NPR Staff

Pages

Code Switch
5:56 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

100 Years Later, What's The Legacy Of 'Birth Of A Nation'?

Actors dressed in full Ku Klux Klan regalia for scenes in 1915's The Birth of a Nation.
Hulton Archive/ Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 7:56 pm

One hundred years ago Sunday, the nascent film industry premiered what would go on to be its first blockbuster: The Birth of a Nation.

As the house lights dimmed and the orchestra struck up the score, a message from director D.W. Griffith flickered on the screen: "This is an historical presentation of the Civil War and Reconstruction Period, and is not meant to reflect on any race or people of today."

But its effects on race relations were devastating, and reverberations are still felt to this day.

Epic Film, Embedded Bigotry

Read more
Music Interviews
5:35 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Bird Of A Feather: Rudresh Mahanthappa On Learning From Charlie Parker

Rudresh Mahanthappa's latest album is Bird Calls.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 9:53 am

In the early 1980s, when a young sixth-grader in Colorado first heard Charlie Parker, his life was transformed. Now a world-class saxophonist, Rudresh Mahanthappa is paying homage to Parker with his new album, Bird Calls. Mahanthappa says it's a tribute to Charlie Parker — but there are no Charlie Parker songs here.

Read more
Law
10:12 am
Sun February 8, 2015

Next Witness: Will The Yellow Smiley Face Take The Stand?

Are these jokers ready to appear in court?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 2:21 pm

Emojis can be a lot of fun. Little pictures on our phones seem to express sentiments when words just fall short. Sometimes we need to punctuate our sentences with a sad cat, floating hearts, maybe an alien head.

They aren't complicated when they appear in our personal email or texts, but emojis are now popping up in a place where their meanings are closely scrutinized: courtrooms.

Read more
My Big Break
6:56 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

From Touchdowns To Takeoff: Engineer-Athlete Soared To Space

Leland Melvin with his dogs, Jake and Scout. "I snuck them into NASA to get this picture," Melvin says.
Courtesy of Leland Melvin

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

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.

You may recognize retired astronaut Leland Melvin from his famous 2009 NASA portrait with his two dogs, Jake and Scout. Or maybe you've seen him on the Lifetime channel hosting Child Genius.

Read more
Fine Art
6:23 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

'War Rugs' Reflect Afghanistan's Long History With Conflict

Afghan war rugs reflect the nation's long history of conflict through one of its most ancient art forms.
Courtesy of Kevin Sudeith

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

Afghanistan has suffered through long decades of war; conflict with the Soviet Union, civil war and 13 years of a U.S.-led NATO combat mission. Among the political, economic and cultural impacts of this violence, there's an artistic transformation: the history of violence is reflected in the country's ancient art of rug making.

Kevin Sudeith, a collector, tells NPR's Arun Rath that he has long been impressed by the craftsmanship of Afghan rugs.

Read more
Author Interviews
5:37 pm
Sat February 7, 2015

We Went From Hunter-Gatherers To Space Explorers, But Are We Happier?

Until about 30,000 years ago — around the same time these animals were drawn on the walls of France's Chauvet Cave — there were at least five other species of humans on the planet.
Jeff Pachoud AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 9:29 pm

In his book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, scientist Yuval Noah Harari attempts a seemingly impossible task — packing the entirety of human history into 400 pages.

Harari, an Israeli historian, is interested in tackling big-picture questions and puncturing some of our dearly held beliefs about human progress.

Read more
Author Interviews
11:19 am
Sat February 7, 2015

An Expansive View Of Vietnam In 'She Weeps Each Time You're Born'

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 11:44 am

A woman named Rabbit is a kind of miracle: She was pulled out of her dead mother's grave beside the Ma River in Vietnam, on the night of a full moon — when folklore says that a rabbit walks the moon. Rabbit is the center of poet and author Quan Barry's new novel, She Weeps Each Time You're Born.

The Vietnam War is raging; American troops have just begun to pull out, and Rabbit grows up in a landscape of leveled homes, shattered lives, and barren, poisoned fields, her life slipping between present tense and parable.

Read more
Theater
5:23 pm
Fri February 6, 2015

Much To His Chagrin, On Broadway Larry David Has To 'Wait And Talk'

Larry David hasn't been in a play since the eighth grade, but he's written and stars in a new comedy called Fish in the Dark, directed by Anna D. Shapiro. "I didn't think it was going to get any laughs at all," he says. "The first time we did it, like every laugh was a surprise to me because I was expecting nothing."
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Philip Renaldi Publicity

Originally published on Sat February 7, 2015 2:24 pm

These days, when Larry David leaves work at the stage door of the Cort Theater, fans are lined up for his autograph. At age 67, David is now a Broadway star — and that's new, scary territory for him.

David was co-creator of the TV sitcom Seinfeld and starred as himself — a cantankerous guy who says exactly what's on his mind — in the raucously funny HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. He hasn't been in a play since he was in eighth grade, but now he's written one called Fish in the Dark, and it's his name in lights.

Read more
Parallels
6:23 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

In 'Red Notice,' Success Draws Treachery, Tragedy In Putin's Russia

Bill Browder crosses Red Square in 2004, at the height of Hermitage Capital Management's success.
James Hill Courtesy of the Browder Family Archives

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 11:48 am

William Browder's new book, Red Notice, is named for the type of warrant the Russian government has sought from Interpol in hopes of capturing him.

The hedge fund manager made huge profits with Hermitage Capital Management, a company he started in Russia in 1996. That, he says, drew the attention and machinations of a corrupt group of Russian officials.

Read more
Around the Nation
4:03 am
Thu February 5, 2015

Stuck In Traffic? It's Likely To Be Worse In 30 Years, Report Says

Traffic clogs the 101 Freeway in Los Angeles.
Mark Ralston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 1:27 pm

Moving from crisis to crisis — for too long that's been America's strategy for dealing with the challenges of an aging transit infrastructure, from roads to bridges to ports. The result is a system that's crumbling and in desperate need of attention, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The massive study both looks at the current state of the country's transportation systems and forecasts the challenges that lie ahead.

Read more
Health
11:42 am
Mon February 2, 2015

As America Grays, A Call For Dignity In Aging And Elder Care

The baby boomers are getting older: This year, 4 million people in America will turn 65.

In her new book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America, author Ai-jen Poo says that means the country is on the cusp of a major shift.

"The baby boom generation is reaching retirement age at a rate of 10,000 people per day," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "What that means is that by 2050, 27 million Americans will need some form of long-term care or assistance, and that's the basis for this book."

Read more
Around the Nation
5:40 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

To Save 2 Cows, All It Took Was A Good Icebreaker

A cow walks away from an icy pond after firefighters rescued it and one other cow that had fallen through the ice.
Darin Anstine AP

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 8:26 am

The Fountain, Colo., Fire Department handles a lot of animal rescue calls. But in 11 years with the department, Fire Captain Rick Daniels says the call he got on Jan. 26 was "one of the more challenging animal rescue calls that I've had."

No one's exactly sure how or why, Daniels tells NPR, but two brown cows had wandered out over a frozen pond, and fallen through the half-foot of ice.

Someone driving by the pond called 911 and described seeing just the heads of two cows peeking out over the sheet of ice. The cows were up to their necks in frigid water.

Read more
My Big Break
5:40 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

From The Ivy League To 'The X-Files': David Duchovny's Big Break

David Duchovny says The X-Files was his biggest break — not because it was successful but because that's where he went from youthful ambition to an adult understanding of what it means to work.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 11:30 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.

Here's something you probably know about David Duchovny: He played one of the 1990s' most iconic roles, FBI agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files.

Read more
Environment
11:24 am
Sun February 1, 2015

The Ice Is Talking. We Just Have To Listen

Giant chunks of ice break away from the Hans Glacier in Svalbard, Norway, in 2013.
Courtesy Oskar Glowacki

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 8:14 am

If a glacier cracks and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?

"Oh, they moan and they groan," says Grant Deane, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "They crackle and rumble and fizz, and they have all kinds of amazing sounds that they make."

Deane is one of the authors of a new study that interprets the acoustics of glacial melting.

Read more
Shots - Health News
7:56 am
Sun February 1, 2015

Family Struggles With Father's Wish To Die

Robert Schwimmer, 66, and his son Scott Schwimmer, 21, spoke with NPR about Robert's wish to hasten his death under certain circumstances. Here — as in the family photo above — they're in Kauai, Hawaii, on the family's "last big trip" after Robert received a 6-month prognosis in October.
Courtesy Scott Schwimmer

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:36 pm

When 66-year-old Robert Schwimmer was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013, he didn't take it all that seriously. His doctors told him it was "operable," and that was the only word he seemed to hear.

Now he's in hospice care and, as he tells NPR's Rachel Martin, he accepts that he's no longer trying to prolong life, but rather living out what's left of it.

Read more
Education
5:52 am
Sun February 1, 2015

A Crossroads At The End Of College: Introducing 'The Howard Project'

Howard University students (left to right) Kevin Peterman, Taylor Davis, Leighton Watson and Ariel Alford are the subjects of NPR's Project Howard. They'll be keeping audio diaries as they finish their final semester of college and look toward their futures.
Robb Hill for NPR

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 7:35 pm

If you know any college seniors, now might be a good time to send them some encouraging words. The class of 2015 can't be blamed if they're feeling a little worried: They're facing one of the most important transitions of their lives.

In a matter of months, they're about to launch from the relatively protected confines of college into the so-called "real world," where they have to find a sense of purpose — not to mention a paycheck. It's not hyperbole to say the decisions they make now will shape the rest of their lives.

Read more
Author Interviews
6:30 pm
Sat January 31, 2015

Impressions From The Ice: A Poet Returns From Antarctica

Last year, a poet arrived at the end of the earth: Jynne Dilling Martin spent six weeks, funded by the National Science Foundation, living in Antarctica.

She spent the summer (winter, to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) shadowing scientists as they went about their work, and writing about the people who call the icy continent home.

Read more
Middle East
11:41 am
Sat January 31, 2015

Four Years After Revolution, Libya Slides Into Chaos

Bullet holes from recent clashes riddle an apartment building in Tripoli.
Bilal Hussein AP

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 3:55 pm

There was hope in Libya and around the world for Libya after Moammar Gadhafi was overthrown four years ago.

But today, Libya is a country torn apart. There are now two competing governments, in different cities with their own parliaments and their own military.

A traveler first needs a visa from one government to land in Tripoli, then a so-called "landing permission" to fly east to the other government's territory — and has to hopscotch around jihadist-controlled areas along the way.

Read more
Goats and Soda
5:33 am
Sat January 31, 2015

A Former Child Soldier Finds Escape, Heaven Through His Music

"Through music," says former child soldier Emmanuel Jal, "I was able to become a child again."
Courtesy of Gatwitch

Originally published on Sat January 31, 2015 2:11 pm

Emmanuel Jal was only 8 when he was dragged into Sudan's long civil war. Like 12,000 other children, he was recruited as a soldier, fighting and killing alongside South Sudanese armed groups.

Only a few, like Jal, have managed to escape.

Read more
Sports
9:28 am
Fri January 30, 2015

Should Ray Rice Get A Second Chance? 'Maybe,' Parcells Says

Bill Parcells has been coach to the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots and the New York Jets.
Robert B. Stanton Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 10:54 am

Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, coached three other teams, and mentored young coaches who would go on to success, including Bill Belichick, who's taking the New England Patriots into the Super Bowl this Sunday. Parcells spoke with NPR's David Greene about his recent book, Parcells: A Football Life, and discussed the attention paid to player behavior off the field this NFL season.

Read more

Pages