Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 4:09 pm
You may perhaps not have noticed, but the 85th annual Academy Awards are coming up this weekend. In Oscar's honor, we dug into the archives for some of the best books about the movies — and the books that became movies. And Cary Grant, because we love him even though Oscar didn't.
Let's talk about another meeting happening today. Senior officials from Boeing are sitting down with the head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Boeing wants its 787 Dreamliner fleet back in service. It's been grounded for more than a month. Neither Boeing nor safety investigators have discovered exactly what caused two 787 batteries to overheat and in one case catch fire last month. But, Boeing believes, it can mitigate any future risk with a series of fixes.
NPR's business news starts with a Japanese visit to the White House.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will meet with President Obama at the White House today. For Abe, the primary focus of the summit is re-vitalizing Japan's security alliance with the United States in the face of the threat from North Korea as well as tensions between Japan and China.
But as NPR's John Ydstie reports, the leaders will also discuss economic issues.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:58 am
A flaming meteor streaked through the skies over Russia last Friday. It exploded with the force of 20 atomic bombs over the Siberian city of Chelyabinsk. A thousand people were injured; most of them were watching it and were cut when the shock wave shattered windows.
Comedian-turned-politician Beppe Grillo addresses supporters at a rally on Feb. 12 in Bergamo, Italy. Many pollsters say his populist Five Star Movement could come in third in this weekend's election.
Credit Giuseppe Cacace / AFP/Getty Images
Figurines representing the main candidates of the upcoming Italian general election are on display in a shop in Naples. Seen (clockwise from left) are magistrate Antonio Ingroia, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Oscar Giannino, outgoing Prime Minister Mario Monti, Grillo and the Democratic Party's Pier Luigi Bersani.
Italy's election campaign has been dominated by an upstart comedian-turned-politician whose Five Star Movement is soaring in the polls. The movement is not expected to win in the weekend vote, but its strong presence in Parliament could be destabilizing and reignite the eurozone crisis.
Beppe Grillo is a standup comedian and the country's most popular blogger; 63 years old, with a mane of grey curly hair, he's hyperactive and foul-mouthed. His last name means "cricket," and he's the most charismatic politician in Italy today.
<strong>Ultraviolet (false color).</strong> Bees and other pollinators can see the ultraviolet end of the spectrum. They are guided by patterns on flowers that are invisible to humans.
Credit Kevin Collins
<strong>Fragrance plume (artist's depiction).</strong> Bees follow specific odors to locate flowers and, once they arrive, use scent maps to move toward the center of the flower. Fragrance that clings to a bee provides information for other bees back at the hive.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Electric field (artist's depiction).</strong> Flowers have a weak negative electric charge relative to the air around them. Different flowers have different electric fields, often with charge concentrated at the tips of the petals.
Credit Adam Cole / NPR
<strong>Visible spectrum.</strong> Certain bright colors and petal shapes attract certain pollinators.
Flowers are nature's ad men. They'll do anything to attract the attention of the pollinators that help them reproduce. That means spending precious energy on bright pigments, enticing fragrances and dazzling patterns.
Now, scientists have found another element that contributes to flowers' brand: their distinct electric field.
Anne Leonard, who studies bees at the University of Nevada, says our understanding of pollinator-flower communication has been expanding for decades.
Some former prisoners of re-education through labor camps and their supporters hold signs in Beijing declaring, "No Re-education Through Labor." Popular opposition to the camps has grown as China's state-run media has highlighted particularly egregious cases.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Tang Shuxiu, 51, was sent to a re-education through labor camp in 2011 after she complained that her local government work unit failed to give her an apartment. She holds a mock-up of her labor camp ID card in order to publicize the abuses of labor camps and push for change.
Credit Frank Langfitt / NPR
Shen Lixiu, 58, says she had her front teeth kicked out in a re-education through labor camp. She says authorities had her beaten so she would sign a compensation agreement for the government demolition of her karaoke parlor in Nanjing.
Officials in the eastern Chinese city of Nanjing knocked down her karaoke parlor for development. She says they then offered her compensation that was less than 20 percent of what she had invested in the place.
Shen complained to the central government. Local authorities responded by sentencing her to a "re-education through labor" camp for a year. Once inside, Shen says, camp workers tried to force her to accept the compensation.
Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 9:30 am
Bradley Cooper produced and plays the lead in David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, a film nominated for eight Oscars this year including Best Picture and Best Actor for Cooper.
His character Pat Solitano is being treated for bipolar disorder, first in a psychiatric hospital and later in Philadelphia at home with his parents (played by Supporting Actress/Actor nominees Jacki Weaver and Robert De Niro).
It's hard to imagine an upside to the civil war now causing unspeakable suffering in Syria. But the conflict has turned out to be a break for the makers of Inescapable, a feverish political thriller written and directed by Ruba Nadda, a Canadian of Syrian origin whose last film was the languorous 2009 romance Cairo Time.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 10:08 am
You might know him best as Ray, the self-centered, arrogant coffeehouse manager from Lena Dunham's Girls. Or as Jed, the self-centered, arrogant date from Lena Dunham's Tiny Furniture.
But in two features out this week, Alex Karpovsky is much more than that: He's the psychotic obsessive Paul in the psychological thriller Rubberneck, and an anxious filmmaker named ... well, Alex Karpovsky, in the road comedy Red Flag.
And yes, there's may be some self-centered arrogance to those characters as well.
Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 1:25 pm
This year's flu vaccine appears to be doing a unusually poor job of protecting the elderly, federal health officials reported Thursday.
Overall, this year's flu vaccine appears to be only about 27 percent effective for people ages 65 and older, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports in this week's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Finally, this hour, have you ever heard a story about homeless children that wasn't a grim, dark bummer?
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "INOCENTE")
INOCENTE: (as herself) My name is Inocente. I'm 15 years old, and I live in San Diego, California. I pretty much grew up homeless. I never really had something to call home.
BLOCK: A great deal of Inocente's life has been grim and dark, but the teenager with her clothes, her makeup and most importantly her art lives almost exclusively in bright colors despite all of her hardships.
Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 5:31 pm
Those baggage fees, cramped seats and tiny pretzel bags to the contrary and notwithstanding, airline passengers enjoyed good times in 2012, according to an annual recap from Airlines for America, the industry trade group.
Originally published on Sat February 23, 2013 5:47 pm
The Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s inspired several black artists to explore their African heritage and the black experience in America, from enslavement to life after emancipation and migration to cities in the north. In the musical world, pianist James P. Johnson composed Yamekraw: A Negro Rhapsody, a 12-minute portrait of a black community in Savannah, Ga. Yamekraw was orchestrated for a 1928 performance at Carnegie Hall by black composer William Grant Still, who would write his own Afro American Symphony in 1930.