This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. No way around it. It's shopping season and for many people there's nothing like giving a book as a holiday gift. A book is not only a fine companion, it reflect something about both the giver and the receiver. And you don't have to change the batteries.
University of Miami professor Robert Plant is starting to wonder if big data is ruining sports. He talks with host Scott Simon about how crunching the numbers is changing — and has already changed — the games we love to watch.
About 20 scientists are clustered in a cramped conference room in San Diego, one of the country's science hubs, but they aren't there to pore over their latest research. Instead, this is a meeting of BioToasters — a chapter of the public speaking organization Toastmasters, geared specifically toward scientists.
"For a typical scientist, they will spend a lot of time at the bench, so they're doing a lot of maybe calculations or lab work where they're not interacting directly from person to person," says BioToasters President Zackary Prag, a lab equipment sales rep.
Afghanistan may be one of the world's poorest countries, but weddings are still a big — and expensive — deal. On most weekends, Kabul's glitzy and somewhat garish wedding halls are packed with people celebrating nuptials.
One of them is the Uranos Palace complex. On the night I attended my first Afghan wedding, all three of its halls were overflowing. I was one of two foreigners in a room of about 200 men. The female guests sat on the other side of a 7-foot-high divider in the middle of the hall.
There is a broad scientific consensus that to keep global warming in check, we need to phase out 80 percent of all oil, coal and natural gas by midcentury. President Obama has set a nonbinding target to do precisely that.
There are technologists who say this national goal is well within reach, but there are also economists who are quite pessimistic about those prospects. And you can find this range of opinion on the University of California, Berkeley campus.
A Panther Pride sign cheers Washington High School's undefeated football team amid debris from last week's tornado.
Credit Anthony Souffle / MCT /Landov
The Washington High School football team was having its best season since the mid-80s when the tornado hit. On Saturday, they'll go up against Springfield's Sacred Heart Griffin High School for a spot in the state championship.
Credit Zbigniew Bzdak / MCT /Landov
Washington players from left, Nick Sievers, Colton Marshall, and Brogan Brownfield receive donated workout clothes during a break from practice in Normal, Ill., on Tuesday.
Competition and compassion meet on the field in Springfield, Ill., Saturday, when two central Illinois high school football teams face off for a spot in the state championship. One team is a perennial powerhouse, but the other is from a town that was all but leveled by a tornado.
Last week, linebacker Kevin Scott and the rest of the Washington Community High School Panthers were celebrating. They'd just made school history with a 12-0 record, capped off with a Saturday win that sent them to the semi-finals.
Portland's NBA team is riding a hot streak. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about the Trail Blazers, a new champion in chess, and how John F. Kennedy's assassination set a precedent for how sports commissioners handle cancelling games after tragedies.
Nothing's sacred in <em>We Are Miracles</em> — but then as Sarah Silverman <a href="http://www.npr.org/2010/12/31/132489395/sarah-silverman-playing-the-dummy-for-laughs">told Terry Gross in 2010</a>, "there's a safety in what I do because I'm always the idiot. ... I'm always the ignoramus no matter what I talk about or what tragic event, off-color, dark scenario is evoked in my material."
Sarah Silverman is funny — sweet, bawdy, innocent, outrageous, Emmy-winning, milk-through-your-nose funny. And her new comedy special, We are Miracles, debuts tonight on HBO.
Performing in front of a live audience, the comedian takes on religion, pornography, childhood, politics and stereotypes, and no one's left standing. (No really: One punchline involves Hitler being assigned "Heil Marys" as penance.)
Silverman tells NPR's Scott Simon that she thinks good comedy comes from "some kind of childhood humiliation or darkness."
Manischewitz-brined turkey centers the Thanksgivukkah feast, surrounded by challah-apple stuffing, sweet potato bourbon noodle kugel, horseradish-spiked mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts with pastrami and pickled onions, and latkes with cranberry applesauce.
Credit Macey J. Foronda / for BuzzFeed
Jewish tradition and Thanksgiving have even the importance of table-setting in common. The code of Jewish law, the <em>schulchan oruch,</em> means "the set table."
You may have heard that this Thursday isn't just Thanksgiving — it's also the holiday of Hanukkah. It's a once-in-a-lifetime convergence people are calling Thanksgivukkah. Which naturally raises two questions: How did this happen? And, more importantly, what do we cook for Thanksgivukkah dinner?
For more on the math of Thanksgivukkah, listen to my story on Weekend Edition. For more on the food, read on.
This afternoon, millions of fez-wearing fans around the world will tune in to a very special episode of Doctor Who. The venerable British sci-fi series turns 50 today — though the time traveling alien Doctor himself is probably somewhere on the wrong side of 1,000.
From scrappy, low-budget beginnings (bubble-wrap monsters, anyone?), Doctor Who has become a global phenomenon. Only soap operas can match it for longevity and popularity. So what's the secret to the Doctor's appeal?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Don Gonyea. Some news this week got us thinking about how radically our viewing habits are changing. The broadband service company, Sandvine, released a study that shows that Netflix and YouTube now account for more than half of the data we consume on fixed networks, which is to say at home or work. It's just one more bit of evidence that Americans are increasingly turning to online video sources for news and entertainment, rather than TV, which mean advertisers have to do the same.
The World Chess Championship, underway in India, features a faceoff between the sport's heavyweights. Guest host Don Gonyea can't help but inject politics to his conversation with NPR's Tom Goldman, as this week President Obama used sports metaphors to talk about the rollout of the Affordable Care Act.
Bill Watterson brought an end to Calvin & Hobbes in 1995, after just 10 years of writing and drawing the comic strip. But to his many devoted fans, that shockheaded boy and his tiger are as important today as they were when they first appeared in daily papers all around the country.