You're on Amazon.com. You're buying, say, a toaster, and you're checking out the customer reviews. You assume the people writing these reviews are people like you — people who wanted a toaster, went online and bought one. As it turns out, a lot of reviews on Amazon are written by people who are nothing like you. They're written by elite reviewers who are sent free merchandise to review products. In other words, it's possible that the guy reviewing that toaster you're looking at wasn't in the market for a toaster to begin with and didn't pay a cent for it.
Monday was yet another troubled day for the Affordable Care Act.
Sunday night, the outside vendor that operates two key parts of the website that lets people browse and sign up for health insurance experienced a failure.
The failure took place at a vendor called Verizon Terremark and presumably affected other clients as well as HealthCare.gov, the federal website that people use to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
After Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast, people returned to waterlogged homes and began to assess the damage. They created lost-and-found lists on the walls of town halls or Facebook pages to try to recover some of what the storm had swept away.
Lost: Two cedar Adirondack chairs, a necklace passed down through generations. Found: a floating dock, a high school diploma.
Now, one year after the storm, residents on the Jersey shore are still reflecting on what they lost during the storm — and what they might have gained.
When you're in love with science, ordinary everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. At least that's how NPR blogger and astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it, even down to the dust on his car.
ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Carl Sagan, an astronomer with the soul of a poet, liked to remind us that we are all star stuff. It was without a doubt one of his most beautiful images. But what really was Carl Sagan talking about? Well, there are two answers to this question.