All Things Considered on The News And Ideas Network

Weekdays, 4pm - 7pm; Weekends, 5pm - 6pm
Hosted By: Melissa Block, Michele Norris, Robert Siegel

For two hours every weekday, All Things Considered hosts Robert Siegel, Michele Norris and Melissa Block present this NPR program's trademark mix of news, interviews, commentaries, reviews and offbeat features.

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Politics
5:37 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 10:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

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Africa
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 2:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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Around the Nation
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

Environment
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

Digital Life
6:11 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

The Internet's Cicada: A Mystery Without An Answer

A poster found in Warsaw shows a QR Code for a website related to the Cicada 3301 mystery.
Cicada 3301

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

"Hello. We are looking for highly intelligent individuals. To find them, we have devised a test. There is a message hidden in this image. Find it, and it will lead you on the road to finding us. We look forward to meeting the few that will make it all the way through. Good luck."

That message, signed "3301," appeared on the underground message board known as 4chan two years ago. It was mysterious, cryptic and sparked a global Internet mystery that has yet to be answered to this day.

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Around the Nation
5:53 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Calif. Toxin Law Warns Consumers, But Can Burden Businesses

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

All over California, signs in restaurants, parking garages and other businesses warn that you could be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer.

The disclosure is mandated by 1986 state law. If a company fails to warn consumers, it can be sued.

But a lot has changed since the law was passed: The list of toxic chemicals is longer and the lawsuits are more prolific. In October, Gov. Jerry Brown signed an amendment to ease the burden on businesses.

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History
5:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

WWII Female Air Force Pilots Still Flying High

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 1:07 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

During World War II, a group of women took a bold step in aviation. While male pilots were sent overseas, the Women Air Force Service Pilots took up the war effort on the home front. From 1943 to 1944, they logged over 60 million miles across the U.S., flying 77 types of military aircraft to haul supplies and conduct training exercises.

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Books
5:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Upcoming Books To Read In 2014

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

NPR's Arun Rath talks to Daniel Alarcon, the author of At Night We Walk in Circles, about the new books he is most excited about for 2014.

Sports
5:25 pm
Sun January 5, 2014

Costs Climb As Sochi Winter Olympics Approaches

Originally published on Sun January 5, 2014 6:55 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Russia is spending $51 billion on the Sochi Winter Olympics, the most expensive Olympic Games ever by a wide margin. The preparations have not gone smoothly. Construction has been delayed repeatedly and marred by accusations of political corruption. The outlandish price tag for the games has turned into an embarrassment for Russian officials.

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The Record
5:29 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Phil Everly: Harmony To His Brother's Melody

The Everly Brothers, Phil (left) and Don, perform in 2004 in London.
Jo Hale Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:59 pm

The Everly Brothers' close harmonies and smooth guitar licks influenced an entire generation of popular musicians. Don Everly's voice usually handled the melody, but Phil Everly gave the higher accompanying harmony to that melody, and that was what defined The Everly Brothers' sound.

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Digital Life
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

New In The Next Year: From Acting To Electric Cars

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 5:39 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's time now for The New and The Next.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

RATH: Carlos Watson is the cofounder of the online magazine Ozy. Each week, he joins us to talk about what's new and what's next. Welcome back, Carlos. Happy New Year.

CARLOS WATSON: Arun, Happy New Year to you. Always good to be back.

RATH: So this week, we're going to talk about some of the stuff you're excited about in the year ahead. One of those things, in a word, Japan.

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Sports
5:16 pm
Sat January 4, 2014

Controversial Since Day 1, Bowl Championship Series To End

On Monday, the BCS National Championship featuring Florida State and Auburn University will mark the end of the confusing and controversial Bowl Championship Series. Dennis Dodd from CBS Sports speaks with NPR's Arun Rath about what this means for the future of NCAA football.

Technology
8:01 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

This Braille reader connects to a smartphone.
John Suchocki The Republican/Landov

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

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Around the Nation
5:24 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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NPR Story
4:59 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Explanatory 'Verticals' Give Big-Name Journalists More Power

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:26 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. The agency has been trying to build a quantum computer, The Washington Post reports — but that news doesn't surprise experts in the field.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

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Shots - Health News
4:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

California County Pushes Drugmakers To Pay For Pill Waste

Ground zero for a new approach to prescription drug disposal.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:43 pm

The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.

The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products — from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.

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Economy
6:18 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

For The Unemployed, Ideas To Help Bridge The Gap To Work

Job seekers line up to talk to recruiters during a job fair held in Atlanta in May.
John Amis AP

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 8:01 pm

When members of Congress return to work next week, at the top of the "to-do" list is whether to renew emergency unemployment benefits. An extension of the benefits expired at the end of 2013, which means 1.3 million out-of-work Americans are no longer getting unemployment checks.

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Art & Design
6:18 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Tiny Museum Preserves Proof Of Creators' Crazy Stories

Other exhibits on display at the Museum include "Silicon Body Part Piercing Displays," "Cambodian Menu Photo Rejects" and "New York City Tip Jars."
Naho Kubota for Mmuseumm

Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 7:38 pm

Imagine a museum that's only 6 square feet. It's called, simply, Museum and it's housed in an old elevator shaft in an alley near New York City's courts. It has some odd exhibits on 18 small shelves, and only about four people can fit into the space at a time.

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Book Reviews
6:18 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

'Before I Burn' Uses Autobiography To Tell A Crime Story

Burning House
John Rich iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:14 am

My favorite crime novels always combine more than one genre. Like a detective mystery that's really psychological. Or a police captain who happens to be a gourmet. Honestly, most travel books don't even get going until a body or two is discovered.

In the case of Before I Burn by Gaute Heivoll, the mashup is suspense meets memoir. It sounds a little gimmicky, but I promise it's absolutely not. Instead we have a semi-autobiographical novel that's poetic, gripping and at times even profound.

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