Originally published on Fri February 24, 2012 4:53 pm
One of science fiction's jobs is to give humanity a map of where we're headed. From Jules Verne to William Gibson, sci-fi authors have described their versions of the future, and how people might live in it.
Those ideas came up in a recent conversation I had with Brian David Johnson, who works for Intel as a futurist — a title that gives him one of the tech world's cooler business cards.
This interview was originally broadcast on Apr. 9, 1991.
Publisher Barney Rosset, who championed the works of beat poets and defied censors, died Tuesday. He was 89.
Rosset's Grove Press published some of drama's most famous names — including Beckett and Anton Chekhov — and was known for printing books that other publishers wouldn't touch, from uncensored versions of Lady Chatterley's Lover and Tropic of Cancer to a highly profitable line of Victorian spanking porn.
Campaigning in Michigan on Thursday night, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney reached out to Tea Party voters — a segment of the party that he has had a hard time winning over in previous states this primary season.
As Syrian security forces continue to pound the city of Homs and surrounding areas, "the United States, Europe and Arab countries were set Friday to back a proposal for Syria's president to step aside and allow in humanitarian assistance to end a brutal crackdown against opponents," The Associated Press writes.
Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a story of a man caught in a sting operation. Somebody stole from an office fridge - drinks, lunches, 60 pounds of deer sausage disappeared. What made the fridge of special interest to police was its location in a police station in Deer Park, Texas. Police placed a hidden video camera in the ceiling and caught an officer - Kevin Yang. TV station KTRK says that when caught, Mr. Yang said he was just cleaning the fridge. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.
President Obama put tax reform back on the table this week. He called for changes to the corporate tax system. Tax rates would go down for companies, deductions would go away - many of them, and companies with overseas operations would find it a little harder not to pay.
Sears says it is spinning off outlet, hometown and hardware stores. The deal is expected to help the company raise up to $500 million. It's also selling some of its other properties in a separate deal.
This comes after Sears said in December it would close about 100 stores after an abysmal holiday shopping season. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
New Hampshire, one of the least religious states in the nation, has become the latest front in the political battle over contraception. State GOP leaders oppose the new federal rule compelling insurers to provide birth control to employees of religious organizations. They want to change a 12-year-old state law that requires contraceptive coverage under insurers' prescription drug policies.
It's hard to miss the politics fueling state House Speaker William O'Brien's push to carve out a religious exemption from the contraception mandate.
A Yemeni man shows his ink-stained thumb after he voted in the presidential election in Yemen's capital on Feb. 21. The one-candidate election ends President Ali Abdullah Saleh's 33-year hard-line rule.
Credit Hani Mohammed / AP
Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi will be the new head of state steering Yemen out of a crisis that followed the year-old anti-government uprising.
Yemen has become the latest Arab country to depose its dictator.
On Monday, the country's longtime president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is set to hand power to his vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, as part of an agreement reached late last year. The agreement was backed by the U.S., Europe and Yemen's powerful Gulf Arab neighbors. It was ratified by more than 60 percent of Yemen's voters earlier this week.
Credit Patricia de Melo Moreira / AFP/Getty Images
Protesters against government austerity measures march in front of the Finance Ministry in Lisbon, Portugal, earlier this month. The country's debt crisis has prompted Portuguese workers to look to their country's former colonies for jobs.
Credit Patricia de Melo Moreira / AFP/Getty Images
Portugal's minister of foreign affairs, Paulo Portas (right), meets with his Angolan counterpart, Georges Chikoti, during a press conference in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2010. A growing number of Portuguese workers are seeking employment in their country's former, resources-rich African colony.
Portugal is burdened with such big debts that some are calling it "the next Greece." Unemployment is soaring, and the debt continues to rise, despite draconian austerity measures.
But Portugal has something Greece doesn't have: former colonies, rich in natural resources and in need of labor, both skilled and unskilled. And in a type of role reversal, some Portuguese are now traveling to those places in hopes of improving their lives.
Antonio Valerio, who is studying pharmaceutical science at a university, is among those who see no future in Portugal.
Philadelphia's financially troubled newspapers — the jointly owned Inquirer and Daily News — may be sold for the fourth time in six years. Circulation and advertising are down. A new set of layoffs has been announced, and the papers' newsrooms are about to be combined with the news site Philly.com.
But reporters and editors there are outraged by something else: the actions of their own publisher to influence their coverage of the company's sale.
Alexander Payne's The Descendants has been nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Editor and Best Actor. Payne co-wrote and directed the film, which stars George Clooney as an indifferent dad struggling to raise two daughters.
Credit Merie Wallace / Fox Searchlight
Matt King (George Clooney) is a Honolulu lawyer left alone with his two girls after his wife falls into a coma.
Credit Cindy Carpien / NPR
Life is a "collection of extraordinarily ordinary moments," Payne says. "We just need to pay attention to them all." Above, Payne stops at a farmers market near his home in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Credit Cindy Carpien / NPR
Payne heads off for a luncheon at the American Film Institute during what he says is an atypically busy week leading up to the Oscars.
Alexander Payne watches a movie every day — or tries to, anyway. Lately, the writer and director of The Descendants has been busy going to nomination and awards dinners, in advance of Sunday's Oscar night — when the Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay prizes could be his.
One day Chris Woehrle decided to finally leave his corporate job and pursue his dream: to become an artisanal food craftsman. And so, every day at home, he'd basically pickle stuff.
"I had a refrigerator full of plastic food buckets that were full of pickles and kimchee and sauerkraut and harissa and salsa and ketchup and mustard and, you know, any kind of craft food you could make," Woehrle says.
To help U.S. troops ease back into civilian life, veteran Anthony Bravo Esparza offers them a haircut, and a safe and friendly place to hang out. Esparza — known to his friends as "Dreamer" — sees it as a way to help former soldiers find their way.
Dreamer's barbershop is easy to find; it's set up inside a trailer in the parking lot of the West Los Angeles Medical Center campus of the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System.
Tuesday is the next big day for Republicans in choosing their presidential nominee, with primaries in Michigan and Arizona.
Then there's an even bigger day a week later: March 6 is this year's Super Tuesday, when 10 states hold primaries and caucuses. Possibly the most consequential one will be in the swing state of Ohio. It has 66 delegates at stake, and it will also be a key battleground in November.
The situation in Syria is one of desperation, death and constant danger, a Syrian activist told All Things Considered's Melissa Block.
The activist, who goes by Abo Bakr, said he was in the house where journalists Marie Colvin and Remi Ochlik were killed.
"We were hearing so many explosions around us, but then the sounds got closer until one rocket hit the backyard of the house," Bakr said. "Then rockets started hitting the roof, and that resulted in the roof falling down completely."
Afghan demonstrators burn an effigy of President Obama and shout anti-U.S. slogans in the eastern city of Jalalabad on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Afghans have been rioting for three days after word that several Qurans were desecrated at a NATO base. The U.S. says the burning of the Qurans was accidental.
It begins with a political leader or a businessman who hits on a powerful new idea, one that puts him miles ahead of everyone else. It could be a new innovation, like the financial derivative, or a new way of doing business, like Microsoft selling software. It could be something destructive, like Hitler's blitzkrieg, which ran over France in two months. No matter the specifics, it leaves everyone else flat-footed and looking foolish.
Our man (it's usually a man) is now indestructible and untouchable. With nothing in his way, he is, for a while, an irresistible force.