The next time you dab wasabi on your sushi or spread mustard on your hot dog, take a moment to thank a caterpillar. It may sound unlikely, but the critters play a critical role in creating the sharp, pungent flavors that give those condiments a savory kick.
This week's World Cafe: Next artist is British keyboardist, producer and vocalist Oli Bayston, who records smart, indie-rock-influenced house music with Boxed In. Hear a few songs on this episode, and head over to the World Cafe Tumblr for more.
In the longest leg of its planned around-the-world flight, the Solar Impulse took off from Nagoya, Japan, and is now headed to Hawaii. The plane is powered solely by the sun's energy that's stored in batteries; the current trip is expected to last 120 hours — five days and five nights.
James McMurtry writes wonderfully detailed narrative songs, making his characters come alive with humor and poignancy. He remains an exquisite guitarist, whether he's playing electric or 12-string acoustic, as he is in this World Cafe session. Earlier this year, McMurtry released Complicated Game, his first new studio album in six years.
Following a shakeup in Speedy Ortiz, Sadie Dupuis found new confidence as both a bandleader and a songwriter on her latest album. Foil Deer is full of jagged bursts of '90s-inspired indie-rock, highlighting the vigor of her smartly crafted wordplay. During their recent performance at KEXP, Dupuis and the band took command of the room in this live performance of "Raising The Skate."
During our recent time with charming Bostonian librarian Margaret Willison, we managed to sit her down for a chat about audiobooks. We discovered that while I am a frequent listener to a variety of kinds of books (as I wrote about recently), Margaret uses them in a very different way that might appeal to some of you who like to revisit and reread your favorites.
Our electricity system is changing rapidly around us. New sources of renewable power are meeting technologies that can crunch unprecedented amounts of data. It’s all leading to a major shakeup for how utilities do business. Dan Boyce from Here & Now’s contributor Inside Energy takes us to Fort Collins, Colorado, for a peek into our utility’s possible future.
President Obama won a series of huge victories in the Supreme Court last week, including health care and same sex marriage. And officials in South Carolina called for the removal of the Confederate flag from the state capitol grounds after nine African Americans were gunned down in a Charleston church. Here & Now’s Robin Young asks historian Julian Zelizer to put the week into historical context.
There are a number of dramatic economic stories in the news today. In Greece, banks and markets are closed, as the country edges towards a default and or exit from the eurozone.
Meanwhile, Puerto Rico’s governor now says that the commonwealth cannot pay its $72 billion in debts. And in China, stocks have tumbled into a bear market, despite a move by the central bank there to cut interest rates to a record low.
South Carolina state Senator Paul Thurmond, son of segregationist presidential candidate U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond, has joined fellow Republicans in calling for the Confederate flag to be removed from a public monument across the street from the South Carolina State House, following last week’s deadly shooting at a historically black church in Charleston.
Lawmakers are expected to debate the flag’s removal as soon as next week. Sen. Thurmond speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young.
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court has upheld the use of a controversial execution drug.
The case was brought by a group of Oklahoma inmates who argued that a drug used by the state constituted cruel and unusual punishment because it did not guarantee that prisoners would be unconscious when additional drugs were administered to stop their hearts.
The drug was used in three botched executions last year that appeared to leave prisoners in excruciating pain. The court ruled that the Oklahoma prisoners did not prove that a better drug was available.
The rapid rise in technology and machines has some experts predicting that workers could become obsolete. As Derek Thompson writes in a cover article for The Atlantic, futurists have often looked at this in a positive way — with people having more free time for leisure.
But there are of course questions of what it would mean economically, and also culturally. Thompson writes that it would bring about a great social and cultural transformation.
Last week might have felt like a grand finale, with decisions on same-sex marriage and the Affordable Care Act, but this morning the Supreme Court announced three more decisions, relating to capital punishment, power plant emissions and congressional redistricting. NPR’s Ron Elving joins Here & Now’s Robin Young to discuss what what they all mean.