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9:56 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Bits Of Beauty Amidst The Gloom In 'Building Stories'

Pantheon

For the characters of Chris Ware's astonishingly ambitious comics project Building Stories, leading lives of quiet desperation is surprisingly noisy business. Plaintive, regretful and bitterly self-recriminating thoughts play on shuffle-repeat inside their heads, like a mordant Litany for the (I Wish I Were) Dead:

"Lately, I've been thinking a lot about the end of the world."

"At that point I was starting to get acquainted with the unfairness of life and learning it was better not to expect anything rather than set yourself up for disappointment."

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The Two-Way
9:27 am
Tue October 9, 2012

NPR Names New Executive Editor

Madhulika Sikka.
Doby Photography NPR

Madhulika Sikka, who has been Morning Edition's executive producer since joining NPR six years ago, will become the organization's executive editor in January.

In announcing the promotion this morning, NPR Senior Vice President for News Margaret Low Smith lauded Sikka's work at Morning Edition, saying she "brought real vision" to the show and that it has "evolved into a more interesting and relevant program" under her leadership.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:19 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Jonathan Biss: Shooting Down The Schumann Detractors

Composer Robert Schumann has his share of critics. Pianist Jonathan Biss is out to prove them wrong.
Michael Nicholson Corbis

Originally published on Wed March 27, 2013 10:03 am

(For our week dedicated to Robert Schumann, pianist Jonathan Biss defends this misunderstood composer in the first of three essays. Click the audio link above to hear him play Schumann and discuss the composer with Performance Today host Fred Child.)

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:28 am
Tue October 9, 2012

The City As Infestation

This nighttime photograph taken from the International Space Station shows much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost can also be seen in the frame.
NASA

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 6:10 pm

For all their variety and variation, cities are, at their root, physical systems. That means, at some fundamental level, they are also expressions of the laws of physics. In physics size matters (or "scale" as we call it). Physicists learn different things about an object by looking at it from different scales. In our first exploration of physics and cities we stayed at the street level. At that scale we saw cities as machines: cars and elevators, pipes and plumbing. Then we went up to the roof. At that scale we saw cities as engines, vast systems for turning energy into work.

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The Two-Way
8:10 am
Tue October 9, 2012

Risks Of Global Economic Slowdown Are 'Alarmingly High,' IMF Warns

In China's Anhui province, a worker unloads steel bars at a factory. A slowdown in China and other major nations threatens to pull the global economy into recession, the International Monetary Fund warns.
AFP/Getty Images

Saying that the global economic recovery "has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs heavily on the outlook," the International Monetary Fund today warned that the probability of "recession in advanced economies and a serious slowdown in emerging market and developing economies" next year have gone up.

The fund said its research indicates the risk of those things occurring in 2013 "has risen to about 17 percent, up from about 4 percent in April 2012."

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