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6:15pm

Mon April 27, 2015
The Salt

Competitive Bartender Pours Father's Wisdom Into Signature Drink

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 8:14 pm

Ran Duan will represent the U.S. at the Bacardi Global Legacy Cocktail Competition in Sydney on April 28.
Daniel A. Gross

Most days, you can find Ran Duan pouring drinks for guests at The Baldwin Bar, inside a branch of his parents' Sichuan Garden restaurant in Woburn, Mass.

But recently he's been setting aside time each day to practice making a special drink.

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5:27pm

Sun April 26, 2015
World

Malta's Coast Guard Rescues Migrants — And Feels The Strain

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 6:34 pm

Soldiers in Malta carry coffins during a funeral service for 24 migrants who drowned while trying to reach southern Italy.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

This week, the bodies of 24 unidentified migrants were laid to rest in Malta, the European island nation in the Mediterranean Sea. They were among more than 800 people who lost their lives last weekend off the coast of Libya when their ship capsized as they were trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach a better life.

Lieutenant Keith Caruana of the Armed Forces of Malta spoke with NPR's Arun Rath about the situation in the Mediterranean — and the toll it has taken on rescuers after more than a decade of trying to save the lives of desperate people seeking safety.

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5:27pm

Sat April 25, 2015
World

Solving Crimes With Pollen, One Grain Of Evidence At A Time

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 6:23 pm

Dallas Mildenhall, New Zealand's forensic pollen expert, peers at samples through a microscope.
Courtesy of David Wolman

Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.

They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.

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10:15am

Sat April 25, 2015
Author Interviews

Imagining The Power Of Edouard Manet's 'Very Active Muse'

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 3:04 pm

Emily Jan NPR

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

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6:41pm

Wed April 22, 2015
Music Interviews

The Nearly Lost Story Of Cambodian Rock 'N' Roll

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 9:25 pm

Cambodian band Baksei Cham Krong.
Mol Kamach Courtesy of Argot Pictures

The tragic story of Cambodia in the '60s and '70s is well-known: It became engulfed in the Vietnam War, then more than a million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime. Doctors, lawyers, teachers — educated people — were targeted in the communist takeover. So were artists and singers.

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12:39pm

Wed April 22, 2015
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Is It Time To Abolish The Death Penalty?

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 2:10 pm

Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, with teammate Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

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5:16am

Mon April 20, 2015
It's All Politics

O'Malley: America's Economy Needs 'Sensible Rebalancing,' Not 'Pitchforks'

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:09 am

"There are two ways to go forward from here, and history shows this," Martin O'Malley said of the two parties' approaches to fixing the economy. "One path is a sensible rebalancing that calls us back to our tried and true success story as the land of opportunity. The other is pitchforks."
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, says he'll decide by late May whether he's running for president. Running would put him — even he seems to acknowledge — in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, currently the only Democrat who has declared.

O'Malley is positioning himself to Clinton's left, and even President Obama's left.

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6:49pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Health

Transgender Man Leads 'Men's Health' Cover Model Contest

Aydian Dowling is currently leading the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins, he will be the first trans man to appear on the cover.
Jason Robert Ballard FTM Magazine

Aydian Dowling of Eugene, Ore., is ripped. He has sharply defined muscles, piercing eyes and European-playboy-on-the-Riviera tousled hair.

It's not just striking good looks that distinguish Dowling, who is leading the voting in the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins the contest (which is ultimately determined by judges), Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Men's Health.

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5:20pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Music

System Of A Down, Armenia's Favorite Sons, On Facing History

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 6:33 pm

System of a Down is made up of four Los Angelenos of Armenian descent. This spring, they'll play their first-ever concert in their ethnic homeland.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Here's a quotation about prison overcrowding: "All research and successful drug policies show that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased, while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences." That's not from some stodgy think tank. That's metal.

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5:20pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Author Interviews

Unsettling Tales Of Strange Suburbia Echo Through 'The Night'

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 8:16 pm

Emily Jan NPR

A town that experiences a sudden suicide epidemic, a mysterious traveling salesman who sells a magical mirror polish, a mermaid who washes up on shore: What happens to a small town when something strange and supernatural takes over?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser explores that intersection of familiar life and disturbing, often bizarre events in his new short story collection, Voices in the Night.

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5:20am

Sun April 19, 2015
The Salt

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 11:00 am

These robotic arms are part of a modular kitchen that's been set up so that the robot chef can find exactly what it needs.
Moley Robotics

Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.

No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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6:49pm

Sat April 18, 2015
Pop Culture

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes 'Daredevil' Accessible To The Blind

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 12:20 am

Netflix's original series Daredevil, which stars a blind superhero, was originally hard for blind audience members to understand. The series was released without audio description that would make it accessible to the visually impaired. TV broadcasters are required to release such descriptions for some content, but Netflix, as an Internet streaming service, faces no such requirement.
Netflix

Netflix's original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He's a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

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6:25pm

Sat April 18, 2015
The Salt

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:19 am

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaro Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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7:43am

Sat April 18, 2015
Fine Art

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:00 am

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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3:43am

Fri April 17, 2015
Goats and Soda

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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3:46am

Thu April 16, 2015
Parallels

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 12:17 pm

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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3:34am

Wed April 15, 2015
History

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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3:33am

Wed April 15, 2015
Goats and Soda

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

Originally published on Sun May 3, 2015 8:26 pm

As China continues its massive economic growth, especially in cities, the government continues to severely limit people's rights. Is that system sustainable?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

When Henry Paulson first visited Beijing in 1991 as a banker, cars still shared major roads with horses.

"I remember getting into a taxi that drove too fast on a two-lane highway ... [that was] clogged with bicycles and horses pulling carts," says the former secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. "You still saw the hutongs — the old neighborhoods [with narrow streets] — which were very, very colorful and an important part of life."

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5:40pm

Mon April 13, 2015
Author Interviews

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 2:13 pm

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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6:05pm

Sun April 12, 2015
Author Interviews

From Harpies To Heroines: How Shakespeare's Women Evolved

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 6:43 pm

Tina Packer has spent a lifetime researching Shakespeare and his plays, both as an actress and as a director. And as she focused on the role that women play in his works, she noticed a progression.

Consider Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, one of his earliest plays, which centers on a man breaking a defiant woman's spirit. Strong-willed Kate is a harridan; her compliant sister, meanwhile, says things like, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe."

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5:25pm

Sun April 12, 2015
History

Discovery Gives New Ending To A Death At The Civil War's Close

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:02 pm

An engraving depicts Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Va.
Library Of Congress

For decades, the story of Hannah Reynolds' death read like a tragedy of historical circumstance.

In 1865, Reynolds was a slave in the household of Samuel Coleman in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. And as Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, a cannonball tore through the Coleman house.

The Coleman family had left the day before, but Reynolds had stayed behind. The cannonball struck her in the arm and, it was thought, she died that same day, as the battle's only civilian casualty.

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5:27am

Sun April 12, 2015
The Salt

Adventures In Vietnam — Street Food, Love And Taking Chances

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:01 am

Courtesy of Ecco Publishing

When English journalist Graham Holliday got tired of his office job in the U.K., he knew he wanted a change — a big one.

So he packed up and moved to Asia, first to Korea to teach English and ultimately, to the place that would be his home for nine years: Vietnam. As soon as he arrived, he was determined to immerse himself in Vietnamese culture — and for him, that meant food.

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6:09pm

Sat April 11, 2015
Middle East

Trapped In Yemen's 'Armageddon,' An American Made A Dangerous Escape

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

A "getaway selfie," as Mokhtar Alkhanshali calls it: Alkhanshali (left) makes his way across the Red Sea with this boat driver — and without navigation equipment.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali

Businessman Mokhtar Alkhanshali was used to the complications of traveling to Yemen. He'd been traveling there and back for years; sometimes the American Embassy would close for a few days amid turmoil, but it always opened back up.

But on March 27, the situation changed dramatically. "Overnight, the country went to war," he says.

The Yemeni-American coffee importer had been in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, on business when the city was rocked by explosions. He stepped outside at 2 a.m. to find anti-aircraft guns lighting up the night sky.

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8:56am

Sat April 11, 2015
Law

Colorado Deals Inmates A New Deck Of Cards

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:54 am

Colorado is the latest state to produce the cold case cards.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation

There's not a whole lot to do in prison, so inmates spend a fair amount of time playing cards.

For several years, law enforcement officials around the country have been putting that prisoners' pastime to good use. They've been putting facts and photos from unsolved crimes in front of prisoners' eyes by printing them on decks of cards, hoping to generate leads.

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12:30pm

Tue April 7, 2015
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Has The President Exceeded His War Powers Authority?

Two teams face off in a debate over the extent of the president's war powers at the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

President Obama has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But did he have constitutional power to do so?

Article I of the Constitution gives some war powers to the Congress — namely, the power to declare war — while Article II gives the president the power of commander-in-chief. But the U.S. Congress has not declared war since World War II, even as the nation has engaged in numerous military actions across the globe in the intervening decades.

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4:20am

Mon April 6, 2015
All Tech Considered

Is Cash-Free Really The Way To Be? Maybe Not For Millennials

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:20 pm

More Americans are ditching traditional cash and plastic, opting instead for new mobile payment applications. But new research indicates cash isn't completely dead.
Amy Sancetta AP

Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

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7:17pm

Sun April 5, 2015
U.S.

Utah Brings Back Firing Squad Executions; Witnesses Recall The Last One

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:46 pm

The firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown in June 2010.
Trent Nelson AP

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state's default execution method.

Utah is now the only state in the U.S. that authorizes execution by firing squad.

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6:28pm

Sun April 5, 2015
Environment

Will Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water Help Drought-Hit California?

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:42 am

Joshua Haggmark, Santa Barbara's water resources manager, is in charge of getting the city's desalination plant back online.
Becky Sullivan

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said.

But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem.

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

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5:08pm

Sun April 5, 2015
Author Interviews

Explosive Protests: U.S. Bombings During 'Days Of Rage'

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 2:32 pm

New York City firefighters work to put out a fire caused by explosions at 18 W. 11th St. on March 6, 1970. It was later discovered that the Weathermen, a radical left-wing organization, had been building bombs in the building's basement.
Marty Lederhandler AP

In the early 1970s thousands of bombings were taking place throughout the country — sometimes up to five a day. They were targeted protests, carried out by a multitude of radical activist groups: The Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the FALN, the Black Liberation Army.

According to author Bryan Burrough, there were at least a dozen underground organizations carrying out these attacks at the time. He writes that the bombings functioned as "exploding press releases."

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6:25pm

Sat April 4, 2015
Shots - Health News

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:02 pm

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto

By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes care. But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.

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