Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

Songwriter Dwight Yoakam was raised in Ohio — a big disadvantage for a country singer. But he overcame that handicap to become a country star, with multiple platinum albums and hit songs over the past few decades.

And as a country singer, he has shared many stories of woe with his fans. So we invited him to play a game we're calling "You're the happiest man in the world" — three questions about Matthieu Ricard, a French-born Buddhist Monk who's reputed to be happier than all the rest of us.

If you thought that professional video game competitions would be the one sport immune to a doping scandal, you'd be wrong.

Starlee Kine is the creator and host of the Mystery Show podcast, which takes on — and solves — a mystery every week. (Not to be confused with last fall's hit podcast Serial, in which they explored a mystery without ever solving it.)

We invited Kine to play a game we're calling "What's up, Doc?" This last week marked the 75th anniversary of the debut of Bugs Bunny. We'll ask Kine three questions about the beloved cartoon character.

The story of hitchBOT — the robot that had visited Europe and New York City, but couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece — may not be over. A Philadelphia tech group is offering to rebuild the robot and hoping to repair their city's reputation.

A kid-sized robot that's built around a plastic bucket and sports a friendly LED face, hitchBOT had been on a mission to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco, relying on the kindness of humans it meets along the way.

After a bunch of really nice humans helped a hitchhiking robot traverse the length of Canada and most of Germany, the robot was going to try to make it from Massachusetts all the way to California.

HitchBOT is the brainchild of two Canadian social scientists. As Frauke Zeller and David Harris Smith explained it in a piece for the Harvard Business Review, it was an experiment meant to spark a discussion "about trust, notions of safety, and about our attitude towards technology."

A new skydiving record was set Friday in Ottawa, Ill., at speeds up to 240 mph.

Chicago hip-hop superstar Chance the Rapper got his name because nobody believed a guy named Chancelor Bennett could rap.

We've invited him to our free show in Millennium Park in Chicago to play a game called "Chance the Rapper, meet Saran the Wrapper." Three questions about using Saran wrap on everything other than leftovers.

Women's Comics Are Surfing The Crowd

Jul 26, 2015

If you're in any doubt whether women are having a Moment in the comics world, take a look at the new incarnation of superhero Black Canary. DC Comics' Annie Wu has taken the character's platinum hair and fishnets from kittenish to riot grrrl by way of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Glowering from the cover of the first issue, she seems to be saying, "Put your eyeballs back in your head and let me save you."

Archie Comics Cartoonist Tom Moore Dies At 86

Jul 22, 2015

Artist Tom Moore, who gave life to the teen angst of Archie and his Riverdale pals from 1953 to the late 1980s, has died of lung cancer in El Paso, Texas.

Brazil hosted the World Cup last year. Next year, it will host the Summer Olympics. On Sunday, though, the country played host to another international gathering of talented competitors: the Rubik's Cube World Championship.

This past weekend, hundreds of "speedcubers," as they're known, descended on Sao Paulo from over 40 countries, to take part in three days of intensive competition.

It's family vacation time, and I've taken the kids back to where I grew up — a small plot of land off a dirt road in Kansas.

For my city kids, this is supposed to be heaven. There are freshly laid chicken eggs to gather, new kittens to play with and miles of pasture to explore.

But we're not outside.

I'm sitting in my childhood bedroom watching my 7-year-old son and his 11-year-old-cousin stare at a screen. The older kid is teaching the younger the secrets of one of the most popular games on Earth: Minecraft.

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle has a bit of wordplay. Change one letter in each word provided to make two new words. The letter you change must be in the same position in each word of the pair. And the letter you change each of them to will be the same letter of the alphabet.

For example, "relief" and "mallet" become "belief" and "ballet."

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Drawn and Quarterly, the Montreal-based publisher of comics and graphic novels, began life as a magazine, released in April of 1990. That first issue served as a de facto mission statement, laying out what the company would one day achieve on a grander scale – and what it would strive always to avoid.

On-air challenge: For every word provided (all starting with the letter "W"), give a proverb or saying that contains that word.

Last week's challenge: Take the phrase "I am a monarch." Rearrange the 11 letters to name a world leader who was not a monarch, but who ruled with similar authority. Who is it?

Answer: Chairman Mao.

Winner: David Slobodin of Asheville, North Carolina.

Astronaut Sunita Williams, known as Sunny around the Johnson Space Center, has spent a total of 322 days in space. She holds the record for total cumulative spacewalk time (50 hours and 40 minutes) conducted by a female astronaut.

So since Williams is such an expert on outer space, we're going to quiz her on storage space. She'll answer three questions about the fascinating world of rental storage units.

Who's That Batgirl? 'Burnside' Charms Despite Stumbles

Jun 16, 2015

"I guess you can't trust any Batgirl these days," Barbara Gordon says roguishly (she does everything roguishly) in Batgirl Vol. 1: Batgirl of Burnside. It's a sly, even subversive line, referring to the fact that the role has been played by many different characters — and in many different ways — over the years. With Barbara's comment, the authors reiterate their cleverly layered theme: Identity, especially in the digital age, is anything but fixed.

Every once in a while we have someone on the show who we can't believe agreed to be on the show. Case in point: Kim Kardashian is a producer, entrepreneur, designer, model, mom, tabloid magazine life support system — and now a star of public radio.

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous, one-named singer like Madonna or Beyoncé. Identify each name from its anagram, to which one extra letter is added. The singers are a mix of past and present. For example, given "ADS" plus "E," the answer is "Sade."

The Science Of 'Collected Fiction' Is Pure Magic

May 20, 2015

I have just finished Hannu Rajaniemi's Collected Fiction and I am still recovering.

My mind feels constellated. I am keenly, weirdly, expansively aware of explosions still taking place inside my head. The world has shifted while I read, and the quartz in the necklace I wear is full of super computers breathing sentience against my skin. There are eyes threaded through scarves over the windowsill. I want to learn everything.

Pages