NYU psychology professor Gary Marcus took up guitar at the relatively ancient age of 38, by starting with the video game Guitar Hero. Marcus shares his experiences and insights on the science of learning, which he's gathered in a new book Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning.
According to Rolling Stone magazine, sales of vinyl albums continue to grow, setting a new record in 2010. Does vinyl reproduce sound better, or is it just a trend? Two audio experts join guest host John Dankosky to talk about the science of audio, and how perceptions can shape the sound experience.
Just a day after it appeared that Greece and its eurozone partners had reached a deal, we're back where we've been for months: There are fiery protests on the streets of Athens, the markets and the euro are in turmoil and negotiations are at a tense point with four Greek Cabinet ministers tendering resignations over their opposition to austerity measures.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan talks with host Michel Martin about the settlement reached yesterday between federal and state officials and major banks. It was an effort to address unfair banking practices that led to the mortgage crisis. President Obama praised the deal, but critics say the settlement is inadequate.
The nation's big banks are writing death plans — living wills that spell out how, in a future crisis, they could be safely dismantled. The idea is that the death plans will help avoid another government bailout of the banks.
"You're technically writing your own funeral, down to the color of the flowers" says Dolores Atallo.
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 12:21 pm
Hospitals and organizations operated by religious institutions will not have to pay for or provide free contraception coverage to their employees, but the insurance companies that offer coverage to those workers will have to do that, White House officials just told reporters during a conference call.
They're explaining changes to a controversial plan the administration unveiled in recent days. The goal of the change appears to be to provide the coverage, but at the same time to not force religious groups to violate their principles.
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 3:10 pm
There's an old joke around newsrooms: News is something that happens to your editor.
If you'll pardon the self-indulgence, I'm going to take this truism one step further: News is what happened to me.
I was laid low the week before New Year's Day by a mysterious headache and a blazing sore throat. A few days later I lost my voice.
My doctors eventually pinpointed the cause by snaking a small camera down my nose. My left vocal fold (or vocal cord if you prefer) had stopped working. It was essentially paralyzed, other than the occasional twitch.
Ameena Matthews, a violence interrupter with the Chicago organization CeaseFire, mediates disputes to prevent gang violence from escalating.
Credit Aaron Wickenden / Kartemquin Films
Alex Kotlowitz (left) is the author of <em>There Are No Children Here</em>, <em>The Other Side of the River</em> and <em>Never a City So Real. </em>Steve James is the director, producer and co-editor of <em>Hoop Dreams</em>. His other films include <em>Stevie</em> and <em>At the Death House Door.</em>
Originally published on Fri February 10, 2012 9:08 am
Rick Santorum surprised the Republican presidential field again this week, chalking up victories against front-runner Mitt Romney in Minnesota, Colorado and Missouri. Very few pundits would have predicted six months ago that the former Pennsylvania senator would still be a contender this late into the primary season. So what's his secret and can he keep it up?
To get some of those answers, NPR's Steve Inskeep spoke with Santorum strategist John Brabender on Friday's Morning Edition.
"The Office of Congressional Ethics is investigating the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee over possible violations of insider-trading laws, according to individuals familiar with the case.
Dots, a women's fashion retailer, donates $118,000 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure on Jan. 31. The recent controversy over Komen's relationship with Planned Parenthood has highlighted the perils of corporate philanthropy.
From inside the Syrian city of Homs, where activists say several hundred people have been killed by government forces in the past week and troops are preparing for what could be a "ground offensive" in coming days, residents say the "situation could not be more dire," NPR's Kelly McEvers reports.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. We have no evidence this is a mass movement, but at least one person seems to have a reason to urge Israel's prime minister to delay an attack on Iran. Israeli officials have been speculating out loud about a strike. Now a Facebook page is pushing for the war to wait, at least long enough to keep from disrupting a concert by Madonna in Tel Aviv. The page is called No War with Iran until After Madonna's Performance on May 29. You're listening to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
To people who visit the idyllic tourist destination of the Maldives, politics can seem far away. But this week, the country's President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down after weeks of demonstrations. He was forced to resign by elements within the police and army. Here's how he described the situation to Al Jazeera.
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PRESIDENT MOHAMED NASHEED: This is a coup. It definitely is, if you find any definition of a coup anywhere. I did not want to defend. That is why there was no blood.
It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
Activists and human rights groups in Syria contend the government has now killed hundreds of civilians this week alone. It's hard to verify that number, but it is clear that mortars, rockets and tanks continue firing into the city of Homs. That gunfire has served as a week-long punctuation mark on the United Nation's failure to approve a resolution against Syria. NPR's Kelly McEvers is following the situation from Beirut. She joins us once again.
NPR's business news starts with social networking profits.
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INSKEEP: You can get attention on the Internet. You can even draw a massive crowd in seconds. The question always is how to make money. Investors have been scrutinizing Facebook's plans to go public and trying to figure out the company's prospects.
Overall economic numbers for this year have been looking better, but almost every forecast for 2012 has included at least a mention that catastrophe could still come from Europe. The crisis over Greece's debt is not over, even after yesterday when lawmakers approved more budget cuts and economic reforms. Now Greek unions are protesting again.
Resolving this crisis has taken years, and there's a reason: a debt crisis has never really been solved this way before. Here's Zoe Chace of NPR's Planet Money team.
The company will instead focus on home photo printers, high-speed commercial ink jet presses and software. Other companies may license the Kodak brand for cameras, and some disposables will still be out there.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.
Here's a sign of just how huge the housing and foreclosure crisis has been. Five big banks agreed to pay about $25 billion to people who've been harmed bank's abuses, plus an extra billion to settle a claim involving a mortgage company. And one of the first reactions is that all that money could not possibly be enough.
President Obama says the banks will spread the money around.
If George Lucas had never created that annoying, slapstick-prone CGI character in The Phantom Menace, history would be different. No amount of "meesa so sorry" can make up for this abomination. And to add insult to injury, Lucas is sending a 3D Jar Jar Binks into theaters on February 10th.
At the JS West egg farm, south of Modesto, Calif., one chicken house has the new, spacious cages that egg producers and animal welfare advocates say keep chickens happier.
Credit Big Dutchman
Gene Gregory (left), head of the United Egg Producers lobby, and Wayne Pacelle, president of the Humane Society, visit Washington to lobby Congress for a law requiring larger cages for egg-laying chickens.
Credit John Rose / NPR
Pacelle and Gregory have different backgrounds and dietary preferences, but there seems to be genuine respect between them.