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As Nancy Shute reported in 2012, Ukrainians have for centuries practiced an ancient form of art, drawing intricate patterns on eggs using a traditional method that involves a stylus and wax.

It's called pysanky, and it's alive and well in Ukraine and Ukrainian immigrant communities around the world.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MOONDANCE")

VAN MORRISON: (Singing) Well, it's a marvelous night for a moon dance with the stars up above in your eyes.

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The war in Syria, now in its fourth year, has created a massive humanitarian crisis. More than 2 million Syrians have left the country in an attempt to escape the conflict. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria, forced to leave their homes to survive.

In March, the United Nations World Food Programme reported that a potential drought in the area could significantly hurt food production in Syria:

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.

Ever since Autumn Erhard was a kid, she spent her evenings on the couch solving word puzzles on Wheel of Fortune.

It's that time of year when colleges and universities send out press releases touting which coveted commencement speakers they've snagged.

Weeks after finishing his sophomore season at the University of Massachusetts, Derrick Gordon became the first openly gay player in Division 1 men's college basketball.

Laurel Francoeur's son Jeremy was about a year old when he had his first life- threatening allergic reaction. She took him to the doctor when hives started to cover his whole body. Tests revealed severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, soy, sesame and shellfish.

Like many parents of children with severe food allergies, Francoeur faces a host of unique challenges.

"It's a lot of planning," she says. "You have to always plan where you're going, how you're going to eat when you get there. Will the food be safe? Will he have something to eat?"

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells guest host Tess Vigeland about Cedric Villani, a successful mathematician with a stylish flair that's given him the moniker "The Lady Gaga of Mathematics." Though he's made big discoveries and earned a prestigious Fields Medal, he's on a mission to make math more accessible.

Lucky Santangelo is a household name — at least, in those households where the shelves are packed with Jackie Collins novels. And considering there are more than 500 million copies sold, well, Santangelo's certainly got a fan base.

While the South Texas oil boom has meant a flood of cash and people to formerly impoverished communities, there have also been serious repercussions — namely, rampant air pollution. Jim Morris of the Center for Public Integrity explains the boom's environmental effects.

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And now we turn to our Friday political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times. Welcome back to you both.

DAVID BROOKS: Good to be here.

E.J. DIONNE: Good to be with you.

Just in time for Easter, food writer Michael Ruhlman has a new cookbook that will likely change the way you think about the egg. At the very least, you may learn how to spruce up your scrambled egg technique.

Egg: A Culinary Exploration of the World's Most Versatile Ingredient is a guide to perfecting the most familiar of egg dishes — from poached to hard boiled — but also mastering béarnaise sauce and meringues.

Weighing in at more than $1 trillion, student loan debt is now larger than total credit card debt. Morning Edition recently asked young adults about their biggest concerns, and more than two-thirds of respondents mentioned college debt. Many say they have put off marriage or buying a home because of the financial burden they took on as students.

The souffle shares this in common with some of nature's most vicious predators: It can sense fear. This, at least, according to noted American chef James Beard, who once observed, "The only thing that will make a souffle fall is if it knows you're afraid of it."

U.S. District Judge J. Waties Waring was the son of a Confederate soldier but later became a hero of the civil rights movement — though he was vilified for his views. On Friday — more than 60 years after Waring was one of the first in the Deep South to declare that forced segregation was unconstitutional — Charleston, S.C., will honor him with a life-sized statue.

Waring was first appointed to the bench in 1942. Nine years later, in a landmark school segregation case Briggs v. Elliott, Waring denounced segregation as an "evil that must be eradicated."

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Did you hear the one about the mummy who went to the hospital? Don't get all wrapped up trying to figure out the punch line, this is no joke. It's part of some groundbreaking research that will be on display at London's British Museum next month. The team there is using CT scans to uncover the ancient secrets of mummies.

John Taylor is curator at the British Museum. And he joined me earlier today to explain.

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.

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And I'm Audie Cornish.

Over the weekend, soprano Kristine Opolais sang her heart out — and died twice.

Friday evening she had sung the lead in Puccini's Madama Butterfly. It was her debut in that role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. It was a big deal. Opolais was so excited about it that she stayed up until five the next morning.

Whooping cough made a comeback in California last year, which researchers have linked to vaccine refusals. And with new measles outbreaks in Southern California, New York and British Columbia, the debate over vaccination is also spreading.

For more than a decade, Dafroza Gauthier and her husband, Alain, have hunted perpetrators of the 1994 Rwandan genocide. More than 800,000 people were killed in the genocide, most of them members of the Tutsi ethnic group.

Earlier this month, the couple gave testimony against former Rwandan intelligence chief Pascal Simbikangwa in Paris. On March 14, Simbikangwa was sentenced to 25 years in prison for complicity in genocide and crimes against humanity. His was the first Rwandan genocide trial to take place in France.

Investigative journalist and author Matt Taibbi has long reported on American politics and business. With an old-school muckraker's nose for corruption, he examined the events leading up to the 2008 financial crisis in Griftopia. With Gonzo zeal, he described a two-party political system splintered into extreme factions in The Great Derangement.

And in his newest book, Taibbi sets out to explain what he thinks is a strange state of affairs:

Jamika lives in a two-story apartment complex surrounded by a 10-foot-high security gate in San Bernardino, Calif. The yellow paint on the buildings' outside walls is peeling.

She doesn't want to use her full name. She doesn't want too many people to know about her situation.

Jamika and her siblings had to leave the house her family was renting in South Central L.A. when the property went into foreclosure. With money so tight, Jamika moved to San Bernardino, along with three of her siblings.

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Watson tells guest host Kelly McEvers about the growing popularity of turmeric in the U.S. The spice, which comes from a golden-yellow root native to India, is heralded for its health benefits and is being infused into a variety of food products. Some mixologists are even working it into cocktails.

How To Kill A Character

Apr 5, 2014

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(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Kelly McEvers.

OK. If you're still catching up on your favorite TV shows, let me say it now. You are being warned. There are major spoilers up ahead.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "HOUSE OF CARDS")

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (As character) Oh, my God.

KEVIN SPACEY: (As Frank Underwood) And the butchery begins.

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.

Before Ken Jeong was an actor, he was a doctor.

"Internal medicine was my specialty," he says. "General practice with an emphasis on adult medicine."

After a long day at the office, Jeong says he would take to the stage and perform comedy routines as a way to blow off some steam.

Paul Rusesabagina is a figure from history — a terrible history.

He was the manager of the Diplomat Hotel in Kigali, Rwanda, 20 years ago, when the genocide of Rwanda's Tutsi people began. More than 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus would be killed in just three months.

Last year, New York became the first state to require newborn screening for a genetic disorder called adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD. The disorder rapidly attacks the nervous system. The most common form of ALD mainly affects young boys and can be fatal within a year.

But if ALD is detected in newborns, a bone marrow transplant can help them survive. The legislation is known as "Aidan's Law" for Aidan Jack Seeger, who died from ALD in 2012 at age 7.

In the next few days, the last four teams play for the NCAA men's basketball championship, a hugely profitable event for college sports.

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