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All Tech Considered
3:28 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Got A Voice For Radio? The Algorithm Speaks

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 9:46 am

Nearly a thousand of you heeded our call on All Tech Considered to submit a voice sample. The idea: Let a computer algorithm decide if you have a voice for radio.

Now, we've got the results.

Actor Wilbur Fitzgerald rated highly (surprise, surprise):

But most of you who responded are not actors. And it turns out, you don't need professional training to impress man or machine.

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Author Interviews
6:22 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

Post-Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman Has The 'Gumption' To Be Himself

Courtesy of Dutton

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 10:46 am

TV recently lost its manliest man — a small-town government employee named Ron Swanson. Actor Nick Offerman's run on NBC's Parks and Recreation ended when the show went off the air in February. He's since shaved his mustache and gotten back to his normal self.

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Interviews
5:18 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

'It's For You To Know That You Forgive,' Says Holocaust Survivor

Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor sits in a courtroom in Lueneburg, northern Germany, on April 21, 2015. She testified at the trial of 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening.
Julian Stratenschulte AP

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 6:54 pm

Around this time 70 years ago, following the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in Europe, the world was coming to grips with the scale of the holocaust, and how to deal with crimes so horrendous, they're almost incomprehensible.

That process is still ongoing.

Right now in Germany, a 93-year-old former Nazi who served at Auschwitz is on trial. Holocaust survivor Eva Kor flew to Germany to testify about her experience in the camp.

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Code Switch
7:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The 'Optical Illusion' Of Being Biracial

Mat Johnson is the author of Pym, Drop, Hunting in Harlem and The Great Negro Plot as well as several graphic novels including Incognegro, Dark Rain and Right State.
Meera Bowman Johnson

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 9:34 am

Growing up in Philadelphia, Mat Johnson lived mostly with his mother in a black neighborhood. The son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, his skin was so light that he might have passed for white. But being biracial meant only one thing back in the '70s: "Um, it meant: black," Johnson says with a laugh. "There wasn't a lot of ambiguity there. I didn't hear the world biracial or didn't think of myself as biracial. And when I did hear that, I reacted to it defensively.

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Book News & Features
5:45 am
Sun May 24, 2015

This Weekend, Navigate The Changing World Of 'Vikram Lall'

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 11:15 am

It's the 1950s in Kenya, and young Vikram Lall is a third-generation Indian boy coming of age during a time of great political unrest, as a group of fighters known as the Mau-Mau try to break free of British rule.

The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is his story, told by the adult Vikram, who's living in exile, decades after his African childhood. He's reflecting on his life — a life in which friends were murdered and few could be trusted.

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Author Interviews
9:48 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

What If The Drought Doesn't End? 'The Water Knife' Is One Possibility

Ariel Zambelich NPR

What if the devastating drought in the western U.S. doesn't end? A few years ago, the science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi started exploring what could happen.

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Movie Interviews
6:01 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

'Sunshine Superman': A Love Story Against The Backdrop of BASE Jumping

Jean and Carl Boenish in jump down a ledge towards camera.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 5:40 pm

Two climbers died May 16 as they attempted a wing suit flight in Yosemite National Park. Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were BASE jumping, a sport that involves parachuting from a fixed structure.

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Television
6:01 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

Alfonso Ribeiro Wants To Let 'Funniest Home Videos' Shine

Alfonso Ribeiro, best known as Carlton Banks from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air will host America's Funniest Home Videos for its 26th season starting in the fall.
Sam Diephuis

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 9:49 pm

America's Funniest Home Videos has a new host.

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Iraq
9:29 am
Sat May 23, 2015

Robert Gates: Obama Should Step Up Military Assistance To Iraq

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates at the Boy Scouts of America's annual meeting in 2014. "There's no certainty about any of this," he says of the situation in Iraq.
Mark Zaleski AP

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 9:48 pm

The self-declared Islamic State gained a real grip on Iraq and Syria this week, capturing the cities of Ramadi and parts of Mosul in Iraq, and the ancient town Palmyra, Syria.

Most recently, ISIS has claimed credit for a suicide bomb attack inside Saudi Arabia on a Shiite mosque during Friday prayers. That attack killed at least 19 and could represent a significant escalation of the extremist group's operations in the kingdom.

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Author Interviews
8:23 am
Sat May 23, 2015

'Dietland': A 'Fight Club' For Women That Reclaims The Word 'Fat'

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Sat May 23, 2015 9:48 pm

There is something unique about the protagonist of Sarai Walker's new novel: She's fat, a word many try to avoid using to describe a person. But not Walker.

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Fine Art
4:43 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

The Exquisite Dissonance Of Kehinde Wiley

Jason Wyche Courtesy of Sean Kelly/Copyright Kehinde Wiley

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 8:32 pm

This week, the Brooklyn Museum is wrapping up its mid-career retrospective of artist Kehinde Wiley — which means 14 years of work and something like 60 paintings.

It's been drawing a diverse and large crowd, partly because Wiley's work has been featured on the TV show Empire, and partly because he is a well-known and, in some ways, controversial figure in the art world. Wiley takes contemporary figures — oftentimes young black men and women — and places them in old European art traditions: Oil paintings, portraits, stained glass and even bronze sculpture.

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Book Reviews
3:59 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Beyond The Best-Sellers: Nancy Pearl Recommends Under-The-Radar Reads

Librarian Nancy Pearl shares her selections of under-the-radar books that you may have missed.
Emily Bogle NPR

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 12:17 pm

Every once in a while, NPR's go-to books guru Nancy Pearl sends Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep a tall stack of books. They're generally "under-the-radar" reads — titles she thinks deserve more attention than they've been getting.

"I just think that it's so important that readers learn about books that haven't been heavily promoted – what we would call mid-list books," Pearl says.

Here are some of her fiction picks, to kick off your summer reading list:

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All Tech Considered
7:06 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

Reddit's New Harassment Policy Aimed At Creating A 'Safe Platform'

A Reddit mascot is shown at the company's headquarters in San Francisco. Reddit has published a new policy aimed at harassment on the site.
Robert Galbraith Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 8:20 pm

Reddit, billed by its founders as "the front page of the Internet," has long been known as a place of unbridled free speech on the Web where users, known as Redditors, post text, pictures and videos.

But that unbridled free speech sometimes spills over into harassment, sexism and racism. Over the past couple of years, Reddit has been at the center of several controversies concerning harassment, including the release of hundreds of private celebrity photos. It's also become infamous for its unbridled vitriol.

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Author Interviews
6:09 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

In 'Out Of Line,' The Many, Many Acts Of Jules Feiffer

Jules Feiffer Courtesy of ABRAMS Books

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 7:22 pm

A critic once called Jules Feiffer "one of the best cartoonists now writing" and "the best writer now cartooning." That quote is in Out of Line, a new book about Feiffer, a man who does both words and pictures.

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Parallels
3:23 am
Tue May 19, 2015

How Heroin Made Its Way From Rural Mexico To Small-Town America

Courtesy of Bloomsbury Press

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 5:58 am

To understand how heroin took hold in rural America, you need to go back two decades and look at the surge of prescription drug use in Portsmouth, Ohio, according to journalist Sam Quinones.

A Rust Belt town that had fallen on hard times by the 1990s, Portsmouth became a place where doctors dispensed prescription drugs more freely than anywhere else in the country, Quinones writes in his new book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic.

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Author Interviews
3:22 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Cherokee Chief John Ross Is The Unsung Hero Of 'Jacksonland'

Cherokee chief John Ross battled the U.S. government for decades on behalf of his people.
The Art Archive

Originally published on Tue May 19, 2015 12:23 pm

The nation's seventh president was a man of legendary toughness who made his name in America's second war against the British — and he's someone NPR's Steve Inskeep has come to know well: Andrew Jackson.

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All Tech Considered
5:22 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

The Tech Behind Traffic Apps: How (Well) Do They Work?

Four different apps can sometimes present four different routes. Screenshots of a few of the apps All Things Considered host Robert Siegel tested, from left to right: Google Maps, Inrix, Nokia Here, and Apple Maps.
Google; Inrix; Nokia; Apple

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 10:50 pm

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

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Race
7:11 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

Often Employees, Rarely CEOs: Challenges Asian-Americans Face In Tech

Google was one of five Silicon Valley companies included in a recent study that looked at executive-level representation for Asian-Americans in the tech industry.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:47 am

A new report on diversity in Silicon Valley shows that Asians and Asian-Americans are well-represented in lower-level positions — but, in comparison, severely underrepresented at the management and executive levels at five large, established tech companies.

Ascend, an Asian-American professional organization based in New York, found that although 27 percent of professionals working at those companies are Asian or Asian-American, fewer than 19 percent of managers, and just under 14 percent of executives, are.

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Television
6:21 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

TV Thriller 'Wayward Pines' Offers Suspense — And An Ending

In Chad Hodge's new Fox series, Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two missing federal agents.
Liane Hentscher FOX

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 8:56 pm

The new Fox thriller Wayward Pines opens with a chilling scene. A man wakes up in the middle of the forest with cuts and bruises all over his body. Lost and confused, he stumbles into town. The audience soon learns the man is a Secret Service agent named Ethan Burke, played by Matt Dillon.

"He goes to the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, looking for two other Secret Service agents who went missing there and pretty soon he finds out he can't leave," Chad Hodge, showrunner and creator, tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Television
8:32 am
Sun May 17, 2015

'Mad Men' Writer: Show's Female Characters Aren't Thinking About Feminism

Watching Joan (Christina Hendricks, left) and Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) navigate the sexism of a 1960s ad agency is part of what has kept audiences hooked on Mad Men.
MIchael Yarish AMC

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 10:44 am

Editor's note: This conversation discusses plot points from the seventh season of Mad Men.

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Monkey See
6:14 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

Call It A Prose Ceremony: 'Bachelor' Host Writes A Novel

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 11:12 am

When budding TV personality Chris Harrison walked into the offices of ABC back in 2000, he didn't expect much.

The network wanted to jump on the new trend of reality competition shows, and had asked him to host a dating show, where one man would cull through a group of 25 women through a series of dates and cocktail parties, ultimately proposing to one final suitor. It was called The Bachelor.

"I was hoping [the show] would last a few hours," Harrison jokes. "I would meet someone at the network, and it would lead to a real job."

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Music Interviews
6:14 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

In HBO's 'Bessie,' Queen Latifah Stars As Empress Of The Blues

Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO movie Bessie.
Frank Masi Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 7:16 pm

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

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It's All Politics
9:31 am
Sat May 16, 2015

RedState Advises Less Meat-Throwing, More Substance In GOP Campaigns

RedState Editor Erick Erickson is asking Republican candidates attending this year's RedState Gathering to focus on what they would do for the country, not what red meat they can throw at Democrats.
Tony Gutierrez AP

After the Republican presidential candidates finish their first debate this summer, many will head to Atlanta for a summit hosted by Erick Erickson, conservative activist and editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

This year, Erickson's RedState Gathering is scheduled for the same weekend as the Iowa Straw Poll.

Jeb Bush has already indicated he will go to the RedState Gathering rather than Iowa. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also going. Most will try to attend both events, Erickson says.

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Religion
8:53 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Losing Faith: A Religious Leader On America's Disillusionment With Church

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, stands outside the church in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 11:23 am

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

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Movie Interviews
4:31 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Yo Aca-Adrian! Elizabeth Banks Says 'Rocky IV' Inspired The New 'Pitch Perfect'

Anna Kendrick and her compatriots in the Barden Bellas are back for a second installment of a cappella excitement in Pitch Perfect 2. It's also Elizabeth Banks' first major movie as a director.
Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 6:58 pm

You'd recognize actress Elizabeth Banks if you saw her — blonde, attractive, funny — whether she's playing an exhausted pregnant woman in What to Expect When You're Expecting, or an inappropriate a cappella judge in the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect.

Now she's taking on a different role: Directing Pitch Perfect 2. It's a tall order since the first one was such a surprise hit — it cost only $17 million to make, but earned more than $100 million worldwide.

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StoryCorps
4:52 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Dad Aches For Son Killed By Policeman 20 Years Ago

Nicholas Heyward Jr. the year before he was killed. "I would give my life today if I could, you know, just have him back," his dad said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.
Courtesy of Nicholas Heyward Sr.

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 12:51 pm

Before Ferguson, Baltimore, Tamir Rice or Eric Garner, there was 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr.

In 1994, he was playing in the stairwell of the Gowanus Housing Project, where he lived in Brooklyn, when a police officer shot and killed him.

"He was an amazing kid and I don't just say that because he was my son," Nicholas Heyward Sr. says during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

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Author Interviews
3:24 am
Thu May 14, 2015

A Fortune In Folios: One Man's Hunt For Shakespeare's First Editions

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., still has all 82 of the William Shakespeare first folios Henry Folger collected.
Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 10:37 am

Two of the most important books in the English language were printed four centuries ago: the King James Bible and William Shakespeare's first folio. Today, that first collection of Shakespeare's plays would fetch a king's ransom; and in the early 1900s, one man was willing to spend his entire fortune to own as many of them as he could. His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple of hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing.

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The Salt
6:36 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

There's More To Farm-Fresh Prairie Food Than Steak And Soybeans

At ZJ Farm in Solon, Iowa, Susan Jutz, left, walks with her friend and mentor of Kate Edwards, right, of Wild Woods Farms. Once the plants get big enough at ZJ Farm Edwards transplants them to Wild Woods.
Dana Damewood Courtesy of Agate Publishing

Think local Nebraska food, and Omaha's famous steaks may come to mind. The Great Plains are indeed an agricultural powerhouse when it comes to commodities like feed corn, soybeans, beef and pork.

But as food journalist Summer Miller tells Meghna Chakrabarti of NPR's Here & Now, there's much more on offer these days in Nebraska, as well as in its Great Plains neighbors Iowa and South Dakota.

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Author Interviews
5:12 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

'Nimona' Shifts Shape And Takes Names — In Sensible Armor, Of Course

Nimona

Originally published on Wed May 13, 2015 6:56 pm

Noelle Stevenson is making her mark in the world of comic books.

She's just 23 and already a writer and illustrator. She has co-authored a series for Boom! Studios, called Lumberjanes, and she has written for Marvel's new female Thor. But it's a tough world for women to be a part of, whether they're creators or fans.

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First Reads
7:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Naomi Novik's 'Uprooted'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:39 pm

Naomi Novik is best known for the Temeraire series — rousing adventure tales of a man and his dragon, set in an alternate-universe version of the Napoleonic Wars where France and England battle it out across land, sea and sky with the help of dragons.

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