Arts

Arts & Life
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So that's one question. And here's another that we're sure has been bothering many of you for years. What happens when you give a bird a guitar? Well, you'll get your answer at a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It's called "From Here to Ear."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Picture this: One room, 70 zebra finches, 14 tuned and amplified guitars, no fingers.

Read more
Television
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

"American Idol" is back for its 12th season tonight. The show's huge success gave rise to an entire genre of reality talent shows on TV. For the last few seasons, though, ratings for "American Idol" have been off. So they've freshened up the format and brought in some new judges. NPR's TV critic Eric Deggans says "American Idol" is trying something new: being nice.

Read more
Television
3:11 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

The Few, The Fervent: Fans Of 'Supernatural' Redefine TV Success

Dean Winchester (left, played by Jensen Ackles) and his brother Sam (Jared Padalecki) battle evil beings on CW's Supernatural. The brothers may be easy on the eyes, but sex appeal alone doesn't explain Supernatural's passionate fan base.
Cate Cameron The CW

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:44 pm

How do you measure love?

OK, it's a huge question. And maybe not one generally applied to television. But the metrics of success determine whether a television show lives or dies. (If this is the sort of topic that seems frivolous, consider the billions of dollars TV and other copyright industries contribute to the U.S. economy. The stakes start feeling higher.)

Read more
Monkey See
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Idol' Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible

Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. appear on a surprisingly non-terrible American Idol opener on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

It's just me now, I thought this morning. All alone. I could almost hear the desert wind. I could almost see the tumbleweeds.

Read more
The Salt
9:40 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The U.K. has plenty of fresh produce available, such as these vegetables on display at a garden show in Southport, England. But these healthy options cost more in the U.K. than in any other country in Western Europe.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 2:03 pm

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

Read more
The Picture Show
9:04 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Before Drone Cameras: Kite Cameras!

Lawrence with the 49-pound "Captive Airship."
Courtesy of the Lawrence Family

These days, getting an aerial shot is as simple (although maybe illegal) as strapping a camera to a drone. Back in the day, though, it wasn't so easy.

George R. Lawrence, a commercial photographer at the turn of the last century, was known to tinker. (His Chicago studio advertised "The hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty.") He was often hired to photograph conventions and banquet halls with a specialized panoramic camera he had built himself. In 1901, he had a loftier idea: to lift his panoramic camera off the ground. And not just a few feet — but hundreds.

Read more
Wordless News
8:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Wordless News: Robot Goooooooooooooal!

Maria Fabrizio

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:52 am

  • Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Every day, illustrator Maria Fabrizio posts a news-inspired image on her Wordless News blog. This week, all of her pictures will be inspired by stories she hears on Morning Edition.

Today, Joe Palca's story caught her ear: It's about a computer scientist who is developing robots that can play soccer.

Read more
The Salt
7:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

New Nordic Food Gods Loosen Up On Strictly Local Cuisine

The Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen is where chefs and social scientists explore the raw materials and flavors of Scandinavia.
Courtesy of the Nordic Food Lab

This story begins with a lemon. It appeared not long ago on a houseboat-cum-food lab docked outside Scandinavia's temple of local food, the restaurant noma, in Copenhagen.

"Isn't that, like, the forbidden fruit?," I ask. "Are you allowed to have a lemon here?"

"I don't know why that's sitting there," says Ben Reade, the lab's head of culinary research and development, looking perplexed.

An anthropologist, Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, pipes in, "We have an Italian on the boat."

Reade concurs: "He needs a lemon every so often for staff food."

Read more
The Two-Way
5:56 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Book News: Argentine Poet Juan Gelman Dies At 83

Argentine poet Juan Gelman is pictured at a news conference in March 2012.
Pablo Porciuncula AFP/Getty Images

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

Read more
Food
10:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Maple Syrup Goes To Dinner — And Drinks

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 11:01 am

When I was growing up and my mom would make pancakes and bacon, I'd layer bacon pieces in between pancakes, then drown the stack with maple syrup to create a towering, sticky mess. The rest of my family would daintily eat their bacon from one plate and their pancakes from another, preventing the joyous union of salty and sweet.

Read more
Movie Reviews
4:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Love And Struggle In The Shadow Of The Third Reich

The sprawling drama Generation War follows a range of characters — a Nazi officer and his brother, a nurse, an aspiring singer and her Jewish boyfriend — through Germany during World War II.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 8:08 am

Knee-deep already in collective scrutiny of its painful World War II history, Germany wades in up to its own neck with a viscerally unsparing drama — originally a TV miniseries — set to screen in two parts in selected U.S. theaters.

Generation War tracks five jaunty young childhood friends as they prepare to scatter from a Berlin bar in 1941 to do their bit for the Thousand Year Reich. With Kristallnacht fresh in memory and Stalingrad looming, you'd think even these frisky young things might know better than to expect to reunite unscathed for Christmas.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Blogger Reveals Cracks In Codes Onscreen

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:33 pm

Computer programmer John Graham-Cumming began the blog, "Source Code in TV and Films," several weeks ago. The blog points out the frequent misuse of computer code in shows and movies.

Digital Life
3:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Dying In The Digital Age: When Should The Conversation End?

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:33 pm

An active conversation — and a hefty dose of outrage — is swirling on social media about the proper boundaries between public and private when it comes to illness and death. Lisa Adams, a stage 4 cancer patient, has been tweeting her experiences with the disease. Writers Bill and Emma Keller have derided her tweets as akin to "deathbed selfies." Melissa Block talks with Meaghan O'Rourke about how we treat dying in the digital age.

Book Reviews
12:04 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Chang-rae Lee Stretches For Dystopic Drama, But Doesn't Quite Reach

ilbusca iStockphoto

Dystopia is all the rage these days, especially in young adult fiction: There's the "Hunger Games" trilogy of course; Veronica Roth's "Divergent" series, in which Chicago has gone to the dogs; Cassandra Clare's "Mortal Instruments" series, inspired by a nightmare vision of Manhattan; and Stephanie Meyer's non-Twilight novel, The Host, where Earth has been colonized by alien parasites.

Read more
New In Paperback
12:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Jan. 12-18: Revolutionaries, Diplomacy And A Man Of Letters

Free Press

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 2:40 pm

*Some of the language in the summaries above has been provided by publishers.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Author Interviews
10:39 am
Tue January 14, 2014

'What Everyone Needs To Know' About Today's Cyberthreats

Originally published on Mon March 24, 2014 3:46 pm

Even if cybersecurity isn't a subject you think about a lot, the data breach of credit card information from Target and Neiman Marcus customers has probably increased your level of cyber-anxiety.

Read more
The Salt
10:07 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

A mathematician's sweet dream: For about $10,000, you can print out rainbow sugar dodecahedrons and interlocking cubes.
3D Systems

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 1:52 pm

Read more
Wordless News
8:29 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Wordless News: Brits Struggle To Save Beloved Telephone Box

Maria Fabrizio's illustration of: "Some Brits Not Ready To Say 'Ta-Ra' To Iconic Telephone Box"
Maria Fabrizio

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:45 am

Every day, illustrator Maria Fabrizio posts a news-inspired image on her Wordless News blog. This week, all of her pictures will be inspired by stories she hears on Morning Edition.

Read more
Monkey See
8:10 am
Tue January 14, 2014

A Few Lessons About Twitter, Cancer And Publishing

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 6:53 am

I think that Bill Keller probably meant well when he wrote an op-ed for The New York Times this week about Lisa Bonchek Adams, a woman with cancer who's been writing about it, along with a lot of other things, on Twitter and on a personal blog.

Read more
Book Reviews
5:02 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Debut Novel Offers Surprisingly Dark 'Vision' Of Shaker Life

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:29 am

In August 1837, a group of girls aged ten through fourteen in a one-room Shaker schoolhouse received "signs from the world beyond." One by one they began singing, jerking, chanting, and reciting Latin. This miraculous phenomenon went on for hours. Elder Sister Agnes, the schoolteacher, witnessed it all. Thenceforth these and other Visionists — the name given to those deemed to be "chosen instruments" of Mother Ann, the Shakers' founder — "were allowed to make things that were not simply functional but beautiful, for they had created them under divine inspiration."

Read more
The Salt
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Borscht Make Your Heart Beet? They're Serving 70,000 Gallons In Sochi

There are dozens of varieties of borscht — but at its most basic, it's a beet soup with potatoes, tomatoes and often beef or pork.
Flickr/Liz West

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:57 am

Russia's Soviet days are well behind it, but if you're headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, your dining options will still run deep red — as in borscht.

Organizers in Sochi expect to serve 70,000 gallons of this Russian staple — a hearty soup whose color comes from beets — to spectators. Borscht has graced both the high table of the Kremlin and the lowly tables of peasants across the former Soviet Union.

Read more
Arts & Life
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Foundations Keep Detroit Art Off The Auction Block

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:53 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

A federal bankruptcy judge in Detroit has mediated a deal that could potentially solve two of the city's biggest problems. The plan would raise money for retirees' pension funds and keep masterpieces from the Detroit Institute of Art from being auctioned off. NPR's Elizabeth Blair reports.

Read more
Television
3:31 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Is '16 And Pregnant' An Effective Form Of Birth Control?

Episode 1 of 16 and Pregnant tells the story of Maci, a "classic overachiever" at her Chattanooga, Tenn., high school. A new study attributes a portion of the decline in the U.S. teen birthrate to the MTV show." href="/post/16-and-pregnant-effective-form-birth-control" class="noexit lightbox">
Episode 1 of 16 and Pregnant tells the story of Maci, a "classic overachiever" at her Chattanooga, Tenn., high school. A new study attributes a portion of the decline in the U.S. teen birthrate to the MTV show.
MTV

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 6:53 pm

The U.S. teen birthrate — one of the highest in the developed world — has been dropping in recent years. There are a number of reasons for the decrease, and a new study attributes a portion of the decline to an unlikely cause: MTV's 16 and Pregnant, a show that takes a brutally honest look at what life is like for pregnant teens.

Read more
Monkey See
2:59 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

When Tough Questions Go Horribly Wrong

Girls executive producer Jenni Konner (from left), creator and star Lena Dunham and actress Jemima Kirke take questions on the first day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:45 am

Nothing exposes you like asking a tough question.

Like a boxer extending a jab, you reveal yourself in the moment, stepping aggressively to a subject in a way that also makes you vulnerable. Handle the moment badly, and like an off-balance prizefighter, you might be the one hugging the canvas after a knockout blow.

Read more
The Salt
2:35 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Breaded Steak Sandwich

The best sandwich photos are indistinguishable from crime scene photos.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:17 pm

There are those who say "less is more," and there are those who say "less is stupid." The latter are responsible for taking a steak sandwich, deciding it needed more calories, and creating the Breaded Steak Sandwich. A thin cut of beef is breaded and fried, placed in a hoagie roll, and covered in what they call "red gravy." Ricobene's here in Chicago is famous for it.

Eva: It's the kangaroo of sandwiches. It's carrying around a slightly smaller breaded thing in its pouch.

Read more
Movie Reviews
12:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Three Protesters, One 'Square': Film Goes Inside Egypt's Revolution

Before protesting in The Square, Khalid Abdalla (left) acted in such films as The Kite Runner, Green Zone and United 93.
Noujaim Films

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:46 am

A revolution is a bit like a writing a mystery novel. It's hard to start but even harder to come up with a satisfying ending.

They're still working on that in Egypt. Three years after the toppling of dictator Hosni Mubarak — the crowning moment of the Arab Spring — the army's running the country again; the elected president, Mohammed Morsi, has been arrested and charged with treason; the Muslim Brotherhood has been banned; and Tahrir Square's secular protesters are getting arrested. All this in the name of order and country.

Read more
Author Interviews
12:01 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

As A Latina, Sonia Sotomayor Says, 'You Have To Work Harder'

In addition to being the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor was New York state's first Hispanic federal judge.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:46 am

Like most sitting Supreme Court justices, Sonia Sotomayor is circumspect when talking about the court; but she has written intimately about her personal life — more so than is customary for a Supreme Court justice.

"When I was nominated by the president for this position, it became very clear to me that many people in the public were interested in my life and the challenges I had faced," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "... And I also realized that much of the public perception of who I was and what had happened to me was not quite complete."

Read more
The Salt
11:44 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Italians To New Yorkers: 'Forkgate' Scandal? Fuhggedaboutit

In this image taken from video and provided by New York City Hall, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio eats pizza with a fork at Goodfellas Pizza on Staten Island on Friday.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:10 am

Over the past week, two high-profile leaders in the New York metropolitan area found themselves at the center of unfolding political scandals. At least one, it seems, has some plausible deniability.

In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie's political future is in doubt over the ever-widening "Bridgegate" fiasco, as emails revealed that members of his closest inner circle were involved. But just across that bridge, New York City's newly installed mayor, Bill de Blasio, became embroiled in another kind of drama: "Forkgate."

Read more
Wordless News
9:13 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Wordless News: Desegregation On The Docket

Maria Fabrizio

Every day, illustrator Maria Fabrizio posts a news-inspired image on her Wordless News blog. This week, all of her pictures will be inspired by stories she hears on Morning Edition.

Read more
Monkey See
8:36 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Chris Christie And Pulling The Red Handle

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 5:16 pm

I'm going to tell you a story, and then we're going to talk about Chris Christie, and if you're not into those two things, you can tag out. I won't be offended.

Let's see. How to begin.

Read more

Pages