Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 11:36 am
The Inmans had a parrot. Grump (that was his name) was horrible, angry, scheming and nasty. But he was their parrot so they couldn't shoot him. Instead he lived in their house, soiled their mail, stole their fried chicken and, every so often, bit. Then, finally, he died.
A great truth is this: Some discoveries, like the sting of a painful memory, do a number on your psyche. Definitely Maybe accomplishes just that. It's one for those with a penchant for the strange, those drawn to the grim and the darkly funny — those, like myself, interested in the beautifully rendered pessimism of manic scientists. Never mind, just for a moment, the current state of science fiction. Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, brothers, celebrated Russian geniuses, give it all in this dystopian gem. All and then some.
Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 4:32 pm
Heavy snow is going to fall "from central Kansas through central Missouri and Illinois, into central Indiana" starting Tuesday, the National Weather Service says. Then, the "same system could bring a foot of snow [from] northern Pennsylvania into central New England on Wednesday."
The political map of America changes, but it doesn't change very quickly. Massachusetts was a reliably liberal state decades ago and still is. The South is still the South. This raises the question of why it is that certain areas come to be reliably liberal or conservative.
NPR Shankar Vedantam joins us to discuss some research that explores the question. Hi, Shankar.
It's the kind of international crisis that is numbingly familiar: a coup, followed by a steep descent into sectarian bloodshed and revenge killings. This is what's happening now in the Central African Republic.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
The coup happened last year. It was led by a rebel group call Seleka, drawn from the minority Muslim community in this largely Christian country. After the coup, many of the Muslim rebels targeted Christian neighborhoods, plundering and killing. And then came a moment of hope.
Next week, workers at a Chattanooga auto plant run by Volkswagen will vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. This is the first attempt in 13 years to unionize a plant that is not run by one of the big three Detroit automakers.
As Michigan Radio's Tracy Samilton reports, Volkswagen has given the drive its blessing, so outside groups are stepping in to fight the union.
The eruption of an Indonesian volcano has claimed its first fatalities. It happened in recent days. Mount Sinabung has been erupting for about three months after 400 years of quiet. Nobody knows how bad this could get, but already the volcano is sending scalding ash a mile into the sky and it killed 14 people last weekend. Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Otto is on the line in Jakarta. Welcome to the program, sir.
BEN OTTO: Hi. Thanks for having me.
INSKEEP: What does the erupting volcano look like?
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Kenny Martin finally hit his limit. He's a mailman working out of the Walled Lake post office northwest of Detroit. Despite that northern location he wears shorts all year around. He gives the Detroit Free Press a simple explanation, quote, "I hate pants. They chaffe."
This winter finally broke him. He's put on pants on some of the coldest days though he still likes shorts and adds: I have a very high tolerance for pain. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
The Senate will be voting on final passage of a five-year farm bill this afternoon. One big change in the new bill - it puts an end to the controversial cash payments made directly to farmers regardless of their profits. Still, as NPR's Ailsa Chang reports, critics argue the new crop insurance program that replaces those cash subsidies is just another giveaway.
These days there are plenty of culinary competitions, though few as tough as the MRE Cook-off; meals ready to eat or, as some call them, meals rarely edible. The annual competition, held at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, emphasizes flavor over looks, reported The Washington Post. And the winner: The sloppy-Joe-and-cheesy-garlic-mashed-potatoes-smothered-imitation-pork-thingy sandwich.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
One of the most dramatic changes in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban is the increase in average life expectancy from 45 to 62 years. That gain is almost entirely a function of reductions in child mortality due to the spread of basic health services.
Yet Afghanistan still has one of the highest child mortality rates in the world, and there could be significant backsliding as the international community reduces aid after NATO troops withdraw at the end of this year.
2013 was a record-breaking year for exonerations in the United States, according to statistics compiled by the National Registry of Exonerations.
At least 87 people were set free for crimes they did not commit last year, the highest number since researchers began keeping track more than 20 years ago. Some of those people spent decades in prison before release.
When it comes to persuading teenagers not to smoke, you have to think short-term, the Food and Drug Administration says.
"While most teens understand the serious health risks associated with tobacco use, they often don't believe the long-term consequences will ever apply to them," FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters Monday before unveiling the agency's first-ever anti-smoking campaign.