LATEST FROM NPR

Pages

Science + Technology
5:53 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

From Corn Belt To Main Street: The Drought's Far-Reaching Grasp

The sun shines above a farm near White City, Kan., in November.
Orlin Wagner AP

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 7:37 pm

The U.S. had its hottest year on record last year. That heat, combined with the relatively dry winter that came before, has brought a historic drought.

From forest fires and low crop yields, to infrastructure and recreation, the drought has been costly, with early estimates putting the cost at between $50 billion and $80 billion.

Read more
Arts + Life
5:44 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Aaron Swartz, Reddit Cofounder And Online Activist, Dead At 26

Aaron Swartz co-authored RSS and founded the company that later became the social media website Reddit.
Boston Globe via Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 8:54 am

He was 14 when he co-authored RSS and later helped found the company that would become the social media website Reddit. Internet activist Aaron Swartz was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, authorities said Saturday. He was 26.

Update at 7:42 p.m.: Swartz To Be Remembered For 'Technological Virtuosity':

Read more
Remembrances
4:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Remembering PFLAG Founder And Mother

Jeanne Manford, gay rights advocate and PFLAG founder.
PFLAG National

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 10:32 pm

President Obama spoke about Jeanne Manford in a speech he gave at the annual Human Rights Campaign National Dinner in 2009. Her son, Morty, was an important figure in New York City's gay community during the turbulent 1970s.

"Soon after the protests at Stonewall 40 years ago, the phone rang in the home of a soft-spoken elementary school teacher named Jeanne Manford," he said. A police officer told her Morty had been arrested.

Read more
Digital Life
4:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

'Make Me' Asian App Sparks Online Backlash

A screenshot from the "Make me Asian" app page in the Google Play store.
Google Play

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 10:04 am

Tens of thousands of people have downloaded two apps from the Google Play Store that are sparking accusations of racism.

The "Make me Asian" and "Make me Indian" apps allow Android smartphone users to take a picture and superimpose characteristics the developer thinks relate to those ethnic groups. An online petition is urging Google to remove the apps from its store.

The Make me Asian app manipulates pictures to give the subject yellow-tinged skin, narrow eyes, a conical rice-paddy hat and a Fu Manchu mustache taken from a fictional Chinese villain.

Read more
Movie Interviews
4:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Ann Dowd's One-Woman Oscar-Nomination Campaign

Ann Dowd plays Sandra, a hard-nosed Midwestern manager of a fast-food franchise in Compliance. The actress spent $13,000 to try to get an Oscar nomination for the role.
Magnolia Pictures

Originally published on Sun January 13, 2013 11:01 am

Actress Ann Dowd won huge praise from critics for her role in the indie movie Compliance. But when it came time to start campaigning for nominations ahead of awards season, Magnolia Pictures — the studio that produced the film — told her they didn't have the budget to lobby the Academy for a best supporting actress award for her.

So Dowd did something exceedingly rare in Hollywood: She started her own campaign.

Read more
Analysis
4:56 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Week In News: The Debt Ceiling Whack-A-Mole

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 7:37 pm

Transcript

JACKI LYDEN, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Jacki Lyden.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS REPORTS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: The Federal Reserve should knit a trillion dollar platinum coin.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: And the government could use that to pay the debt, avoid default and pre-empt the debt ceiling crisis.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: This is the kind of stuff that happens right before the downgrade. The last days of Rome, this is what happened.

Read more
Law
3:15 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

From The Bronx To The Bench: The Family Photos Of Justice Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, late 1970s.
Courtesy of Justice Sonia Sotomayor

It was a long road to the Supreme Court. On the way, Justice Sonia Sotomayor faced a diabetes diagnosis, her father's death to alcoholism and her cousin's overdose. For Sotomayor, life began in the Bronx, in tenement housing in a community of Puerto Rican immigrants. She gave NPR exclusive access to a huge suitcase brimming with family photos and tells her story in this multimedia experience.

Read more
Food
2:22 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Between A Rumba And A Roll: Dissecting A Bartender's Beat

Bartender J.P. Fetherston demonstrates his shaking technique while making a pisco sour at Rappahannock Oyster Bar in Washington, D.C.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:36 pm

When you walk into a crowded bar, the sound may not be apparent at first. But before long, your ears will pick up the rhythm of an unmistakable beat.

It's a bartender's shake.

"Some people think I'm listening to a rumba when I'm shaking," says D.C. bartender Eddie Kim. "I don't think it matters what the background music is as long as you keep a rhythm."

Another Beltway bartender, J.P. Fetherston, agrees, adding that the spectacle helps him keep his audience captivated.

Read more
Music
2:19 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Why There Are Only 100 Copies Of The New Bob Dylan Record

Bob Dylan in 1962. His extremely limited-edition 50th Anniversary Collection features unreleased material from his early career.
John Cohen Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 1:47 pm

Bob Dylan has made some puzzling moves in his celebrated career, but the compilation that his record label recently released may be as odd as anything he's ever put out.

The compilation, 50th Anniversary Collection, is a limited-edition, four-CD set that was only released in Europe. It seems to have been designed by the label to exploit a recent change in European copyright law.

Read more
The Two-Way
2:10 pm
Sat January 12, 2013

Fleeing Violence, Syrian Refugees Weather A Cruel Winter

Some of the worst winter weather in decades is making life even more difficult for the residents of the al-Marj refugee camp. Some Syrians who fled violence and shelling say after living in such harsh conditions, they wish they could go back.
Susannah George NPR

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 3:32 pm

Lebanon has had some of the worst winter weather in decades. First, record rainfalls flooded the low-lying part of the country, then ice and show bent trees and blocked roads. The frigid conditions are making it even harsher for Syrian refugees trying to take shelter from the violence in their home country.

The al-Marj refugee camp sits wedged between snow-covered vineyards, a community center and an unfinished warehouse in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, just a 10-minute drive from the Syrian border.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:57 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Failed French Rescue Attempt Leaves Several Dead In Somalia

In October, kidnapped French intelligence agent Denis Allex appeared in a video shot by his captors. In the video, Allex pleads for French President Francois Hollande to negotiate for his release.
- AFP/Getty Images

It's not clear whether a French intelligence agent is dead or alive after a botched rescue attempt in Somalia on Saturday morning. As the AP reports:

"France says the agent, code-name Denis Allex, was killed in the raid, along with a French commando and 17 Islamist militants. But the militant group al-Shabab, which held Allex for more than three years, says it still has Allex and claims to have captured a French soldier."

Read more
Simon Says
10:29 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Cheating Might Buy Home Runs, But No Hall Of Fame

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:23 pm

The Baseball Hall of Fame is a tourist attraction, not a papal conclave. And the people who cast votes for the Hall are sportswriters, not the College of Cardinals.

But there was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Not Roger Clemens, who won a record seven Cy Young Awards. Not Barry Bonds, who hit a record 762 home runs. Not Sammy Sosa, who hit 60 or more home runs in a season three times.

Read more
Fresh Air Weekend
9:03 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Fresh Air Weekend: Civil War, 'Downton' And 'Girls'

Lena Dunham's series Girls, which follows the lives of a group of young women in New York City, returns to HBO this month.
Jessica Miglio HBO

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 11:43 am

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

Read more
Simon Says
8:31 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Baseball Hall Of Fame Snub Draws The Line

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:22 am

There was something momentous this week when the Baseball Writers Association elected no one to the Hall of Fame. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon remarks on the rebuke, rare in a sport where bad behavior is routine.

The Two-Way
7:38 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Hazardous Smog Enshrouds Beijing

The air quality in Beijing registered at hazardous levels on Saturday, beyond the index used to chart it.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 9:48 am

Beijing's air quality reached extremely hazardous levels Saturday, and officials are warning people to stay indoors, NPR's Louisa Lim reports.

"Beijing's skies are shrouded in a blanket of spectral grey smog, which blocks visibility and makes the eyes sting," Lim tells our Newscast Desk.

She says the air quality level is literally off the charts: The U.S. embassy's index stops at 500, but the levels recorded Saturday hit "beyond index," above 800. Lim adds:

Read more
Health
7:33 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Phooey On Flu

A lot of you have had it by now, or are having it or are about to be exposed. This year's flu is called "H3N2" and this week it's doing big business in about 47 states, Chicago and New York. If you've had a flu shot and if you wash your hands several times a day for 20 seconds, (which is the time it takes to hum "Happy Birthday to You" two times through) you might reduce your odds of getting sick.

Read more
The Sotomayor Interview
7:00 am
Sat January 12, 2013

A Justice Deliberates: Sotomayor On Love, Health And Family

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke with NPR in December at the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.
Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 3:27 pm

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor readily concedes that she was the beneficiary of affirmative action in higher education, and she doesn't really know why her view is so different from that of her colleague, Justice Clarence Thomas.

"As much as I know Clarence, admire him and have grown to appreciate him," she says, "I have never ever focused on the negative of things. I always look at the positive. And I know one thing: If affirmative action opened the doors for me at Princeton, once I got in, I did the work. I proved myself worthy. So, I don't look at how the door opened."

Read more
Business
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

A Nightmarish Week For Boeing's Dreamliner

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Of course, this last week has been kind of a nightmare for Boeing and its new 787 Dreamliner. In three separate incidents in as many days, airline carriers reported problems with brakes, with fuel leaks and a battery fire. The U.S. Department of Transportation has announced a comprehensive review of the new plane. Joining us now to talk about Boeing's new 787 is Joe Nocera, op-ed columnist for The New York Times, and our man on finance and other matters. Joe, thanks very much for being with us.

Read more
Politics
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

What Would Obama Do (If There's No Debt Ceiling Deal)?

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

You might've chuckled a bit this week, if you heard about the trillion-dollar platinum coin plan, to perhaps address Washington, D.C.'s debt ceiling stalemate. But it will certainly be no laughing matter if the U.S. Congress refuses to raise the borrowing limit, and the U.S. government defaults on its debt. Global financial markets would likely plummet.

NPR's John Ydstie reports on some of the options the president has if he and Congress cannot reach an agreement.

Read more
Sports
6:42 am
Sat January 12, 2013

Making Sense Of The NFL Playoffs

Originally published on Sat January 12, 2013 12:08 pm

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Hey, it's time for sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIMON: In the NFL playoffs this weekend, will the Falcons, Seahawks and Ravens soar? Will the Broncos buck, the 49ers strike gold, the Patriots run up the flag, the Texans remember, and the Packers pack up and go home? How many ridiculous phrases can I work into a sentence?

NPR's Tom Goldman joins us now to help us make sense of all of 'em. Tom, thanks for being with us.

Read more

Pages