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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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” 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 β€” as well as a number of secrets.

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Environment
6:54 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

A Shadow Economy Lurks In An Electronics Graveyard

Kwesi Bido, 14, (right) stops to fix 13-year-old Inusa Mohammed's flip flop. Both spend evenings and weekends searching for scrap at Agbogbloshie, an electronic waste dump in Accra, Ghana.
Courtesy of Yepoka Yeebo

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 1:51 pm

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world β€” like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

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Author Interviews
4:42 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

How 'Star Wars' Helped Patton Oswalt Beat His Movie Addiction

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:48 am

Before he made it big in Holloywood, actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt was a junkie β€” addicted to movies, as he explains in a new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend.

The word addiction gets thrown around a lot, but Oswalt tells NPR's Arun Rath that his relationship to movies was downright pathological.

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Opinion
3:06 pm
Sun January 4, 2015

In This New Year, Is It Time To Nix The Thank-You Letter?

Peter Ormerod argues that parents shouldn't force their children to write thank-you cards β€” it's an exercise in insincerity, he says, and there are better ways to promote gratitude.
Diego Cervo iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 8:09 pm

Now that the holidays are over, another season has arrived. It's time for children to put pen to paper and scratch out thank you letters β€” all under the watchful eye of their parents.

In a recent piece for The Guardian, Peter Ormerod argues that it's time to do away with that ritual. He writes that thank you letters "represent arguably the first instance in our lives when insincerity is officially sanctioned, which is particularly sad given that the best thing about children is their honesty."

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Politics
5:48 am
Sun January 4, 2015

Newark's New Mayor Proves His Crime-Fighting Powers Early

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, speaks during a news conference in November. He had met with city Police Chief Anthony Campos and protest organizers after a Ferguson, Mo., grand jury chose not to indict police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 3:21 pm

Across the Hudson River in Newark, N.J., the murder rate is down, but the new mayor there says that's just a small step in a very long effort to make Newark a safer place to live.

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The Salt
5:01 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Marketers Turn To Memories Of Sweeter Times To Sell Cereal

General Mills is bringing back the popular '90s cereal in a nod to nostalgia and in the hopes of boosting its weak cereal sales.
General Mills AP

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 10:46 pm

The taste of foods from our childhood can trigger intense emotional reactions. It's a fact well known to students of French literature and marketing executives.

And it's changing the make-up of the cereal aisle. Thanks to the power of food nostalgia, General Mills is bringing back the sugary cereal French Toast Crunch.

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My Big Break
3:57 pm
Sat January 3, 2015

Trading Pom-Poms For Field Boots: Mireya Mayor's Big Break

During a wildlife survey in Madagascar, Mayor discovered a new species of mouse lemur. "[It] weighs less than two ounces, fits in the palm of your hands," she says.
Mark Thiessen Courtesy of Mireya Mayor

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 8:54 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.

Mireya Mayor's life plays out like an adventure film.

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Race
9:11 am
Sat January 3, 2015

The Goal: To Remember Each Jim Crow Killing, From The '30s On

Police watch a crowd of African-Americans as they wait for a car pool lift in 1956 during the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
Don Cravens The LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 12:00 pm

The state of race relations in the United States has captivated the country for months. But a group of Northeastern University law students is looking to the past to a sometimes forgotten, violent part of American history.

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Goats and Soda
6:00 am
Sat January 3, 2015

U.N.'s Anthony Banbury: Zero Cases Of Ebola Is The Only Option

Anthony Banbury (second from left) just completed his final tour of West Africa before stepping down as the head of U.N.'s Ebola mission.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sat January 3, 2015 9:59 am

As the new year begins, the Ebola virus continues its deadly spread in West Africa. More than 20,000 are infected and nearly 8,000 have died throughout the region. The number of victims keeps climbing in Guinea and Sierra Leone, and dozens of new Ebola cases in Liberia this week mark a setback after recent improvements.

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The Salt
1:49 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Pastry With Soul. It's That Simple

Grilled lemon pound cake topped with slow-roasted nectarines, basil gelato and olive oil drizzle. Yum.
Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin Courtesy of W.W. Norton & Co. Inc.

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 7:02 am

NPR's David Greene enjoyed a little time in the kitchen just before the holidays with Brooks Headley, a punk-rock musician and award-winning pastry chef at New York's Del Posto. Other chefs may revel in fancy technique, but Headley prefers keeping things simple. He says he never wanted to be so obsessed with presentation that the conversation at the dinner table stopped when dessert arrived.

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Found Recipes
3:20 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

A Cure For The Common Hangover, Found On The Stove

After a long night, don't head to the medicine cabinet β€” head directly to the stove and a simmering pot of posole.
Jesse Hendrix Inman Courtesy of Estes PR

Originally published on Thu January 1, 2015 9:52 am

On New Year's Day, there's one comfort food that could be your magical hangover remedy, according to chef Anthony Lamas.

"If you're cold, you're hung over, you've had a long night, posole is that Latino cure for you in a bowl," he says.

That's right β€” don't head to the medicine cabinet, head directly to the stove and a simmering pot of posole, a traditional hominy stew from Mexico, says Lamas, the owner of the restaurant Seviche in Louisville, Ky.

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Goats and Soda
10:40 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Fallen Heroes: A Tribute To The Health Workers Who Died Of Ebola

Theses 32 health workers are among the 360-plus who sacrificed their lives in the fight against Ebola. Their names are listed below. The photos are displayed at the Liberian Midwives Association in Monrovia.
NPR Composite

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 2:51 pm

More than 360 African health workers died of Ebola this year. Some of them made headlines around the world, such as Dr. Umar Sheik Khan, the Sierra Leonean physician who treated more than 100 Ebola patients before contracting the disease himself.

But most of the fallen health workers didn't get that degree of attention. They were doctors, nurses, midwives, lab technicians. They didn't have the proper protective equipment. As they tried to save the lives of others, they sacrificed their own.

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Code Switch
1:25 am
Wed December 31, 2014

Roxane Gay: 2014 Was The Year Of 'Enough Is Enough'

Roxane Gay is an author who examines race, culture and gender.
Jay Grabiec Roxanegay.com

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 10:32 am

In an interview this week with NPR, President Obama asserted that the country is less racially divided than when he took office:

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Goats and Soda
1:56 am
Tue December 30, 2014

A 'Lost Boy' Helps The Girls Of South Sudan Find An Education

Daniel Majook Gai from South Sudan goes in and out of his war-torn country to help children there go to school.
Courtesy of Project Education South Sudan

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 10:17 am

As a boy, Daniel Majook Gai fled the civil war in Sudan, running miles by himself to safety and leaving his family behind. He was one of the so-called Lost Boys β€” a name given to children separated from their families during that conflict.

After years in refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia, Gai landed in the United States, reunited with his family and got an education. In 2011, he returned home to the newly independent country of South Sudan.

But war came back in 2013 and split the new nation.

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Author Interviews
4:02 pm
Sun December 28, 2014

From Her Dad To Her 'Jamish' Roots, A Poet Pieces Her Story Together

Originally published on Mon December 29, 2014 7:32 am

Growing up in 1970s England, Salena Godden stood out. Her mother was Jamaican and her father was an Irish jazz musician who mysteriously disappeared from her life when she was very young.

In her memoir, Springfield Road, the writer, poet and musician tells the story of finding her personal identity, beginning with the word she made up to describe her race: Jamish.

"It's kind of ... a mix of being Jamaican, Irish, English," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "It's the name I gave myself."

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Music
4:01 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

John McNeil, A Trumpeter Robbed Of His Breath, Blows Again

Trumpeter John McNeil rejoins Hush Point, a group of friends from New York's jazz scene, on the new album Blues and Reds. Left to right: Jeremy Udden, Anthony Pinciotti, Aryeh Kobrinsky, John McNeil.
Alex Hollock Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 8:41 am

John McNeil may be the most important trumpet player you've never heard of.

Many aspiring musicians know him as an educator, through his many instructional books like The Art of Jazz Trumpet. But getting to know McNeil as a performer or recording artist hasn't always been easy: his records could be tough to find.

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Author Interviews
3:45 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

Comedian Andrea Martin: 'I Don't Think Age Has Anything To Do With It'

Comedian Andrea Martin performs at New York's 54 Below in 2012. She published her memoir Lady Parts in September.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images

Originally published on Sat December 27, 2014 4:54 pm

In her memoir Lady Parts, comedy star Andrea Martin writes that in the 1970s, comedians weren't as easy to come by as they are now. "Comedians were much more rare," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. They were "like rock stars, really celebrated."

Over the course of her career, Martin has appeared on-stage and on screens both big and small β€” she won a Tony for her role in Pippin, performed in the films My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and stars in the NBC TV series Working the Engels.

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StoryCorps
1:35 am
Fri December 26, 2014

The Grocery Delivery Man Who Brings Joy To A Housing Complex

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 5:52 am

Herman Travis, 55, lives in Holly Courts, a low-income housing complex in San Francisco.

Every Tuesday, Travis fills a shopping cart with groceries from a local food bank and makes home deliveries to his elderly and disabled neighbors. He started doing it in 2007 and says when he first started, people were skeptical.

"When I first started doing it. People was cautious. They didn't let me in their house, but after they got to really know me they would just be happy to see me," says Travis.

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Movie Reviews
1:31 am
Tue December 23, 2014

A Vital Chapter Of American History On Film In 'Selma'

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr. and Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King in the new movie Selma.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:56 pm

It's hard to believe, but there has never been a major motion picture that centers on one of this country's most iconic figures: Martin Luther King Jr. But that's about to change, with Selma, which opens Christmas Day.

The film explores the tumult and the tactics of the civil rights movement, from King's tense relationship with President Lyndon Johnson to the battle for voting rights for black Americans β€” a battle that reached a climax on Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965, as state police beat peaceful protesters trying to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala.

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Found Recipes
3:04 pm
Mon December 22, 2014

Yule Have To Try This Gingerbread Buche De Noel

Cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says she makes a "Franco-American" buche de Noel with American flavoring and French technique.
Alan Richardson Courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 3:50 pm

Sweets this time of year take on all kinds of whimsical shapes: cookies cut into stars, stockings and gingerbread men, candy canes, peanut butter balls ... or logs covered in frosting.

Yes, really β€” logs.

Not real logs, of course β€” these are holiday cakes, rolled and frosted to look like a yule log and known as buche de Noel. Sometimes the cakes are dotted with little meringue mushrooms or edible holly leaves. While the cake may not be on every American's baking list, cookbook author Dorie Greenspan says it's iconic in Europe.

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Music Interviews
3:24 pm
Sun December 21, 2014

Anthony Hamilton Brings Home Holiday Funk

Anthony Hamilton's first Christmas album is called Home for the Holidays.
LaVan Anderson Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri December 26, 2014 7:30 am

Once a pop artist has been working long enough, the Christmas album feels like an inevitability. Soul singer Anthony Hamilton wanted to try it out, but he was wary of falling into clichΓ© and repeating the formulas that have shaped holiday records for years.

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The Salt
4:40 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

Want To Enhance The Flavor Of Your Food? Put On The Right Music

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri January 2, 2015 3:24 pm

Here's an experiment: take a bite of whatever food you have nearby and listen to some music, something with high notes. Now, take another bite, but listen to something with low notes.

Notice anything?

Researchers at the University of Oxford have been looking for a link between sound and taste. They've found that higher-pitched music β€” think flutes β€” enhances the flavor of sweet or sour foods. Lower-pitched sounds, like tubas, enhance the bitter flavors.

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Food
3:16 pm
Sat December 20, 2014

How Tinseltown Got Tipsy: A Boozy Taste Of Hollywood History

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun January 4, 2015 2:59 pm

If the bars of Los Angeles could talk, they'd have an awful lot of tales to tell β€” old Hollywood was full of famously hard drinkers. And while LA's watering holes are keeping their secrets, one author, Mark Bailey, has uncorked a slew of stories from the city's plastered past.

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Animals
7:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 9:39 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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StoryCorps
8:35 am
Fri December 19, 2014

NORAD's Santa Tracker Began With A Typo And A Good Sport

Col. Harry Shoup came to be known as the "Santa Colonel." He died in 2009.
Courtesy of NORAD

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 7:45 pm

This Christmas Eve people all over the world will log on to the official Santa Tracker to follow his progress through U.S. military radar. This all started in 1955, with a misprint in a Colorado Springs newspaper and a call to Col. Harry Shoup's secret hotline at the Continental Air Defense Command, now known as NORAD.

Shoup's children, Terri Van Keuren, 65, Rick Shoup, 59, and Pam Farrell, 70, recently visited StoryCorps to talk about how the tradition began.

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Movie Interviews
2:01 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The Eye-Opening Saga Of Walter And Margaret Keane, Now On Screen

Amy Adams stars as painter Margaret Keane in the new movie Big Eyes.
Leah Gallo The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:10 pm

It's a story almost too strange to be true: Throughout much of the 1960s and '70s, the wistful, wide-eyed children of painter Walter Keane were absolutely everywhere.

Paintings and posters of the big-eyed waifs, often in rags, their hair unkempt, brought fame and fortune to the charming, smooth-talking artist β€” along with widespread critical disdain.

But years later, it emerged that the art was actually the work of Walter's wife, Margaret Keane. She painted in secret, behind closed doors, and he publicly claimed the work as his own.

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