Politics
12:00 pm
Wed December 21, 2011

The Politics Of The Keystone XL Pipeline Debate

House members on Tuesday rejected a Senate plan for extending the payroll tax cut. To attract House conservatives, the Senate had included a controversial provision forcing President Barack Obama to decide on the fate of a planned oil pipeline within 60 days.

The Two-Way
11:58 am
Wed December 21, 2011

White House: It's Time For Killing In Syria To Stop

In a statement from the president's press secretary, the United States called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop killing protesters.

"The United States is deeply disturbed by credible reports that the Assad regime continues to indiscriminately kill scores of civilians and army defectors, while destroying homes and shops and arresting protesters without due process," Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

Read more
The Salt
11:44 am
Wed December 21, 2011

What A Global Flavor Map Can Tell Us About How We Pair Foods

Each node in this network denotes an ingredient, the color indicates food category, and node size reflects the ingredient prevalence in recipes. Two ingredients are connected if they share a significant number of flavor compounds, and link thickness representing the number of shared compounds between the two ingredients.
Yong-Yeol Ahn, Sebastian E. Ahnert, James P. Bagrow, and Albert-László Barabási

There's a reason why Asian dishes often taste so different from the typical North American fare: North American recipes rely on flavors that are related, while East Asian cooks go for sharp contrasts.

That's the word from researchers at the University of Cambridge, who used a tool called network analysis to chart the relationship between chemical flavor compounds. They did it to test the widely believed notion that foods with compatible flavors are chemically similar.

Read more
The Two-Way
11:30 am
Wed December 21, 2011

NewtGingrich.com Is Sending Surfers To Sites And Stories He Wouldn't Like

Looking for Newt Gingrich? Don't type "newtgingrich.com." You might get directed to Freddie Mac, Tiffany's or other sites that bring to mind less flattering stories about the Republican presidential candidate.
FreddieMac.com

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's official campaign website — at newt.org — is working fine.

But if anyone types "newtgingrich.com" and hits enter right now, they're not going to see things that the former House speaker would find very funny.

In the last few minutes when we've done that we've been directed to:

Read more

Milo Miles is Fresh Air's world-music and American-roots music critic. He is a former music editor of The Boston Phoenix.

Miles is a contributing writer for Rolling Stone magazine, and he also writes about music for The Village Voice and The New York Times.

World
11:14 am
Wed December 21, 2011

2011 Has Been A Rough Year For Dictators

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, whose death was announced Monday, was in power for 17 years. He succeeded his father, who ruled for nearly a half-century. Kim is shown here on Aug. 24 during a visit to Russia.
Dmitry Astakhov AFP/Getty Images/Emily Bogle

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:11 am

Dictators suddenly seem to have a lot less longevity. This year, several of the world's longest-serving autocrats have either died or been ousted from power.

The death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il from heart failure had nothing to do with the Arab uprisings that ousted four leaders who had been in power for decades — Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia.

Read more
Music Reviews
11:09 am
Wed December 21, 2011

El Rego: A Singer From Benin With Soul And Funk

El Rego, the godfather of Benin funk, and his band The Commandos.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:16 am

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.

Read more
Shots - Health Blog
11:02 am
Wed December 21, 2011

After 25 Years In Woman's Stomach, A Pen Still Writes

CT scan proves woman was right. She did swallow a pen 25 years ago.
Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 9:32 am

You might have heard about the case on Wednesday's Morning Edition.

Twenty-five years ago, a British woman who saw a spot on a tonsil tried to get a better look using a pen and a mirror. She slipped and the pen went down her throat.

Neither the woman's husband nor her doctor believed her. X-rays at the time didn't detect the pen. Now, "they are eating their words," as NPR's Linda Wertheimer put it.

Read more
Movie Reviews
10:52 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Stirring Adventures, At Home (In A Zoo) And Abroad

Matt Damon gets up close and personal with one of his new four-legged family members in We Bought A Zoo.
Neal Preston Twentieth Century Fox

After being force-fed a steady diet of Oscar hopefuls for almost a month, I may just be ready for empty-calorie time at the cineplex. But I have to confess a sense of relief this week, as I watched entertainments that didn't seem to want to do anything other than show an audience a good time.

Read more
Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt
10:40 am
Wed December 21, 2011

A Foreign Correspondent Reflects On The Arab Spring

here." href="/post/foreign-correspondent-reflects-arab-spring" class="noexit lightbox">
Photographer Moises Saman captured this shot of two activists in Hama, Syria. Saman and journalist Anthony Shadid entered the city for several days last July. The rest of Saman's images can be found here.
Moises Saman The New York Times

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 11:55 am

Veteran war correspondent Anthony Shadid spent much of the past decade in Baghdad covering the Iraq war, first for The Washington Post and then for The New York Times. Last December, Shadid left Baghdad for his home in Beirut, Lebanon, where he's been based for more than a decade.

Read more

Pages