Stewart Brand, author of Whole Earth Discipline and founder of the Whole Earth Catalog, is working on a new project to bring back extinct animals. From the passenger pigeon to the wooly mammoth, Brand explains why and how the project, "Revive and Restore," plans to bring back some extinct species.
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Most people’s after-midnight mishaps are nothing compared with what David K. Randall describes in his new book. From people committing murder while supposedly sleepwalking, to what sleep was like in medieval times, Dreamland provides a lively overview of the world’s most popular nocturnal pastime.
Moran believes that most women who don’t want to be called feminists don’t understand what feminism is. Her new book How to Be a Woman is a funny take on housework, high heels, body fat, abortion, marriage and, of course, Brazilian waxes.
Why would a company rent an office in a tiny town in East Texas, put a nameplate on the door, and leave it completely empty for a year? The answer involves a controversial billionaire physicist in Seattle, a 40 pound cookbook, and a war waging right now, all across the software and tech industries.
We take you inside this war, and tell the fascinating story of how an idea enshrined in the US constitution to promote progress and innovation, is now being used to do the opposite.
Paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey talks about what several generations of fossil finds reveal about human origins, and how modern Homo sapiens are threatening the future of life around the globe. Evolutionary biologist Quentin Atkinson joins to discuss the origins of language, which, like hominids, he’s traced to Africa.
The immense amounts of data collected by local, state and federal government agencies can be an incredibly valuable trove for enterprising journalists. It can also be a pointless slog. Texas Tribune reporter Matt Stiles and Duke University computational journalism professor Sarah Cohen explain how they find good stories in a sea of government data.
New research suggests that misinformed people rarely change their minds when presented with the facts — and often become even more attached to their beliefs. The finding raises questions about a key principle of a strong democracy: that a well-informed electorate is best.
Democracy in the human world can be a messy and acrimonious business, but in the bee world, a little waggle dance can help you get all the votes you need.
Neuroscientist David Eagleman says everything we think, do and believe is determined by complex neural networks battling it out in our brains. In Incognito, he explains what scientists are learning about this hidden world of cognition.
November 20, 2009 By the time a headline makes it to the front page of The Onion, it has already beaten out up to 800 other headlines vying for the same spot of treasured comedic real estate. So the headlines that made yet another cut — to be featured in The Onion’s latest book, Our Front Pages — are pretty much the cream of the satirical crop.
The ironically self-important tome (it’s more than a foot tall) promises to entertain readers with "21 Years of Greatness, Virtue and Moral Rectitude" culled from the archives of America’s Finest News Source.
Onion story ideas are generated headline first, Onion editors Joe Randazzo and Joe Garden tell NPR’s Renee Montagne.
"The headlines come from long periods of desperation, boredom and a fleeting panic that we have to get our assignment done in time for the Monday meeting," explains features editor Garden.
Seeing stupidity everywhere can quickly become a full-time job.
"I’ve even talked to writers who’ve told me that it’s an obsession," says Randazzo. "Nearly everything that they see, think or do gets instantly reframed into this kind of headline."
Click to see the post-Sept. 11 issue of The Onion. (NOTE: Includes language that some readers may find offensive.) So The Onion’s stories end up running the gamut from observations about the little injustices of everyday life (Chipotle Employee Just Gave Guy In Front Of You More Rice) to sobering commentary on global events (Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell).
(Garden says he initially thought that the hijacker headline — which appeared in the issue of The Onion that came out immediately after Sept. 11 — was "too pandering," but it turned out to be a popular and "cathartic" story.)
The Onion’s post-Sept. 11 issue led with the headline U.S. Vows To Defeat Whoever It Is We’re At War With. It ran alongside Not Knowing What Else To Do, Woman Bakes American-Flag Cake and Hugging Up 76,000 Percent.
There are no truly untouchable topics, Randazzo says. But if the editors choose to tackle a sensitive subject, they try to make sure they aren’t "just making jokes about horrible things with no context or no point or no heart."
As for whether The Onion has a moral or political ax to grind, Randazzo doesn’t think so.
"I would not say that we are a group of Republicans, but I don’t think we’re a group of really left-wing liberals either," he says.
It’s equal-opportunity mockery, really, Randazzo explains: "We see something … and say, ‘Well, that’s kind of stupid. They’re acting kind of stupidly here. We should make a joke about that.’ "
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