School lunch is often synonymous with loud noise. Studies have shown the decibel level in some cafeterias is as high as a lawn mower.
Every so often, though, students at Alice Terry Elementary School, southwest of Denver, are asked not to make any noise.
When the music teacher told students here they'd occasionally have a "silent" lunch break, this was kindergartner Alyssa Norquette's reaction: "Why do we need a silent lunch? Is it because we're too loud or something?"
On-air challenge: Every answer is a two-word phrase in which the first word starts with O. Drop the O, and you'll get a new word that ends the phrase.
Last week's challenge: Name something in nine letters that is commonly read on Sunday morning. If you have the right thing, you can rearrange all the letters to name a bygone car model that you still see on the road today. What are they?
Thao Nguyen, of the folk-rock group Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, has been on a musical journey since she started performing in her teens in Northern Virginia. Delicate yet fierce in her vocal delivery, she writes often about her social concerns — and it was a trip to a California women's prison that inspired much of her latest album, We the Common.
Ngyuen and her band are on the road for the first time in several years; she spoke with NPR's Jacki Lyden from a tour stop in Kansas City.
Nobody actually knows what dinosaurs sound like. But if you can imagine the roar of a T. Rex or the bellow of a brachiosaurus, it's probably thanks to the 1993 blockbuster Jurassic Park, which turns 20 this summer.
The gun control debate continued to dominate the news this week with President Obama coming out strongly in support of reforming the current gun control laws alongside the Newtown families. Host Jacki Lyden speaks with James Fallows, national correspondent with The Atlantic, about that story along with the bird flu in China, North Korea and the Postal Service.
Numbers crunching has become a big deal in sports. Analytics have been slower to take hold in the tradition-bound game of golf, but it is happening. NPR's Tom Goldman reports on the phenomenon from the tournament most steeped in tradition, the Masters.
The dancer who brought "Firebird" and "The Nutcracker" to life at the New York City Ballet died this week. Maria Tallchief was one of America's great prima ballerinas. NPR's Joel Rose has this remembrance.
JOEL ROSE, BYLINE: Maria Tallchief soared to fame in 1949 when she danced the lead role in Stravinsky's "Firebird" in a production choreographed by George Balanchine.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED INTERVIEW)
MARIA TALLCHIEF: He was a poet. And he taught us how to react and to become this poetry.
Many authors struggle to make a living in America, thanks to smaller advances, shrinking royalties and the merging of publishing houses and the impact of e-books. The challenges are embraced by some and make others wary. Writer Scott Turow, who's also president of the Authors Guild, is in the latter camp. Host Jacki Lyden talks to Turow about his recent New York Times op-ed on the topic.
The 400-year-old plays of William Shakespeare are constantly being reinterpreted and re-envisioned for new generations. Recently, England's Royal Shakespeare Company produced a Julius Caesar set in contemporary Africa that was a hit at the World Shakespeare Festival, presented in conjunction with the London Olympics. Now the RSC has brought it to America.
Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 8:54 am
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has resigned, ending a power struggle with President Mahmoud Abbas that rose to new heights in recent months. Fayyad had reportedly tried to quit his job earlier this week; Abbas initially refused it, but he finally accepted the resignation Saturday.
A Cairo courtroom burst into chants of "The people want the execution of the president" on Saturday after the judge overseeing former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's retrial withdrew from the case on opening day. NPR's Leila Fadel reports:
"The session lasted only seconds. Judge Mustafa Hassan Abdullah opened the trial, quickly recused himself and transferred the proceedings to the court of appeals for the case to be reassigned to a new court.
More than 100 passengers survived a crash into the sea, after the Boeing 737 they were traveling on from West Java to Bali, Indonesia, missed the runway at Denpasar International Airport. The plane came to rest in shallow waters, simplifying rescue efforts. Photographs showed the Lion Air jet in the water, its fuselage broken just behind its wings.
The aircraft was carrying 101 passengers and seven crew members when it crashed; afterward, rescue workers used rubber boats to get people off the plane.
An Xcel Energy crew works to restore a storm-damaged power line on Friday in Sioux Falls, S.D. More than 18,000 homes in the region were without power after a major spring storm brought freezing rain and heavy snow that downed trees and power lines.
Credit Danny Johnston / AP
Larry Gammill, left, and Tim Parks survey tornado damage at a church in Botkinburg, Ark. on Thursday after the building was hit by a tornado. Three tornadoes touched down in Arkansas on Wednesday. The National Weather Service is warning more storms are on the horizon as another warm, wet front is moving up from the Gulf of Mexico.
Credit Dirk Lammers / AP
A large, uprooted tree lies across the yard of a house in Sioux Falls, S.D. on Thursday. An ice storm followed by more than 6 inches of heavy, wet snow downed trees and power lines across the city. Forecasters are calling for another six to 12 inches this weekend.
Credit Rogelio V. Solis / AP
Heavy cranes are covered by debris after a tornado ripped through Kemper County, Miss., on Thursday. A man who was working at the site was killed and another was injured. The tornado was one of at least 12 that touched down in states from Missouri to Georgia this week.
Credit Gretchen Ehlke / AP
Flood waters surround a concession stand near the Milwaukee River in Thiensville, Wis., Thursday. Flooding appeared to be holding steady or falling Thursday, even as meteorologists warned that weekend storms could lead to new problems.
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 4:40 pm
Spring is spreading its share of nasty weather throughout much of the Midwest and Deep South, leaving thousands of people without power.
The upper Midwest is just emerging from a storm that dumped several inches of snow in parts of the Dakotas and forced temperatures down to as low as 22 degrees. Now, forecasters are saying another 6 to 12 inches of snow could fall as a new storm rages through Montana, North Dakota and northern Minnesota.
Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before their meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Kerry sought China's help in easing tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Secretary of State John Kerry is asking China's government to help ease tensions on the Korean peninsula, where North Korea has issued threats of war as it tests its weapons systems. The top U.S. diplomat met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing just days before a North Korea-promised missile test.
"That meeting with the president ran over by quite a lot," NPR's Louisa Lim reports from Beijing. "And afterward, Kerry said it couldn't have been more constructive, and more forward-leaning."
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 1:49 pm
Monday, April 8, marked the launch of Code Switch, our new blog covering race, ethnicity and culture. To commemorate the blog's launch, all week we solicited stories about code-switching — the practice of shifting the languages you use or the way you express yourself in your conversations.
People sent us hundreds of stories illustrating the many ways we code-switch and the many reasons for doing it. Five of those motivations came up again and again in the stories we read:
Originally published on Sat April 13, 2013 2:22 pm
If we're lucky, there could be a brilliant aurora borealis display tonight for those people living in the northern U.S.
Last Thursday, the sun ejected a strong solar flare, followed quickly by a mass of plasma and charged particles. The Los Angeles Times reports it's the solar ejection that will lead to a geomagnetic storm here on Earth, which creates conditions for the northern lights.
Tiger Woods drops his ball after hitting into the water on the 15th hole during the second round of the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. He was later assessed a two-stroke penalty for the improper drop.
Originally published on Sun April 14, 2013 7:19 am
Tiger Woods has been given a two-stroke penalty at the Masters, a tournament he's won four times, after a review found that he performed an illegal drop on the 15th hole of his second round Friday. Woods faced a possible disqualification for the infraction.
The incident began when Woods' wedge shot was a bit too on-target — it hit the base of the pin, and shot off the green and into a water hazard.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon, and I wait all week to say: It's time for sports.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC)
SIMON: The serene and pristine fairways of Augusta have been trampled up and down for a couple of full days now. The Masters tournament is halfway through. NPR's Tom Goldman has been there watching, not playing. Thanks for being with us, Tom.
TOM GOLDMAN, BYLINE: But trampling, Scott - I've done my fair share.