All Things Considered

Weekdays from 4pm to 6:30pm
Robert Siegel, Melissa Block and Audie Cornish

NPR's afternoon news magazine, featuring a mix of interviews, commentaries, reviews, and offbeat features from around the world, and in and around Pittsburgh, hosted locally by Larkin Page Jacobs.

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Science
7:38 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Slashing Fossil Fuel Consumption Comes With A Price

Wind turbines twirl above farmland on the outskirts of Madison, Wis. Not all locals are pleased.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 8:56 am

Governments around the world have agreed to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). That would require an 80 percent reduction in energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas, which emit carbon dioxide into the air.

Nations are far from that ambitious path. There are big political and economic challenges. But technologists do see a way — at least for the United States — to achieve that goal.

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Shots - Health News
6:58 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

As Polio Spreads In Syria, Politics Thwarts Vaccination Efforts

Syrian boys line up to get the polio vaccine at a refugee camp in Sidon, Lebanon, on Nov. 7. The Lebanese government plans to vaccinate all kids under age 5 for the virus, including Syrian refugees.
Mohammad Zaatari AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:31 am

The World Health Organization has declared a polio emergency in Syria.

After being free of the crippling disease for more than a decade, Syria recorded 10 confirmed cases of polio in October. Now the outbreak has grown to 17 confirmed cases, the WHO said last week. And the virus has spread to four cities, including a war-torn suburb near the capital of Damascus.

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All Tech Considered
6:03 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Could A Tech Giant Build A Better Health Exchange? Maybe Not

Workers process applications for Oregon's health exchange program. The state paid tech giant Oracle to build its online exchange, but with the site still not functional, people shopping for insurance have been forced to apply on paper.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 8:48 pm

Oregon has spent more than $40 million to build its own online health care exchange. It gave that money to a Silicon Valley titan, Oracle, but the result has been a disaster of missed deadlines, a nonworking website and a state forced to process thousands of insurance applications on paper.

Some Oregon officials were sounding alarms about the tech company's work on the state's online health care exchange as early as last spring. Oracle was behind schedule and, worse, didn't seem able to offer an estimate of what it would take to get the state's online exchange up and running.

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Around the Nation
5:39 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Florida Tribe Re-Creates Daring Escape From The Trail Of Tears

Willie Johns holds a photo of Polly Parker, his great-grandmother.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:12 pm

This week, a group of Seminole Indians in Florida is commemorating an important historical event — when a Seminole named Polly Parker organized and led an escape from federal troops more than 150 years ago.

It came at a time when Indians were being deported to the West in what became known as the Trail of Tears. Florida's Seminoles call themselves the "unconquered people" because, through three wars with federal troops, they resisted deportation to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi.

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NPR Story
4:54 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Investigation Of New York Train Derailment Continues

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:12 pm

Transportation officials are investigating what caused a Metro-North Railroad passenger train to derail along the Hudson River in New York on Sunday morning. The crash left four dead and injured dozens more.

NPR Story
4:54 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

ACLU Sues, Claiming Catholic Hospitals Put Women At Risk

Archbishop Joseph William Tobin of Indianapolis prays at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' annual fall meeting in Baltimore on Nov. 12.
Patrick Semansky AP

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:50 pm

The American Civil Liberties Union has decided to go directly to the source of its unhappiness with the way women are treated in Catholic hospitals. It's suing the nation's Catholic bishops.

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NPR Story
4:54 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

Ukranians Face Choice Between EU And Russia

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 7:12 pm

Thousands of Ukrainian protesters blockaded government buildings in Kiev Monday seeking to oust President Viktor Yanukovich. Demonstrations over the weekend drew as many as 350,000 people in the largest rally since the Orange Revolution. The protests came after Yanukovich decided to abandon a trade deal with the European Union and instead seek closer ties with Russia. Robert Siegel talks to Steven Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, about the political landscape in the country and its relationship with Moscow.

Music Interviews
5:45 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Ben Allison: Leading A Stellar Band Far Beyond The World

The Stars Look Very Different Today, the new album from bassist and composer Ben Allison (far right) and his band, comes out Dec. 3.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Most music fans will recognize the title of Ben Allison's new album, The Stars Look Very Different Today, as a reference to the song "Space Oddity," itself a reference to the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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Around the Nation
5:43 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

The Latest From The New York Train Derailment

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

A commuter train derailed as it was heading into Manhattan this morning, killing four people and injuring more than 60. Witnesses say the train appeared to be going too fast as it rounded a curve just north of a train station in the Bronx. The National Transportation Safety Board is trying to piece together what happened.

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Author Interviews
5:41 pm
Sun December 1, 2013

Nightclub King Jon Taffer Sets A High Bar

iStockphoto

Originally published on Sun December 1, 2013 7:55 pm

Jon Taffer is the king of the bar business. Over the past three decades, he has managed dozens of bars and nightclubs, and is a consultant for bar owners all over the country.

Most recently, he has put his expertise to use as the host of the popular reality show Bar Rescue. Bar and nightclub owners with failing businesses ask Taffer for his help. In return, Taffer brings a team of bartenders, chefs and designers with him to revamp every part of the operation. On the show, as in person, Taffer is a tough, no-nonsense guy.

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Business
5:08 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Boston Says It Has A Plan To Erase The Gender Wage Gap

It doesn't matter if you're a surgeon, a banker or a fisherman — if you're a woman in the United States, you're probably paid less than a man. That hasn't changed with federal laws or the feminist movement.

But now, Boston thinks it has a solution to completely erase the gender wage gap.

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The New And The Next
5:08 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

Bickering In Bangladesh; Curling; Glow-In-The-Dark Tattoos

Courtesy of Ozy.com

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 3:31 pm

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

This week, Ozy deputy editor Eugene Robinson fills in for Carlos to tell NPR's Arun Rath about two dueling divas in Bangladeshi politics, the rising popularity of an obscure winter sport, and tattoos that you can wear to work.

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Pop Culture
5:08 pm
Sat November 30, 2013

In The World Of Podcasts, Judge John Hodgman Rules

In addition to Hodgman's work on Judge John Hodgman, he has contributed pieces to This American Life and Wiretap. His most recent book, That Is All, was published in 2011.
Brantley Gutierrez Courtesy of Maximum Fun

Originally published on Sat November 30, 2013 6:08 pm

Should the kitchen sink's built-in dispenser be filled with dish soap or hand soap?

Can you stop family members from using your childhood nickname?

Is a machine gun a robot?

These are the kinds of pressing decisions before the court on the podcast, Judge John Hodgman.

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The Salt
2:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Party Like It's 1799: Traditional Cider Makes A Comeback

Chuck Shelton in the cold room at Albemarle CiderWorks in Virginia, which makes sparkling alcoholic cider with some of the same apple varieties used by Thomas Jefferson.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:51 pm

Feeling extra American this week? Wanna keep that post-turkey glow going? Well, how about a very American beverage: cider?

We're not talking about the hot mulled stuff that steams up your kitchen, or the sweet pub draft in a pint glass. This cider is more like sparkling wine.

"This is a phenomenally funky, sour, even mildly smoky cider that has to be tasted to be believed," says Greg Engert, one of the owners of a bar in Washington called ChurchKey. He's pouring cider from a tall champagne-style bottle that retails for around $15.

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Movies
2:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Finding 'Great Beauty' Amid Rome's Corruptions

In The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino surveys the city of Rome through the eyes of jaded journalist Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), taking in the city's degeneracies alongside its eternal beauties.
Gianni Fiorito Janus Films

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Rome is often called the Eternal City, and generations of filmmakers from around the world have sought to capture its enduring beauty on screen.

The new film The Great Beauty is the latest, a picture that casts Rome itself in the title role. After playing to critical acclaim in Europe, it opens in American cinemas this month. The film is also Italy's official entry at this season's Academy Awards.

The Great Beauty is a double-edged portrait, out to capture both the beauty and the ugliness of modern Rome.

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Books
2:55 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

A Poet's Advice For Unlikely Partners: Just Dance

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (second from left) shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry next to Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (far left) and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius (far right) after a statement on early November 24, 2013 in Geneva.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Sometime after 3 a.m. on Sunday, international negotiators emerged from a conference room in a Geneva hotel, bearing with them weary smiles and a historic agreement. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and representatives from five other world powers had come together on a deal to freeze the Iranian nuclear program temporarily.

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NPR Story
2:20 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Week In Politics: HealthCare.gov And Troop Levels In Afghanistan

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 5:12 pm

Ari Shapiro speaks with political commentators, EJ Dionne of the Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times. They discuss the latest on the HealthCare.gov Website and the discord over reaching a troop agreement between the U.S. and Afghanistan.

NPR Story
2:17 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

As HealthCare.Gov's Deadline Approaches, What Will Be Ready?

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Ari Shapiro. Tomorrow is judgment day for healthcare.gov. The Obama administration has repeatedly said that by November 30, the troubled website will be up and running for the vast majority of users, and officials say they're on track to reach that goal.

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NPR Story
2:17 pm
Fri November 29, 2013

Phantom Traffic Jams: What Causes Mysterious Highway Backups?

Originally published on Fri November 29, 2013 6:49 pm

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

If you find yourself stuck in holiday traffic this weekend, our next story won't help you much, but it does bring hope for a less stressful future. A computer scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thinks he's found a way to eliminate at least one kind of really annoying traffic jam. NPR's Joe Palca explains.

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Music Interviews
4:35 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

'It's Hard To Stay Patient': A Conversation With John Mayer

John Mayer in Studio 1 at NPR's Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Amy Ta NPR

John Mayer has a lot to be thankful for this year, including his return to the stage. A Grammy winner and a multi-platinum seller, Mayer is one of the most successful musicians of the past decade-plus — but a few events in his life have left him uncharacteristically quiet of late. He took a break from press after a pair of controversial interviews in 2010; not long after, he underwent surgery for damage to his vocal cords and had to stop speaking and singing publicly for more than a year.

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Asia
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

China's Latest Territorial Moves Renew Fears In Philippines

U.S. and Philippine navy personnel patrol the seas off a naval base west of Manila in June as part of joint exercises.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 9:24 pm

China is flexing its muscles these days. Over the weekend, it declared a sprawling air defense identification zone that covers disputed islands controlled by Japan. And it has sent its lone aircraft carrier for first-time trials in the South China Sea, where Beijing has territorial feuds with other neighbors, including Vietnam, Brunei and the Philippines.

None of this was making China any friends in Manila, where the Chinese government is particularly unpopular these days.

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Shots - Health News
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Breaking Up With HealthCare.gov Is Hard To Do

Lara Imler has tried to cancel her enrollment on HealthCare.gov, but to no avail.
Annie Feidt Alaska Public Radio Network

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 4:43 pm

Enrolling in HealthCare.gov is not easy, and it's been particularly difficult in Alaska. Just 53 people enrolled in the first month.

Anchorage hair stylist Lara Imler is one of the few who got through, as we previously reported. But Imler discovered problems with her application, and now she wants to cancel her enrollment.

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Afghanistan
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

When Most U.S. Forces Leave Afghanistan, Contractors May Stay

A helicopter from the American security contractor DynCorp provides air support as members of an Afghan eradication force plow opium poppies on April 3, 2006, in the Helmand province, Afghanistan.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 28, 2013 4:35 pm

Should the Afghan government sign a security agreement, the U.S. plans to keep between 6,000 and 9,000 American troops in Afghanistan even after the U.S. and NATO's combat mission officially ends late in 2014.

Beginning in 2015, the remaining troops would train Afghan soldiers and mount operations against any remnants of al-Qaida.

But they wouldn't be the only ones who stay behind: U.S. troops would almost certainly be outnumbered by civilian contractors.

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Music
4:02 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

The Electric Bassist With An In-House Composer

Steve Swallow switched from acoustic bass to bass guitar in 1970, and hasn't looked back.
Klaus Muempfer Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 3:15 pm

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Shots - Health News
2:03 pm
Thu November 28, 2013

Brain Cells 'Geotag' Memories To Cache What Happened — And Where

Benjamin Arthur for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 2, 2013 6:13 am

Think back to an important event in your life: a graduation, a birth, a special Thanksgiving dinner. Chances are you're remembering not only what happened, but also where it happened. And now scientists think they know why.

As we form so-called episodic memories, the brain appears to be using special cells in the hippocampus to "geotag" each event, researchers report in Science. The process is similar to what some digital cameras do when they tag each picture with information about where the image was taken.

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