NPR News

What Can We Learn From Video Games?

Apr 18, 2012

The White House is making what some would call an unconventional investment. It's studying the benefits of video games on those who play them. White House senior policy analyst Constance Steinkuehler is at the head of that research and she discusses the initiative with host Michel Martin.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, we'll check in with Boston Globe film critic Wesley Morris, one of our regular contributors. He just won a Pulitzer Prize and we hope he's still taking our calls to tell us about the new films coming out this summer. That's in just a few minutes.

The new romantic comedy Think Like a Man is based on Steve Harvey's advice book that claims to tell women how to out-maneuver men in romance. But even before hitting the box office, the film is causing a stir. Host Michel Martin discusses the movie and the controversy with critic and new Pulitzer Prize winner Wesley Morris.

As part of Tell Me More's series for National Poetry Month, host Michel Martin shares a poetic tweet from land surveyor and poet Brandon Montero of Ripon, California. Listeners are invited to tweet original poems of 140 characters or less to #TMMPoetry.

He's not as old as some bloggers (sigh!), but the Colorado Rockies' Jamie Moyer is now the holder of an impressive age-related record.

Tuesday night, at the age of 49 years, 150 days, he became the oldest pitcher to ever win a Major League Baseball game.

Playing in Denver, the Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3. "Moyer worked seven innings, allowing no earned runs on six hits," The Denver Post reports.

Violinist Jenny Scheinman's band and new album are both called Mischief and Mayhem. The record was made just after her quartet played a week at the Village Vanguard, but despite the jazz cred of regular Vanguard appearances, their stylistically fluid music draws on a lot of traditions.

Imagine it's England, 1209, and you're a wealthy baron. You arrive home from London one day to discover that King John's minions have once again raided your stores of grain. It's the king's right, of course — he has a large household and armies to feed — and there's a promise of compensation.

But all too often that payment arrives late, if at all. And there was that incident last year where the bailiff was caught selling the seized goods instead of handing them over to the king's men.

There's a growing controversy in Sweden over whether Culture Minister Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth should have smilingly cut into a cake in the shape of a naked black woman during a World Art Day event over the weekend.

Since last August, the Associated Press' investigative reporting team has published more than a dozen stories from an ongoing investigation into the New York City police department's secret spying program that monitored daily life in Muslim communities.

For telling National Rifle Association members over the weekend that "I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year" if President Obama is re-elected, rocker Ted Nugent has now attracted the attention of the Secret Service.

"We are aware of the incident, and we are conducting appropriate follow-up," Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary says.

Photos obtained by the Los Angeles Times that appear to show U.S. Army paratroopers posing with the remains of suicide bombers in Afghanistan "undermine the daily sacrifices of thousands of ISAF troops who continue to serve honorably in Afghanistan," the top U.S.

Obama And Romney Seek The Elusive 'Floating Voter'

Apr 18, 2012

With Mitt Romney all but formally installed as the Republican presidential nominee, the 2012 general election campaign is just getting under way.

Most voters, though, have already made up their minds.

The first Gallup daily tracking poll of the campaign, released Monday, showed that 90 percent of Republicans support Romney, while 90 percent of Democrats favor President Obama.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with congratulations to Jamie Moyer. At age 49, the pitcher won a game in the major leagues. Many of today's baseball players were not even born when Moyer's career started. He never threw the ball very hard, but won with patience and control. This year, he made the Colorado Rockies and pitched seven innings last night against San Diego for a five - three win. Some pitchers throw a 95 mile an hour fastball. Moyer's was 78. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

Roof Of Seattle's Space Needle Goes Retro

Apr 18, 2012

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Lynn Neary. The Seattle Space Needle is going retro. Built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair, the Space Needle was meant to be a beacon of the future. At first, it was not universally well received. Prince Charles even scorned the landmark's original color. But to celebrate its 50th anniversary on Saturday, the Space Needle's sloped roof is being repainted that same shade. Some call it sienna. Designers call it Galaxy Gold. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

It's a mere one hundred days remain before the opening of the Olympic Games in London. From time to time, MORNING EDITION has been getting dispatches from NPR's London-based correspondent Philip Reeves, about the preparations. In his latest, Reeves says the British are gearing themselves up for this great contest, both physically and mentally.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And I'm Lynn Neary. Renee Montagne is on assignment.

In Syria, a ceasefire that's part of an U.N.-Arab League peace plan is unraveling, just six days after it got underway. Once again, dozens of people are dying each day, as the Syrian military pounds the cities and towns that have most fiercely resisted the government, and opposition rebels are fighting back.

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

An outsized figure on the world's stage is fighting to keep his job. Nicolas Sarkozy has made headlines pressing for intervention in Libya, travelling abroad with his supermodel second wife Carla Bruni, pressing to free up France's economy and struggling with Europe's debt crisis. Now, with an election approaching, the French president is trailing in opinion polls against his main rival, the socialist Francois Hollande.

Sarkozy's future depends on voters like those who spoke with NPR's Eleanor Beardsley.

Egyptian election officials upheld their ban of nearly half of the presidential candidates running in next month's contest. Among them are two leading Islamist candidates and the intelligence chief for former President Hosni Mubarak. The decision radically alters the race for a post that will shape Egypt's political landscape.

Minutes after official news outlets announced the election commission ruling, candidate Hazem Abu Ismail took to the airwaves to denounce it as a conspiracy.

China is gripped by a tale of murder, betrayal, flight and intrigue that threatens the stability of the entire nation. At its heart is the death of a 41-year-old British businessman in a hotel room in the city of Chongqing last fall. The scandal has brought down a high-flying Chinese politician, Chongqing's party secretary Bo Xilai, and his wife, with China's state-run media hinting at their corruption and abuse of power.

Business News

Apr 18, 2012

At Citigroup's annual meeting Tuesday, 55 percent of shareholders voted against big paychecks for the firms top executives. Citigroup's latest pay package saw the CEO take home some $25 million, despite dwindling share values. The vote is not binding, but analysts call it historic.

The Last Word In Business

Apr 18, 2012

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In the world of advertising, the success of a billboard often depends on its location. And in the sporting world, what's a better local than the tall, imposing bodies of professional basketball players - which brings us to our last word in business: basketball billboard.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At an NBA meeting last week, team owners floated the idea of slapping corporate logos on team uniforms.

Psychologists at Purdue University have come up with an interesting twist on the old notion of the power of positive thinking. Call it the power of positive perception: They've shown that you may be able to improve your golf game by believing the hole you're aiming for is larger than it really is.

Jessica Witt, who studies how perception and performance are related, decided to look at golf — specifically, how the appearance of the hole changes depending on whether you're playing well or poorly.

In Republican-dominated Nebraska, government leaders often line up together, but lately a political tornado has ripped through this orderly scene.

A political showdown over taxpayer funding of prenatal care for illegal immigrants has produced some unusual political splits and alliances in the statehouse of the Cornhusker State.

Tina Brown, editor of The Daily Beast and Newsweek, tells us what she's been reading in a feature that Morning Edition likes to call "Word of Mouth." This month, Brown has been thinking about the contributions of journalists to global culture.

The Rise Of Hitler, As Seen By Americans Abroad

Paul Schubert and his wife decided to buy a new car last summer — a really fuel-efficient one. After a lot of research, they settled on a Toyota Prius. But there was a problem: They couldn't find one.

The tsunami that devastated Japan in March had dried up supplies of the Prius, which is made in Japan, and a dealer told them they would have to wait — "about four months," Schubert says. "And we thought, well, it'd be, probably, end of November, early December before we were going to have a car."

The Schuberts still had a working car.

Last year when Andrew Ng, a computer science professor at Stanford University, put his machine-learning class online and opened enrollment to the world, more than 100,000 students signed up.

"I think all of us were surprised," he says.

Ng had posted lectures online before, but this class was different.

"This was actually a class where you can participate as a student and get homework and assessments," he said.

The House is scheduled to vote this week on a small-business tax cut bill offered up by Republicans. It's just the latest piece of legislation to focus on small businesses, which are widely praised in the political discourse as engines of job creation. The adoration is nearly universal — and it reflects something beyond economic reality.

"Small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs in this economy, so our recovery depends on them," President Obama said in 2012 at a New Jersey sandwich shop where he met with small-business owners.

Can I give you a word I love that you just don't hear anymore?

Zany.

It used to be that all kinds of stuff was described as "zany," but it seems to have mostly gone out for fancier words like "dysfunctional."

Now, I bring this up because most sports franchises are pretty standard issue. Oh, some are rich, some poor, some win, some lose, but only one currently, to my mind, descends to the dear old level of zany. That is the Miami Marlins, formerly the Florida Marlins, or, now, as I like to call them, given their location in Little Havana, Los Zany-os.

A campaign to introduce new childhood vaccines to Haiti will save tens of thousands of lives over the next decade, Dr. Thomas Frieden told Shots at the end of a two-day tour of the beleaguered country.

"This is an enormous step forward for Haiti," says Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "This is a big deal."

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