The National Security Agency has the keys to most Internet encryption methods and it has gotten them by using supercomputers to break them and by enlisting the help of private IT companies, The New York Times and The Guardian are reporting.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 7:31 pm
Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:27 pm
A quick scan of Craigslist reveals a curious market for not just smartphones and computers but the empty packaging of smartphones and computers. On my local Craigslist, a MacBook Pro box — "box only," as the sales pitches read — goes for $19. A MacBook Air box will cost you $15. And a Samsung Galaxy S4 box sells for $10.
Devotees of '50s Hollywood comedies could have a great time at Populaire, an intentionally lightweight ode to romance and, uh, typing. But the way to enjoy this French souffle is to concentrate on the scrupulously retro music, costumes and set design, not on the musty fairy-tale script.
Originally published on Sat September 7, 2013 9:23 pm
We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and amid the helpful slips from FedEx reminding us that we have to be at home to receive their package even though most people work during the day, for pete's sake is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, a request for ideas for how to play music in the office without irritating people.
Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 10:48 am
Overused and much misused, the word "provocative" has become a double-edged sword, especially when it's swung in the direction of independent cinema. At its best, the genuinely provocative film — off the top of my head, anything by Bunuel, Shaun of the Dead, Holy Motors -- shocks in order to expand our vision of the world it encompasses. At its most dispiriting, it's an exercise in cheap thrillage, designed to goose a presumptively stuffy bourgeois audience while positioning a director as some sort of iconoclast.
A tightly-fought Australian general election campaign reaches its climax on Saturday — and the major issues will be familiar to an American audience. With little to choose between the economic policies of the two major parties, immigration and same-sex marriage are top of the news agenda.
If you think sailing at 40 mph sounds challenging, imagine doing it all alone without the use of your arms or legs, or without hearing or with limited vision. Every weekend in San Francisco, a group of sailors with disabilities does just that, taking to the water to push their bodies to the limit.
Cristina Rubke and her father, Chris, are members of the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors. On a recent Saturday, they were at San Francisco's Pier 40, where the dock is awash in activity.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
The world is watching as Congress considers possible U.S. military action in Syria. And few countries are more concerned than nearby Israel where one worry is that the Syrian conflict could spill over.
As NPR's Emily Harris reports, Israelis are sure they want the U.S. to do something in Syria. They're less clear about just what it should be.
The NFL season kicks off Thursday night, with reigning champs the Baltimore Ravens taking on the Denver Broncos. Pro football has some new rules and the league just settled a multi-million dollar class action lawsuit with players.
These three words have ignited an explosion in the Twitterverse: "Happy Rosh Hashana." What's so provocative about that message expressing good wishes for the Jewish New Year is who, apparently, posted it. It appeared yesterday on the Twitter feed attributed to the new foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
President Obama, in St. Petersburg for the G-20 Summit, met with Russian human rights activists, most of them critical of President Putin's policies. Especially prominent right now is Russia's LGBT community, which is facing harsh new laws that play into homophobia and raise doubts about LGBT participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics next year.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
While Americans debate the U.S. role in Syria, President Obama is meeting with the leaders of the world's biggest economies. They've gathered for the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The official focus of the meeting is global economic growth, but there, too, Syria is the issue of the day.
It seems most decent-sized cities in the U.S. have a "sister city" — a companion community in a foreign country. Some even have more than one. But how these cities end up selecting each other is a lot like the dating scene.
The wildfire still burning north of Yosemite National Park — you know, the one that has charred 237,341 acres and was at one point one of the largest fires in recent California history — was started by a hunter's illegal fire.
The U.S. Forest Service said in a statement that its investigators had concluded that the Rim Fire "began when a hunter allowed an illegal fire to escape."
Authorities, said the Forest Service, have made no arrest and they are not releasing the name of the hunter.
There's a hole in the sun's corona. But don't worry — that happens from time to time.
"A coronal hole is just a big, dark blotch that we see on the sun in our images," says Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. "We can only see them from space, because when we look at them [through] a regular telescope, they don't appear."
Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 2:30 pm
Harmonica master James Cotton is a giant of the blues. Born in 1935 on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Miss., he learned the instrument from Sonny Boy Williamson, who had a radio program right across the river in West Helena, Ark. After listening to the show and imitating him on a harmonica, Cotton met Williamson, who took him under his wing.
At 15, Cotton met and played with Howlin' Wolf, who took him to record at Sun Studios in Memphis. Later, while on tour, Muddy Waters asked Cotton to replace Junior Wells in his band; Cotton stayed on the road with Waters for a dozen years.
Onstage at Nashville's tiny Station Inn, the multiplatinum-selling country veteran Alan Jackson announced that he was nervous. He had reason to be, considering that the music-bizzers who'd scored one of the night's 150 tickets were sitting cheek-to-jowl with regulars, all diehard bluegrass fans. He was there to celebrate his first-ever bluegrass album (out September 24), and right away he made a point of proclaiming that he's really not very fond of dirt roads.