NPR Staff



Tue May 19, 2015
Author Interviews

In 'Out Of Line,' The Many, Many Acts Of Jules Feiffer

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:22 pm

Jules Feiffer Courtesy of ABRAMS Books

A critic once called Jules Feiffer "one of the best cartoonists now writing" and "the best writer now cartooning." That quote is in Out of Line, a new book about Feiffer, a man who does both words and pictures.

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Mon May 18, 2015
All Tech Considered

The Tech Behind Traffic Apps: How (Well) Do They Work?

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 10:50 pm

Four different apps can sometimes present four different routes. Screenshots of a few of the apps All Things Considered host Robert Siegel tested, from left to right: Google Maps, Inrix, Nokia Here, and Apple Maps.
Google; Inrix; Nokia; Apple

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

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Sun May 17, 2015

Often Employees, Rarely CEOs: Challenges Asian-Americans Face In Tech

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:47 am

Google was one of five Silicon Valley companies included in a recent study that looked at executive-level representation for Asian-Americans in the tech industry.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

A new report on diversity in Silicon Valley shows that Asians and Asian-Americans are well-represented in lower-level positions — but, in comparison, severely underrepresented at the management and executive levels at five large, established tech companies.

Ascend, an Asian-American professional organization based in New York, found that although 27 percent of professionals working at those companies are Asian or Asian-American, fewer than 19 percent of managers, and just under 14 percent of executives, are.

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Sun May 17, 2015

TV Thriller 'Wayward Pines' Offers Suspense — And An Ending

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 8:56 pm

In Chad Hodge's new Fox series, Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two missing federal agents.
Liane Hentscher FOX

The new Fox thriller Wayward Pines opens with a chilling scene. A man wakes up in the middle of the forest with cuts and bruises all over his body. Lost and confused, he stumbles into town. The audience soon learns the man is a Secret Service agent named Ethan Burke, played by Matt Dillon.

"He goes to the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, looking for two other Secret Service agents who went missing there and pretty soon he finds out he can't leave," Chad Hodge, showrunner and creator, tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Sat May 16, 2015
It's All Politics

RedState Advises Less Meat-Throwing, More Substance In GOP Campaigns

RedState Editor Erick Erickson is asking Republican candidates attending this year's RedState Gathering to focus on what they would do for the country, not what red meat they can throw at Democrats.
Tony Gutierrez AP

After the Republican presidential candidates finish their first debate this summer, many will head to Atlanta for a summit hosted by Erick Erickson, conservative activist and editor-in-chief of

This year, Erickson's RedState Gathering is scheduled for the same weekend as the Iowa Straw Poll.

Jeb Bush has already indicated he will go to the RedState Gathering rather than Iowa. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also going. Most will try to attend both events, Erickson says.

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Sat May 16, 2015

Losing Faith: A Religious Leader On America's Disillusionment With Church

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 11:23 am

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, stands outside the church in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Evan Vucci AP

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

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Fri May 15, 2015

Dad Aches For Son Killed By Policeman 20 Years Ago

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 12:51 pm

Nicholas Heyward Jr. the year before he was killed. "I would give my life today if I could, you know, just have him back," his dad said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.
Courtesy of Nicholas Heyward Sr.

Before Ferguson, Baltimore, Tamir Rice or Eric Garner, there was 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr.

In 1994, he was playing in the stairwell of the Gowanus Housing Project, where he lived in Brooklyn, when a police officer shot and killed him.

"He was an amazing kid and I don't just say that because he was my son," Nicholas Heyward Sr. says during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

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Wed May 13, 2015
The Salt

There's More To Farm-Fresh Prairie Food Than Steak And Soybeans

At ZJ Farm in Solon, Iowa, Susan Jutz, left, walks with her friend and mentor of Kate Edwards, right, of Wild Woods Farms. Once the plants get big enough at ZJ Farm Edwards transplants them to Wild Woods.
Dana Damewood Courtesy of Agate Publishing

Think local Nebraska food, and Omaha's famous steaks may come to mind. The Great Plains are indeed an agricultural powerhouse when it comes to commodities like feed corn, soybeans, beef and pork.

But as food journalist Summer Miller tells Meghna Chakrabarti of NPR's Here & Now, there's much more on offer these days in Nebraska, as well as in its Great Plains neighbors Iowa and South Dakota.

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Sun May 10, 2015
Mental Health

In Palo Alto's High-Pressure Schools, Suicides Lead To Soul-Searching

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 10:51 am

Since October of last year, four teenagers in California's Palo Alto school district have taken their own lives. Tragically, it's not the first cluster of teen suicides this area has seen: In 2009 and 2010, five local teenagers killed themselves by stepping in front of trains, and more suicides followed the next year.

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Sun May 10, 2015
Author Interviews

Danielewski Returns With A Long, Sideways Look At 'The Familiar'

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 6:46 am

On pages 68-69 from Mark Danielewski's The Familiar, Volume 1, the main character Xanther looks out the window of her father's car during a rainy drive.
Mark Z. Danielewski Courtesy of Pantheon, a division of Random House LLC.

If you met the author Mark Danielewski on an elevator, here's how your conversation might go:

"What are you doing these days?"

"I'm writing a novel," he replies. "It's 27 volumes long."

"Wow," you might say. "What's it about?"

"It's about this little girl who finds a little kitten."

"Twenty-seven volumes, huh?"

"Ah, it's a very intense subject."

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Sun May 10, 2015
All Tech Considered

Coming Soon To A Highway Near You: A Semitruck With A Brain

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 9:14 am

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.
John Locher AP

Imagine you're on the highway. You glance into the cab of the 18-wheeler next to you — and there's no driver. That day might be getting closer.

Automaker Daimler unveiled a truck last week that drives itself, called the Freightliner Inspiration. But the truck is not yet entirely autonomous.

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Sat May 9, 2015

A Cup's Adventures And Oddities On Ice: 140 Years Of Hockey Trivia

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 3:31 pm

An ice hockey match between the U.S.A. and Canada in February 1936, during the Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Central Press Getty Images

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are well underway. Fans of the Winnipeg Jets are heartbroken; Chicago Blackhawk lovers are feeling great.

But you don't need to be an NHL superfan to find something fascinating about hockey. A.J. Jacobs, an editor-at-large for Esquire and a professional know-it-all, joined NPR's Scott Simon to talk about quirky facts from the sport's past and present.

How much hockey trivia do you know? Take a guess at which of the facts below are true, then hit "play" to see if you were right.

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Fri May 8, 2015

In 'Rise Of Animals,' Sir David Attenborough Tells Story Of Vertebrates

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 1:23 pm

Sir David Attenborough at the Beijing Museum of Natural History with fossil of Juramaia, as featured in the Smithsonian Channel series Rise of Animals: Triumph of the Vertebrates.
Courtesy Smithsonian Channel

Famed British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has been lending his calming voice to nature documentaries ever since TV was in black and white.

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Wed May 6, 2015
The Race Card Project: Six-Word Essays

6 Words: 'My Name Is Jamaal ... I'm White'

Originally published on Wed May 6, 2015 2:09 pm

Jamaal Allan is a teacher in Des Moines, Iowa. His name has taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters.
Courtesy of Jamaal Allan

NPR continues a series of conversations from The Race Card Project, in which thousands of people have submitted their thoughts on race and cultural identity in six words.

People make a lot of assumptions based on a name alone.

Jamaal Allan, a high school teacher in Des Moines, Iowa, should know. To the surprise of many who have only seen his name, Allan is white. And that's taken him on a lifelong odyssey of racial encounters.

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Mon May 4, 2015

A Landscape Of Abundance Becomes A Landscape Of Scarcity

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 11:44 am

Courtesy of Matt Black

Photographer Matt Black grew up in California's Central Valley. He has dedicated his life to documenting the area's small towns and farmers.

Last year, he says he realized what had been a mild drought was now severe. It had simply stopped raining.

"It was kind of a daily surreal thing to walk outside," Black says.

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Sun May 3, 2015
All Tech Considered

The Promise And Potential Pitfalls Of Apple's ResearchKit

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 9:37 am

ResearchKit, presented by Apple's Jeff Williams in March, enables app creation to aid medical research.
Eric Risberg AP

Most of the tech buzz these days has centered on the new Apple Watch — including on the potential for health-related apps. Less attention has been given to Apple's ResearchKit, an open-source mobile software platform released in March.

But the medical world is paying attention.

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Sun May 3, 2015

Nepal's Medical Worries: Crowded Hospitals, Open Wounds

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 2:09 pm

Hospital staff members work at the reception area of a hospital in Kathmandu. Some 14,000 were injured in Nepal's earthquake.
Nicolas Asfouri AFP/Getty Images

An estimated 14,000 were injured in April's earthquake in Nepal. The caseload is overwhelming hospitals in Kathmandu, says Dr. Bianca Grecu-Jacobs, a resident in emergency medicine from California who was working in Nepal when the quake struck.

"[In] the lobby areas, patients just are on the floor waiting," Grecu-Jacobs says via Skype from Katmandu. "They strung up IVs for patients who need them in whatever manner they can."

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Tue April 28, 2015
Book News & Features

Graphic Novel About Holocaust 'Maus' Banned In Russia For Its Cover

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 12:17 pm

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman attends the French Institute Alliance Francaise's "After Charlie: What's Next for Art, Satire and Censorship" at Florence Gould Hall on Feb. 19 in New York City.
Mark Sagliocco Getty Images

Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel about the Holocaust, Maus, has some very memorable cover art. It pictures a pair of mice — representing Jews — huddling beneath a cat-like caricature of Adolf Hitler. Behind the feline Hitler is a large swastika.

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Tue April 28, 2015
Author Interviews

'Ashley's War' Details Vital Work Of Female Soldiers In Afghanistan

Originally published on Tue April 28, 2015 5:56 pm

First Lt. Ashley White was one of some 55 to 60 women selected for cultural support teams that deployed to Afghanistan in 2011. She did not make it home. She was the first woman to die and be honored alongside the Army Rangers with whom she served.
Courtesy of the White Family

The Pentagon says women could be eligible for all combat roles in the military by next year, but some women already have been fighting — and dying — for their country. They're serving right alongside elite special operations units, such as the Navy SEALs or Army Rangers.

It's part of an effort to connect with half of the Afghan population that was off-limits to male soldiers: the women. Some military leaders considered reaching them one of the keys to winning the war.

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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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Sun April 26, 2015

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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Sat April 25, 2015

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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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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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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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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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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Sun April 19, 2015

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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Sun April 19, 2015

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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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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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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