We go now to the small community of Union Beach, New Jersey. It's just across the Raritan Bay from New York City. It's also among the places hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy. The powerful storm surge flooded much of the town, gutting buildings along the waterfront and destroying hundreds of homes and businesses. New Jersey Public Radio's Scott Gurian recently visited Union Beach and met one restaurant owner who's trying to put her life back together.
Walter Latham was one of the biggest comedy producers in the 1990s. He was the brains behind the Kings of Comedy tour that featured such headliners as the late Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey. Audie Cornish talks to Latham about starting a new YouTube channel called, "Walter Latham Comedy" and both the new opportunities and challenges it presents.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 12:55 pm
We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.
You might think that actor Irrfan Khan — the co-star of the special effects-filled film Life of Pi -- performed his scenes by himself, or with inanimate objects that would later be transformed via CGI. Not so: As the older Pi in Ang Lee's new adaptation of the best-selling novel, Khan went back to the basics.
He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of scenes as being like duets: "You strike a note, and somebody responds, and then you respond accordingly," Khan says.
Edward Blum studies the history of race and religion in the U.S., and is a professor at San Diego State University. His previous books include <em>W.E B. Du Bois: American Prophet </em>and <em>Reforging the White Republic.</em>
What did Jesus look like? The many different depictions of Christ tell a story about race and religion in America. Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explore that history in their new book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. The book traces how different races and ethnic groups claimed Christ as their own — and how depictions of Jesus have both inspired civil rights crusades, and been used to justify the violence of white supremacists.
Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:33 pm
Just days before the movie's premiere, there's word that during the filming of director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as many as 27 animals used in its production died at the farm in New Zealand where they were housed.
Animal wranglers tell The Associated Press that there were "bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps' " at the farm. Three horses died, along with "six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens."
xkcd: "Another thing that is a bad problem is if you're flying toward space and the parts start to fall off your space car in the wrong order. If that happens, it means you won't go to space today, or maybe ever."
Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 11:27 am
There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.
If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.
Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 11:30 am
San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener (yes, that's his name) says last year's law ordering those who bare everything in public to put a towel between their bottoms and public benches or restaurant seats hasn't stopped the complaints he gets about men who prefer to go without (clothes, that is) in the city's Castro District.
Emergency managers around the nation have been paying close attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. From California, NPR's Richard Gonzales a look at what lessons disaster planners there say they've learned.
RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Superstorm Sandy didn't sneak up on anybody.
CHRISTOPHER GODLEY: They had days of warning before it made landfall, before the damage really started to occur, so people could prepare themselves, their families, their neighborhoods.
As the Northeast states take stock of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, a new concern is coming into focus. New York and New Jersey have dozens of superfund sites close to the shore. Some of these toxic zones were flooded by Sandy's storm surge.
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:
Ilya Marritz, of member station WNYC, reports that in New Jersey's largest city there are worries that toxic chemicals may have been swept into people's homes.
And in Austin, Texas, after a five-year absence, Formula One racing returned to the U.S. A Formula One track called the Circuit of the Americas, was inaugurated over the weekend in a race won by Lewis Hamilton. Formula One is immensely popular in Europe and much of the world, but it's failed to win a big audience in the U.S., dwarfed by the homegrown culture of NASCAR and the Indy circuit.