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The Salt
5:39 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:19 am

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaro Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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Fine Art
7:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:00 am

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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Goats and Soda
3:43 am
Fri April 17, 2015

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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Parallels
3:46 am
Thu April 16, 2015

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:05 pm

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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History
3:34 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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Goats and Soda
3:33 am
Wed April 15, 2015

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

As China continues its massive economic growth, especially in cities, the government continues to severely limit people's rights. Is that system sustainable?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 8:11 am

When Henry Paulson first visited Beijing in 1991 as a banker, cars still shared major roads with horses.

"I remember getting into a taxi that drove too fast on a two-lane highway ... [that was] clogged with bicycles and horses pulling carts," says the former secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. "You still saw the hutongs — the old neighborhoods [with narrow streets] — which were very, very colorful and an important part of life."

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Movie Interviews
10:08 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

More Fear Of Human Intelligence Than Artificial Intelligence In 'Ex Machina'

In Ex Machina, the world's first artificial intelligence, played by Alicia Vikander, possesses more emotional intelligence than originally intended.
Courtesy of A24 Films

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 7:45 pm

Unlike most films about artificial intelligence, Ex Machina isn't about technological anxiety. "The anxiety in this film is much more directed at the humans," director Alex Garland tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "It was more in defense of artificial intelligence."

Garland tackled the zombie apocalypse as the writer behind the film 28 Days Later. In Ex Machina — his first film as director — he introduces us to Ava, a creation that is part woman and part machine. There's no hiding that Ava is a machine — but a very, very smart one.

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:38 am

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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Author Interviews
7:28 am
Mon April 13, 2015

In 'Distant Marvels,' A Witness To Revolutions Tells Cuba's Story

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:01 am

It's 1963 Cuba and a woman named Maria Sirena is taking shelter from a hurricane inside the former governor's mansion, along with a small group of other Cuban women. Maria distracts the women at their request by recounting stories of her childhood — personal stories that trace the history of Cuba's long fight for independence.

That's the premise of Chantel Acevedo's latest novel, The Distant Marvels. Acevedo, herself the daughter of Cuban immigrants, tells NPR's Rachel Martin that she intentionally made Maria part of a unique generation in Cuba.

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Author Interviews
10:40 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

A Dark, Funny — And Vietnamese — Look At The Vietnam War

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

The Captain, a Communist sympathizer who's risen through the ranks of the South Vietnamese Army, has a confession:

I am a spy, a sleeper, a spook, a man of two faces. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am also a man of two minds. I am not some misunderstood mutant from a comic book or a horror movie, although some have treated me as such. I am simply able to see any issue from both sides.

So begins Viet Thanh Nguyen's new novel, The Sympathizer.

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