Music News
1:38 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

'Messiah': A Holiday Tradition Transcending Time

A statue of George Frideric Handel, posing with his Messiah transcript, at London's Westminster Abbey.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 4:46 am

This Christmas season, musicians around the country are continuing a centuries-old holiday tradition: performing George Frideric Handel's Baroque masterpiece, Messiah.

In Washington, D.C., the National Symphony Orchestra has finished its 58th annual performance of the work. This year, guest conductor Matthew Halls led the orchestra, which was accompanied by four soloists and the University of Maryland Concert Choir.

Though the performance marked Halls' debut with the NSO, he is not a newcomer to Messiah.

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NPR Story
1:30 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Finish Your 2011 To-Do List? The Clock's Ticking!

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 1:30 pm

Remember those 2011 new year's resolutions? If you haven't contributed to your child's college savings plan or spent your use-it-or-lose-it flexible savings account funds, there are still a few days left to get it done. Chicago Tribune columnist John McCarron shares tips on taking care of business.

Animals
12:38 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Endangered Turtle Survives Trans-Atlantic Journey

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle like this one traveled 4,600 miles across the Atlantic ocean in 2008. After being rehabilitated in Portugal, it is being reintroduced into its native Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday.
US EPA via flickr

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 3:28 pm

On Florida's Gulf coast Tuesday, there will be a celebrated homecoming. For a turtle. This is no ordinary turtle: Known as Johnny Vasco da Gama, after the 15th-century Portuguese explorer, it crossed the Atlantic twice — by sea and by air.

Johnny, as his human friends call him, is a critically endangered Kemp's ridley turtle. Only a few thousand of these sea-turtles exist, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico. Normally, they do not migrate across the Atlantic.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

How Iraq, Afghanistan Have Changed The Military

U.S. forces have left Iraq and a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway, but both wars have left an indelible impact on the U.S. military. The armed forces have altered strategy and tactics, and countless lives have been changed — including those of the families of service members serving multiple deployments.

Conflict In Libya
11:55 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Injured In Battle, Libyans Recuperate In U.S. Hospital

Dr. Ryan Zaklin and other doctors at Spaulding Hospital are wearing name tags in English and Arabic to help their Libyan patients. There are also small sticky notes with English words written on them scattered throughout the hospital to help the patients learn terms for common objects.
Sacha Pfeiffer for NPR

Libya's civil war toppled a dictator and put the country on a path to democracy, but many of the rebel fighters who helped create that change are still recovering from battle injuries. Spaulding Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts, near Boston, is treating about two dozen of them — the only hospital in the country providing this kind of care.

Handwritten signs in Arabic are hung in a physical therapy room at the hospital, where several Libyan patients are getting rehab for injuries to their shoulders, hands and arms.

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Digital Life
11:24 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Touchy-Feely Future Of Technology

While many think of the tablet computer as a new idea, the concept can traced back to the original Star Trek series and Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Noel Celis AFP/Getty Images

In 1975, when then-composer and performer Bill Buxton started designing his own digital musical instruments, he had no way of knowing he was helping to spark the next technological revolution. But nine years — and a master's in computer science — later, that all changed.

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The Record
11:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Skylar Grey: And The Hits Keep Coming

Skylar Grey.
P.R. Brown Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 1:41 pm

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Technology
10:38 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Timeline: A History Of Touch-Screen Technology

The University of Illinois released its PLATO IV touch-screen terminal in 1972.
Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 9:15 pm

1948 The Electronic Sackbut
The history of touch technology begins with touch-sensitive music synthesizers. According to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Hugh Le Caine's Electronic Sackbut, completed in 1948, is widely considered to be the first musical synthesizer. The Sackbut is played with the right hand on the keyboard and the left hand on control board above the keyboard. The right hand controls volume by applying more or less pressure on the keys, while the left hand controls four different sound texture options.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
10:15 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Jimmy Fallon's 'Thank You Notes' For Everything

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 10:18 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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It's All Politics
10:02 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Paul Disavows Newsletters, But In '95 Video He Seems To Claim Credit

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa on Dec. 21.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 11:15 am

Ron Paul's struggles to distance himself from some decades-old controversial newsletters got a bit tougher over the holiday weekend.

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