Today, March 14th, 3-14, is Pi Day. In case you didn't know, it's actually a national holiday - certainly an important day for math lovers. In Austin, festivities started early - with skywriting. A company called AirSign tried to write the long famous ratio across 100 miles of sky. It turned out writing Pi in the Sky was a little easier.
NPR's business news starts with BP doing business in the Gulf.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MONTAGNE: The petroleum company is once again allowed to seek oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday lifted a ban that kept BP from bidding on new federal contracts. The suspension had been in effect since 2012, when regulators determined that BP had not corrected problems that led to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill two years before.
With Russia making moves on Ukraine's Crimea region, German leader Angela Merkel has been talking tough, and perhaps no Western leader understands Vladimir Putin's intentions better than Merkel.
The German chancellor has been on the phone with the Russian president more than half a dozen times since the crisis began. Yesterday, she warned that Russia would suffer massive political and economic damage if Russia follows through on annexing Crimea - if, as many expect, Crimeans vote for that this Sunday.
The Big East basketball tournament is underway at Madison Square Garden in New York City. For many fans it is nothing like it used to be. In the 1980s, even up until recently, this was a marquee event for college basketball and for New York.
Not one but two ousted presidents are on trial. In cages. As are a group of journalists from the Al Jazeera satellite channel. Then there are the countless activists facing charges that are widely seen as politically motivated.
If you like courtroom dramas, Egypt is the place to be these days. And while there's no shortage of high-profile trials, analysts say one thing hasn't changed in the three tumultuous years since the overthrow of the autocratic Hosni Mubarak: There's still no guarantee of a fair trial for the accused.
At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.
The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.
When Rob Thomas created Veronica Mars, his show about a sharp-elbowed girl detective, he had an ulterior motive: He wanted to kill off the reigning queen of teenaged sleuths â€” one who's been around for more than 80 years.
"Nancy Drew," Thomas says, his soft-spoken affect barely betrayed by a trace of a snarl. "Like, I feel like she had her run."
Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.
During a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, President Obama said he had ordered the Department of Homeland Security to review deportation procedures and see if they can be made more humane.
When Congress passed a farm bill earlier this year, it expected to save $8.6 billion over 10 years by tightening what many say is a loophole in the food stamp, or SNAP, program. But it's not going to happen.
You see, Congress left states an opening to avoid the cuts. And so far, nearly half of the states participating have decided to take that option â€” a move that could erase the promised savings.
There's a lot that needs forgiving if you want to enjoy the few simple pleasures offered by Shirin In Love, but the most egregious fault is perhaps too structural to overlook: The love triangle set up for the title character (Nazanin Boniadi) by writer-director Ramin Niami angles too obviously in one direction. The end result is too much of a foregone conclusion even for a predictable romantic comedy.
This year marks the centennial of the outbreak of World War I. What started as a beef between the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Serbia unleashed a clash that brought in Russia, Italy, France, Germany, England and eventually the United States.
Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 3:27 pm
Strange and stylish and surpassingly dark, Denis Villeneuve's Enemy â€” especiallypaired with the same director's recent cop thriller Prisoners â€” makes a strong case for star Jake Gyllenhaal as maybe our most enigmatic young leading man.
Nick and Meg have gotten into a bit of a rut in Le Week-End, and to get out of it they're "celebrating" â€” if that's the word â€” their 30th anniversary by heading back to a city they last saw on their honeymoon. Nick has even booked a room in the same hotel â€” which is not, alas, quite the way Meg remembers it. "Beige," she sniffs.
As the star of Arrested Development, Jason Bateman became best known for being the most mature member of the emotionally stunted Bluth family; the roles that followed were largely of the same tone, casting the actor as the affable, mild-mannered, often put-upon nice guy.
Always playing the straight man amid casts of clowns must have created some built-up performance envy, because in his directorial debut he trades in Mr. Nice Guy for Mr. Guy Trilby, finally getting to play an apparent case of severely arrested development himself.
Originally published on Sat March 15, 2014 3:13 am
Unhinged by crises both monetary and amorous, a provincial Frenchwoman tells the employees at her restaurant, "I'll be back." Then she takes off in her ancient rattletrap with no escape plan beyond an illicit smoke and a drive to clear her addled head. Turns out she'll be gone a while.
Yes, there's a road movie in Bettie's cards. Yes, there will be formative ordeals. And yes, the payoff will be uplift, along with one of those toothsome al fresco country lunches where Mediterranean types wave their arms around and argue in friendly fashion.
There are three categories of schemers in Big Men, Rachel Boynton's illuminating documentary about the oil business in West Africa: businessmen, politicians and bandits. Sometimes, though, it's hard to tell the types apart.
Painted lips, slicked-back hair and pumping fists form the core of Matt Wolf's documentary Teenage, an impressionistic history of how our concept of the teenager came to be. Composed almost entirely of dazzling archival footage â€” young people laboring, exercising, fighting, dancing, drinking and playing â€” the film traces the history of the teenager from the late 19th century to 1945.
Nonfiction writers often have to go scrounging for their dream subject. They may buy themselves a ticket to some far-flung place, or join an Iditarod team, or start researching a historical figure who seems to have led a colorful life. Sometimes, writers are fortunate enough to already have a personal passion for one subject, and writing a book about it seems only natural.
Late last year, during the holiday season, hackers somewhere in Europe stole 40 million credit and debit card numbers and tens of millions of other pieces of personal information from Target customers in the United States. As reported by Bloomberg Businessweek's Michael Riley, the malware attack wasn't particularly sophisticated or unique, and Target's security systems were extensive and ready for such an attack â€” and yet Target missed the early security warnings.
Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 8:35 am
Congressional Democrats' messaging on the Affordable Care Act obviously didn't work as they had hoped in the Florida special election for a vacant House seat, since Republican David Jolly won the Tuesday vote.
But does that mean Democrats should abandon the "fix it, don't nix" it message delivered by Democrat Alex Sink, who narrowly lost a race that Republicans sought to nationalize and turn into a referendum on the health law?