It's a captivating story: A global rice-growing revolution that started with a Jesuit priest in Madagascar, far from any recognized center of agricultural innovation. Every so often, it surfaces in the popular media — most recently in The Guardian, which earlier this year described farmers in one corner of India hauling in gigantic rice harvests without resorting to pesticides or genetic modification.
In fall 2011, Sebastian Thrun, a research professor at Stanford, and Peter Norvig, the top scientist at Google, teamed up to develop and teach a free, online course on artificial intelligence. Their aim, as Norvig said in an impassioned and compelling TED talk, was to develop a course at least as good as, if not better than, the course they teach together at Stanford. They'd put the result online and make it available to everyone, for free.
"'The World Is Changing' is groove with a message." That quote, a pretty good summary of the music of Femi Kuti in just nine words, comes from Juan Gélas, the creative director of a new video for Kuti's new song. Femi Kuti is a saxophonist, trumpeter, keyboard player and singer and songwriter. The son of legendary afrobeat musician Fela Kuti, he carries on the tradition of mixing Nigerian beats along with jazz and a healthy dose of politics. Juan Gélas says, "Femi Kuti continues to be a leading protest artist out of modern Africa and his voice talks to us all."
If there's one conversation you listen to today, make it Melissa Block's talk with Carmen Blandin Tarleton and Marinda Righter.
Tarleton, who was disfigured when her estranged husband poured Lye over her body, received a face transplant in February. This week, for the first time, Tarleton met Righter, the daughter of the face donor.
Righter and Tarleton embraced and then Righter asked Tarleton if she could touch her face.
"It was probably one of the best feelings I've had in my life," Tarleton told Melissa.
Expanding trade abroad is a high priority for President Obama. This week, he nominated a trusted adviser named Michael Froman to become the next U.S. trade representative. Froman is currently deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs. NPR's Wendy Kaufman reports on the challenges he would face as trade representative.
Rusted Root released its first album, 1992's Cruel Sun, independently in the band's native Pittsburgh. It contained the group's signature song "Send Me on My Way," which Rusted Root included on its major-label debut When I Woke; that album was already beginning to climb the charts at the time of this January 1995 performance in West Virginia.
Originally published on Thu January 2, 2014 3:46 pm
Australian singer-songwriter Nick Cave recently re-formed his band The Bad Seeds, minus founding member Mick Harvey on guitar, to record a new album called Push the Sky Away. On this installment of World Café, you'll hear a tremendous performance from the elegant, intensely emotive band.
On this episode of Piano Jazz, originally broadcast in 2003, alto saxophonist Phil Woods brings his quintet's rhythm section — bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill Goodwin — by for a session with host Marian McPartland. Woods has been called "The New Bird," as in the heir to bop alto pioneer Charlie "Bird" Parker.
The 2013 U.S. and Women's Chess Championships are under way in St. Louis, Missouri. Host Michel Martin speaks with two of the competition's youngest players. Kayden Troff is the current under-14 World Youth Chess Champion, and at 15, Sarah Chiang is the youngest woman competing in the Women's Chess Championships.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Imagine stepping onto the Earth two billion years ago, taking a stroll along the shores of an ancient beach near the northern edge of what today is Lake Superior. You wouldn't see any trees. They didn't hit the scene until, oh, another billion-and-a-half years. What you might see, though, if you had a microscope, were tiny bacteria-like organisms on the shore having a ball eating each other.
Up next, another installment in the continuing quest to understand antimatter, that stuff that's supposed to be the opposite of matter. It's supposed to have been created during the Big Bang in equal amounts as normal matter, but for some reason, it's all disappeared. No one knows why - yeah, that stuff or actually that anti-stuff.
This spring the massive "Brood II" batch of 17-year cicadas is expected to emerge from the ground in backyards and parks all along the Eastern U.S. The insects will mate, lay eggs, and start the cycle all over again. Cicada expert John Cooley explains the unusual biology and evolution of periodical cicadas.
Food writer Michael Pollan once advised "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Now, he tells us how to cook it. In his new book Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation, he takes a tour of the most time-tested cooking techniques, from southern whole-hog barbecue and slow-cooked ragus to sourdough baking and pickle making.