Originally published on Fri December 20, 2013 12:44 pm
By April Fulton
The history of the Chesapeake Bay oyster hasn't always been a pure one. So you could forgive a chef for being skeptical about the big bivalve comeback being staged in D.C. and the surrounding area this winter as oyster season gets underway.
But many mid-Atlantic chefs are actually cheering. That's because a major public-private effort to re-establish the oyster as a quality local food product — as well as a weapon against water pollution — seems to be working.
We start with a man called Mike and a cat called Ella. Two creatures.
Nothing odd about them, except that Mike has a beard and Ella is a touch chunky. Otherwise, they could be any cat and guy. Except ...
When you think about it, no one is ordinary. You could put a totally bland cat-and-guy couple in front of a hundred people, ask them to look, and each one would see a very different pair, different in a thousand subtle ways, because everybody looks at everything with different eyes.
OK. Play along here: The subject of our next story is nine letters long. It's a type of word puzzle. Answers go horizontally and vertically in this grid of squares. I've probably given it away, haven't I? Yes, it's a crossword. And tomorrow, the venerable crossword puzzle turns 100 years old. In its first century, the game has gained legions of fans around the world and a reputation for staving off dementia. NPR's Adam Cole takes a look at the history and the hype.
By some estimates, we Americans throw away about 40 percent of our food, from the cabbage that's wilting in our refrigerators, to the fruit that's falling off the orange tree in our neighbor's backyard.
The human love affair with cats has a long history. But just how long has always been a mystery. That's because little was known about how and when cats were domesticated. Now, scientists say they've uncovered new clues in a trail of evidence going back some 5,300 years in a small village in China. Joining us is Fiona Marshall, an archaeologist at Washington University in St. Louis, and co-author of a study on cat domestication. Welcome to the program.
FIONA MARSHALL: Thank you very much. Delighted to talk about cats.
Given the time of the year, it's hard not to go back to some of our perennial questions about beginnings; in our case here at 13.7, I'm talking about the beginning of nothing less than everything, the origin of the universe.