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All Tech Considered
5:22 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

The Tech Behind Traffic Apps: How (Well) Do They Work?

Four different apps can sometimes present four different routes. Screenshots of a few of the apps All Things Considered host Robert Siegel tested, from left to right: Google Maps, Inrix, Nokia Here, and Apple Maps.
Google; Inrix; Nokia; Apple

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 10:50 pm

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

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Race
7:11 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

Often Employees, Rarely CEOs: Challenges Asian-Americans Face In Tech

Google was one of five Silicon Valley companies included in a recent study that looked at executive-level representation for Asian-Americans in the tech industry.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 9:47 am

A new report on diversity in Silicon Valley shows that Asians and Asian-Americans are well-represented in lower-level positions — but, in comparison, severely underrepresented at the management and executive levels at five large, established tech companies.

Ascend, an Asian-American professional organization based in New York, found that although 27 percent of professionals working at those companies are Asian or Asian-American, fewer than 19 percent of managers, and just under 14 percent of executives, are.

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Television
6:01 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

TV Thriller 'Wayward Pines' Offers Suspense — And An Ending

In Chad Hodge's new Fox series, Secret Service agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) travels to Wayward Pines, Idaho, in search of two missing federal agents.
Liane Hentscher FOX

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 8:56 pm

The new Fox thriller Wayward Pines opens with a chilling scene. A man wakes up in the middle of the forest with cuts and bruises all over his body. Lost and confused, he stumbles into town. The audience soon learns the man is a Secret Service agent named Ethan Burke, played by Matt Dillon.

"He goes to the town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, looking for two other Secret Service agents who went missing there and pretty soon he finds out he can't leave," Chad Hodge, showrunner and creator, tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Music
12:03 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

From Four Different Corners Of Africa, Four Bold New Albums

Tuareg blues and griot guitar meet virtuoso percussion on Zoy Zoy, the latest album from the Niger band Tal National.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun May 17, 2015 8:56 pm

World-music DJ Betto Arcos is back — this time, with music he's found all over the African continent. The host of Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles recently joined NPR's Arun Rath to discuss new albums from four different corners of Africa, including soulful songs from a prison in Malawi, dance music from Congo and a collaboration between a Malian singer and a Cuban pianist. Hear their conversation at the audio link, and check out the music below.

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Monkey See
6:14 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

Call It A Prose Ceremony: 'Bachelor' Host Writes A Novel

Ariel Zambelich NPR

Originally published on Mon May 18, 2015 11:12 am

When budding TV personality Chris Harrison walked into the offices of ABC back in 2000, he didn't expect much.

The network wanted to jump on the new trend of reality competition shows, and had asked him to host a dating show, where one man would cull through a group of 25 women through a series of dates and cocktail parties, ultimately proposing to one final suitor. It was called The Bachelor.

"I was hoping [the show] would last a few hours," Harrison jokes. "I would meet someone at the network, and it would lead to a real job."

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Music Interviews
6:14 pm
Sat May 16, 2015

In HBO's 'Bessie,' Queen Latifah Stars As Empress Of The Blues

Queen Latifah plays blues singer Bessie Smith in the HBO movie Bessie.
Frank Masi Courtesy of HBO

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 7:16 pm

A Mississippi car accident in 1937 cut short the life of Bessie Smith.

She was just 43 years old. But she'd already established her legacy as "Empress of the Blues" — a pioneering American performer who demanded respect and equal pay in a world dominated by men and controlled by whites.

She'd also achieved a degree of infamy for her boozing, her brawling and her sexual appetites.

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It's All Politics
9:31 am
Sat May 16, 2015

RedState Advises Less Meat-Throwing, More Substance In GOP Campaigns

RedState Editor Erick Erickson is asking Republican candidates attending this year's RedState Gathering to focus on what they would do for the country, not what red meat they can throw at Democrats.
Tony Gutierrez AP

After the Republican presidential candidates finish their first debate this summer, many will head to Atlanta for a summit hosted by Erick Erickson, conservative activist and editor-in-chief of RedState.com.

This year, Erickson's RedState Gathering is scheduled for the same weekend as the Iowa Straw Poll.

Jeb Bush has already indicated he will go to the RedState Gathering rather than Iowa. Scott Walker, Carly Fiorina, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio and Rick Perry are also going. Most will try to attend both events, Erickson says.

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Religion
8:53 am
Sat May 16, 2015

Losing Faith: A Religious Leader On America's Disillusionment With Church

The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Washington National Cathedral, stands outside the church in Washington, D.C., in 2013.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Sat May 16, 2015 11:23 am

The U.S. is less Christian than it used to be, and fewer Americans choose to be a part of any religion, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.

Of the more than 35,000 people surveyed, 70 percent say they are Christian — but the number of people who call themselves atheist and agnostic has nearly doubled in the last seven years.

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Movie Interviews
4:31 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Yo Aca-Adrian! Elizabeth Banks Says 'Rocky IV' Inspired The New 'Pitch Perfect'

Anna Kendrick and her compatriots in the Barden Bellas are back for a second installment of a cappella excitement in Pitch Perfect 2. It's also Elizabeth Banks' first major movie as a director.
Universal Studios

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 6:58 pm

You'd recognize actress Elizabeth Banks if you saw her — blonde, attractive, funny — whether she's playing an exhausted pregnant woman in What to Expect When You're Expecting, or an inappropriate a cappella judge in the 2012 movie Pitch Perfect.

Now she's taking on a different role: Directing Pitch Perfect 2. It's a tall order since the first one was such a surprise hit — it cost only $17 million to make, but earned more than $100 million worldwide.

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Music Interviews
2:03 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Australia's Hiatus Kaiyote Carves Out A Crazy Path

Hiatus Kaiyote.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 6:58 pm

For more interviews from NPR Music, click here.

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StoryCorps
5:04 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Dad Aches For Son Killed By Policeman 20 Years Ago

Nicholas Heyward Jr. the year before he was killed. "I would give my life today if I could, you know, just have him back," his dad said during a recent visit to StoryCorps.
Courtesy of Nicholas Heyward Sr.

Originally published on Fri May 15, 2015 12:51 pm

Before Ferguson, Baltimore, Tamir Rice or Eric Garner, there was 13-year-old Nicholas Heyward Jr.

In 1994, he was playing in the stairwell of the Gowanus Housing Project, where he lived in Brooklyn, when a police officer shot and killed him.

"He was an amazing kid and I don't just say that because he was my son," Nicholas Heyward Sr. says during a recent visit to StoryCorps.

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Author Interviews
3:24 am
Thu May 14, 2015

A Fortune In Folios: One Man's Hunt For Shakespeare's First Editions

The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., still has all 82 of the William Shakespeare first folios Henry Folger collected.
Courtesy of Folger Shakespeare Library

Originally published on Thu May 14, 2015 10:37 am

Two of the most important books in the English language were printed four centuries ago: the King James Bible and William Shakespeare's first folio. Today, that first collection of Shakespeare's plays would fetch a king's ransom; and in the early 1900s, one man was willing to spend his entire fortune to own as many of them as he could. His name was Henry Folger and he was a successful businessman who worked his way to the top of Standard Oil. Folger managed to buy 82 first folios out of only a couple of hundred that survived from the original 1623 printing.

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The Salt
6:36 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

There's More To Farm-Fresh Prairie Food Than Steak And Soybeans

At ZJ Farm in Solon, Iowa, Susan Jutz, left, walks with her friend and mentor of Kate Edwards, right, of Wild Woods Farms. Once the plants get big enough at ZJ Farm Edwards transplants them to Wild Woods.
Dana Damewood Courtesy of Agate Publishing

Think local Nebraska food, and Omaha's famous steaks may come to mind. The Great Plains are indeed an agricultural powerhouse when it comes to commodities like feed corn, soybeans, beef and pork.

But as food journalist Summer Miller tells Meghna Chakrabarti of NPR's Here & Now, there's much more on offer these days in Nebraska, as well as in its Great Plains neighbors Iowa and South Dakota.

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First Reads
7:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Exclusive First Read: Naomi Novik's 'Uprooted'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 6:39 pm

Naomi Novik is best known for the Temeraire series — rousing adventure tales of a man and his dragon, set in an alternate-universe version of the Napoleonic Wars where France and England battle it out across land, sea and sky with the help of dragons.

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Music Interviews
2:03 am
Tue May 12, 2015

Jerry Garcia's Advice To Bill Kreutzmann: 'Don't Rush'

Originally published on Tue May 12, 2015 8:22 am

In his new memoir, Deal, drummer Bill Kreutzmann tells a story about the Grateful Dead's tour of Egypt. Instead of filling hookahs with "black, gooey tobacco," the band "filled the entire hookah with hash. No tobacco!" In the midst of Middle East trouble, the Grateful Dead's members were unwitting ambassadors of American culture.

"Everybody had fun," Kreutzmann tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "Yes, indeed."

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Mental Health
7:08 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

In Palo Alto's High-Pressure Schools, Suicides Lead To Soul-Searching

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 10:51 am

Since October of last year, four teenagers in California's Palo Alto school district have taken their own lives. Tragically, it's not the first cluster of teen suicides this area has seen: In 2009 and 2010, five local teenagers killed themselves by stepping in front of trains, and more suicides followed the next year.

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Author Interviews
6:31 pm
Sun May 10, 2015

Danielewski Returns With A Long, Sideways Look At 'The Familiar'

On pages 68-69 from Mark Danielewski's The Familiar, Volume 1, the main character Xanther looks out the window of her father's car during a rainy drive.
Mark Z. Danielewski Courtesy of Pantheon, a division of Random House LLC.

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 6:46 am

If you met the author Mark Danielewski on an elevator, here's how your conversation might go:

"What are you doing these days?"

"I'm writing a novel," he replies. "It's 27 volumes long."

"Wow," you might say. "What's it about?"

"It's about this little girl who finds a little kitten."

"Twenty-seven volumes, huh?"

"Ah, it's a very intense subject."

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All Tech Considered
10:06 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Coming Soon To A Highway Near You: A Semitruck With A Brain

The Daimler Freightliner Inspiration, a self-driving long-haul truck, is seen during an event at the Hoover Dam, May 5, 2015, near Boulder City, Nev.
John Locher AP

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 6:46 am

Imagine you're on the highway. You glance into the cab of the 18-wheeler next to you — and there's no driver. That day might be getting closer.

Automaker Daimler unveiled a truck last week that drives itself, called the Freightliner Inspiration. But the truck is not yet entirely autonomous.

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The Howard Project
8:36 am
Sun May 10, 2015

Gratitude, Disbelief, Optimism: Howard Students On Graduation Day

Ariel Alford and Leighton Watson exchange congratulations after Howard University's graduation commencement on Saturday.
Emily Jan for NPR

Originally published on Mon May 11, 2015 3:32 pm

This weekend, the Class of 2015 graduated from Howard University, a historically black college located about a mile from NPR's headquarters. The new graduates include two of the students who have spent the last semester talking with NPR's Weekend Edition about their college experience.

Leighton Watson and Kevin Peterman are still kind of in denial.

"It's very surreal, because I think a lot of people expect you to feel like you've graduated earlier in the process," says Watson. "But it literally didn't hit me until I was walking off of the stage and out."

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Author Interviews
6:31 am
Sun May 10, 2015

In Oklahoma, The Sky Has No 'Mercy'

The Mercy of the Sky

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 5:37 pm

Two years ago, one of the worst tornadoes on record hit the town of Moore, Okla. And you might say to yourself, well, doesn't this always happen there? It's called Tornado Alley for a reason.

And that's pretty much how the residents of Moore think about tornadoes. They're just part of life, and you take your chances. But that kind of thinking was part of the problem on May 20, 2013. The storm that came through that day was different. It was horrific.

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