From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel. The fate of the former mayor of New Orleans is now in the hands of a jury. Ray Nagin is accused of using his public position for personal financial gain. Nagin is a Democrat. He became known worldwide as the face of city government when Hurricane Katrina struck. He held office for two terms. NPR's Debbie Elliot was in federal court today to hear closing arguments in this case and she joins us now.
The film Her, about a man who falls in love with his computerized personal assistant, has been nominated for five Oscars including best picture. It takes place at an unspecified time in the future when computer voices sound like Scarlett Johansson instead of Siri. This made me wonder if it was really possible to fall in love with an artificially intelligent being.
Trevor Cox has heard it all. He's a professor of acoustic engineering at the University of Salford in England, and he delights in discovering unusual noises. He's also author of The Sound Book: The Science of the Sonic Wonders of the World, which describes some of what he's found.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block.
Now a bit of historical fiction for you. It's the new book by novelist Robert Harris about the Dreyfus Affair that made headlines in the late 1890s and shook the French military to its core. The book is called "An Officer and a Spy." Alan Cheuse has our review.
Could a machine at least write a love poem, a poem moving enough to stir the human heart? Well, not yet. But here's a step in that direction.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NATHAN MATHIAS: (Reading) When I in dreams behold thy fairest shade whose shade in dreams doth wake the sleeping morn, the daytime shadow of my love betrayed lends hideous night to dreaming's faded form.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 11:57 am
Whether the Subway Fritos Chicken Enchilada Sub was the result of creative inspiration or an enormous workplace Fritos spill, we'll never know. What matters is it happened, and it's only a matter of time until all foods everywhere will be available topped with Fritos.
Ian: I like that they're thinking in texture. And adding crunch with Fritos is way better than McDonald's creepy BBQ McTickle.
Miles: Yeah, but let's be honest, crunches are the last thing anyone is going to be doing after eating this sandwich.
Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 5:11 pm
If you're happily in love, Mom and Dad may have helped.
Teenagers' relationships with their parents have a small but measurable impact on their romantic relationships up to 15 years later, according to researchers at the University of Alberta.
People who had a tumultuous relationship with Mom and Dad in their teens were more likely to face heartache down the road. And those who felt close to their parents during adolescence tended to feel more emotionally and physically satisfied in their adult romantic relationships.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:24 pm
It's been nearly four years since activists engaged in a battle over a Supreme Court nomination, and a tepid one it was.
Republicans barely pushed back on President Obama's 2010 nomination of Elena Kagan, his second appointment in as many years. She was confirmed by the Senate, 63-37.
At the time, influential Republican Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona acknowledged the problem inherent in pursuing a high court battle: The GOP had only 41 Senate votes, making it "pretty difficult" to sustain a filibuster against Kagan, or any Obama appointee.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 6:26 pm
The Copenhagen Zoo has faced worldwide criticism over its decision to euthanize a healthy two-year-old giraffe known as Marius.
As Scott reported, zoo veterinarians performed a public autopsy on Sunday and parts of the giraffe were fed to the lions. Animal rights groups were up in arms and an online petition received 20,000 signatures asking the zoo to reconsider.
Today on World Cafe: Next, we feature a unique duo. Sekou Kouyate, from Guinea in West Africa, has been described as "the Jimi Hendrix of the kora" for the way he electrifies the 21-string African harp. Joe Driscoll is an American living in England; he's a rapper, beat-boxer and loop-maker.
British folk musician Bert Jansch died in October 2011, about 10 months after recording this interview with World Cafe. A founding member of the folk-jazz-blues band Pentangle, along with fellow guitarist John Renbourn, Jansch was one of the most influential players of the '60s, though he never became hugely well-known.
Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 4:26 pm
Leading up to the Olympics in Sochi, a dominant storyline was Russia's anti-gay propaganda law and what it might mean for athletes and other visitors. Would athletes protest in any way? Would Russian LGBT activists try to demonstrate against the propaganda law at the Olympics?
The answers (so far, at least) are: barely, and not really.
In pop-music circles, Suzanne Vega is known almost entirely for two songs from the late 1980s: the child-abuse ballad "Luka" and a song that launched literally dozens of dance remixes, "Tom's Diner." But Vega has been making vital, inventive music the entire time — much of it folk-based, though her sound has taken many smart detours along the way — and is about to put out her first album of original material in seven years, Tales From the Realm of the Queen of Pentacles.
Originally published on Fri July 11, 2014 12:35 pm
"I'll Take You There" is a 24/7 R&B and soul channel from NPR Music. Curated and hosted by Jason King of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at New York University, the playlist runs the gamut from the genre's origins in the 1940s to today's slow jam stunners. You can follow the program on Twitter at @NPRandB and Jason King's personal Twitter account at @jasonkingsays.
Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 10:07 am
Gold medalist Charles Hamelin of Canada celebrates with his girlfriend and fellow speedskater, Marianne St-Gelais, after winning the men's 1,500-meter short-track speedskating event Monday at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Four years ago, the pair shared a similar embrace after Hamelin's win in the 500-meter race in Vancouver.
Eric Church is working on a level that few other country artists of his generation can touch. Now, one of the things I mean by that is that Church is willing to take big chances such as "The Outsiders," the title track from his fourth album, and clearly a manifesto he's proud of.