If you drive by billboards or flip through magazines from time to time, you may have noticed pixelated squares popping up all over the place. These aren't scrambled checkerboards or alien landing pads, but QR codes, short for quick response codes.
The codes are scanned with a smartphone camera, kind of like one might scan a bar code, and marketing departments all over the country are coming up with clever ways to use them.
For the first time, living people will be eligible to be honored on U.S. postage stamps.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it is ending its longstanding rule that people cannot be featured on stamps while they're still living. It's inviting suggestions from the public on who should get the first stamp.
"This change will enable us to pay tribute to individuals for their achievements while they are still alive to enjoy the honor," Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a statement.
Sales of new single-family houses fell 2.3 percent in August from July, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported. The annualized rate: 295,000 sales.
The report underscores the weakness of the housing market, The Associated Press says. Sales have now fallen four straight months and are at a six-month low. Economists, according to the AP, say the pace needs to be about 700,000 "to sustain a healthy housing market."
With its white sand beaches and tropical weather, for visitors, Puerto Rico is close to paradise. But for those who live there, the past decade has been difficult. For most of that time, Puerto Rico has been in a recession.
To see Puerto Rico's economy up close, a good place to start is Rio Piedras. It's a former suburb, now a bustling neighborhood in Puerto Rico's capital, San Juan.
Kenya's Patrick Makau ran the Berlin Marathon on Sunday in a new world record time — 2 hours, 3 minutes and 38 seconds. He shaved 21 seconds off the previous record, set by Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie on the same course in 2008.
Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 5:00 am
By NPR Staff
Gen. Abdul Raziq is the acting police chief of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. Just 33 years old, he's a former warlord on whom the United States relied during its 2010 "surge" operation. But Raziq is also accused of brutal abuses of power, even massacring his tribal rivals, according to a new article in The Atlantic.