Lately I've been re-watching vintage Truffaut movies, and I've been struck by the resurgent influence on American independent films of the French New Wave of the late '50s and '60s.
The Truffaut borrowings are fairly explicit in Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha, while Richard Linklater's Before Midnight takes its cues from Eric Rohmer's gentle but expansive talkfests. That's not a criticism: With mainstream movies seeming ever more machine-tooled nowadays, the impulse to reach back to an age of free-form filmmaking feels especially liberating.
Populations of frogs, salamanders and other amphibians are declining at an average rate of 3.7 percent each year, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study released this week. Researchers say the study is the first to calculate how quickly amphibians are disappearing in the United States.
"If the rate observed is representative and remains unchanged, these species would disappear from half of the habitats they currently occupy in about 20 years," according to the USGS.
Saying that "those who commit sexual assaults are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong," President Obama on Friday urged Naval Academy graduates to help bring an end to a disturbing series of such offenses.
"They've got no place in the greatest military on earth," Obama said during the commencement address he delivered at the academy's Annapolis, Md., campus.
Smartphones, tablets and computers could help seniors stay connected to their communities and families. But a hefty price tag, steep learning curves, and designs meant for younger eyes and hands could keep some older adults from logging on. Guests discuss the best ways for seniors to tackle new technology, and how devices can be adapted to accommodate older users.
North Carolina State University biologist Rob Dunn and colleagues surveyed people's pillow cases, refrigerators, toilet seats, TV screens and other household spots, to learn about the microbes that dwell in our homes. Among the findings, reported in the journal PLoS One, homes with dogs had more diverse bacterial communities, and higher numbers of "dog-associated" bacteria.
In parts of the southeastern US, aggressive fire ants have been driven out by an even more recent arrival, the tawny crazy ant. Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the newcomers and how one invasive species can out-invade another.
Throughout Kobo Town's new album Jumbie in the Jukebox, frontman Drew Gonsalves declares his love for the past even as his feet are firmly planted in the present. The music of the Toronto band can drift between classic Caribbean pop styles and even verge on hip-hop, but the singer's perspective remains sharply focused, wry and witty. The song "Postcard Poverty," for example, ribs tourists for whom tropical slums become an exotic backdrop to fun-in-the-sun adventures.
The mythology surrounding The Doors has centered largely on its lead singer, Jim Morrison, who died under mysterious circumstances in 1971. Morrison is still considered one of rock music's tortured poets and sex gods, but instrumentally, The Doors' distinctive sound was based on Ray Manzarek's keyboard playing. His are the riffs made famous in such songs such as "Riders on the Storm," "Break on Through" and "People Are Strange."
When Methodist minister Reverend Thomas Ogletree officiated his son's same-sex marriage, he didn't think it would cause a stir. But now some New York United Methodist Church ministers are threatening to defrock him. He speaks with Host Michel Martin about the controversy and why he feels he's being singled out.