In 2009, as President Obama was trying to convince Congress to pass his health care legislation, he stridently refused to characterize as a "tax" the penalty that would be imposed for not obtaining insurance under the law's individual mandate.
On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts begged to differ — while using the tax classification to save Obama's signature domestic accomplishment by a single Supreme Court vote.
Artist and filmmaker Zhang Bingjian sits in his Beijing studio in front of his Hall of Fame — portraits of corrupt Chinese officials. He has commissioned portraits of 1,600 officials convicted of corruption.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Zhang has already commissioned 1,600 portraits of corrupt officials. They are painted by different artists in southern China.
Corruption is usually thought to be a bad thing. But in China, the answer is no longer crystal clear.
For decades, the country's Communist Party has declared that corruption threatens its very survival. But there are signs that this is changing. Recently, the state-run media have begun arguing that corruption can't be stamped out, so it should be contained to acceptable levels. And some corruption appears to be tacitly condoned.
By a vote of 373-52, the House passed a massive bill that among other things keeps the interest rate on student loans from doubling on July 1.
"The U.S. House of Representatives passed a massive bill on Friday combining funding for transportation programs, low-interest student loans, and the National Flood Insurance Program," the Reuters reports.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This weekend, three members of the crew onboard the International Space Station will be returning to Earth after over six months in orbit. Flora Lichtman had a chance to chat with some of them, and she's here with us. Hi, Flora.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira. That's right, just another day at SCIENCE FRIDAY, calling space.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It's not often that people pay tribute, even eulogize, an animal, unless it's a famous film star like Lassie or maybe Trigger. But this week, they are remembering Lonesome George, the famous giant Galapagos tortoise thought to be over 100 years old and the last known member of his subspecies.