NPR Blogs

13.7: Cosmos And Culture
7:18 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Can Love Be Measured?

The face of true love?
iStockphoto

Originally published on Sat February 15, 2014 11:12 pm

Today I want to offer two observations about the non-human, love, and home.

Yesterday I watched a boy walk his dog. The boy must have been about eleven, and the dog roughly two. The human, and the dog, seemed very much in love, a thought that would have occurred to me, I think, even if it had not been Valentines' Day. But because it was the holiday of love, the thought lingered longer than it otherwise might have.

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The Salt
5:15 am
Sat February 15, 2014

Drink Vodka, Eat Pickles, Repeat: Mastering The Zakuski Spread

Zakuski tables, like Slava and Luba Frumkin's, are known for their largesse. This spread includes smoked salmon and halibut, pickled green tomatoes, salted mackerel, Herring Under a Fur Coat and Georgian eggplant rolls.
Deena Prichep

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 9:43 am

As you gather with friends to watch the Olympics this weekend, why not prepare what they might serve in Sochi? Try, say, herring instead of chips.

But if you're really presenting food the Russian way, you'll need to make more than one snack. And get your libations in order.

Zakuski are often described as Russia's answer to tapas — a little bite to have with your drink.

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The Two-Way
10:56 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Tenn. VW Workers Reject Move To Join Union

Volkswagen's car plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., is the company's only one in the U.S. Its employees voted this week on whether to join the United Auto Workers union.
Volkswagen

Some 1,500 workers at a Volkswagen plant in Tennessee have voted not to join the United Auto Workers union. The tally of the three-day vote follows days of political prodding from both sides of the issue.

The 712-626 vote was a devastating blow to the UAW, which had tacit support from VW. The union had hoped to make inroads in auto plants in the South, where organizers have been striving for decades to represent factory workers.

VW had even allowed organizers into the plant to make their sales pitches.

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The Salt
7:28 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

For The Love Of Oysters: How A Kiss From The Sea Evokes Passion

Lunch with oysters and wine by Frans van Mieris, 1635-1681.
Universal Images Group UIG via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:58 pm

Question: Which of these foods are said to stir passion? An oyster, and avocado or a turnip? (Scroll down to the bottom for the answer.)

One of these, at least, is a gimme. The stories linking oysters and other shellfish to lust go back to at least the ancient Greeks.

Think of the image of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rising out of the sea from the half-shell.

"There's something primal about eating oysters," says oyster-lover MJ Gimbar. He describes them as creamy and velvety. "It's like a kiss from the ocean."

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The Two-Way
6:00 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says

A view of Venus, black dot at top center, passing in front of the sun during a transit in 2012. A quarter of Americans questioned failed to answer correctly the most basic questions on astronomy.
AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:41 pm

A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.

The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Author Isabel Allende Apologizes For Comments About Mystery Novels

Isabel Allende is apologizing for her comments about mystery novels.
Peter Morgan AP

Author Isabel Allende is best known for her works of magical realism such as The House of Spirits, but it was comments she made during an NPR interview about her new book, Ripper, a mystery novel, that angered fans of crime fiction.

Here's what she told NPR's Arun Rath:

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The Salt
5:38 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

When Not In Sochi, Order The Khatchapuri And Eat Like You Are

Traditional foods in Sochi may be Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian or from the surrounding Krasnodar region. This table is set at Mari Vanna restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 7:57 am

We've got more snow here in Washington, D.C., than they have in Sochi, and it's colder. But still it's hard not to dream about being at the Winter Olympics, especially since reports from athletes and spectators say that the food in Sochi is beyond delicious.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Author Of Book Yanked In India Says Move Has Backfired

Indian activists from the student wing of Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party protest near the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi on May 25, 2010, against Wendy Doniger's The Hindus. Penguin Books, India, said this week that it would withdraw the book and pulp it.
Anindito Mukherjee EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:09 pm

We told you earlier today [Friday] about a University of Chicago professor whose book was withdrawn in India after a Hindu group brought a court challenge against the publisher, Penguin Books, India.

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The Two-Way
3:56 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Feds Clear Banks To Do Business With Budding Pot Industry

A bag of marijuana being prepared for sale sits next to a money jar at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado, in this file photo taken on December 31, 2013.
Rick Wilking Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:29 pm

The federal government on Friday issued guidelines for banks seeking to do business with the legal marijuana industry, stopping short of a blanket immunity for them, but strongly indicating that prosecutions for such crimes as money laundering would be unlikely.

NPR's Yuki Noguchi reports that the Department of Justice and Treasury Department on Friday sought to "clarify rules for banks trying to navigate the murky legal waters of the marijuana business. Murky, because pot is legal in a growing number of states, but remains illegal under federal law."

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The Two-Way
3:01 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

WATCH: A Death-Defying Climb To The Top Of Shanghai Tower

Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov scale Shanghai Tower.
YouTube

A pair of daredevils, a Russian and a Ukrainian, scales the as-yet-unfinished Shanghai Tower, the world's second-tallest building.

As Russia Today writes:

"Donning army camos, black hoodies and face masks, Vadim Makhorov and Vitaly Raskalov evoke a Black Bloc aesthetic and an even more nonchalant attitude when readying themselves to scrape the sky with their own fingers."

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The Two-Way
1:34 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Even From Space, Near-Record Ice On Great Lakes Is Chilling

They're down there somewhere: The Great Lakes as seen from space on Wednesday. Lake Ontario, which has less ice than the others, is at the lower right. A bit of open water can be seen in Lake Superior, at the upper left.
CoastWatch.glerl.noaa.gov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:45 pm

The satellite photo we posted last month of a partially frozen Lake Michigan sent shivers down our spines.

Then when we heard today that the ice cover on the Great Lakes is approaching a record, we went in search of other such images.

After looking through several dozen, we need some hot cocoa. See if you agree.

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Shots - Health News
1:26 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Here's One More Reason To Play Video Games: Beating Dyslexia

Video games with lots of action might be useful for helping people with dyslexia train the brain's attention system.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:38 pm

Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book rather than a game controller. But for kids with dyslexia, action video games may be just what the doctor ordered.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world's population. Many approaches to help struggling readers focus on words and phonetics, but researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of an attention issue.

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The Two-Way
1:11 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Make It A Grande: Mammoth Tusk Find Likely Seattle's Largest

Plumber apprentice Joe Wells touching what Burke Museum officials believe is the largest, most intact mammoth tusk, ever found in the region.
Uncredited AP

The tusk from a mammoth that lived 16,000 years ago in the Seattle area unearthed earlier this week appears to be the largest, most intact ever found in the region.

It's thought to be from a Columbian mammoth, a subgroup of woolly mammoths, and is considered to be a pretty rare find. Construction workers stumbled on it as they were digging the foundation for an apartment complex in the city's South Lake Union neighborhood.

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The Two-Way
12:46 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Delhi's Crusading Chief Minister Resigns, Slams Main Parties

Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters in New Delhi, India, on Friday after announcing his resignation as chief minister of Delhi.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 1:51 pm

He said he represented the common man, and he caused a political earthquake in India when his party's election performance catapulted him to the chief minister's office in Delhi. On Friday — less than two months later — Arvind Kejriwal announced he was resigning after his effort to pass an anti-corruption bill was blocked by lawmakers in the state assembly.

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The Two-Way
11:45 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Report: 'Pattern Of Harassment' Led Dolphins Player To Quit

Then-Miami Dolphins Richie Incognito (left) and Jonathan Martin before Martin's departure.
Bill Feig AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:41 pm

"Three starters on the Dolphins offensive line — Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey — engaged in a pattern of harassment directed at not only Jonathan Martin, but also another young Dolphins offensive lineman and an assistant trainer," according to a report released Friday.

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