NPR Blogs

Monkey See
5:30 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Christopher Guest Comes To HBO With A 'Family' Comedy That's Serious

Chris O'Dowd (left) stars in Family Tree, a new HBO show from Christopher Guest (right) and Jim Piddock.
Suzanne Tenner HBO

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 10:11 am

Christopher Guest has made so many people laugh since he started making mock documentaries with This Is Spinal Tap in 1984 that his fans might be surprised to hear his response to Scott Simon's question on Saturday's Weekend Edition about whether he ever thinks about making a serious movie.

Referencing Family Tree, his new show for HBO starring Chris O'Dowd as a man discovering his roots, Guest says that even with comedy, the emotional content can still be critical.

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The Two-Way
5:04 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Newtown Panel Votes To Build New School At Sandy Hook Site

A task force has recommended building an entirely new school in Newtown, Conn., in place of Sandy Hook Elementary School.
Julio Cortez AP

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 2:21 pm

A task force in Newtown, Conn., on Friday unanimously recommended building a brand-new school at the site where a gunman killed 26 children and teachers in December.

In January, students from Sandy Hook resumed classes, but at an unused school in a neighboring town.

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The Two-Way
6:10 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Spacewalk Planned To Repair Station's Leaky Cooling System

Commander Chris Hadfield discovered the leaking ammonia on Thursday.
Maxim Shipenkov Associated Press

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will undertake a spacewalk Saturday morning to try to repair a leak in their cooling system.

The leak appears to be ammonia used in a power supply. It was spotted midmorning on Thursday. Commander Chris Hadfield reported seeing "a very steady stream of flakes or bits" floating away from the station. On the ground, mission control noticed a steady drop in ammonia levels on one of the station's eight power channels. The same channel had problems back in November of 2012.

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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

White House Denies Any 'Substantive' Edits To Benghazi Memo

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks to the media during a visit to Benghazi in 2011.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 6:07 pm

The White House says it made only minimal changes to the now-discredited talking points used to discuss the deadly attack last year on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.

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The Salt
4:59 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

How Swedish Malort Became Chicago's Mascot Bitter Drink

World Shattered, a cocktail by Tyler Fry of the Chicago bar The Violet Hour. The drink includes R. Franklin's Original Recipe Malort, and tames the bitterness with lemon, honey syrup, raspberry and mint.
Courtesy of Eden Laurin

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 6:43 pm

The people who make Jeppson's Malort, a harshly bitter spirit that's consumed in shots or cocktails, don't mind that their product makes people grimace. Instead, they celebrate it.

Carl Jeppson Co., a Chicago company, has built a minor social media empire around malort's "brutal" flavor; one winner of its slogan contest described the drink as "turning taste buds into taste foes for generations."

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The Two-Way
4:37 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Celebrity Panda To Return To Thailand, For $1 Million A Year

The giant panda Lin Ping, a star in Thailand whose mandatory trip to China was due at the end of May, can spend up to 15 years in Thailand, under a deal announced this week. The 43-day-old Lin Ping was held by her mother, Lin Hui, in this 2009 photo.
Wichai Taprieu AP

The citizens of Thailand are breathing a sigh of relief, after a breakthrough moment in panda relations was reached with China Friday. After much negotiation, Lin Ping, a female giant panda who became a reality TV star after being born in Thailand's Chiang Mai Zoo, will be allowed to stay in Thailand for 15 years.

The pact comes just weeks before Lin Ping was to travel to China; under the terms of the deal that brought her parents to Thailand, zoo officials were obligated to send Lin Ping to China by her fourth birthday, on May 27.

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Shots - Health News
3:24 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Judge Denies Administration's Request To Delay Plan-B Ruling

U.S. District Judge Korman of New York is steamed about the administration's handling of the Plan B One-Step morning-after pill.
AP

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:36 am

The U.S. District Court judge who last month ordered the Food and Drug Administration to make the most popular forms of the emergency contraceptive pill available over-the-counter with no age restrictions has denied the government's request to stay his ruling while it's on appeal.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:09 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

A Fresh Answer To Vermeer's Mystery

The Procuress, painted by Johannes Vermeer in 1656, hangs in a Dresden, Germany, museum in 2004. While this particular work is not in question, Benjamin Binstock argues that other pieces attributed to the Dutch master are by an apprentice and a member of his household.
Norbert Millauer AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 9:43 am

There are two excellent ideas at the heart of art historian Benjamin Binstock's beautiful and strange new book Vermeer's Family Secrets. The first is taken from a Nietzsche quote:

"We have learned to love all things that we now love."

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The Two-Way
2:43 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Boston Bombing Suspect Buried In Secret At Virginia Cemetery

Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, in a surveillance image taken shortly before the blasts that struck the Boston Marathon last month.
Bob Leonard Associated Press

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 3:07 pm

Boston Marathon bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev has been interred at a Muslim cemetery in central Virginia after a two-week ordeal in which a Massachusetts funeral director sought in vain to find a burial location.

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Will Imran Khan Shake Up Pakistani Politics This Time?

A supporter greets Imran Khan at a campaign rally on May 6, in Multan, Pakistan. Pakistan's parliamentary elections will be held on Saturday, and Khan's party is hoping the large, enthusiastic crowds at rallies will translate into a strong showing at the polls.
Daniel Berehulak Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:38 pm

After retiring as Pakistan's most celebrated cricket player, Imran Khan has dabbled on the margins of Pakistani politics for nearly two decades, trying to make a mark.

The sportsman turned philanthropist who led a playboy lifestyle in his younger days has attracted endless media attention, but until now neither he nor his movement has had any real impact.

As Pakistanis vote in a crucial parliamentary election on Saturday, could this time be different?

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The Two-Way
1:18 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

IRS Apologizes For Singling Out Conservative Groups

Dennis Brack Landov

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 6:14 pm

Update at 6:10 p.m. ET: White House: IRS was 'Inappropriate':

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the IRS actions "inappropriate" and said they should be investigated.

Carney, speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, noted that the Internal Revenue Service is an independent agency with only two political appointees.

Here's our original post:

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Shots - Health News
12:54 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Kids With Autism Quick To Detect Motion

Did you see that?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 7:37 am

Children with autism see simple movements twice as fast as other children their age, a new study finds.

Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Rochester were looking to test a common theory about autism which holds that overwhelming sensory stimulation inhibits other brain functions. The researchers figured they could check that by studying how kids with autism process moving images.

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The Two-Way
12:37 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Criminal Probe Launched In Texas Fertilizer Plant Blast

The remains of the fertilizer plant that exploded in the town of West, Texas, on April 17.
Mike Stone Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 12:56 pm

Authorities in Texas announced Friday that they're launching a criminal investigation into the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people and devastated the small community of West.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Malcolm X's Grandson Reportedly Killed In Mexico

Malcolm Shabazz, pictured in this 2006 photo posted on his blog, is said to have died Thursday at age 28.
Malcolm Shabazz

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 1:09 pm

Malcolm Shabazz, the grandson of slain civil rights leader Malcolm X, has reportedly died at age 28. A family friend says Shabazz was killed Thursday in Mexico.

The news first appeared in New York's The Amsterdam News, after family friend Terrie Williams tweeted, "I'm confirming, per the U.S. Embassy, on behalf of the family, the tragic death of Malcolm Shabazz, grandson of Malcolm X."

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The Salt
11:49 am
Fri May 10, 2013

Sago, An Ancient Chinese Starch, Endures In Asian Cooking

Pearls made from sago starch are common ingredients in Asian desserts and savories.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 3:14 pm

Long before rice became the mainstay of Asia, prehistoric people in China turned to sago palm for starch.

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