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Science
3:49 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

A Tiny Ocean World With A Mighty Important Future

Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life and provide half of the oxygen on the planet. Scientists are working to figure out how climate change may be affecting these important microorganisms.
M. Ormestad Tara Oceans

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 5:11 pm

As you take in your next breath of air, you can thank a form of microscopic marine life known as plankton.

They are so small as to be invisible, but taken together, actually dwarf massive creatures like whales. Plankton make up 98 percent of the biomass of ocean life.

"This invisible forest generates half of the oxygen generated on the planet," Chris Bowler, a marine biologist, tells Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered.

And, as climate change alters the temperature and acidity of our waters, this mysterious ocean world may be in jeopardy.

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Education
3:42 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Online Education Grows Up, And For Now, It's Free

Coursera founders Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller are computer science professors at Stanford University.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:26 pm

Online education isn't particularly new. It has been around in some form since the 1990s, but what is new is the speed and scale in which online learning is growing.

In barely a year, many of the most prestigious research universities in the world – including Stanford, Caltech, Oxford and Princeton — have started to jump onto the online bandwagon.

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Music
2:42 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Son Jarocho, The Sound Of Veracruz

Las Cafeteras, from Los Angeles, have made their own version of the classic son jarocho song "La Bamba."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 8:56 pm

Betto Arcos is the host of Global Village, a world music show on KPFK in Los Angeles, and a native of Xalapa, capital city of the Mexican state of Veracruz. He recently spoke with Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about son jarocho — a style of music played mostly in the south of his home state. He says the music is so vibrant because it comes from the Caribbean side of Mexico and has all the influences of that region: African, indigenous and Spanish.

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Interviews
2:40 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

The Man Who Jump-Started Modern Presidential Debate

Vice President Richard Nixon listens as Sen. John F. Kennedy talks during their televised presidential race debate. This photo was made from a television screen in New York, Oct. 21, 1960.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 5:11 pm

President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are prepping for Wednesday's presidential debate. It's a well-worn tradition now, but it wasn't always that way.

The 1960 Kennedy-Nixon face-off wasn't just the first televised presidential debate, it was also the first presidential debate in more than a century.

Four years earlier, a young German emigre named Fred Kahn, a student at the University of Maryland, wanted to see whether the nominees — Dwight Eisenhower and Adlai Stevenson — might want to engage with students.

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Author Interviews
1:51 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

From Tea To T-Shirts: The History Of U.S.-China Trade

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 3:25 pm

You probably don't give much thought to the phrase "Made in China" when you see it written on the bottom of your coffee mug, or on the tag of your T-shirt, but Americans have traded with China for hundreds of years.

In his new book, When America First Met China, Eric Jay Dolin takes us back to the beginning of the long and complicated trade relationship between the two countries.

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Politics
12:43 pm
Sun September 30, 2012

Being 'Better Off' May Not Be Enough To Win Colo.

President Obama speaks during a campaign event at University of Colorado Boulder Sept. 2. He and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will have their first debate at the University of Denver on Wednesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 5:11 pm

Colorado is a good venue for a presidential debate focusing on domestic issues. The first of three highly anticipated debates between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, will take place Wednesday at the University of Denver.

The state is known for its independent voting streak, and much like the rest of the country, there are sharp political divides about the role of government in the economy. In Colorado, those differences grow from two distinct population centers.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:09 am
Sun September 30, 2012

On The Road: Reporting On Lead Poisoning In Nigeria

Four-wheel drive is no match for the mud on the road to a gold mine in northern Nigeria.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 2:20 pm

If you want to witness the health consequences of unsafe gold mining in northwestern Nigeria, the first thing you have to do is get to the mines

There's a crisis of severe lead poisoning near the mines that's killed hundreds of children and made thousands more sick.

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What's in a Song?
7:28 am
Sun September 30, 2012

'I've Been Everywhere' Turns 2 Hours Into 50 Years Of Pay

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 12:14 pm

The song "I've Been Everywhere" was a hit for a string of country stars: Hank Snow in 1962, later Lynn Anderson, then Asleep at the Wheel and Johnny Cash. An all-American classic, right? Think again.

It was actually an Australian who, 50 years ago, wrote the song while trying to come up with a new opener for his act.

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Presidential Race
5:45 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Candidates Push For Colo. To Swing In Their Favor

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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Afghanistan
5:45 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Insider Attacks Hinder Transition Out Of Afghanistan

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. The big headline out of the U.N. general assembly has been about the speech by the Israeli prime minister who warned of the dangers of a nuclear Iran. Other speakers didn't get nearly as much attention.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The assembly will hear an address by his Excellency Hamid Karzai, president of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

MARTIN: Hamid Karzai's address made little news, despite highlighting efforts to bring the Taliban back into mainstream Afghan society.

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NPR Story
5:42 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Gaining From A Bad Call: What Should Athletes Do?

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "LIFE IS A BALLGAME")

SISTER WINONA CARR: (Singing) Life is a ball game being played each day. Life is a ball game...

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

If life is a ballgame, then Mike Pesca is our man in the dugout giving us the play by play and the big picture. Pesca, how the heck have you been? It's been a long time.

MIKE PESCA, BYLINE: I've been well.

MARTIN: OK, good. Well, I've missed you. I can't wait to hear what's on tap for this week. What's on your mind?

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NPR Story
5:42 am
Sun September 30, 2012

How Humans Are Facilitating More Disease 'Spillover'

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

About 10 years ago, doctors in southern China started seeing a lot of patients with signs of what looked like a new illness.

DAVID QUAMMEN: It's like a very, very bad flu that gets people coughing and wheezing and with lung blockage.

MARTIN: That's David Quammen. He's a science writer who writes about the emergence of human diseases in his new book, "Spillover."

QUAMMEN: It causes a throbbing headache and a high fever. And then in some cases, if I recall correctly, it begins to cause organ shutdown, as well.

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NPR Story
5:42 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Shocking Video Could Throw Georgian Election

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

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Author Interviews
4:20 am
Sun September 30, 2012

The 'Future' Of Movies? Critic Says It's Not So Bright

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

According to David Denby, 1979's Apocalypse Now came "out of a movie world so different from our own that sitting through it again is almost a masochistic experience."

The New Yorker film critic clearly loves movies, but in his new book, Do the Movies Have a Future?, he argues that complex films like Apocalypse Now are becoming more and more of a rarity. Denby joins NPR's Rachel Martin to discuss promising directors, what it means to be a film critic and the future of film.

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Author Interviews
4:19 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Inverting 'King Lear' In 'Goldberg Variations'

Scribner

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Author Susan Isaacs has written 13 books; 12 of them have been best-sellers. The women who inhabit Isaacs' books are smart, sexy, a little snarky, and filled with some serious chutzpah.

The center of Isaacs' latest novel, Goldberg Variations, is no exception. Gloria Garrison owns a multimillion-dollar makeover business, and she is not exactly an easy lady to get along with.

Isaacs talks with NPR's Rachel Martin about writing strong women and growing up wanting to be a cowgirl.

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Movies
4:04 am
Sun September 30, 2012

'Looper' Director: Memory A Form Of Time Travel

Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt play different versions of the same character in the time-travel thriller Looper.
Alan Markfield Sony Pictures

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 6:04 am

Looper is a time traveling action flick set in the year 2044. Star Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a paid assassin who makes the startling discovery that his next target is actually himself — an older version of himself from the future.

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Music Interviews
4:04 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Janis Martin, 'The Female Elvis,' Returns

A publicity photo of Janis Martin in the late 1950s or early '60s.
GAB Archive Redferns

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 7:28 am

Janis Martin was just a teenager from Virginia when she was christened "The Female Elvis." In the mid-1950s, she sold 750,000 copies of a song called "Will You, Willyum." She played the Grand Ole Opry, American Bandstand and The Tonight Show. But her fame was short-lived. Martin got married and had a baby, which didn't sit so well with the people managing her career. Her label dropped her, and she fell off the musical map.

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Presidential Race
4:03 am
Sun September 30, 2012

To Prep For Debates, Stand-Ins Take The Stage

Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain waits backstage before the presidential debate with Obama in 2008.
Scott Olson AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 3:59 pm

When President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney stand on the debate stage this week, their campaign advisers and debate coaches want everything — from the stage lighting, to the audience, the room temperature and most importantly, their opponent — to feel very familiar.

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Latin America
4:02 am
Sun September 30, 2012

Venezuela's Young Voters Courted Heavily In Election

Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles attend a campaign rally in Valencia, Venezuela, on Thursday. Capriles is running against President Hugo Chavez in the country's Oct. 7 election.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 11:09 am

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is running for re-election next Sunday. With some polls predicting a tight race, the youth vote in Venezuela is shaping up to be crucial.

That has both the populist president and his challenger working hard to appeal to younger voters who are worried about high crime and jobs — and who can remember no other president than Chavez.

Out on the campaign trail, Angie Rivas passes out fliers and organizes other young people as they canvass this gritty metropolis in a van belting out hip music.

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Afghanistan
3:20 am
Sun September 30, 2012

'Suspected Insider Attack' Reported In Afghanistan

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 8:46 am

Update 10:22 a.m. ET: Not Necessarily An Insider Attack

According to a ISAF statement, the attack that killed a NATO service member and a civilian contractor in Afghanistan on Saturday may not have been an insider attack, as originally reported.

In the statement, the International Security Assistance Force says:

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Presidential Race
5:01 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Ohio County A Historic Predictor Of State's Vote

President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney both campaigned in the battleground state of Ohio this week.
AP

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 6:35 pm

President Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney both barnstormed Ohio this week, holding rallies just miles apart in the state's northwest. Obama's event was smack in the middle of Wood County, with Romney's just north.

The county may have a population of only 125,000, but it has an outsized importance in presidential elections.

"Since 1960, [Wood County] has predicted every election except for one," says Wood County GOP Chairman Matt Reger. "I think that it is a microcosm of Ohio, which in some parts is a microcosm of the United States."

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Technology
3:31 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

QR Codes For Headstones Keep Dearly Departed Close

Lorie Miller holds the brass QR code for her grandmother's gravestone. Smartphone users who scan it will be directed to an online tribute.
Emma Lee Newsworks

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 5:02 am

Lorie Miller bends over her grandparents' grave in north Philadelphia. She holds a two-inch brass square she's going to attach next to the headstone's names and dates.

Printed onto that square is a QR code — that square digital bar code you can scan with a smartphone. Miller peels off the back of her square to expose the adhesive and pushes it into place. The headstone, which otherwise looks the same as many others around it, has just jumped into the modern age.

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Arts & Life
3:17 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction Round 9 Stories: 'Butterflies'

Nemanja Zivancevic iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 5:05 pm

Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction has closed and the judging process is now under way. Susan Stamberg reads an excerpt from one standout story, Butterflies, written by Jennifer Dupree. You can read the full story below along with other stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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Remembrances
3:17 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Publisher Who Transformed The 'New York Times' Dies

Former New York Times president and publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, center, died on Saturday. He was 86.
Marty Lederhandler AP

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 12:52 pm

The quiet man who modernized The New York Times over more than three decades and stubbornly defended the press against government interference died early Saturday at his home in Long Island.

Former publisher and Times Company chairman Arthur O. Sulzberger Sr. had suffered from Parkinson's disease. He was 86.

Sulzberger's family had owned the Times since 1896, and he was named publisher when his brother-in-law, Orvil Dryfoos, died unexpectedly in 1963.

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Politics
2:50 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

What Winning The 'Catholic Vote' Means Today

Archbishop John J. Myers stands outside Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Newark, N.J. The archbishop has urged followers to assess the presidential candidates for their views on abortion and gay marriage.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 5:05 pm

Since 1972, every single presidential candidate who has won the popular vote has also won the Catholic vote. But with Catholics making up one in every four voters, pinning down what exactly the Catholic vote is becomes tricky.

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Author Interviews
2:28 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

Actor Robby Benson Is 'Not Dead ... Yet!'

Originally published on Mon October 1, 2012 9:34 am

Robby Benson began his career at the age of 12, on the Broadway stage, and became a teen heartthrob in the '70s, starring in films such as Ode To Billy Joe, Ice Castles and One on One, which he co-wrote. He was also the voice behind the Beast in the 1991 Disney film, Beauty and the Beast.

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Europe
1:28 pm
Sat September 29, 2012

U.K.'s Simmering Class Tensions Roil Over "Plebe" Flap

British Cabinet Minister Andrew Mitchell is accused of denigrating a police officer during an altercation over his bicycle.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images Europe

Originally published on Sun September 30, 2012 11:21 am

A political scandal in the United Kingdom involving a bicycle, a police officer and a bad-tempered Cabinet minister has laid bare lingering tensions over the British class system.

The controversy has provided ammunition to those who charge the Conservative Party-led government is out of touch with ordinary Britons.

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Music Interviews
10:03 am
Sat September 29, 2012

After A Dozen-Year Disappearance, Ben Folds Five Is Back

Ben Folds Five (from left): Robert Sledge, Darren Jessee and Ben Folds.
Autumn de Wilde Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 5:05 pm

In the early '90s, Ben Folds Five achieved underground success by playing the college circuit, selling out small clubs all across the country.

That all changed with the success of its 1997 album Whatever and Ever Amen. Its hit single "Brick" went to No. 6 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks list, only the second single in the band's history to chart.

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The Two-Way
9:24 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Former New York Times Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger Dies At 86

New York Times publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger in his office in 1973.
Anthony Camerano AP

Originally published on Sat September 29, 2012 3:06 pm

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the longtime former publisher of The New York Times, has died after a long illness, the paper reports:

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
9:07 am
Sat September 29, 2012

Prediction

Transcript

PETER GROSZ, HOST:

Now, panel, what will be the big surprise in next week's debate? Kyrie O'Connor?

KYRIE O'CONNOR: Ron Paul comes out onstage and somebody has to tell him, "Dr. Paul, it's over."

(LAUGHTER)

GROSZ: Brian Babylon?

BRIAN BABYLON: Come to find out that Obama has had a fake spray tan the whole time.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

GROSZ: And Adam Felber?

ADAM FELBER: In a bizarre consecutive technical foul-up, President Obama's teleprompter will malfunction and so will Mitt Romney.

(LAUGHTER)

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