The American West has always been fertile ground for writers. Now Philipp Meyer steps into that territory with his new novel The Son. It's a family saga that traces the settling of Texas from its days as a wild frontier to the oil boom — with no shortage of violence.
Call it the Smithsonian's bubble problem. One of the Smithsonian museums — the Hirshhorn museum for contemporary art — came up with an ambitious new design to add more space: Why not build a giant, inflatable structure that would be big enough for people to walk around in?
But some of the Smithsonian's trustees in Washington, D.C., haven't been blown away by the bubble.
This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.
Attributing human characteristics to animals makes for great cartoons, but it's not usually considered rigorous science. Now, a new book argues that animals do think and feel in ways similar to humans.
Barbara J. King is a professor of anthropology and a commentator on NPR's science blog, 13.7. And her book, How Animals Grieve, makes a powerful case for the presence of love, affection and grief in animals — from a house cat mourning her lost sister to elephants who pay respects to the bones of their matriarchs.