Producers throw a bunch of people into a house, where they're stuck for about three months. All day and all night, they're watched by cameras, and they can be watched online — these are the so-called "live feeds," which are sort of like watching the security cameras in the most boring juice bar in Los Angeles. (I wrote about touring the house in 2010; it's very creepy.)
Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution from The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad, explores what the author Brett Martin describes as the "Third Golden Age of TV," based on a new kind of television character.
Subscription cable channels don't have sensitive sponsors, commercials or concerns about language or violence. In the book, Martin argues that this relative freedom, combined with the old-fashioned appeal of serial storytelling, creates a new kind of high-quality television programming.
Originally published on Tue June 25, 2013 12:22 pm
A few days ago I got an email that contained a bit of a mystery.
"We have a small antique store in Toronto and have come across a pre-1950s Kalart Range Finder Crown Graphic camera made by Graflex Inc., with the etched inscription 'NPR, NY' on it. Was this something that belonged to your organization at one point? If you are interested I can email some pics over."
Summer is the perfect time for a night out at the cinema, but maybe you've noticed something missing at the movies: women.
Women make up a minority of movie creators: 7 percent of directors, 13 percent of writers and 20 percent of producers; that's nearly five men for every woman working behind the scenes.
Out of last year's biggest movies, 28 percent of speaking characters were female. That's downfrom a third just five years ago, according to the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.
Two years ago, in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys. A tough statistic to swallow for those of us who grew up playing with Lego's gender-neutral buckets of bricks. But the statistic came straight from Lego, which was then focused on boys with franchised sets based on properties like Star Wars and The Avengers after weathering a disastrous period in the 1990s that left the company on the brink of collapse.
Climate change seems like this complicated problem with a million pieces. But Henry Jacoby, an economist at MIT's business school, says there's really just one thing you need to do to solve the problem: Tax carbon emissions.
"If you let the economists write the legislation," Jacoby says, "it could be quite simple." He says he could fit the whole bill on one page.
Basically, Jacoby would tax fossil fuels in proportion to the amount of carbon they release. That would make coal, oil and natural gas more expensive. That's it; that's the whole plan.
Gay-rights activists have welcomed a decision by a Christian ministry dedicated to "curing" homosexuals to shut its doors, praising the organization's president for his "integrity and authenticity" in offering an apology for the group's actions.
The Orlando, Fla., based Exodus International, which calls itself the oldest and largest Christian ministry dealing with faith and homosexuality, announced Thursday that it would cease its operations.
Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:07 pm
Actor James Gandolfini, 51, has died, HBO and other sources confirm. The former star of the HBO series The Sopranos was reportedly on holiday in Italy when he died. The cause of death is not yet known with certainty, but HBO says the actor may have suffered a heart attack. Other reports have indicated Gandolfini had a stroke.
Update at 8:15 p.m. ET: Confirmation From HBO:
Initial reports of Gandolfini's death were confirmed to NPR by HBO, which has released a statement:
For almost four minutes last night, comedian Stephen Colbert dropped the act. And he delivered a beautiful, heartfelt eulogy for his late mother Lorna Colbert. There's not much more we can add, just watch:
Ike Schambelan doesn't like thinking about disability, and he's guessing you don't either.
"We hate it. We do not want to see it," he says. "Personally, I want to see it least in myself, second in my wife, third in my cat and fourth in you and all others. I don't want to know about it. I want to be in a total state of denial about it as much as I can be."
NPR's Uri Berliner is taking $5,000 of his own savings and putting it to work. Though he's no financial whiz or guru, he's exploring different types of investments — alternatives that may fare better than staying in a savings account that's not keeping up with inflation.
Count plenty of grown-ups among the millions of fans of Adventure Time, a kids' show on Cartoon Network. Some are surely Emmy voters. (It's won three.) Others are very possibly stoners. Still others are intellectuals. Lev Grossman falls in the last category. He wrote two best-selling novels, The Magicians and The Magician King, and he's Time's senior book critic.
It's hard to go unnoticed in New York City, with everyone checking out the latest fashions and hairstyles. As the weather warms, some women who are shedding those winter layers are finding themselves the object of more cat calls, whistles and roving eyes than they'd like.
Artist Tatayana Fazlalizadeh is not going to take it anymore.
Under the cover of darkness, wearing a black knit hit, black leather jacket and black Chuck Taylors, Fazlalizadeh is nearly invisible. She's scouring Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, for a blank canvas.
Parents steer their kids to media for all kinds of things: as a distraction so they can make dinner, to teach letters and numbers, and for pure entertainment. There are also times when parents rely on books, TV, museums and other media when they aren't quite sure how to approach a difficult topic by themselves.