Fresh off the ninth and final season of NBC's The Office, B.J. Novak is keeping busy. He is known both for his portrayal of the bratty temp Ryan Howard, as well as writing some of the show's most beloved episodes, such as "Diversity Day" and "The Fire." In his post-Office life, however, he's working on a book of "Woody Allen-esque" short stories and will appear in Saving Mr. Banks, the forthcoming Walt Disney biopic about the making of the film Mary Poppins.
David Wain is part of the comedy troupes The State and Stella, and directed the films Wanderlust, Role Models and the forthcoming They Came Together. But he is perhaps best known for creating one of the quintessential summer movies, Wet Hot American Summer, an absurdist chronicle of last-day shenanigans at a Jewish camp in the 1980s.
Kurt Andersen has written for film, television and stage, was Time's architecture and design critic, co-founded Spy magazine, curated a Smithsonian exhibit, wrote four books (his third novel, True Believers, was published in the summer of 2012), and now hosts PRI's Studio 360, the Peabody Award-winning radio show on WNYC. In the words of Ask Me Another host Ophira Eisenberg, "How about declaring a major already?"
Can government be run like the Internet, permissionless and open? Coder and activist Jennifer Pahlka believes it can — and that apps, built quickly and cheaply, are a powerful new way to connect citizens to their governments — and their neighbors.
Social media guru Clay Shirky looks at "cognitive surplus" — the shared, online work we do with our spare brain cycles. While we're busy contributing to the web in our small ways, we're building a better, more cooperative world.
Pianist John Bunch was born in Tipton, Ind., a small farming community north of Indianapolis. As a boy, he studied piano, and at 14, he was already playing with bands in central Indiana. During WWII, he served on a B17 Flying Fortress that was shot down over Germany. Bunch and his crew were taken captive, and while in a prison camp, he learned to arrange for big bands.
Originally published on Fri July 12, 2013 10:55 am
The morning's major economic news:
-- Inflation. Wholesale prices rose 0.8 percent in June from May, fueled by a 2.9 percent surge in the price of energy products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says. As drivers can confirm, a 7.2 percent jump in the cost of gasoline was responsible for most of that boost.
Nearly 17 months after the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin — a death that would spark protests across the nation — a jury is about to begin considering whether defendant George Zimmerman acted in self defense or should be convicted of murder or manslaughter.
The Kremlin's security agency has bought $15,000 worth of electric typewriters. A source told a Russian newspaper that after WikiLeaks and the Edward Snowden scandal, the Kremlin decided to "expand the practice of creating paper documents."
For many kids, the music of ice cream trucks is the sound of summer. For some adults, however, it ruins peace and quiet. The Long Beach City Council has drafted legislation to limit when ice cream trucks can play music.
CEO Steve Ballmer has shuffled the organizational deck at Microsoft, breaking down long-standing barriers within the company. Microsoft has been criticized for internal turf battles and slow-footed responses to changes in technology.
Senate Democrats are once again threatening a rules change to allow President Obama to win approval for his executive branch appointments on a simple majority vote. Republicans complain that this strike against the filibuster is both unfair and a bad precedent.
A federal judge this week ruled that Apple conspired to raise prices of e-books, handing a victory to the Justice Department. Another winner in the fallout from this case was Amazon, the dominant seller of e-books.
Russia is preparing for the 2014 Winter Games — turning a sleepy valley in the Northern Caucasus Mountains into an Olympic village, with brand-new facilities for every Alpine sport. Officials say it will be a world-class destination for winter-sports enthusiasts long after the Games are over. Environmentalists say it's an ecological disaster in the making.
The words eurozone and crisis have been firmly linked together for the past half decade. Many eurozone economies have collapsed to Depression-era levels. And yet this week, the Baltic nation of Latvia, chose to join the euro. To understand that move, David Greene talks to Pauls Raudseps, economics editor of the Latvian weekly news magazine IR.
The imminent arrival of the future heir to the British throne is spawning gambling, baby products and guessing over names. There's been no official announcement about when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's baby is due. It's believed to be Saturday, and the kingdom is prepared.
Cephus "Bobby" Johnson in 2011, when the former transit officer who shot Johnson's nephew, Oscar Grant, was released from jail. Johnson and other family members have seen Fruitvale Station, a new feature film depicting the shooting, multiple times.
It's not often that Oakland, Calif., hosts a movie opening. But there is plenty of anticipation for Fruitvale Station.
The film is about the life and death of Oscar Grant, a young black man who was fatally shot in the back by a white transit police officer in the early morning hours of New Year's Day in 2009.
Grant was killed by Officer Johannes Mehserle, who claimed to have been reaching for his Taser, not his handgun. Mehserle was tried and convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months of a two-year term.
Soldiers close the gate to the tiny West Bank outpost, right next door to a Jewish settlement, where the HaHod platoon of the ultra-Orthodox Netzah Yahuda battalion is stationed.
Credit Emily Harris/NPR
An Israeli soldier in a platoon reserved for the ultra-Orthodox leans on the doorway of the unit's makeshift synagogue. The military accommodates the religious needs of ultra-Orthodox soldiers by allowing time for Torah study and prayers three times daily.
Credit Emily Harris/NPR
A white metal trailer serves as the makeshift synagogue at the West Bank outpost of an all-ultra-Orthodox Israeli military platoon.
Credit Marco Longari / AFP/Getty Images
An Israeli police officer arrests an Ultra-Orthodox Jew during a protest against the draft law in Jerusalem on May 16.
Moshe Haim always wanted to be a soldier. The 20-year-old is now a sergeant, more than halfway through three years of service in the Israeli military.
But when he goes home on leave, he doesn't talk about his military experiences to any of his eight siblings, especially his brothers.
"I know that for my parents and my brothers, the first, best choice is to be in the yeshiva and study there," he says at a small West Bank outpost where he's stationed. "It wasn't good for me, but my brothers are still pure."
The battle for the city of Dera'a in southern Syria has become a test of an American pledge to give military support to rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar Assad. After a string of defeats, the rebels have scored rare victories around Dera'a.
But in interviews,rebel commanders passing through neighboring Jordan say those gains could be lost without a dependable arms pipeline and promised U.S. support.
Yasser Aboud, a thin, intense former colonel in the Syrian army, commands the joint operations center for southern Syria.
Back in 2006, President Bush and Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt talked with reporters during a trip to Florida, where Bush spoke to volunteers helping seniors sign up for the Medicare prescription drug benefit.