Cities may be the defining element of human civilization.
The path from hunter-gatherers in the Paleolithic era 25,000 years ago to the high-tech, high-wonder jumble we inhabit today runs straight through cities. In traveling that path, our construction of cities has always been a dance with physics. In some cases, that physics was explicitly understood; in others, its manifestation was only recognized in hindsight.
As our cities have become more complex the physics embodying their behavior and organization has also become more nuanced, subtle and profound.
Pretty much every smartphone on the market today offers GPS. Apps of all kinds use that geo-locating ability to offer you the local weather forecast or help you find nearby restaurants.
There are also apps designed to help singles look for love, and the concept has been a hit — with men. The app Grindr, for gay men, has more than 4 million users worldwide. And straight guys are signing up for a bunch of dating apps, as well.
Today at All Things Considered, we continue a project we're calling NewsPoet. Each month, we bring in a poet to spend time in the newsroom — and at the end of the day, to compose a poem reflecting on the day's stories.
When it comes to renewable energy, wind and solar get a lot of attention. But wood actually creates more power in the U.S., and Massachusetts state officials are scaling back their efforts to encourage wood power. It may be a renewable resource, they say, but that doesn't mean it's good for the environment.
If you want to see how much Mitt and Ann Romney consider themselves a team, check out his official portrait at the Massachusetts Statehouse. He's the first governor to request that an image of his wife be included in the painting — he's posed beside a framed picture of her.
By all accounts, the Romneys consult each other on everything. So after a bruising campaign in 2008 that left Mrs. Romney openly disgusted by the process and vowing she would never do it again, it looked like that might be it for Mitt.