In a double-blind test by professional violinists, most couldn't determine — by sound alone — which violin was an original Stradivarius and which was a modern instrument. Above, a 1729 Stradivari known as the "Solomon, Ex-Lambert."
In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.
OK, here's a test. Clip one is a musical phrase from Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto in D Major. Clip two is the same phrase. The same musician plays both. But one is on a Stradivarius violin, the other on a violin made in 1980. See if you can tell the difference.
The Vatican announced Sunday an arrangement to allow disaffected Episcopalian congregations in the United States to join the Roman Catholic church. The arrangement will allow an exemption to priestly celibacy for former Episcopal priests who are married.
All Things Considered host Melissa Block talks with musician Robert Earl Keen for our series Winter Songs, about "Snowin' on Raton," a Townes Van Zandt tune that reminds Keen of a time when things went spectacularly wrong, before going spectacularly right.
Today, police in Los Angeles arrested a man in connection with a string of more than 50 arson fires that have left that city on edge. Most of the fires were set in parked cars, and some spread to carports, garages and apartments. Sam Quinones is following the story for the Los Angeles Times and Sam, what else can you tell us about the man who's under arrest?
After hitting a 30-year low in 2009, U.S. auto sales are poised for a second straight year of growth in 2012 — the result of easier credit, low interest rates and pent-up demand for cars and trucks created by the Great Recession.
The sales forecast bodes well for the industry's continued recovery and for the broader American economy.
Just two years ago, Detroit automakers were in peril. Car sales plunged as unemployment soared, and loans became harder to get. Chrysler and General Motors filed for bankruptcy protection. Ford avoided bankruptcy only by borrowing billions.
Edward Lewis of Council Bluffs waved an Iowa state flag outside the Family Table Restaurant in Atlantic on Sunday, before the arrival of former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 2:11 pm
Those who remember newspapers might recognize this as a "clip and save." Maybe the more modern term would be a "cut and paste." Whatever, if you want some of the details and logistics about Tuesday night's caucuses in Iowa, here they are:
Monday morning in Iowa, I caught up with Mitt Romney's strategist Eric Fehrnstrom after the campaign's first event of the day, a speech at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds in Davenport.
In the last hours before Tuesday night's caucus, Fehrnstrom said, the former Massachusetts governor plans to consolidate his support by visiting areas in the eastern part of the state where he had a strong showing in 2008 — places like Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.
Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.
And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?
Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.
Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.
The Newt Gingrich campaign bus is rolling again Monday morning, leaving Waterloo, where the candidate spent the night and heading straight east to the small town of Independence. The venue? Heartland Acres Agribition Center, a modest-size exhibition hall for small, regional agribusiness conferences with a lot of interesting old farm implements on display, and a shop with some pretty cool toy tractors.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 3:13 pm
(The top of this post was rewritten at 3:15 p.m. ET.)
Authorities in Los Angeles just announced they've made two arrests in connection with the more than 50 fires that had been set in the city in recent days, causing several million dollars worth of damage but no serious injuries.
Iran's navy said it test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile on Monday during a drill in international waters near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The missile, called Ghader, or Capable in Farsi, was described as an upgraded version of a missile that has been in service before. IRNA said the missile "successfully hit its intended target" during the drill.
Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:24 am
With just one full day of campaigning left before Tuesday evening's Republican caucuses in Iowa — the first truly important contest of the 2012 presidential election season — the stories and headlines are all about who's up, who's down and who needs to do what to survive and do battle again next week in New Hampshire.
If GOP front-runner Mitt Romney cannot quickly persuade his rivals and voters that he is the inevitable nominee and that further resistance is futile, he may be in for an expensive and time-consuming slog.
Unlike GOP presidential primary seasons of the past, the one that begins in Iowa Tuesday was actually designed to slow down the emergence of a winner by stretching out the calendar and altering the delegate allocation rules.
Alex Gilvarry is the author of From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant.
I was a college student in New York City when security checks became the norm. Being half-Filipino with a Scottish last name, I wasn't easy to profile. And since I was always carrying a big backpack of textbooks in and out of the subways on my way to class, I came to expect that I would be stopped once or twice each week.
Sixteen years ago, a Swedish woman lost her wedding ring but she recently found it. A Swedish newspaper reports that while picking carrots in her garden, the woman found one with the gold band around it. She thinks it fell into some vegetable peelings meant for garden compost.
And this next story is for those who may be searching for a drink. You've heard of the local food movement where people try to buy food from close to home. You've heard of the micro brewing movement where people turn away from Bud Light, say, in favor of beer brands made in small batches. The local booze movement may marry the two. At least one restaurant in Los Angeles boasts a bar stocked with liquor produced entirely in California.
Rachel Myrow of member station KQED dropped by the bar - purely for reporting purposes.
Millions of people are searching for things every day on Google. The people at the giant search engine realized that if they tracked those searches, the patterns can tell us about what's happening with people's lives.
ABC TV rolls out a new version of an old show Tuesday — this time its Celebrity Wife Swap. The old Wife Swap wasn't getting great ratings, so they needed to up their game. Eric Deggans, the TV and media critic for the Tampa Bay Times, explains what celebrities do for reality shows.
After concentrating on Iowa more than any other Republican presidential candidate, Rick Santorum is gaining on front-runners Mitt Romney and Ron Paul, a new Des Moines Register poll shows. Santorum is hoping to consolidate Iowa's Christian conservative vote — the strategy that won the state for former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee four years ago.
Jeanne Zyzda did not expect more than 100 people in her Sioux City coffee shop, the Daily Grind. Not all at once, and not on a holiday.