The typical jack-o'-lanterns that don front stoops this time of year pale in comparison to their multihundred-pound brethren: the giant pumpkin. Every year in Damariscotta, Maine, people hollow them out, climb inside and race them in the annual pumpkin regatta. There are two divisions — paddleboat and powerboat — and thousands gather to see whether it will be sink or swim for the contestants.
Topher Mallory bolts a wooden frame onto the flesh of his 550-pound pumpkin powerboat. The stern is large enough to mount a 10 horsepower engine — double that of most competitors.
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Later this month, President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet for a debate focused exclusively on foreign policy, but the Republican is not waiting until then to confront the issue. Today, in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney attacked the Obama administration's policies, especially in the Middle East.
MITT ROMNEY: It's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office.
Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk's 1983 novel Silent House is being released in English for the first time this week. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel talks with the Nobel Laureate about what took so long to get the book translated and how he's changed as a writer since it was first published in Turkish nearly 30 years ago.
All Things Considered host Robert Siegel takes a look at the week ahead in tech with NPR's technology correspondent Steve Henn. This week, Google will release its third-quarter earnings, and they look to be in a position to challenge Microsoft's as the second largest tech company in terms of market capitalization.
Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 5:38 pm
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
Time now for your comments about our program. And today, comments inspired by this memorable movie line.
(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE PRINCESS BRIDE")
MANDY PATINKIN: (as Inigo Montoya) Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.
SIEGEL: Spanish swashbuckler Inigo Montoya in the 1987 film, "The Princess Bride." As the movie celebrates its 25th anniversary, the actor who delivered that line, Mandy Patinkin, talked with my co-host Melissa Block about how often he's asked to repeat it.
One of the toughest, and strangest, congressional races in the country is between two Los Angeles incumbents. Redistricting put Democrats Howard Berman and Brad Sherman into the same territory. Their faceoff in this election is a result of California's new non-partisan primary system, which sends the top two finishers to the general election, even if they're from the same party.
Independent producer John McDonough explores a handful of early, mostly little-known movies about presidential elections. It is uncanny how some old, obscure films capture moments that later on became real life political moments.
"Good evening, hello. I have cancer. How are you?"
That's how comedian Tig Notaro began her set at Largo in Los Angeles the day she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. As she uttered those words to the audience, there was nervous laughter, weeping and total silence in response.
Comedian Louis C.K. was there that evening, and tweeted this about her performance: "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo."
Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 3:28 pm
The two scientists who won this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine discovered that cells in our body have the remarkable ability to reinvent themselves. They found that every cell in the human body, from our skin and bones to our heart and brain, can be coaxed into forming any other cell.
Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 9:25 am
All this week, we'll be focusing our lens on the music of Robert Schumann and the lasting impact of his work. Leading the conversation is pianist Jonathan Biss, who's making a 30-concert project out of this Schumann exploration all season long and who has written a series of essays on Schumann. Starting things off for us today is musicologist and Schumann expert Eric Frederick Jensen.
When Zarrina Mulloboeva got invited to go apple picking the other day, she thought it would be a taste of home. She's an exchange student from Tajikistan, in central Asia — a country close to the ancestral homeland of apples. Her uncle has a small orchard. In fact, when Mulloboeva came to the United States six weeks ago, she brought with her a large bottle of homemade dried apple slices.
Things go wrong in most stories. It would be a dull plot that did not include an upset, a setback or an obstacle.
But it takes a special kind of reversal to turn one of these plots into a black comedy. Often it's a tiny slip that becomes a vortex of disaster; sometimes it's a growing avalanche of humiliation.
But it's always hewn from the stuff of everyday life, which we see transformed into a minefield using only the slightest shift in perspective. And it allows us to laugh while giving thanks it's not happening to us.
Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 9:07 am
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this morning to a British and a Japanese researcher who discovered that mature and specialized cells "can be reprogrammed to become immature cells capable of developing into all tissues of the body," according to the Nobel committee.
This year's honorees are John B. Gurdon of the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, England, and Shinya Yamanaka at Kyoto University in Japan. They will share the prize, worth about $1.2 million.
Which brings us to our next story. As Americans try again to heat up the solar industry, let's get an update on the competition. We reported last week on the West Coast solar power company that is trying to succeed where companies like Solyndra famously failed. American companies have struggled because they've been undermined by cheap imports from China. So it is meaningful to note that China's solar power industry is a mess.
We're going to talk about that with Beijing-based economist Patrick Chovanec. Welcome back to the program.
More Syrian mortar fire struck inside Turkey today. That's the sixth consecutive day that Syrian artillery shells have exploded across the border. The Turkish military, once again, responded with artillery fire back into northern Syria. There is a growing international chorus of calls for restraint as this cross-border fires continues, amid fears that Turkey could be dragged into the Syrian conflict. NPR's Peter Kenyon is following the story from Istanbul.