Arts & Life

Monkey See
11:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

'Idol' Takes A Hugely Unexpected Step Toward Being Much Less Terrible

Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick, Jr. appear on a surprisingly non-terrible American Idol opener on Wednesday night.
Michael Becker Fox

It's just me now, I thought this morning. All alone. I could almost hear the desert wind. I could almost see the tumbleweeds.

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The Picture Show
11:04 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Before Drone Cameras: Kite Cameras!

Lawrence with the 49-pound "Captive Airship."
Courtesy of the Lawrence Family

These days, getting an aerial shot is as simple (although maybe illegal) as strapping a camera to a drone. Back in the day, though, it wasn't so easy.

George R. Lawrence, a commercial photographer at the turn of the last century, was known to tinker. (His Chicago studio advertised "The hitherto impossible in photography is our specialty.") He was often hired to photograph conventions and banquet halls with a specialized panoramic camera he had built himself. In 1901, he had a loftier idea: to lift his panoramic camera off the ground. And not just a few feet — but hundreds.

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The Two-Way
10:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

VIDEO: Springsteen, Fallon Do 'Gov. Christie Traffic Jam'

Bruce Springsteen (left) and Jimmy Fallon doing their "Gov. Christie Traffic Jam."
Late Night With Jimmy Fallon blog

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 1:39 pm

Being stuck in a horrendous traffic jam is no joke.

Nor is having your potential presidential prospects possibly put into jeopardy by a scandal involving your top aides.

But we do have to say that NBC-TV's Jimmy Fallon has come through yet again with another should-see music video that adds some laughs to the news.

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The Salt
10:51 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

The U.K. has plenty of fresh produce available, such as these vegetables on display at a garden show in Southport, England. But these healthy options cost more in the U.K. than in any other country in Western Europe.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 4:03 pm

The Dutch are known for their lax drug laws, tall statures and proficient language skills.

Perhaps we should add stellar eating habits to that list, as well.

The Netherlands ranked as the easiest country in the world in which to find a balanced, nutritious diet, the advocacy group Oxfam reported Tuesday.

France and Switzerland shared the second slot. And Western Europe nearly swept the top 20 positions, with Australia just edging into a tie for 8th.

Where did the U.S. land?

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Wordless News
10:46 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Wordless News: Robot Goooooooooooooal!

Maria Fabrizio

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:52 pm

  • Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Every day, illustrator Maria Fabrizio posts a news-inspired image on her Wordless News blog. This week, all of her pictures will be inspired by stories she hears on Morning Edition.

Today, Joe Palca's story caught her ear: It's about a computer scientist who is developing robots that can play soccer.

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The Salt
9:55 am
Wed January 15, 2014

New Nordic Food Gods Loosen Up On Strictly Local Cuisine

The Nordic Food Lab in Copenhagen is where chefs and social scientists explore the raw materials and flavors of Scandinavia.
Courtesy of the Nordic Food Lab

This story begins with a lemon. It appeared not long ago on a houseboat-cum-food lab docked outside Scandinavia's temple of local food, the restaurant noma, in Copenhagen.

"Isn't that, like, the forbidden fruit?," I ask. "Are you allowed to have a lemon here?"

"I don't know why that's sitting there," says Ben Reade, the lab's head of culinary research and development, looking perplexed.

An anthropologist, Mark Emil Tholstrup Hermansen, pipes in, "We have an Italian on the boat."

Reade concurs: "He needs a lemon every so often for staff food."

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The Two-Way
8:29 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Strike Up The Band! Minnesota Orchestra Lockout Ends

After more than 15 months, the bitter labor battle between the Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management has ended. Whether the orchestra's music director Osmo Vänskä (pictured here) will return, after resigning in October, remains to be seen.
Greg Helgeson Minnesota Orchestra

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:39 pm

"The 15-month lockout at the Minnesota Orchestra ended Tuesday after management and musicians announced an agreement," Minnesota Public Radio writes.

"Musicians will return to work on Feb. 1," the network adds. They had been locked out since October 2012.

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Wed January 15, 2014

Book News: Argentine Poet Juan Gelman Dies At 83

Argentine poet Juan Gelman is pictured at a news conference in March 2012.
Pablo Porciuncula AFP/Getty Images

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

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Movie Reviews
6:02 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Love And Struggle In The Shadow Of The Third Reich

The sprawling drama Generation War follows a range of characters — a Nazi officer and his brother, a nurse, an aspiring singer and her Jewish boyfriend — through Germany during World War II.
Music Box Films

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 10:08 am

Knee-deep already in collective scrutiny of its painful World War II history, Germany wades in up to its own neck with a viscerally unsparing drama — originally a TV miniseries — set to screen in two parts in selected U.S. theaters.

Generation War tracks five jaunty young childhood friends as they prepare to scatter from a Berlin bar in 1941 to do their bit for the Thousand Year Reich. With Kristallnacht fresh in memory and Stalingrad looming, you'd think even these frisky young things might know better than to expect to reunite unscathed for Christmas.

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Arts & Life
4:48 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Blogger Reveals Cracks In Codes Onscreen

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Computer programmer John Graham-Cumming began the blog, "Source Code in TV and Films," several weeks ago. The blog points out the frequent misuse of computer code in shows and movies.

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