Scientists have just solved a case of mistaken identity. It involves a creature that looks like a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear, and it lives high up in the cloud forests of the Andes.
For over 100 years, scientists thought this animal was a well-known member of the raccoon family. Specifically, they thought it was a critter called the "olingo." But one scientist recently took another look and realized he had an entirely new species on his hands.
Originally published on Sat August 17, 2013 3:07 pm
Visitors to a zoo in China got a rude surprise when the lion started barking.
Turns out it was no lion, but just a Tibetan mastiff, a large, hairy breed of dog — which, for what it's worth, more closely resembles the king of the jungle than does perhaps any other domestic canine.
Apparently, officials in Louhe city zoo in central Henan province hoped no one would notice when they decided to make the switch and send the enclosure's regular resident, an African lion, away to a breeding center.
What happens in our brains while we're asleep? That's one question neuroscientist Penelope Lewis is trying to answer. She directs the Sleep and Memory Lab at the University of Manchester in England. Her new book is The Secret World of Sleep: The Surprising Science of the Mind at Rest.
Lewis joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about how sleep affects memory, and how REM sleep can affect depression.
Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 4:32 pm
In the wake of the deadly crackdown by Egypt's security forces, many analysts are no longer talking about a country struggling with democracy. Rather, they see a revolution gone awry and a military that seems determined to crush the Muslim Brotherhood.
In the world of book publishing, ravaged though it may be, the name Farrar, Straus & Giroux still bespeaks literary quality. It's a publishing house that boasts a roll call of 25 Nobel Prize winners and heavyweights like Susan Sontag, Carlos Fuentes, Joan Didion, Philip Roth and Jonathan Franzen. A lot of writers, past and present, have turned down higher advances for their books from other publishing houses for the honor of being an FSG author.
A movie last year called A Late Quartettold the traumatic story of what happens when a famous string quartet has to change personnel. But, in fact, most string quartets — like symphony orchestras, only more conspicuously — continually change players, because players retire, or die, or get more lucrative offers.
Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 3:31 pm
With 15,000 firefighters deployed and three dozen major wildfires currently burning in five Western states, this would seem to be a wildfire season for the record books. And in one tragic aspect, it is. But by most measures, 2013 is the second-mildest fire season in the past decade ... so far.
Doom is as doom does. No matter how many sub-sub genre tags you put on it — blackened, atmospheric, sludge, bedazzled (okay, I made that up, but what if) — all descend from Black Sabbath. But you knew that. Doom thrives on repetition, in both its riffs and its tributes. The Salt Lake City doom-metal band SubRosa isn't out to reinvent the stone wheel, but it does offer a unique perspective by looking back to America's melancholic folk roots for something darker and more soulful.
Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 1:34 pm
From Bill Gates to Google's Sergei Brin, influential investors are putting their money where their mouth is. The pet cause of the tech world, it seems, is the need to find good-tasting substitutes to conventional animal products, like chicken-less eggs or in vitro beef, to avert environmental crisis from rising consumption.
Originally published on Thu August 15, 2013 2:25 pm
A few years ago, Julie Elman, an associate professor at Ohio University, was stuck in a creative rut. As a design educator and illustrator, most of her work was done on the computer. She wanted to begin a tangible project — remember those? — but didn't really know where to start.
Then she realized there was one emotion she was strangely preoccupied with: fear. "I thought fears would go away as we get older," she remembers thinking. "I'm in my 50s. Why do I still have fears?"
Now we continue our Summer Songs series. Gwen Thompkins, the host of Music Inside Out on WWNO in New Orleans, is introducing us to a handful of contemporary artists who've taken some old classics out for a new spin. This week, she tells us about an unlikely pairing with New Orleans favorite Michael White.
Part of our summer reading series Island Reads, highlighting authors from the Caribbean
Andrea Stuart was curious about her family's history in Barbados. And through years of careful research, she found that her bloodline includes both slave owners and slaves. She has written about her own family, as well as a detailed history of slavery in the Caribbean, in her book Sugar in the Blood. Guest host Celeste Headlee talks with Stuart about her family history, the moral complexity of slavery and finding roots in the past.
I'm Celeste Headlee and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, we head to Barbados for a twisted family tale that spans centuries. "Sugar in the Blood" is the latest in our summer island read series. More on that in just a few minutes. But first, a visit to the beauty shop. That's where our panel of female commentators and journalists get a fresh cut on the week's news.