How miserable has your winter been? Is it the worst winter ever? The worst winter since that one winter when you were a kid? If you’re a Minnesotan, there’s no need to be so imprecise. For the last several decades, Pete Boulay, Assistant State Climatologist at the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, has been measuring just how miserable winters are with his Winter Misery Index. It scores each winter on how cold it is, how much it snows, and how long snow stays on the ground to measure exactly how much misery the winter has inflicted.
Who is in charge in Ukraine? Will President Yanukovych face charges of mass murder? How might Ukraine move forward during this uncertain time? What action should the international community take? The Takeaway explores this and more with Andriy Kulykov, a reporter for Ukraine Public Radio; Oleh Rybachuk, chief of staff to former President Viktor Yushchenko; Regina Smyth, an expert on Russia and associate professor of Political Science at Indiana University; and Nicolai Petro, a political science professor at the University of Rhode Island currently stationed in Ukraine's third largest city, Odessa, for a Fulbright Scholarship.
For the past few days, live video from Kiev's Independence Square has been streaming in real time, giving people around the world a first-hand glimpse at the scope and scale of the protests.
Back during the time of the ancient Greeks, the word "hero" was used in a very different way. For the ancient Greeks, it didn’t just describe someone who was victorious or noble. It also described people who stood out for unexpected acts—sometimes problematic ones too. Even today, what’s heroic at the Olympics isn’t sheer mettle or technique. David Wallechinsky, president of the International Society of Olympic Historians, has seen more than a few Olympic heroes in his years of watching the games.
"Network," the 1976 film directed by Sidney Lumet, won four Academy Awards that year. But almost 40 years later, more significant than any of its accolades is the lasting statement the film made about the television industry—it seems to have seen into the future of our media culture. Dave Itzkoff, culture reporter for our partner The New York Times, is author of a new book on the classic film. It's called “Mad As Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies.”
In Tennessee, a vote was held over the weekend that many believe could be a nail in the coffin for organized labor. Workers at Volkswagen’s Chattanooga plant voted against joining the United Auto Workers union—the move was opposed every step of the way by the state's governor and other members of the GOP. Kristin Dziczek, director of the Industry & Labor Group at the Center for Automotive Research, joins The Takeaway to describe why this vote caused such a fight. Andy Berke, the Mayor of Chattanooga, also weighs in.
In honor of President's Day, we take two historical looks at the American presidency. First Mark Forsyth looks back at the word's humble origins and traces just how it came to have the heft it has today. The second recounts how a small angry mammal changed the course of history. WNYC reporter Jim O'Grady says that President Jimmy Carter's bizarre encounter with a crazed swimming rabbit on a Georgia lake crystallized an emerging sense that Carter was a man in over his head.
Chicago's Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy is working to prove that the old way maybe isn't always best. At Sarah E. Goode, students attend high school for six years, graduating with a high school diploma and an associate's degree. Rana Foroohar, assistant managing editor at Time Magazine reported on this story in a cover story for the latest edition of the magazine. Stan Litow, IBM vice president of corporate citizenship and one of the innovators behind the Sarah E. Goode school explains what his dreams for this model look like.
Last year, more than 5 billion school lunches were served to over 30 million students across the country through The National School Lunch Program. In total, more than 224 billion lunches have been served since the program’s start. But with every lunch comes new criticism of the program. Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition and Food Studies and Public Health at New York University, has given this issue much thought. She joins The Takeaway to discuss the main obstacles to better lunches and what the lunch program of the future should look like.
Meet the founders of The Hummus, a new humor site with a Muslim-American lens and headlines like, “Muslim Daughter Feared Missing After Father Calls 38 Times Within 5 Minutes” and “Conversion Of Ryan Gosling To Islam Halts Arranged Marriages Nationwide.”
Today marks 100 years since the birth of the man who forever changed the harmonica. Larry Adler, who died in 2001, spent his life transforming the harmonica from a folksy toy for amateurs into an instrument with a home in concert halls. Harmonica player, Robert Bonfiglio, was a friend of Adler’s and he joins us to mark Larry Adler's 100th birthday.
The most lucrative position in publishing today belongs not to “literary” fiction or inspirational self-help books. It’s the $1.4 billion dollar romance novel that's on top in 2014. Jesse Barron, assistant editor at Harpers magazine set out to better understand the romance industry by attending the first annual Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the RNC, he met Angela Knight, a best-selling romance author based in Spartanburg, South Carolina who quit her job as a crime reporter when her novels took off.
As the controversy around Woody Allen and Dylan Farrow continues, it's hard to determine the facts in any particular case of sexual assault. What we know for certain is that many cases of sexual abuse go unreported and un-prosecuted. Sasha Weiss, an editor at NewYorker.com, and Dr. Margaret Moon, Assistant Professor in Pediatrics and Clinical Medical Ethics at Johns Hopkins University discuss what the Farrow-Allen case has to teach us about the boundaries between private life and politics.
The biggest drug store in the country, CVS, announced this week that it plans to stop selling cigarettes in all of its stores across the country. What does this move mean for the tobacco industry? Are we witnessing the end of cigarette companies as we know them—or does this just signal a change in the market as we know it? Stanton Glantz, medical professor at the University of California, San Francisco, has been following the movements of the tobacco industry for years, and thinks CVS's decision is a significant one.
Three years ago this month, protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square reached a fever pitch—and the voice of the people was heard. But in the months and years since, Egypt’s future remains in limbo. At the end of January, news that interim military leader General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi planned to run for the presidency left much of the world wondering if true democracy will ever have a place in Egypt. It's a question Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, the director and producer of the Oscar-nominated documentary “The Square,” have grappled with.
Conventional scientific understanding holds that there are only six classic emotions: Happy, surprised, afraid, disgusted, angry, and sad. That is until now. A new study finds that, in fact, we don't even have six emotions—but only four "basic" emotions: Happy, sad, afraid/surprised, and angry/disgusted. Dr. Rachael Jack of the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology at the University of Glasgow, is one of the scientists behind this new finding. She joins The Takeaway to explain how we categorize emotions.
Earlier this week, Milwaukee concertmaster Frank Almond was walking to a car after a performance when his 1715 Stradivarius violin was stolen by a thief. A former FBI special agent discussed the world of high art theft and the history of stolen violins.
Is America's approach to Syria failing? Nancy Soderberg, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, discusses Syria's future and the Obama administration's agenda. Each morning, Syrian composer Kinan Azmeh asks himself if everything is all right—he asks this of himself, his family and his friends. Yet sometimes there is no answer to that question, as his piece "A Sad Morning Every Morning" shows. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the relationship between war and music.
"The Encyclopedia of Ethical Failures" sounds like a whimsical title for a high-brow novel, but it is actually a very real bureaucratic laundry list of the wrong-doings of government employees. The infractions are sometimes pathetic, sometimes serious, and sometimes laughable—but they are true through and through, and they are extensive Gordon Lubold, a national security reporter for Foreign Policy has studied the encyclopedia at length. He walks us through the highlights of this report—from the funniest violations to the most egregious.
After the Cold War, MIT Physicist Thomas Neff developed a program to allow Moscow to sell the uranium from its retired weapons and dilute it into fuel for electric utilities in the U.S. He explains the program today. New details about portable nuclear weapons designed by the U.S. military during the Cold War describe a weapon small enough to be strapped on a backpack, but still powerful enough to potentially cause devastating damage. Adam Rawnsley of Foreign Policy magazine has the details.