I like what Victor LaValle is doing. Let me rephrase. I love what he is doing. His third book — Big Machine — is, itself, a big machine.
Its ambition is epic, characters flawed and unpredictable, plot fantastical. As I read this novel, I realized: I think of myself as possessing a lot of certainty about my politics, my perspectives. This book, however, gives me doubts. And for that reason, you must read this book.
Renee Montagne talks to Oskar Garcia, the Associated Press's Las Vegas reporter, about the start of this year's World Series of Poker. The tournament is taking a hit after the Justice Department shut down online poker operators in April.
A perk that allows government workers in Philadelphia to collect on their pensions before they retire is in jeopardy. Mayor Michael Nutter says the early pensions aren't affordable. But the City Council wants to preserve them.
Renee Montagne and Linda Wertheimer report on today's release of a policy review of the U.S.-led nation-building effort in Afghanistan. The review was prepared by the Democratic Majority staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
A stellar fourth quarter performance from an ailing Dirk Nowitzki pushed the Dallas Mavericks past the Miami Heat last night. Game Four of the NBA Finals went to Dallas by a score of 86-83. The best-of-seven series is now tied at two games apiece. NPR's Tom Goldman was at last night's game, he's with us from Dallas. Hi Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN: Good morning.
WERTHEIMER: So how did the Mavericks do it? How were they able to break through against the Heat right at the end?
Renee Montagne talks to Neil MacFarquhar, of "The New York times," about the latest developments in the uprising in Yemen. MacFarquhar is in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, where Yemen's wounded president is receiving treatment. He was wounded over the weekend when the presidential palace was attacked.
The arcade video game Pong was cutting edge in 1972. After several deaths and resuscitations, Atari, the company behind Pong, is back again. Atari recently launched an app called Atari's Greatest Hits. It's a collection of classic arcade games — including Asteroids and Battlezone — refitted for mobile screens.
On Monday, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) announced he had tweeted to the world a lewd photo of himself he had meant to send to one woman privately.
For many, the reaction to Weiner's lewd photo texts has been disgust and bewilderment. But the phenomenon is more common than you may think. Even the AARP has covered the trend, with the headline: "Sexting Not Just for Kids."
Martha Stewart may sell the company that bears her name, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Stewart has long enjoyed a reputation as a canny businesswoman as well as a decorator, cook and TV personality.
After going to jail in 2004, she resuscitated her career. But her company has been losing money, and is looking for a path back to profitability — possibly by being sold.
In 2010, Martha Stewart sold almost $43 million worth of products. But when the year ended, her company had lost almost $10 million. In fact, it's lost money seven out of the last eight years.
Many American history students learn of a concept called the Frontier Thesis, the idea that the American experience on the frontier shaped the American character. Pakistanis have their own common experiences, from mass migration to war. NPR wanted to know how those experiences affect the country, and posed the question to two Pakistani thinkers Najam Sethi, a leading newspaper editor, and Mosharraf Zaidi, a Pakistani writer and development consultant.
Sethi tells NPR's Steve Inskeep his compatriots are both hospitable to visitors and suspicious of them.
Two Iraqi men are due in court in Kentucky on Wednesday to face charges that they tried to send missiles to al-Qaida. The men moved to the U.S. as part of a program to resettle thousands of refugees from Iraq. But national security experts say their presence here has exposed an alarming gap in the screening process.
Waad Alwan arrived in Bowling Green, Ky., two years ago to build a new life. But when he applied to a refugee program for Iraqis, Homeland Security officials didn't know the military had lifted his fingerprints from a bomb designed to hurt U.S. troops in Iraq.
This month, NPR is examining the many ways China is expanding its reach in the world — through investments, infrastructure, military power and more.
China has capitalized on the financial crisis to expand its influence in Europe, promising to buy Greek, Spanish and Portuguese bonds. But its most important infrastructure deal in Europe has been its investment in the Greek port of Piraeus.
Through such deals, Chinese influence is changing more than just the financial landscape in Greece — with ramifications for the rest of Europe.
Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, checks in again with the recommended-reading feature that Morning Edition likes to call Word of Mouth.
This month, Brown selects three pieces of writing that revolve around traveling to or from places we've come to identify in the past few months with what's known as the "Arab spring." One is a work of journalism, a report from the streets of Syria. Another is a cry for serious, dedicated travel writing from a serious travel writer. Third is a novel about the desperate desire to escape one such country.
The successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is facing cost overruns and years of delay before it launches, but that hasn't dampened the enthusiasm of scientists who are meeting in Baltimore this week to talk about the amazing research they want to do with the James Webb Space Telescope.
As sure as death and no new taxes, American sports fans are always convinced that the people who run sports here are dimwits. Well, yes, we have occasionally had some real nincompoops in charge of various professional American sports, and not even Pericles could successfully manage the NCAA, but in point of fact, our domestic sports are a paragon of efficiency and integrity compared with the way international athletic organizations are managed.
Today was the official start of E3 in Los Angeles. The biggest announcement of the day — and likely the week — was the new Nintendo console. The Japanese gaming company changed the way people play video games with its last console, the Wii. The Wii brought millions of casual gamers into an entertainment format many had never tried before. The company looks to bring serious gamers back with the new system.
There's a lot of hand waving in economics. People make big-picture arguments and throw around equations, but often there's not much good evidence to work with.
MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo want to change that. They study global poverty, and their goal isn't so much to make big, sweeping statements as to find clear answers to specific questions.
In other words, they're economists who actually do experiments in the real world.
China has been steadily increasing its foreign investments outside of bonds in recent years. Between 2005 and 2010, it made more than $224 billion in overseas investments and also entered into engineering and construction contracts of more than $94 billion, according to data compiled by The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C. The group tracks China's foreign nonbond investments and contracts worth more than $100 million.
The ratings gurus at U.S.News and World Report have put some of the nation's most popular diets through the wringer and crowned as champion a diet originally developed to help people lower their blood pressure.
Look closely, and you can see a rear view of Endeavor's wings and engines as the space shuttle sits on top of the International Space Station. This image was taken May 23 by an astronaut on board the Russian Soyuz spacecraft as it headed back to Earth. It's a rare perspective — one of the first-ever photos of the station shuttle complex captured from a distance.
"All previous views have come from cameras on the station's exterior, or from cameras used by the crew from windows inside the station," says NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries.
What is it that they say? If life gives you a cicada invasion, make ice cream. OK that's not what anyone says, but Columbia, Mo. is in the midst of cicada mating season. It means that once every 13 years, cicadas leave their homes underground as nymphs, they molt and emerge as adults. Sparky's Homemade Ice Cream decided that while they were out there, they might as well make a cicada flavored batch.
CNN talk show host Piers Morgan playfully baited Mitt Romney Monday night, trying to get the Republican frontrunner to show some just the slightest bit of irritation about Sarah Palin popping up in New Hampshire last week and stealing some of media attention at the very same time the former Massachusetts governor was officially announcing his presidential bid.
But Romney is a pretty disciplined man. As he told Morgan he's never done drugs and he only "tested" alcohol only once.
If Romney was upset with Palin, he sure wasn't going to let that show on television.
Today marks the birth date of Hungarian-born conductor and pianist George Szell. It's not a round-numbered anniversary (the 114th), but there is a birthday present of sorts — a brand new biography. Michael Charry's George Szell: A life of Musicwas published by University of Illinois Press last week.