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All Songs Considered from NPR
New Mix: A Premiere From M. Ward, Julia Holter And More (February 21, 2012) — This week on All Songs Considered, M. Ward puts his many side projects aside to record a new solo album — one that explores the moody songwriter’s cheerier side. A Wasteland Companion isn’t out until April, but we’ve got an exclusive sneak preview of the song “Primitive Girl.” Also on the show: no-frills blues-rock from Ohio’s Mount Carmel, a snowballing slow-burner from London’s Dry the River and shoegazey pop from Minnesota’s Now, Now (whose members met in marching band). Plus, Julia Holter and Tiny Victories get playful with the tools and conventions of electronic music, and a CD picked solely for its cover art turns out to be from NPR’s own backyard.
Book Reviews from The New York Times
Book Review Podcast (Friday, February 24, 2012) — This week, Jennifer B. McDonald on “The Lifespan of a Fact”; Julie Bosman has notes from the field; John Leland discusses a history of gay American writers; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Sam Tanenhaus is the host.
Book Review Podcast (Friday, February 17, 2012) — This week, Nathan Englander on his new collection of stories; Julie Bosman has notes from the field; Roberta Smith talks about the German artist Martin Kippenberger; Ginia Bellafante introduces the latest Big City Book Club; and Gregory Cowles has best-seller news. Sam Tanenhaus is the host.
Books Podcast from NPR
Living With Asperger’s, Surviving Slum Life in Mumbai, and more (February 09, 2012) — Stories in this episode: 1) ‘Best Practices’: Learning To Live With Asperger’s; 2) Is White, Working Class America ‘Coming Apart’?; 3) ‘Beautiful Forevers’: Surviving Slum Life In Mumbai; 4) Robert Harris, In ‘Fear’ Of A Financial Frankenstein 5) S’il-Vous-Plait: Raising Your ‘Bebe’ The French Way
Brain Stuff from HowStuffWorks.com
Why do human beings have eyebrows? (Friday, February 24, 2012) — Eyebrows are prominent human features, but what purpose do they serve? Scientists think they help keep stuff out of our eyes and aid in nonverbal communication, among other things. Learn more about eyebrows in this episode.
How do thirty pounds of air in your tires hold up two tons of car? (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) — Cars are heavy machines, so how can a few small, pressurized tires support their weight? Marshall Brain explains how tire pressure and contact patches work in this episode.
Do you have a hidden savant inside your brain? (Monday, February 20, 2012) — Savant capabilities seem extraordinary, but what if they aren’t? What if we all have amazing talents embedded in our brains? In this episode, Marshall discusses different techniques that have revealed savant-like qualities in ordinary people.
The Coolest Stuff on the Planet
The Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza (February 24, 2012) — Where in Mexico are these ancient ruins? When are the best (and worst!) times to visit? What role do the ruins play in the Mayan calendar and the end of the world in 2012? Tune in to learn more.
Take Me Away to The Seychelles (Friday, February 17, 2012) — Where is this chain of 115 islands? Which ones are standouts to visit? What are some key things to consider while you’re on a sailing trip? Join Kathryn and Sara as they explore this breathtaking archipelago.
Culturetopia from NPR
Pop Culture Happy Hour: Step Right Up For The Oscar Spectacular! (Friday, February 24, 2012) — This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR film critic Bob Mondello joins the PCHH roundtable of Linda Holmes, Trey Graham, Stephen Thompson and Glen Weldon for a rousing conversation about Oscars. From The Artist and Tree of Life to Midnight In Paris and The Help, everyone talks about their favorites, their least favorites and what films they expect to win. Then, a brief round of “What’s Making Us Happy.”
Culturetopia: Inevitable Oscars Edition (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) — This Week on Culturetopia: Brad Pitt discusses starring in two Best Picture nominees; the backstage lobbying for gold statuettes; Best Supporting Actor nominee Demian Bichir on his stardom in Mexico and anonymity here; critic Bob Mondello peers into a Matrix-like future.
Pop Culture Happy Hour: Grammys And Culture To Improve Your Worst Days (Friday, February 17, 2012) — This week on Pop Culture Happy Hour, NPR Monkey See’s Linda Holmes along with Glen Weldon, Trey Graham and Stephen Thompson revisit the Grammys: What worked? What did not? And how did the telecast reflect the tragic news of Whitney Houston’s death? Then, pop culture to enjoy at the end of a rotten day. All that, plus What’s Making Us Happy this week.
NOVA on PBS
NOVA Minute: How to Speak Walrus (February 08, 2012) — Marine biologist Colleen Reichmuth says that few mammals can match the vocal talents of the walrus.
PopStuff from HowStuffWorks.com
PopStuff’s Oscar Episode (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) — It’s Oscar time, and we have costume nominees on the brain. Tracy and Holly talk about the 2012 contenders and give their thoughts on the costumes in each of the films. There’s also some ranting about bodices.
Drag Queens: You Better Work! (Monday, February 20, 2012) — Glittery, glamorous drag queens – Holly and Tracy love them. But what is drag, exactly? What social trends cause the popularity of queens to wax and wane? And why do straight girls love RuPaul and his tribe so much?
Science Talk from Scientific American
If You’re Happy, How You Know It (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) — Social scientist Roly Russell, of the Sandhill Institute in British Columbia, talked with Scientific American‘s Mark Fischetti at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science about potentially better measures than GDP of a nation’s well-being
Stuff To Blow Your Mind from HowStuffWorks.com
The Fantastic Voyage of Endoscopic Cameras (Thursday, February 23, 2012) — You no longer have to turn yourself inside out to travel through your digestive track. Just swallow a camera-bot, grab some pop corn, and watch the kernels traverse your guts. Join Robert and Julie as they look into the world of capsule endoscopy.
The Seven Deadlies: Pride Cometh Before the Brain (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) — What is pride, and why is it considered such a bad thing? Is pride actually an evolutionary virtue? Join Julie and Robert as they take listeners on a guided tour of the so-called seven deadly sins. Tune in for a look at the science behind pride.
Stuff You Missed in History Class from HowStuffWorks.com
Bessie Coleman: Daredevil Aviatrix (Wednesday, February 22, 2012) — Bessie Coleman knew that becoming a pilot was her dream. Because she was a black woman, no American flight schools would admit her. Despite the obstacles, Bessie managed to become the first African-American woman in the world to earn a pilot’s license.
Leading the Charge: The Massachusetts 54th (Monday, February 20, 2012) — A 1792 law prevented African Americans from taking up arms in the Civil War. As attitudes against blacks serving changed, black regiments were formed. But prejudices remained until the heroism of black soldiers won the attention of the nation.
Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com
Fasting: Deadly or What? (Thursday, February 23, 2012) — Avoiding food for religious or health reasons has been around for millennia. But while God may appreciate the sacrifice, how does it affect the body? Join Josh and Chuck to find if fasting actually can be healthy or if it’s as bad an idea as it sounds.
How Spies Work (Tuesday, February 21, 2012) — Psst. You want to know how governments and corporations get the drop on one another? The frontline of intelligence is populated by spies. Learn about how spies get and transfer information (and why they do it) in this episode of Stuff You Should Know.