Animal Kings: Ants, like these workers carrying eggs to a plant's leaf after rain flooded their nest, have a combined biomass estimated in the billions of tons.
Credit Janice Haney Carr / AP
Oh, The Bacteria: A colorized electron micrograph image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a large grouping of Gram-negative Legionella pneumophila bacteria. There are quadrillions of bacteria in the world, far surpassing humanity's 7 billion.
The revelation this week that the Earth now holds 7 billion people, according to the U.N.'s population division, prompted a question: Who else is in the 7 Billion Club? To find out which other animals had reached that plateau, we asked wildlife experts — and they patiently explained why our innocent question was nearly impossible to answer.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to French President Nicolas Sarkozy on the eve of the G-20 summit in Cannes, France, on Wednesday. The European economic crisis is taking center stage at the summit.
The setting for this year's G-20 summit meeting is the Riviera Convention Center that hosts the Cannes Film Festival. President Obama will be walking the red carpet, but it's the European leaders who are stars of this show.
The Europeans are facing pressure to erect a financial "firewall" that will prevent the debt problems now plaguing Greece from spreading to the rest of the Continent and beyond.
Harvard Business School's Jayanth Iyengar (far left), Jonas Peter Akins and Genevieve Sheenan held their own, but eventually lost to IBM's Watson in a game of Jeopardy at a conference on jobs and technology.
Credit Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images
An automated robot arm picks up a bottle of prescription pills in the Medco pharmacy plant in Willingboro, N.J. Medco's state-of-the-art automated pharmacy can dispense up to 1 million prescriptions a week.
The U.S. economy hit an important milestone last week: Gross domestic product, the sum of all goods and services produced in the country, returned to pre-recession levels. But the gains were made with millions fewer workers. Part of the reason is technology, as computers and machines continue to replace humans.
We used to think about machines taking over mundane jobs, like twisting a screw into a toaster on an assembly line over and over again. But more recently, technology is eliminating higher-skill jobs.
We're going to hear now about a very small race that's making big political waves. The race is for the school board of Wake County, North Carolina. It comes after a policy using family income to create economic diversity in the schools was tossed out by a Republican school board in 2009. This Tuesday, a runoff election for one seat on the board may put the Democrats back in the majority. Dave DeWitt of North Carolina Public Radio reports the school board race is attracting national attention and big money.
Some towns in New York are rushing to ban horizontal hydrofracking, a controversial technique for capturing natural gas trapped deep under ground. The state itself has yet to approve fracking, but Dryden, N.Y., isn't taking any chances. Town supervisors approved a ban based on local zoning. David Chanatry of the New York Reporting Project at Utica College reports, the Dryden's ban is the issue in next week's town board elections.
NPR's business news begins with a bleaker forecast from the Fed. Just when we were beginning to hear some more positive economic news, the Federal Reserve reminds us not to get too excited. It's predicting slower growth and less improvement in the unemployment rate through 2013 than previously expected. This news comes after a two-day meeting of the Fed's policy-making committee, in which it decided against taking new measures to stimulate the economy for now.