Fri January 18, 2013
NPR Story

Edward Tufte Wants You to See Better

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 1:03 pm



This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. Up next: the man who wrote the book - well, the books, rather - on data visualization. He was doing infographics before everybody was doing infographics. Back in the '80s, data scientist Edward Tufte remortgaged his house so he could start a company and self-publish his first book, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information." Sound like a snoozer? Well, that book, along with his others on the same topic, have sold more than a million-and-a-half copies.

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Fri January 18, 2013

Lance Armstrong, Tragic Hero? Not Exactly

Lance Armstrong admits to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs. The first part of the interview aired Thursday night.
Getty Images

Annalisa Quinn is a freelance writer for NPR Books.

Lance Armstrong, in the interview Thursday night with Oprah Winfrey in which he admitted to doping, understood the role that storytelling played in his fall: "You win the Tour de France seven times, you have a happy marriage, you have children. It's just this mythic, perfect story. And it wasn't true."

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Fri January 18, 2013
The Salt

Mixed Pickle: The Sweet And Sour Legacy Of Dutch Trade

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 8:36 am

Pickles and herring, Amsterdam-style.

In Amsterdam, a popular street snack of brined herring comes with chopped onions and a side of sour pickle. The history of Dutch trade, too, is buried under those onions.

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Fri January 18, 2013
Author Interviews

The Inquisition: A Model For Modern Interrogators

Originally published on Mon January 28, 2013 1:41 pm

An illustration shows heretics being tortured and nailed to wooden posts during the first Inquisition.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 23, 2012.

The individuals who participated in the first Inquisition 800 years ago kept detailed records of their activities. Vast archival collections at the Vatican, in France and in Spain contain accounts of torture victims' cries, descriptions of funeral pyres and even meticulous financial records about the price of torture equipment.

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Fri January 18, 2013
From The NPR Bookshelves

Brush Up For The Inauguration With Books By And About The Obamas

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade on Jan. 20, 2009 in Washington, D.C.
Ron Sachs-Pool Getty Images

As the nation gears up for the second inauguration of President Obama, NPR Books dove into the archives to find some of our favorite interviews with biographers of the first family. Here, you'll find profiles of the president's mother and father, an exploration of Michelle Obama's ancestral roots, and a portrait of the president and first lady's relationship. You'll also find books written by the Obamas themselves.

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Fri January 18, 2013
Arts & Life

In A Fragmented Cultureverse, Can Pop References Still Pop?

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 9:11 am

At Tyler Perry's live performances, his gospel-tinged references aren't meant for everyone in the audience.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

On a recent episode of Saturday Night Live when the comedian Louis C.K. played host, one skit parodied his eponymous show on F/X. It riffed on the theme song and the discursive style of his comedy.

But here's the thing: Fewer than 2 million people watch Louie. About 7 million watch Saturday Night Live. That means even optimistically, at least two-thirds of the audience is missing the joke.

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Thu January 17, 2013
Movie Reviews

'LUV': An Ex-Con Hero With Feet Of Clay

In LUV, Woody (Michael Rainey Jr.) spends a single day tagging along with his ex-convict uncle, Vincent (Common) — long enough for a lifetime's worth of lessons.
Indomina Releasing

Few films trying to capture a child's experience of an adult world manage to nail the details. In real life, kids aren't typically the precocious sorts espousing wisdom beyond their years — kids fidget, they ask questions, they get scared. They act like kids.

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Thu January 17, 2013
Movie Reviews

Arnold's Lackadaisical 'Last Stand'

Originally published on Thu January 17, 2013 6:06 pm

Sheriff Ray Owens (Arnold Schwarzenegger) faces off with vicious drug smugglers in The Last Stand.
Merrick Morton Lionsgate

He has repeated the catchphrase over and over again, though he really had to say it only once: No one ever doubted for a minute that Arnold Schwarzenegger wouldn't be back.

How you feel about the hit-or-miss neo-spaghetti-Western The Last Stand may depend on how much you really missed Schwarzenegger while he was taking time off from acting to serve two terms as governor of California.

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Thu January 17, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Mama' Knows Best — But She's The Worst

When Lucas (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Annabel (Jessica Chastain) welcome his orphaned nieces (Isabelle Nelisse, left, and Megan Charpentier) into their home, they also inadvertently welcome one particularly malevolent spirit.
Universal Pictures

If the movies have taught us anything, it's that when you're lost in the wilderness, an abandoned cabin in the woods may not be the life-sustaining shelter it seems.

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Thu January 17, 2013
Movie Reviews

'Broken City,' Broken Movie: An Undernourished Noir

In a corrupt New York, private detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) tries to straighten out the city as he straightens out his own life.
Barry Wetcher Twentieth Century Fox

As an investigation into American municipal corruption, Broken City is, well, damaged. But as an opportunity for hard-boiled types to trade threats, blows and caustic banter, this modern-day noir works reasonably well.

The story begins in a New York housing project, where scruffy undercover cop Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) has just dispatched a felon. The victim had it coming, it seems, but that doesn't mean the shooting is strictly legit.

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