4:29pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Author Interviews

George Saunders On Absurdism And Ventriloquism In 'Tenth Of December'

iStockphoto.com

George Saunders has been writing short stories for decades.

Saunders, a professor at Syracuse University, was once a geological engineer who traveled the world; he now crafts stories that combine the absurd and fantastic with the mundane realities of everyday life. One story about a professional caveman inspired those Geico commercials.

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4:15pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Politics

Will The Grass Be Greener In Obama's Second Term?

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 7:02 pm

A grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. Some environmentalists hope President Obama lives up to campaign promises regarding climate change in his second term.
Jim Urquhart AP

One of the chief expectations of those who voted for President Obama is that he moves assertively to pass climate change legislation, whatever the political climate in Washington.

"We have a bipartisan common interest in moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy," says Michael Brune, the executive director of the Sierra Club. "The sooner that members of both parties in Congress realize that and develop solutions, the better off we'll all be."

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4:01pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Environment

Former Anti-GMO Activist Says Science Changed His Mind

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Harvest wheat from a field near Wright, Kan. May 10, 2004.
ORLIN WAGNER ASSOCIATED PRESS

For years, British environmental activist Mark Lynas destroyed genetically modified food (GMO) crops in what he calls a successful campaign to force the business of agriculture to be more holistic and ecological in its practices.

His targets were companies like Monsanto and Syngenta — leaders in developing genetically modified crops.

Earlier this month he went in front of the world to reverse his position on GMOs.

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3:49pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Author Interviews

Connecting With Nature To Reclaim Our Natural 'Birthright'

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Stephen Kellert is a professor emeritus and senior research scholar at Yale University.
John Mueller Yale University Press

"Contact with nature is not some magical elixir but the natural world is the substrate on which we must build our existence," writes Stephen Kellert in his new book Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World.

In it, he tells stories of the environment's effect on us, and ours on it. His writing builds on the traditions of Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson. Modern society, he argues, has become adversarial in its relationship to nature, having greatly undervalued the natural world beyond its narrow utility.

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2:49pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Food

Distilling Presidential History Into 44 Cocktails

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 4:04 pm

Washington, D.C., bartender Jim Hewes distills presidential history into cocktails.
Liz Baker NPR

As Washington, D.C., gears up for the 57th presidential inauguration, political parties are in full swing. We're not talking about run-of-the-mill partisan bickering. We're talking about inaugural celebrations: balls, galas and cocktail parties. Emphasis on the cocktail.

The Round Robin Bar in the Willard Hotel is just a stone's throw from the White House. Bartender Jim Hewes has been serving up drinks there for nearly 30 years.

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2:15pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Inauguration 2013

An Inaugural Memory: President Lincoln's Food Fight

Originally published on Tue January 22, 2013 11:27 am

Menu for Lincoln's 2nd inaugural ball, March 6, 1865
Smithsonian Institution

A recently-published menu for Abraham Lincoln's lavish second inaugural ball in 1865 provides an interesting look at how different the nation celebrated its new president just seven score and eight years ago.

Smoked tongue en geleé and blancmange (a firm custard) shared room on the buffet table with roast turkey and burnt almond ice cream.

As Yale food historian Paul Freedman told Smithsonian Magazine writer Megan Gambino, the cuisine could best be described as "French via England, with some American ingredients."

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1:58pm

Sun January 20, 2013
Music Interviews

For Sean Lennon, Music Is Not A Solo Act

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 4:29 pm

Sean Lennon in the studio, during production of the Alter Egos soundtrack.
Jordan Galland Courtesy of the artist

Sean Lennon, son of John and Yoko, is drawn to musical collaboration and repelled by hydraulic fracturing.

The 37-year-old just released two albums: the improvisational project Mystical Weapons and the score to the independent film Alter Egos.

Writing For Film

Lennon only appears in Alter Egos for a few seconds; the majority of his efforts went into writing the music, which he had to do twice. He describes the film as a "kitsch comedy about superheroes," and his first attempt at the music took a similar vibe.

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12:15pm

Sun January 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Death Toll May Rise After More Bodies Found At Algerian Plant

More bodies have been reported found at the gas plant in Algeria where a four-day standoff with Islamist militants came to a bloody end on Saturday. An Algerian security official tells the AP that the state of the bodies makes it difficult to tell whether the dead are hostages or attackers.

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11:49am

Sun January 20, 2013
The Two-Way

Obama Takes Oath Of Office In White House Ceremony

Originally published on Sun January 20, 2013 12:04 pm

President Obama is officially sworn in Sunday by Chief Justice John Roberts in the Blue Room of the White House. Next to Obama are first lady Michelle Obama, holding the Robinson Family Bible, and their daughters, Malia and Sasha.
Larry Downing AP

President Obama's second term officially begins Sunday: He took the oath of office in an intimate ceremony at the White House, fulfilling the constitutional requirement to take the oath before noon on Jan. 20.

NPR's Ari Shaprio reported on the swearing-in for our Newscast unit. Here's what he said:

"Family and a few close friends gathered in the Blue Room of the White House. The president placed his hand on a family Bible and recited the oath with Chief Justice John Roberts.

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Originally from Burlington, Vermont, Ryan has worked for Northeast Public Radio in Albany, The Allegheny Front in Pittsburgh, and WAER in Syracuse, where his work was honored by the Syracuse Press Club. His reporting has also aired on New Hampshire Public Radio and Vermont Public Radio.

Ryan has a degree in broadcast journalism and international relations from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and Maxwell School at Syracuse University.

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