Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:49 am
You folks were busy this year.
According to our friend Kate Myers, by the start of this week there had been about 200,200 comments posted in this blog's threads in 2012. She tells us that about 21,000 different people shared their thoughts.
The person who had the most to say (and this won't be a surprise to frequent readers) was "Art Aficionado." He shared his thoughts nearly 2,000 times this year.
This is FRESH AIR. I'm David Bianculli of the website TV Worth Watching, sitting in for Terry Gross. This week we've been revisiting some of our favorite interviews of 2012, and we conclude the week by presenting two more: Terry's visits with Stephen Colbert and Doris Day.
As part of our year-end wrap up, we are sharing the best Fresh Air interviews of 2012. This interview was originally broadcast on April 2, 2012.
The biggest female box-office star in Hollywood history, Doris Day started singing and dancing when she was a teenager, and made her first film when she was 24. After nearly 40 movies, she walked away from that part of her life in 1968, and started rescuing and caring for animals.
With a gauge at the tricky section of the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill., already registering a remarkably low water level — and projections that it will fall further in coming days and weeks — trade groups are warning that barge traffic through that part of the river may have to halt completely as soon as next week.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 10:41 am
Got milk? Ancient European farmers who made cheese thousands of years ago certainly had it. But at that time, they lacked a genetic mutation that would have allowed them to digest raw milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood.
Today, however, 35 percent of the global population — mostly people with European ancestry — can digest lactose in adulthood without a hitch.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 7:37 am
The death Thursday of retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf — "Stormin' Norman" — has prompted many looks at the legacy of the American commander who led coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army out of Kuwait.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 7:37 am
As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed a law "that bans Americans from adopting Russian children and imposes other measures in retaliation for new U.S. legislation meant to punish Russian human rights abusers," Reuters reports.
On China's Internet over the past couple of months, it's felt like open season on corrupt officials. Every week or so, some cyber-citizen posts an incriminating video or allegation. Instead of deleting the material, censors have often left it up. So far, at least seven officials have either lost their jobs or are under investigation. NPR's Frank Langfitt reports on what's driving the recent exposure of graft and why it may not last.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:48 am
So far there are no signs of a breakthrough in talks between Democrats and Republicans in Washington to stave off the tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day. President Obama has summoned top congressional leaders for talks at the White House on Friday.
Also last month, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency joked to an environmental law conference: Everyone who wants my job, stand up. Yesterday, Lisa Jackson turned serious and made it official: She's leaving the EPA next month.
As NPR's Selena Simmons-Duffin reports, there are mixed feelings about Jackson's departure.
GREENE: Apple hit a big milestone this year when it became the most highly valued public company in history. So it may be a surprise to hear that Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, saw a big dip in salary - like, a 99 percent dip.
And our last word in business has the Second City coming in first, but I have a feeling this will not be a source of pride. In 2013, Chicago will have the most expensive parking meters in North America.
Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 4:50 am
The tortuous negotiations involved in the "fiscal cliff" talks are like a chess game. The opponents follow rules and techniques. Negotiating is part science, part art, and everyone does it in their daily lives.
Events in the new year could include the biggest airline merger ever. For months, a deal between American Airlines and U.S. Airways has been talked about. The new year is also likely to bring slightly higher domestic ticket prices and some new planes.
Hillary Clinton is preparing to leave the Obama administration after four years as secretary of state, earning generally high marks and fueling all kinds of speculation about what she wants to do next.
Her boss, President Obama, has paid tribute to her, calling her "tireless and extraordinary," though illness and a concussion have kept her out of public view for the past two weeks.
"More than 400 travel days, nearly 1 million miles," President Obama proclaimed at a diplomatic reception recently. "These are not frequent flier miles. She doesn't get discounts."
It's well-known that chemotherapy often comes with side effects like fatigue, hair loss and extreme nausea. What's less well-known is how the cancer treatment affects crucial brain functions, like speech and cognition.
For Yolanda Hunter, a 41-year-old hospice nurse, mother of three and breast cancer patient, these cognitive side effects of chemotherapy were hard to miss.
"I could think of words I wanted to say," Hunter says. "I knew what I wanted to say. ... There was a disconnect from my brain to my mouth."
Unlike a good martini, the story of gin isn't smooth; it's long, complex, sordid and, as Richard Barnett has discovered, it makes for tantalizing material. Barnett's newly published The Book of Gin traces the liquor's life, from its beginnings in alchemy to its current popularity among boutique distillers.
Barnett joins NPR's Renee Montagne to discuss the medicinal origins and changing reputation of gin.