America loves amateurs. The country was founded by dilettantes and enlightened rebels. Cities, farms and businesses were seeded by adventurous greenhorns and neophytes. Writer Jack Hitt argues that the DIY spirit that generated untold number of patents and subscriptions to Popular Mechanics drives the country’s success and identity. The popular TV shows The Voice and Project Runway continue a long tradition of discovering and rewarding talent.
Beck has been an influential creative force for two decades, popular for his sharp, intelligent and often humorous lyrics. Slickly genre-hopping from punk to folk, alternative and electro, he's put out albums both acoustic and electric, but always innovative. Today's installment of World Cafe revisits three of his interviews from the past decade or so.
Five years ago, the New York Times moved into a gleaming new office tower in mid-town Manhattan. The shimmering structure by Starchitect Renzo Piano was commended for being green and digital-ready. Half a block away, the paper’s archives could not be more dissimilar. The sub-sub-basement -- affectionately known as the Morgue -- is cramped with hundreds of cabinets, stuffed with twelve million clippings and more than six million photographs from the paper’s 160-year history.
When Californians go to the polls in November, they will very likely have the chance to make California the first state in the nation to require labeling of genetically engineered food. That's according to California Right to Know, which filed a petition to force a statewide vote.
And the group is pretty confident it will succeed. "Polls show that nine out of ten California voters agree that they want labeling," Stacy Malkan, spokeswoman for the group, tells The Salt.
Johnny Carson walked away from TheTonight Show, after 30 years at the top of the late-night ratings, of his own volition. And except for a few fleeting TV appearances after he retired, he never looked back — and never went back. When filmmaker Peter Jones would send an annual letter to Carson, asking for his cooperation in a TV biography of him, the answer was always no. One year, Carson went so far as to explain why: Let the work, he said, speak for itself.
It’s a fiction writer’s job to create authentic worlds and suspend disbelief. One of the more time-consuming techniques in their toolbox? Inventing new languages – like the two forms of elvish used throughout J.R.R Tolkien's the Lord of the Rings.Michael Adamsis a professor of English at Indiana
In Pennsylvania, there's an industrial revolution going on. Battalions of drilling rigs are boring into the earth to extract natural gas from an underground layer of shale called the Marcellus formation.
And as the wells multiply all along the western end of the state, people worry they may be facing another toxic legacy.
The first one came from coal mining. All over the state, you can see bright orange rivers and streams. The aquatic life was killed by acidic runoff from abandoned mines.