Arts & Culture

The Salt
3:00 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cookie-Baking Chemistry: How To Engineer Your Perfect Sweet Treat

Engineering the perfect cookie: You can control the diameter and thickness of your favorite chocolate chip cookies by changing the temperature of the butter and the amount of flour in the dough.
Morgan Walker NPR

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 12:38 pm

Baking cookies is almost magical. You put little balls of wet, white dough into the oven and out pop brown, crispy, tasty biscuits.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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The Salt
11:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:11 pm

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

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Code Switch
8:35 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Ketchup: The All-American Condiment That Comes From Asia

Although tomato ketchup is ubiquitous today, the condiment was once made from many diverse ingredients — walnuts, oysters or, in this instance, strawberries.
Kristen Taylor Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 11:22 am

Each week, we take a look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. You can see past "Word Watch" entries here.

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Monkey See
8:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 9:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

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The Two-Way
6:50 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Book News: Ancient Texts From Vatican And Bodleian Libraries Digitized

An illustration from The Reginensis Graecus 1, a 10th century Greek Bible that is among the texts included in the digitization project.
Bodleian Libraries and Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Book Reviews
6:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Moving Fables Of Gods, Men, Love And Monsters In 'Early Earth'

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 7:56 am

Despite its title, British writer and illustrator Isabel Greenberg's The Encyclopedia of Early Earth is not mere history, with its assiduous accounting of dusty facts, but is instead a compendium of funny, sad and surprisingly moving fables from the pre-history of a world that exists only in Greenberg's febrile imagination — one that bristles with capricious gods, feckless shamans, daring quests and, of course, doomed love.

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Religion
6:15 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Pope Francis Reveals He Once Worked As A Bouncer

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Politics
4:13 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Upset Over Divisive Political Culture? Blame Burke And Paine

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 5:02 pm

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The writer Yuval Levin contends that our divisive political culture comes down to two competing ways for Americans to view their country.

YUVAL LEVIN: You look at the world, it's imperfect. There are good things and bad things. Are you struck first and foremost by the good or are you struck first and foremost by the bad? Do you think this is something to build on or do you think we've got to start over?

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