As a commentator, Frank Deford gets a lot of suggestions about prominent subjects that he should take to task. Usually, he has already sounded off on these suggested topics, and most of them are cut and dried, with nothing new to add. But here, Deford takes on 12 of these familiar issues — this time with brief updates.
Many governments around the world have expressed outrage over the National Security Agency's use of the Internet as a spying platform. But the possible response may have an unforeseen consequence: It may actually lead to more online surveillance, according to Internet experts.
Some governments, led most recently by Brazil, have reacted to recent disclosures about NSA surveillance by proposing a redesign of Internet architecture. The goal would be to give governments more control over how the Internet operates within their own borders.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 5:02 pm
That pink pile of pickled ginger that comes with your sushi is probably from China or Japan. And unless the slices are beige, chances are this garnish, next to the green wasabi, contains food coloring. So it's refreshing when you first see that cream-colored fresh "baby" ginger is naturally, yet shockingly, pink at its tips from where green stems shoot forth.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 9:14 am
The Supreme Court has agreed to review an Obama administration policy that requires new power plants and other big polluting facilities to apply for permits to emit greenhouse gases.
To get these permits, which have been required since 2011, companies may have to use pollution controls or otherwise reduce greenhouse gases from their operations — although industries report that so far they haven't had to install special pollution control equipment to qualify for the permits.
The rule is part of a larger effort by the EPA to regulate greenhouse gases.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 7:03 pm
It's one of the oldest axioms in politics: Voters always say they want to "throw the bums out," except when it comes to their own representative. That's why the re-election rate for House members is typically over 90 percent.
Heading into the 2014 midterms, that long-standing rule appears to be holding true. But against the backdrop of the federal government shutdown, a potential default and general dysfunction in Washington, there are signs it's reaching a straining point.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 6:25 pm
Neither of them is over 35 years old. One of them played in ATP World Tour events just months ago; the other did so last year. But none of that will keep recently retired tennis players Andy Roddick, 31, and James Blake, 33, from joining a circuit of senior players.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 2:33 pm
This week NPR is debuting its newest t-shirt, and it's unlike any other we've had before. NPR teamed up with Threadless earlier this year and challenged designers all around the world to create the ultimate NPR t-shirt. More than 80,000 votes later, we have a winner, a new shirt and a new way for people to support public radio.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
In Geneva today, Iran made a proposal to end the standoff over its nuclear program. Western diplomats involved in the talks called the offer useful. While the details have not been made public, two things are clear: Iran hopes a deal will bring relief from crippling economic sanctions, and Israel - which is not a party to the negotiations, but insists it has big stake in the outcome - remains skeptical of Iranian diplomacy.
One of the great conceits of crime fiction is the notion that criminals are often masterminds capable of cleverly outfoxing the cops who are pursuing them. In the real world, the contrary is closer to the truth. Criminals are often not too bright and they are capable of self-defeating stupidities.
Authorities in Moscow have rounded up more than 1,600 migrant workers after an ethnic riot took place over the weekend. Russian nationalists and soccer hooligans attacked a market area in a gritty industrial suburb of Moscow that's home to many migrant workers from the North Caucasus. The riot broke out after police announced that they were searching for a North Caucasian man suspected in the stabbing death of a young, ethnic Slav man. The situation highlights Russia's immigration problem — the country needs migrant labor, but fears what it perceives as foreign influence.
When Irish singer-songwriter Foy Vance was a kid, he traveled the American South with his preacher father. On Tuesday's episode of World Cafe, he sits down with host David Dye to discuss how that experience and his father's death have affected his writing.
A life-threatening pandemic occurs. You're a doctor in the ER and can save a 9-year-old or a 63-year-old doctor. Whom do you choose? How do you choose?
Questions like that can crop up in real life and also on the silver screen. So how good a job do filmmakers do at portraying these moral dilemmas? Some do fairly well, but there's also room for improvement.
Originally published on Fri June 20, 2014 10:04 am
The importance of John Hartford's musical influence is difficult to overstate: His presence is felt in the various styles that have grown out of traditional Appalachian, country and bluegrass music, and can be found threaded through the works of contemporary artists like Béla Fleck and The Avett Brothers.
A letter (pdf) released today by a special surveillance court clears up some misconceptions about legal oversight for government wiretap activities. Responding to a letter from Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) and ranking member Charles Grassley (R-IA), the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court says, yes, it's true, we do approve 99% of all wiretap applications.
Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, a documentary in three hour-long segments that will premiere back to back (to back) tonight on many PBS stations, begins with a curious image: Vincent Zurzolo of Metropolis Comics explains that a recent copy of Action Comics #1, which contained the first appearance of Superman, recently sold for over $2 million. He shows us Action Comics #1, and then ... he locks it in a safe.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 4:51 pm
Government shutdowns, climate change, zombie attacks: it seems like everyday the news delivers new reasons to think civilization is on the verge of collapse. And yet, a glance back at history shows that things have always been going to hell and somehow we manage to survive.
Is the past prologue? Or has our ever-faster, ever-more connected culture generated risks that are so fundamentally new that looking to the past for guidance is nothing more than a recipe for disaster?
Captain Phillips, Paul Greengrass' tense movie about the April 2009 hijacking of the freighter Maersk Alabama by four Somali pirates, is a love song to the patience-through-overwhelming-fire-superiority of the U.S. military.
The man the U.S. alleges is the top al-Qaida operative who orchestrated the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday at a Federal Court in Manhattan.