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Author Interviews
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Searching For Buried Treasure In China, A Writer Discovers Himself

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:57 pm

Writer Huan Hsu's great-great-grandfather Liu Feng Shu was a scholar in China's Qing dynasty during the late 1800s and early 1900s. As a patron of the arts, he built up an immense porcelain collection.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese landed near his village on the Yangtze River. As the army approached, Liu and one of his workmen dug a giant hole in their garden, to keep the collection safe.

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My Big Break
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

For 'Dexter' Star David Zayas, Acting Was A Long Shot Away

Zayas is best known for his role as Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter. "The one through line of all 8 years of that character was his integrity and honesty," Zayas says.
Randy Tepper Showtime

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

David Zayas used to dream of being an actor. And he made it: he played Enrique Morales, the infamous inmate on HBO's Oz, as well as his most notable role, Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter.

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Television
5:32 am
Sun March 29, 2015

In The TV Show 'Younger,' You're Only 26 Twice

With the help of her friend Maggie (Debi Mazar), single mom Liza (Sutton Foster) recasts herself as a 26-year-old in order to get a coveted publishing job. The new TV Land comedy Younger, made by Sex and the City creator Darren Star, premieres March 31.
Photo courtesy of TV Land

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 10:33 am

Tony award-winning actress Sutton Foster just turned 40, but in the TV Land show Younger she gets to be 26 again. Foster plays Liza, a middle-aged woman who needs to get back into the job market. The last time Liza applied for jobs, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram didn't exist. Now, she's convinced that no one wants to hire someone her age. So she moves to Brooklyn, gets a few highlights, learns how to tweet, and applies for a job as an assistant to a fancy New York publisher.

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Sports
6:35 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

The Cautionary Tale Of A Big-Time Bracket Bust

Oklahoma's Buddy Hield (right) and Denzel Valentine of Michigan State played in Friday's East Regional Semifinal of the 2015 NCAA tournament in Syracuse. If you've got money riding on this year's NCAA tournament, you might want to hear about what happened to John Bovary's football pool.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:22 pm

About 25 years ago, John Bovery started a modest football pool out of his home in New Jersey. It had 57 participants, all friends and co-workers.

But thanks to word of mouth — and the multiplying factor of email — Bovery's pool grew to staggering proportions. At one point, it got too large for Bovery to handle himself, so he contacted a software company to custom-build something suited to his needs.

By 2009, it included more than 8,000 entries from people around the globe, with a total payout of more than $800,000.

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The Salt
4:44 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Was Your Seafood Caught By Slaves? AP Uncovers Unsavory Trade

A 3,000-ton cargo ship at Thajeen Port in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, 15 days after it set sail from Benjina, Indonesia. The company that owns the ship said it is not involved with the fishermen. "We only carry the shipment and we are hired, in general, by clients," said owner Panya Luangsomboon. "We're separated from the fishing boats."
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 4:04 pm

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Critic Faults Alcoholics Anonymous For Lack Of Evidence

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:34 am

Founded by two men in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has since spread around the world as a leading community-based method of overcoming alcohol dependence and abuse. Many people swear by the 12-step method, which has become the basis of programs to treat the abuse of drugs, gambling, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors.

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The Salt
5:37 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Heinz And Kraft: Before They Were Food Giants, They Were Men

Henry J. Heinz
Library of Congress

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 8:00 pm

Heinz and Kraft.

When we hear those names we think ketchup and Velveeta, right?

But before they were products and companies that will merge to become a giant with $28 billion in revenue, Heinz and Kraft were men.

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It's All Politics
5:22 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Lessons In Moving Forward On Race From A 40-Year Mayor

"It's an intense job, you give it all, everyday, and I just don't want to get into another term where I say 'Gee, it would be nice to take it a little bit easier,'" Mayor Joe Riley says.
Richard Ellis Getty Images

Originally published on Wed March 25, 2015 12:40 pm

It might not sound newsworthy that Charleston, S.C., is getting a new mayor next year. But the last time the city elected a new mayor was 40 years ago, in December 1975.

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Author Interviews
6:46 pm
Mon March 23, 2015

'Cheated' Out Of An Education: Book Replays UNC's Student-Athlete Scandal

UNC basketball fans storm the court after a win over Duke in 2014.
Grant Halverson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 10:47 am

March Madness is college basketball's annual shining moment, and few schools have shone as bright or as long as the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Tar Heels have been in 18 Final Fours and won the national championship five times, most recently in 2009.

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SXSW Music Festival
6:15 pm
Sun March 22, 2015

From Kate Tempest To Torres, Female Artists Shone At SXSW

The crowd was all smiles during NPR Music's showcase at this year's South By Southwest music festival. We can't send you back in time to hear the shows, but you can listen to some of Bob Boilen's favorite performers from the festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:16 pm

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Music
6:27 pm
Sat March 21, 2015

'We Wanted To Entertain': Jon Spencer On 25 Years In New York

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:21 pm

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's new album, Freedom Tower: No Wave Dance Party 2015, is all about New York City. As leader Jon Spencer explains, it was time to pay homage to the city the band has called home for almost 25 years, even though his love for the place is complicated.

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Author Interviews
6:01 pm
Sat March 21, 2015

Thanks To Chance (And Craigslist), A Writer Becomes A Carpenter

131Pixfoto iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 3:22 pm

Nina MacLaughlin always knew she wanted to be a writer. She studied English and classics in college, and after graduation, she landed a great job with Boston's weekly alternative newspaper, the Boston Phoenix.

But after a few years of editing the newspaper's website, the drudgery began to hit her. It involved so much clicking, she says, and so many empty hours scrolling through the Internet. It didn't feel like how she wanted to spend her life.

And then came the low point: web producing a "listicle" of the world's "100 Unsexiest Men."

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World
5:51 pm
Sat March 21, 2015

After Students Went To Wage Jihad, Teacher Highlights Youth Radicalization

Lamya Kaddor teaches Islamic studies in Germany. She's written a new book, Zum Toeten Bereit (Ready To Kill), about the experience of having five former students flee to Syria to join jihadist groups.
Andre Zelck Courtesy of Piper Verlag GmbH

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 7:41 pm

Lamya Kaddor, a German-Syrian religious studies teacher and expert on Islam, was horrified to learn in 2013 that five of her former students had departed Germany to join jihadist groups in Syria.

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My Big Break
5:33 pm
Sat March 21, 2015

'I'm Perd Hapley, And I Just Realized I'm Played By An Actual Newscaster'

Jay Jackson, as Perd Hapley, interviews Amy Poehler's character Leslie Knope during the sixth season of Parks and Recreation.
Colleen Hayes NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 7:41 pm

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

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Around the Nation
8:18 am
Sat March 21, 2015

The Definitive Road Trip? It's Data-Driven

Randy Olson's algorithm devised the optimal driving route to 50 tourist spots in the Lower 48 states.
Randy Olson

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 10:56 am

Spring is here, and a number of families are plotting road trips for school break.

Randy Olson, a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University and a self-proclaimed "data tinkerer," believes he's devised a route that could allow a family to hit a landmark in each of the Lower 48 states, from Grand Canyon in Arizona to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to the Statue of Liberty in New York, in just nine days of driving.

"About 9.33 days, if you drove non-stop," Olson clarifies.

That means no time sleeping or using the restroom — and no bad traffic.

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Television
7:11 am
Sat March 21, 2015

One Man, New TV Show: James Corden Takes Over At 'Late Late Night'

James Corden takes over as host of The Late Late Show next Monday.
Art Streiber/CBS

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 3:25 pm

A few months ago, Craig Ferguson, host of The Late Late Show, interrogated a special guest: James Corden. When asked what he did for a living, Corden replied demurely, "I don't do anything at the moment."

That is set to change Monday night, when Corden succeeds Ferguson as the host of The Late Late Show.

He is 36 and English. Ferguson is Scottish: Score one for diversity.

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Goats and Soda
5:29 am
Sat March 21, 2015

A Year Of Ebola: Memorable Moments From Our Reporters' Notebooks

Twins Watta and Fatta Balyon pose outside the home of their guardian Mamuedeh Kanneh in Barkedu, a village in Liberia.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Mon March 23, 2015 2:43 pm

It started in December 2013. A 2-year-old boy in Guinea was running a fever. He was vomiting. There was blood in his stool.

He was most likely "patient zero" — the first case in the Ebola outbreak that swept across West Africa.

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Music
4:55 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

'Still The King': A Tribute To An Icon Of Western Swing

Ray Benson (center) and his band, the Grammy-winning country outfit Asleep at the Wheel, have long been stewards of the sound co-pioneered by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys.
Lisa Pollard Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue March 24, 2015 8:20 pm

"The essence of the Bob Wills sound, and the reason he picked and did what he did, is that it was dance music — period."

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Code Switch
3:16 am
Fri March 20, 2015

'A Proud Walk': 3 Voices On The March From Selma To Montgomery

Demonstrators of different races and religions from across the country united to take part in the historic march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., 50 years ago.
AP

Originally published on Fri March 20, 2015 4:39 pm

Fifty years ago, civil rights protesters began their successful march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., two weeks after a crackdown by police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge on Bloody Sunday. NPR talked with three people from different parts of the country, of different races and religions, who answered the call from Martin Luther King Jr. to join the marchers.

Todd Endo:

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Fine Art
5:36 pm
Mon March 16, 2015

In Detroit's Rivera And Kahlo Exhibit, A Portrait Of A Resilient City

A detail from the north wall of Diego Rivera's Detroit Industry murals shows workers on the automobile assembly line. After Detroit declared bankruptcy, the murals were at risk of being sold. Click here for a larger view.
Detroit Institute of Arts

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 8:01 pm

This weekend, visitors to the Detroit Institute of Arts buzzed with excitement over a new exhibit — it was a big moment for the once-troubled museum. The DIA spent much of the last two years under threat as its owner, the city of Detroit, looked for ways to emerge from bankruptcy.

Finally, in November, a "grand bargain" was struck. Foundations, private donors and the state of Michigan together raised more than $800 million to help rescue public employee pensions. In return, ownership of the DIA was transferred to a trust — thereby securing its future.

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National Security
7:31 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

An 'Upstream' Battle As Wikimedia Challenges NSA Surveillance

The lawsuit by Wikimedia and other plaintiffs challenges the National Security Agency's use of upstream surveillance, which collects the content of communications, instead of just the metadata.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 7:52 am

Earlier this week, Wikimedia, the parent company of Wikipedia, filed a lawsuit against the National Security Agency, saying that the NSA's use of "upstream" mass surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments.

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My Big Break
5:21 pm
Sun March 15, 2015

From Waitress To TV Writer: A 'Surreal, Fantastic Cinderella Story'

Diane Ruggiero-Wright is a writer and producer for shows including Veronica Mars and the new CW show iZombie.
Priska Neely NPR

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 11:28 am

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Diane Ruggiero-Wright has written and produced a number of TV shows, including the cult classic Veronica Mars. She's the co-creator of the new show iZombie — about a zombie who pretends to be a psychic and solves murders — which premieres on The CW on Tuesday.

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U.S.
7:09 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

When Police Are Given Body Cameras, Do They Use Them?

Body cameras, like this one shown at a 2014 press conference in Washington, D.C., are small enough to be clipped to an officer's chest. Washington and Denver are among U.S. cities trying the cameras.
BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 16, 2015 6:55 am

Back in December, following the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., President Obama called for $75 million in funding for 50,000 body cameras to be used by police around the United States. The cameras record police activity, and their use is intended to boost accountability.

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Movies
5:19 pm
Sat March 14, 2015

People With Disabilities, On Screen And Sans Clichés

From left, Bastian Wurbs (as Titus), Joel Basman (as Valentin) and Nikki Rappl (as Lukas) star in Keep Rollin', a coming-of-age drama featured in the seventh annual Reelabilities film festival.
Courtesy of EastWest Film Distribution

Originally published on Sat March 14, 2015 10:43 pm

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Shots - Health News
8:25 am
Sat March 14, 2015

From Freud To Possession, A Doctor Faces Psychiatry's Demons

Benjamin Rush, a physician and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, invented the rotational chair as a treatment for psychotic patients. He believed the chair helped improve circulation to the mentally ill brain.
U.S. National Library of Medicine Courtesy of Little Brown and Company

Originally published on Tue March 17, 2015 9:58 am

People don't talk about psychiatrists the way they talk about neurologists, dentists or vets. In fact, there are those who call psychiatry voodoo or pseudoscience; and, to be fair, the specialty does have a history of claims and practices that are now considered weird and destructive.

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The Salt
5:03 pm
Tue March 10, 2015

Tea Tuesdays: The Scottish Spy Who Stole China's Tea Empire

Robert Fortune was a 19th-century Scottish botanist who helped the East India Trading Company swipe the secrets of tea production from China.
Apic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 13, 2015 11:44 am

Editor's Note: A version of this story originally ran in March 2010.

In the mid-19th century, Britain was an almost unchallenged empire. It controlled about a fifth of the world's surface, and yet its weakness had everything to do with tiny leaves soaked in hot water: tea. By 1800, it was easily the most popular drink among Britons.

The problem? All the tea in the world came from China, and Britain couldn't control the quality or the price. So around 1850, a group of British businessmen set out to create a tea industry in a place they did control: India.

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Author Interviews
5:24 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Forget Big Sky And Cowboys: 'Crow Fair' Is Set In An Unidealized Montana

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 8:07 pm

"I think there's only one interesting story ... and that's struggle," says writer Thomas McGuane. Loners, outcasts and malcontents fill the pages of McGuane's latest book — a collection of short stories titled Crow Fair. There's a divorced dad who takes his young son out for an ill-fated day of ice fishing; A restless cattle breeder who takes a gamble on a more lucrative and dangerous line of works; A guy who abandons his blind grandmother by the side of a river to go get drunk, and chase after a corpse he's spotted floating by.

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Author Interviews
6:27 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Author Explores The Ripple Effects Of A Kidnapping In Mexico

Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Mon March 9, 2015 9:52 am

Antonio Ruiz-Camacho's new book Barefoot Dogs is billed as a collection of short stories, but it could easily be called a novel. Each piece provides a perspective on one horrific event: the abduction of the patriarch of a wealthy Mexican family by a drug gang.

Throughout the book, readers see how this affects children, grandchildren, mistresses and others, as the tragedy follows the family through exile in the United States and Europe

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Movie Interviews
5:29 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

No Joke: Hollywood Comedy Producer Finds Career In Prison Reform

Scott Budnick (second from left) stands with (from left) Jimmy Wu, who served 16 years in prison and is now a mentor; Jesse Aguiar, former gang member and now a counselor; and Franky Carrillo, who was freed by the Innocence Project after 21 years in prison.
Reed Saxon AP

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 10:03 pm

Los Angeles has been good to Scott Budnick. He arrived more than 15 years ago as an aspiring film producer. He found a home in comedy, and eventually became the executive producer of the Hangover trilogy — the wildly popular, profane buddy movies that are still the highest grossing comedy franchise ever made.

Now, he lives in the Hollywood Hills. He drives a fancy car, lives in a beautiful house and has lots of famous friends.

But in 2013, Budnick decided to leave Hollywood for a very different field: prison reform.

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Television
5:01 pm
Sun March 8, 2015

Cyberpsychologist: Online, 'Every Contact Leaves A Trace'

The Avery Ryan character is based on Mary Aiken (above) a real-life cyber psychologist and director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre.
Courtesy of CBS

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 8:25 pm

The CSI franchise has a new lead investigator: Special Agent Avery Ryan.

Oscar-winning actress Patricia Arquette plays the head of the FBI's Cyber Crime Division on CSI: Cyber, which premiered this week on CBS.

The unit is called in on cyber stalking, identity theft, even cases involving hacked baby cams and ride-sharing services.

Agent Ryan's character is based on real-life cyber psychologist Mary Aiken, the director of the RCSI CyberPsychology Research Centre in Dublin, Ireland. She's also a producer on the show.

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