All Things Considered on WLRN

Melissa Block and Robert Siegel

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

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Music Interviews
4:46 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Natalie Maines On Motherhood, Eddie Vedder And Leaving Country Music

Mother is the solo debut of Natalie Maines, former Dixie Chicks frontwoman.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:22 pm

Natalie Maines is a small woman with a really big voice. Flanked by Emily Robison on banjo and Martie McGuire on fiddle, Maines powered the Dixie Chicks to some 30 million records sold. And then came the collapse — after what the band calls "the incident."

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Research News
4:31 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Of Flybots And Bug Eyes: Insects Inspire Inventors

These robotic flies, which were built in a Harvard lab, can flap their wings independently of each other and fly around while tethered to a power and control wire.
Kevin Ma, Pakpong Chirarattananon AAAS/Science

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:49 pm

A smartphone can tell you where to get a cup of coffee, but it can't go get the coffee for you. Engineers would like to build little machines that can do stuff. They would be useful for a lot more than coffee, if we could figure out how to make them work.

But the rules of mechanics change at small scales. Friction becomes dominant; turbulence can upend a small airplane.

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Shots - Health News
4:25 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Colorado Weighs Reopening Psychiatric Hospital For Homeless

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, center, exits the Fort Lyon Correctional Facility in Las Animas, Colo., on Wednesday after touring the facility. Hickenlooper has proposed closing the facility due to budget concerns.
Andy Cross Denver Post via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 4:22 pm

Last summer's mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., led Gov. John Hickenlooper to call for stricter gun control and big new investments in mental health care.

Several significant gun bills passed, and a package of mental health reforms is moving forward. But there may not be enough support to win funding for 300 new inpatient psychiatric beds.

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Middle East
4:22 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Sea Of Syrian Refugees Threatens To Overload Jordan

There are more than 100,000 Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 9:23 pm

Jordan's fastest-growing city lies in the middle of the desert, where the sand is so white that from a distance it looks like snow. There's little running water and not much electricity.

The name of this place? The Zaatari refugee camp, home to more than 100,000 Syrian refugees.

"This is a city — not one that anybody would want to create if they had a choice," says Caroline Gluck of Oxfam, one of the aid agencies working in the Zaatari camp. "It's certainly not urban planning at its best."

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Found Recipes
3:32 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

This Little Piggy Cookie Is A Sweet Mexican Find

A few years ago, Pati Jinich had never heard of Piggy Cookies. But after numerous recipe requests and a chance encounter with the treats in her home country, they've become a family favorite.
Courtesy of Penny De Los Santos

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:22 pm

Mexican Piggy Cookies are known by many names — cerditos, cochinitos, marranitos or puerquitos. Sweetened with unprocessed cane sugar and honey, and spiced with cinnamon, the cutout cookies puff when you bake them.

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Africa
2:09 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, shown on a visit to Libya in 2010, has been widely criticized by human rights groups. Eritrean exiles have organized passive protests, calling on people to stay home Friday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 5:27 pm

Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

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The Salt
6:40 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Bones Tell Tale Of Desperation Among The Starving At Jamestown

The four cuts at the top of this skull "are clear chops to the forehead," says Smithsonian forensic anthropologist Douglas Owsley. Based on forensic evidence, researchers think the blows were made after the person died.
Donald E. Hurlbert Smithsonian

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

"First they ate their horses, and then fed upon their dogs and cats, as well as rats, mice and snakes."

So says James Horn of the historical group Colonial Williamsburg, paraphrasing an account by colony leader George Percy of what conditions were like for the hundreds of men and women stranded in Jamestown, Va., with little food in the dead of winter in 1609.

They even ate their shoes. And, apparently, at least one person.

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Business
5:59 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Deal To Protect Bangladeshi Factory Workers Still Elusive

NPR

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

This week, major retailers including Wal-Mart, Gap and others met with labor activists in Germany, hoping to hammer out a deal to improve working conditions in Bangladesh.

The meeting came less than a week after a devastating building collapse in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, killed more than 400 workers. At the meeting, activists pushed retailers who use factories in Bangladesh to start spending their own money to make those workplaces safer.

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Shots - Health News
5:10 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Second Thoughts On Medicaid From Oregon's Unique Experiment

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

Two years ago, a landmark study found that having Medicaid health insurance makes a positive difference in people's lives.

Backers of the program have pointed to that study time and again in their push to encourage states to expand the program as part of the federal health law.

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World
4:51 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Why Chemical Weapons Have Been A Red Line Since World War I

Soldiers with the British Machine Gun Corps wear gas masks in 1916 during World War I's first Battle of the Somme.
General Photographic Agency/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

President Obama has said that the use of chemical weapons could change the U.S. response to the Syrian civil war. But why this focus on chemical weapons when conventional weapons have killed tens of thousands in Syria?

The answer can be traced back to the early uses of poison gas nearly a century ago.

In World War I, trench warfare led to stalemates — and to new weapons meant to break through the lines.

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Africa
4:45 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

S. African Leader Under Fire After Awkward Visit With Mandela

In this image taken from video, South African President Jacob Zuma sits with ailing anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela on Monday. Mandela was hospitalized in late March with a lung infection, and in images from the visit, appeared largely unresponsive.
SABC AP

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

In South Africa, controversial images of a frail and ashen Nelson Mandela being visited by South Africa's current president aired on national television this week. Some people claimed it was a political publicity stunt.

The footage is fueling fresh debate about what is proper and what constitutes invasion of privacy regarding the ailing, 94-year-old former president and anti-apartheid legend.

President Jacob Zuma, accompanied by two other top officials of the governing ANC party, visited Mandela at his Johannesburg home on Monday.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

A Sleep Gene Has A Surprising Role In Migraines

Bates experienced migraines as a child. She made this painting to depict how they felt to her.
Courtesy of Emily Bates

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 10:33 am

Mutations on a single gene appear to increase the risk for both an unusual sleep disorder and migraines, a team reports in Science Translational Medicine.

The finding could help explain the links between sleep problems and migraines. It also should make it easier to find new drugs to treat migraines, researchers say.

And for one member of the research team, Emily Bates, the discovery represents a personal victory.

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Afghanistan
3:16 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

Secret Cash To Afghan Leader: Corruption Or Just Foreign Aid?

Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged a report this week that the CIA has regularly been sending him money. Afghans seem to have mixed feelings. The president is shown here speaking at an event in Kabul on March 10.
S. SABAWOON EPA/Landov

Originally published on Wed May 1, 2013 7:48 pm

After a report in The New York Times this week, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has acknowledged that the CIA has been secretly delivering bags of money to his office since the beginning of the war more than a decade ago.

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Shots - Health News
8:10 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

FDA OKs Prescription-Free Plan B Pill For Women 15 And Up

The Plan B One-Step morning-after pill will now be available to women as young as 15 without a prescription.
AP

In an effort to find a compromise for a politically fraught issue, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a proposal to make the emergency contraceptive pill Plan B more available to some younger teens without a prescription and to older women by moving the medication out from behind the pharmacy counter.

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Reporter's Notebook
5:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

New York: A Concrete Jungle And 'City Of Trees,' Too

Tulip
Courtesy of Benjamin Swett

Originally published on Tue April 30, 2013 8:26 pm

You expect to find great trees in city parks and botanical gardens. But you might not expect to find ancient or unusual trees in the inner city or smack dab in the middle of a highway.

Benjamin Swett has a love of trees so deep that he's written pamphlets about them, created photo exhibits and now has a new book, New York City of Trees. His book has pictures and stories of some 60 trees in the city.

I took a walk with him to some of the great trees, often in unexpected places.

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