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All Tech Considered
1:16 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

DIY Houses In The Internet Age: Some Assembly Required

Good things come in small packages. Lacy Williams, an architecture student, and her boyfriend, Patrick Beseda, built a WikiHouse to live in during a field project in Utah.
Patrick Beseda and Lacy Williams

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 6:19 am

If you can barely swing a hammer, you can still build your own home.

Builders at the Maker Faire in New York City proved this point last fall, with something akin to an old-fashioned barn-raising.

The event celebrates the do-it-yourself aesthetic, particularly when it comes to digital fabrication and open-source construction plans. Using wooden mallets cut from plywood, a crew of eight banged together the slotted frame of a WikiHouse without a single nail.

The result: a livable home.

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Music Interviews
12:04 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

That Old-Time Sound, Captured Live In The Moment

Songwriter John Paul Keith is one of a number of artists to record songs using 1930s-era technology as part of The 78 Project.
The 78 Project

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 9:11 am

When you hear a musical recording that's scratchy and distant, you might naturally assume it's old: a relic from the early days of sound recording. But what would modern music sound like were it subject to the same limitations that musicians faced in those days?

That's the question posed by The 78 Project, which gives musicians the chance to record using 1930s technology.

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Shots - Health News
12:03 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Candy Flavors Put E-Cigarettes On Kids' Menu

Kids as young as 13 purchase e-cigarettes, or "vape pens," online, where independent sellers don't necessarily ask a buyer's age.
Jenny Lei Bolario Youth Radio

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:59 pm

Electronic cigarettes are often billed as a safe way for smokers to try to kick their habit. But it's not just smokers who are getting their fix this way. According to a survey published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 5 middle school students who've tried one say they've never smoked a "real" cigarette. And between 2011 and 2012, e-cigarettes doubled in popularity among middle and high school students.

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

'I'm The Hijacker!' Says Ethiopian Pilot Of Commandeered Jet

After landing in Geneva on Monday, the pilot who reportedly took over control of the Rome-bound Ethiopian Airlines jet used a rope to climb down from the cockpit. He then went to authorities and asked for asylum.
Richard Juilliart AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 12:16 pm

Details are starting to come out about what it was like Monday when one of the pilots of an Ethiopian Airlines flight reportedly locked himself in the cockpit and flew the jet and its 193 passengers to Geneva, Switzerland, instead of Rome, its intended destination.

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The Edge
12:02 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Foggy Weather Throws Events Off Course In Sochi

An athlete trains Monday at the Laura Cross-Country Ski and Biathlon Center Coaches at the biathlon course said fog and poor snow quality were big problems.
Kirill Kudryavtsev AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 4:06 am

The blue skies couldn't last forever.

A fog as thick as Russian borscht rolled into the mountains above Sochi on Sunday night. From the vantage point of the relatively low-altitude bobsled track, the gondolas heading up to the cross-country center and alpine venues disappeared into the clouds.

The weather is creating all sorts of problems for Olympic planners. A men's biathlon race was postponed Sunday because of low visibility. It was postponed again Monday. (The women's race was still on track for today.)

As The Associated Press notes:

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Interviews
11:30 am
Mon February 17, 2014

In 'Passage,' Caro Mines LBJ's Changing Political Roles

Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) and former President Lyndon Johnson view the liftoff of Apollo 11 from the stands at the Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969.
NASA Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 11:59 am

This interview was originally broadcast on May 13, 2013.

For the past 37 years, Robert Caro has devoted his life to writing the definitive biography of Lyndon Johnson. So far, The Years of Lyndon Johnson has four acclaimed volumes and has shown readers just how complex the 36th president was, as both a politician and a man.

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The Two-Way
11:29 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Pennsylvania Woman Claims To Have Killed At Least 22 People

Miranda Barbour, who has told a newspaper that she's killed at least 22 people.
WNEP.com

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 9:29 am

This is among the day's more disturbing stories:

A 19-year-old woman who's already a suspect in one murder has told a central Pennsylvania newspaper that she's a satanist who has been killing people since she was 13.

Miranda Barbour claims that after her 22nd victim, "I stopped counting."

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Book Reviews
11:29 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Don't Know What To Do With Your Life? Neither Did Thoreau

The works of Henry David Thoreau have influenced generations of readers, but Thoreau himself wasn't always celebrated. His schoolmates and neighbors found him standoffish and regarded his fascination with plants and Indian relics as downright odd.
AP

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 11:59 am

Every year, students come into my office and say, "I don't know what I want to do with my life." Of course, plenty of people in the world don't have the luxury of such cluelessness, but my students don't look like they're enjoying their privilege; they look scared and depressed, as though they've already failed some big test of character. They might find some comfort in Michael Sims' new biography of the young Henry David Thoreau called, simply, The Adventures of Henry Thoreau.

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Monkey See
11:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Last Chance To Read 'Grapes Of Wrath' Before It Turns 75

These Grapes of Wrath copies may look well-loved, but don't be fooled. A lot of us are opening them up for the first time.
Jim Tuttle NPR

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:43 pm

John Steinbeck's Dust Bowl saga has been on required reading lists for decades, but somehow a lot of us at NPR Books have never read it. (We know! We know!) So when we realized the 75th anniversary was coming up on April 14, we thought: What better way to pay tribute to Steinbeck's Pulitzer Prize-winning epic than to actually crack it open?

That is to say: We're hosting a Grapes of Wrath book club and you're all invited to join.*

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All Tech Considered
11:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

A Push To Boost Computer Science Learning, Even At An Early Age

Alex Tu, an advanced placement student, takes a computer science class in Midwest City, Okla. There's been a sharp decline in the number of computer science classes offered in U.S. secondary schools.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 9:11 am

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Parallels
11:27 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Troops Escort Muslims Out Of Central African Republic

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 8:24 am

Tens of thousands of Muslims are fleeing what the U.N. calls a campaign of "ethno-religious cleansing" in the Central African Republic. On Sunday, African forces provided a military escort to hundreds of people on a slow convoy toward the Western border with Cameroon.

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My Guilty Pleasure
11:27 am
Mon February 17, 2014

It's French, But Ooh, It's Pulpy: The Dark Adventures Of Fantômas

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 4:03 am

Fantômas begins as many a good tale begins: with listeners crowding around a fire. In this case, guests of the venerable Marquise surround a retired magistrate who, with relish, tells of the terror that is Fantômas. Fantômas, the criminal mastermind — I would love the book just for the mystery of the name, though in fact, the name isn't even his: it is given to him by rumor, or maybe the police. We know nothing of Fantômas: he is believed to take on the identity of others, sometimes famous others, sometimes several at once.

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Penn State Picks New President: Florida State's Eric Barron

Eric Barron, Penn State's next president.
Patrick Mansell PSU.edu

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 10:44 am

Penn State University, which dismissed its president and its legendary football coach in late 2011 for their roles in dealing with allegations that an assistant coach had been molesting young boys, announced Monday that Florida State University President Eric Barron is leaving the Sunshine State to be PSU's next l

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The Two-Way
11:26 am
Mon February 17, 2014

U.N. Report Details North Korea's 'Crimes Against Humanity'

Ed Jones AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 12:14 pm

"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed" by the leaders of North Korea against their own people, the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights declared Monday in a report that goes on to accuse that nation's communist regime of "crimes against humanity."

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Asia
11:25 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Hong Kong To Destroy Ivory Stockpile, But Will It Curb Demand In China?

Elephant tusks are displayed in October after being seized by customs officials in Hong Kong. The 189 tusks, worth $1.5 million, were hidden in soybean sacks in a shipping container.
Kin Cheung AP

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 11:02 pm

Lucy Skrine, 11, was walking through the bustling streets of Hong Kong a few months ago with fellow animal activists, holding signs in Chinese and English that read: "Say No to Ivory."

"There was one mainland Chinese that came around, and she said, 'Why can't we buy ivory?' " the sixth-grader recalled. Lucy explained that poachers had to kill the elephant to extract the tusks.

"When she learned this, she was like, 'What? I thought they fell out of the elephants,' " Lucy said.

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