On this week's show, we are lucky enough to be visited in the absence of our buddy Glen by the lovely Audie Cornish, who, in her spare time, is one of the hosts of a little afternoon show called All Things Considered. Audie took some time away from the Actual Hard News beat to chat with us about a few things and to gracefully accept a surprising comparison to Ron Burgundy. (It's a long story.)
About two-thirds of the world's grasslands have turned into desert. Allan Savory has devoted his life to stopping it. He now believes that a surprising factor can protect grasslands and even reclaim degraded land that was once desert.
The story of David and Goliath has transcended its biblical origins to become a common shorthand for unlikely victory. But, asks author Malcolm Gladwell, is that really what the David and Goliath story is about?
Behind all our material goods, from iPhones to sneakers, is a narrative of exploited Chinese workers with bleak lives. Reporter Leslie T. Chang says that's a disrespectful narrative. She sought out workers in a Chinese megacity and tells their stories.
Psychologist Barry Schwartz takes aim at a central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz's estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralyzed, not happier but more dissatisfied.
Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 9:32 am
We told you this morning about changes announced in China regarding the country's one-child policy, as well as an announcement that it was ending its system of labor camps. But those aren't the only policy shifts by the Communist Party.
China also said Friday that it would loosen restrictions on foreign investment in e-commerce and other businesses, and allow private competition in state-dominated sectors.
Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 12:45 pm
If you go back to the 1970s, people with a serious coffee habit often had an accompanying habit: smoking.
And that's why early studies gave coffee a bad rap. Clearly, smoking was harmful. And it was hard for researchers to disentangle the two habits. "So it made coffee look bad in terms of health outcomes," Harvard researcher Meir Stampfer explained to me.
But fast-forward a quarter century, and the rap on coffee began to change.