All Things Considered on IPR News and News/Studio One

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Weekdays at 4 p.m. on IPR News and News/Studio One
 

Every weekday, NPR's "All Things Considered" presents a mix of the day's news, analysis, commentary, and coverage of arts & sports.

Back in 1890, Thomas Edison gave us some of the world's first talking dolls. Today, the glassy-eyed cherubs that are still around stand about 2 feet tall; they have wooden limbs and a metal body; and they sound supercreepy. (If you're looking for a soundtrack to your nightmares, listen to the audio story above.) Edison built and sold about 500 of them back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing them possible for the first time in decades.

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The increasingly abundant use of emojis across cultures and age groups — and the similar meanings we assign them — suggest we're entering an era of hybrid communication, as we treat pictures like a real language.

Police departments across the country are under pressure to rethink their most aggressive tactics — and it's not just flashpoints like Ferguson and Baltimore. The New York Police Department is on the defensive about its long-standing approach known as "broken windows" policing.

Simply put, broken windows is the idea that police should aggressively crack down on low-level offenses to stop bigger crimes from happening. It's been copied all over the country, but now critics in New York say broken windows needs fixing.

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More than 60 Israeli soldiers who took part in last summer's war in Gaza have offered firsthand combat stories. Many said they felt their orders went too far, leading to indiscriminate fire and Palestinian civilian deaths.

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Most of the tech buzz these days has centered on the new Apple Watch — including on the potential for health-related apps. Less attention has been given to Apple's ResearchKit, an open-source mobile software platform released in March.

But the medical world is paying attention.

Swayambhunath — also known as the Monkey Temple, for its holy, furry dwellers that swing from the rosewood trees — is one of the oldest and most sacred Buddhist sites in Nepal's Kathmandu Valley, an important pilgrimage destination for Hindus as well as Buddhists. It was also one of the worst damaged by last month's earthquake.

A Poker Battle Against A Computer

May 3, 2015

On this day in 1997, Garry Kasparov, the world's top chess player, faced off against IBM's chess-playing supercomputer, Deep Blue — and lost. This week, professional poker players are trying something similar in Pittsburgh, and they're winning.

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Yesterday, the Muscular Dystrophy Association announced, after raising $2 billion, it was ending its annual Labor Day telethon.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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The disease-resistant Callery pear became American cities' street tree of choice starting in the 1950s. One community in Pennsylvania, fed up with the stench, has banned it.

This story originally aired on All Things Considered on April 24, 2015.

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Breaking Boundaries At A Harlem Barbershop

May 2, 2015
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Where is the aid?

That's what the people of the ancient city of Bhaktapur want to know.

The historic gate to old Bhaktapur is about the only thing still standing after the earthquake. The ornate temples have crumbled. Brick homes were reduced to rubble. People have lost everything, including loved ones.

People are living under tarps or out in the open, without running water or toilets. Some 70 people are living in an improvised hut. Flies are everywhere. People say they haven't had any help from the outside — no medicine, no food.

The surprise announcement of criminal charges in Baltimore Friday morning definitely got the attention of police officers. The decision has been welcomed by protesters, but it's causing dismay for law enforcement across the country.

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Now, more about the woman who's building the case against those six officers. Marilyn Mosby is 35 years old. She just took the office of chief prosecutor in Baltimore four months ago. NPR's Nurith Aizenman reports.

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Transportation officials in the U.S. and Canada are imposing tougher safety standards on trains hauling crude oil.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and Canada's Transport Minister Lisa Raitt announced Friday that shippers must use stronger tank cars to haul oil across North America by October 1. The new rules will also mandate the use of a controversial braking system on trains carrying crude.

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Prospects for low-wage workers at some large companies have improved recently as both Walmart and McDonald's announced pay hikes, but one of the most significant announcements came at Aetna.

It took 15 years and hundreds of millions of vaccines. But North America and South America have officially eradicated rubella, health authorities said Wednesday. Rubella is only the third virus eradicated from people in the Western Hemisphere.

Also known as German measles, rubella causes only a mild illness in children, with a rash and sometimes a fever.

In the middle of a gritty urban landscape in Southern California, some modern-day cowboys are trying — against great odds — to keep a little bit of the Old West alive.

Andrew Hosley gently tightens the bridle on Jade, a chestnut mare. More times than he can count, Jade has given kids in this Compton neighborhood a ride.

"I used to have the same reaction when I was a kid of their age," he says, "watching the guys ride by on horses, and I always wanted to touch 'em, ride 'em."

He carried his 70-year-old mother on his back for five hours.

Then he traveled with her by bus for 12 more.

She suffered a severe head injury when the earthquake rumbled through her village of Thumi. He was trying to get her to a hospital in the Gorkha district in northern-central Nepal.

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