Read: Stephan Eirik Clark's Sweetness #9 … John Bemelmans Marciano's Whatever Happened to the Metric System? … William Deresiewicz's Excellent Sheep … Mark and Talia Kurlansky's International Night … C. W. Neill's This Movie Will Require Dinosaurs Dave Revsine's The Opening Kickoff Listen: The New Pornographers ... Shovels & Rope ... Imogen Heap ... Elizabeth & The Catapult ... Watch: Sherlock ... Breaking Bad ... True Detective ... Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey ... Game of Thrones ... Dorie Greenspan's Tips for Buying a Kitchen Scale and more.

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Listen to Fresh Air:
Sweetness #9 Satirizes Food Wars and Artificial America

Sweetness #9: A Novel
By Stephan Eirik Clark

Years after covering up unsettling side effects discovered while testing a popular artificial sweetener, David Leveraux’s family is exhibiting the same side effects, and he wonders if the cause is the sweetener or just the American condition.



Listen to Press Play with Madeleine Brand:
Whatever Happened to the Metric System?

Whatever Happened to the Metric System?: How America Kept Its Feet
By John Bemelmans Marciano

Most of the rest of the world is on the metric system, and for a time in the 1970s, America appeared ready to make the switch. Yet it never happened, and the reasons for that get to the root of who we think we are, just as the measurements are woven into the ways we think. John Marciano chronicles the origins of measurement systems, the kaleidoscopic array of standards throughout Europe and the thirteen American colonies, the combination of intellect and circumstance that resulted in the metric system’s creation in France in the wake of the French Revolution, and America’s stubborn adherence to the hybrid United States Customary System ever since. As much as it is a tale of quarters and tenths, it is a human drama, replete with great inventors, visionary presidents, obsessive activists and science-loving technocrats.



Listen to On Point:
The Educated Sheep of the Ivy League

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life
By William Deresiewicz

As a professor at Yale, Bill Deresiewicz saw something that troubled him deeply. His students, some of the nation’s brightest minds, were adrift when it came to the big questions: how to think critically and creatively, and how to find a sense of purpose.

Excellent Sheep takes a sharp look at the high-pressure conveyor belt that begins with parents and counselors who demand perfect grades and culminates in the skewed applications Deresiewicz saw firsthand as a member of Yale’s admissions committee. As schools shift focus from the humanities to “practical” subjects like economics and computer science, students are losing the ability to think in innovative ways. Deresiewicz explains how college should be a time for self-discovery, when students can establish their own values and measures of success, so they can forge their own path. He addresses parents, students, educators and anyone who’s interested in the direction of American society, featuring quotes from real students and graduates he has corresponded with over the years, candidly exposing where the system is broken and clearly presenting solutions.



Listen to The Leonard Lopate Show:
Travel the World in Your Kitchen

International Night: A Father and Daughter Cook Their Way Around the World
By Mark Kurlansky, Talia Kurlansky

Once a week in the Kurlansky home, Mark spins a globe and wherever his daughter’s finger lands becomes the theme of that Friday night’s dinner. Their tradition of International Night has afforded Mark an opportunity to share with his daughter, Talia — and now the readers of International Night — the recipes, stories and insights he’s collected over more than thirty years of traveling the world writing about food, culture and history, and his charming pen-and-ink drawings, which appear throughout the book.

International Night is brimming with recipes for 52 special meals — appetizers, a main course, side dishes and dessert for each — one for every week of the year. Some are old favorites from Mark’s repertoire, and others gleaned from research. Always, they are his own version, drawn from techniques he learned as a professional chef and from many years of talking to chefs, producers, and household cooks around the world. Despite these insights, every recipe is designed to be carried out — easily — by any amateur chef, and they are designed to be completed with the assistance of children.



Listen to Morning Edition:
For Would-Be Screenwriter, Enough False Starts to Fill a Book

This Movie Will Require Dinosaurs
By C. W. Neill

This Movie Will Require Dinosaurs shares humorous introductory scenes for unfinished screenplays, including scenes inspired by blockbuster films and television shows.



Listen to Only a Game:
The Opening Kickoff Reveals Parallels Between Football’s Early Years and Today

The Opening Kickoff: The Tumultuous Birth of a Football Nation
By Dave Revsine

In The Opening Kickoff, Dave Revsine tells the riveting story of the formative period of American football between 1890 and 1915. In just a quarter century, football spread across the nation, captivating people from coast to coast. It was a time that saw the game’s meteoric rise, fueled by overflow crowds, breathless newspaper coverage and newfound superstars — including one of the most thrilling and mysterious the sport has ever seen. But it was also a period racked by controversy in academics, recruiting and physical brutality that, in combination, threatened football’s very existence. A vivid storyteller, Revsine brings it all to life in this captivating narrative.


Explore Music: Rock | Classical | Bluegrass | Jazz



From All Songs Considered:
Come See The New Pornographers Play Brill Bruisers in the Brill Building

Brill Bruisers
By The New Pornographers

"The New Pornographers are tough to write about objectively. As consistently captivating and exciting as their music is, there's a wider sense of history, one that is recounted endlessly by writers and reviewers. Their newest record, Brill Bruisers, is not only their newest entry into a fantastic musical catalog, but also the latest chapter in a continuing narrative of the personal dynamic of the band and its members.

"The band's longstanding modus operandi has been a boisterous reimagining of indie power pop, most notably marked by the songwriting of ostensible frontman Carl "A.C." Newman. The cast of characters includes a core of musicians who cut their teeth in other Canadian projects over the 1990s and 2000s, developing into one of the most solid instrumental outfits in modern pop music, as well as Newman's own niece, Kathryn Calder, Destroyer's Dan Bejar and vocalist Neko Case.

"The New Pornographers shouldn't be considered a supergroup anymore; they're super by virtue of their very existence. Brill Bruisers is yet another example of why they are one of the most special bands in contemporary music."
Mac Wilson, 89.3 The Current



Listen to Morning Edition:
In Marriage and Music, a Psychic Bond

Swimmin' Time
By Shovels & Rope

Swimmin’ Time is Shovels & Rope’s follow-up to their acclaimed 2012 album O’ Be Joyful. “Birmingham” (the number one song on American Songwriter’s year-end list) and the rest of O’ Be Joyful put Shovels & Rope on the larger stage in many ways from an appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman to an acclaimed set on PBS’ Austin City Limits and festival slots at Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Newport Folk Festival, Lollapalooza and ACL.



Listen to Weekend Edition:
Painting Her Songs in the Air, Imogen Heap Keeps Innovating

By Imogen Heap

Sparks has been on a well traveled journey, one which Heap began at 6 a.m. on March 14, 2011, with a live stream from her home studio in a small village on the outskirts of London, gathering "sound seeds" from fans and weaving them together to form the first song ("Lifeline"). Fast forward, four continents later, a dozen related projects and 14 tracks, the album cover artwork was then completed by those who pre-ordered the limited edition, super deluxe box set by sending in their footprints! The stunning piece of artwork and packaging, designed and developed over the past three years by Imogen and her creative team with CSV (the company behind Radiohead’s special packaging) it is the very first time that Imogen has released such a super deluxe package.

Says Heap, "The album began with someone sending in the sound of striking a match for what became 'Lifeline' in March 2011. I then dived into the most immense, intense creative two-and-a-half years of my life that took me all over the planet, collaborating on so many projects with so many people and often totally spontaneously. The album is then in some ways for me grounded with fans’ footprints bringing the finishing touch for the album art, as so many of them came along for the ride."



From Soundcheck:
Sophisticated and Whimsical Chamber Pop

Like It Never Happened
By Elizabeth & The Catapult

After the success of Elizabeth & the Catapult's critically acclaimed 2010 album, The Other Side Of Zero, Elizabeth Ziman went underground. Seeking a new perspective, she learned guitar and starting busking in the subways of Brooklyn. She also played drums for her friend Kishi Bashi, partnered up with her friend Paul Brill to write music for film (Knuckleball, Sexy Baby, The Other Shore), taught classical piano and wrote the songs that eventually became her new album, Like It Never Happened.

Ziman had originally intended to work with songwriter Richard Swift on Happened, but after Swift joined the Shins they put the project on hold, and she reunited with her old friends and bandmates Dan Molad and Pete Lalish, who played in the Catapult before forming their group Lucius.


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Listen to Fresh Air:
The Man Who Revitalized Doctor Who and Sherlock

Sherlock: Season 3

2014 Emmy Winner:

  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie (Benedict Cumberbatch)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie (Martin Freeman)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special (Steven Moffat)
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Miniseries or a Movie (Yan Miles)
  • Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Outstanding Sound Editing for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special (David Arnold, Michael Price)
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Miniseries or Movie

In three thrilling new episodes, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch, The Fifth Estate, Star Trek: Into Darkness) returns after a not-so-fatal fall to find that while it’s easy to pick up where he left off solving crimes, it may not be so easy to coax John Watson (Martin Freeman, The Hobbit, The Office UK) back into his old role of straight man/co-conspirator. This time around things will be different — a new member of the team, a new arch-villain who inspires unsurpassed loathing and, most unsettling of all, a new threat that lies very close to home. Co-created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Coupling) and Mark Gatiss (Doctor Who, The League of Gentlemen), Season 3 of Sherlock also stars Amanda Abbington (Mr. Selfridge) and Lars Mikkelsen (The Killing).



Listen to Fresh Air:
Aaron Paul: Playing a Meth Dealer

Breaking Bad: The Complete Series

2014 Emmy Winner:

  • Outstanding Drama Series
  • Lead Actor in a Drama Series (Bryan Cranston)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Aaron Paul)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Anna Gunn)
  • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (Moira Walley-Beckett)
  • Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Drama Series (Skip MacDonald)

The incredible saga of high-school-chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-kingpin Walter White is here in its entirety: all 62 uncut, uncensored episodes! Emmy winner Bryan Cranston portrays Walter White, a family man who turns to crime after a lung cancer diagnosis unravels his simple life. Recruiting former student and small-time dealer Jesse Pinkman (Emmy winner Aaron Paul) to be his partner in crime, Walt rises to the top of the meth trade, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. But he can’t keep his dogged DEA agent brother-in-law Hank Schrader (Dean Norris) off his trail forever. Will Walt get away with it all, or die trying? With riveting performances by Anna Gunn, Giancarlo Esposito, Jonathan Banks, Bob Odenkirk, Betsy Brandt, RJ Mitte and more, re-live every moment of this groundbreaking original series. Executive produced by Vince Gilligan, Mark Johnson and Michelle MacLaren, the complete box set is loaded with special features, including an exclusive feature-length documentary that chronicles the filming of the final eight episodes.



From NPR:
HBO's True Detective Brings Big Stars to Tell a Brutal Tale

True Detective

2014 Emmy Winner:

  • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Cary Joji Fukunaga)
  • Outstanding Casting for a Drama Series Outstanding Makeup for a Single-Camera Series (Non-Prosthetic)
  • Outstanding Main Title Design
  • Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series

HBO's new drama series, True Detective, focuses on Martin Hart (Woody Harrelson) and "Rust" Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), two detectives and former partners who worked in Louisiana’s Criminal Investigation Division in the mid-1990s.

In 2012, for reasons not immediately revealed, the two are interviewed separately by investigators about their most notorious case: the macabre 1995 murder of a prostitute by a possible serial killer with disturbing occult leanings. As they look back on the case, Hart and Cohle’s personal backstories and often-strained relationship become a major focal point.

Hart, an outgoing native Louisianan and family man whose marriage is being frayed by work stress and infidelity, is (at least on the surface) the polar opposite of Cohle, a lone-wolf pessimist and former narcotics detective from Texas. While the plot is moved forward by their shared obsession to hunt down the ritual killer, the true drama centers around the mercurial nature of Hart and Cohle’s relationship and personalities, and how they affect each other as detectives, friends and men.



Listen to Fresh Air:
Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why the Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey

2014 Emmy Winner:

  • Outstanding Sound Editing for Nonfiction Programming (Single or Multi-Camera)
  • Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Alan Silvestri)
  • Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music (Alan Silvestri)
  • Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming (Ann Druyan, Steven Soter)

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is a 2014 American science documentary television series. The show is a follow-up to the 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, which was presented by Carl Sagan on PBS and is considered a milestone for scientific documentaries. This series was developed to bring back the foundation of science to network television at the height of other scientific-based television series and films. The show is presented by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who, as a young college student, was inspired by Sagan. The series loosely follows the same 13-episode format and storytelling approach that the original Cosmos used, including elements such as the "Ship of the Imagination," but features information updated since the 1980 series along with extensive computer-generated graphics and animation footage augmenting the narration.



Listen to All Things Considered:
Peter Dinklage: On Thrones, and on His Own Terms

Game of Thrones: Season 3

2014 Emmy Winner:

  • Outstanding Art Direction for a Contemporary or Fantasy Series (Single-Camera)
  • Outstanding Costumes for a Series
  • Outstanding Prosthetic Makeup for a Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special
  • Outstanding Special and Visual Effects

In the third season of the hit HBO drama series Game of Thrones, the Lannisters are barely holding onto power after a savage naval onslaught from Stannis Baratheon, while stirrings in the North threaten to alter the overall balance of power in Westeros. Robb Stark, King in the North, is facing major calamity in his efforts to build on his victories over the Lannisters while beyond the Wall, Mance Rayder and his huge army of wildlings continue their inexorable march south. Across the Narrow Sea, Daenerys Targaryen — reunited with her three fast-maturing dragons — attempts to raise an army to sail with her from Essos, in hopes of eventually claiming the Iron Throne.

Dorie Greenspan's Tips for Buying a Kitchen Scale

Dorie Greenspan, who writes the monthly "Tools of the Trade" column for Bon Appétit magazine, told The Splendid Table that the home cook has three options when it comes to kitchen scales: balance, spring and electronic, and each does the job differently. Here's the basic features of each:

Balance Scale: Resembling a seesaw, the balance scale is the most basic and least sophisticated of the three. Ingredients are contained on one side and the weights, calibrated in pounds or kilos, are stacked on the other side. When the "seesaw" doesn't lean to one side or the other, you have the weight of the ingredient(s).

Spring Scale: Best known among portion-control dieters, the spring scale is next up on the ladder of sophistication. The degree to which ingredients depress the eponymous spring is translated into weight on a dial. Many bathroom scales are this type.

Electronic Scale: The one to get if you are a serious baker or use a lot of weights-only recipes, this scale is easy to use, accurate and more finely calibrated than the other two scales.

Expect to pay about $25 to $75 for a good scale. Look for one with both pound and kilo measures that can handle at least 4 1/2 pounds or 2 kilos (double that amount is better), and don't be swayed by the basket or tray that comes with many scales as it's rarely the right size and shape for whatever you want to weigh.

Subscribe to The Weeknight Kitchen
The Weeknight Kitchen by The Splendid Table is a great resource for ideas and inspiration for practical, delicious weeknight meals. Each Wednesday, we feature a new recipe from great chefs around the world as well as original creations from Lynne Rossetto Kasper. The newsletter also features tips, resources and cooking know-how to help you get the most out of the ingredients. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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Of Interest to Public Radio Fans

The Splendid Table

For the past 20 years, award-winning food personality and cooking enthusiast Lynne Rossetto Kasper has hosted the radio show The Splendid Table. She began with a pilot series on Minnesota Public Radio in 1994 and launched nationally in 1995. For 20 years now, Kasper has been guiding listeners through interviews, recipes, cooking tips, and all sorts of food news. To celebrate the anniversary, USA Today and Eater spoke with Lynne.

USA Today: Kasper's food show: 'Splendid' radio for 20 years

Eater: Food Radio Legend Lynne Rossetto Kasper on 20 Years of The Splendid Table

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