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Where the rubber meets the road

Firestone operates one of the largest rubber plants in the world in Liberia. Firestone Liberia received a lot of positive press in the past few months after "stopping Ebola in its tracks" on its plantation in the country. But 22 years ago, Firestone Liberia played a different role in shaping Liberia's trajectory.
posted by ChuraChura on Nov 22, 2014 - 5 comments

A national treasure drives off into the sunset, perhaps belching smoke.

Tom Magliozzi, one of public radio's most popular personalities, died on Monday of complications from Alzheimer's disease. He was 77 years old. Tom was one half of Click and Clack (The Tappet Brothers) on NPR's popular Car Talk. [more inside]
posted by RolandOfEld on Nov 3, 2014 - 292 comments

"I was just using it to sound different"

T-Pain performs without auto-tune for NPR's Tiny Desk Concert.
posted by Bulgaroktonos on Oct 30, 2014 - 86 comments

Essays in English yield information about other languages

Essays and longer texts written in English can provide interesting insights into the linguistic background of the writer, and about the history of other languages, even dying languages, when evaluated by a new computer program developed by a team of computer scientists at MIT and Israel’s Technion. As told on NPR, this discovery came about by accident, when the new program classified someone as Russian when they were Polish, due to the similarity in grammar between the languages. Researchers realized this could allow the program to re-create language families, and could be applied to people who currently may not speak their original language, allowing some categorization of dying languages. More from MIT, and a link to the paper (PDF, from the 2014 Meeting of the Association for Computational Linguistics).
posted by filthy light thief on Oct 1, 2014 - 6 comments

Thinking about disease

Ebola and the Construction of Fear by Karen Sternheimer (Everyday Sociology)
"Sociologist Barry Glassner, author of The Culture of Fear: Why Americans are Afraid of the Wrong Things, explains how misguided panics are not just benign opportunities to prevent something horrible, but can divert attention and public funds away from more likely threats. He notes:
Panic-driven public spending generates over the long term a pathology akin to one found in drug addicts. The money and attention we fritter away on our compulsions, the less we have available for our real needs, which consequently grow larger (p. xvii).
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Sep 29, 2014 - 74 comments

What Do Homeless Veterans Look Like?

9 conversations from a pop-up photo studio in San Diego
posted by Librarypt on Sep 21, 2014 - 3 comments

"A Pyramid Scheme"

"Imagine a job where about half of all the work is being done by people who are in training. That is, in fact, what happens in the world of biological and medical research." --- NPR reports [audio] on postdocs & the scientific workforce as part of a series on the funding crisis in biomedical research. The series also includes When Scientists Give Up [audio], and U.S. Science Suffering From Booms And Busts In Funding [audio].
posted by Westringia F. on Sep 16, 2014 - 53 comments

Bradbury 13

In 1984, Michael McDonough of Brigham Young University produced "Bradbury 13" [YTPL], a series of 13 audio adaptations of famous Ray Bradbury stories, in conjunction with National Public Radio. The full-cast dramatizations featured adaptations of "The Ravine," "Night Call, Collect," "The Veldt", "There Was an Old Woman," "Kaleidoscope," "Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed", "The Screaming Woman," "A Sound of Thunder," "The Man," "The Wind," "The Fox and the Forest," "Here There Be Tygers" and "The Happiness Machine". Voiceover actor Paul Frees [previously] provided narration, while Bradbury himself was responsible for the opening voiceover...
posted by jim in austin on Sep 8, 2014 - 12 comments

a current overview of nuns in the US

The Sad State of America’s Aging Sisters: Why are there so few nuns today?
You may wonder whether the global church the sisters belong to is interested in keeping the convents open. It sure seems like it isn't. By 2005, the Catholic Church had spent $1 billion on legal fees and settlements stemming from priests sexually abusing children. Yet church leaders have allocated no funds to take care of elderly sisters, and while priests’ retirement funds are covered by the church, the sisters have no such safety net. When their orders run out of money, that’s it.

“Why would you want to be a nun if the archdiocese is going to treat you like they do?” Ann Frey at the Wartburg said. “Their whole lives they’ve been obedient and done what they were asked to do, and now nobody is helping them?”
[more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 31, 2014 - 79 comments

The origins of that stereotypical Chinese nine-note riff

Kat Chow, with NPR's Code Switch, put together a short piece on the history and the prevalence of the well-known nine note "stereotypical Asian theme." As described in a 2005 Straight Dope forum question: You know, the one that goes dee dee dee dee duh duh dee dee duh. Featured heavily in braindead Hollywood flicks made by clueless directors who want to give a scene an "oriental" feel. Also a variation of it can be heard in David Bowie's "China Girl." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 28, 2014 - 46 comments

Cosmic pluralism: science, religion, and possible populations on Venus

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries it became possible to believe in the existence of life on other planets on scientific grounds. Once the Earth was no longer the center of the universe according to Copernicus, once Galileo had aimed his telescope at the Moon and found it a rough globe with mountains and seas, the assumption of life on other planets became much less far-fetched. In general there were no actual differences between Earth and Venus, since both planets orbited the Sun, were of similar size, and possessed mountains and an atmosphere. If there is life on Earth, one may ponder why it could not also exist on Venus. In the extraterrestrial life debate of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Moon, our closest celestial body, was the prime candidate for life on other worlds, although a number of scientists and scholars also speculated about life on Venus and on other planets, both within our solar system and beyond its frontiers. Venusians: the Planet Venus in the 18th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate (PDF), from The Journal of Astronomical Data (JAD) Volume 19, somewhat via NPR and their mention of amateur astronomer Thomas Dick's estimations of the populations of the other planets in our solar system (Archive.org online view of Celestial scenery, or, The Wonders of the planetary system displayed, 1845).
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 21, 2014 - 8 comments

Mining and mapping comments to the FCC on Net Neutrality

Despite the comment collecting engine crashing on the last day to submit comments on the very popular topic of Network Neutrality, the system worked well enough to collect 1.1 million comments, which the FCC has made available to the general public as six XML files, totaling over 1.4 gigs of raw data. Mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered, so this isn't everything, but it's a lot of data. TechCrunch graphed the frequency of certain words, with the high score going to Comcast, with 4,613 mentions. NPR shared the visualized results of Quid's analysis of a sample of 250,000 comments, and Quid's analysis of a sample of 317,000 comments to map geographic sources of the public comments and adjusted them based on state populations to depict which states care more about net neutrality, while The Verge dug deeper, mapping comments by zip code.
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 13, 2014 - 12 comments

to end all wars

First world war – a century on, time to hail the peacemakers
"On the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, we should remember those who tried to stop a catastrophe" [more inside]
posted by flex on Aug 4, 2014 - 27 comments

Good and Cheap - Cooking on SNAP

The Salt, NPR's food blog, explains how Leanne Brown was inspired to develop a cookbook for people on SNAP. Leanne published Good and Cheap[PDF] as the capstone project for her MA in Food Studies at New York University and released it online as a free ebook. She also ran a successful Kickstarter to produce a print version.
posted by Arbac on Aug 2, 2014 - 60 comments

"When I sound real, I'm fake, and when I sound fake, I'm real."

"No wonder we react so viscerally to the 'ching-chong, ching-chong' schoolyard taunt. To attack our language, our ability to sound 'normal,' is to attack our ability to be normal. It's to attack everything we've worked for." An essay by Arthur Chu on feigning a Chinese accent for work and ridding oneself of an accent for life. [more inside]
posted by Errant on Aug 1, 2014 - 54 comments

Hail the Traveler

Margot Adler, most widely known as a journalist and New York correspondent for NPR, passed away this morning at 10:30 am at the age of 68 from complications related to endometrial cancer, according to a Facebook post from her son Alex. In addition to being a successful journalist and correspondent, Adler was a Wiccan priestess and a member of the board of advisers of the Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans. Adler is well known in the pagan community in America for her seminal 1979 book Drawing Down the Moon: Witches, Druids, Goddess-Worshippers, and Other Pagans in America. [more inside]
posted by Ben Trismegistus on Jul 28, 2014 - 48 comments

How the burrito became a sandwich

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 22, 2014 - 154 comments

The Green Turtle, the first Asian American super hero returns to comics

If you heard the recent NPR's Codeswitch segment on The Green Turtle, the first Asian superhero created in the United States, you heard descriptions of the 1940s comic. But there's more (so much more!) online. Start with the entire run of The Green Turtle on the amazing Digital Comic Museum, which hosts public domain Golden Age comics (late 1930s until the late 1940s or early 1950s). If you want to know more about Chu F. Hing, the artist behind the original Green Turtle, here's an extensively researched biography on the astounding Chinese American Eyes blog, which covers "famous, forgotten, well-known, and obscure visual artists of Chinese descent in the United States." [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jul 16, 2014 - 6 comments

Moon Hooch

NPR's Bob Boilen (host of All Songs Considered): "People ask me all the time to name my favorite Tiny Desk Concert. It's my desk and I've seen almost all of the nearly 400 concerts up close. So you'd think this would be easy. Moon Hooch have made it a lot easier." (video) [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 10, 2014 - 41 comments

What Happens When 350 Musicians Meet For The First Time In Brooklyn?

What Happens When 350 Musicians Meet For The First Time In Brooklyn?
posted by chunking express on Jul 2, 2014 - 20 comments

Don't sneak.

"Patrick Haggerty grew up the son of a dairy farmer in rural Washington during the 1950s As a teenager, Patrick began to understand he was gay–something he thought he was hiding well. But as he told his daughter Robin, one day, when he went to perform at a school assembly, his father Charles Edward Haggerty, decided to have a serious talk with him." (transcript)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jun 28, 2014 - 22 comments

Following your heart is another tolerable option

How To Marry The Right Girl: A Mathematical Solution
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jun 21, 2014 - 67 comments

How difficult is it for the NSA to spy on your Internet use?

On a bright April morning in Menlo Park, California, I became an Internet spy. This was easier than it sounds because I had a willing target. I had partnered with National Public Radio (NPR) tech correspondent Steve Henn for an experiment in Internet surveillance. For one week, while Henn researched a story, he allowed himself to be watched—acting as a stand-in, in effect, for everyone who uses Internet-connected devices. How much of our lives do we really reveal simply by going online? Ars tests Internet surveillance—by spying on an NPR reporter.
posted by Johnny Wallflower on Jun 16, 2014 - 15 comments

I have the photo, but I don't remember being there...

Maybe it's time to put down that camera/smart phone. A short NPR article (including a link to the audio, an interview with Maryanne Garry, a psychology professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand) discussing why it's important to be thoughtful about the amount of time you spend experiencing life through a viewfinder and how the digital age has impacted on our parental role as archivist of our own and our children's lives.
posted by HuronBob on May 31, 2014 - 46 comments

The Marvelous Sugar Baby

An NPR interview with the creator of a 75 foot long Mammy-Sphinx sculpture made entirely of sugar. Award-winning artist Kara Walker's latest work challenges viewers to confront the relationships between American history, racism, slavery, and industrialization. Her exhibition is held in the soon-to-be-demolished, historic Domino Sugar Factory. (New Yorker article) [more inside]
posted by warm_planet on May 16, 2014 - 34 comments

A bolo tie? Over a t-shirt? With a trilby?

What is Nina Totenberg wearing? The Wall Street Journal profiles some unusual style icons: the hosts and staff of National Public Radio.
posted by Diablevert on May 9, 2014 - 61 comments

RTMFA

NPR's April Fools joke demonstrates the importance of RTMFA.
posted by divabat on Apr 6, 2014 - 95 comments

Borderland

NPR Took A 2,428-Mile Road Trip Along The Mexico Border: Here's What They Saw
posted by empath on Apr 3, 2014 - 21 comments

When is a church not a church?

NPR reporter John Burnett and investigator Samantha Sunne examine the finances of Christian TV network Daystar.
At NPR's request, the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group in Dallas that monitors Christian broadcasters, compiled a list of the nation's 30 leading evangelist broadcasters. Twenty-two of them are designated churches, meaning they don't have to report anything to anybody. Of those, two-thirds have churches, while a third of them — including Daystar — hold no regular services.

posted by audi alteram partem on Apr 2, 2014 - 44 comments

Nickel Creek

A Dotted Line, is Nickel Creek's first studio album in 8 years. NPR has a "first listen" available for your pleasure.
posted by HuronBob on Mar 25, 2014 - 42 comments

Who Had Richer Parents, Doctors Or Artists?

What's the link between household income during childhood and job choice during adulthood? Stats and pretty graphs ahoy!
posted by forza on Mar 20, 2014 - 44 comments

The Bad Plus - The Rite Of Spring

Modern proggy jazz trio The Bad Plus has adapted Stravinsky's The Rite Of Spring for their unique style. For a limited time, the album is available to hear online via NPR.
posted by hippybear on Mar 16, 2014 - 21 comments

An Idea Whose Time Has Come, Or Gone

"All of the Pleasure. None of the Guilt," an article from this past Sunday's NY Times Magazine, was inspired in part by a similar article posted recently on the New Yorker's Page Turner blog, "Against 'Guilty Pleasure.'" It has, in turn, inspired another article in the Los Angeles Times: "The art of the guilty pleasure." All author's opine, "Is it time we retired the idea of 'guilty pleasure(s)'?" [more inside]
posted by eric1halfb on Feb 12, 2014 - 82 comments

Raleigh Mystery House

What's inside this mystery house in North Carolina? It looks like an average 1970's home with "a landscaped yard, white columns, and green shutters." But look closer and you'll notice there's no driveway, no walkway leading up to the front door, and no mailbox. The truth behind this mysterious building in Raleigh, NC might surprise you.
posted by capricorn on Jan 18, 2014 - 60 comments

I cut my hair to make the wings

Stan Alcorn on Digg attempts to answer why audio almost never goes viral. Alcorn outlines a rare exception in how an audio interview of two girls and the "Worst Haircut Ever" went from a coffee shop show called “The Ear Cave” in Hartford to a one line link on Metafilter made several months later by gauche, to ultimately landing on gawker where it ratcheted up 1.3 million views. [more inside]
posted by zenon on Jan 16, 2014 - 16 comments

Carefully Screened Young Adult Male Ella Fitzgeralds

"This study was an investigation of adult brain plasticity and whether we could reopen it through the use of a drug called valproic acid. It's a mood-stabilizing drug. But we found that it also restores the plasticity of the brain to a juvenile state. And during a two-week period on this pill or a controlled substance, a healthy cohort of young adult male subjects who were carefully screened not to have had musical experience early in life, they were asked to undertake a number of training tests online. And at the end of this two-week period, they were then tested on their ability to discriminate tones to see if the training had more effect than it normally would at this age."
WERTHEIMER: So, you actually gave people a pill and then you taught them to have perfect pitch?
HENSCH: This is the result and it's quite remarkable, since there are no known reports of adults acquiring absolute pitch. [more inside]
posted by carsonb on Jan 5, 2014 - 62 comments

What Monkeys Eat: A Few Thoughts About Pop Culture Writing

If you think monkeys are fascinating and you want to understand and be of value to them, it's not enough to be an expert on what monkeys should ideally eat. You have to understand what monkeys actually eat.
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Jan 2, 2014 - 29 comments

Patrick Stewart On Mooing Like a British Cow.

Patrick Stewart On Mooing Like a British Cow. Also explains regional differences for NPR's How To Do Everything podcast.
posted by feelinglistless on Jan 1, 2014 - 36 comments

Christmas music that won't make you want smash the stereo.

Bill Adler's Xmas Jollies 2013, via LAtino USA this year. Christmas music. It is bad. There is no escaping it. This playlist might help. [more inside]
posted by vrakatar on Dec 21, 2013 - 4 comments

You are either In or you are Out

There is a fundamental disconnect between large-scale, for-profit media and the crushing power of enthusiasm, which is that when they try to control it, it instantly isn't real. It's patently unreal. It's excitement given life by force, Pet Sematary-style. But when they don't control it, it isn't profitable. And that means that when they run into people excited about their stuff, they vacillate between an Ebenezerian lack of generosity and a Professor-Harold-Hillian smarm. To own enthusiasm and to exploit it are competing instincts, much as they often seem to be twins. You can, in fact, sometimes best exploit it — or only exploit it — by leaving it alone. -- In what could be considered a Metafilter Manifesto, Mefi's own Linda Holmes takes on the multivariate economics of fandom and the internet.
posted by Potomac Avenue on Dec 20, 2013 - 23 comments

The will change everything!

How Global Warming Works in 1.2 Minutes (via)
posted by cjorgensen on Dec 16, 2013 - 31 comments

From WNYC in New York, this is Radiolab...LIVE!

The public radio science program Radiolab recently wrapped up a tour featuring their latest live show, Apocalyptical. It is, as you might have guessed, about the end times. The show, hosted by Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich and featuring live performances from comedians Kurt Braunohler and Reggie Watts and an appearance from dinosaur puppets, is now available for free on YouTube.
posted by inturnaround on Dec 11, 2013 - 13 comments

A melted listicle

NPR is sick of the list. For their year end book round up this year, they have instead compiled an interactive web app which categorizes books by type (allowing you to apply these types as filters) and connects similar books by hyper-linked keywords.
posted by codacorolla on Dec 4, 2013 - 25 comments

Cotton, Machines, People, Boxes, and You

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt
posted by psoas on Dec 1, 2013 - 39 comments

Even When It Hurts Alot

Allie Brosh, author of the widely-adored Hyperbole And A Half web comic, was interviewed by the inimitable Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air about her work, her new book, and her well-documented struggles with depression. (previously 1 2 3 4 5 6 8)
posted by shiu mai baby on Nov 12, 2013 - 88 comments

Science Journalism Award winners

2013 Science Journalism Award winners from the American Association for the Advancement of Science: [via Romenesko] [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Nov 6, 2013 - 4 comments

Tough Talk About Catfish

Linda Holmes, writer and editor of NPR's pop culture blog Monkey See, has some thoughts about MTV's show, "Catfished."
posted by WalkerWestridge on Oct 15, 2013 - 86 comments

A Night At The Rock

"For 29 years, Alcatraz — the notorious prison off the coast of San Francisco — housed some of the nation's worst criminals: Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly, Birdman Robert Stroud. Today, 50 years after it closed, it's a museum. And earlier this year, the National Park Service gave Bill Baker, a former inmate, special permission to stay the night in his old cell. He was 24 when he was transferred to The Rock. Today, he's 80." (I can't link to it directly, but the audio is worth listening to)
posted by HuronBob on Oct 14, 2013 - 11 comments

The Coming Eucatastrophe

Over the past few years, the zombie apocalypse has come to represent an alternative to neoliberalism – an ideology that admits no alternatives. The Political Economy of Zombies by John Powers [previously, previouslier] Bonus: What Terrifies Teens In Today's Young Adult Novels? The Economy
posted by chavenet on Oct 1, 2013 - 59 comments

Variations on the Goldberg Variations

Why I Hate the Goldberg Variations, by Jeremy Denk, whose new (lovely) recording of the Goldberg Variations is now streaming on NPR. Also by Denk: Hannibal Lecter's Guide to the Goldberg Variations, which explores the famous cannibal killer through the lens of Bach. This is Your Brain on the Goldberg Variations, which gets in-depth on just how the Variations vary.
posted by Rory Marinich on Sep 24, 2013 - 30 comments

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