The school year is drawing to a close, but NPR's Backseat Book Club has plenty of reading lined up for the summer. Our June pick is The One and Only Ivan, a Newbery Medal-winning book by Katherine Applegate. It tells the story of a gorilla who spent 27 years in a shopping mall in Tacoma, Wash. — and it's based on a true story.
Unmanned drones aren't just a tool for governments anymore. By as early as this year, the Federal Aviation Administration expects to propose regulations opening up the use of small, unmanned airborne vehicles — or drones — for commercial use.
Tens of thousands of these little, civilian drones are sold and piloted by hobbyists in the United States every year. Right now these drones are flown almost exclusively for non-commercial uses by enthusiast like Pablo Lema. Lema spends weekends flying his quardracopter around the San Francisco Bay.
The United Nations announced today that the death toll in Syria has jumped to nearly 93,000. Since last July, more than 5,000 people have been killed every month. And the numbers in reality are likely even higher.
They're compiled for the U.N. by a nonprofit group in San Francisco called the Human Rights Data Analysis Group. Researchers go through a complicated process, scouring eight different sources that document deaths. Megan Price led that study, and she joins us now to talk about it. Welcome to the program.