Gayle is a short weekly web-series about the hyper-competitive upper-middle class mom Gaye Waters-Waters and her relentless attempts to dominate the local chapter of Mothers Against Road Head. Episode one with links to the latest ten. NSFW audio.
The Afterlife of Cheap Clothes is an excerpt from Elizabeth Cline's book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. 10 facts from Overdressed. An interview with Cline on Salon. Cheap clothing's high cost (infographic). Previously: stuff we don't want. [more inside]
NPR Intern Emily White wrote that out of a library of 11,000 songs, she had only purchased 15 CDs. Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker's David Lowery responds: "Why do you pay real money for this other stuff but not music?"
After 25 years, thousands of car problems solved, and possibly millions of minutes spent laughing helplessly at themselves, Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers, are hanging up their microphones. [more inside]
Linda Holmes, NPR: "It probably speaks to the complexity of Mad Men that the same episode can be a highlight of the series for some and a lowlight for others. Sunday night's episode, "The Other Woman," instantly became a favorite of a lot of observers and writers, but for me, it was a rarity on Mad Men: a serious and profound misstep." (spoilers in links) [more inside]
Mike Birbiglia's Fresh Air interview gets awkward. From last week's This American Life live episode.
Consumer Reports May 2012: What to reject when you're expecting (10 procedures to think twice about during your pregnancy; 10 things you should do during your pregnancy; 5 things you should do before you become pregnant). Mentioned in particular is the conclusion found in a federal study: Babies Take Longer To Come Out Than They Did In Grandma's Day."One big implication: Today's obstetricians may be rushing to do cesarean sections too soon because they're using an out-of-date yardstick for how long a 'normal; labor should take... The definition of a 'normal' labor — the range of times when a woman in labor reaches certain milestones — was laid down in the 1950s. Contemporary obstetricians still use that 'labor curve.'"
What Pizza Hut's Crown Crust Pizza Says About Global Fast Food Marketing. [Food Porn] [Pizza Hut-blue?] Perhaps you've heard by now of the Crown Crust pizza, the pizza-cheeseburger hybrid recently unveiled by some of Pizza Hut's international franchisees. Available only at Pizza Hut Middle East, this fast food chimera features a vaguely crown-shaped crust studded with "cheeseburger gems," topped with lettuce and tomato, and drizzled with "special sauce." Many foodies have decried it as a "culinary abomination," "a sign of the apocalypse," or proof that America is finally losing its monopoly on gluttony. A reviewer at Serious Eats, who tried the Crown Crust in Dubai, wrote: "There seems to be no rational explanation as to why this pizza was created." [Via: NPR.org]
Roger McGuinn was a member of the pioneering folk rock band The Byrds. He loves the traditional folk music he has been performing solo since the band's breakup in 1973. In this interview, he talks to NPR's Neal Conan about his career, his music and why he created The Folk Den Project (previously) - with over 200 readily downloadable songs, with lyrics and chords - to preserve traditional folk songs.
Murdoch's Scandal - Lowell Bergman (the journalist portrayed by Al Pacino in The Insider) has investigated News Corporation for PBS Frontline [transcript]. He depicts Rupert Murdoch's British operation as a criminal enterprise, routinely hacking the voicemail and computers of innocent people, and using bribery and coercion to infiltrate police and government over decades. Enemies are ruthlessly "monstered" by the tabloids. Bergman also spoke to NPR's Fresh Air [transcript]. But the hits keep coming: in recent days News Corp has been accused of hacking rival pay TV services and promoting pirated receiver cards in both the UK and Australia. With the looming possibility of prosecution under America's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, how long will shareholders consider Rupert Murdoch irreplaceable? [Previous 1 2 3 4]
Claressa Shields, a 16 year old boxer preparing for the Olympic trials, records a radio diary. It's about 16 minutes long.
The beginning of the end of "he said, she said" journalism? NPR decides to be "Fair to the Truth" instead of simply reporting both sides of an issue.
The legendary Dick Dale covers Amazing Grace, 12/09 in a Studio Session on NPR's KEXP. [more inside]
Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz is the longest-running cultural program on National Public Radio - having been hosted by Ms. McPartland from June 4, 1978 through November 10, 2011. Her guests included Eubie Blake, Carla Bley, JoAnne Brackeen, Ray Charles, Alice Coltrane, Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Andrew Hill, Dick Hyman, Ahmad Jamal, Keith Jarrett, Hank Jones, Oscar Peterson, Michel Petrucciani, Marcus Roberts, and McCoy Tyner.
A brief video of a tornado on the surface of the sun posted by NPR, as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (links to various sizes and qualities of downloads here). The tornado is larger than Earth itself and has gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour.
National Public Rodeo Vanity Fair's David Margolick on the recent history and (somewhat) uncertain future of National Public Radio.
Always an enigma, John Zorn, winner of a MacArthur Fellowship, founder of avant garde record label Tzadik proponent of radical Jewish culture, leader of the hard core group Naked City, creator of the Masada songbook, and hundreds of other things, has, with the likes of Mark Ribot, Cyro Baptista and Mike Pattoon, released a heart-breakingly lovely Christmas record, A Dreamer's Christmas. [more inside]
This past August a murder charge was dismissed against Nga Truong, a young mother who had confessed to Worcester, MA Police interrogators in 2008 that she had smothered and killed her 13 month-old baby, Khyle. A judge later concluded that confession was coerced -- extracted in part by police "deception," "trickery and implied promises" -- and the case was dropped. (pdf). Her case raises questions: What coercive power do detectives have who are driven to extract confessions? Under what circumstances might someone admit to a crime they have not committed? WBUR (Boston's NPR station) investigated Truong's case and has an extensive report, Anatomy of a Bad Confession: Part One and Two [more inside]
Paul Motian (wiki) (myspace) (allaboutjazz), one of the great jazz drummers of our time, is dead at 80. [more inside]
The goal of the new site Audiofiles is to be the Longreads of public radio, providing an easy-to-use, well-cataloged guide to the best radio stories ever told. Some background.
Daniel Yergin was recently interviewed on NPR's always informative Planet Money podcast. Yergin—most famous for his 1992 Pulitzer-winning opus on 20th century petroleum development, The Prize—has penned a sequel, of sorts, examining the modern quest for sustainable energy amidst the looming threat of climate change. If The Prize was an epic glorification of the quest for money, oil and power, The Quest is a look at those who might have to clean up the whole mess. "The heroes are the engineers and scientists of the energy world — the geeks, in other words." [more inside]
Marshall Terry, a reporter for WFAE in Charlotte, NC eats a pepper that is being submitted to Guiness as the world's hottest. Caution: there is hurling and hallucinating.
David Lynch's debut album, Crazy Clown Time, is streaming in its entirety on NPR first listen until November 8th. That is all.
Michele Norris is temporarily stepping down from All Things Considered until her husband's new role as Senior Adviser to the Obama Campaign is complete in 2012. [more inside]
"FAME is a fickle food / Upon a shifting plate, / Whose table once a Guest, but not / The second time, is set."
A Coconut Cake From Emily Dickinson: Reclusive Poet, Passionate Baker. [NPR.org] Poet Emily Dickinson withdrew from society for most of her adult life. And yet, she was known to lower a basket full of cakes from the window of the home she rarely left to crowds of expectant children on the street below. The Poet's House in New York City put on exhibit an original manuscript of a Dickinson cake recipe that contained coconut. That recipe calls for the following ingredients. 1 cup coconut, 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup milk, 2 eggs, 1/2 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar.
NPR doesn't like affiliate reporters participating in OWS. Lisa Simeone, host of World of Opera and Soundprints, which you may have heard on your local NPR station, had been speaking to the press at Occupy DC. NPR is calling her a "spokeswoman for Occupy DC" and is taking this very seriously. Simeone has been fired from Soundprints, with World of Opera still up in the air.
"... the album has an ebb and flow, much like the ocean near which it was recorded in North Carolina."
Balance, directed by Jay Buim, is a beautiful music video about two hitchhikers trying to get to the beach. The music comes from the latest album by NC/MD band Future Islands: On The Water. [more inside]
On Monday, me and some dudes are gonna tailgate outside the Kellogg School of Management before the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel is announced.
"I remember back in the '90s, when I first heard about their discovery of cell receptors activated by pathogenic microorganisms. I was in this bar called Alumni Club on Clark Street in Chicago. It's gone now, which is fine because it was terrible. Doesn't matter, I guess, but me and my buddies had just polished off a mound of wings and, like, seven buckets of Corona when this dude comes in blabbing about the critical role dendritic cells play in adaptive immunity. I almost kicked the hell out of him on the spot, but I have to admit the slides he brought made me a believer." Dennis O'Toole uses the Nobel Prize to satirize sports commentary in hilarious fashion. (SLNPR)
Dissolve my Nobel Prize! Fast! It's 1940. The Nazis have taken Copenhagen. They are literally marching through the streets, and physicist Niels Bohr has just hours, maybe minutes, to make two Nobel Prize medals disappear.
Over the summer, NPR solicited the input of its listeners to rank the top science fiction and fantasy books of all time. Over 60,000 people voted for the top picks which were then compiled into a list by their panel of experts. The result? This list of 100 books with a wide range of styles, little context, and absolutely no pithy commentary to help readers actually choose something to read from it. SF Signal comes to the rescue with this handy flowchart.
In their 25 year career San Fransisco-based Kronos Quartet might be most famous for creating the go-to dramatic movie trailer music but they've recently courted controversy with their latest album, 9/11, with Steve Reich (NPR First Listen). The album is another in a long line of collaborations with composers such as Phillip Glass, Terry Riley, and Pēteris Vasks. And like any good instrumental ensemble, they've covered Hendrix, Sigur Ros, and Tom Waits. Oh, and they've been on Sesame Street. [more inside]
Snap Judgement is a radio show airing on NPR stations; you can also listen to all of it online or via iTunes. The show bills itself as "storytelling with a beat". [more inside]
Since 2008, NPR's All Songs Considered has been doing the Tiny Desk Concert series in which they invite a musician or band or very large group to come and play a song behind the desk of the show's host, Bob Bollen, with the video camera running. The result can be intimate, absurd, raucous and just plain enjoyable. A browseable archive of all 150+ shows is here. [more inside]
NPR Books is asking people to vote for their ten favorite science fiction / fantasy books of all time. The list is exhaustive; the picking only ten is hard.
In the New Yorker: Getting Bin Laden, What happened that night in Abbottabad. The writer, Nicholas Schmidle, spoke with NPR about the article and gives a short audio account of the raid.
When Patents Attack. The team at PRI's This American Life and NPR's Planet Money bring you an hour long look into the growing "Mafia War" around software patents. Diving into the corporate filings, patent acquisitions, and office locations of Nathan Myrhvold's Intellectual Ventures and it's shell companies, Laura Sydell and Alex Blumburg uncover a disturbing protection scheme which threatens to undermine the competitiveness of the US tech industry[pdf]. [more inside]
How Much Does It Cost To Make A Hit Song? "Def Jam started paying for Rihanna's recent single, "Man Down," more than a year ago. In March of 2010, the label held a writing camp in L.A. to create the songs for Rihanna's album, Loud." [more inside]
A Canticle for Leibowitz (1981, NPR); an audio adaptation of Walter Miller's 1960 history of the Albertian Order of Leibowitz in the centuries after the Flame Deluge. [more inside]
Hidden Tunnels, Bugs, and Bigamy: A Strange and True D.C. Story: "Reports indicated that the tunnels were long and extensive – that they may have reached as far as Rock Creek Park. Some electric lighting was discovered inside. For days, wild theories abounded – was it a Confederate soldier hideout? A stop on the Underground Railroad? A liquor depot for bootleggers? A counterfeiter’s lair? Or maybe a secret laboratory for 'Dr. Otto von Golph’s' experiments?
None of the above." [more inside]
None of the above." [more inside]
The Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most masterfully written state paper of Western civilization. As Moses Coit Tyler noted almost a century ago, no assessment of it can be complete without taking into account its extraordinary merits as a work of political prose style. Although many scholars have recognized those merits, there are surprisingly few sustained studies of the stylistic artistry of the Declaration. This essay seeks to illuminate that artistry by probing the discourse microscopically -- at the level of the sentence, phrase, word, and syllable. The University of Wisconsin's Dr. Stephen E. Lucas meticulously analyzes the elegant language of the 235-year-old charter in a distillation of this comprehensive study. More on the Declaration: full transcript and ultra-high-resolution scan, a transcript and scan of Jefferson's annotated rough draft, the little-known royal rebuttal, a thorough history of the parchment itself, a peek at the archival process, a reading of the document by the people of NPR and by a group of prominent actors, H. L. Mencken's "American" translation, Slate's Twitter summaries, and a look at the fates of the 56 signers.
Marlon Brando. Yeah, sure, he could act. Very talented guy. But, hey, he also invented a radically innovative tuning system for conga drums. Played the congas, too. Yup. That's right.
On the Media's Bob Garfield demonstrates How to Turn a Fan into an Enemy in Under 140 Characters.
What does a post-American world look like? NPR interviews Fareed Zakaria on America's future role in world events.