to author Joan Biskupic, whose new book about Justice Sonia Sotomayor is now out in bookstores.

Why Saying Is Believing — The Science Of Self-Talk

From the self-affirmations of Stuart Smalley on Saturday Night Live to countless videos on YouTube, saying nice things to your reflection in the mirror is a self-help trope that's been around for decades, and seems most often aimed at women. The practice, we're told, can help us like ourselves and our bodies more, and even make us more successful — allow us to chase our dreams!

Impressed, but skeptical, I took this self-talk idea to one of the country's leading researchers on body image to see if it's actually part of clinical practice.

Erika Turner, right, and Jennifer Melsop  of Centreville, Virginia, rejoice as they becomes the first same-sex couple to marry in Arlington County.

Reviewing The Four Gay Marriage Cases The High Court Tacitly Endorsed

By refusing to review decisions striking down gay marriage bans from three appellate courts across the country, the Supreme Court gave a tacit nod to the legal reasoning in the cases before the courts.

People wait to enter the Supreme Court in Washington Monday as it begins its new term. The justices cleared the way Monday for an immediate expansion of same-sex marriage by unexpectedly and tersely turning away appeals from five states seeking to prohibit gay and lesbian unions.

Did The Supreme Court Just Legalize Gay Marriage?

Technically, the Supreme Court Monday did not establish a constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It merely declined an opportunity to rule definitely one way or the other on the question.

But in the not-too-long run, the consequences may well be the same. Because the situation the court created — or acknowledged — will almost surely continue trending in favor of same-sex couples who want to marry.

Conversely, the legal ground is eroding for states that want to stop such marriages or deny them legal recognition.

Jennifer Hasler (left) and Karina Tittjung smile after picking up their marriage license at the Oklahoma County courthouse in Oklahoma City Monday. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to take up the issue of gay marriage, it opened the door for gay men and women to marry in 11 states, including Virginia, Oklahoma, Utah, Wisconsin and Indiana.

5 Questions About The Supreme Court And Gay Marriage In The U.S.

On Monday, the Supreme Court surprised many when it refused to enter the contentious debate over gay marriage.

The court left intact decisions by three federal appeals courts that had struck down bans on gay marriage in parts of the South, West and Midwest. Attorneys general in five states asked the court to review those decisions and overrule them. But the court instead stepped back, leaving the lower court rulings intact.

An Afghan woman addicted to drugs looks out from her hut on the outskirts of Herat, in western Afghanistan.

Female Heads Of Household (And Hair) Reveal Afghanistan's Drug Use

No country grows as many opium poppies or produces as much illicit opium as Afghanistan. In 2013, opium production soared to a record high of 5,500 tons, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Michael Phelps reacts following the men's 200m butterfly final at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre in Gold Coast in August.

USA Swimming Suspends Michael Phelps Over DUI Arrest

Eighteen-time Gold medalist Michael Phelps, who was arrested for Driving Under the Influence, has been suspended for six months and will miss the 2015 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming announced on Monday.

"Michael's conduct was serious and required significant consequences," USA Swimming Executive Director Chuck Wielgus said in a statement.

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