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3:50 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

A Depressive Diarist Chronicles His Descent

istockphoto.com

Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.

"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.

On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.

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All Tech Considered
3:19 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Tech Pioneer Channels Hard Lessons Into Silicon Valley Success

Nvidia Chief Executive Officer Jen-Hsun Huang co-founded the graphics chip maker in 1993.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Modern computer games and their fast-paced graphics require an incredible amount of computing horsepower. So much, in fact, that the kinds of chips commonly used for gaming are now being built into some of the world's fastest supercomputers.

If you're a serious gamer, if realistic, detailed graphics get your pulse racing, you should write Jen-Hsun Huang a thank-you note.

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Arts & Life
1:52 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Our Media, Ourselves: Are We Headed For A Matrix?

Design Within Reach? The cool sterility of 2001: A Space Odyssey is just one example of how pop culture expresses an anxiety that's seemingly about technology, but may be as old as time.
MGM

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 8:31 am

When Hollywood imagines the future, from Logan's Run to Avatar, it tends to picture living spaces as sterile and characterless, without any cultural clues to the person who lives there. No record library, no DVDs, no Hemingway on bookshelves ... often no bookshelves.

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Economy
1:13 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

With Business Up, Owners Say Banks Lending Again

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 9:26 am

A big reason for the slow recovery has been that the nation's battered banks haven't been able or willing to lend. There are signs that's changing and that bank lending is helping to support stronger growth.

Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust, a Chicago-based bank, say his reading of Federal Reserve data has convinced him that banks have finally taken the baton from the Fed and are now making credit more available.

"We've seen a sharp increase in business loans on the books of banks," he says.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Eurozone Ministers Close To Greek Bailout Deal

Host Audie Cornish talks with Eric Westervelt about the decision on whether to grant Greece another bailout, this time worth $171 billion.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

'Hugo' Author Explores His Inspiration Up Close

When Brian O. Selznick wrote The Invention of Hugo Cabaret — a graphic novel about an orphan in 1930s Paris — he imagined the secret spaces of a Paris train station. For inspiration, he visited Grand Central Terminal in New York City. But the scenes in the book — hidden tunnels, secret rooms, the giant clock tower — were all drawn from Selznick's imagination and later turned into the movie Hugo by Martin Scorcese, which is nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

Election 2012
1:00 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Lawsuits Flying Over Florida's Redistricting

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 3:54 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Florida, members of Congress and the state legislature are scrambling to decide what districts they'll run for in this year's election. The legislature recently released maps that redraw the districts. It's a once-in-a-decade process every state goes through to reflect population changes since the last census. Because of its growth, Florida is gaining two seats, but there is bipartisan unhappiness with the maps. And NPR's Greg Allen reports that the battle over how they were drawn may ultimately be decided by the courts.

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Europe
12:58 pm
Mon February 20, 2012

Portugal Plays By The Rules, But Economy Slumps

A once-bustling vegetable market in Lisbon is now beyond the reach of many Portuguese — a sign of their country's economic problems.
Sylvia Poggioli NPR

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 9:25 am

The eurozone crisis has focused attention on debt-burdened Greece spiraling into decline. Meanwhile, Portugal is seen as the international creditors' poster-child for obediently slashing spending and welfare benefits.

Nevertheless, the Portuguese national debt continues to grow, and the country is mired in recession and soaring unemployment.

The Portuguese national character has long been identified with Fado music. Raquel Freire, an activist with the local Occupy movement, says the melancholy style helps explain decades of resignation.

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Oscar's Top Documentaries
11:54 am
Mon February 20, 2012

One Marine's Journey To 'Hell And Back Again'

Hell And Back Again focuses on Sgt. Nathan Harris' life at home and on the battlefield.
Courtesy Danfung Dennis

Photojournalist Danfung Dennis has captured the brutalities of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for major publications, including The New York Times, Time magazine, The Guardian and The Washington Post.

Inspired by these experiences, Dennis embedded with the U.S. Marines Echo Company in Afghanistan and created the documentary Hell And Back Again.

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NPR Story
11:54 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Ojibwe Writer Seeks Out The Beauty Of 'Rez Life'

Novelist David Treuer is the son of an Ojibwe trial judge.
Jean-Luc Bertini

Stories about life on Native American reservations often focus on the hardships — alcoholism, drugs, violence and poverty. In Rez Life: An Indian's Journey Through Reservation Life, Ojibwe writer David Treuer strives to capture stories about the beauty of life on Indian reservations.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Sorting Out Iran's Regional Ambitions

Originally published on Sun February 26, 2012 6:57 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. A team of U.N. inspectors has arrived in Tehran, and a few days ago, the Iranian government sent a letter that proposed a new round of talks with the U.S. and five other big powers.

But conditions are so tense right now that some believe the failure of either effort might trigger an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and no one knows what might happen after that.

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Opinion
11:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Op-Ed: Criminalizing Lies Is Dangerous, Unnecessary

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 1:23 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

And now, The Opinion Page. Does freedom of speech include the right to lie? After he boasted about his Medal of Honor, Xavier Alvarez became one of the first people convicted under the Stolen Valor Act, a law that makes it a crime to falsely claim military decorations. The case goes before the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

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The Two-Way
10:18 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Holiday News Roundup: Mardi Gras, Greece And John Glenn

An image captured on Feb. 20, 1962, by NASA shows astronaut John Glenn during his space flight in the Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft, weightless and traveling at 17,500 mph. The image was made by an automatic sequence motion picture camera.
NASA AP

The Two-Way is formally off-duty for the Presidents' Day holiday. But not only does the news not take a holiday — often, holidays are the news. Here's a quick roundup of some of today's important and most-discussed stories:

  • Syria is reinforcing its military in what seems to be a bid to control Homs. (AP)
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Author Interviews
10:01 am
Mon February 20, 2012

'New Yorker' Cartoonist Imagines Washington At 7

Through his many New Yorker covers, Barry Blitt has become one of the pre-eminent satirical cartoonists of America's recent presidents. He is probably best known for his controversial 2008 cover of Michelle and Barack Obama, dressed as a Muslim and a militant with an AK-47, fist-bumping in the Oval Office.

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The Two-Way
9:07 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Baseball's Spring Training Begins; Opening Day Is April 4

Catcher Buster Posey, seen here during a spring training workout Sunday, has been told by the San Francisco Giants that he should avoid blocking home plate. Posey broke his leg on a scoring play at the plate last season.
Darron Cummings AP

Major League Baseball's spring training has begun, as catchers and pitchers have made their way to Florida and Arizona to prepare for the 2012 season. Games in the Grapefruit League and Cactus League won't begin until early March, when all players will report to camp.

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The Two-Way
6:53 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Stephen Colbert Set To Return Tonight, After A Delay In Taping

Stephen Colbert, seen here in a file photo from November 2011, postponed production of his Colbert Report due to concerns about his mother's health, according to reports. The show will resume taping Monday, according to Comedy Central.
Fernando Leon Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 9:17 am

The Colbert Report is set to resume production Monday, after a hiatus last week brought on by concerns over the health of Stephen Colbert's mother, according to reports. Lorna Colbert, 91, lives in Charleston, S.C., where the Comedy Central star grew up.

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The Salt
6:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

George Washington's Ice Cream Recipe: First, Cut Ice From River

Actress portraying Martha Washington
John Rose

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:01 am

This year would not be a good year for ice cream. In fact, there would be none at all if we relied on the technique George Washington used at Mount Vernon, his Virginia estate that's perched on the banks of the Potomac River.

His source of ice was the frozen river. Given the warm winter we've had here in D.C. , there's no chance. Seems the weather is nothing like it was on Jan. 26, 1786, when Washington wrote in his journal:

"Renewed my Ice operation to day, employing as many hands as I conveniently could in getting it from the Maryland shore, carting and pounding it."

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Asia
5:34 am
Mon February 20, 2012

S. Korea Conducts Drill, Flouting N. Korean Threat

South Korean Navy ships dock at a floating base near Yeonpyong Island, close to its contested ocean border with North Korea Monday. South Korea conducted live-fire military drills from five islands, ignoring Pyongyang's threat to attack.
Bae Jung-hyun AP

South Korea conducted live-fire military drills near its disputed sea boundary with North Korea Monday, despite Pyongyang's threat to respond with a "merciless" attack.

North Korea did not carry out the threat as it focuses on internal stability two months after the death of longtime leader Kim Jong Il and prepares for nuclear disarmament talks with the United States later this week. But with American forces scheduled to conduct additional military exercises with ally South Korea over the next few months, tensions are expected to remain high in the region.

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Three Books...
5:00 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Screen Time: 3 Books That Should Be Movies

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:09 am

J.D. Salinger famously refused to sell the film rights to The Catcher in the Rye, saying it was "unactable." It's true the subtleties of such great novels can get lost in translation. But I thought I'd take a look at three of my favorite novels that have never made it to the multiplex in wide release. Each of these will transport you to another time and another place.

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Music Interviews
12:53 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Bret McKenzie: A Very Manly Muppet [Extended Cut]

Bret McKenzie (left) wrote five of the songs in The Muppets, including the Oscar-nominated "Man or Muppet" and the opening number, "Life's a Happy Song."
Andrew Macpherson Disney

A shorter version of this interview was broadcast on Feb. 13, 2012.

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Food
12:46 am
Mon February 20, 2012

Swedish Fat Tuesday Delicacy Kept Alive In Portland

Filling semlor with sweet almond paste requires great concentration from Astrid Foster, age 7. Get the recipe for semlor.
Deena Prichep NPR

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 4:56 am

Back when refrigeration wasn't up to modern standards, Fat Tuesday was a time to clear your house of indulgent foods. This led to lots of rich recipes, from Shrove pancakes to King Cake. In Sweden, the specialty is semlor. A group of people in Portland, Ore., are keeping that dish — and a few other Swedish traditions — alive.

Picture soft, sweet rolls, sort of like brioche, piled with creamy almond filling. Now picture them being made by a room full of young, mostly blond children speaking Swedish.

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U.S.
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Pounding Pavement In Search Of A Smoother Drive

The University of California Pavement Research Center in Davis works on creating longer lasting, quieter and more fuel-efficient pavement. Above, samples of asphalt being tested at the center.
Lauren Sommer KQED

A sweeping transportation bill being debated in Congress addresses how to prop up dwindling funds for the nation's aging highways. States with their own budget shortfalls are facing the same challenge. In California, researchers are trying to stretch those resources by developing next-generation pavements that are quieter and more fuel-efficient to drive on.

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Europe
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Signs Of A Media Crackdown Emerge In Russia

Alexei Venediktov, then editor-in-chief of Moscow Echo radio station, talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during an awards ceremony in Moscow, Jan. 13. Venediktov's ouster this month is seen as a sign that the Russian government may be cracking down on the independent media.
Yana Lapikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 4:56 am

With less than two weeks to go before Russia's presidential elections, the country's independent journalists are in a state of anxiety. Government-run media seem more open than ever to divergent viewpoints — but officials may be cracking down on independent outlets that go too far.

Two incidents last week suggest that the Russian government is prepared to lean on journalists — both domestic and foreign.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Does Tylenol Worsen Asthma For Kids?

Dr. John McBride examines 9-month-old Martez after his mother, Ceasha Moorer, brought him in to check on his asthma.
Courtesy of Karen Schaefer

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 3:50 pm

Parents and doctors around the world have been alarmed by the dramatic increase in childhood asthma.

One factor in the upswing is better detection by doctors, but at least one doctor thinks a common over-the-counter drug also has something to do with it.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Wanted: Specially Designed Tools For Pediatric Surgery

Surgeons often need specially designed tools to operate on small children.
istockphoto.com

One tool doesn't fit all when it comes to surgery.

Pediatric surgeons know this all too well when it's time to operate on a baby. Some infants are born prematurely. Others have congenital defects — some part of their internal anatomy that just didn't develop the way it was supposed to.

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Health
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Army Moves To Act Fast On Battlefield Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries are most often caused by powerful blasts from improvised explosive devices. A roadside bomb explodes and the concussive effect violently shakes the brain inside the skull.
Stefano Rellandini Reuters /Landov

Nineteen-year-old Army Pvt. Cody Dollman has a look in his eyes that makes you think he probably used to fight much bigger kids on the playground back home in Wichita, Kan. He says he always wanted to be a soldier — both his grandfathers served in the military — but he's the first in his family to see action overseas.

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Media
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Russian Accuses Voice Of America Of Fake Interview

Voice of America was criticized after the veracity of its interview with a Russian anti-corruption activist was questioned. In this photo provided by the network, a control room is seen during a Russian-language Web show.
Voice of America

Originally published on Mon February 20, 2012 4:56 am

NPR's Michele Kelemen is a former employee of Voice of America.

Russian anti-corruption crusader Alexei Navalny has been the victim of many dirty tricks by pro-Kremlin media.

But when the U.S. government-funded Voice of America published an online interview that had him criticizing other Russian opposition figures, Navalny quickly tweeted that the interview was a fake.

"It seems the VOA has gone nuts," he wrote to his Twitter followers.

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Business
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

Bondholders To Take A Hit In Greece Bailout Plan

European finance ministers are expected to vote on the latest $171 billion bailout package for Greece Monday. The package needs to be approved so Greece can make payments on bonds that come due a month from now. Even if the bailout is approved, it is likely to be only a temporary solution to Greece's troubles.

Across the Atlantic in New York, Hans Humes likes to ride his bike from his home in Brooklyn to his office at Greylock Capital Management in Manhattan. On a recent morning he showed up for our interview still carrying his bike helmet.

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Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

As Bear Population Grows, More States Look At Hunts

A family of bears investigates a Dumpster behind a diner in Pomona, N.Y., last fall. Black bears are becoming more common in populated areas around the United States.
Eddy Philippe AP

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 6:48 am

Wildlife officials don't usually base hunting policies on how the public feels about an animal. But the black bear seems to be different. The revered king of the forest has bounced back from near-extinction to being a nuisance in some areas. Some states are trying to figure out if residents can live in peace with bears, or if they'd rather have hunters keep numbers in check.

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NPR Story
5:58 pm
Sun February 19, 2012

The Role Of Political Spouses: Decoding An Image

One of the most talked about personalities on the Republican presidential campaign trail, Callista Gingrich, rarely says a word. That hasn't kept her out of the spotlight, though. From their hair to their home life, potential first ladies get attention on the campaign trail.

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