There's enough DNA in the human body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back. But don't confuse DNA with your genes, says writer Sam Kean.
"They are sort of conflated in most people's minds today but they really are distinct things," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Genes are like the story and DNA is the language that the story is written in."
Birth, most people would agree, is a fairly important event. And poetry, most people would agree, tends to focus on subjects of intense emotional significance. So one would think the poetry of early parenthood would be a rich and varied category, filled with reflections on physical transformation, the emergence of life, the realities of infanthood and so forth.
Admittedly, PBS would have had a hard time living up to the experience of its first day at this summer's Television Critics Association's press tour here in Pasadena — the omelets, the cast of Downton Abbey, all that. But its second day started where a lot of people start with PBS: with kid stuff.
The sun descends reluctantly over Norway's waterside capital, but novelist Jo Nesbo is determined to show Oslo's dark side, to convince me the real city, in parts, is as dirty, twisted and seedy as his own fictional version.
It's a tough sell in this city of bike helmets, clean streets and smiling blond people.
The author has written nine successful novels about the reckless Oslo police detective Harry Hole, a nonconformist with a mercurial mind.
Oliver Stone's latest film, Savages, opened in theaters earlier this month. The movie centers on two young marijuana growers, Ben and Chon, who live and deal in California, alongside their girlfriend O — short for Ophelia. They find themselves thrust into a world of violence and murder when a Mexican drug cartel comes after their business. The film is based on the book by crime writer Don Winslow, who also co-wrote the screenplay.
"I wish I was taller," was Elaine's caption in the 1998 episode of <em>Seinfeld</em>. Can it get funnier than that? You can try over on <a href="http://contest.newyorker.com/CaptionContest.aspx?affiliate=ny-caption">The New Yorker's Caption Contest</a> page.
Yesterday was the first day of the Television Critics Association press tour, when TV reporters and critics descend upon Beverly Hills to hear about what's to come in the next six or eight months. We'll hear from all the big broadcast networks and most of the big (and not-so-big) cable outlets, but we're starting this year with PBS.
Candidly, not all the critics are showing up for PBS — not all of them write about it very much. It's a shame, though, because yesterday may have been, on the whole, the liveliest day I've ever had at press tour.
Abbott and Costello's famous "Who's on First?" routine still stands as one of the greatest comedy sketches of all time. It was a feat of rapid-fire dialogue, flawless comedic timing and devastating wit.
But could you do it without saying a word?
The answer appears to be yes. After Jerry Seinfeld broke down the classic skit on the MLB Network recently, NPR's Mike Pesca wound up with a peculiar email in his inbox.
It was a link to an American Sign Language (ASL) version of the skit, sent by a friend. It was amazing, Pesca says.
Ernest Hemingway began his second novel, A Farewell to Arms, in 1928. He says, in an introduction to a later edition, that while he was writing the first draft his second son was born, and while he was rewriting the book, his father committed suicide. He goes on to say, with his famous economy, "I was not quite thirty years old when I finished the book and the day it was published was the day the stock market crashed."
Rachel Joyce'snovel The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry is about a man who very suddenly, with no warning or planning, sets off on a pilgrimage from the very southernmost part of England to the very northernmost part. It's a old-fashioned pilgrimage: He walks all the way, talking to the people he meets, on his way to the bedside of his old friend Queenie, who is dying.