Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, Washingtonpost.com. From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

Speed-reading all rage. Suddenly many speed-reading apps. Spritz. Spreeder. Others.

Some inspired by method RSVP — rapid serial visual presentation.

"Rather than read words

from left to right,"

says Marc Slater, managing director of Spreeder parent company eReflect.

I Just Hate Rants

Mar 10, 2014

I hate rants.

I can't stand it when people spew and spit and spout off. I hate when folks fume and fulminate. I hate when people go on and on about what they hate, especially superficial problems

* Like when you have to wash all the food off your plate before putting it in a dishwasher – a machine allegedly designed to keep you from having to wash all the food off your plate.

Flying snakes are mysterious. How do they soar? Without wings or other helpful appendages, how do they glide from tree to tree?

The air was clear. Our prose was not.

We remembered what Scott had told us about a clean, well-designed place called Future of Storytelling. Scott said we could learn from it. He was right and it was good.

Through the website, we discovered the Hemingway App.

For much of the nation, March has come in with a leonine roar.

Are these late-season snow shows examples of climate change? "No," says weather historian Jim Fleming of Colby College. "The polar vortex is a natural and variable stratospheric event. One of its anomalies hit Russia and Central Europe in winters past. This year it is our turn."

When I was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s, the Feds — and state and local officials — unveiled plans to build a short stretch of Interstate 40 to connect East Memphis with downtown.

At the end of the day, it is tougher than a nickel steak to banish from American popular parlance certain phrases such as "at the end of the day."

The word police at Lake Superior State University in Michigan have been trying to strike the phrase from public discourse since 1999. Here are their Banished Words Lists from then and from 2014.

We read about Smart Guns revolutionizing the firearms industry. We shop at Smart Toys stores in the shopping mall.

Tons of people responded — thoughtfully, wittily, smartly, poignantly — to NPR's recent request: Tell us the six songs of your life.

Sifting through the more than 1,000 annotated playlists, we came up with a few that seem exemplary of the original idea: People telling the stories of their lives — up to this point — through a half-dozen songs.

We were knocked out by the variety of the selections.

For eons in New England, a First Sign of Spring has been sap oozing from a maple tree. In northwestern Montana, officials at Glacier National Park report that a long understood First Sign of Spring is the appearance of a bear — emerging from hibernation.

There are people who do not like Michelle Obama.

This is not a story for, or about, them. This is a story for, and about, people who like the first lady. And perhaps some of the reasons they like her.

Sometimes it feels like all the fancy meteorological machinery and prognostication equipment is actually working. And that the weather folks may finally be able to predict — albeit with constant updates and countless hedge words — what the weather is going to be.

At least for the next day or so.

But is that good enough?

At weddings, guests tweet real-time photos of the festivities to friends far away. At sporting events, fans follow scores of games in other cities. In classrooms, students text with friends in other classes and parents out in the world. At funerals, mourners send out selfies to pals in other places.

If you don't know the meaning of a word, says Mary Caton Lingold, you can look it up in the dictionary, but if you don't know what a particular sound sounds like, where do you go? (Besides NPR, of course.)

For instance: What does tobacco harvesting sound like? Or someone clogging? Or a shotgun?

About college courses, actor Tom Hanks recently told The Star-Ledger: "I had thought, oh, college, you have to take chemistry and stuff and sit there slogging through work in the library. And then it was like, wait, you can go to college and study theater? And act in plays? This is almost a racket."

Check the catalogs at colleges these days and you will see that you can study theater, act in plays and explore a whole lot more.

When you leave the office to take a walk in this wicked wintry weather, it's 24 degrees Fahrenheit outside. You feel cold. As you stroll through the streets of Washington, you realize the temperature around you is dropping. To 22°F. To 20°F.

You are getting colder and you begin to wonder if there is a temperature at which the average human can no longer feel any "colder".

In other words, does 20°F – without wind — feel about the same as 10°F or 0°F, when it comes to how we sense the coldness?

Through one lens, the National Football League — on the threshold of Super Bowl XLVIII — looks to be at the top of its game. Revenues are ridiculously high: more than $9 billion a year, CNN reports. Television ratings are roof-piercing: 34 of the 35 most-watched TV shows of autumn 2013 were NFL games, according to the NFL.

Awards season is upon us. And on top of us. And all over us with red carpets, acceptance speeches and actor antics.

Fifty years ago this month, the landmark U.S. Surgeon General's report linking cigarette smoking and lung cancer was released.

Over the past half-century, America has become more and more inhospitable to people who smoke — and to tobacco companies. In a recent statement, the Department of Health and Human Services declares its desire "to make the next generation tobacco-free."

Look. Up in the sky — and in that little package with the A-to-Z logo. It's a bird. It's a plane.

Maybe it all started with ugly Christmas sweaters. Or with cheesy inflatable Santas. Or hideously inappropriate tree ornaments. But Christmastime – at least its visible trappings and accoutrements – seems to be getting tackier.

Created by a British-American wordsmith, the very first Word-Cross appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913.

Created by a British-American wordsmith, the very first Word-Cross appeared in the New York World on Dec. 21, 1913.

Blocks grow with you — from basic alphabet blocks and geometric building blocks, to Tinker Toys and Legos and girder and panel sets, to bricks and

Resolved: That blocks are the best toys ever.

The usual question for Americans on an Anniversary of National Significance is: Where Were You When...?

Where Were You When you learned that: Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot on April 4 in 1968? Neil Armstrong walked on the moon on July 21, 1969? The twin towers of the World Trade Center were attacked on Sept. 11, 2001?

But there is another question of orientation: Who Were You When ... a certain nation-changing event occurred?

This is who I was — 50 years ago this month — when I heard that President John F. Kennedy had been shot.

We are a country at war, yet we live as if we are at peace. We are in economic turmoil, but the stock market soars, and corporations and banks prosper. We decry violence in real life but celebrate violence in entertainment, such as Grand Theft Auto V and Breaking Bad. We warn our young people against promiscuity, while society's sexualization of young people continues.

And on and on.

Starter: Hello. Is that whiskey you're drinking?

Let me tell you about the debt that whiskey drinkers owe to women. Fred Minnick, a writer for the beverage industry, says so in his new book, Whiskey Women: The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey.

First there was recycling — reusing old material instead of throwing it away.

Recently there has been an eruption of revelations from below the surface of the Earth: Major aquifers beneath Kenya and a vast volcano deep in the Pacific Ocean.

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