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Animals
7:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Movie Interviews
2:01 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The Eye-Opening Saga Of Walter And Margaret Keane, Now On Screen

Amy Adams stars as painter Margaret Keane in the new movie Big Eyes.
Leah Gallo The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 7:45 am

It's a story almost too strange to be true: Throughout much of the 1960s and '70s, the wistful, wide-eyed children of painter Walter Keane were absolutely everywhere.

Paintings and posters of the big-eyed waifs, often in rags, their hair unkempt, brought fame and fortune to the charming, smooth-talking artist — along with widespread critical disdain.

But years later, it emerged that the art was actually the work of Walter's wife, Margaret Keane. She painted in secret, behind closed doors, and he publicly claimed the work as his own.

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The Salt
3:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 9:21 am

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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U.S.
1:26 am
Tue December 16, 2014

President's Task Force To Re-Examine How Police Interact With Public

President Obama announces the creation of a policing task force Dec. 1 as Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey (left) and George Mason University criminology professor Laurie Robinson look on.
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 1:09 pm

Earlier this month, after the events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y, the White House announced the creation of what it's calling a Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

The group's job is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between police and the public, and to share recommendations with the president by late February.

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Goats and Soda
3:12 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Dr. Kent Brantly: Lessons Learned From Fighting Ebola

Dr. Kent Brantly speaks about the world's response to Ebola during the Overseas Security Advisory Council's Annual Briefing in Washington, D.C. last month.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 11:23 am

Dr. Kent Brantly considers himself a lucky man.

He was diagnosed with Ebola five months ago while working with Christian aid group Samaritan's Purse at a hospital in Liberia's capital, Monrovia. He became so sick that he thought he was going to "quit" breathing.

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World
1:31 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Around-The-World Trek Hits Obstacles Both Natural And Man-Made

North into the Caucasus, into cold gunmetal skies. Eastern Turkey.
Paul Salopek National Geographic

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:02 am

Journalist Paul Salopek is on a seven-year trek around the world, retracing early humans' first great migration, out of Africa.

We first spoke to him two years ago, when he was in Ethiopia, at the very beginning of his odyssey. Since then, we've reached him in Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Cyprus. Eventually, he plans to walk 21,000 miles in total — and make it all the way to Tierra del Fuego in South America.

On this last leg of his trip, he has faced all manner of obstacles — both natural and man-made.

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Author Interviews
4:09 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

'El Deafo': How A Girl Turned Her Disability Into A Superpower

Pages from El Deafo by Cece Bell. Click here to enlarge.
Abrams

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:59 am

Writer and illustrator Cece Bell has been creating children's books for over a decade, but in her latest, she finally turns to her own story — about growing up hearing-impaired, after meningitis left her "severely to profoundly deaf" at the age of 4.

The book, a mix of memoir, graphic novel and children's book, is called El Deafo. It's a funny, unsentimental tale that follows Cece from age 4 through elementary school, as she transforms from mild-mannered little girl into full-fledged superhero — the "El Deafo" of the title.

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Around the Nation
3:57 pm
Sun December 14, 2014

LA's Unclaimed Dead Receive Prayers, And A Final Resting Place

County employees, media and mourners gather for the ceremony honoring the 1,489 people whose unclaimed remains are being buried in the LA County Cemetery this year.
Arun Rath NPR

Every year since 1896, Los Angeles County has held a somber ceremony for the men, women and children who die there, but whose bodies are never claimed.

Some of those buried are unidentified; they are buried as Jane and John Does.

Many others have been identified, but for a variety of reasons, family and friends never picked up their cremated remains.

This year, in an interfaith ceremony on Dec. 9, the county buried the ashes of 1,489 people in a mass grave in the County Cemetery in LA's Boyle Heights.

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Around the Nation
5:04 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

In Wisconsin, A Decade-Old Police Shooting Leads To New Law

Michael Bell Sr. (center) and his family stand near one of the billboards they bought in a campaign to bring awareness to internal police investigations. Bell's son was shot and killed by police in Kenosha, Wis.
Courtesy of the Bell family

Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 11:27 am

Race is at the forefront of the current debate over the police use of deadly force. But one shooting in Wisconsin highlights another factor at play when police shoot civilians — the lack of outside investigation. And the decade-old death has led to real reform in the state.

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Music
3:18 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

LISTEN: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Snubs

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 4:40 pm

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is expected to announce its latest group of inductees this coming week. As usual, fans are shouting about the bands they're not even considering.

All Things Considered presents a medley of the following snubbed rockers:

The Shangri-La's

Dick Dale

Steppenwolf

The Zombies

Ben E. King

Joan Baez

Deep Purple

Jethro Tull

Yes

King Crimson

Ozzy Osbourne

Warren Zevon

Dire Straits

Dolly Parton

Willie Nelson

Cheap Trick

Roxy Music

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Theater
4:39 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Glenn Close Ends 20-Year Broadway Hiatus With 'A Delicate Balance'

Glenn Close stars as Agnes in Edward Albee's play A Delicate Balance.
Brigitte Lacombe Philip Rinaldi Publicity

In 1995, Glenn Close won her third Tony Award for her role the Broadway musical Sunset Boulevard. Now, after 20-year hiatus, Close is back on Broadway. She's starring alongside John Lithgow in A Delicate Balance, Edward Albee's 1966 Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The story follows Agnes (Close), a suburban matron striving to keep the peace in a household she her husband (Lithgow) share with her sister, who's an alcoholic; their daughter, who's a serial divorcee; and their best friends who have fled their own home in an inexplicable terror.

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Book News & Features
3:15 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Join The Morning Edition Book Club: We're Reading 'Deep Down Dark'

Kainaz Amaria NPR

Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 9:21 am

Welcome to the first meeting of the Morning Edition Reads book club! Here's how it's going to work: A well-known writer will pick a book he or she loved. We'll all read it. Then, you'll send us your questions about the book. And about a month later, we'll reconvene to talk about the book with the author and the writer who picked it.

Ready? Here we go:

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
2:56 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Debate: Should We Genetically Modify Food?

Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

Many plants we eat today are a result of genetic modifications that would never occur in nature. Scientists have long been altering the genes of food crops, to boost food production and to make crops more pest-, drought- and cold-resistant.

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The Salt
2:54 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Mexican Megafarms Supplying U.S. Market Are Rife With Labor Abuses

At the end of the day, Roma tomatoes are ready for transport in Cristo Rey in the state of Sinaloa. Half the tomatoes consumed in the U.S. come from Mexico.
Don Bartletti Los Angeles Times

Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 7:06 pm

"Product of Mexico" — it's a label you see on fruit and vegetable stickers in supermarkets across the U.S.

It's also the name of an investigative series appearing this week in the Los Angeles Times.

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Music News
8:49 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Just Who Is That 'Mean Old Daddy'?

Joni Mitchell, pictured here in 1970, wrote the song "Carey" while living in Matala, Crete.
Michael Ochs Archives Getty Images

This song may take you back a ways — say, about 43 years.

That's Joni Mitchell, back when her voice was high and light. It's "a helium voice," as she describes it in an interview with NPR's Morning Edition.

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The Salt
4:15 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Olive Oil Producers In 'Crisis' From Weather, Pests And Disease

Damaged olives hang in the grove belonging to Augusto Spagnoli, an oil producer from Nerola, near Rome. Producers and experts declared Italy's 2014 olive harvest the worst in history, due to adverse climatic conditions that helped the olive fly proliferate, thus destroying the olives before they could be harvested.
Alessandra Tarantino AP

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 4:15 pm

There's been a dramatic drop in oil production, but it's not barrels of light sweet crude. It's olive oil.

Curtis Cord, publisher of the Olive Oil Times, tells Audie Cornish on All Things Considered there are many reasons why production has fallen so much in Italy and Spain this year.

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Author Interviews
3:24 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Perry Wallace, Who Broke Basketball Barriers, Didn't Set Out To Be A Pioneer

Perry Wallace, playing for Vanderbilt University, blocks the shot of 'Pistol' Pete Maravich, circa 1970.
Frank Empson The Tennessean

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 5:44 pm

Language advisory: Quotes in this story contain language some find offensive.


Many people are familiar with the big stories of racial integration in sports — Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers, Althea Gibson at Wimbledon. But after the 1964 Civil Rights Act, many lesser-known African American athletes became "firsts" — whether they liked that distinction or not.

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Books
3:09 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

How Washington's Odd Couple Transformed Welfare

Richard Nixon and Daniel Patrick Moynihan at the U.S. Capitol Building in 1970.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 8:49 am

Most books about President Richard Nixon focus either on his foreign policies or on the crimes and misdemeanors that forced his resignation under threat of impeachment.

Not Stephen Hess's new book, The Professor and the President.

Hess, who has been writing about government for decades out of Washington's Brookings Institution, witnessed a rare partnership inside the White House.

The president — Nixon — was a Republican who felt obliged to do something about welfare.

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Author Interviews
4:44 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

Author Of 'Bridge To Terabithia': Messages Are Poison To Fiction

Stories of My Life book cover

Originally published on Mon December 8, 2014 8:07 am

Katherine Paterson is the winner of two Newbery Medals and two National Book Awards. Her best-sellers include The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved, and her most famous book, Bridge to Terabithia.

Paterson was born in China to missionary parents. She tells NPR's Arun Rath that she had an idyllic childhood until about the age of 5, when Japan invaded China. "Those years were very scary years," she says.

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Asia
2:57 pm
Sun December 7, 2014

'A Universe Beneath Our Feet': Life In Beijing's Underground

Zhuang Qiuli and her boyfriend Feng Tao sit on the bed in their basement apartment two floors below a posh condominium. Since this photo was taken, the couple has moved above ground.
Sim Chi Yin VII

Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 11:26 am

In Beijing, even the tiniest apartment can cost a fortune — after all, with more than 21 million residents, space is limited and demand is high.

But it is possible to find more affordable housing. You'll just have to join an estimated 1 million of the city's residents and look underground.

Below the city's bustling streets, bomb shelters and storage basements are turned into illegal — but affordable — apartments.

Claustrophobic Living Quarters

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Code Switch
1:33 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Civil Rights Attorney On How She Built Trust With Police

Civil rights attorney Constance Rice worked with the Los Angeles Police Department to build trust with minority communities.
Valerie Macon Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 7, 2014 5:50 am

As a civil rights attorney, Constance Rice became known in the 1990s for, as she puts it, going to war with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Rice filed lawsuits against the department, mainly over their treatment of minorities in underprivileged communities.

Following the recent decisions not to indict white cops in the deaths of two black men — President Obama has said one of his top priorities is building trust between minority communities and local police.

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StoryCorps
1:29 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Caring For AIDS Patients, 'When No One Else Would'

Ruth Coker Burks with her friend Paul Wineland. Wineland's partner was one of many AIDS patients Coker Burks has cared for over the past three decades.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 11:07 am

Ruth Coker Burks was a young mother in her 20s when the AIDS epidemic hit her home state of Arkansas in the early 1980s. She took it upon herself to care for AIDS patients who were abandoned by their families, and even by medical professionals, who feared the disease.

Coker Burks, now 55, has no medical training, but she estimates that she has cared for nearly 1,000 people over the past three decades, including her friend Paul Wineland's partner.

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Politics
2:28 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

For Rep. McMorris Rodgers, Aiding Children With Disabilities Is Personal

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers was a lead sponsor of a bill that would allow special savings accounts for people with disabilities. She spoke about her son Cole, who has Down syndrome, on the House floor.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 5:03 pm

The Achieving A Better Life Experience — ABLE — Act, which faced a House vote this week, hit close to home for Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington state. "For me personally, this bill is about a little boy who was diagnosed with Down syndrome three days after he was born. His diagnosis came with a list of future complications," she said on the House floor.

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Music Interviews
4:16 pm
Sun November 30, 2014

At 86, A 'Jazz Child' Looks Back On A Life Of Sunshine, Sorrow

Jazz vocalist Sheila Jordan doesn't mind that, despite her critical acclaim, she's not a household name. "The people that respect what I do and hire me, that's all I need, you know?" she says. "I just need to keep doing this music as long as I live. "
Richard Laird Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 30, 2014 4:43 pm

Many fans first encountered one of the great voices in jazz as a whisper: Sheila Jordan made a quiet but lasting impression as a guest singer on pianist George Russell's 1962 arrangement of "You Are My Sunshine."

Since then, Jordan's career has taken her all over the world, and in 2012, she received one of the highest honors in jazz: she became an National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master. Her music has soared, but her story starts with pain.

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Around the Nation
8:25 am
Sun November 30, 2014

After Wrongful Conviction, Three Lifetimes Spent With Hope In Check

Kwame Ajamu grabs his brother Wiley Bridgeman's beard after his release in a gesture that dates from their boyhood.
John Kuntz The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 2:31 pm

The year was 1975. Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese as American troops and civilians were forced to evacuate the country. Ronald Reagan entered the presidential race against Gerald Ford. A show called Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC.

And Ricky Jackson, Wiley Bridgeman and Bridgeman's younger brother, Ronnie, were charged with the murder of an Ohio salesman. Jackson was 18, Ronnie Bridgeman was 17 and Wiley Bridgeman was 20.

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History
9:15 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Jesus Started A Chain Letter — And Other Hoaxes

Published in London around 1795, this "copy" of a letter from Jesus in heaven was the imagined correspondence between Jesus and King Abgar of Edessa.
Sheridan Libraries JHU

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:26 pm

William Shakespeare wrote in the margins of his books. Noah washed up in Vienna after the flood. Jesus sent a letter back to Earth after his ascension to heaven.

Did you miss those artifacts of history?

Of course you did. They're all frauds, concocted to convince the unsuspecting — and often they did.

These frauds are part of a new exhibit, "Fakes, Lies and Forgeries," at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore.

Curator Earle Havens says the exhibit is timely — these days, the media presents us with fakes and lies all the time.

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StoryCorps
7:42 am
Sat November 29, 2014

A Decade After Battle, Medic And Wounded Soldier Reunite

Retired 1st Sgt. Keith Melick (right) and retired Army Special Forces Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Wilkins met when Melick, a medic, treated Wilkins after an IED explosion. They were reunited nearly 10 years later.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 10:05 am

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ten years ago, Keith Melick was a medic in the Army, and Roy Wilkins was a command sergeant major in the Army's Special Forces.

They crossed paths in Afghanistan, where Wilkins was wounded in an IED explosion.

And then this August, by chance, they met again — in the gym at a VA medical center in North Carolina, where Wilkins was playing with his wheelchair basketball team.

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The Salt
4:05 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

Smoke and mirrors: Dave Arnold plays around with liquid nitrogen in a cocktail glass during his interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro.
Claire Eggers NPR

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 12:36 pm

Dave Arnold can work some serious magic with a cocktail shaker. But he's no alchemist — Arnold, who runs the Manhattan bar Booker and Dax, takes a very scientific approach to his craft.

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Found Recipes
3:27 pm
Fri November 28, 2014

A Boozy Parisian Pineapple That Tastes Like The Holidays

Roasted pineapple
Alan Richardson Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Fri November 28, 2014 4:22 pm

"It almost tastes like Christmas."

That's how Dorie Greenspan describes Laurent's Slow-Roasted Pineapple, a sweet, spicy and boozy dessert she's perfected after much trial and error. The dish, she says, is a "true found recipe," because it took a great deal of cajoling to pry it out of its creator, Laurent Tavernier.

Tavernier cuts hair in Paris, where Greenspan, author of Baking Chez Moi, has lived part-time for years. He's a great cook, she says — but while he would show her photos of his creations on his phone, "I could never get a recipe.

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The Salt
10:37 am
Wed November 26, 2014

The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu

Renee Comet Photography Restaurant Associates and Smithsonian Institution

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 21, 2012.

Everyone knows the schoolhouse version of the first Thanksgiving story: New England pilgrims came together with Native Americans to share a meal after the harvest. The original menu was something of a joint venture, but over the years, a lot of the traditional dishes have lost their native flavor.

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