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My Big Break
2:59 pm
Sat February 28, 2015

'Whoa, Mama!': A Voice Actress's Road To Fame As A 10-Year-Old Boy

Nancy Cartwright voices the mischievous 10-year-old son, Bart, in the animated TV show, The Simpsons. "I don't know of any other character that has more catch-phrases than Bart," she says.
Courtesy of FOX

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 2:06 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.

Back in 1987, Nancy Cartwright drove to the FOX Studios lot to try out for a little animated short about a dysfunctional family known as "The Simpsons."

Specifically, she was there to audition for the studious, well-mannered middle child named Lisa.

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Movie Interviews
3:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Film About Campus Sexual Assault Tells Survivors: 'You Are Not Alone'

When Annie Clark was assaulted in 2007 she said the response from her university was victim blaming: "I talked to one campus employee and she gave me this extended metaphor about how rape was like a football game and I was the quarterback in charge and what would I have done differently in that situation," she says.
Courtesy of Radius

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 6:13 pm

A warning to listeners: This conversation may contain some disturbing content.

Andrea Pino was the first person in her family to go to college. When she found out that she had been admitted to the University of North Carolina she was thrilled. "Not only was I going to college — I was going to my dream school," she says. "... I was definitely one of those students that, you know, cried and threw their laptop on the floor and couldn't believe that I was going."

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StoryCorps
1:36 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Obama To Ambitious Teen: 'You Have This Strength Inside Yourself'

President Barack Obama participates in a "My Brother's Keeper" StoryCorps interview with Noah McQueen in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Feb. 20.
Chuck Kennedy The White House

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 9:01 am

Noah McQueen is part of "My Brother's Keeper," a White House program aimed at young men of color.

His teen years have been rough, and include several arrests and a short period of incarceration. But last week, he was at the White House. The 18-year-old sat down for a StoryCorps interview with President Obama, who wanted to know more about Noah's life.

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Goats and Soda
1:35 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Go Behind The Scenes With The Producer Who Made 'Life After Death'

Twins Watta and Fatta Balyon pose for a picture outside their guardian Mamuedeh Kanneh's house.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 6:54 pm

They hired a car and drove for 10 hours over the most rutted dirt roads you can imagine, dodging motorbikes, pedestrians and overloaded cars all the way.

It was December. NPR producers John Poole and Sami Yenigun had come to see what happens to a village after Ebola has struck.

Barkedu, in Liberia, is a beautiful place, green and forested. Tall hills start to rise near its border with Guinea. Cows and chickens roam around the village, which is built along the Lofa River. A small stream runs through Barkedu, where people bath and wash their clothes.

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Author Interviews
4:40 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

'After Birth' Author On 'Mommy Wars': 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'

After Birth by Elisa Albert
Emily Jan NPR

Writer Elisa Albert believes that the so-called "Mommy Wars" have gone on long enough — they are both a distraction and a cop-out, she says. "It's a way of avoiding the actual issues, which is: Women don't have enough support for any of the choices that we make," Albert tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "We are pitted against each other and ultimately, then, are pitted against ourselves. And everybody is unhappy, and everybody feels judged. It doesn't have to be this way."

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Author Interviews
4:44 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

The Woman Behind Marvel's Newest Team Of Heroines

She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa and Nico Minoru are some of the characters that make up Marvel's A-Force.
Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Originally published on Mon February 23, 2015 12:02 pm

Fasten your seat belts, true believers. If you haven't flipped through a comic book in a while, you might be in for quite a surprise come May. The entire Marvel multiverse is collapsing.

Forget about seeing the Wolverine we knew any time soon. And the current Ghost Rider? Before long, his current story line will be gone like, well, a ghost. In the new Marvel universe, coming in May, characters and continuities will be reimagined.

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Author Interviews
3:18 pm
Sun February 22, 2015

Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon On Marriage, Music And Moving On

Kim Gordon is a founding member of Sonic Youth.
Alisa Smirnova Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sun February 22, 2015 5:23 pm

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All Tech Considered
3:10 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

Adobe Photoshop: 'Democratizing' Photo Editing For 25 Years

"Jennifer In Paradise," a photo of Jennifer Walters in Bora Bora in August 1988, was the first color image to ever be Photoshopped. John Knoll used the image of his then-girlfriend (now wife) to demo Photoshop to potential users.
John Knoll

Originally published on Sat February 21, 2015 7:48 pm

This week, the photo editing software Adobe Photoshop turned 25 years old. The program is an industry juggernaut — so famous that the word "Photoshop" has come to be synonymous with image manipulation.

But when the software started, says co-creator Thomas Knoll, it was a personal project. He and his brother John started working on the program in the late 1980s.

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Author Interviews
3:10 pm
Sat February 21, 2015

Exploring The Solar System Through The Eyes Of Robotic Voyagers

This NASA file image shows a true color photo of Saturn assembled from images collected by Voyager 2.
HO AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 7:06 am

The Voyager spacecraft have revolutionized our understanding of our solar system since their launch in 1977. After decades of sending back data on our planetary neighbors, Voyager 1 and 2 are entering new territory: interstellar space.

In a new book, The Interstellar Age: Inside The Forty-Year Voyager Mission, planetary scientist Jim Bell shares the amazing human stories behind the machines' mission.

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Author Interviews
4:06 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

From Iran To Comedy Central: Maz Jobrani's Path To 'Middle Eastern Funny Man'

Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani performs in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in 2014.
Kamran Jebreili AP

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 6:16 pm

After Sept. 11, President George Bush made a speech about America's enemies — Iran, Iraq and North Korea — in which he referred to them as the "Axis of Evil." At first, that name worried Iranian-American comedian Maz Jobrani. But then he decided to do what he always does: laugh about it. He and some friends even started the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, which featured comedians of Middle Eastern descent.

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Parallels
1:23 am
Thu February 19, 2015

For The First Time, An Afghan First Lady Steps Into The Spotlight

Lebanese-born Rula Ghani is Afghanistan's first lady. The wife of newly elected Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has her own office in the presidential palace and intends to play a prominent role in public life.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 8:51 am

Afghanistan was a different world when Rula Ghani moved there from Lebanon as a newlywed in the 1970s. Untouched by war, its small middle class was open to the wider world.

She had met her husband, Ashraf, while studying political science at the American University of Beirut. He was an Afghan Muslim; she, a Lebanese Christian.

They would go on to make a life together — first in Afghanistan, then in America, where she got a degree from Columbia University and became an American citizen, and he taught at Johns Hopkins before moving on to the World Bank.

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Code Switch
5:03 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Ala. Governor Apologizes To Indian Government In 'Excessive Force' Case

Sureshbhai Patel lies in a bed at Huntsville Hospital in Huntsville, Ala., on Feb. 7. Patel was severely injured when police threw him to the ground.
Chirag Patel AP

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 6:11 pm

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley apologized on Tuesday to the government of India for an incident, captured on a squad car's dashboard camera, in which officers slammed an Indian man to the ground.

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Jazz Night In America
4:59 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Christian McBride On 'A Love Supreme' And Its Descendants

John Coltrane during the recording of A Love Supreme in December 1964.
Chuck Stewart Courtesy of the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Originally published on Wed February 18, 2015 7:04 pm

Christian McBride remembers very well the first time he heard A Love Supreme, the John Coltrane classic that turns 50 this month. The bassist, composer and host of NPR's Jazz Night in America was in high school in Philadelphia, and had grown friendly with the staff at record store he passed on his daily commute.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
10:35 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Debate: Are America's Best Days Behind It?

Josef Joffe, author of The Myth of America's Decline, says the U.S. remains a world leader in education, economic performance and innovation.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Is America in decline? Or an unparalleled leader on the global stage? Is the nation coping well with the challenges of the 21st century — from health care and education to the threat of terrorism — or is it falling behind other world powers?

Some argue that, while other developed nations have watched their share of global GDP shrink, the United States has remained an economic powerhouse. The U.S. military is unrivaled, they add, the world's top universities are American and the nation remains a leader in technological innovation.

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Music
4:20 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

The Doctor Is In: Eddie Henderson On Life As 'The Funk Surgeon'

Eddie Henderson's latest album is Collective Portrait.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

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World
3:07 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Thrilled By Chills? Take A Look At The World's Coldest City

Yakutsk, Russia is the world's coldest city: average winter temperatures hit -30 degrees. It's also the largest city built on permafrost.
Amos Chapple

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 7:53 pm

New Zealand-born photographer Amos Chapple was a long, long way from home. Out in the middle of Russia's vast Sakha Republic, an area that spans over 1 million square miles, he was heading towards the world's coldest city.

And he was alone.

In these far reaches of northeast Russia, Chapple says, "If people don't need to be outside, they won't be outside. So in the smaller towns, they all look abandoned. And if you see somebody, they're racing between doors with mitts clasped over faces hurrying to get inside again."

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My Big Break
3:01 pm
Sun February 15, 2015

Fake It Till You Make It, Then Come Clean: A Sportscaster's Big Break

Before a Lakers game this season, Adrián García Márquez and the rest of the TWC Deportes crew tapes a pre-game intro.
Nadia Gonzalez TWC Deportes

Originally published on Sun February 15, 2015 4:20 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.

Before he called play-by-play for the Los Angeles Lakers, before he called the Olympics, before he called the World Series, before he called Monday Night Football, sportscaster Adrián García Márquez was handing out flyers and bumper stickers for a hip-hop station in San Diego.

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Movies
3:20 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

At 'The Grand Budapest,' A Banquet Of Beards And Melange Of Mustaches

Actor Tony Revolori, who plays Zero Moustafa in The Grand Budapest Hotel, paints on a mustache. The movie was full of fake mustaches — but most were made of human hair and silk, rather than paint.
Courtesy of Fox Searchlight

Originally published on Thu February 19, 2015 3:07 pm

Director Wes Anderson is known for his especially exacting visual style — an attention to detail that goes right down to the individual hairs on his actors' faces.

Take The Grand Budapest Hotel, Anderson's historical fairy tale about a luxury central European hotel on the edge of war in the 1930s. Nearly every male character in the film has some kind of painstakingly designed facial hair.

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Movie Interviews
2:57 pm
Sat February 14, 2015

Filmmaker David Cross Says It's No Wonder We All Want Fame

David Cross makes his directorial debut with the dark comedy Hits.
Larry Busacca Getty Images

Originally published on Sat February 14, 2015 4:32 pm

If you know comedian David Cross, chances are you recognize him from his role as Tobias in the TV comedy Arrested Development. Now Cross is making his directorial debut with the dark comedy Hits, a film that explores how easy it is to become famous in our celebrity-obsessed culture.

The movie was released Friday on BitTorrent, an online file-sharing system that's often associated with piracy. The film's producers are asking downloaders merely to pay what they want.

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StoryCorps
1:30 am
Fri February 13, 2015

Chapel Hill Shooting Victims Were 'Radiant,' Teacher Says

Yusor Abu-Salha was one of the victims in Tuesday's shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C. She sat down with her teacher, Mussarut Jabeen, at StoryCorps last May.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri February 13, 2015 9:54 am

Yusor Abu-Salha was one of the young students killed in Tuesday's shooting in Chapel Hill, N.C.

She and her former third-grade teacher, Mussarut Jabeen, spoke to StoryCorps in May. In fact, all three victims in the shooting — Abu-Salha, 21, her husband, Deah Barakat, 23, and her sister, Razan Abu-Salha, 19 — attended the Al-Iman School in Raleigh, N.C., where Jabeen taught.

Jabeen returned to StoryCorps Wednesday to talk about that 2014 conversation with Abu-Salha.

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Tumultuous Relationships, But Not Much Gossip, In Langston Hughes' Letters

Langston Hughes, pictured above in 1961, was a poet, novelist, playwright and "inveterate letter writer," says editor Arnold Rampersad.
AP

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 4:27 pm

In addition to poems and plays and stories, Langston Hughes also wrote letters — a lot of letters. The letters — compiled for the first time in Selected Letters of Langston Hughes -- offer insight into a man deeply devoted to his craft, and chronicle his often tumultuous personal and professional relationships.

"He was an inveterate letter writer," Arnold Rampersad, co-editor of the compilation, tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "He would write sometimes 30 or 40 working late into the night, into the early morning. He believed in letters and he also saved them."

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Author Interviews
12:41 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Twice Kidnapped, Photographer Returns To War Zone: 'It's What I Do'

Lynsey Addario is a photojournalist who has worked in war zones for well over a decade.
Kursat Bayhan Courtesy of Penguin Press

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 7:07 am

In March 2011, photojournalist Lynsey Addario was kidnapped in Libya while covering the fighting between dictator Moammar Gadhafi's troops and rebel forces. She was with Anthony Shadid, Tyler Hicks and Stephen Farrell in the town of Ajdabiya, all on assignment for The New York Times.

Looking back, Addario says she had a premonition that something bad would happen.

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Mon February 9, 2015

Q&A: Sen. Ed Markey On Protecting Data Our Cars Are Sharing

U.S. Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., says our cars are becoming increasingly vulnerable to hacking.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 4:27 pm

Cars and trucks today are computers, and a new report overseen by Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., comes with a warning: As more vehicles have wireless connections, the data stored in them is vulnerable to stealing, hacking and the same invasions faced by any technical system today.

How safe are we in our connected cars?

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Around the Nation
5:19 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

To End Solitary Confinement, Rikers Steps Out Of The Box

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tours and meets with youth Dec. 17 at Second Chance Housing on Rikers Island in New York City. Second Chance Housing is an alternative for incarcerated adolescents, instead of punitive segregation, also known as solitary confinement.
Susan Watts Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 11:09 am

New York's Rikers Island is the second-largest jail in the U.S., and one of the most notorious.

But with a single move, Rikers has taken the lead on prison reform on one issue: Last month, the prison banned the use of solitary confinement for inmates under 21 years old.

Amy Fettig, senior staff counsel for the ACLU's National Prison Project, says the use of isolation is too widespread and that it's being used for the wrong reasons. Often young people are even isolated for their own protection.

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Code Switch
4:40 pm
Sun February 8, 2015

Korean Dictator, All-American Dad: One Actor's 'Very Unique Year'

Randall Park and Constance Wu co-star as husband and wife Louis and Jessica Huang in Fresh Off the Boat.
Gilles Mingasson ABC

Originally published on Mon February 9, 2015 7:53 am

When Randall Park realized just how big a deal Fresh Off The Boat was going to be, he got cold feet. The stakes were high for the first network sitcom in 20 years to feature an Asian-American family.

But he'd already filmed the pilot, in which he starred as family patriarch Louis Huang, a Taiwanese immigrant and firm believer in the American Dream. (The sitcom, which centers on Louis' son Eddie, begins as Louis uproots his young family from Washington, D.C., to suburban Orlando to open a steakhouse.)

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Code Switch
3:56 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 5:56 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

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Music Interviews
3:35 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 7:53 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.

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Law
8:12 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 12:21 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.

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My Big Break
4:56 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 7:29 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.

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Fine Art
4:23 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 7:29 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.

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