What causes what? The human brain is programmed to answer this question constantly. This how we survive. What made that noise? Bear made that noise. What caused my hand to hurt? Fire caused my hand to hurt.
We are so eager to figure what causes what — that we often get it wrong. I wore my lucky hat to the game. My team won. Therefore, my lucky hat caused my team to win.
One hundred years ago, European statesmen — emperors, prime ministers, diplomats, generals — were in the process of stumbling, or as Christopher Clark would say, "sleepwalking," into a gigantic war. The Sleepwalkers:How Europe Went to War in 1914 is Clark's history of Europe in the years leading up to World War I — a war that claimed 20 million lives, injured even more than that and destroyed three of the empires that fought it. Clark joins NPR's Robert Siegel to talk about the book.
Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 5:29 pm
Like last year's fracking drama Promised Land, the new movie At Any Price is about farm people getting pushed around by corporations — except that there's no Matt Damon to rescue them, cleanse his soul and snag Rosemarie DeWitt in the bargain.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates met with South Korean President Park Geun-hye Monday, part of a visit to build business ties and boost nuclear energy plans. But it was the handshake they shared that created the biggest stir in Korean society, after Gates greeted Park with a smile — and his left hand jammed into his pants pocket.
Nutrition labeling has been required on packaged food since 1990, and the new federal food safety law will require calorie counts to be posted for restaurant food — all in an effort to get the American public to eat healthier.
But most studies on calorie count labels show they don't do much to nudge people toward better food choices. If I want that oh-so-delicious Chunky Monkey ice cream, knowing that a half-cup serving delivers 300 calories and 18 grams of fat isn't going to stop me.
The death of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's bombastic and charismatic president, has left that country sharply divided. His handpicked successor, Nicolas Maduro, took over. He won a snap election, which gave the ruling party six more years. But Maduro's victory was slim. Nearly half the country supported his opponent, and that creates instability in one of the world's great oil powers. NPR's Juan Forero reports from Caracas on the uncertainty about Venezuela's future.
A different terror plot was foiled yesterday in Canada. That's according to the Canadian government. Two men are in custody. They're accused of planning to derail a passenger train with explosives. Canadian authorities say the plot was supported by al-Qaida operatives in Iran. Iran denies that.
Is it credible; is there any formal relationship between Al-Qaida and Iran? It's a question that's been explored at least as far back as the 9/11 Commission.
Now, to Dagestan in southern Russia. It's home to family members of the two Boston bombing suspects, including their parents, and they have been under siege by reporters in Dagestan. Today, the family cancelled a planned news conference, and it's now facing questions from the Russian security services. NPR's Corey Flintoff joins us from Dagestan. And, Corey, first of all, remind us why the parents are there and not in the U.S.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
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Bolivia wants access to the Pacific Ocean, so it's taking Chile to court. The landlocked South American nation lost its coastline in a war back in the late 1800s. Now, Bolivia's foreign minister has arrived at The Hague where he and a delegation will present their case at the International Court of Justice. NPR's South America correspondent Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports.
Allan Arbus, best known for his recurring role as psychiatrist Sidney Freedman on the hit television comedy M.A.S.H., has died at age 95, his family says.
Arbus died Friday due to congestive heart failure, his daughter said in a statement. His second wife, Mariclare Costello Arbus, told Reuters that her husband "just got weaker and weaker and was at home with his daughter and me" when he passed away.
When was the last time you met someone who didn't tell you they were "crazy busy"? It seems like everyone these days is overwhelmed. From the endless tasks of maintaining home and family life to the ever-accelerating pressures of the endlessly troubled, endlessly competitive economy, it seems that all of us are running ragged.
On this episode of Piano Jazz With Jon Weber, velvet-voiced singer, guitarist and composer Allan Harris joins Weber for a set of standards and a few tunes from the Harris-penned musical, Cross That River.
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At the famous Hippodrome de Longchamp just outside of Paris this month, crowds came to cheer and bet on the sleek thoroughbreds that opened horse racing season by galloping down the verdant turf course.
Horse racing in Europe is different from the sport in the U.S., from the shape and surface of the track to race distances and the season itself. Another big difference is doping.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 7:40 pm
Update at 6:02 p.m. ET. Charges Dropped:
Federal prosecutors have dropped charges against a Mississippi man they accused of sending ricin-laced letters to President Obama and two other public servants, according to a court order obtained by the AP.
"In a court order calling for the charges to be dismissed, prosecutors said the 'ongoing investigation has revealed new information' without providing any additional detail," Reuters reports.
Paul Kevin Curtis was released from custody earlier Tuesday.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Accusations that the Syrian government has repeatedly used chemical weapons against its own people are piling up. First were British and French officials who say they have credible evidence. Today, an Israeli military official joined the chorus.
The U.S. says it's evaluating the allegations. The stakes are high. Last year the Obama administration said the use of chemical weapons would be a game-changer that could provoke a stronger U.S. response.
Originally published on Tue April 23, 2013 1:25 pm
Just because an over-the-counter product is called a dietary supplement doesn't mean that it's harmless.
Quite a few supplements have been found to include hidden and potentially risky ingredients, including drugs.
A recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found 273 recalls of dietary supplements between 2004 and 2012 because they contained drugs that could cause "serious adverse health consequences or death."