5:11pm

Thu May 9, 2013
The Salt

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops.

And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land.

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5:03pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Gatsby's' Jazz-Age Excess, All Over The Screen

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 10:38 am

A 'Great Gatsby'? Leonardo DiCaprio suits up to play the mysterious, magnetic title character in Baz Luhrmann's exuberantly turbulent film adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel.
Warner Bros. Pictures

If anyone could pull off a multiplex-friendly adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby — a film treatment that might be capable of stepping out of the long shadow cast by the book — it's Baz Luhrmann, right? The Australian director who dragged Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers into the music-video-shaken, bullet-ridden '90s with Romeo + Juliet and compressed a century's worth of pop music and melodrama into the glorious Moulin Rouge?

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5:03pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Movie Reviews

In 'Sightseers,' A Killing Spree Gone South

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 10:17 am

Tina (Alice Lowe) and Chris (Steve Oram) in the sour social comedy Sightseers.
Ben Wheatley IFC Films

Scrub away the gore and the nastier bits of provocation, and Ben Wheatley's Sightseers belongs squarely in the tradition of British classics like Kind Hearts and Coronets and The Ruling Class — satires that transformed simmering class resentment into brittle, nasty dark comedy.

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4:54pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Venus and Serena': Champs Atop Their Game

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 2:02 pm

Serena Williams (left) and her sister Venus Williams in action during their first-round doubles match on Day 2 at Wimbledon in 2010.
Hamish Blair Getty Images via Magnolia Pictures

What's left to know about Venus and Serena Williams? Probably not much that the tennis titans would be willing to share, given how heavily exposed they've been already, and how eager the press has been to wedge the sisters into ready-made narratives about race, celebrity and the daughters of a Svengali.

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4:51pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Movies

At The Movies, A Swirl Of Style And Substance

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

Light It Up: Director Baz Luhrmann (right, with stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan on the set of The Great Gatsby) brought a lush visual sensibility to a tale whose tone not everyone thinks of as epic.
Matt Hart Warner Bros. Pictures

Here's a movie pitch: A celebrated millionaire, known for public extravagance, lives right on the water in a fabulous mansion. He's smooth but reckless, drives like a maniac, has a powerful enemy and — despite a rep as a playboy — has only one girlfriend, who barely registers on-screen.

You're the producer, so whaddya think? Does his story require lavish digital effects, swooping cameras, a rap soundtrack and the full-on 3-D treatment?

If I tell you his name is Tony Stark, otherwise known as Iron Man, probably yes, right?

What if his name is Jay Gatsby?

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4:48pm

Thu May 9, 2013
The Salt

Samoans Await The Return Of The Tasty Turkey Tail

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 12:04 pm

A chef in the kitchen of NPR headquarters prepares turkey tails.
Art Silverman/NPR

This is the tale of turkey tail — it's convoluted arrival, disappearance and highly anticipated return to the Pacific island the Republic of Samoa (not to be confused with American Samoa).

It's hard to pinpoint precisely when turkey tails started being imported into Samoa from the U.S. and when they became a favorite, affordable dish. Meat byproducts (Spam and fatty lamb cuts from New Zealand) started showing up sometime after World War II, and turkey tails came shortly thereafter.

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4:35pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Asia

Pakistani Women Still Struggle For A Voice In Politics

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

One of the few women competing in Pakistan's parliamentary election on Saturday is Naz Baloch, 33, a first-time candidate. She's the daughter of a politician, but is running for a different party than her father.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Flags of the competing political parties whip in the wind of seaside Karachi. But little else is stirring in this city of 18 million this day.

The MQM, a leading political party in the megacity, has shut Karachi down with a general strike in response to a deadly bombing at its election office. But as soon as the strike ends, the streets spring to life as if nothing were amiss.

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4:34pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Politics

Democrats Skeptical Of Republican 'Debt Prioritization' Bill

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 8:48 pm

House Republicans have passed a bill that would tell President Obama which bills to pay first, should the U.S. Treasury run out of cash and risk default, like it almost did two summers ago. The proposal is not likely to move in the Democratic Senate, and the issue itself is fading in urgency as the deficit picture improves.

4:34pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Shots - Health News

How Can Identical Twins Turn Out So Different?

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

But what about their personalities?
iStockphoto.com

A study of genetically identical mice is providing some hints about humans. How can one identical twin be a wallflower while the other is the life of the party?

The study of 40 young mice found that their behavior grew increasingly different over three months, even though the mice shared the same genes and lived in the same five-level cage, researchers report Thursday in the journal Science.

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4:34pm

Thu May 9, 2013
Science

Could You Talk To A Caveman? Scientists Say It's Possible

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 pm

Would Mel Brooks' famous 2,000-Year-Old Man have understood modern language? Researchers say there's a possibility.
ABC/Photofest

In 1961, Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner came up with some basic theories of caveman linguistics in their 2,000-Year-Old Man skit. Most of them had to do with rocks, as in, "What are you doing with that rock there?"

Now, a professor in England has questioned the validity of the famous caveman's rock-centric theories. And Mark Pagel of the University of Reading is reaching even further back, to the time of the 15,000-year-old man.

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