Arts

12:45pm

Wed August 12, 2015
The Salt

Dining Like Darwin: When Scientists Swallow Their Subjects

Originally published on Fri August 14, 2015 10:40 am

Scientists who eat the plants and animals they study are following in the tradition of Charles Darwin. During the voyage of The Beagle, he ate puma ("remarkably like veal in taste"), iguanas, giant tortoises, armadillos. He even accidentally ate part of a bird called a lesser rhea, after spending months trying to catch it so that he could describe the species.
Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Scientists are a driven bunch, dedicated and passionate about understanding the inner workings of the world. You must be focused, willing to work strange hours in every kind of weather. Willing to go beyond the known and be constantly inspired by your curiosity.

It takes guts to be a scientist. And a strong stomach doesn't hurt, either.

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10:03am

Wed August 12, 2015
Book Reviews

Queen Of The Desert Gertrude Bell, In Her Own Words

Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 10:23 am

Courtesy of Penguin Classics

"I cannot feel exiled here; it is a second native country."

Every biography carries dual burdens. One is to represent the life of the subject in the time they lived — how they operated within their own system — as honestly as possible. (That last bit's a real stinger; it's one of the reasons you should never trust a biopic of anyone who's still alive.) The other duty, which often comes in retrospect, is as a point of reference in its subject's legacy, which might be trickier still.

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7:03am

Wed August 12, 2015
The Salt

Unfolding The History Of Napkin Art

Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 12:57 pm

In 16th century Italy, the nobility began decorating their tables with "triumphs" made entirely from folded napkins. The art form had pretty much died out by the time artist Joan Sallas began studying centuries-old illustrations and taught himself how to re-create them. Photo from The Beauty of the Fold: A Conversation With Joan Sallas.
Courtesy of Charlotte Birnbaum/Sternberg Press

Napkins today are mundane and practical, made from paper or cheap factory cloth and folded, if at all, hastily into a rectangle. In the past, napkins weren't just for wiping hands or protecting clothing — they were works of art.

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7:03am

Wed August 12, 2015
Book Reviews

Pizza As Autobiography In 'Slice Harvester'

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 7:09 pm

Pizza is a lot of things to a lot of people. Mostly, though, it's just food. Colin Atrophy Hagendorf is keenly aware of both sides of this not-quite-burning issue in his debut book, Slice Harvester. Subtitled "A Memoir in Pizza," it chronicles a two-year period in Hagendorf's life, from 2009 to 2011, when the 20-something burrito deliveryman wrote a blog called Slice Harvester, in which he reviewed a plain slice of pizza from every pizzeria in Manhattan. Hundreds of them.

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4:42pm

Tue August 11, 2015
Parallels

A Picasso, A Yacht And A Dollop Of International Intrigue

Originally published on Wed August 12, 2015 12:04 pm

The yacht Adix, owned by Spanish billionaire Jaime Botin, sails off the coast of Corsica on Aug. 4, four days after French customs officials seized a Picasso painting on board. The painting has been valued at around $28 million.
Pascal Pochard Casabianca AFP/Getty Images

For nearly 40 years, Jaime Botín, a member of the wealthy family that runs Spain's Santander Bank, has owned Pablo Picasso's Head of a Young Woman. Botín kept the painting on his private yacht docked on Spain's Mediterranean Coast.

The 1906 work is not one of the Spanish master's most famous paintings, but it is from an important year in Picasso's life, and it has been valued at up to $28 million.

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2:07pm

Tue August 11, 2015
Monkey See

Pop Culture Happy Hour Small Batch: Fantastic Four

From left: Ben Grimm (Jamie Bell), Johnny Storm (Michael B. Jordan), Reed Richards (Miles Teller), Sue Storm (Kate Mara) in the new Fantastic Four.
Twentieth Century Fox

Well, that is a thing that happened.

Fantastic Four came out last weekend, only to encounter less-than-stellar reviews and box office. Our own Chris Klimek saw it for NPR.org and summed up its squandered potential with his usual nerd-cred eloquence, so I sat down with him for Pop Culture Happy Hour to discuss what went wrong and why.

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1:37pm

Tue August 11, 2015
Book Reviews

Confronting Mortality In An Unsettling, Inspiring 'Tour Of Bones'

Originally published on Tue August 11, 2015 2:23 pm

Skulls and bones are seen in the ossuary chapel in the Czech Republic town of Sedlec, one of the sites Denise Inge describes in her book, The Tour of Bones.
Michal Cizek AFP/Getty Images

Lots of us are afraid to confront the things lurking in our basements. In mine, it's the spider crickets; in Denise Inge's, it was the bones, piles of human bones that reached almost to the ceiling of the stone cellar beneath her house.

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1:37pm

Tue August 11, 2015
Author Interviews

Music Journalist Chronicles The 'Wild Obsessive Hunt' For Rare 78 RPM Records

Amanda Petrusich is a contributing writer for Pitchfork. Her work has also appeared at NPR Music.
Bret Stetka

With almost all the music you'd ever want to listen to available online digitally, the obsessive hunt for scratchy, fragile 78 RPM records may seem anachronistic. But author Amanda Petrusich says that those early records, which hold between two and three minutes of music per side, showcase the sound and spontaneity of a time before second takes were common in record studios.

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12:10pm

Tue August 11, 2015
It's All Politics

Donald Trump's Policy Positions Lack Specifics ... So Far

Originally published on Thu August 13, 2015 4:01 pm

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to the media Aug. 6 in the spin room after the first Republican presidential debate, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
John Minchillo AP

Donald Trump wants to "Make America Great Again!" But much of how he plans to do that is still a mystery.

In his nearly two months as an announced presidential candidate, the controversial and outspoken billionaire businessman has promised he would be the "the greatest jobs president God ever created."

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10:03am

Tue August 11, 2015
Book Reviews

Dense, Fantastical 'Prodigies' Rewards The Patient Reader

Originally published on Tue August 11, 2015 4:28 pm

Courtesy of Small Beer Press

In Angélica Gorodischer's Prodigies, a home formerly occupied by the Romantic poet Novalis becomes a boarding house, in a small German town in the 19th century. At the helm of the residence is Madame Helena, who as a young bride left her unsatisfying husband and moved back to her childhood home, which she has converted into a space for boarders.

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