Uruguay boasts that it has the longest Carnival celebration not just in Latin America, but the world. The 40-day celebration is dotted with makeshift stages all around the capital city of Montevideo for performances of choral music called murga. Murga is both entertainment and a sociopolitical commentary that survived the military dictatorship of the 1970s.
Wang Shu's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Zhu Chenzhou /
In 1997, Wang Shu founded the Amateur Architecture Studio in Hangzhou with his wife, Lu Wenyu.
Credit Lang Shuilong /
Wang's Five Scattered Houses in Ningbo, China, received acknowledgment from the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction.
Credit Lu Wenyu /
The Pritzker Jury citation said Wang is "capable of creating buildings on an intimate scale," as demonstrated above in his Ningbo Tengtou Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo.
Credit Lv Hengzhong /
Wang's design for the Ningbo History Museum came to him at 3 in the morning. He realized his job was to show people what their city used to look like, and the design recalls an ancient Chinese fortress.
Credit Lu Wenyu /
In Wang's Vertical Courtyard Apartments, residents plant small trees that are special to them, to differentiate their tower from others.
For the first time, the Pritzker Architecture Prize has been awarded to an architect based in China. Wang Shu, 49, is interested in preservation, working slowly and tradition — ideals that sometimes seem forgotten in today's booming China. Wang says in the 1990s he had to get away from China's architectural "system" of demolition, megastructures and get-rich-quick — so he spent the decade working with common craftspeople building simple constructions.
"I go out of system," Wang says, "Because, finally I think, this system is too strong."
Theologian Lauren Winner was 21 when she became a Christian.
Although she was raised in a Jewish household and had converted to Orthodox Judaism, she says she felt drawn to Christianity. Her surprising conversion is the subject of her first memoir, the bestseller Girl Meets God.
In Winner's new book, Still: Notes on a Mid-Faith Crisis, she writes about a spiritual crisis.
Winner, an ordained Episcopal priest who teaches Christian spirituality at Duke University, says it happened around the time her mother died and her marriage collapsed.
This week, weekends on All Things Considered begins a new series called "Why Music Matters": stories from fans, in their own words, about how music has changed their lives. In this first installment, Seattle resident Nathan Hotchkiss reflects on a sheltered childhood.
"My parents were very religious," he says. "I was limited to listening only to Christian music and classical. My father would stay away a lot, and my mother would be wrapped up in her own turmoil, and it would spill over onto me."
Gas prices are on the rise and there's a slew of possible reasons as to why. Tensions with Iran, the Obama administration's policies, and Wall Street speculators have all been cited as factors. But it still doesn't answer why prices are increasing while U.S. demand for gasoline is going down. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks with NPR's John Ydstie about some hidden factors behind the jacked up gas prices.
Earlier today, a court ended a corruption trial against Silvio Berlusconi. But that's not the end of the road for the former prime minister, he still faces charges that he paid an underage teenager for sex. Friends of Berlusconi say that he is lonely and increasingly isolated. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz talks to writer Philip Delves Broughton who got unprecedented access to Silvio Berlusconi in Rome and wrote about the interview for The Atlantic.
President Obama and his GOP rivals are sparing over gas prices. In an election year, that pocketbook issue could hurt the president, but Republican voters still have no clear cut nominee to face off in November anyway. Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney square off in Michigan on Tuesday, with poll numbers flipping between the two. Weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz speaks with Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page about these and other news stories from the week.
Like flying cars and time travel, eye glasses with computing power have long been sci-fi fantasy, relegated to Terminator movies and the like. Now it appears that Google may be a few months from selling a version of their own.
Google glasses — which may be released as a "beta" product — could put smartphone capabilities such as GPS maps, weather, time, Web streaming and more inches from your eyeball.
Seattle has one of the country's few working movie theater organs. Jim Riggs plays the theater's Wurlitzer organ while silent movies are screened. Recently he performed during a screening of 1927's Wings, the only silent film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In Syria, medics working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent are evacuating the injured from a neighborhood of Homs. The area known as Baba Amr has been under a long and heavy bombardment from Syrian government forces. Melissa Block talks with Saleh Dabbakeh, a spokesman for the ICRC who is in Damascus.
Tuesday is the next big day for Republicans in choosing their presidential nominee, with primaries in Michigan and Arizona.
Then there's an even bigger day a week later: March 6 is this year's Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses. Possibly the most consequential one will be in the swing state of Ohio. It has 66 delegates at stake, and it will also be a key battleground in November.
It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.
Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.
Mitt Romney says his experience in private equity taking over troubled companies would make him a good manager of America's economy. So we're reporting on companies that Bain Capital bought while Romney was in charge of the firm. This morning, we told the story of one that went bust. Here's the story of one that succeeded.
The U.S. Supreme Court took up the subject of lying on Wednesday.
Specifically at issue was the constitutionality of a 2006 law that makes it a crime to lie about having received a military medal. But the questions posed by the justices ranged far beyond that — from advertising puffery to dating lies.
The Supreme Court engaged in a lively debate Wednesday when it heard oral arguments in a case testing whether the 2006 Stolen Valor Act is constitutional. The law makes it a crime to lie about military honors.
Border patrol agents along the southwest border will collaborate with the U.S. military this month. From the Fronteras Changing America Desk, Monica Ortiz Uribe reports the joint operation will involve 500 soldiers.
Mexican election officials have been pushing to get more Mexican expats to register for their country's presidential election. But figures released last week show only modest gains in the number of absentee ballots requested worldwide... and a drop in applications from Mexicans living in the U.S.
Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.
Get ready to dance, because it's Mardi Gras — a day to cut loose before Lent begins. In New Orleans, that means a day of parades, costumes and music everywhere you turn.
For the members of Galactic, Mardi Gras actually started on Monday, with an "annual gig that goes until the sun comes up at local club Tipitina's," saxophonist and harmonica player Ben Ellman says. For the long-running New Orleans funk band, it's one of the biggest gigs of the year.
Patrick deWitt is the author of The Sisters Brothers.
"Doesn't the act of noticing matter as much as what's noticed?" So asks the narrator of Harry Mathews' masterpiece of minutia, The Journalist.
On the mend from a nervous breakdown (though it's mentioned only in passing — "the steering wheel came off in my hands," he says), he's been encouraged by his doctor to keep a journal. A seemingly benign idea, and he throws himself into the task with gusto — far too much gusto, it turns out, as the journal soon eclipses his entire life.