We get a lot of mail at NPR Music, and alongside the flyer for a maid service that disappeared into a massive pile of papers is a slew of smart questions about how music fits into our lives — and, this week, thoughts on when to deviate from traditional wedding-reception music.
It's always been a treat to sit down with pianist Louis Lortie. In part because of his sound at the piano — the brightness, purity and clarity of his playing. But all the better to have a conversation with him, too. He is a sober, serious thinker, with an incisive point of view on every piece of music he chooses.
It's a day for patriots in Russia, where the country is celebrating Victory Day to commemorate the World War II defeat of Nazi Germany. A parade of troops, tanks and missile launchers made its way through Red Square to mark the occasion.
"It is a holiday when an overwhelming force of patriotism triumphs, when all of us feel particularly acutely what it means to be loyal to the motherland and how important it is to defend its interests," President Vladimir Putin said.
After a few weeks of guest Quizmasters, I'm back with one of my own special blends. I'd call this a top-40 mix or, as some might say, some pretty low-hanging fruit in the world of drum fills and intros. I'm expecting a lot of 5 out of 5 scores, so don't let me down!
As always, if you have a drum fill (or intro), or drummer you'd like to hear included in one of these weekly puzzlers, let us know in the comments section or via Twitter @allsongs, #drumfillfriday
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine say they are going ahead with an independence referendum on Sunday. The pro-Western government in the capital, Kiev, argues this vote would be illegal. And this all has many Ukrainians worried about what happens next. This next story shows how far apart the two sides are. Two men each claim to be the leader of the region called Donetsk.
A landmark hotel in Hollywood has become the focus of protest. The hotel is part of an international chain. The hotel chain is owned by the Sultan of Brunei. He's the ruler of a tiny Southeast Asian country that recently introduced a strict form of Islamic Sharia laws. Celebrities who once stayed in that Hollywood hotel say they cannot accept the politics of its owner.
The writer Robert Kaplan wrote a book about the South China Sea. He calls it "Asia's Cauldron." And we talked about why it would be that China could slowly claim seascapes there using oil rigs, water canons and ship collisions. I wonder if part of the Chinese thinking in a situation like that might simply be you know you don't want a war with China, 'cause we're a lot bigger than you, and therefore we can do everything short of war to push you around because we think we have rights here. Is that possibly what the Chinese are thinking?
On a Friday, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep. Let's look more closely now at the competition for control of the South China Sea. That's a strategic body of water surrounded by growing Asian nations like the Philippines, Vietnam and of course, China. Many nations have made overlapping claims for that sea and the resources beneath it. Since several nations are U.S. allies, it's a conflict in which the United States has a big interest.
And that brings us to today's last word in business - screen-free.
Maybe you read something about this on your phone, or saw a story on television. This week has been Screen-Free Week. Kids and parents around the world made pledges to stop using TVs, tablets, computers or video games - for a while.
The notion is to get kids to spend more time being physically active, playing outside or reading. Kids under 18 spend an average of seven hours and 38 minutes on media devices each day - which concerns pediatrician Michael Rich.
NPR's business news starts with iPhones and headphones.
Apple is set to buy Beats Electronics for more than $3 billion. That's according to a report in the Financial Times. Beats is a headphone maker founded by hip-hop star Dr. Dre and the producer Jimmy Iovine.
We next report on a newly discovered species of wasp. It now has an official name. The name is Ampulex Dementor. The wasps are named after the soul-sucking Dementor characters from the Harry Potter books, which is an appropriate choice.
Like the Dementors, these wasps are able to control their prey - in this case, cockroaches; not witches or wizards. The wasps do their tricks by injecting a toxin. A cockroach then becomes submissive, and follows the wasp to its burrow to be eaten.
Any time a song is popular, you'll find people debating it. And at some point during that debate, someone is going to Google the lyrics.
There are roughly 5 million searches for lyrics per day on Google, according to LyricFind. Those searches often lead to websites that post lyrics to lots of songs — and, in many cases, sites that post ads alongside those lyrics.
In the spring of 2013, poachers looking for elephant ivory took advantage of the chaos of a civil war raging in the Central African Republic, and massacred 26 rare forest elephants at a special place called the "Dzanga bai."