It's appropriate that Darwin, the tropical capital of Australia's Northern Territory, is named for the English naturalist.
The massive, powerful and deadly saltwater crocodile — the world's largest living reptile — is the evolutionary triumph of 50 million years of natural selection. And in Darwin, the crocodile is equally dreaded and beloved.
Crocodylusporosus was hunted to near extinction in the last century. But in 1974, the Australian government put the species, known affectionately as the "Australian salty," under federal protection.
Robert Siegel talks with retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering about US strategies with Syria and Iran. Pickering served as US ambassador to Russia, Jordan, Israel, and the UN — and was undersecretary of state for political affairs from 1997 to 2001.
The nation's big banks are writing death plans — living wills that spell out how, in a future crisis, they could be safely dismantled. The idea is that the death plans will help avoid another government bailout of the banks.
"You're technically writing your own funeral, down to the color of the flowers" says Dolores Atallo.
Like most pop singers, Sharon Van Etten seems to love repetition — a technique used aggressively in ad jingles and Top 40 hits, but also in more hypnotic and emotionally complicated ways. Van Etten's new record, Tramp, is full of repeated riffs, drones and phonemes, and they're more intense and emotionally packed than ever. Songs like "Serpents" display her expansive voice and coiled songwriting, and are earning Van Etten a good deal of attention.
Cutting taxes is part of the DNA of the modern Republican Party. All four of the remaining GOP candidates for president have proposed steep cuts in business and personal taxes, and it sometimes seems like Republicans are competing to show the most enthusiasm for tax cuts.
At a debate last month, former Sen. Rick Santorum said tax cuts were needed to get the economy thriving again — even if they benefit the wealthy.
In the 11 years since the Oscars introduced an award for Best Animated Feature, the category has been dominated by children's movies, often with computer-animated pandas, penguins and ogres at their center. This year's a little different. Two of the animated films are subtitled, and one is definitely aimed at adults: the Spanish film Chico and Rita, an animated love story steeped in jazz.
George Clooney is nominated for two Oscars this year — for his lead role in The Descendants and for co-writing the adapted screenplay for The Ides Of March, which he also directed. He speaks to Robert Siegel on today's All Things Considered about film, but also about the life he lives as one of Hollywood's most famous men.