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Energy
5:04 am
Fri November 2, 2012

Fixing NYC's Underground Power Grid Is No Easy Task

Consolidated Edison workers try to repair damage near the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

The fury of the great storm Sandy shocked a lot of people, like John Miksad, vice president of the New York electric utility Consolidated Edison. "We hit 14-foot tides — that was the biggest surprise," he told a press conference this week. "The water just kept rising and rising and rising."

That rising water flooded streets, buildings and parts of the city's underground electricity grid. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power. But it might have been worse if the power lines had not been underground.

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The Two-Way
3:31 am
Fri November 2, 2012

U.S. Offers New Details Of Deadly Libya Attack

A Libyan military guard stands in front of one of the U.S. Consulate's burned out buildings on Sept. 14. The U.S. is offering new details of the attack on the consulate that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

Once a mob began attacking the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on the night of Sept. 11, officials in Washington, D.C., watched with alarm. Now, new details are emerging about their response to the deadly attack.

President Obama and his entire national security team monitored what was going on half a world away. Army Gen. Carter Ham, who was the regional commander for Africa, happened to be in Washington that day.

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World Cafe
8:02 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Latin Roots: Nuevo Cancion

Camila Moreno.
Felipe Schiffrin Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 11:05 am

Nueva Cancion ("new song") is a style born in the '60s and '70s, when many Latin countries were ruled by repressive dictators. The songs were folk-inspired, with guitar-based song forms, percussive elements and socially charged lyrics. The late Victor Jara is seen as the father of the movement, and he comes up in this conversation.

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Animals
8:00 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Move Over, Parrot: Elephant Mimics Trainer At Zoo

Koshi, an elephant, makes sounds that imitate Korean words.
Stoeger, et. al. Current Biology

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 11:43 am

Scientists say an Asian elephant at a South Korean zoo can imitate human speech, saying five Korean words that are readily understood by people who speak the language.

The male elephant, named Koshik, invented an unusual method of sound production that involves putting his trunk in his mouth and manipulating his vocal tract.

"This is not the kind of sound that Asian elephants normally make, and it's a dead-on match of the speech of his trainers," says Tecumseh Fitch of the University of Vienna in Austria.

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The Two-Way
6:37 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Report: Non-Partisan Research Service Pulls Tax Report After GOP Complaints

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 8:36 pm

According to The New York Times, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service pulled a report from its website after "after Senate Republicans raised concerns about the paper's findings and wording." The unit of the Library of Congress did so, despite objections from its economic team.

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World Cafe
5:19 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Terry Callier On World Cafe

Terry Callier.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri November 2, 2012 8:40 am

Terry Callier enjoyed one of the most versatile and distinctive careers in the history of American jazz. His 50-year legacy ran the gamut from folk and soul to African chant and, of course, jazz. Few artists have covered as much musical ground with as little fanfare as Callier, who died Saturday at 67.

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It's All Politics
5:12 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

A Campaign Map, Morphed By Money

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 4:36 pm

Campaign reporters spend a lot of time pointing at color-coded electoral maps like the one below, showing which states voted for Republican John McCain (in red) and Democrat Barack Obama (in blue) in 2008.

But these maps lie — visually speaking.

Red appears to be the clear winner, dominating a vast swath from the South to the Rockies. It's all geographically accurate, but electorally skewed. For example, Montana (three electoral votes) dwarfs Massachusetts (which had 12 electoral votes in 2008).

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

'Ralph': An 8-Bit Hero With Plenty Of Heart

Wreck-It Ralph (John C. Reilly) grows tired of being overshadowed by Fix-It Felix Jr., the "good guy" star of their game, and sets off on a quest to prove he's got what it takes to be a hero.
Walt Disney Pictures

Originally published on Sat November 3, 2012 12:15 am

After a very long engagement that began with the original Toy Story, Disney finally made an honest woman out of Pixar in 2006, when it paid the requisite billions to move the computer animation giant into the Magic Kingdom. But Disney's spirited 2010 hit Tangled made it abundantly clear that Pixar had a say in the creative marriage: The story of Rapunzel may be standard Disney princess fare, but the whip-crack pacing and fractured-fairy tale wit felt unmistakably Pixar. From now on, it would seem, Mickey Mouse and Luxo Jr.

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The Two-Way
4:55 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

China Offers Proposal For Ceasefire In Syria

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 8:37 pm

China, which along with Russia has repeatedly rejected international intervention in the civil war in Syria, issued a cease-fire proposal on Thursday.

The proposal, reports The New York Times, calls for a "phased-in truce" and the "establishment of a transitional authority," but does stop short of calling for the ouster of President Bashar Assad.

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It's All Politics
4:42 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Superstorm Sandy May Have Blown In Fresh Breeze Of Bipartisanship

President Obama is greeted by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie upon arriving in Atlantic City, N.J., on Wednesday to visit areas hardest hit by Superstorm Sandy.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 7:02 pm

Amid the devastation caused by Sandy, there are signs the superstorm might have blown a fresh breeze into the nation's politics. Suddenly, everyone's talking about something that seemed impossible just days before — bipartisanship.

Nothing sums that attitude up better than the actions of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Republican Christie, who has worked closely with GOP hopeful Mitt Romney's campaign and has consistently proved one of President Obama's harshest critics, put that aside in the aftermath of Sandy.

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