NPR Staff



Sat November 29, 2014
Movie Interviews

In 'Imitation Game,' An Outsider Takes Center Stage

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 6:29 pm

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as British mathematician and scientist Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; Charles Dance plays Commander Denniston. Director Morten Tyldum says the movie is set up like a mystery — "like a puzzle you're piecing together."
Jack English Black Bear Pictures

The new film The Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing — the eccentric, socially awkward British mathematician who led the effort to break the Nazi's secret Enigma code.

In part, it's a movie about a great intellectual achievement, instrumental to winning World War II — but the film also traces the bullying Turing faced as a child, and the trials he endured as a gay man in Britain at a time when homosexuality was a crime.

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Sat November 29, 2014

Jesus Started A Chain Letter — And Other Hoaxes

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 2:26 pm

Published in London around 1795, this "copy" of a letter from Jesus in heaven was the imagined correspondence between Jesus and King Abgar of Edessa.
Sheridan Libraries JHU

William Shakespeare wrote in the margins of his books. Noah washed up in Vienna after the flood. Jesus sent a letter back to Earth after his ascension to heaven.

Did you miss those artifacts of history?

Of course you did. They're all frauds, concocted to convince the unsuspecting — and often they did.

These frauds are part of a new exhibit, "Fakes, Lies and Forgeries," at the George Peabody Library in Baltimore.

Curator Earle Havens says the exhibit is timely — these days, the media presents us with fakes and lies all the time.

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Sat November 29, 2014
The Salt

Chicken Confidential: How This Bird Came To Rule The Cultural Roost

Originally published on Sat November 29, 2014 12:05 pm

Free-range chickens stand in a pen at an organic-accredited poultry farm in Germany.
Joern Pollex Getty Images

If you looked at Earth from far off in the solar system, would it look like it's run by humans — or chickens? There are about three times as many chickens as people on this planet. And while horses and dogs are often celebrated as humankind's partner in spreading civilization, a new book argues it's really the chicken.

Andrew Lawler, author of Why Did the Chicken Cross the World?, tells NPR's Scott Simon about the chicken's malleability, its religious symbolism and the most disturbing thing he learned while researching his book.

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Fri November 28, 2014
The Salt

From Humble Salt To Fancy Freezing: How To Up Your Cocktail Game

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 2:36 pm

Smoke and mirrors: Dave Arnold plays around with liquid nitrogen in a cocktail glass during his interview with NPR's Ari Shapiro.
Claire Eggers NPR

Dave Arnold can work some serious magic with a cocktail shaker. But he's no alchemist — Arnold, who runs the Manhattan bar Booker and Dax, takes a very scientific approach to his craft.

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Wed November 26, 2014
The Salt

The Native American Side Of The Thanksgiving Menu

Renee Comet Photography Restaurant Associates and Smithsonian Institution

A version of this story was originally published on Nov. 21, 2012.

Everyone knows the schoolhouse version of the first Thanksgiving story: New England pilgrims came together with Native Americans to share a meal after the harvest. The original menu was something of a joint venture, but over the years, a lot of the traditional dishes have lost their native flavor.

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Wed November 26, 2014
The Salt

Gluten-Free? Vegan? Thanksgiving Recipes For Alternative Diets

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 12:05 pm

Baked Squash Kibbeh: Middle-Eastern kibbeh is a finely ground combination of beef or lamb, bulgur and onions either formed into balls and deep-fried or pressed into a pan and baked. For a vegetarian version of this flavorful dish, why not pair butternut squash with the warm spices?
Steve Klise Courtesy of America's Test Kitchen

It's like the start of a bad joke: a vegan, a gluten-free and a paleo walk into a bar — except it's your house, and they're gathered around your Thanksgiving table.

More and more Americans are passing on gluten — some for medical reasons, most by choice. Others are adopting diets that exclude meat, or insisting on the kinds of unprocessed foods that early man would have hunted and gathered.

All of this is a challenge to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

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Tue November 25, 2014
Author Interviews

Box Of Love Letters Reveals Grandfather Didn't Escape WWII With 'Everyone'

Originally published on Tue November 25, 2014 6:31 pm

cover crop

Karl Wildman was the hero of his family — he escaped Vienna at the start of World War II and became a successful doctor in the United States. When Karl died, his granddaughter Sarah Wildman found a hidden trove of love letters from a woman Karl left behind in Vienna.

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Mon November 24, 2014
Author Interviews

Pope Francis As Reformer, Evangelizer — And Doctrinal Conservative

Originally published on Mon December 1, 2014 11:32 am

Henry Holt and Co.

In the short time since Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, he has made headlines around the world — both for his new, seemingly more humble approach to the papacy, and for comments on social issues that surprised many.

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Sun November 23, 2014

'Getting On' Star Niecy Nash: 'I Never Wanted To Be Funny'

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 1:51 pm

Niecy Nash (right) plays DiDi, a nurse at an extended care facility, in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name. Betty Buckley plays one of her patients.
Lacey Terrell HBO


Sun November 23, 2014
My Big Break

After Injury, Tony Little Told Himself: 'You Can Do It!'

Originally published on Mon November 24, 2014 3:31 pm

Tony Little calls himself America's Personal Trainer. He was first inspired to produce workout videos after an injury left him largely homebound, and he saw Jane Fonda's exercise program on TV.
Courtesy of Tony Little

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

You probably recognize him as the energized muscle man with the ponytail selling his exercise machine, The Gazelle, on late-night infomercials: Tony Little, also known as America's Personal Trainer.

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