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My Big Break
4:19 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 โ€” 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 9:30 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.

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Around the Nation
3:24 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 6:26 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.

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Environment
9:22 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 6:14 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.

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Shots - Health News
5:38 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 โ€” as in the family photo above โ€” 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 11:36 am

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.

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Education
3:52 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 5:35 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 โ€” not to mention a paycheck. It's not hyperbole to say the decisions they make now will shape the rest of their lives.

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Author Interviews
4:30 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.

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Middle East
9:41 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 1:55 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 โ€” and has to hopscotch around jihadist-controlled areas along the way.

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Goats and Soda
3:33 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 12:11 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.

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Author Interviews
4:11 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 8:16 am

What if you could drink the elixir of life โ€” sip from a magical spring that would make you live forever? Would you do it? That's the question at the heart of Natalie Babbitt's Tuck Everlasting, a celebrated book for young readers that's marking its 40th anniversary this year.

In the book, 10-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. The father, Angus Tuck, takes Winnie out in a rowboat to explain how unnatural it is to live forever; how the great wheel of life has to turn:

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Book News & Features
3:36 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

'Little House,' Big Demand: Never Underestimate Laura Ingalls Wilder

Laura Ingalls Wilder entertained generations of children with her Little House series, which was loosely based on her family's pioneering life. Her memoir, Pioneer Girl, was published in 2014.
South Dakota State Historical Society

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:35 am

In 2014, the South Dakota State Historical Society published the annotated autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. Her memoir, titled Pioneer Girl, sold like hotcakes. The initial print run of 15,000 was snapped up in just a few weeks. So was an additional run of 15,000 more copies. Now, the historical society is waiting on a third run of 45,000 books โ€” enough to fill current demand and have some leftovers.

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Parallels
3:26 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

After Father's Death, A Writer Learns How 'The Japanese Say Goodbye'

Marie Mutsuki Mockett says the Japanese tradition of Tลrล nagashi โ€” lighting floating paper lanterns in honor of loved ones โ€” reminded her that she was not alone in her grief.
Alberto Carrasco Casado Flickr

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 4:30 pm

Several years ago, when her father died unexpectedly, writer Marie Mutsuki Mockett became unmoored. Lost in a deep depression, Mockett turned to Japan's rituals of mourning for a way forward.

Mockett's mother's family owns and runs a temple just 25 miles from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The plant melted down after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Mockett begged her cousin, the temple's priest, to leave, but he refused โ€” he said he needed to stay to care for the souls of the ancestors.

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Movies
1:39 am
Tue January 27, 2015

'Stronger Than Ever' Sundance Docs Tackle Scientology, Campus Rape

Alex Gibney's Going Clear is based on a book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Lawrence Wright.
Sam Painter Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 9:27 am

Over in Park City, Utah, the Sundance Film Festival is in full swing. Critic Kenneth Turan tells NPR's Renee Montagne about some of the festival's must-see films, including documentaries about Scientology, rape on college campuses and Nina Simone, and a romantic drama based on a novel by Colm Tรณibรญn.


Interview Highlights

On the festival's stand-out documentaries

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My Big Break
3:24 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

How'd A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

After moving back home, Tom Toro didn't know what to do with his life. But a stack of magazines at a used book sale gave him an idea. "There they were," Toro says. "Cartoons in among the articles."
Courtesy of Tom Toro

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:43 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.

Tom Toro didn't always dream of becoming a cartoonist at The New Yorker. Sure, he drew cartoons in college, but he didn't see that as a career path. Instead, he went to film school at NYU.

Then he came to the sudden realization that he was in the wrong field โ€” and he had no idea what he was going to do.

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Code Switch
3:23 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Black Doll Show Inspires With Wakandan Heroes And Jazz Superstars

For the past 34 years, the William Grant Still Arts Center has held a Black Doll Show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country.
Priska Neely NPR

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 4:38 pm

At The William Grant Still Arts Center in the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles, jazz superstars and comic book superheroes are gathered together โ€” in miniature, as part of the Black Doll Show.

For the past 34 years, the center has held a doll show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country. This year's theme is A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes.

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Research News
4:14 pm
Sat January 24, 2015

Study Says Creativity Can Flow From Political Correctness

As the U.S. workforce continues to become more diverse, researchers are now more than ever examining diversity and bias in the work place.
iStockphoto

There is a common belief that requiring the use of "politically correct" language in the workplace stifles creativity.

Michelle Duguid, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, tells NPR's Arun Rath that, intuitively, that assumption makes sense.

"People should be able to freely think, throw any crazy ideas, and any constraint would actually dampen creativity," Duguid says.

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Author Interviews
10:00 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Why A Black Man's Murder Often Goes Unpunished In Los Angeles

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 5:51 pm

In the State of the Union this week, President Obama noted that crime in America is down. "For the first time in 40 years," he said, "the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together."

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Movie Interviews
3:13 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

'Red Army' Explores How The Cold War Played Out On Ice

The documentary Red Army profiles Viacheslav "Slava" Fetisov โ€” one of the most decorated athletes in Soviet history.
Slava Fetisov Slava Fetisov/Sony Pictures Classics

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 8:14 am

When the U.S. Olympic hockey team upset the Soviet Union in 1980's "Miracle on Ice," President Jimmy Carter called coach Herb Brooks to congratulate him on the win.

"Tell the whole team that we're extremely proud of them," Carter said. "I think it just proves that our way of life is the proper way to continue on."

The other way of life, the Soviet way โ€” which produced some of the best hockey players in the world โ€” only went on for another decade or so.

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It's All Politics
11:13 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

State Of The Union Primer: What President Obama Proposed

President Obama delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on Jan. 20. Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio listen in the background.
Mandel Ngan AP

Originally published on Wed January 21, 2015 6:56 am

Facing a Republican-controlled Congress in his sixth State of the Union speech, President Obama took credit Tuesday for an improving economy and focused on proposals aimed at advancing the middle class.

After years of recession and war, Obama claimed "the shadow of crisis has passed." In its place, he asserted, is a future marked by "a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production."

Here's what Obama proposed on the policy front:

Economy

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Author Interviews
3:59 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

Markets May Stumble Or Skyrocket, But This Economist Says Hold On Tight

Burton Malkiel, author of A Random Walk Down Wall Street, says investors in broadly based index funds do better in the long run than stock pickers.
Toby Richards AP

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 8:55 am

In 1973, Burton Malkiel published a very readable guide to investing called A Random Walk Down Wall Street. He didn't rest with the first edition, though. Over the past 42 years โ€” as we've lived through bubbles and crashes, scandals and fads โ€” Malkiel has returned more than a few times to his seminal Walk.

In fact, this year he plans to release the book's 11th edition.

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History
7:16 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

From Wax Cylinders To Records, Saving The Sounds Of History

Actor, playwright and composer Noel Coward rehearses for a show in 1951. A rare recording of Coward introducing his play Peace in Our Time is just one of the millions of sounds and recordings the British Library is looking to preserve.
Jimmy Sime Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 12:27 pm

History is literally fading away in London right now.

Many of the items in The British Library's vast collection of recorded sound are in danger of disappearing. Some just physically won't last much longer. Others are stored in long-dead formats.

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My Big Break
3:35 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

A Tattooist And A Tweet Take A Band From Tiny Clubs To Tours

Noelle Scaggs and Michael Fitzpatrick provide the vocals for the band Fitz and the Tantrums.
Courtesy of the artist

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.

The Los Angeles-based band Fitz and the Tantrums has been called a "genre-smashing" group โ€” blending retro soul and R&B with indie pop.

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Around the Nation
3:22 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Welcome To Whittier, Alaska, A Community Under One Roof

Begich Towers is located at the edge of town. Photographer Reed Young wanted to capture the dry-docked boat in the foreground. "You see a ton of boats that are just scattered all over," he says.
Reed Young The California Sunday Magazine

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 10:22 am

Whittier, Alaska, is a sleepy town on the west side of Prince William Sound, tucked between picturesque mountains. But if you're picturing a small huddle of houses, think again.

Instead, on the edge of town, there stands a 14-story building called Begich Towers โ€” a former Army barracks, resembling an aging hotel, where most of the town's 200 residents live.

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Shots - Health News
2:59 pm
Sun January 18, 2015

Calif. Strike Highlights Larger Issues With Mental Health System

A Kaiser mental health worker with the National Union of Healthcare Workers looks through a pile of signs Monday during day one of a week-long demonstration outside of a Kaiser Permanente hospital in San Francisco.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 18, 2015 3:22 pm

This past week, more than 2,000 mental health workers for the HMO health care giant Kaiser Permanente in California went on strike.

The strike was organized by the National Union of Healthcare Workers. The union says Kaiser Permanente patients have been the victims of "chronic failure to provide its members with timely, quality mental health care."

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Technology
3:22 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

Sit. Stay. Call 911: FIDO Vest Gives Service Dogs An Upgrade

A dog named Sky activates the tug sensor on the FIDO vest. The vest is a piece of wearable technology designed to allow working dogs to perform more tasks and communicate more information.
Rob Felt Courtesy of Georgia Tech

Originally published on Sat January 17, 2015 5:31 pm

Google announced this week they're ending individual sales of the much celebrated, and maligned, Google Glass. And as we reported last week, a recent Fortune study found relatively low interest in wearable gadgets.

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Goats and Soda
3:05 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

14 Takeaways From The 14-Part WHO Report On Ebola

Ebola was out of control in Liberia in August, when this picture was taken.
Dominique Faget AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 16, 2015 12:20 pm

Today, the World Health Organization issued a 14-part report on Ebola, from the moment it started until now.

We asked our team of Ebola correspondents to look at the sections and pull out the points that seemed most interesting โ€” that may have been overlooked or forgotten, stories that show how the virus turned into an epidemic.

Where it all began

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All Tech Considered
2:18 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Bored ... And Brilliant? A Challenge To Disconnect From Your Phone

Illustration by John Hersey Courtesy of WNYC

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:14 pm

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The Salt
4:02 am
Sun January 11, 2015

'Tasty': How Flavor Helped Make Us Human

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," John McQuaid writes in his book Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat.
Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 11, 2015 12:57 pm

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

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All Tech Considered
3:37 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

Forget Wearable Tech. People Really Want Better Batteries.

Smart watches based on Qualcomm chipsets are displayed at CES โ€” but do consumers want them?
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Thu January 15, 2015 2:58 pm

The International Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up its showcase of the latest in high-tech, from wearables to curved-screen phones to extremely high-definition 4K televisions.

But according to a survey from the magazine Fortune, many Americans have a simpler wish: better batteries.

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Author Interviews
3:37 pm
Sat January 10, 2015

'Blood Of The Tiger': Shedding Light On China's Farmed-Tiger Trade

Joanne Stemberger iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat January 10, 2015 4:47 pm

In 1991, wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went to China to verify rumors about tiger farming. She worked undercover, for the World Wildlife Fund and an organization called Traffic.

"I mainly pretended I was a student of traditional Chinese medicine to try to figure out not only what was being traded, but why it was being traded," Mills tells NPR's Arun Rath.

She says she found China's first tiger farm โ€” complete with a hand-written ledgers filling up with orders for tiger bone.

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Movie Interviews
3:24 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

'I Was A Dramatic Kid': For Jessica Chastain, Acting Came Naturally

Jessica Chastain says her grandmother has played a key role in her career. "I've taken her to the Oscars both years," Chastain says. "She's really a special lady and has helped me in more ways than I could ever explain."
Rafa Rivas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 3:06 pm

The new movie A Most Violent Year is set in New York City in 1981 โ€” a chaotic time of spiraling crime. The story involves corruption in the heating oil industry: the hijacking of fuel tankers, a businessman trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and a prosecutor who has that businessman in his sights. And finally, there's the story of the businessman's wife ... who may hold all the cards.

Jessica Chastain plays Anna Morales, the upwardly mobile daughter of a Brooklyn gangster. She keeps the books for her husband's fuel business โ€” as well as a number of secrets.

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