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All Tech Considered
5:03 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Follow #RaceOnTech, Explore Diversity In Tech And Science

Follow the #RaceOnTech hashtag on Twitter to participate in a conversation about diversity in STEM fields.
Mary McLain NPR

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 7:44 am

Silicon Valley admits it has a diversity problem. Companies from Google to Facebook to Twitter have reported that a majority of their employees are white males.

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Music
3:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

'Happy Birthday' Hits Sour Notes When It Comes To Song's Free Use

Everyone knows how to sing "Happy Birthday to You." But performing the song in movies or on TV requires payment of sometimes hefty licensing fees. Now the song is at the heart of a lawsuit.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 9:21 pm

The Guinness Book of World Records calls "Happy Birthday to You" the most recognized song in the English language. But you'll rarely ever hear it on TV or in a movie.

Instead, you usually hear something that sounds sort of like the song, but not quite. In Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, for example, the characters sing: "Happy, happy birthday from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday so we could party, too."

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Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

After Fight For Life And Media Firestorm, 'Distressed Baby' Is Happy Toddler

Lydia Thompson NPR

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 12:11 pm

In an age of CEO gaffes and snafus, one in particular drew significant backlash last year.

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Television
3:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

The Pitch Of A Lifetime: One Enterprising 'Star Trek' Fan's Big Chance

George Takei as Sulu (left) and Walter Koenig as Chekov in the original Star Trek series. The franchise has spun off a bounty of shows, but the last one came off the air a decade ago. One fan has a plan for the next installment.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 8:16 am

Like many Star Trek fans, Michael Chang Gummelt wants the legendary franchise to return to TV. And like many fans, he has a lot of ideas about what such a reboot should look like.

But Gummelt also has something no other fan does: a meeting with Paramount to pitch his concept.

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Author Interviews
4:26 am
Sun July 12, 2015

In Palestine, A Child Of Violence Becomes A Music Educator

Bloomsbury USA

Originally published on Sun July 12, 2015 6:29 am

When the first Palestinian uprising began in the late 1980s, the images from the intifada showed exploding tear gas canisters launched by Israelis, answered by Palestinian youngsters shooting slingshots and hurling rocks. A photographer snapped a photo of a boy with tears in his eyes, an 8-year-old named Ramzi Aburedwan. The image came to represent the rage and frustration of life in the refugee camps. But although his face was famously stuck in time, Ramzi's life changed dramatically when he was introduced to music at age 16.

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Author Interviews
3:11 pm
Sat July 11, 2015

Fearing Her Mind's Decline, Patricia Marx Scrambles To Get 'Less Stupid'

Patricia Marx is also the author of two novels, Starting from Happy and Him Her Him Again the End of Him.
Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 7:35 pm

Patricia Marx is a former writer for Saturday Night Live and Rugrats. She's a contributor to The New Yorker.

And she's afraid she's losing her mind.

"There were just so many moments of, 'What's that thing that you put the thing in that's got the thing that, you know, that what is it called?' " Marx tells NPR's Arun Rath.

"I was really worried that in a matter of days, I was going to need a caregiver and the caregiver was going to find the butter dish in my sock drawer."

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Race
3:11 pm
Sat July 11, 2015

He's Shared 'Every Single Word' — But It's The Silence That Rings Louder

YouTube

Originally published on Sun July 12, 2015 8:34 am

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Sports
5:45 am
Sat July 11, 2015

Winning Is For Losers: The Great Stories Of The Guys Who Finish Last

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 8:38 am

Cyclists competing in the Tour de France entered the 8th Stage on Saturday, where they'll face some short but steep climbs as they ride west through Brittany. At the end of the day, cheering crowds will gather around the finish line, the stage winners feted.

What about the guy at the end of the pack? That's the question Max Leonard answers in his new book, Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France. Leonard tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn that the riders in the back often have far more interesting stories than the riders in the front.

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Animals
5:45 am
Sat July 11, 2015

For This Tarantula-Killing Wasp, Dinner's A Meal Best Served Living

Meal time for one species probably means sleepless nights for others.
Debbie Hall Flickr

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 8:38 am

It's been wet in Texas this year — exceptionally wet, as a matter of fact. With record amounts of rain, Texas is more than a little hot, green and rife with happy insects.

Take the tarantula hawk, for example. In case you've never heard of it, it's a wasp that's so big, and so nasty, that it attacks tarantulas — who happen to be quite big and nasty themselves.

So, what does a happy tarantula hawk look like? Ben Hutchins, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, takes NPR's Wade Goodwyn through all the gruesome wasp-on-tarantula details.

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StoryCorps
7:14 am
Fri July 10, 2015

Babies On Display: When A Hospital Couldn't Save Them, A Sideshow Did

Dr. Martin Couney holds Beth Allen, one of his incubator babies, at Luna Park in Coney Island. This photo was taken in 1941.
Courtesy of Beth Allen

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 6:10 am

Close to a century ago, New York's Coney Island was famed for its sideshows. Loud-lettered signs crowded the island's attractions, crowing over tattooed ladies, sword swallowers — and even an exhibition of tiny babies.

The babies were premature infants kept alive in incubators pioneered by Dr. Martin Couney. The medical establishment had rejected his incubators, but Couney didn't give up on his aims. Each summer for 40 years, he funded his work by displaying the babies and charging admission — 25 cents to see the show.

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Code Switch
1:50 am
Fri July 10, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates Looks At The Physical Toll Of Being Black In America

Coates with his son Samori.
Random House

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 1:12 pm

When writer Ta-Nehisi Coates sat down at NPR's New York studios a few days ago, he got a little emotional.

It was the first time that Coates, who writes for The Atlantic, had held a copy of his latest book, Between the World and Me.

This book is personal, written as a letter to his teenage son Samori. In it, we see glimpses of the hard West Baltimore streets where Coates grew up, his curiosity at work on the campus of Howard University and his early struggles as a journalist.

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Architecture
10:27 am
Thu July 9, 2015

Take A Trip To D.C.'s Indoor Beach, Where It's Always 75 And Sunny

Museumgoers play in the 10,000-square-foot exhibition called "The Beach" at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Noah Kalina National Building Museum

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 3:24 pm

The nation's capital is sweaty and sweltering right now, but Washington locals and visitors can find a seaside getaway in the most unlikely of places. In the middle of downtown D.C., the National Building Museum has installed a 10,000-square-foot indoor "beach" that has attracted kids, tourists and workers looking for an out-of-the-ordinary lunch break.

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Goats and Soda
3:04 am
Thu July 9, 2015

He Fled Sudan And Made A New Life In The U.S. So Why Go Back?

Daniel Majok Gai revisits the two-bedroom apartment in Denver where he lived with seven other Sudanese refugees in 2001.
Kevin Leahy NPR

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 8:22 am

Daniel Majok Gai wants to go back to South Sudan.

He thinks he can help his homeland — the youngest nation in the world. Today marks the fourth anniversary of its independence. But there's little celebration. The country is being ripped apart by civil war.

Yet Gai, who suffered through years of violence and pain as a refugee, believes he can play a role in moving South Sudan toward peace and safety.

Against all odds, the 34-year-old is an incredible optimist.

He was 6 when a militia attacked his village.

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History
4:57 pm
Sun July 5, 2015

Is It All Greek To You? Thank Medieval Monks, And The Bard, For The Phrase

Greek flags fly beside those of the European Union in Athens. Many people chalk the phrase up to Shakespeare, but its origins likely date back much earlier than that --€” to medieval monks eager for a cop-out.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 8:11 pm

If you've been following the Greek financial crisis, you've certainly seen this old cliche in the headlines.

In USA Today, there was "If 'it's all Greek to you,' here's the skinny on debt crisis." The BBC says, "All Greek to you? Greece's debt jargon explained."

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Author Interviews
4:08 pm
Sun July 5, 2015

From Early Failures To New 'Trainwreck,' Judd Apatow Gets Serious

Director, writer and producer Judd Apatow has both a new memoir and a new movie right now. Trainwreck, which he directed, is in theaters starting July 17 and Sick in the Head was published in June.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 8:11 pm

It's a bit of an understatement to call Judd Apatow busy.

His new book, Sick in the Head, a 500-page collection of Apatow's conversations with some of the greatest minds in comedy, is on the New York Times best-seller list. Meanwhile, his film collaboration with the white-hot Amy Schumer, Trainwreck — his fifth movie as a director — is set for release within two weeks.

Oh, and he just wrapped up shooting another movie that's due out next year.

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Author Interviews
3:22 pm
Sun July 5, 2015

From Blueprints To Betrayal: The Daring, And Downfall, Of A Cold War Spy

Courtesy of Doubleday

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 4:19 pm

It was the middle of the Cold War and the CIA was having a difficult time getting information on what the Soviet Union was up to next.

The agency needed a spy — a Russian spy — who was willing to go the full way and betray his country.

It found one in Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet aviation expert.

David Hoffman tells Tolkachev's story in his new book, The Billion Dollar Spy.

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The Salt
5:57 am
Sun July 5, 2015

What To Do With Weird Farmers Market Vegetables

Kohlrabi, peeled and sliced, is refreshing, but lightly poached is good too, says chef April Bloomfield.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 8:10 am

Walking through the farmers market this time of year is a wondrous thing: juicy tomatoes, rows of jewel-toned eggplants, fragrant basil and sweet yellow corn. But then, you see bunches of greens that look like weeds, stuff with names like kohlrabi and purslane, and suddenly, you feel intimidated. Other people know what to do with these greens, why don't I?

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Author Interviews
3:10 am
Sun July 5, 2015

In 'Playing Scared' Pianist Grows Less Frightened Of Stage Fright

Courtesy of Bloomsbury USA

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 10:08 am

Everyone has had the dream in one form or another. You are about to take a big test when you realize you don't know anything about the subject. You are on stage but you haven't memorized the lines. You have to make a speech but you haven't written it.

It's your basic performance anxiety nightmare.

But if you are a musician, performance anxiety, better known as stage fright, can ruin your career — maybe before it even gets started.

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Author Interviews
3:04 pm
Sat July 4, 2015

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

Courtesy of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 4:42 pm

Louisa Hall was a nervous speaker when she was little. At school, kids teased her and said she talked like a robot.

"I think I was just so nervous that I kind of couldn't put any real animation in my voice," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "But ever since then I've kind of looked at robots or looked at machines and wondered whether they were just having trouble acting human."

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Author Interviews
7:40 am
Sat July 4, 2015

An Outsider In Buenos Aires Goes Incognito, For Love Of Tango

Lydia Thompson NPR

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 1:52 pm

In the dirty, crowded, and impoverished immigrant barrios of Buenos Aires of 1913, a 17-year-old girl arrives with little more than some clothes and her grandfather's violin.

Her name is Leda, and she's the character at the heart of Carolina De Robertis' third novel, The Gods of Tango.

Leda, an Italian girl, was sent for by her cousin-husband, but widowed before her ship even lands in South America. She soon finds comfort and excitement in a new kind of music that's filling the city's courtyards, bars and brothels: the tango.

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Author Interviews
5:54 am
Sat July 4, 2015

Decades Of Politics And Partnership In Jimmy Carter's 'Full Life'

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 9:59 am

In just over 18 months, Barack Obama will join the ranks of ex-presidents. He'll be 55 when he leaves office, among the youngest to become a former president, alongside Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

President Carter remains a model of what an active, productive life can look like after leaving the White House. He looks back on that life in his new memoir, A Full Life: Reflections at Ninety, beginning with growing up with black friends in the Jim Crow South.

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It's All Politics
10:13 am
Wed July 1, 2015

Can The Candidate Move Beyond 'The Christie Show'?

A supporter at Gov. Chris Christie's announcement Tuesday.
Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 2, 2015 5:06 am

It was the least suspenseful cliffhanger in the history of cliffs.

Governor Christie has, essentially, been running for higher office for years. But as of Tuesday he is now, officially, a presidential candidate.

This week the Christie Tracker podcast, from WNYC and New Jersey Public Radio, headed to Livingston High School for analysis on the announcement.

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Music Interviews
4:48 pm
Sun June 28, 2015

The Sound Of Twin Danger: Frank Sinatra Meets The Clash

Twin Danger's Vanessa Bley and Stuart Matthewman
Sunny Khalsa Courtesy of the artist

Cocktail jazz isn't a sound you hear very much in pop music these days. But a duo known as Twin Danger is causing a scene with their self-titled debut album and live shows.

It's a familiar mood for saxophonist Stuart Matthewman; he co-wrote many of the biggest hits for Sade, like "No Ordinary Love" and "Your Love Is King."

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Author Interviews
9:24 am
Sun June 28, 2015

Two Years After Deadly Wildfire, Are There Lessons In The Ashes?

An aerial view shows the Yarnell Hill fire burning June 29, 2013 near the town of Yarnell, Ariz. The next day, 19 firefighters died battling the blaze.
Arizona State Forestry Division Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 28, 2015 8:00 am

Two years ago, a wildfire was raging in the foothills of North Arizona. The Granite Mountain Hotshots, a team of elite firefighters from Prescott, Ariz., were on the ground, battling the blaze.

Then the weather and the winds shifted, and the two-day-old Yarnell Hill Fire changed course. The commander had a huge decision to make: stay on safe ground, or try to cut off the blaze?

He made the call — and before the day was over, 19 hotshot firefighters were dead. It was one of the deadliest incidents for wildland firefighters in U.S. history.

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Author Interviews
3:19 am
Sun June 28, 2015

Raised By 5 Different Families, 7 Siblings Are Reunited In 'Bastards'

Courtest W.W. Norton & Company

Originally published on Sun June 28, 2015 8:44 am

Mary Anna King grew up in a housing project in southern New Jersey, with her older brother Jacob and struggling parents.

"When you're struggling financially and you're living in poverty ... it takes twice as much effort to do anything," she tells NPR's Eric Westervelt.

Her parents went on to have five more kids, all girls, and despite her mother's best efforts to keep the family together, all five girls were ultimately given up for adoption.

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National Security
9:13 pm
Sat June 27, 2015

Embraced Yet Forbidden, Staff Sergeant Comes Out As Transgender

Staff Sgt. Patricia King, who has been in the Army for 16 years, says she decided to start her gender transition in January.
Christian Murdock Colorado Springs Gazette

Originally published on Wed July 1, 2015 2:00 pm

By serving in the Army, Staff Sgt. Patricia King is breaking the rules.

King enlisted 1999 under her birth name, Peter. At the beginning of this year, King — a decorated soldier with three deployments to Afghanistan under her belt — started her gender transition.

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Governing
3:36 pm
Sat June 27, 2015

For Families Of U.S. Hostages, New Policy May Bring New Hope

Linda Boyle (left) and Lyn Coleman hold a photo of their children, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan in 2012. Caitlan Coleman, an American married to Canadian Joshua Boyle, was pregnant when the couple was abducted.
Bill Gorman AP

Originally published on Sat June 27, 2015 4:36 pm

More than 80 Americans have been taken hostage abroad since Sept. 11, 2001. Currently, 30 Americans are being held around the world.

Until this week, the families of those hostages would have faced the threat of prosecution from the U.S. government for trying to pay a ransom to kidnappers.

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Book News & Features
3:26 pm
Sat June 27, 2015

Marvel's Half-Black, Half-Latino Spider-Man Is Going Mainstream

Marvel has put half-African-American, half-Latino teen Miles Morales in the Spider-Man suit.
Courtesy of Marvel

Originally published on Sat June 27, 2015 4:36 pm

Step aside, Peter Parker: There's a new Spider-Man joining the Marvel Universe.

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Author Interviews
3:12 pm
Sat June 27, 2015

How To Win The Money Game: A Former NBA Star Shares Financial Advice

Adonal Foyle (center) plays for the Orlando Magic against the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007.
Doug Benc Getty Images

Originally published on Sat June 27, 2015 5:38 pm

According to Sports Illustrated, more than half of all NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. Most of the players come into professional sports totally unequipped to handle their own windfalls like cars, houses and fancy clothes.

Former NBA star Adonal Foyle is trying to help.

He offers financial advice for current and future professional athletes in his book Winning the Money Game: Lessons Learned from the Financial Fouls of Pro Athletes.

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Author Interviews
6:11 am
Sat June 27, 2015

Daniel Silva On 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Writing An Israeli Spy Protagonist

Lydia Thompson NPR

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 12:09 pm

Another summer, another best-seller from novelist Daniel Silva. In The English Spy, the most famous woman in the world — a titled and gorgeous ex-member of the British royal family — is sunk on her yacht. To track down her killer, British Intelligence needs a little help — actually, a lot of help — from Gabriel Allon, an unassuming art restorer who is also, to those who have to know, a legendary and indispensable Israeli spy.

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