What makes people creative? What gives some of us the ability to create work that captivates the eyes, minds and hearts of others? Jonah Lehrer, a writer specializing in neuroscience, addresses that question in his new book, Imagine: How Creativity Works.
Lehrer defines creativity broadly, considering everything from the invention of masking tape to breakthroughs in mathematics; from memorable ad campaigns to Shakespearean tragedies. He finds that the conditions that favor creativity — our brains, our times, our buildings, our cities — are equally broad.
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 4:35 pm
Police didn't arrest George Zimmerman. They didn't arrest him after he got off his car, shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed and on his way back from the store after buying some snacks. They didn't arrest him after 9-11 calls emerged in which police advise Zimmerman, who was on Neighborhood Watch patrol, not to follow Martin.
The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments Monday in a case testing whether children conceived through in vitro fertilization after the death of a parent are eligible for Social Security survivors benefits.
The case before the court began in 2001 when Robert Capato was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Before beginning treatments, he deposited sperm at a fertility clinic, and after he died, his wife, Karen, carried out the couple's plan to conceive using Robert's sperm.
The Supreme Court takes up the Affordable Care Act next week, and NPR will be exploring the questions surrounding health care in America beforehand. Many of the publicly debated issues in the act hinge on money. How much is spent on our health? Who spends it? How?
Some know how much we pay for our own medical care, but many aren't aware of how immense an industry health care is in the U.S. Our trips to the doctor employ a lot of people, and our schools play an important role in preparing those people to take care of us.
At the end of 2011, Apple had a very enviable problem. It's not too many companies that have more cash than they know what to do with, and for the electronics giant, that amounted to nearly $100 billion burning a hole in its pocket.
So it certainly pleased current and potential investors when Apple announced that, for the first time since the mid-1990s, the company will start paying a dividend.
There are some 7,000 spoken languages in the world, and linguists project that as many as half may disappear by the end of the century. That works out to one language going extinct about every two weeks. Now, digital technology is coming to the rescue of some of those ancient tongues.
Members of the Native American Siletz tribe in Oregon say their native language, also called "Siletz," "is as old as time itself." But today, you can count the number of fluent speakers on one hand. Siletz Tribal Council Vice Chairman Bud Lane is one of them.
The U.S. spent $2.6 trillion on health care in 2010 — more than the entire economy of France or Britain. But the amount spent and how it's used varies from state to state.
And no two states are more different than Texas and Massachusetts. At 25 percent, Texas has the highest rate of uninsured people in the nation. Massachusetts, where a 2006 law made coverage mandatory, has the lowest rate — fewer than 2 percent of people are uninsured.
When Michael Weber gave up animal products in 2003, the packaged food industry didn't have much to sell him.
"That early vegan food was either really hippy-ish or really processed," Weber tells The Salt. "It wasn't that high quality."
Nowadays, a stroll through a grocery store might just lead you to a freezer or cooler jammed with dozens of flavors of veggie burgers, meatless buffalo wings, dairy-free cheese and ice cream, and maple bacon tempeh.
Children who are exposed to methamphetamine before birth can have behavior problems as young as age 3, a new study finds. But those problems are manageable, the researchers say, especially if the children and their parents get help early on.
"These kids are not cracked and broken," says Linda LaGasse, an associate professor of pediatrics and Brown University Medical School, and lead author of the study. "But they do have problems that are worthy of note."
From its start in the late '90s, Zieti faced tough odds. Arranging gigs in Abidjan, Ivory Coast was a high-risk, do-it-yourself affair for the band. And that was before the country underwent a military coup, a rigged election and a brush with civil war. Zemelewa was recorded by 15 musicians in four studios on two continents. For all that, you can sense the band's solidarity, as if merely making this record was an act of resistance.
This week the action in the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is in Illinois, which holds its primary Tuesday.
In advance of that contest, Public Policy Polling is out with a new survey that it says shows "Mitt Romney is headed for a blowout victory." It has the former Massachusetts governor ahead of former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum 45 percent to 30 percent (with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Rep. Ron Paul trailing far behind).
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 1:16 pm
Iran has faced international sanctions for more than three decades, which have hurt, but never crippled its economy.
Now, a new move by a relatively obscure financial institution in Europe could make it much more difficult for Iran to do basic things crucial to its economy, such as selling oil and obtaining hard currency.
As of Saturday, many Iranian banks, including the Central Bank, have been refused access to a worldwide financial messaging system that's used to arrange transfers of money.
Peyton Manning, one of the two or three best quarterbacks in recent years and one of the greatest ever, is close to signing a contract to play for the NFL's Denver Broncos, according to multiple reports.
Russians continue to take to the streets to air their grievances against the government of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. But now, after Putin's election this month to a six-year term as president, the crowds number only in the hundreds — not the tens of thousands that turned out before the vote.
In the words of writer Boris Akunin, a popular speaker at the earlier rallies: "The civic movement has entered a new phase. The first phase, romantic and euphoric, is over."
Now is the time, Akunin says, for power to develop from the bottom up.
While most of the country has been enjoying spring-like temperatures for weeks now, parts of Arizona got a pretty significant visit from a waning winter: CNN reports that "the city of Flagstaff is still digging out of 10 to 14 inches of snow from the weekend, which prompted school closings in the city for Monday. The city of Prescott received 8 to 12 inches."
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. In a few minutes, we are going to hear about this year's offerings at the Israel Film Festival, which is being held in Los Angeles. There seems to be something for just about every taste, from political dramas to romantic comedies to documentaries. We'll hear from the founder of the festival, which is in its 26th year, in just a few minutes.
Last month, Tell Me More used audio of storyteller Mike Daisey, who had been featured in a public radio story on the show This American Life. Last Friday, This American Life host Ira Glass retracted the story, saying it "contained numerous fabrications." Host Michel Martin notes the use of part of the retracted story on Tell Me More.
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 12:51 pm
A high-profile court case in Moscow has again put the spotlight on Russia's judiciary — an issue that opposition protesters often cite as one reason they've taken to the streets.
The Presnenski District Court handed down a five-year prison sentence last Thursday to prominent businessman Alexei Kozlov on charges of fraud and money laundering. The case has attracted wide attention as it has worked its way through Russia's court system for four years. Kozlov was accused of wrongdoing by his former business partner, Vladimir Slutzker, a wealthy ex-member of the Russian Senate.
Don Draper, the main character on the hit TV show Mad Men, is said to have been inspired by a real Madison Avenue ad man: George Lois. Lois was a leader in the "Creative Revolution" in advertising during the 1950s, and became one of the most influential art directors in advertising history. His work helped make brands like Xerox, Lean Cuisine and Jiffy Lube famous. Lois is perhaps best known for creating iconic Esquire magazine covers, many of which now reside in the Museum of Modern Art.
Originally published on Mon March 19, 2012 10:45 am
Mitt Romney won Puerto Rico's Republican presidential primary Sunday, adding the commonwealth's 20 delegates to his commanding lead over the other candidates as they compete to reach the 1,144 needed for the nomination. Rick Santorum hurt himself with the island's voters by saying English had to become its official language before it could achieve statehood.
NPR's business news starts with Apple's giant pile of money.
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INSKEEP: The maker of iPads, iPhones and computers is sitting on almost one hundred billion dollars in cash and securities. And today, Apple announced that it will spend some of that money paying a stock dividend to shareholders and buying back some company stock. NPR's Steve Henn has been following developments, and joins us on the line from Silicon Valley. Steve, good morning.
Here are some of the latest developments concerning the March 11 killings of 16 civilians in southern Afghanistan and the U.S. Army staff sergeant, Robert Bales, who is suspected of carrying out the massacre:
-- Defense attorney John Henry Browne will today "have his first face-to-face meeting with the 10-year Army veteran, who is being held in an isolated cell at Fort Leavenworth's military prison in Kansas," The Associated Press reports.