This interview was originally broadcast on Dec. 6, 2011.

In the first part of his career, J. Edgar Hoover was often hailed as a hero. As a young man, he helped reorganize the cataloging system at the Library of Congress. Later on, after Hoover became the first director of the FBI, he introduced fingerprinting and forensic techniques to the crime-fighting agency, and pushed for stronger federal laws to punish criminals who strayed across state lines.

One of science fiction's jobs is to give humanity a map of where we're headed. From Jules Verne to William Gibson, sci-fi authors have described their versions of the future, and how people might live in it.

Those ideas came up in a recent conversation I had with Brian David Johnson, who works for Intel as a futurist — a title that gives him one of the tech world's cooler business cards.

This interview was originally broadcast on Apr. 9, 1991.

Publisher Barney Rosset, who championed the works of beat poets and defied censors, died Tuesday. He was 89.

Rosset's Grove Press published some of drama's most famous names — including Beckett and Anton Chekhov — and was known for printing books that other publishers wouldn't touch, from uncensored versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer to a highly profitable line of Victorian spanking porn.

There was a 0.9 percent drop in sales of new homes in January vs. December, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development just reported.

The annual sales rate, 321,000, was still 3.5 percent above the pace of January 2011, however.

And The Associated Press notes that the dip in January from December may have partly been due to the fact that "the government said the final quarter of 2011 was stronger than first estimated."

In a move that likely opens him up to some obvious Democratic attacks, Mitt Romney is turning to members of President George W. Bush's economic brain trust to craft what he hopes will be a winning economic message.

Campaigning in Michigan on Thursday night, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reached out to Tea Party voters — a segment of the party that he has had a hard time winning over in previous states this primary season.

Slightly more than one year after a series of controversial events led to top leaders' depatures, NPR this morning announced "a new executive structure" and named two current managers to key posts.

NPR President and CEO Gary Knell said that:

Most folks who wake up feeling crummy will sit down with a computer or smartphone before they sit down with a doctor.

They might search the Web for remedies or tweet about their symptoms. And that's why scientists who track disease are turning to the Internet for early warning signs of epidemics.

"Surveillance is one of the cornerstones of public health," says Philip Polgreen, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa. "It all depends on having not only accurate data, but timely data."

As Syrian security forces continue to pound the city of Homs and surrounding areas, "the United States, Europe and Arab countries were set Friday to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents," The Associated Press writes.

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