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Science + Technology
8:54 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

A Shadow Economy Lurks In An Electronics Graveyard

Kwesi Bido, 14, (right) stops to fix 13-year-old Inusa Mohammed's flip flop. Both spend evenings and weekends searching for scrap at Agbogbloshie, an electronic waste dump in Accra, Ghana.
Courtesy of Yepoka Yeebo

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 3:51 pm

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world — like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

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Author Interviews
6:25 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

How 'Star Wars' Helped Patton Oswalt Beat His Movie Addiction

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 9:37 pm

Before he made it big in Holloywood, actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt was a junkie — addicted to movies, as he explains in a new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend.

The word addiction gets thrown around a lot, but Oswalt tells NPR's Arun Rath that his relationship to movies was downright pathological.

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Arts + Life
5:06 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

In This New Year, Is It Time To Nix The Thank-You Letter?

Peter Ormerod argues that parents shouldn't force their children to write thank-you cards — it's an exercise in insincerity, he says, and there are better ways to promote gratitude.
Diego Cervo iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:09 pm

Now that the holidays are over, another season has arrived. It's time for children to put pen to paper and scratch out thank you letters — all under the watchful eye of their parents.

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Peter Ormerod argues that it's time to do away with that ritual. He writes that thank you letters "represent arguably the first instance in our lives when insincerity is officially sanctioned, which is particularly sad given that the best thing about children is their honesty."

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Politics
8:08 am
Sun January 4, 2015

Newark's New Mayor Proves His Crime-Fighting Powers Early

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, speaks during a news conference in November. He had met with city Police Chief Anthony Campos and protest organizers after a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury chose not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 5:21 pm

Across the Hudson River in Newark, N.J., the murder rate is down, but the new mayor there says that's just a small step in a very long effort to make Newark a safer place to live.

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The Salt
7:01 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Marketers Turn To Memories Of Sweeter Times To Sell Cereal

General Mills is bringing back the popular '90s cereal in a nod to nostalgia and in the hopes of boosting its weak cereal sales.
General Mills AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:54 am

The taste of foods from our childhood can trigger intense emotional reactions. It's a fact well known to students of French literature and marketing executives.

And it's changing the make-up of the cereal aisle. Thanks to the power of food nostalgia, General Mills is bringing back the sugary cereal French Toast Crunch.

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My Big Break
5:57 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Trading Pom-Poms For Field Boots: Mireya Mayor's Big Break

During a wildlife survey in Madagascar, Mayor discovered a new species of mouse lemur. "[It] weighs less than two ounces, fits in the palm of your hands," she says.
Mark Thiessen Courtesy of Mireya Mayor

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 10:54 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Mireya Mayor's life plays out like an adventure film.

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Race
11:11 am
Sat January 3, 2015

The Goal: To Remember Each Jim Crow Killing, From The '30s On

Police watch a crowd of African-Americans as they wait for a car pool lift in 1956 during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Don Cravens The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 2:00 pm

The state of race relations in the United States has captivated the country for months. But a group of Northeastern University law students is looking to the past to a sometimes forgotten, violent part of American history.

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Health
8:00 am
Sat January 3, 2015

U.N.'s Anthony Banbury: Zero Cases Of Ebola Is The Only Option

Anthony Banbury (second from left) just completed his final tour of West Africa before stepping down as the head of U.N.'s Ebola mission.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 11:59 am

As the new year begins, the Ebola virus continues its deadly spread in West Africa. More than 20,000 are infected and nearly 8,000 have died throughout the region. The number of victims keeps climbing in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and dozens of new Ebola cases in Liberia this week mark a setback after recent improvements.

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The Salt
3:49 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Pastry With Soul. It's That Simple

Grilled lemon pound cake topped with slow-roasted nectarines, basil gelato and olive oil drizzle. Yum.
Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co. Inc.

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 9:02 am

NPR's David Greene enjoyed a little time in the kitchen just before the holidays with Brooks Headley, a punk-rock musician and award-winning pastry chef at New York's Del Posto. Other chefs may revel in fancy technique, but Headley prefers keeping things simple. He says he never wanted to be so obsessed with presentation that the conversation at the dinner table stopped when dessert arrived.

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Found Recipes
5:53 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

A Cure For The Common Hangover, Found On The Stove

After a long night, don't head to the medicine cabinet — head directly to the stove and a simmering pot of posole.
Jesse Hendrix Inman Courtesy of Estes PR

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 11:52 am

On New Year's Day, there's one comfort food that could be your magical hangover remedy, according to chef Anthony Lamas.

"If you're cold, you're hung over, you've had a long night, posole is that Latino cure for you in a bowl," he says.

That's right — don't head to the medicine cabinet, head directly to the stove and a simmering pot of posole, a traditional hominy stew from Mexico, says Lamas, the owner of the restaurant Seviche in Louisville, Ky.

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Goats and Soda
12:40 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Fallen Heroes: A Tribute To The Health Workers Who Died Of Ebola

Theses 32 health workers are among the 360-plus who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Ebola. Their names are listed below. The photos are displayed at the Liberian Midwives Association in Monrovia.
NPR Composite

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 4:51 pm

More than 360 African health workers died of Ebola this year. Some of them made headlines around the world, such as Dr. Umar Sheik Khan, the Sierra Leonean physician who treated more than 100 Ebola patients before contracting the disease himself.

But most of the fallen health workers didn't get that degree of attention. They were doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians. They didn't have the proper protective equipment. As they tried to save the lives of others, they sacrificed their own.

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Code Switch
3:25 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Roxane Gay: 2014 Was The Year Of 'Enough Is Enough'

Roxane Gay is an author who examines race, culture and gender.
Jay Grabiec Roxanegay.com

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 12:32 pm

In an interview this week with NPR, President Obama asserted that the country is less racially divided than when he took office:

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Science + Technology
1:27 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

An Aspiring Martian Continues To Pursue The Red Planet

Beemer, shown at the Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in Utah in 2011, is a candidate for both Mars One and the Mars Arctic 365 program.
Max Fagin

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

Lt. Heidi Beemer has dreamed of going to Mars since she was 8 years old. She's carefully planned her life, from her education to her career, with a goal of getting to the red planet.

In January she got a step closer to that goal by making first cut of applicants for Mars One — a Netherlands-based nonprofit that has a goal of establishing a permanent, sustainable human settlement on Mars by 2025.

Now, she's preparing to interview for the next round.

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Goats and Soda
3:56 am
Tue December 30, 2014

A 'Lost Boy' Helps The Girls Of South Sudan Find An Education

Daniel Majook Gai from South Sudan goes in and out of his war-torn country to help children there go to school.
Courtesy of Project Education South Sudan

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:17 pm

As a boy, Daniel Majook Gai fled the civil war in Sudan, running miles by himself to safety and leaving his family behind. He was one of the so-called Lost Boys — a name given to children separated from their families during that conflict.

After years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, Gai landed in the United States, reunited with his family and got an education. In 2011, he returned home to the newly independent country of South Sudan.

But war came back in 2013 and split the new nation.

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Food
8:35 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Jamie Oliver, Up To His Elbows In Mashed Potatoes With 'Comfort Food'

David Loftus

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 2:46 pm

Jamie Oliver is a food superstar — he has produced and presented hugely popular TV programs on cooking, notably The Naked Chef and more recently Jamie's Food Revolution. He has written more than a dozen cookbooks, many to accompany the TV shows. He has written about English food, Italian food, fast food, American food and school food, and has campaigned for a healthier diet for kids, built around introducing children to a wider range of things to eat — including the dreaded vegetables.

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Literature
8:34 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Before The Internet, Librarians Would 'Answer Everything' — And Still Do

New York Public Library

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 4:28 pm

Before Google there was — that paragon of accuracy and calm — the librarian. The New York Public Library recently came upon a box of questions posed to the library from the 1940s to the '80s — a time capsule from an era when humans consulted other humans for answers to their daily questions and conundrums.

Here's one salacious example: "I went to a New Year's Eve Party and unexpectedly stayed over. I don't really know the hosts. Ought I to send a thank-you note?" asked a "somewhat uncertain female voice" during a midafternoon telephone call on New Year's Day 1967.

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Arts + Life
8:28 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Die-In, Vortex, Selfie Stick: What's The Word Of 2014?

Die-ins, like this one at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 6, were conducted across America to protest grand jury decisions not to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Linguist Ben Zimmer says that while the word "die-in" isn't new, its increased use makes it a strong candidate for the American Dialect Society's 2014 Word of the Year.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 4:37 pm

In January, linguists will gather for the annual meeting of the American Dialect Society in January to vote on the 2014 Word of the Year.

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Author Interviews
5:25 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 9:32 am

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

"It's kind of ... a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "It's the name I gave myself."

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Music
6:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:41 am

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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Arts + Life
5:45 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 6:54 pm

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small — she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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