This week, John Hinckley Jr. faces a hearing to determine whether or not he can be released from a mental health facility to care for his ailing mother. The case raises questions about the role of the insanity defense and what happens to the criminally insane after they leave the courtroom.
And now, The Opinion Page. Today, Egyptians began the long process of electing a new parliament. Millions turned out to vote in the first meaningful election in that country's history. There are close to 50 political parties competing, among them several Islamist parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which many regard as the best organized and likely to emerge as one of the big winners. Some regard Islamism as incompatible with democracy.
Judy Blume has been channeling the anxieties, dreams and secret thoughts of young readers for more than four decades. With her honest treatment of topics from bullying to puberty, she has won legions of fans around the world. But she's also drawn the ire of critics, who want her frank books banned.
School libraries around the country have banned many of Blume's books over the years, including Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret, Then Again, Maybe I Won't and Blubber, making Blume a champion for supporters of intellectual freedom for young people.
This year's 21st First Annual IgNobel Prize Ceremony featured the science of sighs, inquiries into the yawning habits of the red-footed tortoise, and songs about the chemistry of coffee. Ira Flatow and Ig master of ceremonies Marc Abrahams present some of the highlights from this year's festivities.
In his new book The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways writer Earl Swift looks at the history and people behind the world's largest public works project — the U.S. interstate superhighway system.