NPR Staff

Pages

Performing Arts
7:17 am
Sat August 1, 2015

For Penn & Teller's Magical Partnership, The Trick Is Telling The Truth

Still snapping selfies, 40 years later.
Joan Marcus Courtesy of Courtesy of Boneau/Bryan-Brown

Originally published on Sat August 1, 2015 11:12 am

What does a couple do for its 40th anniversary?

If you're Penn and Teller, you play Broadway. Thirty years after they first played New York, the duo are back with a new show. And it's no quiet celebration, either. In the course of a single performance, they make a cellphone ring inside a dead fish, swallow both needles and fire — and make a rare African spotted pygmy elephant disappear.

Read more
Code Switch
5:48 am
Sat August 1, 2015

Black Lives Matter: Coming To A Museum Near You?

Demonstrators protested the death of Michael Brown on last summer in Ferguson, Mo., even as police sprayed pepper spray, shot smoke, gas and flash grenades.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 1, 2015 9:31 am

As we approach the one-year anniversary of unarmed black youth Michael Brown's death at the hands of Ferguson, Mo., police officer Darren Wilson, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is set to open next fall in Washington, D.C., has already started collecting banners and posters from the Ferguson protests, as well as gas masks donned by protesters and cell phone videos taken at the various demonstrations.

Read more
Architecture
3:27 am
Sat August 1, 2015

Blueprints Before High Tide: An Architect Explains The Perfect Sandcastle

This gargantuan beauty was built during the 1999 Delaware State News Sandcastle Contest. The castle was lost all too soon in a tragic high-tide accident.
Grant L. Gursky Associated Press

Originally published on Sat August 1, 2015 9:31 am

Architect Renzo Piano has designed the 87-floor Shard skyscraper in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the new home for the Whitney Museum in New York.

Read more
StoryCorps
2:46 am
Fri July 31, 2015

Maj. Bambi: Meet The Marine Who Was Disney's Famous Fawn

Newspaper clippings of young Donnie Dunagan from the early '40s.
Courtesy of Donnie and Dana Dunagan.

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 10:23 am

Donnie Dunagan is a hard-nosed Marine, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War who served for a quarter-century. First drafted in the '50s and subsequently promoted 13 times in 21 years — a Corps record at the time, he recalls — Dunagan found the Marines a perfect fit. That is, so long as he could keep a secret.

A dark reminder of the past Dunagan left behind still lurked unspoken: He was Bambi.

Read more
Music Interviews
2:58 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Jason Isbell Has Conquered Fear, But He's Still Learning About Himself

Jason Isbell's new album, Something More Than Free, comes as he's preparing to be a father.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu July 30, 2015 4:24 pm

Jason Isbell is riding high this week: His new album Something More Than Free is number one on Billboard's country, rock and folk charts. The musician from rural Alabama got his start with the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, and then went solo. For the past few years, he's been sober, after drinking brought him "close to the point of no return."

Read more
Around the Nation
3:07 am
Thu July 30, 2015

#TheEmptyChair Amplifies Conversation About Sexual Assault

This week's New York magazine cover has received a lot of attention.
New York Magazine Via Twitter

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 10:21 am

The cover story of this week's New York magazine is getting a lot of attention.

It features 35 women seated in chairs and one empty chair. The women are all dressed in black, looking straight ahead with both hands resting on their knees. It is a stark image, and all the more compelling because each of them is openly and by name accusing Bill Cosby of horrendous acts. Some say they were drugged and raped; others recount stories of narrowly escaping sexual assault.

Read more
Music Interviews
2:55 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Through Doubt And Dark Times, Joss Stone Lets Her Voice Light The Way

Joss Stone's new album, Water For Your Soul, is out July 31.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 10:21 am

Joss Stone's voice first stunned listeners more than a decade ago. The British singer was only 14 years old then, but her booming, soulful voice got noticed, as did her knack for taking success in stride. At age 28, she hasn't stopped: Stone's newest album, Water for Your Soul, comes out this Friday.

Read more
Parallels
4:42 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Investigation Underway Into Killing Of Cecil, Zimbabwe's Best Known Lion

Cecil the lion is shown walking in Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park in a YouTube video from July 9, 2015. Credit: Bryan Orford
Bryan Orford YouTube

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 10:39 am

Conservationists are lamenting the hunting and killing of a well-known lion from western Zimbabwe's Hwange National Park.

The black-maned lion, named Cecil, was 13 years old and had become popular among tourists from around the world.

Read more
The Salt
3:40 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Oceans Called A 'Wild West' Where Lawlessness And Impunity Rule

Originally published on Tue July 28, 2015 10:19 pm

There are about 140 million square miles of open ocean, and according to New York Times reporter Ian Urbina, much of it is essentially lawless. As Mark Young, a retired U.S. Coast Guard commander and former chief of enforcement for the Pacific Ocean, told Urbina, the maritime realm is "like the Wild West. Weak rules, few sheriffs, lots of outlaws."

Read more
All Tech Considered
5:24 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Narcissistic, Maybe. But Is There More To The Art Of The Selfie?

To selfie, or not to selfie?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri July 31, 2015 11:53 am

The smartphone has given us a whole new genre of cultural expression: the selfie.

If you're into selfies, it's safe to say you've probably taken one, and maybe wished you didn't have those dark circles under your eyes.

Now there are plenty of apps out there to fix that.

But whether you think your selfies can be elevated to art may depend on how much effort you are willing to put into them.

A Personal Brand Boost

Read more
Latin America
4:11 pm
Sun July 26, 2015

A Day Of Triumph In A Time Of Change: Cuba's High Holiday Explained

Cubans gather in Santiago de Cuba to celebrate this year's Revolution Day, the 62nd anniversary of Fidel Castro's first open assault on the forces of President Fulgencio Batista, who would eventually be overthrown by the rebels.
Yamil Lage AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 9:23 pm

On this day 62 years ago, Fidel Castro launched the attack that marked the start of the Cuban revolution. In the years since, the day has taken on emotional significance for the Cuban people — and for the communist government that celebrates it annually.

Read more
Global Health
3:13 pm
Sun July 26, 2015

Transgender Women Face Inadequate Health Care, 'Shocking' HIV Rates

Transgender performers walk backstage during an event to mark World AIDS Day in 2013. A new WHO report demonstrates extremely rates of HIV infection among transgender women in 15 countries.
Prakash Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 9:27 pm

Transgender people are not getting adequate health care, and widespread discrimination is largely to blame, according to a recent World Health Organization report. And the story is told most starkly in the high rates of HIV among transgender women worldwide.

JoAnne Keatley, one of the authors of that study, puts it plainly.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:50 am
Sun July 26, 2015

In This Twist On Tricky Dick's History, A President's Secrets Can Save Us

Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Sun July 26, 2015 8:38 am

"I promise you I will show the same contempt for the historical record that it has shown for me."

So intone the opening pages of Austin Grossman's Crooked, in what are supposed to be the thoughts of our 37th president, Richard Nixon — or, at least, those thoughts as Grossman imagines them.

Read more
Newport Folk Festival
3:28 pm
Sat July 25, 2015

50 Years Ago, Bob Dylan Electrified A Decade With One Concert

Diana Davies Courtesy of the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution

In the early 1960s, burgeoning folk music scenes were burbling up all over the country, and the Newport Folk Festival was their confluence.

Read more
Movie Interviews
3:28 pm
Sat July 25, 2015

Back To Walley World: The Griswolds Go On 'Vacation' Again

Skyler Gisondo (from left), Steele Stebbins, Christina Applegate and Ed Helms are the new Griswold family — en route to Walley World — in the 2015 follow-up to the 1983 movie Vacation.
Hopper Stone Warner Brothers Pictures

National Lampoon's Vacation has been resurrected: more than 30 years later, the Griswolds are back on another reckless, wild road trip.

In the new movie Vacation, Rusty Griswold, the son from the original series, is all grown up and taking his family on a cross-country trip to the theme park Walley World. It goes about as smoothly as you'd expect.

Co-writers and co-directors John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein say the R-rated movie is not a reboot or a remake, but very much a sequel.

Read more
Race
5:48 am
Sat July 25, 2015

A Navajo Speaker Says The Language Connects Her With Her Culture

Supporters of Navajo presidential candidate Chris Deschene were unhappy last October when a court determined that he did not meet the language requirement.
Felicia Fonseca AP

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 8:55 am

Should the president of the Navajo Nation be required to speak fluent Navajo?

The Navajo Nation held a referendum on that question this week, and the majority voted no.

The vote was victory for supporters of a Navajo presidential candidate who was disqualified last fall because he didn't speak the language fluently. The next Navajo Nation election is in 2018.

Read more
Music Interviews
5:48 am
Sat July 25, 2015

Fossils Of Technology: 'The Imitation Archive' Turns Near-Extinct Machines Into Music

The Harwell Dekatron Computer in Bletchley Park is one of the massive machines used by Matt Parker in his Imitation Archive music.
Courtesy of the National Museum of Computing

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 8:55 am

Read more
Author Interviews
3:35 am
Sat July 25, 2015

In 'Wondering Who You Are,' A Man Wakes Up And Doesn't Know His Wife

Lea and Bandy met in 1976 at a high school dance. "He was the boy from out of town," Lea writes. "I was the girl who wanted out."
John Carswell Courtesy of the author

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 8:55 am

Sonya Lea and her husband Richard Bandy had a 23-year marriage filled with ups, downs and memories. In 2000 Bandy developed a rare form of appendix cancer and had an operation which was successful — sort of.

Bandy lived, but he was almost a different man. He had suffered a post-surgical complication called "anoxic insult" that cut oxygen to his brain and cleared much of his memory. He called his wife "Sweetness," but could not remember how they met, when they got married and the births of their two children. Twenty-three years more or less vanished from his mind.

Read more
Animals
3:27 am
Sat July 25, 2015

When Detecting Land Mines, The Nose Knows — Or, In This Case, The Trunk

An elephant in South African offers an up-close glimpse of its prodigious instrument. According to Sean Hensman of Adventures with Elephants, trunks like this one could help the U.S. Army develop a better landmine sensor.
Greatstock/Barcroft Media Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 9:41 am

In Angola, a civil war that raged for decades has left lingering, and dangerous, reminders of the violence across the countryside. Long since the worst of the fighting ended in 2002, land mines continue to claim lives — and not just those of humans.

Even as the elephant population there saw a replenishment in numbers following the war, many of the mammoth animals were being killed by leftover land mines, as well.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:11 am
Tue July 21, 2015

A Lifelong Surfer Explains Why There's No Such Thing As A 'Perfect' Wave

William Finnegan surfs Cloudbreak, off the island of Tavarua in Fiji, in 2005.
Scott Winer

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 12:24 pm

William Finnegan is a New Yorker journalist, but his new memoir doesn't focus on the wars or controversies he's covered. It's about surfing.

Finnegan traces his love of surfing back to his childhood, when he used to watch surfers in Ventura, Calif. He remembers being 10 years old, sitting with his family in a diner, watching waves break on the coast.

It seemed "like they were arriving from some celestial workshop ... carved by ocean angels," he writes. "I wanted to be out there, learning to dance on water."

Read more
All Tech Considered
4:37 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

With Ad Blocking Use On The Rise, What Happens To Online Publishers?

The rise of ad blockers threatens the business model that drives much of the Internet economy.
Danae Munoz Ikon Images/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 21, 2015 11:56 am

Advertising is the basic business model of the Internet. It's one reason we can view online content free of charge.

Millions of Web surfers already download software to block ads online, and that number is growing. Soon, Apple could be making mobile ad blocking easier.

Read more
Animals
4:23 pm
Sun July 19, 2015

PETA Says Undercover SeaWorld Employee Posed As Animal Rights Activist

During the 2014 Tournament of Roses Parade, SeaWorld's float was accompanied by police in Pasadena, Calif. PETA supporters were arrested for protesting the float that day, and PETA claims that a SeaWorld employee posing as a PETA volunteer tipped police off to the protest.
Ringo H.W. Chiu AP

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 8:28 am

In recent years, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has waged a protest campaign against SeaWorld, saying that the U.S. theme parks' treatment of trained orcas is cruel. Now, PETA says it has identified a SeaWorld "agent" in its midst.

Read more
Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Sun July 19, 2015

Written In Spanish About Belgium By A Colombian, 'It Feels American'

Lydia Thompson NPR

Originally published on Sun July 19, 2015 3:22 pm

Juan Gabriel Vásquez is best known for his 2013 blockbuster novel The Sound of Things Falling. But more than a decade before that book vaulted him onto the international literary stage, he published a well-reviewed collection of short stories in Spanish.

Now, that collection, Lovers on All Saints' Day, is getting an English translation.

Read more
Music Lists
3:12 pm
Sun July 19, 2015

Written Then, Heard Now: Reimagining Old Texts Through Global Songs

On her album Dallëndyshe, Albanian singer Elina Duni takes up folk songs once used as propaganda by the Communist regime in her home country and reimagines them as modern-day jazz.
Nicolas Masson Courtesy of the artist

Read more
Environment
3:48 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

Birds, Bees And The Power Of Sex Appeal: The Ribald Lives Of Flowers

Stephen Buchmann Scribner

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 4:33 pm

Flowers, bugs and bees: Stephen Buchmann wanted to study them all when he was a kid.

"I never grew out of my bug-and-dinosaur phase," he tells NPR's Arun Rath. "You know, since about the third grade, I decided I wanted to chase insects, especially bees."

These days, he's living that dream. As a pollination ecologist, he's now taking a particular interest in how flowers attract insects. In his new book, The Reason for Flowers, he looks at more than just the biology of flowers — he dives into the ways they've laid down roots in human history and culture, too.

Read more
Education
3:10 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

They're No. 1: U.S. Wins Math Olympiad For First Time In 21 Years

Head coach Po-Shen Loh (far left) and assistant coaches John Berman and Alex Zhai (far right) flank the members of the winning squad: Shyam Narayanan, David Stoner, Michael Kural, Ryan Alweiss, Yang Liu and Allen Liu.
Courtesy of Po-Shen Loh

Originally published on Mon July 20, 2015 11:26 am

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

Read more
World
3:10 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

In Northern Ireland, 'Terror Gets Old,' But Divisions Linger

Courtesy of Corinne Purtill and Mark Oltmanns

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 7:00 pm

In Northern Ireland, "the Troubles" — the long and bloody conflict between Catholic Irish nationalists and pro-British Protestants — formally came to an end with a peace agreement in 1998.

Read more
Music Interviews
3:10 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

Leaving Los Angeles: Rickie Lee Jones Turns A Decade Into An Album

The new album The Other Side of Desire marks Jones' first original material in years, spurred on by a life-changing move to New Orleans.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 12:51 pm

If you turned on a radio in 1979, there was very good chance you'd hear the music of Rickie Lee Jones. At only 24, she leapt onto the world stage with her big single "Chuck E.'s in Love." Rolling Stone called her "the dutchess of coolsville."

Read more
Middle East
6:43 am
Sat July 18, 2015

Former Hostage: Under Deal, Iran Has Less Incentive To Hold Americans

Shourd and fellow hikers Shane Bauer (center) and Josh Fattal held a press conference shortly after Bauer and Fattal were released in 2011. Shourd was released in 2010.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 8:33 am

President Obama responded sharply this week when a reporter asked if he was "content" to celebrate the nuclear deal with Iran when at least three and possibly four Americans are being held in Iranian jails.

"Nobody's content," he said, "and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out."

At least one former American hostage thinks the deal is worth signing, despite the remaining hostages.

Read more
Deceptive Cadence
2:48 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

The Rifleman Who Fiddled For Truman, Churchill And Stalin

Photo from The Rifleman's Violin, directed by Sam Ball, Copyright Citizen Film 2015.
Citizen Film

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 5:39 pm

Seventy years ago, shortly after defeating Nazi Germany, three victorious leaders met in Potsdam, just outside Berlin. President Harry Truman was there with British and Soviet leaders Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Stuart Canin was also there — he was a 19-year-old GI from New York City who played the violin.

Read more

Pages