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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All Tech Considered
6:29 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Look Out, This Poker-Playing Computer Is Unbeatable

Dealer Omar Abu-Eid adjusts a stack of chips before the first day of the World Series of Poker's main event in Las Vegas last July. Humans still reign in most versions of poker. Whew.
John Locher AP

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 9:00 pm

Researchers have developed a computer program they say can beat any human on the planet at a particular variant of Texas Hold'em poker.

The scientists aren't planning to clean up with their powerful poker bot. Instead, they hope it can help computers become better decision-makers in the face of uncertainty. The work is published Thursday in the journal Science.

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The Salt
5:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

On His 80th Birthday, Shake It Like Elvis With A Milkshake

A still-trim Elvis Presley enjoys a sandwich in 1958. His love of fatty foods hadn't caught up to him yet.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:29 pm

Elvis Presley was better known for his music than his gourmet tastes. But he did have a famous affinity for the fried goodness of the American South — and he had the waistline to prove it.

In honor of what would have been the King of Rock 'n' Roll's 80th birthday, let's take a look at some of his legendary eating habits.

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Parallels
5:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

With A Son Missing, Family Questions Jordan's Mission Against ISIS

Safi al-Kasasbeh and his wife Saafia are the parents of Moath al-Kasasbeh, the Jordanian air force pilot captured by the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Syria. The worried parents are proud of their son, but say Jordan should not be involved in the coalition against ISIS.
Alice Fordham NPR

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 7:13 am

In Jordan, the talk these days centers on the fate of the Jordanian pilot who was captured by the self-styled Islamic State after his plane crashed in Syria on Christmas Eve.

Little is known about the condition of Moath al-Kasasbeh since the extremists tweeted pictures of him, bloody and bewildered, after the crash.

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Pop Culture
5:40 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

And The Moral Of The Story Is ... Kids Don't Always Understand The Moral

In the "Winter's Gift" episode of Sofia the First, Disney Princess Tiana (left) from The Princess and the Frog makes a special appearance to help Princess Sofia learn that a true gift comes from the heart.
Disney Junior

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 6:28 pm

"Slow and steady wins the race."

"What's right for one may be wrong for another."

"Treat others the way you'd like to be treated."

Morals have long been the conclusion of fables and fairy tales aimed at kids. And today's TV shows and movies are no different — they often weave lessons for the younger generation into their narratives. But do children actually absorb these messages, or do these endings just help parents feel better about the media their kids consume?

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Europe
4:41 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Paris Attack Suspect Had Known Terrorism Connections

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:38 pm

Melissa Block talks to Elaine Sciolino, former Paris bureau chief for the New York Times, about the suspects in Wednesday's attack on the office of a satirical publication. Sciolino covered the apprehension and trial of one of the suspects, Cherif Kouachi, for his role in a France-based terror cell in the mid-2000s.

Author Interviews
4:27 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

In 'Partisan Divide,' Former Congressmen Look For Answers

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:29 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Europe
4:23 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

'Charlie Hebdo' Attack Punctuates Exisiting Political Tensions

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 6:29 pm

Robert Siegel talks to Patrick Weil, professor and senior research fellow at the French National Research Center in the University of Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne, about how the attack on the satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo, relates to ongoing political tensions in France.

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Law
6:17 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Undue Burden In Texas At Issue In Federal Court

Women with the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health demonstrate outside of 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday in New Orleans. A federal appeals court in New Orleans is considering whether a Texas law puts up an unconstitutional obstacle to women seeking abortions.
Jonathan Bachman AP

Opening arguments began Wednesday in the case against the Texas law requiring abortion clinics to meet the standards of ambulatory surgery centers. Opponents say it would have the effect of closing a significant number of the state's clinics. Melissa Block talks to Carrie Feibel of Houston Public Media.

Remembrances
6:17 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Remembering 'Generation Mex' Writer And Proud Outsider Michele Serros

Serros, pictured here in February 2014, got her big break as a college student in 1993.
Rachel Buchan AP

When Michele Serros burst onto the literary scene in the 1990s, she was a new kind of Latina writer: She didn't speak much Spanish, she listened to ABBA and she was a vegan who liked to surf and skateboard. Her success as a writer, poet and comedic commentator made her an inspirational voice for Chicanas of her generation and beyond.

Serros, who Newsweek once hailed as a "Woman to Watch for the New Century," died of cancer Sunday at her home in Berkeley, Calif. She was 48 years old.

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All Tech Considered
6:17 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

A Plan To Put Your Driver's License On Your Phone

A screen shot taken from a video demonstrating how Iowa's digital driver's license would look on a smartphone.
Iowa Department of Transportation

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 2:20 pm

We're doing more and more things with our smartphones, so why not use them to store our driver's license? But when you think about it, you may not be comfortable handing your phone over to a police officer.

Motorists in Iowa may be among the first in the nation to be able to whip out their smartphones to access their licenses at traffic stops. The Iowa Department of Transportation is developing a smartphone app that would allow drivers to access a digitally encoded license that would take the place of the conventional plastic ID card.

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Shots - Health News
5:19 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Brain Scans May Help Predict Future Problems, And Solutions

By measuring activity in different parts of the brain, neuroscientsts can get a sense of how some people will respond to treatments.
John Lund Getty Images

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 5:55 pm

Brain scans may soon be able to help predict a person's future — some aspects of it, anyway.

Information from these scans increasingly is able to suggest whether a child will have trouble with math, say, or whether someone with mental illness is going to respond to a particular treatment, according to a review of dozens of studies published Wednesday in the journal Neuron.

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All Tech Considered
5:16 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

When It Comes To Smartphones, Are Americans Dumb?

Irene Chen and Longlai Zuo, with the China-based company Quality Technology Industrial, show off their top-line phones, which cost about $100.
Aarti Shahani NPR

Originally published on Thu January 8, 2015 2:20 pm

As you might imagine, there are smartphones everywhere at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week. Tonino Lamborghini [a company not related to the famous car brand] has a new phone out for $6,000. Samsung's Galaxy series is on display in a dazzling showroom.

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Europe
5:11 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

'Charlie Hedbo' A Provocateur, Challenging Status Quo

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 8:57 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Energy
4:24 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Cape Cod's Offshore Wind Project In Jeopardy

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 6:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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Economy
4:24 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Growth In Manufacturing Tempered By Low-Wage Jobs

Originally published on Wed January 7, 2015 6:17 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

New cars, and plenty of them, are driving off the sales lot - 16.5 million in the last year, in fact. It's the best performance for the U.S. auto industry since 2006.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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