If you've ever thought that most of politics is game-playing, you're right. Political scientists often use mathematical game theory to describe how Congress works. And when they look at the current battle over how to handle the deficit, the game that comes to mind is chicken.
Steven Smith is a professor of political science at Washington University, and he says yes, Republicans and Democrats sometimes remind him of two cars driving as fast as they can toward a cliff.
Vladimir Putin will be president, says 30-year-old Yelena.
The lifelong Muscovite is chatting to a friend in Alexander Gardens next to the Kremlin in Moscow. Yelena, who like many Russians won't give her last name when discussing politics, says she's not even sure she will vote.
"Everything's been decided," she says in Russian. "It will be the same no matter who we vote for."
It's election season in Russia, with votes due for parliament in December and president next March. Everyone knows who will win, however, and voters are not energized by the campaign.
Charlotte, N.C., is perhaps best known as the home of Bank of America, the country's largest financial institution. So now, with Bank of America struggling to revive its stock price, cutting tens of thousands of jobs and widely criticized for charging customers a $5 monthly fee to use their debit cards, what's the mood in Charlotte?
Apparently one of the earliest human instincts was to paint things, including bodies and cave walls. That's the conclusion from scientists who have discovered something remarkable in a South African cave — a tool kit for making paint. It looks to be the oldest evidence of paint-making.
Over in southern Africa 100,000 years ago, Homo sapiens was pretty new on the scene. A favorite hangout was a cave named Blombos near the Southern ocean.
Small businesses are often called the backbone of the U.S. economy; they employ about half of the nation's private sector employees. But in many cases, small companies start out with a workforce of just one — like cereal entrepreneur Ian Szalinski in Rochester, N.Y., who's trying to stake a claim to the breakfast market.
A Gallup poll released today found support for the death penalty in the United States is at a 39-year low. As Gallup reports, "this is the lowest level of support since 1972, the year the Supreme Court voided all existing state death penalty laws in Furman v. Georgia."
The job market is barely treading water. The Labor Department Thursday reported that 404,000 people filed for unemployment benefits last week — pretty much unchanged from the week before. Overall, there are 14 million people looking for work in the U.S.
One of those places where jobs are especially hard to find is Spartanburg, S.C.
On Thursday, the Occupy Wall Street protests spread to the heavily conservative corner of the heavily conservative state. It was a small turnout — about 20 people got some honks of support and some catcalls from people who shouted, "Get a job!"
In recent days, the Occupy Wall Street protests appear to be gathering steam, spreading beyond New York City to other cities across the country. The growing reach of the demonstrations has added to the pressure on journalists to figure out how to cover them.