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.

Composer ID: 
5187f157e1c837e16b69e493|5187f152e1c837e16b69e482

Pages

Sports
5:35 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Will Team USA's High-Tech Speedskating Suit Pay Off In Gold?

"Mach 39" is the result of a partnership between Under Armour and Lockheed Martin to create the most aerodynamic speedskating suit for the U.S. Olympic team.
Under Armour

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

A years-in-the-making, top-secret engineering and design project for a superaerodynamic suit to be worn by U.S. speedskaters at next month's Winter Olympics was finally unveiled Thursday.

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin and sporting goods company Under Armour released photos of the suit they're calling "Mach 39." It has been kept so tightly under wraps that the sport's governing body wouldn't even allow it to be worn at the Olympic trials in Salt Lake City.

Read more
Animals
4:11 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

To Save Threatened Owl, Another Species Is Shot

A northern spotted owl in a Redwood forest.
Michael Nichols Getty Images/National Geographic Creative

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 12:19 pm

In desperation to save the rare northern spotted owl, biologists are doing something that goes against their core — shooting another owl that's rapidly taking over spotted owl territory across the northwest.

"If we don't do it, what we're essentially doing, in my view, is dooming the spotted owl to extinction," says Lowell Diller, senior biologist for Green Diamond, a timber company.

Read more
Animals
6:24 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Months After 'Blackfish' Release, Controversy Over SeaWorld Grows

Two killer whales fly out of the water during a show at SeaWorld Orlando's Shamu Stadium in 2010.
Phelan M. Ebenhack AP

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:11 pm

The documentary Blackfish made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival when it premiered last January, and got more attention when it was released in theaters over the summer. But it didn't reach its largest audience until October, when millions watched it on CNN.

It's a powerful documentary that focuses on Tilikum, the male orca who pulled trainer Dawn Brancheau into the water and killed her at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010. In telling the story, Blackfish relies heavily on interviews with former SeaWorld trainers like Samantha Berg.

Read more
The Salt
5:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

German Farmers Fear For Europe's Bacon With U.S. Trade Deal

German farmer Rudolf Buehler and other opponents of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement protest with 17 pigs in front of the chancellor's office building in Berlin on Wednesday.
Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson NPR

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 9:12 pm

When German farmers and activists descended upon Chancellor Angela Merkel's office building Wednesday morning, they brought along some special guests — 17 pigs. The stunt was the latest European backlash against a proposed free trade deal with the U.S. that could lift restrictions on American meat sold in Europe.

Under the watchful eye of German police officers, the pigs munched happily on straw strewn across the pavement to keep the herd from running amok.

Read more
National Security
5:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Senate Committee Lays Blame For Benghazi With State Department

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

The Senate Intelligence Committee today delivered its analysis of the 2012 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya. Four Americans were killed in that attack, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens. It's a bipartisan report. Democrats and Republicans on the committee agreed, among other things, that the attack might have been prevented if the State Department had taken better precautions at the Benghazi post.

Read more
Arts & Life
5:31 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 7:44 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

So that's one question. And here's another that we're sure has been bothering many of you for years. What happens when you give a bird a guitar? Well, you'll get your answer at a new exhibition opening Saturday at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It's called "From Here to Ear."

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Picture this: One room, 70 zebra finches, 14 tuned and amplified guitars, no fingers.

Read more
The Two-Way
5:12 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Charleston Mayor: Company Behind Chemical Leak Run By 'Renegades'

Charleston mayor Danny Jones.
Craig Cunningham AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:08 pm

The mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says the company behind the chemical spill that essentially shut down his city for days was run by "a small of group of renegades," who in his opinion knew there were problems with the tanks that leaked dangerous chemicals into the city's water supply.

"I'm not even sure they cared what happened to the public," Danny Jones told Melissa Block on Tuesday's edition of All Things Considered.

Jones said he knows some of the people in charge of Freedom Industries and he considers them "to be a little edgy."

Read more
Politics
4:47 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

Hopes Dim For Long-Term Extension To Jobless Benefits

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

The Senate is still struggling to find a way to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits for those out of work for 26 weeks or more. Majority leader Harry Reid agreed to bring up five Democratic and five Republican amendments in hopes to winning enough Republicans over to get to the 60 votes needed for passage.

Around the Nation
4:47 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

In California, Alarm Grows Over Shrinking Water Levels

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Last week, we were shivering in depths of the polar vortex. Now another sign that Mother Nature is in charge. This time it's California, where right now it should be rainy season. Instead, there's growing alarm over a persistent lack of rain. The state is suffering its third consecutive dry year.

And as NPR's Richard Gonzales reports, there are calls for the governor to officially declare a drought.

(SOUNDBITE OF FOOTSTEPS)

Read more
Africa
4:47 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

On Third Anniversary, Tunisians May Get A Constitution

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 6:33 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The Arab Spring that brought those changes to Egypt began in Tunisia, exactly three years ago today. Tunisians overthrew their dictator, prompting a wave of uprisings across the region. But three years on, lawmakers are still struggling to ratify a new constitution and lay the foundations of their country's future. NPR's Eleanor Beardsley is in Tunis and sent this report.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Read more
Around the Nation
8:53 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

The Big Impact Of A Little-Known Chemical In W.Va. Spill

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:06 am

The chemical that was found last week to be contaminating the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of West Virginians is used to clean coal. But very little is known about how toxic it is to people or to the environment when it spills.

Read more
Race
8:15 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Nearly Six Decades Later, Integration Remains A Work In Progress

Students in Central High School walk through the hallways between classes.
Debbie Elliot NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 1:30 pm

A federal judge in Little Rock, Ark., approved a settlement today that ends decades of litigation over school desegregation there.

The city was one of the first tests of the U.S. Supreme Court's historic Brown v. Board of Education, when President Eisenhower sent federal troops to integrate Central High School in 1957.

Just about anyone you speak to about the Little Rock desegregation case says it's time for the contentious and ongoing litigation to be over. But no one is really celebrating either.

Read more
The Salt
5:56 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory

A barista makes coffee using the pour-over method at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Despite caffeine's many benefits, there's a belief out there that a daily coffee habit can cause dehydration.

So is it true? Not according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. studied the fluid levels of 50 men who had a habit of consuming about three to six cups of coffee each day.

Read more
All Tech Considered
5:52 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Game Over For Nintendo? Not If Mario And Zelda Fans Keep Playing

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 5:09 pm

Some analysts say that Nintendo's days are numbered. Holiday sales of its new console, the Wii U, have been lackluster compared to Microsoft's Xbox One and Sony's PlayStation 4.

But since Nintendo still offers some of the most popular game franchises, the love of Zelda and Mario may keep the company going for a long time.

In preparation for this story, I put out a call to talk to die-hard Nintendo fans. I was inundated with responses. Among them, Brian White, 30, grew up playing the Zelda games.

Now he's got a daughter. "We named her Zelda," he says.

Read more
The Salt
5:05 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Borscht Make Your Heart Beet? They're Serving 70,000 Gallons In Sochi

There are dozens of varieties of borscht — but at its most basic, it's a beet soup with potatoes, tomatoes and often beef or pork.
Flickr/Liz West

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 8:57 am

Russia's Soviet days are well behind it, but if you're headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, your dining options will still run deep red — as in borscht.

Organizers in Sochi expect to serve 70,000 gallons of this Russian staple — a hearty soup whose color comes from beets — to spectators. Borscht has graced both the high table of the Kremlin and the lowly tables of peasants across the former Soviet Union.

Read more
All Tech Considered
6:50 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Internet In America: An On Again, Off Again Relationship

Comcast is the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States. A recent survey found that many Americans give Internet service providers low marks for satisfaction.
Matt Rourke AP

The American Customer Satisfaction Index surveys large swaths of consumers about various industries. And in last year's survey, Americans rated Internet service providers at the very bottom for satisfaction. That puts them below the postal service, health insurance and even airlines.

Read more
Television
5:33 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Why Live Award Shows Have High Value, Even When We Hate Them

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 6:50 pm

Award shows are a booming business these days. Ratings have been climbing year by year, and networks are definitely paying attention — and packing their schedules to the brim.

There are at least 19 televised award shows airing between the start of the year and the broadcast of the Academy Awards on March 2.

Read more
Religion
4:57 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Former Pastor Decides To Spend A Year Without God

Minister Ryan Bell has decided to "try on" atheism for a year. The former Seventh-day Adventist pastor was asked to leave his congregation in March.
Natalie Gee

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 6:50 pm

Former Seventh-day Adventist Pastor Ryan Bell made an unusual New Year's resolution: to live for one year without God.

He used to lead a congregation in Southern California, but in March, he was asked to step down after voicing some of the doubts that led to this decision to "try on" atheism.

Read more
Politics
4:57 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Congress Gets A Beating In Gates Memoir, Too

Originally published on Mon January 27, 2014 12:50 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

When it comes to American foreign policy, the hot topic this week wasn't Syria. Instead, pundits and commentators of all types were furiously debating how President Obama handled the wars in his first term. That was thanks to retired Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' new book "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War." Even though the book hasn't hit stores yet, critics of the White House have been crowing over Gates' unvarnished critique of President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Read more
Middle East
4:57 pm
Sun January 12, 2014

Kerry: 'No Other Alternative' To Ending Violence In Syria

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 6:50 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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

The U.S. and other world powers have agreed on a plan with Iran to start rolling back parts of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief. Secretary of State John Kerry says the deal goes into effect later this month.

Read more
World
5:35 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

New Iranian President Brings 'Resurgence Of Hope' For Some

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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

Reporting on Iran is difficult and frustrating, and for those on the ground there, dangerous. It was especially bad after the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which triggered massive protests. Iran cracked down hard on the dissenters and heavily restricted Western reporters' access. But the country's recently elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has started to change things.

Read more
World
5:34 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon's Death Sparks Strong Emotions Across Middle East

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

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

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died today at the age of 85. The controversial military and political leader had spent the last eight years in a coma following a stroke. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Ariel Sharon was part of the nearly-gone generation of leaders who fought for Israel before the state's founding. That history built trust, says Israeli military analyst Jonathan Spyer.

Read more
World
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Egyptians To Vote On New Constitution For Troubled Nation

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Now to another country where the political process has been animated by an intense mix of optimism and fear: Egypt. Voters there are deciding whether to adopt a new constitution this week. The hopes that sprang out of the popular uprising that ejected President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had been tempered by the political instability in the years that have followed. Last summer, President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. And this week's constitutional referendum is the third in as many years.

Read more
Environment
6:44 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

The Upside Of The Bitter Cold: It Kills Bugs That Kill Trees

Tom Tiddens, supervisor of plant health care at the Chicago Botanic Garden, displays bark with beetle larvae.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

While many of us may prefer to never again see temperatures drop below zero like they did earlier this week across the country, the deep freeze is putting warm smiles on the faces of many entomologists.

That's because it may have been cold enough in some areas to freeze and kill some damaging invasive species of insects, including the tree-killing emerald ash borer.

Read more
This Week's Must Read
6:27 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

As Zamata Joins 'SNL,' A Look At — And Beyond — The Prism Of Race

iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 7:19 pm

This week the long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live hired Sasheer Zamata as a new cast member. The show had come under criticism for its lack of diversity, especially its lack of black women; Zamata will be the show's first female African-American cast member in six years.

Read more

Pages