"It's not about making learning happen. It's about letting it happen." — Sugata Mitra
Learning is an integral part of human nature. But why do we — as adults — assume learning must be taught, tested and reinforced? Why do we put so much effort into making kids think and act like us? In this hour, TED speakers explore the ways babies and children learn, from the womb to the playground to the Web.
Jonathan Coulton makes it rain in this game, which is full of weather conditions mentioned in popular song titles. Can you guess the original song title after he's rewritten the lyrics? As Bob Dylan might say: The answers, my friend, are blowing in this meteorological phenomenon that is like a strong breeze.
Plus, Jonathan finishes out the round with a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
All right, now we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back our winners from all of our previous games. From Street Smarts, we have Joe Di Dio.
EISENBERG: From a Purr-fect Game, we have Michael Haskell. From Sprechen Sie Deutsch, we have Alanna Miller. From Musical Weather Report, we have Jamie Kopf. And from Supermarket to the Stars, we have Helene Busby.
EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru Mary Tobler to take us out.
Y'know, I think this bummed-out superhero thing is catching. Depressed Bat-guy, brooding Spider-dude, even the Man of Steel seems existentially troubled in previews of his most recent incarnation.
And smart-alecky Iron Man? He'd appeared inoculated by Tony Stark's reflexive snark from succumbing to a similar ailment — but even he's having anxiety attacks these days. Ever since that Avengers dust-up with those unpleasant aliens last summer, he's evidently been having trouble sleeping.
In the opening minutes of Something in the Air, the protagonist carves an "A" (for anarchy) into his school desk, and participates in a street demonstration that ends in a punishing flurry of police billy clubs. "The revolution's near," apparently — to quote the 1969 Thunderclap Newman hit that provides the film's title.
Spoiler alert: These two initially incompatible people (played by Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm) will eventually fall for each other in Love Is All You Need, a romantic comedy that isn't either, and whose titular premise we regret to report is not always true.
When a husband steps out on his wife while she's getting chemo, she's entitled to a weekend in the Mediterranean with Pierce Brosnan, right?
Right, but I believe he went there quite recently with Meryl Streep, did he not, albeit without the cancer? I didn't much care for Mamma Mia!, but the garish musical at least embraced its vulgarity with a full heart and a toe-tapping ABBA soundtrack. And now that I've seen Love Is All You Need, I'd settle for Streep doing the splits.
If reality TV has a redeeming value, it's that it teaches you to be suspicious of claims that you're seeing real people doing real things. This is especially so in an age when memoirs bristle with made-up events, and everyone from the Kardashians to the Obamas orchestrate their media coverage. These days, it's hard to tell whether an article, book or TV show is showing you the real person or only a performance.
Caroline Kennedy's latest book comes with an agenda: to encourage a return to poetic memorization and recitation that both families and schools once considered routine.
In Poems to Learn by Heart, Kennedy stresses the importance of memorizing poetry and presents a collection of poems that she believes everyone should internalize.
"I think there's something in it for all ages," she tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I realized this shouldn't be just for kids because older people are the ones that are really working on keeping their memories going strong."
NASA is raising awareness for its upcoming launch of the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution spacecraft with its Going to Mars project. The MAVEN spacecraft is scheduled for launch this November, to study the Red Planet's upper atmosphere; the craft will examine why Mars lost its atmosphere, and how that catastrophe affected the history of water there.
Part of the appeal of podcasts is portability: You can listen at the gym, in the car, or on foot. Beyond portability, though, they offer another advantage: In a world of multimedia bombast, they return listeners to an ancient idea – people talking to other people.
In The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger married her gently wry sensibility to a classic science-fiction conceit, and the result became a literary sensation — as much a tried-and-true staple of book-club culture as cheap malbec.
What do a forlorn Italian father, a costume-drama cad and a pair of Hollywood slapstick heroes have in common? They're all high on a list of must-see movies that David Chase, creator of The Sopranos and director of the 2012 film Not Fade Away, brought us for the occasional Morning Edition series "Watch This."
What unifies them?
Saps At Sea
"When I was a kid, I used to watch Laurel and Hardy with my cousins all the time," Chase says. "I still think they're extremely funny and so surreal."
In Ramin Bahrani's At Any Price, Zac Efron stars as a teen rebelling against his family and dreaming of becoming a professional race car driver. Sound like a generic summer pic? Critic David Edelstein says the film has "a hell of a sting in its tail."
Studios are putting most of their eggs in $100 million baskets these days, even as American independent filmmakers go hungry from lack of mainstream attention. But two of my favorite American indie writer-directors, Jeff Nichols and Ramin Bahrani, have new films with bigger stars than they've had before — films they hope will break through to wider audiences. The results, at least artistically, are impressive.
Mary Ann Shilts takes one of the give away comic books from the display rack at the New Dimensions Comics store in Cranberry, Pa., Butler County, as part of Free Comic Book Day 2012. Free Comic Book Day 2013 is Saturday, May 4.
This Saturday, May 4th, is Free Comic Book Day, the comics industry's annual attempt to sail out past the shallow, overfished shoals where Nerds Like Me lazily and inexpertly spawn, to instead cast their line into the colder, deeper waters where Normals Like You swim free, blissfully unconcerned about the myriad nettlesome continuity issues surrounding Supergirl's underpants.
In the early days of New Girl, Jess Day (Zooey Deschanel) was a toddler-sized tutu made flesh: cute, affected, hard to actually dislike, but earning grins largely by doggedly evoking childhood's clumsy and doomed attempts at grace.
Back in the early 1950s, as a lonely, pregnant young wife already ruing her rash elopement, Edna O'Brien sobbed through the ending of Flaubert's Madame Bovary and wondered, "Why could life not be lived at that same pitch? Why was it only in books that I could find the utter outlet for my emotions?"
To mangle a familiar quotation from Tolstoy, all regions of Italy are different, but each is Italian in its own particular way.
Suppose the Italian regions were women (humor me here). Lombardia would be a glamorous but unapproachable Milan model. I see Emiglia-Romagna as a wealthy, slightly dowdy widow. Umbria would be the wholesome, friendly girl next door. Unlike the American girl next door where I live, however, this one is a terrific cook.
On cable TV, there's a whole truckload of reality shows that make fun of working-class, white Southern culture. They are some of the most popular and talked about new shows, too, such as Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Duck Dynasty.
MTV tried cashing in on the redneck TV trend with its own hyped-up platform for young Southern kids behaving badly, Buckwild. It played like a Southern-fried version of Jersey Shore. Its stars were a dimwitted crew of young people in West Virginia drinking hard and riding pickup trucks through ditches filled with mud.
It's the end of an era at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs, Ohio. On Tuesday, the theater will run its old, 35 mm film projector for the last time. Then, starting Wednesday, it will close for several months to install an expensive new digital projection system.