All Things Considered

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Book Reviews
2:16 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

A Midcentury Romance, With 'Sunlight' And 'Shadow'

John Craven Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.

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The Salt
1:43 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Greek Credit Crisis Forces Winemakers, Food Canners To Adapt

Winemakers like Stellios Boutaris, shown near his vineyard outside Naoussa, Greece, and other business leaders have been forced to pursue new financial tactics because credit is hard to come by.
Jim Zarroli NPR

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.

"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."

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Pop Culture
1:29 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Pow, Crash, Boom! Marvel Thrashes DC On Screen

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — upwards of $600,000,000 domestically. Based on characters in Marvel comics, The Avengers was released on DVD on Tuesday.
Walt Disney

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.

The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.

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Asia
1:00 pm
Wed September 26, 2012

Tokyo's Governor Stokes The Island Feud With China

China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Yomiuri Shimbun AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu September 27, 2012 12:25 am

Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.

Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.

The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.

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World
11:15 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Badger Battle: British Animal Lovers Protest Cull

Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

The badger, a stalwart of BBC nature programs, is one of Britain's most beloved animals and is a protected species.

To many English dairy farmers, though, this timid omnivore with the black and white stripes is a mobile biological weapon, exposing their cows to bovine tuberculosis through its urine and saliva.

And they've persuaded the British government to sanction extreme measures.

This month, the government issued licenses allowing trained marksmen to wipe out 70 percent of the badger populations in two pilot areas.

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Animals
11:14 am
Wed September 26, 2012

Mammalian Surprise: African Mouse Can Regrow Skin

The African spiny mouse has the ability to regrow large patches of skin and hair without scarring.
Ashley W. Seifert Nature

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 3:54 pm

Scientists have discovered that a mouse found in Africa can lose large patches of skin and then grow it back without scarring, perhaps as a way of escaping the clutches of a predator.

The finding challenges the conventional view that mammals have an extremely limited ability to replace injured body parts. There are lizards that can regrow lost tails, salamanders that can replace amputated legs, and fish that can generate new fins, but humans and other mammals generally patch up wounds with scar tissue.

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Asia
4:10 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Mixing Past And Present In Papua New Guinea

A boy sits next to cooking fire at a Papua New Guinea village. Many villages re-create traditional dress and customs to cater to tourists and their search for an "authentic" experience.
Jake Warga for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Few places are more exotic in the imagination than Papua New Guinea. The romantic images it conjures up are the stuff of a National Geographic cover story, complete with deadly animals and, of course, cannibals.

But once I stepped off the plane, I entered a land that was wrestling with its past and its present.

The Sepik River basin, deep in the heart of the country, is a popular tourist destination. It's the perfect place for a jungle river tour, with dense greenery, massive birds and stops at tribal villages.

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It's All Politics
3:48 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Despite Pledge, Gloves Are Off In Massachusetts Senate Race

Bill Connell of Weymouth, Mass., who supports Republican Sen. Scott Brown, stands near signs supporting Brown's Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren, before the candidates' first debate Thursday in Boston.
Michael Dwyer AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

The tight U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is getting feistier. Republican Sen. Scott Brown is going on the offensive, running his first attack ad against his Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Warren.

Yet going negative is risky, thanks to a pledge between the two candidates to keep out third-party attack ads.

A Brown TV ad that began airing Monday attacks Warren on an old issue in this race — how Warren identified herself as Native American during her academic career.

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It's All Politics
3:45 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Investigation Dims GOP's Hopes For Holding On To House Seat In Fla.

Rep. David Rivera, R-Fla., speaks in Coral Gables in November 2010. Rivera is under investigation by state and federal authorities for allegedly misusing campaign funds.
Alan Diaz AP

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 9:20 am

Democrats in Florida think they have a chance in November to take back some congressional seats now held by Republicans. Near the top of the list is the 26th Congressional District near Miami.

It's a largely Hispanic district currently represented by Republican David Rivera. Although just a freshman in Congress, Rivera is a well-known Miami politician. Before being elected to Congress, he served eight years in the Florida Legislature and shared a house with longtime friend Marco Rubio.

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Theater
3:44 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

A Broadway Mystery Worthy Of 'Rebecca'

The original Vienna production of a new musical based on the novel Rebecca didn't fall prey to the woes plaguing a planned New York staging.
VBW

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

There's a new mystery on Broadway — one about the musical Rebecca, based on the Daphne du Maurier novel.

You can't see it yet on the New York stage. In fact, it hasn't even started rehearsals. That's because the production is short $4.5 million after one of its investors died before he could hand over the money.

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Religion
3:08 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

For Hasidic Jews, A Slow, Steady Rebirth In Russia

Dovid Karpov has been the rabbi at the Darkei Shalom synagogue since it was built 15 years ago. Like many people in his congregation, Karpov grew up in a Soviet-era family that was not religious. He says he had to learn his faith for himself.
Sergei Sotnikov NPR

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 2:24 pm

About a dozen men prayed recently at Darkei Shalom, a Hasidic Jewish synagogue in the working-class neighborhood of Otradnoye in north Moscow.

Except for the Star of David on its squat tower, the building is as plain and utilitarian as the linoleum on the floor. It sits — along with a Russian Orthodox church and a mosque — on a leafy stretch of land surrounded by towering apartment blocks.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:32 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Branding Health Care Exchanges To Make The Sale

Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, discusses California's health care plans in Sacramento in July.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

As states work to comply with the federal health care law, many are designing their insurance exchanges, where people will be able to shop for coverage.

But just the word "exchange" sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.

Peter Lee directs California's Health Benefit Exchange. It's up for a new name, and Lee says they want it to sound fresh, dynamic and innovative.

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Latin America
2:23 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

Bolivia's Cerro Rico: The Mountain That Eats Men

Cerro Rico, or Rich Mountain, rises like a monument in Potosi, Bolivia. It has produced silver, and hardship, for centuries. Now it may be in danger of collapse.
Carlos Villalon for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Near the mountain city of Potosi in the southern highlands of Bolivia, the cone-shaped peak of Cerro Rico stands as a 15,800-foot monument to the tragedies of Spanish conquest. For centuries, Indian slaves mined the mountain's silver in brutal conditions to bankroll the Spanish empire.

Today, the descendants of those slaves run the mines. But hundreds of years of mining have left the mountain porous and unstable, and experts say it is in danger of collapsing.

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All Tech Considered
2:21 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

National Security Experts Go Rogue For 'Drone Smackdown'

Alice Beauheim, her father and Bill Love fly their homemade machines at the Drone Smackdown in Manassas, Va., on Sunday. Objections by the Federal Aviation Administration forced organizers to hold the tongue-in-cheek contest outside of Washington, D.C.
John Procter

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

It started as trash talk between two contributors to a national security blog. They decided to host a drone smackdown to see if one guy's machine could take down another.

Unarmed drones, of course. The kind you can put together with a toy-store model and $200 in modifications. But the game turned out to have some serious undertones.

First, a word about the location. For a moment last week, the whole drone smackdown was up in the air.

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Middle East
12:52 pm
Tue September 25, 2012

As Numbers Swell, Syrian Refugees Face New Woes

A Syrian refugee walks with her children at Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border, Sept. 8. Around 30,000 Syrians live at the camp, with the numbers growing each day.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Syria's refugees keep growing dramatically in number, and no country in the region has taken in more of them than Jordan — a poor, desert nation that is now hosting some 200,000 Syrians.

The conditions for the refugees are perhaps harsher in Jordan than in any other country, with many people sheltered in tents on a hot, dusty plain just inside Jordan's northern border with Syria.

At the Zaatari camp, everything is covered with a layer of sand and dirt; rows and rows of tents, once white, are now a golden color.

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The Two-Way
5:48 am
Tue September 25, 2012

Bring Back The Real NFL Refs! Debacle At End Of Game Adds To Outrage

Confusion: One official (to the left) signals touchdown for Seattle. The other signals that a touchback — possession — for Green Bay.
Stephen Brashear AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 5:39 pm

Football fans are furious. Bettors are out an estimated $150 million. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin — the Republican who's famous for battling with organized labor — is on the side of the referees union. And the NFL is in something of a "prevent defense," saying that nothing can be done to change the outcome.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:27 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Scientists Parse Genes Of Breast Cancer's Four Major Types

Scientists say a new report in the journal Nature provides a big leap in the understanding of how different types of breast cancer differ.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed November 28, 2012 8:46 am

Scientists have known for a while that breast cancer is really four different diseases, with subtypes among them, an insight that has helped improve treatment for some women.

But experts haven't understood much about how these four types differ. A new report, published online in the journal Nature, provides a big leap in that understanding.

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Environment
3:35 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

As Arctic Ice Melts, So Does The Snow, And Quickly

Researchers say that springtime snow is melting in the Arctic even faster than Arctic ice. That means less sunlight is reflected off the surface. Bare land absorbs more solar energy, which can contribute to rising temperatures on Earth. Above, a musher races along the Iditarod in the Alaskan tundra in 2007.
Al Grillo AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

Arctic sea ice is in sharp decline this year: Last week, scientists announced that it hit the lowest point ever measured, shattering the previous record.

But it turns out that's not the most dramatic change in the Arctic. A study by Canadian researchers finds that springtime snow is melting away even faster than Arctic ice. That also has profound implications for the Earth's climate.

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'Another Thing': Test Your Clever Skills
3:16 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

'Another Thing': A Toothpaste Worthy Of A Caveman

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:56 am

Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free-Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your clever skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.

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Asia
2:41 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

In Singapore, The Voices Of Dissent Grow Louder

Former political detainees, Michael Fernandez (left), 72, and Tan Jing Quee (second from right), 66, participate in a forum in Singapore. A notebook used by Fernandez to scribble notes while he was jailed is projected behind them at the event held in 2006. Fernandez and Tan are among the hundreds of Singaporeans detained by the government without trial for, they say, political reasons.
Wong Maye-e AP

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

After decades of enforced silence, Singaporeans who spent years in jail without charges or trial are shattering a political taboo by speaking out about their detention — and the colonial-era security laws that made it possible.

The affluent trading hub — known for its solid rule of law — still allows the government to detain citizens indefinitely.

But people who say that the laws were used to abuse them and silence their dissenting voices are now talking — which many see as a foreshadowing of bigger political changes for Southeast Asia's wealthiest nation.

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The Message Machine
2:35 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Colorado Springs Soaks In Triple The Political Ads

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

Second of a two-part series

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The Record
2:33 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

An American Punk-Rock Band On Tour In The Land Of The Arab Spring

The Black Lips, not in Cairo.
Courtesy of Biz3 Publicity

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

Last year, after the Atlanta rock band Black Lips released the album Arabia Mountain, its members planned a trip to tour the Middle East, but the wave of Arab Spring protests forced them to change plans. Yet even with simmering anti-Americanism persisting throughout the region, singer-guitarist Ian St. Pe was determined to see this through. Cairo, where I spoke with them on Friday, was the band's second stop.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:49 pm
Mon September 24, 2012

Experimental Drug Is First To Help Kids With Premature-Aging Disease

Sam Berns, 15, who has the very rare premature-aging disease progeria, plays the drums in his high school's marching band.
Courtesy of the Progeria Research Foundation

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 3:11 pm

Researchers have found the first drug to treat progeria, an extremely rare genetic disease that causes children to age so rapidly that many die in their teens.

The drug, called lonafarnib, is not a cure. But in a study published Monday of 28 children, it reversed changes in blood vessels that usually lead to heart attacks and strokes.

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Around the Nation
3:41 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Rising Income Gap Shapes Residential Segregation

Mechelle Baylor's home in the Shaw area of Washington, D.C., has been in her family since 1929. She says she's seen her neighborhood change a lot as her neighbors move out and higher-income earners move in.
Amy Held NPR

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 11:20 am

The income gap is receiving much attention lately as more Americans are isolating themselves around "people like us."

More accurately, they surround themselves with people who earn similar incomes, and it is now fueling a rise in residential segregation. One recent study suggests the income gap might be greater today than even during colonial times – even when you account for slavery.

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Around the Nation
2:18 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Vt. Town Hires Livestock To Save Money, Go Green

Charlotte, Vt., has a new, old-school strategy to keep cemetery grass cut: Let animals do the work.
Kirk Carapezza Vermont Public Radio

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Cities and towns facing tight budgets have often neglected their cemeteries, an oversight that has left many of them in disrepair with broken fencing, crumbling gravestones, overgrown grass and persistent weeds.

But this summer, the Vermont town of Charlotte implemented a new strategy to both save money and keep grass in the town's graveyards under control, and it's a decidedly traditional way of doing it: Let goats and sheep do the work.

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Europe
2:17 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Poverty, Segregation Fuel Marseille Crime Wave

Police climb the stairs in a building on the north side of Marseille, southern France, as part of an operation in January against drug dealing and gun proliferation.
Gerard Julien AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 3:51 pm

Drug and gang violence in Marseille, France's second largest city, has gotten so out of control that one local politician has called for the army to be sent in to restore order.

The proposal shocked the French and President Francois Hollande. Now, the French government is making the city a top priority.

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

'New Deal' Town Turns 75, Utopian Ideals Long Gone

A visiting rabbi teaches children. The majority of Jersey Homesteads came from the Bronx's Jewish community.
Russell Lee Courtesy of the Library of Congress

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 11:29 am

The town of Roosevelt, N.J., was born out of an era not much different from today. It was 1937, the economy was in the toilet, and the country bitterly divided.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had won a second term in office — an election as acrimonious as today's — and with his re-election, a host of New Deal programs moved forward. One of these projects built 99 towns outside of industrial centers across the country. The town of Roosevelt, 50 miles south of New York City, was one of them.

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Author Interviews
2:16 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

The Life And Times Of Movie Star 'Laura Lamont'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon September 24, 2012 12:05 pm

It's a small town girl's dream: One day, you're strutting the floorboards of a summer stage; the next, the silver screen. Thus is the arc of Elsa Emerson, a Door County, Wis., girl whose life at the Cheery County playhouse never quite goes away when she becomes the Oscar-winning Laura Lamont.

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Around the Nation
2:16 pm
Sun September 23, 2012

Rare Specimens: An Unusual Match-Up In Entomology

Entomologists Alma Solis and Jason Hall specialize in moths and butterflies, respectively.
Marty Ittner Friends of Sligo Creek

Originally published on Sun September 23, 2012 4:16 pm

Alma Solis, a researcher at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Systematic Entomology Lab, and her husband, Jason Hall, a researcher with the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum, are, at first blush, a natural match.

Both are entomologists, a career that requires long hours, field work and travel for months at time — all without huge pay. But the couple soon learned that though they shared a passion, they did not share a specialty.

Hers: moths.

His: butterflies.

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Why Music Matters
10:03 am
Sun September 23, 2012

Scrolling Spaceways With Steely Dan And Shonen Knife

Mission specialist Stan Love's playlist for space includes David Bowie's "Space Oddity," XTC's "Another Satellite" and Shonen Knife's "Riding on the Rocket."
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 9:36 am

Weekends on All Things Considered continues its "Why Music Matters" series with music from the heavens, as chosen by astronaut Stan Love.

"In space, every day is an important day of work," Love says. But when he was sent up to the space station to drop off and pick up crew members, the returning station crew member asked, "Dudes, where are the tunes?"

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