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The Salt
5:20 am
Sun April 19, 2015

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

These robotic arms are part of a modular kitchen that's been set up so that the robot chef can find exactly what it needs.
Moley Robotics

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 9:01 am

Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.

No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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Pop Culture
6:49 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes 'Daredevil' Accessible To The Blind

Netflix's original series Daredevil, which stars a blind superhero, was originally hard for blind audience members to understand. The series was released without audio description that would make it accessible to the visually-impaired. TV broadcasters are required to release such descriptions for some content, but Netflix, as an internet streaming service, faces no such requirement.
Netflix

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 8:37 pm

Netflix's original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He's a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

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The Salt
6:25 pm
Sat April 18, 2015

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaru Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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Fine Art
7:43 am
Sat April 18, 2015

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:00 am

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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Goats and Soda
3:43 am
Fri April 17, 2015

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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Parallels
3:46 am
Thu April 16, 2015

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:05 pm

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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History
3:34 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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Goats and Soda
3:33 am
Wed April 15, 2015

From Horses To High-Rises: An Insider 'Unmasks' China's Economic Rise

As China continues its massive economic growth, especially in cities, the government continues to severely limit people's rights. Is that system sustainable?
Johannes Eisele AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 8:11 am

When Henry Paulson first visited Beijing in 1991 as a banker, cars still shared major roads with horses.

"I remember getting into a taxi that drove too fast on a two-lane highway ... [that was] clogged with bicycles and horses pulling carts," says the former secretary of treasury under George W. Bush. "You still saw the hutongs — the old neighborhoods [with narrow streets] — which were very, very colorful and an important part of life."

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Author Interviews
5:40 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Take It From David Brooks: Career Success 'Doesn't Make You Happy'

Originally published on Tue April 14, 2015 11:38 am

The day after Japan surrendered in 1945, and World War II ended, singer Bing Crosby appeared on the radio program Command Performance. "Well it looks like this is it," he said. "What can you say at a time like this? You can't throw your skimmer in the air — that's for a run-of-the-mill holiday. I guess all anybody can do is thank God it's over."

New York Times columnist David Brooks cites this and other aspects of that 70-year-old radio program as evidence that America once marked triumph without boasting.

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Author Interviews
6:43 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

From Harpies To Heroines: How Shakespeare's Women Evolved

Tina Packer has spent a lifetime researching Shakespeare and his plays, both as an actress and as a director. And as she focused on the role that women play in his works, she noticed a progression.

Consider Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, one of his earliest plays, which centers on a man breaking a defiant woman's spirit. Strong-willed Kate is a harridan; her compliant sister, meanwhile, says things like, "Sir, to your pleasure humbly I subscribe."

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History
5:25 pm
Sun April 12, 2015

Discovery Gives New Ending To A Death At The Civil War's Close

An engraving depicts Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's surrender to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant in Appomattox, Va.
Library Of Congress

Originally published on Mon April 13, 2015 8:02 pm

For decades, the story of Hannah Reynolds' death read like a tragedy of historical circumstance.

In 1865, Reynolds was a slave in the household of Samuel Coleman in the Virginia village of Appomattox Court House. And as Union and Confederate troops fought the Battle of Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1865, a cannonball tore through the Coleman house.

The Coleman family had left the day before, but Reynolds had stayed behind. The cannonball struck her in the arm and, it was thought, she died that same day, as the battle's only civilian casualty.

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The Salt
5:27 am
Sun April 12, 2015

Adventures In Vietnam — Street Food, Love And Taking Chances

Courtesy of Ecco Publishing

Originally published on Sun April 12, 2015 11:01 am

When English journalist Graham Holliday got tired of his office job in the U.K., he knew he wanted a change — a big one.

So he packed up and moved to Asia, first to Korea to teach English and ultimately, to the place that would be his home for nine years: Vietnam. As soon as he arrived, he was determined to immerse himself in Vietnamese culture — and for him, that meant food.

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Middle East
6:09 pm
Sat April 11, 2015

Trapped In Yemen's 'Armageddon,' An American Made A Dangerous Escape

A "getaway selfie," as Mokhtar Alkhanshali calls it: Alkhanshali (left) makes his way across the Red Sea with this boat driver — and without navigation equipment.
Mokhtar Alkhanshali

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 9:04 pm

Businessman Mokhtar Alkhanshali was used to the complications of traveling to Yemen. He'd been traveling there and back for years; sometimes the American Embassy would close for a few days amid turmoil, but it always opened back up.

But on March 27, the situation changed dramatically. "Overnight, the country went to war," he says.

The Yemeni-American coffee importer had been in Sana'a, Yemen's capital, on business when the city was rocked by explosions. He stepped outside at 2 a.m. to find anti-aircraft guns lighting up the night sky.

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Law
8:56 am
Sat April 11, 2015

Colorado Deals Inmates A New Deck Of Cards

Colorado is the latest state to produce the cold case cards.
Colorado Bureau of Investigation

Originally published on Sat April 11, 2015 10:54 am

There's not a whole lot to do in prison, so inmates spend a fair amount of time playing cards.

For several years, law enforcement officials around the country have been putting that prisoners' pastime to good use. They've been putting facts and photos from unsolved crimes in front of prisoners' eyes by printing them on decks of cards, hoping to generate leads.

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Intelligence Squared U.S.
12:30 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Debate: Has The President Exceeded His War Powers Authority?

Two teams face off in a debate over the extent of the president's war powers at the latest debate from Intelligence Squared U.S.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

President Obama has launched a sustained, long-term military campaign against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL. But did he have constitutional power to do so?

Article I of the Constitution gives some war powers to the Congress — namely, the power to declare war — while Article II gives the president the power of commander-in-chief. But the U.S. Congress has not declared war since World War II, even as the nation has engaged in numerous military actions across the globe in the intervening decades.

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All Tech Considered
4:20 am
Mon April 6, 2015

Is Cash-Free Really The Way To Be? Maybe Not For Millennials

More Americans are ditching traditional cash and plastic, opting instead for new mobile payment applications. But new research indicates cash isn't completely dead.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Tue April 7, 2015 6:20 pm

Smartphones have new, seamless ways to purchase stuff lightning fast, with just a tap. With these new digital technologies available for mobile payment, many young people are ditching cash and plastic altogether.

But is traditional payment dead? According to Doug Conover, an analyst with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, not exactly.

"The perception that young people rarely use cash is just not correct," he says.

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U.S.
7:17 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Utah Brings Back Firing Squad Executions; Witnesses Recall The Last One

The firing squad execution chamber at the Utah State Prison in Draper, Utah, is shown in June 2010.
Trent Nelson AP

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 2:46 pm

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill bringing back the firing squad as a method of execution. The state abandoned firing squads in 2004 but now, it has returned as the backup option — partly because of a shortage of lethal injection drugs, the state's default execution method.

Utah is now the only state in the U.S. that authorizes execution by firing squad.

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Environment
6:28 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Will Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water Help Drought-Hit California?

Joshua Haggmark, Santa Barbara's water resources manager, is in charge of getting the city's desalination plant back online.
Becky Sullivan

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 5:42 am

Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said.

But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem.

Across California, communities are examining all options to avoid running out of water. Some, like the coastal city of Santa Barbara, are looking to the past for inspiration.

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Author Interviews
5:08 pm
Sun April 5, 2015

Explosive Protests: U.S. Bombings During 'Days Of Rage'

New York City firefighters work to put out a fire caused by explosions at 18 W. 11th St. on March 6, 1970. It was later discovered that the Weathermen, a radical left-wing organization, had been building bombs in the building's basement.
Marty Lederhandler AP

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 7:00 am

In the early 1970s thousands of bombings were taking place throughout the country — sometimes up to five a day. They were targeted protests, carried out by a multitude of radical activist groups: The Weather Underground, the Symbionese Liberation Army, the FALN, the Black Liberation Army.

According to author Bryan Burrough, there were at least a dozen underground organizations carrying out these attacks at the time. He writes that the bombings functioned as "exploding press releases."

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Shots - Health News
6:25 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

When It Comes To Insurance, Mental Health Parity In Name Only?

Mental health care advocates say patients face challenges in insurance coverage.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 4:02 pm

By law, many U.S. insurance providers that offer mental health care are required to cover it just as they would cancer or diabetes care. But advocates say achieving this mental health parity can be a challenge.

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Author Interviews
5:30 pm
Sat April 4, 2015

Florida Teen, War Criminal: The Life Of An 'American Warlord'

Chuckie Taylor in Liberia at an unknown date and location.
Courtesy of Johnny Dwyer and Lynn Henderson

Originally published on Wed April 8, 2015 3:33 pm

Only one American in history has ever been convicted of torture committed abroad: Chuckie Taylor, the son of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.

His father led militants to take control of Liberia in the late '90s, went in exile after Liberia's Second Civil War and was found guilty of abetting war crimes in Sierra Leone. But young Chuckie Taylor seemed far removed from that warlord life — he lived in America with his mother and stepfather, just another teenager listening to hip-hop and watching TV in his room.

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Strange News
8:42 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Pondering The Popularity Of The Pet Rock — And Other Fads

Pet Rock creator Gary Ross Dahl became a millionaire from his rock sales in the 1970s. Each rock came in a special box (bottom left) with a detailed instruction manual.
San Francisco Chronicle AP

Originally published on Sat April 4, 2015 10:30 am

The Hula Hoop. The pogo stick. The Tamagotchi.

Fads, crazes and must-have toys all sweep the country from time to time. But in the annals of faddish toys, one achievement stands tall — or rather, sits small: the Pet Rock.

It was exactly what it sounds like: a rock (a Mexican beach stone, to be precise) marketed in the mid-'70s as a pet. Each came in its own box with air holes and a detailed owner's manual.

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The Salt
7:07 pm
Fri April 3, 2015

Straight Out Of Brooklyn: 'Encyclofoodia' Pokes Fun At Foodies

Bloomsbury Publishing

Originally published on Mon April 6, 2015 12:55 pm

If you're trying to feed some of the lumberjack hipsters of Brooklyn, you might try serving up some Huevos Machismos. And if you're seeking the next cleanse trend, look no further than the Ultimate Gushy Protein Sewage Blast. Like any balanced smoothie, it incorporates one ounce of "pure, uncut cocaine (for the boost)."

These are the recipes and advice you'd receive from the Mizretti brothers, two fictional restaurateurs who just published an "encyclofoodia" and cookbook called FUDS.

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Author Interviews
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Searching For Buried Treasure In China, A Writer Discovers Himself

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 2:57 pm

Writer Huan Hsu's great-great-grandfather Liu Feng Shu was a scholar in China's Qing dynasty during the late 1800s and early 1900s. As a patron of the arts, he built up an immense porcelain collection.

During the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese landed near his village on the Yangtze River. As the army approached, Liu and one of his workmen dug a giant hole in their garden, to keep the collection safe.

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My Big Break
5:43 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

For 'Dexter' Star David Zayas, Acting Was A Long Shot Away

Zayas is best known for his role as Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter. "The one through line of all 8 years of that character was his integrity and honesty," Zayas says.
Randy Tepper Showtime

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

David Zayas used to dream of being an actor. And he made it: he played Enrique Morales, the infamous inmate on HBO's Oz, as well as his most notable role, Sergeant Angel Batista on the Showtime drama Dexter.

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Afghanistan
8:43 am
Sun March 29, 2015

Afghan Chief Executive: Leaders Set Aside Egos To Rally For Nation

Afghanistan's Chief Executive Officer Abdullah Abdullah (left) stands with President Ashraf Ghani, Vice President Joe Bidden, Defense Secretary Ash Carter and Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan at a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Tuesday.
Andrew Harnik AP

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 10:33 am

Afghanistan's leaders were in Washington last week asking for more assistance from the U.S. They got what they wanted: President Obama announced he would postpone the withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops this year. Those forces are needed to help Afghanistan troops battle the Taliban as the spring
fighting season heats up.

President Ashraf Ghani was accompanied on this trip by Abdullah Abdullah, the chief executive of the Afghan government. They were bitter rivals in Afghanistan's presidential election last year and are now sharing power in a unity government.

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Sports
6:35 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

The Cautionary Tale Of A Big-Time Bracket Bust

Oklahoma's Buddy Hield (right) and Denzel Valentine of Michigan State played in Friday's East Regional Semifinal of the 2015 NCAA tournament in Syracuse. If you've got money riding on this year's NCAA tournament, you might want to hear about what happened to John Bovary's football pool.
Maddie Meyer Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 8:22 pm

About 25 years ago, John Bovery started a modest football pool out of his home in New Jersey. It had 57 participants, all friends and co-workers.

But thanks to word of mouth — and the multiplying factor of email — Bovery's pool grew to staggering proportions. At one point, it got too large for Bovery to handle himself, so he contacted a software company to custom-build something suited to his needs.

By 2009, it included more than 8,000 entries from people around the globe, with a total payout of more than $800,000.

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The Salt
4:44 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Was Your Seafood Caught By Slaves? AP Uncovers Unsavory Trade

A 3,000-ton cargo ship at Thajeen Port in Samut Sakhon, Thailand, 15 days after it set sail from Benjina, Indonesia. The company that owns the ship said it is not involved with the fishermen. "We only carry the shipment and we are hired, in general, by clients," said owner Panya Luangsomboon. "We're separated from the fishing boats."
Wong Maye-E AP

Originally published on Tue March 31, 2015 7:16 pm

Some of the seafood that winds up in American grocery stores, in restaurants, even in cat food may have been caught by Burmese slaves. That's the conclusion of a yearlong investigation by The Associated Press.

The AP discovered and interviewed dozens of men being held against their will on Benjina, a remote Indonesian island, which serves as the base for a trawler fleet that fishes in the area.

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Goats and Soda
4:41 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Her Instagram Feed Finds The Fun In Long-Suffering Somalia

Ugaaso Boocow is back — and instagramming — in her homeland of Somalia.
Courtesy of Ugaaso A. Boocow

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 10:23 am

Ugaaso Abukar Boocow has become an Instagram sensation by sending out stunning visual messages from an unlikely place: poor, suffering Somalia.

She was just a toddler when her grandmother fled with her to Canada to escape Somalia's civil war, leaving her mother behind.

Then last year, she decided to go back, moving to the capital, Mogadishu, and reuniting with her mother, whom she hadn't seen in over two decades.

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Shots - Health News
3:38 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Critic Faults Alcoholics Anonymous For Lack Of Evidence

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 9:34 am

Founded by two men in Akron, Ohio, in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has since spread around the world as a leading community-based method of overcoming alcohol dependence and abuse. Many people swear by the 12-step method, which has become the basis of programs to treat the abuse of drugs, gambling, eating disorders and other compulsive behaviors.

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