Two documentaries, Blackfish and The Act of Killing, are making waves around the world. The first riles you up; the second blows your mind.
"Blackfish" is the Inuits' name for the orca, a creature that they say is worthy of veneration but that you don't want to mess with — the chief example in Gabriela Cowperthwaite's Blackfish being Tilikum, responsible for two, possibly three human deaths.
The movie is Tilikum's story — along with the story of other orcas kept in captivity in theme parks like SeaWorld.
Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 12:36 pm
More than a century after the invention of powered flight, birds are still teaching us something about how to fly airplanes, with the Air Force studying the V-shaped formation of airborne geese as a way to save fuel.
The technical term is "vortex surfing" and it's already well-known — NASCAR drivers and Tour de France cyclists use it to "draft" off competitors.
Originally published on Fri July 19, 2013 11:25 am
So much fascinating tech and culture news, so little time. But we certainly think you should see the journalism that's catching our curiosity each week, so each Friday we'll round up the week that was — the work that appeared in this blog, and from our fellow technology writers and observers at other organizations.
And now it's time for "BackTalk." That's where we hear from you. Editor Ammad Omar is back with us. What do you have for us this week, Ammad?
AMMAD OMAR, BYLINE: Hi, Michel, we got a lot of e-mails this week about the George Zimmerman verdict. A ton of listener responses, as you can imagine, and a lot of people were really angry this week. Some people were mad at the jury, some people were mad at the media for the way we covered the case.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Our coverage of the George Zimmerman trial verdict drew many strong reactions. Coming up, we will hear some of them. We'll dig into listener e-mail and comments in BackTalk. But first, it's time for Faith Matters. That's where we talk about matters of faith and spirituality in times of crisis, whether personal or involving the country. Many people in this country turn to faith for comfort or understanding.
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later we'll head into the barbershop as we do just about every Friday. We'll hear from the guys on why financial planning advice from McDonald's to its employees fell flat and other news of the week, that's later. But first, we turn to Detroit. The city declared bankruptcy yesterday, making it the largest municipal bankruptcy in this country's history. It all comes after decades of decline from the city's bloom years as the center of the nation's auto industry.
Photographer Kirk Crippens says you can't. But that hasn't stopped him from trying. Since 2009, he has been documenting the city of Stockton, Calif., which last year became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy — until Detroit filed yesterday. Before bankruptcy, Stockton was the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. But before that, Crippens says, it "was an all-American city — Boomtown, USA — housing going up everywhere."
With each season of AMC's Breaking Bad, Dean Norris' character, DEA agent Hank Schrader, has evolved from a knuckleheaded jock into a complex, sympathetic and even heroic counterpoint to the show's anti-hero, high-school chemistry teacher turned meth cook Walter White. And to further complicate matters, Schrader and White (played by Bryan Cranston) are brothers-in-law.
Thomas Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration — words that could well apply to a new machine promoted by UNICEF that turns human sweat into drinking water.
The Sweat Machine extracts moisture from worn clothes by spinning and heating them, then filters the resulting liquid so that only pure water remains. It was built by Swedish engineer and TV personality Andreas Hammar, and uses a technology developed by Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology and the water purification company HVR.
China's central bank announced that it was removing some controls on the interest rates charged by banks for the loans it issues clients.
Reuters explains that the People's Bank of China said in a statement that it was removing the floor "on lending rates for commercial banks, meaning that banks will now be able to cut rates as much as they see fit to attract borrowers."
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced a last-minute trip to the West Bank this morning that's intended to jump-start stalled peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians.
The trip comes just hours after the Palestinians said they would not return to the negotiating table unless Israel agreed to begin talks using the borders that existed before 1967, when Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem.
Around the world, hundreds of millions of Muslims are fasting from sunrise to sunset. The Muslim holy month of Ramadan began last week and continues until Aug. 7. That's 30 days of avoiding food and drink all day. But in many families, someone still has to prepare a hearty, and sometimes festive, dinner every night.
"Ramadan is a big change in routine," says Jehad Outteneh, a Palestinian in Jerusalem who shops and cooks for her family of eight.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Even if you have been bored watching paint dry or grass grow or water boil, you have nothing on these scientists. An experiment that began in 1944 at Trinity College in Ireland just now has a definitive result - to test whether a thick substance called pitch flowed and dripped. A funnel with the stuff was placed over a jar. Seventy years later students saw a drip forming, set up a camera, and witnessed the drip drop. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Marcia Belyea was on a drive with her boyfriend when she heard a police siren. The Canadian woman was pulled over and told she owed $2,000 in parking tickets and faced 30 days in jail. As she wept in the police car, Belyea was offered a deal. Charges would be dropped if she took her boyfriend's hand in marriage.
Yes, this traumatic event was an elaborate wedding proposal. Believe it or not, she said yes. But Marcia, you have the right to revenge.
Some 130,000 fans are converging on the convention center in San Diego for this year's Comic-Con, the world's largest pop culture convention. One big draw will be the appearance of fantasy writer Neil Gaiman who, after a long hiatus, is bringing back his best-selling comic Sandman. Here to tell us what she's seeing so far is Gina McIntyre. She's the editor of Hero Complex, the pop culture blog at the Los Angeles Times. Good morning.
A Russian court has convicted one of the country's most prominent opposition leaders of embezzlement. Alexei Navalny faces a sentence of five years in prison in a controversial case that he says was trumped up to derail his political career. Navalny was instrumental in organizing mass protests against the rule of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
After three weeks and more than 2,000 miles, the Tour de France finishes up on Sunday in Paris. The race is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. It's also the first year in many that no former winners are suspected of doping. Seven-time tour winner Lance Armstrong finally admitted to doping this past spring, ending a years-long saga.
But even after all that, doping is probably not fini - as NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports from Paris.
Leaders in Harrisburg, Pa., hope the legends of the Wild West will ride to the rescue of the cash-strapped state capital. Thanks to a former mayor's eccentric, failed museum project, the city has an extensive collection of Wild West artifacts — some said to have ties to people like Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Buffalo Bill.