Arts

All Tech Considered
1:44 pm
Tue July 1, 2014

Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn't Mean Much

Vertigo3d iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 2:20 pm

To judge from some of the headlines, it was a very big deal. At an event held at the Royal Society in London, for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test, which is widely taken as the benchmark for saying a machine is engaging in intelligent thought. But like the other much-hyped triumphs of artificial intelligence, this one wasn't quite what it appeared. Computers can do things that seem quintessentially human, but they usually take a different path to get there.

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The Salt
11:35 am
Tue July 1, 2014

'The Great Fish Swap': How America Is Downgrading Its Seafood Supply

Paul Greenberg says the decline of local fish markets, and the resulting sequestration of seafood to a corner of our supermarkets, has contributed to "the facelessness and comodification of seafood."
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 10:09 am

What's the most popular seafood in the U.S.? Shrimp. The average American eats more shrimp per capita than tuna and salmon combined. Most of that shrimp comes from Asia, and most of the salmon we eat is also imported. In fact, 91 percent of the seafood Americans eat comes from abroad, but one-third of the seafood Americans catch gets sold to other countries.

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The Two-Way
5:59 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Book News: Chinese Importer Talks About Why Clinton's Book Was Dropped

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed copies of her book Hard Choices earlier this month at a Barnes & Noble store in Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

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

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Crime In The City
1:16 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Hard-Boiled Hero Jack Irish Lives, And Drinks, In A Shadowy Melbourne

Jack Irish makes a living, of sorts, in Melbourne, Australia.
Gary M. Prior Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 12:24 pm

Peter Temple writes prize-winning thrillers, four of them about his sometimes hapless investigator, Jack Irish. The books capture Melbourne, Australia: its pubs, racetracks, big boulevards rattling with traffic, and narrow alleys — called lanes — painted with graffiti.

Jack Irish was headed for a life as a successful suburban solicitor, or lawyer, when one of his criminal clients murdered Jack's wife, and Jack dropped the law to become a drunk. The novels — some are now TV movies — begin with his surfacing and looking around for his life.

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Book Reviews
2:17 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Book Review: 'The Expedition To The Boabab Tree'

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 5:01 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The journey of a girl sold into slavery is the topic of a compelling piece of fiction out of South Africa. It's called "The Expedition To The Boabab Tree." The author is poet Wilma Stockenstrom. She originally published it back in 1981, and now it has been translated from the Africaans by Nobel Prize winner J.M. Coetzee and published in the United States. Allen Cheuse has our review.

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Pop Culture
12:45 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Comedian Joel McHale Talks Dyslexia, Bad TV And Filming A Thriller

Comedian Joel McHale spoke at the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner in May. He says everyone wanted to see his jokes ahead of time, but he likes keeping them a secret.
Olivier Douliery-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 1, 2014 8:19 am

Update: Since this story was published, Sony Pictures Television — which produces Communityannounced that Yahoo will be picking the show up for a sixth season. This story has been updated to reflect that development.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Concrete

Intractably delicious!
NPR

Purveyors of fine foods have any number of ways of showing them off. Auntie Anne's hands out free pretzel samples at the mall; McDonald's lets a princess sit on top of the Big Mac to show she can't feel a pea underneath.

At Ted Drewes in St. Louis, when they hand you your Concrete, they flip it upside down to show you it's so thick, it won't fall out of the cup.

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The Two-Way
9:51 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Book News: Irish Writer Dermot Healy Dies

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

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Monkey See
6:24 am
Mon June 30, 2014

Finding Promising New Games In A World Of Dispiriting Sequels

A screenshot from Rollers Of The Realm.
Atlus

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 7:54 am

The game show at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) earlier in June wasn't exactly staid. But it was clear that most game publishers are playing it safe — very safe. Each year, I complain about franchise-ization, a godawful game trend that makes a convention focused on the wonders of electronic entertainment a lot less fun - especially since 2014 was the year in which game makers offered more sequels than ever before.

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Movie Interviews
3:05 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Behind Optimus Prime (And Eeyore), One Man's Signature Voice

Voice actor Peter Cullen arrives at the premiere of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen in June 2009.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:20 am

Transformers: Age of Extinction has smashed its way to the No. 1 spot at the box office. Director Michael Bay's film franchise has consistently topped charts since the first film arrived in theaters in 2007.

The live-action films have embraced the latest in visual affects — but the movies have also called back to the series' past, through the voice of Peter Cullen.

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Book Your Trip
3:05 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

In 'Snowpiercer,' A Never-Ending Train Ride And A Society Badly Off Track

In Snowpiercer, Curtis (Chris Evans) and Yona (Ah-sung Ko) are trying to fight their way to the front of a train that is cruelly class segregated. "[It's] similar to Occupy Wall Street in terms of the 99 percent versus the 1 percent," says South Korean director Bong Joon-ho. "That's something that happens in other countries and also in Korea."
Radius TWC

Originally published on Sun July 6, 2014 9:50 pm

The world has frozen over in the movie Snowpiercer. Set after a climate change disaster, all the action happens aboard a train that has to keep circling the globe for its passengers to stay alive.

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Author Interviews
3:05 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Ja Rule: 'I Took It Upon Myself To Become A Man'

Ja Rule at NPR's New York bureau in June.
Quoctrung Bui NPR

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 6:55 am

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Sports
3:05 pm
Sun June 29, 2014

Colombia Advances In World Cup, Two Decades After Infamous Murder

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 4:27 pm

The Colombian national team has reached the World Cup quarterfinals for the first time ever. It comes on the anniversary of the infamous murder of star Colombian player Andres Escobar, just weeks after he scored an own goal in the Cup. NPR's Arun Rath speaks with John Rojas, a Colombian-American journalist whose new Spanish-language book Futbol de negro is a fictionalized account of those weeks.

Author Interviews
6:12 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Pitcher R.A. Dickey Tells Kids It's OK To Be Different

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 10:23 am

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

R. A. Dickey is a phenomenal pitcher. He's also a lone wolf.

(SOUNDBITE OF BASEBALL GAMES)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: 1-2 to Davis...

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: In the air. Strike three. Whoa. Back-to-back one-hitters for R. A. Dickey...

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: The phenomenon that is Robert Allen Dickey continues to get more and more unlikely.

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Author Interviews
6:12 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Author Plumbs The Human Psyche Through 'Animal Madness'

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 1:16 pm

Transcript

DON GONYEA, HOST:

Oliver was anxious all the time. He demonstrated compulsive behavior, and he howled every time his parents left him alone at home. Oliver was a dog - a Bernese Mountain Dog.

But he, like many animals, displayed some amazingly human psychological traits. That was the inspiration for Laurel Braitman's new book. It's called "Animal Madness." It looks at the mental states and behaviors of animals and how they sometimes mirror our own. Laurel Braitman joins me now from KQED in San Francisco. Welcome.

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Sunday Puzzle
6:12 am
Sun June 29, 2014

The Missing Link

NPR

Originally published on Sun June 29, 2014 12:21 pm

On-air challenge: For each set of three words, find a word that can precede each one to complete a familiar two-word phrase or name. The first word in each set will name an animal. Example: turtle, spring, office. The answer would be box — box turtle, box spring, box office.

Last week's challenge: Think of a 10-letter adjective describing certain institutions. Drop three letters from this word, and the remaining seven letters, reading left to right, will name an institution described by this adjective. What institution is it?

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PG-13: Risky Reads
5:03 am
Sun June 29, 2014

Michel Faber's 'Crimson' Gave Teen A New Sense Of Possibility

As a teenager, I believed in God, but I didn't know what he wanted from me. I attended Bible study, befriended the evangelical kids from my school and listened to the Christian rap group dcTalk. I read the Bible and books about staying pure. I wondered if the weird, queasy feeling around my molars was God speaking to me.

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Author Interviews
3:33 am
Sun June 29, 2014

'Rogue Elephant' Asks: Is Democracy Right For India?

Over the course of the past month, some 600 million Indians went to the polls to elect a new government — the largest exercise in democracy in the world.

The results surprised few: Discontented voters tossed out the ruling Congress Party and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Congress, which has controlled India much of the time since its independence in 1947, has now been reduced to a parliamentary remnant.

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Book Reviews
3:20 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

Sorry, Europe. 'Quebert Affair' Plot Thrills, But Prose Lacks Substance

iStockphoto

Joel Dicker's breakneck thriller The Truth About The Harry Quebert Affair lands stateside trumpeting international sales figures that are the stuff of a writer's wildest dreams: nearly a million copies in France alone. Naturally, our curiosity is roused. Could this be another surprise charmer like Muriel Barbery's quirky The Elegance of the Hedgehog? Or, as the publicity materials tout breathlessly, a "broadly comic" mashup of Twin Peaks, In Cold Blood, The Hotel New Hampshire and more?

Don't get your hopes up.

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Code Switch
2:59 pm
Sat June 28, 2014

'Everything I Never Told You' Exposed In Biracial Family's Loss

Everything I Never Told You is Celeste Ng's debut novel about a Chinese-American family living in 1970s Ohio. She is currently working on a second novel and a collection of short stories.
Kevin Day The Penguin Press

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 4:22 pm

It's May, 1977, in small-town Ohio, and the Lee family is sitting down at breakfast. James is Chinese-American and Marilyn is white, and they have three children — two girls and a boy. But on this day, their middle child Lydia, who is also their favorite, is nowhere to be found.

That's how Celeste Ng's new novel, Everything I Never Told You, begins.

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Music Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Classical Dub-Step Violin Finds Its Audience

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 8:44 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Lindsey Stirling's been described as a dancing-hip-hop-dub-step-classical violinist - you know, another one of those.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

SIMON: She made her mainstream debut when she auditioned for "America's Got Talent" in 2010. Made it all the way to the quarter-finals, only to be told by Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne - there just isn't a market for a dancing hip-hop violinist. Well, what a mistake that turned out to be.

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Pop Culture
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

At VidCon, A Chance To See YouTube Celebrities Off The Screen

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The online video industry is growing up. It has its own annual conference called VidCon, now in its fifth year. VidCon wraps up today at the Anaheim Convention Center as Corey Takahashi reports. The three-day event draws producers, dealmakers and thousands of fans just who just hope to meet their favorite YouTube stars.

(SOUNDBITE OF FANS SCREAMING)

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Movie Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

New York Streets Become A Recording Studio In 'Begin Again'

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Greta is an English woman in New York who plays guitar who's just been dumped by her lover who's become a big star. Dan is a former music producer who's been dumped by his wife, by the company he founded and is disregarded by his daughter who's 14 or 15. He's not really sure which. He even had to hawk his Grammy Awards just to pay for a couple of benders. Can anything save them? Maybe music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG FROM "BEGIN AGAIN")

KEIRA KNIGHTLEY: (As Greta, singing) And all at once, it seemed like a good way...

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Author Interviews
6:02 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Life Is Tough, Says Joan Rivers, So 'You Better Laugh At Everything'

Joan Rivers' other books include I Hate Everyone ... Starting With Me and Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs.
Charles William Bush Courtesy of Berkley Hardcover

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

Comedian Joan Rivers got a diary from her daughter for the holidays a while back, and at first she was upset. Then, she reflected: Maybe it's a chance for her to save and share her wisdom. Like this entry from Feb. 16:

Woke up not feeling well. I spent the entire day online on WebMD. ... I can say with 100 percent certainty that I have pleurisy, tuberculosis, brain stem cancer or an enlarged prostate. I found a great cure for whatever ails you. God bless the Internet! A coffee enema. ... The only negative: I can never go back to Starbucks.

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Book News & Features
5:03 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Women Are Destroying Science Fiction! (That's OK; They Created It)

This image is one of eight original illustrations commissioned for Lightspeed Magazine's special issue, "Women Destroy Science Fiction!"
Lightspeed Magazine

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 2:03 pm

This month, science fiction and fantasy magazine Lightspeed interrupted its normal publishing schedule to bring readers a special issue: "Women Destroy Science Fiction!"

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The Seams
3:31 am
Sat June 28, 2014

A Modern Twist On Mexican Tradition Hits The Runway

(Left) Mayan artisans from the Yucatan region hand-embroidered an armadillo onto this linen dress from Carla Fernández's Mayalands collection. (Right) This Fernandez dress is a traditional rebozo shape which honors the square root design of ancient patterns.
Ramiro Chaves/Courtesy Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 4:36 pm

In a small shed in Tenancingo, Mexico, partly open to the sky, about a half-dozen men stand behind huge wooden looms. They pedal side-by-side, their churning feet making a beautiful harmony as they craft handmade rebozos.

Rebozos, long rectangular shawls that came into style in Mexico in the 16th century, and the huipil, a woven and embroidered blouse or dress of pre-Columbian origin, are the main elements of Mexican traditional dress.

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Author Interviews
3:28 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Princip Pulled 'The Trigger,' But Never Meant To Start A War

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 10:43 am

It's a question that's persisted for over a century: how could a slight 19-year-old fire two shots and end up starting a war that killed millions around the world?

Tim Butcher, the well-traveled British war correspondent who covered later wars in the Balkans, went back to Sarajevo to try to learn more about Gavrilo Princip, the young Serbian revolutionary who changed the course of history in the worst way by assassinating Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, and his wife Sophie.

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This Week's Must Read
4:33 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

SCOTUS On Cellphones And The Privacy Of Poetry

Dear sweet privacy, where did you go? And where can we go to be alone with you again? Thanks to the Supreme Court, one answer is, surprisingly, our cell phones. On Wednesday, the Court ruled that, except in emergencies such as kidnappings and bomb threats, police can't search our phones without a warrant.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:08 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

Not My Job: Scarlett Johansson Gets Quizzed On Captain Scarlet

Vittorio Zunino Celotto Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 28, 2014 9:59 am

Scarlett Johansson may be the most famous Scarlet(t) nowadays — she's starred in movies ranging from Lost in Translation to The Avengers. But back in the 1960s, she would have had some serious competition from "indestructible" Captain Scarlet of Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons, a British science fiction TV show.

We've invited Johansson to answer three questions about the other Scarlet.

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Book Reviews
2:30 pm
Fri June 27, 2014

'Warburg' Struggles For Love And Justice In Wartime Rome

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
AP

Originally published on Mon June 30, 2014 2:04 pm

James Carroll, who served as a Catholic priest before his literary ambitions led him to go secular, has gathered together his knowledge of church history and his mature powers as a novelist to create Warburg in Rome, his most splendid work of fiction to date.

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