Listeners to NPR have probably heard the blurb: "Support for NPR comes from the estate of Richard Leroy Walters, whose life was enriched by NPR, and whose bequest seeks to encourage others to discover public radio." Nothing too out of the ordinary. Except Richard Leroy Walters was homeless.
25 years ago today, Vicki Dunbar Nelson and Jean Hepner played the longest tournament rally in tennis history, lasting 29 minutes and 642 shots (SLNYT). [more inside]
If you can't Ask MetaFilter, try asking What Would Rob Do? In his podcast, "NPR's Rob Sachs talks about life's sticky situations and how turn them into an opportunity for adventure, growth, or at the very least, laughter." Like how to propose, or if that doesn't work, what to do when you run into your ex (Mp3) (turns out being calm and collected beats out feigning not to have made eye contact), how to talk to strangers (Mp3), sing a lullaby (by interviewing Rob Springfield), or how to, you know, avoid, um, Verbal Ticks. Each podcast episode is an interview with one kind of expert or another. Some posts also go on the Monkey See blog as well as a facebook fan page.
"I said, 'This is a dilemma, because if that was your 81-year-old grandmother sitting out there, you would be fit to be tied,' " Cook says. "And I said, 'I'm sure the news channels would love this story if I gave them a phone call.' " Being a chaplain at the Atlanta airport.
Earlier today, NASA released the first photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope since it was refurbished last May - and the results are absolutely stunning.
A Walk to Remember. For three hours Wednesday evening, the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway was closed to car traffic inside Zion National Park to let 300 people walk through the tunnel. It may have been the last time for people to do so legally for the foreseeable future. [more inside]
Urban exploration has been featured here once or twice before, but Jim Griffioen's site photo-documenting his discoveries in and around Detroit deserves a look. Griffioen was recently interviewed [direct mp3 link] on the American Public Media radio program The Story. [more inside]
Amusing NPR interview with Ms. Case From the NPR show "Not My Job", a rambling and entertaining interview with alt-country, loud singing, red-haired songstress Neko Case. On an unrelated note, I know she's American, but we Canucks like to claim her as our own, what with her Canadian Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and her collaborations with Canadian bands.
Can You Spot a Lobbyist? Who made up the bulk of the audience when Congress began work on health care reform legislation? Lobbyists, according to this photo ID-crowdsourcing project, part of Dollar Politics, a new NPR investigative series. Bill Moyers shines some sunlight too, with Some Choice Words for 'The Select Few.'
Merge Records, the independent record label founded by Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance of Superchunk, turns 20 this year. All Things Considered focuses on how they stand out from other labels by turning profits in these trying economic times. They are throwing a four-day festival this month, XX Merge, in North Carolina where it all began. Stand-out acts for the festival include M. Ward, The Magnetic Fields, The Clientele, Superchunk, and the biggest act promoted by the label, Spoon.
The Cavafy Archive has translations of all of C. P. Cavafy's poems (go here for the Greek) except for the 30 unfinished poems, which have just recently been translated into English for the first time by Daniel Mendelsohn. His translations are reviewed in a lengthy essay by Peter Green in the most recent New Republic. Mendelsohn was interviewed on NPR's All Things Considered earlier this week. Late last year Mendelsohn wrote an essay about Cavafy in The New York Review of Books. The Cavafy Archive also has translations of a few prose pieces by Cavafy as well as manuscripts, pictures, translated letters & short texts and a catalog of Cavafy's library.
NPR Backstory is an automated Twitter feed providing helpful links to news items from the past 14 years that might be relevant to current events. For example, when masses of people started googling medical information after a news item about 200,000 patients' medical histories being accidentally exposed, NPRbackstory linked to an April 2008 analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of storing patient records online. [more inside]
Joe Palca, a science correspondent for NPR's Morning Edition, was meditating on the best way to convey the magnitude of the world's largest known prime number, 243112609-1. He contacted H&FJ at Typography.com to discuss the implications of typesetting a number with more than twelve million digits. Crunching of numbers and fonts ensued.
NPR article and slide show of the works of Julius Shulman. If you've seen anything by Shulman, you've seen this one. Gas station buffs probably favor this. And, if this one wasn't in Playboy, it should have been! And, bunches more though a google image search. And, at 98, he's still capturing images!
Family Words (scroll down, p.9). Do you know what the "Ahh-hee's" are? It describes the feeling you get when you put on a bathing suit that is still damp. What about a "winterpepper?" That would be a backwards flip (opposite of somersault). "Eeksler?" The lever on an ice cube tray, so-called because of the sound it makes. Daw daw, doot-do, to-do to-do, taw taw, der der, drit-drit and hoo-hoo? All refer to the tube of cardboard inside a roll of toilet paper. Featured on NPR's A Way With Words (full episode).
Confused about the banking crisis? Confused by banks in general? This American Life's latest show Bad Bank (streaming, mp3) is a highly informative (and entertaining) overview of how banks work, and what problems they--and we all--face in this current crisis. Produced by another great NPR show, Planet Money.
The Crisis of Credit by graduate design student Jonathan Jarvis is a thorough and visually appealing animation which explains the current credit crisis in clear terms. From the ever helpful NPR Planet Money.
Madeleine Brand and Alex Cohen, co-hosts of NPR’s Day to Day discuss being laid off (VIDEO) as part of $23 million in budget cuts at NPR
Simon Johnson on Bill Moyers  (and, prolifically, making the public media rounds on npr ) tackling the bailout of the American Oligarchs, a.k.a. banksters... [more inside]
On December 4, 2008, at NYC's Symphony Space, NPR's Intelligence Squared program conducted an Oxford-style debate. As their future debate schedules in Australia, England, and America show, the propositions of such debates are routinely phrased strongly to provoke debate, and this was no exception. The motion that was put forward was: "Resolved, that Bush 43 is the worst President of the last 50 years." [mp3, 23 MB, 50 min.] What lifts this above the reams of media and multimedia already spent on this issue is that, moderated by ABC's John Donvan, this premise was debated — under formal debate guidelines — by Jacob Weisberg, Sir Simon Jenkins, Bill Kristol, and ... Karl Rove. [more inside]
A (mostly) complete concert by the Elephant 6 Orchestra is available to stream or download. [more inside]
Public Radio Podcasts : NPR is a treasure trove of great audio content but most of it is not accessible via a podcast feed. This site uses the NPR API to construct proper podcast feeds for their shows that don't current have feeds (e.g. Morning Edition, All Things Considered) as well as per reporter and topic based feeds. Enjoy! [via mefi projects]
A See Monkey calls for detente on Aquaman jokes. I could include a bunch of links here, but Glen at NPR has already done all the work for me.
In 1972, Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox were convicted of murdering a prison guard in Louisiana's notorious maximum-security prison, Angola. The warden sentenced them to solitary confinement, where they remained for the next 36 years. Until March 2008, the men had spent at least 23 hours per day in cells that measured only 6 x 9 feet. Woodfox's conviction was recently overturned, evidently through a federal habeus proceeding, and he is awaiting a new trial. NPR did an outstanding job of tracking down people involved and telling a riveting story: Part I, Part II, Part III. No doubt that much of the attention brought to the case is due to the efforts of Jackie Sumell and her Herman's House project. [more inside]
The Princess of Nebraska premiered on YouTube this weekend (unrated by MPAA, but 18A+ rating, but on YouTube, so maybe mild NSFW). Often focusing on Chinese immigrants in America and culture gaps (NPR interview; text and audio) between both their new country and across generations, director Wayne Wang has returned to his roots after several more traditional Hollywood movies (Wayne Wang Is Missing). (Known for "Chan Is Missing" and "The Joy Luck Club", he has made movies such as "Maid in Manhattan" recently.) "Princess" is intended as a double feature with traditionally released "A Thousand Years of Good Prayers," "Princess" might "be the first feature feature film by a major director to premiere" only on the internet. Both are based on short stories by Yiyun Li.
This American Life gives you Another Frightening Show About the Economy.. The guys who brought us The Giant Pool of Money (previously) explain the credit crunch and why it's so scary. And not in the Halloween fun-to-be-scared sense.
Alison Bechdel, creator of the very long-running "Dykes to Watch Out For" as well as the autobiographical graphic novel "Fun Home", may end up best known for her creation/popularization of "The Bechdel Test" (also mentioned on wikipedia). [more inside]
After that day, your life is never the same. "That day" is the day the doctor tells you, "You have cancer."
Journalist Leroy Sievers has lost his fight with cancer. He passed away Friday night. He was 53. His blog, My Cancer, and his commentaries on NPR, documented the progression of his disease while creating a community of those touched by cancer themselves.
"The Bryant Park Project”, NPR’s attempt to reach a younger demographic and "capture listeners who had moved online" has been cancelled
Fasting may be the remedy for jet lag. By overiding your clock (audio interview 12 min) that prepares your body to eat, it is likely that you can reset your body's clock. Might this be the missing step in training yourself to be an early riser? via
The Giant Pool of Money. This American Life teams up with NPR News to explain the Housing Crisis. [more inside]
"I figure, you know, if you treat people right, you can only hope that they treat you right. It's as simple as it gets in this complicated world."
This story's making the rounds today, for a very, very good reason: A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
This story's making the rounds today, for a very, very good reason: A Victim Treats His Mugger Right
Long Duk Dong: Last of the Hollywood Stereotypes? Related: Whatever Happened to John Hughes? which has an accompanying photo gallery: Where are Hughes' teen stars now? [A previous post about John Hughes here.]
Bobby Dunbar was a four year-old boy that vanished in 1912, while on a fishing trip with his family in a Louisiana swamp. For weeks, searchers combed the area looking for him. The lake where he went missing was dynamited. Alligators were captured and had their bellies slit open to see if the body was inside. Nothing was found except a set of child's footprints leading to an old railroad trestle. Eight months later, the police found Bobby in the company of a drifter with a horse-drawn cart. He protested his innocence but was arrested and charged with kidnapping. Another woman came forward and claimed Bobby was, in fact, her son. But she was an unmarried fieldworker, and her claims were dismissed. The crime became a nationwide media event and the boy was returned to his parents, and their hometown held a parade in his honor. Bobby returned to his life. Ninety-one years later, Bobby Dunbar's granddaughter uncovered the truth.
Live right now NPR is broadcasting REM from SXSW along with sets from Summerbirds in the Cellar, Johnathan Rice, Papercranes and Dead Confederate.
In 1962, in a mission-run girls' boarding school in Kashasha, Tanzania, a student started laughing uncontrollably. Her laughter spread throughout the school, and the girls grew violent when teachers tried to calm them. Administration closed the school, sent some girls home, and the "epidemic of laughing and crying" spread to villages up and down the Bukoba district. [more inside]
Om nom nom nom! NPR's In Character interviews Cookie Monster. In addition to the video interview, there is are articles (written and audio) about The Big C.
NPR and twelve public radio partners have launched NPR Music, a free, multi-genre Web site showcasing the best of public radio music.
Proposed Candidate Ringtones. Taking a cue from the Obama campaign, Billion Dollar President (a new public radio show) whips up some possible ringtones for the other candidates. Be sure to check out Kucinich and Huckabee. There's also a contest to design your own.
Sigur Rós have been doing publicity for a documentary about the band called Heima (trailer). They went on NPR's The Bryant Park Project and did an interview which went achingly wrong. On the show's website, interviewer Luke Burbank describes it as "possibly the worst interview in the history of electronic media." [more inside]
President Bush touched down in New Orleans at 7:11 p.m. this evening The 84-year-old Chase sat close to the president and accepted his praise for the meal of jambalaya, stewed okra and gumbo z'herb, an all-greens gumbo that's a tradition at Chase's Holy Thursday dinners.
"I've said all along, we are in this together." John Simson, executive director of SoundExchange - the royalty collecting arm of the RIAA - extends an olive branch through 2008 that will cap the advance payments internet broadcasters will have to cough up at $2500 per year. This comes in the wake of the Day of Silence, (it was June 26, did anyone notice?) spearheaded by Los Angeles-based terrestrial/online radio station KCRW (home of the brilliant Morning Becomes Eclectic) and SaveNetRadio, during which some of the biggest names in online radio - include Live365, NPR and Pandora - went dark for 24 hours, airing a one-hour broadcast twice during that day on the history of flat fees in public broadcasting. [direct .mp3, 38mb] Under the much-maligned changes made by our government's Copyright Royalty Board, the top six internet radio stations would have had to pay 47 percent of their total revenue (anticipated to be around $37.5 mil.) to the RIAA, starting this July. The Internet Radio Equality Act [summary, in its entire pdf glory] has been introduced to the House of Representatives, seeking to permanently reverse this decision.
This week, WNYC's On The Media reran a report from November 14, 2003 entitled "Pulling Back the Curtain." Here's the transcript of the report or you can listen here. Reporter John Solomon relates what it was like to join NPR and suddenly realize how much the "behind-the-scenes manufacturing process" gives NPR its polished product. Whether you are surprised by any of this or not, it is refreshing to hear a news outlet (which I could not live without) examine itself.
“I wanted to try to capture the intelligence of the design, not just the outcome of the design.” “In 1977, [Donald] Knuth halted research on his books for what he expected to be a one-year hiatus. Instead, it took 10. Accompanied by [his wife] Jill, Knuth took design classes from Stanford art professor Matthew Kahn. Knuth, trying to train his programmer’s brain to think like an artist’s, wanted to create a program [TeX] that would understand why each stroke in a typeface would be pleasing to the eye.”—from a profile of Knuth in the Stanford Magazine (May '06). Salon calls him “computing’s philosopher king” (Sep '99). NPR’s Morning Edition interviews Knuth as “the founding artist of computer science” (Mar '05). Perhaps a MeFite somewhere has one of these? (Previously)