Robert Redford isn't merely the star of the movie All Is Lost — he plays the only character. He plays a man stranded alone on a small yacht in the Indian Ocean, and New York Times film critic A.O. Scott says it's "the performance of a lifetime."
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the Fun-Dip valentine cards we ordered strictly for the Fun-Dip is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, just in time for Valentine's Day, thoughts on platonic mixtapes.
Stephanie Marten-Ellis writes via Facebook: "How do you share good music with someone without giving the impression that you're 'trying to say something'? You just like the song and want someone to know about it! Can you separate your music suggestions from how you perceive/think of your share-ee?"
Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 2:41 pm
The world's largest solar power plant, made up of thousands of mirrors focusing the sun's energy, has officially started operations in the Mojave Desert, just inside southeastern California near the border with Nevada.
The $2.2 billion, 400-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which covers 5 square miles and has three 40-story towers where the light is focused, is a joint project by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy. The project received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:25 pm
This post was updated at 4:20 p.m. ET.
A chain reaction of crashes involving dozens of cars and tractor-trailers has left at least 30 people hurt and forced the closure of the eastbound lane on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near the town of Bensalem, local news reports.
The lane is now reopened after being closed for much of the day.
Some 100 vehicles were reportedly involved in multiple accidents stemming from an initial 14 or 15-vehicle collision in southern Bucks County at about 8:25 a.m. ET.
We're doomed to be miserable if we don't get what we want — right? Not quite, says psychologist Dan Gilbert. He says our "psychological immune system" lets us feel truly happy even when things don't go as planned.
We all want to be happy, says David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you're going, and above all, being grateful.
When are humans most happy? To answer this question, researcher Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment.
About 1 in 10 Americans has chronic insomnia, and many aren't finding relief from pills.
A form of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy, which doesn't use drugs, works. But it can be hard to find. So proponents of the treatment are trying new ways to get the treatment to troubled nonsleepers.
Journalist Carl Honoré believes our society's emphasis on speed erodes health, productivity and quality of life. But there's a backlash brewing, as everyday people start putting the brakes on their modern lives.
Flipping through The New York Times magazine a few Sundays ago, former hospital executive Paul Levy was taken aback by a full-page ad for the da Vinci surgical robot.
It wasn't that Levy hadn't seen advertising before for the robot, which is used for minimally invasive surgeries. It was that the ad prominently featured a dozen members of the surgery team at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System. "We believe in da Vinci surgery because our patients benefit," read the ad's headline.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 6:05 pm
From the outside looking in, it may seem as if jazz recordings have slowed to a flurry. But it's really more like a blizzard, with dozens already coming down in the new year — including new efforts from big names like Pat Metheny, Danilo Pérez and Brad Mehldau. Before we're snowed under, here are a few others worth hearing.
Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:06 pm
The second major volcanic eruption in as many weeks in Indonesia has killed at least three people and forced the evacuation of tens of thousands on the island of Java, as Mount Kelud spewed ash and debris 12 miles into the sky.
Thursday night's eruption of the volcano, located 50 miles southwest of the country's second-largest city of Surabaya, could be heard up to 125 miles away, Indonesia's disaster agency says, according to The Associated Press.
We're encased in ice as we prepare to send you this show, but when we taped it, our hearts were warm from enjoying The Lego Movie, also known as "I'm sure it's good, but is it really that good?" We'll try to get to the bottom of whether it really is that good, and we'll talk about the super-terrific Chris Pratt, the wonderful Will Arnett, and whether — as has already been suggested — this might be one of the truly great Batman movies.
NPR's business news starts with a big clothing purchase.
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INSKEEP: Big purchase this morning. The giant clothing chain store Joseph A. Bank announced it has agreed to buy casual sportswear maker Eddie Bauer for $825 million in cash and stock. That's a lot of short sleeve shirts. This acquisition comes in the midst of ongoing hostile efforts by Joseph A. Bank and its main competitor Men's Warehouse to buy each other. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.