The discovery in early July of a subatomic particle that may be the Higgs boson â also known as the God particle â puts physicists one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe around us. Sam Kean's dynamic, brainy new book, The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code, tells a story that's no less profound: how geneticists strive to unlock the secrets of the universe within us.
Sir Elton John is constantly remembering his life as a drug addict, whether he wants to or not.
"I still dream, twice a week at least, that I've taken cocaine and I have it up my nose," John tells NPR's Steve Inskeep. "And it's very vivid and it's very upsetting, but at least it's a wake-up call."
John Dramani Mahama is the vice president of Ghana and the author of a new memoir with one of the most eye-catching titles you'll see all year â My First Coup d'Etat: And Other True Stories from the Lost Decades of Africa.
The title refers to the 1966 military coup that overthrew Ghana's first president. Mahama was 7 years old, and his father, a minister in the government, was imprisoned for more than a year. Mahama tells NPR's Renee Montagne that Africa's "lost decades" lasted from the late 1960s to the 1980s, after the initial euphoria of independence passed.
Donald Sobol, the creator of the beloved character Encyclopedia Brown, died last week of natural causes, his family says. He was 87. The first in the Encyclopedia Brown series book was published in 1963, and the series has never gone out of print.
Crime novelist and forensic pathologist Jonathan Hayes has this appreciation of the character Sobol gave young readers.
While other boys got hooked on books about sports legends and race car drivers, there was something about Donald Sobol's boy detective Encyclopedia Brown that spoke to me right away.
After he was laid off in 2008, writer T.M. Shine adopted a unique approach to finding a job. He says his new goal is being nice to people, and he put that right at the top of his resume. Host Michel Martin speaks with Shine about his journey from unemployment back to work, which he wrote about for this week's Washington Post Magazine.
Originally published on Mon July 16, 2012 12:16 pm
Aaron Sorkin's new HBO drama The Newsroom follows the inner workings of a fictional cable network trying to challenge America's hyperpartisan 24/7 news culture. It's a typical Sorkin drama, complete with fast-paced dialogue, witty scenes and a strong ensemble cast.
So why a newsroom?
"It suits my style," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I like writing about heroes [who] don't wear capes or disguises. You feel like, 'Gee, this looks like the real world and feels like the real world â why can't that be the real world?' "
In seventh grade, I broke my finger pretending to be a Harlem Globetrotter with the neighborhood boys. Until then, I'd been their equal in sports, but suddenly their shoulders were battering rams, and I was the house of straw from the Three Little Pigs. I hated being a puny, weak-armed girl. But then I saw Sigourney Weaver and Linda Hamilton going mano a mano with aliens and cyborgs, and I realized that I didn't have to be a damsel in distress. Those ladies can pummel any guy on the planet â or in outer space. Here are three books with girls who know how to fight.