My home is where I find my identity, where I create my identity which is an ongoing phenomenon. — Pico Iyer
Each of us has a sense of who we are, where we come from, and what we believe. But is identity assigned at birth? Shaped by circumstance? Or is it something we choose, that changes over time? In this hour, TED speakers describe their journeys to answer the question: who am I?
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 12:25 pm
Most Americans say they aren't directly affected by the shutdown. But some pockets of society, beyond furloughed federal workers and their families, are being severely hit.
We used NPR's social media network to ask about the impact and were deluged by messages from people who are worried and scared, especially veterans and the disabled, and many others who are angry and frustrated.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 7:05 am
Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. It's the 11th day of the partial federal government shutdown, 2013 edition.
President Obama and House Republicans at least opened a line of communications before the second week of the shutdown ended, so that was good news.
Less positive was that it came only a week before the Oct. 17 expiration date Treasury Secretary Jack Lew gave for when he would run out of tricks to keep the U.S. government from defaulting on its obligations.
Neil Gaiman is also the author of <em><em>Coraline</em></em><em>,</em><em> Amer<em>ican Gods</em>, <em>Anansi Boys</em>,<em>Stardust</em> </em>and<em> <em>M Is for Magic</em>. </em>He was born in Hampshire, England, and now lives near Minneapolis.
A United Nations vehicle carrying inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) leaves a hotel in Damascus, on Wednesday. Some 19 OPCW arms experts are in Syria and have started to destroy weapons production facilities.
Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 9:05 am
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a watchdog group that is overseeing efforts in Syria to eliminate its chemical stockpile, has won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The group, based in The Hague, Netherlands, was formed in 1997. "Since then the OPCW has, through inspections, destruction and by other means, sought the implementation of the convention. 189 states have acceded to the convention to date," the Nobel committee said.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. To commemorate the new pope, the Vatican minted thousands of medallions in gold, silver and bronze. A portrait of Francis was on one side and on the other, the Latin phrase that inspired Pope Francis to join the Jesuit order and become a priest. The medals went on sale this week and were promptly recalled after the Vatican discovered a typo: Jesus was misspelled as Lesus, with an L. One wit tweeted: I blame the Lesuits. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep with a chance to say what you think. Amid the federal shutdown, a website called DrunkDialCongress.org offers an outlet for frustration. You enter your phone number and get a call with a message.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: When I drink I like to tell people what's on my mind. So in a minute, we're going to forward you to a member of the House of Representatives.
INSKEEP: You're connected to the office of a randomly chosen member of Congress, though you must supply alcohol yourself.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 11:14 am
At a basic level, kissing is a biohazard. What is love then, if not the willingness to expose yourself to a host of nasty diseases lurking in your partner's mouth?
But could kissing also be a tool with a purpose?
Psychology graduate student Rafael Wlodarski, from the University of Oxford, wanted to find out. Results from his experiments supported two of the existing hypotheses about why we kiss. First, we kiss to assess potential mates. Second, we kiss the mate we've found to maintain attachment.
Now we have an update this morning on Colorado's legalization of marijuana. This week we told you opponents of a proposed marijuana tax have been handing out free joints at rallies in Colorado. An ethics group is insisting the pot must disclosed as a campaign contribution. And now the mayor of Denver wants to act. Mayor Michael Hancock tells our friends at Colorado Public Radio he's proposing to outlaw handouts of free weed in city parks.
Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden has been exposing the most profound secrets of America's surveillance system, and the Obama administration's response to that? Declassifying lots of other material. The NSA has been under orders to do that from the White House, yet many lawmakers are demanding even more, which raises the question: when do we know enough? NPR's Carrie Johnson reports.
There's been a lot of speculation about whether John Boehner could lose his job as speaker of the House if he doesn't placate the Republican's vocal Tea Party faction. So far there's been no attempt to oust Boehner.
And as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, it would actually be quite hard to kick him out of the job in the middle of a congressional term.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
One sign of potential progress in Washington is what President Obama and House Republicans did not say. After meeting last night at the White House, the two sides issued polite and diplomatic statements stripped of partisan rhetoric. They have not agreed to extend the federal debt ceiling or reopen the government, but they suggested they're working on it. Their meeting came at the end of an eventful day.
Let's hear, next, about investors who try to diversify their portfolios but may have only enriched their advisers. Some brokers and firms have been encouraging customers to invest in managed futures. Those are basically investments in futures contracts, such as gold, or global currencies or pork bellies. They are sold as a way to minimize risk.
David Evans of Bloomberg says, in reality, they've been a bad deal.
JEFFREY HESS, BYLINE: I'm Jeffrey Hess in Jackson, Mississippi which is one of the 34 states letting the federal government take the lead in establishing a health insurance exchange. Heavy web traffic and software problems have made it nearly impossible to use the new web site since it opened last week.
MEREDITH STARK: Why I keep trying is because this is something we need.
And here's something a little easier to understand. At least one national industrial park has remained open throughout the partial government shutdown. Our last word in business today is: Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
Now in theory, this park should be closed, like other parks, but the National Park Service has not completed the deal to acquire the land yet, so it remains open under local care of the city of Paterson, New Jersey.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
And I'm Renee Montagne.
Let's check in now on some people and places affected by the large-scale federal government shutdown. We go first to Boulder, Colorado. Its home to hundreds of federal research laboratory employees and thousands more university and contract workers, all locked out of federal buildings and labs during the budget impasse.
Ever since then-President Mohamed Morsi was forced out of office by Egypt's military, the Obama administration has struggled with how to handle the massive amount of U.S. aid that goes to Egypt and goes mainly to its military. This week the Obama administration made a decision. It is suspending a significant amount of the annual $1.5 billion in aid.
Now as Michele noted, the chemical weapons inspectors have done their work even as Syria's civil war continues. And Human Rights Watch has been examining atrocities in Syria blamed on the rebels, killing civilians, including women and children. New York Times reporter Anne Barnard has just been visiting Syria. How awkward is it for the U.S. to have rebel groups portrayed in this way, committing atrocities?
Back in 2009, you may recall, Somali pirates boarded the cargo ship Alabama. The tension between the pirates and the American captain, Richard Phillips, is the basis for a new film in theaters this weekend, and critic Kenneth Turan has our review.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: The cargo ship Alabama is headed down the east coast of Africa when Captain Richard Phillips, played by Tom Hanks, sees something no captain in these waters wants to see.
Growing up, Barbara Handelsman often felt out of step with her family.
"When I was really little, I thought my sister always had all the power because she was pudgy and cute, where I had all elbows and knees," Barbara says. "I was so shy. I had no idea how to be the popular kid, and so I felt incompetent when it came to trying to be an A+ anything."
Grand Canyon National Park is closed for the government shutdown, but tourists determined to see it can take in views from reservation land. The Hualapai Tribe owns Grand Canyon West, where visitors can venture onto a Plexiglas horseshoe walkway that stretches out over the chasm below.
On the east side of the Grand Canyon, visitors are flocking to the Navajo Nation, where Nita Rodriguez gives a tour.
Cosmo Wenman generated this 3-D model of the <em>Ares Borghese</em>, based on hundreds of photos, from the Basel Sculpture Hall. Wenman publishes the scans online, so that anyone can use them to 3-D print a replica of the masterpiece.
Credit Courtesy of Cosmo Wenman
These torsos were printed in layers of biodegradable plastic. The original sculptures reside at the Louvre in Paris.
Madeline may be about to celebrate her 75th birthday next year, but the beloved little girl never seems to grow up. After more than seven decades she's still having adventures donned in her coat and big yellow hat with a ribbon down the back.
Readers were first introduced to Madeline in 1939 by author and artist Ludwig Bemelmans. He would go on to write a series of stories that each began in the same way:
In an old house in Paris That was covered in vines Lived twelve little girls in two straight lines.
On Thursday, President Obama met with Senate Democrats. Then he met with House Republicans. And White House staff members continued talks with their counterparts from the House GOP leadership. All that talking just a day after there was radio silence between the two parties. One strong possibility for the change in attitudes is a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that shows that the majority of Americans blame Republicans for the ongoing government shutdown and just 20 percent of people approve of the Republican party.