Arts

TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Should We Be Afraid Of Death?

"Because we've got these massive brains, we can generalize and abstract and so we can worry about things that aren't even right in front of us." — Stephen Cave
courtesy of TEDxBratislava

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode What We Fear.

About Stephen Cave's TEDTalk

Philosopher Stephen Cave delves into the simple question: Why are human beings afraid to die?

About Stephen Cave

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri May 23, 2014

What's The Difference Between Rational and Irrational Fears?

"I think fear is itself a kind of subconscious form of storytelling ... it has the same architecture, a beginning, a middle and an end, and the end is bad." — Karen Thompson Walker
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode What We Fear.

About Karen Thompson Walker's TEDTalk

Through the story of the whale ship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker describes how our most vivid fears are often not the most realistic.

About Karen Thompson Walker

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TED Radio Hour
8:10 am
Fri May 23, 2014

How Do You Deal With Fear Versus Danger?

"The scairest thing I've done is ride a rocket ship to space" — Chris Hadfield
James Duncan Davidson TED

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode What We Fear.

About Chris Hadfield's TEDTalk

Astronaut and retired colonel Chris Hadfield discusses how to prepare your mind for the unexpected, and the worst.

About Chris Hadfield

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Monkey See
7:31 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 'Godzilla' And Things That Got Better

NPR
  • Listen to Pop Culture Happy Hour

First of all: LIVE SHOW TICKETS! (On sale June 2 — that's a week from this coming Monday — at noon Eastern.)

Just wanted to put that up there; we'll get back to it.

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The Two-Way
6:39 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Book News: NASA Has Free E-Book On Decoding Extraterrestrial Messages

Phone Home? NASA wants us to be ready to understand messages from potentially "a species that is radically Other."
Neilson Barnard Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 2:43 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Code Switch
5:03 am
Fri May 23, 2014

'Unmosqued' Examines Muslim Variant Of Unchurched Youth

Zain Lodhia plays an original song at a Mawlid, a birthday celebration for the Prophet Muhammad. The event was sponsored by the Webb Foundation, a so-called "Third Space" Muslim faith community outside the traditional mosque.
Monique Parsons NPR

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:00 am

There's a new film screening on American college campuses this spring that's sparking lively debate among Muslim students. Unmosqued depicts a younger generation of American Muslims drifting away from Islam, and it argues that mosques bear the blame.

Recently several hundred people gathered at the Webb Foundation to celebrate Mawlid, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The foundation is named after an early American convert to Islam. There's no dome, minaret or even a building. It's known for service projects, good Sunday schools and father-daughter camping trips.

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Fine Art
1:57 am
Fri May 23, 2014

Impressionists With Benefits? The Painting Partnership Of Degas And Cassatt

In a letter, Mary Cassatt describes working on Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1878) with Edward Degas. An X-ray of the painting reveals brush strokes unlike Cassatt's regular strokes.
National Gallery of Art

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:50 am

In her novel I Always Loved You, author Robin Oliveira imagines a passionate scene between Edgar Degas — a French artist known for his paintings of dancers — and Mary Cassatt — an American painter known for her scenes of family life. The kiss in the novel is pure fiction, but then again, "nobody knows what goes on in their neighbor's house, let alone what happened between two artists 130 years ago," Oliveira says.

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Photography And Memory
4:18 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Overexposed? Camera Phones Could Be Washing Out Our Memories

Rebecca Woolf takes a lot of photos of her children for her blog, Girl's Gone Child, but says she tries to not let the camera get in the middle of a moment.
Courtesy of Rebecca Woolf

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 11:58 am

Los Angeles blogger Rebecca Woolf uses her blog, Girl's Gone Child, as a window into her family's life. Naturally, it includes oodles of pictures of her four children.

She says she's probably taken tens of thousands of photos since her oldest child was born. And she remembers the moment when it suddenly clicked — if you will — that she was too absorbed in digital documentation.

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Movies
4:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Love Blooms In Midlife, But Halfheartedly

Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche do their best in the watery Words And Pictures.
Doane Gregory Roadside Attractions

No fewer than three comedies about finding love in midlife open this week, all of them shiny with major stars. Is it time to stop whining about the dearth of romantic comedy for mature audiences? Only if you prefer quantity to quality.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

The 'Angriest' Robin Williams Sadly Becomes The Inspirational One

Robin Williams thinks he's living on borrowed time in The Angriest Man In Brooklyn.
Jojo Whilden Lionsgate

The last time Robin Williams had a leading role in a film was in 2009, a year when, apart from the Razzie-nominated Old Dogs, he starred in the World's Greatest Dad. Bobcat Goldthwait's film, about a dad who finds his son dead in the bathroom and turns him into a posthumous celebrity by writing him a moving fake suicide note and online diary, turned an innocuous plot into delightfully dark satire.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Dizzy From Time Travel, Overstuffed With Mutants

You're looking pensive, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). And maybe full of ... holes?
Alan Markfield Twentieth Century Fox

As the seventh X-Men movie begins, New York City is in ruins, its residents nearly annihilated. Yet X-Men: Days of Future Past's true plight is overpopulation. The film is so stuffed with characters that including twin versions of Professor X and Magneto scarcely boosts the confusion.

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Movie Reviews
4:03 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

A 'Cold' Thriller Of Fathers, Sons And Facial Hair

Sam Shepard (Russell), Michael C. Hall (Richard Dane), and Don Johnson (Jim Bob) find themselves unexpectedly working together in Cold In July.
IFC Films

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 8:45 am

The mustache and mullet make the man. Or so the man hopes.

In Jim Mickle's Cold in July, Richard Dane (Michael C. Hall) is a small town Texas entrepreneur in 1989, his days spent running a little frame shop on the main strip in town, evenings at home with his wife and slightly annoying little boy. This is a time and place where men are expected to be men, and if you're lacking in the rugged masculinity department, some creative hairstyling and some wispy lip fuzz may be your attempt at a solution. If that fails, having a gun in the bedside drawer can't hurt either.

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Movie Interviews
3:34 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

For Actor Michael C. Hall, 'Cold In July' Is A Departure (Of Sorts)

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 12:48 pm

Michael C. Hall is most famous for playing a serial killer on the television show Dexter. In his new movie, Cold in July, he plays an ordinary guy whose life changes after one accidental act of violence. Audie Cornish talks to actor Hall about the making of a violent man.

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Book Reviews
3:26 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

In Cunningham's Latest, Powerful Language Makes Up For Weak Plot

Author Michael Cunningham

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 5:46 pm

Michael Cunningham is known for his lyric and evocative language, and his sixth novel, The Snow Queen, is no exception, though the novel's plot leaves something to be desired. The setting is Bushwick, Brooklyn. It's November, 2004, and the neighborhood, though lightly gentrifying, is still a no-man's-land of desolate streets, industrial warehouses, and lopsided apartments. Two brothers, Barrett and Tyler Meeks, along with Tyler's fiancee, Beth, are living their lives the best they can in a two-bedroom on Knickerbocker Avenue.

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Book Reviews
2:54 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

A Second Posthumous Collection From Rock Critic Ellen Willis

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Ellen Willis was the first rock critic for The New Yorker is. She was also a radical feminist writer and activist. Her work appeared in the Village Voice, where she was a columnist, as well as in Rolling Stone and The Nation.

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Games & Humor
12:25 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Does Smuggling A Cow Into School Make You A Creative Genius?

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Finally today, let's take a minute to congratulate our graduating seniors. But according to our next guest, we might want to take another minute to congratulate the senior pranksters. They've been busy this year already. Students in Chandler, Ariz., managed to park several cars in the school's main hallway. This week, high school students in Northborough, Mass., brought a goat and a chicken into school in the middle of the night.

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Code Switch
12:01 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Remembering Sam Greenlee Through His Most Famous Book

Sam Greenlee during Los Angeles Film Festival - Blaxploitation Misnomer and Misunderstood at Director's Guild of America Atrium in Los Angeles in 2004.
John Heller WireImage/Getty Images

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The Two-Way
9:53 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Norman Rockwell Painting 'The Rookie' Sells For $22.5 Million

Norman Rockwell's The Rookie, seen here on display in 2005, sold at auction for $22.5 million Thursday.
Chitose Suzuki AP

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 1:27 pm

Norman Rockwell's The Rookie has sold for $22.5 million at auction Thursday. The 1957 painting of baseball players in a locker room was sold by Christie's auction house — heady heights for a work that first appeared on a magazine that sold for 15 cents.

Update at 12:50 p.m. The Final Price

While the "hammer price" of the Rockwell painting was $20 million, Christie's says the painting's final price is $22,565,000, reflecting a buyer's premium. We've updated this post to reflect the auction house's final calculation.

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The Two-Way
6:33 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Book News: Sam Greenlee, Author Of 'The Spook Who Sat By The Door,' Dies

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:44 pm

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Thu May 22, 2014

'Girl In The Road' Is A Dizzying Journey

Can you write about the future these days without it being apocalyptic? It's not clear whether Monica Byrne was trying to answer that question in her debut novel, The Girl in the Road — but she does it anyway. Taking place near the end of the 21st century in India and Africa — as well as on a high-tech bridge that spans the Indian Ocean between the two — the book isn't short on misery, tragedy or violence. It certainly isn't optimistic. At the same time, it gracefully dodges the apocalypse-mongering that's become all but de rigueur in near-future science fiction.

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Books
6:03 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Full Of Warmth And Wisdom, 'Vacationers' Is A Frothy Beach Read

cover detail
Riverhead Books

Meet the Posts — no relation to Emily and her rules of etiquette. The stressed family of New Yorkers in Emma Straub's breezy summer read, The Vacationers, are the kind of people who pack their troubles on top, for easiest access, when they head off on a trip together.

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Movie Reviews
4:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

'Foxcatcher' A Standout At Cannes Film Festival

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 8:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Let's check in now with film critic Kenneth Turan. He's on the line from the south of France to talk about some of the standouts at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Good morning.

KENNETH TURAN, BYLINE: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So I gather, Ken, that one movie debuting at Cannes is already getting Oscar buzz.

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Politics
3:52 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

40 Years After Watergate, A Look Back At Nixon's Downfall

Washington Journal

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 12:43 pm

Forty years ago, in mid-May 1974, Elizabeth Drew, the Washington correspondent for The New Yorker, wrote this in her journal: "Rumors went around the Capitol today that the President was resigning."

The Capitol, she observed was "noisy and edgy .. and in the hothouse atmosphere, the rumors burst into full bloom."

By August 1974 the president in question, Richard Nixon, would resign rather than face a Senate impeachment trial.

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Photography And Memory
3:35 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Take Photos To Remember Your Experiences? Think Again

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 11:57 am

Kicking off a series that explores the relationship between human memory and photography in the age of smartphone cameras, Audie Cornish talks to psychologist Linda Henkel about whether photographs impair our memory.

"As soon as you hit click on that camera, it's as if you've outsourced your memory," Henkel says. "Anytime we kind of count on these external memory devices, we're taking away from the kind of mental cognitive processing that might help us actually remember that stuff on our own."

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Author Interviews
3:20 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

How The Koch Brothers Remade America's Political Landscape

David Koch is one-half of politically and economically powerful duo known as the Koch brothers. He and his brother, Charles, are tied in sixth place on the list of the wealthiest men on the planet.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 4:08 pm

Brothers Charles and David Koch are the subject of the new book Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful and Private Dynasty. The author, Daniel Schulman, describes the Kochs as having pumped hundreds of millions into remaking the American political landscape, trying to bring their libertarian views into the mainstream.

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Movies
3:10 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Hits And Misses From Cannes Film Festival

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 8:21 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The French Riviera is once again flooded with celebrities, photographers and fans. The annual Cannes Film Festival is underway, an event known for its international flavor and glamour and the festival's opening film this year "Grace of Monaco" has both of those in spades. It's about the life of Hollywood star Grace Kelly and her difficult transition from actress to princess.

(SOUNDBITE FROM FILM "GRACE OF MONACO")

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All Tech Considered
2:05 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

A Camera Designed To Take And Send GIFs (Bring Your Own Cat)

The OTTO will sell for $199.
Courtesy of Next Thing Co.

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Book Reviews
1:25 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

'Chameleon' Has Cabaret, Spies And A Plot Fit For Lifetime

German troops march towards Paris' Arc de Triomphe in 1943.
Keystone Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 3:20 pm

Even the most restrained plot summary of Francine Prose's latest novel sounds like a teaser for a late night Lifetime TV movie. Here goes: In the Paris of the late 1920s, a butch lesbian race car driver named Lou Villars has her license revoked by the French government for daring to dress as a man in public. Lou goes on to become a performer in a risque review at the Chameleon Club, a smoky nightclub where threadbare artists and thrill-seeking aristocrats mingle in the half-light.

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Monkey See
1:14 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

'Batman V Superman': A Legal Thriller (We Hope)

Henry Cavill played Superman in Man Of Steel and will return to go to court with Batman (we hope) next year.
Clay Enos Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Wed May 21, 2014 1:52 pm

We learned today that the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel will be called Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

This is interesting for several reasons. First of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like a dirty movie about sheriffs. Second of all, "Dawn Of Justice" sounds like it precedes the Morning Of Reckoning, the Afternoon Of Relief, the Dusk Of Regret, the Evening Of Resignation, and the Hot Muggy Midnight Of History Repeating Itself, all leading up to Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice: The Next Day.

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The Salt
12:39 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

On The Trail Of Durian, Southeast Asia's 'Crème Brûlée On A Tree'

The inside of the Graveolens, a variety of durian that grows in the southernmost parts of Thailand, is sticky and cheese-like.
Courtesy of Lindsay Gasik

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 6:13 pm

What if a single taste of one fruit — in this case, the durian — changed the course of your entire life?

That's what happened to Lindsay Gasik and Rob Culclasure, a young couple who visited an Asian grocery store in Eugene, Ore., in 2009 in search of the football-sized fruit with thick, spiky skin. They were curious to try it after hearing that the durian's pungent smell and custard-like flesh had the power to drive people delirious with craving.

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