The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.
E.L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey series has now sold more than 100 million copies worldwide, Vintage Books announced on Wednesday. The erotica series, which began as Twilight fanfiction, features shy Anastasia Steele, her handcuff-happy lover, businessman Christian Grey, and Anastasia's "inner goddess," who is prone to impromptu Latin dancing. About 45 million of the copies have been sold in the U.S.
On the NPR Newscast: Peter Kenyon reports from Kiev
We're adding updates throughout this post as the day continues.
Tensions continue to rise in Ukraine, where months of public protests led last week to the downfall of President Viktor Yanukovych's government. His opponents are now installing pro-Western ministers to replace the pro-Russian leaders who worked for Yanukovych. The interim government is expected to be in charge at least until new elections can be held, perhaps in late May.
Good morning. I'm David Greene with a wild story of adventure and escape. OK, not that wild. Mundu, two year old koala, went missing from his exhibit at the San Diego Zoo on Tuesday. Not to worry, he's been found. He escaped his enclosure and fell asleep, spending the day in a tree nearby. Zookeepers lured him back with eucalyptus.
Good morning, I'm David Greene. Team USA hockey player David Backes did not bring home gold this year. But he did bring home two stray dogs from Sochi. The stray animal population in the Russian resort town received a good bit of attention during the games, and Backes hopes these animals will help raise awareness. The dogs will be monitored in an animal shelter for 30 days, where one caretaker says they'll be getting them ready for adoption, and also teaching them English.
The saga over the darling of the condiment world, Sriracha, continues.
The popular hot sauce in the rooster bottle is made by Huy Fong Foods in the Los Angeles suburb of Irwindale. The city has had to balance its need for business success against complaints from some residents about spicy fumes from the plant.
Wednesday night, after a contentious hearing, Irwindale's city council decided to give Huy Fong a bit more time to figure out how to contain those fumes.
Born in a tiny pueblo south of Madrid, Esperanza Puente arrived in the Spanish capital fresh out of high school. It was the late 1980s, and Spain was reveling in newfound freedoms after its military dictator Francisco Franco died and democracy took hold.
"The end of the 1980s was a wild time in Madrid â alcohol, drugs, nightlife, sex without commitment. When I arrived from a small village, I ate it up, like it was the end of the world!" recalls Puente, now 43, smiling. "But I ended up pregnant, and my boyfriend suddenly didn't want anything to do with me."
More than the roar of the MGM lion, more than the 20th Century Fox fanfare, the iconic sound of moviemaking is the sharp clap of a slate â although film folks have a language of their own to describe it.
"Miki's hitting the sticks on this one," says assistant cameraman Larry Nielsen, pointing to his assistant.
Jeane Tomas scraped all her money together to build a house where she could raise her son. She'd been renting in the favela, or shanty town, of Vila Harmonia and wanted to put down roots in the community where she lived when her child was born.
The house went up â only to quickly come down.
"There is this frustration to have worked so hard, dreamed so much to leave everything behind," she said.
Now that the Winter Olympics in Sochi are over attention will be turning to Brazil, the host of the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:58 pm
For something that's become so ubiquitous in our lives, the World Wide Web is just a youngster. It was only 25 years ago that Tim Berners-Lee first created a rudimentary information retrieval system that relied on the Internet. It's since exploded into a primary means by which we learn, work and connect. (To put things in perspective, the film Die Hard is older than the World Wide Web.)
Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 12:24 pm
Are you streaming music right now? If you're in America's Pacific region, there's a much better chance you're nodding along with Cat Power rather than grooving to Fantasia, which you'd be more likely to be doing if you were across the country in the South Atlantic. Those observations come from a map titled "Regionalisms in U.S. Listening Preferences."
Originally published on Wed February 26, 2014 5:31 pm
Can drones, the small unmanned aircraft that are at the forefront of fields from warfare to commercial delivery systems, fly without human intervention? A team of Hungarian researchers answers yes, having created 10 drones that self-organize as they move through the air.
The team based its creation on birds such as pigeons, which fly in tight bunches while making adjustments and decisions. They fitted quadcopters â drones with four rotors â with GPS, processors and radios that allow them to navigate in formation or while following a leader.
California is getting some much needed rain this week, but more than two-thirds of the state is still in extreme drought conditions, and that has the state thinking about alternative ways of getting water.
On the coast in Carlsbad, Calif., construction workers are building what will be the largest seawater desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. When finished in early 2016, it is expected to provide up to 50 million gallons of fresh drinkable water every day.
The plastic additive has been vilified by environmental advocacy groups. But the chemical had no effect on rats fed thousands of times the amount a typical person ingests, government scientists are reporting in the journal Toxicological Sciences.
Paco de Lucia, considered by his fans and critics to be the world's greatest flamenco guitarist, died Wednesday in Mexico of a heart attack. The 66-year-old musician was a modern superstar in a Roma, or Gypsy, tradition that is hundreds of years old.
The escalating political crisis in Venezuela has set off alarms in Washington. But there's little the U.S. has been able to do, aside from criticize the jailing of opposition figures or the rising death toll as protesters continue to take to the streets, blaming the government for high inflation and crime.
When you hear the word outsourcing, you might think of threats to American jobs. To cyber experts, there's another threat: to our data.
This week, thousands of the industry's leading minds from around the world are discussing the Internet and security at their annual powwow in San Francisco, the RSA Conference. These topics matter more and more to us non-experts, especially as people become the victims of cybercrime.
Spanish flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia died suddenly of a heart attack today in Cancun, Mexico, while on the beach with his children.
The 66-year-old guitarist vastly expanded the international audience for flamenco music and helped to legitimize flamenco in Spain itself, during a time when the music was largely being ignored by mainstream popularity.