In the months since Detroit filed for bankruptcy, there’s been a lot of discussion over who or what it would take to repair the city. A new nonprofit called Write A House has one novel idea: why not restore vacant houses and award them to low-income writers? Billy Collins, former United States poet laureate will be one of Write A House’s judges when the nonprofit starts accepting applications from working writers in the spring.
There are dozens of high-tech toys to pick from—battery-operated puppies, motorized wagons and so much more. But how do you actually pick out toys that have real educational value? Manoush Zomorodi, host and managing editor of WNYC's New Tech City, has a few ideas about how to get out of the iPad rut with tech toys. She shares her list of toys that teach, promote creativity, and build skills, while managing to be fun too.
This week, the U.S. Census Bureau released new data on median household income levels for every community across America. The Takeaway set out to find ordinary "median earners" from different Census tracts around the county—folks whose household income matches the median for their neighborhoods. Javes Cruthird of Florida; Tim Wood of Massachusetts; Margaret McGlynn of North Dakota; and Tanya Lundberg of Michigan, join The Takeaway to describe what it's like to live in the middle.
"The Luminaries" is the fascinating new novel written by Eleanor Catton, the 2013 Man Booker Prize winner. Described by the New York Times as "doing a Charlotte Bronte-Themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board," the novel is wildly unique. Catton is the youngest person to win the Prize and only the second to win from New Zealand, and she joins The Takeaway to discuss the wild wave of enthusiasm for her work.
After days of anti-government protests in Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country would come to the aid of its neighbor to the tune of $15 billion. But the news of the deal was not enough to send protesters home. Borys Potapenko, Vice Chair of the International Conference in Support of Ukraine, has been closely monitoring the developments in Ukraine from Detroit.
If you had the good luck to play the S&P 500 absolutely perfectly, it would’ve been possible to transform a $1,000 investment into hundreds of billions of dollars in returns. How? David Yanofsky, reporter for Quartz, tells you how.
Sherlock Holmes' love for logic and sharp eye would go on to inspire mystery writers and real-life crime scene investigators alike. A new PBS documentary takes a look how Sherlock Holmes still informs the way we think and investigate real crimes, even today. What is about Holmes that inspires even modern investigators to cautiously and methodically look at the clues in order to solve a crime? Kimberlee Sue Moran, a forensic archaeologist featured in "How Sherlock Changed the World" explains.
In October, an early blizzard killed tens of thousands of cattle in South Dakota and Nebraska. Ordinarily after this kind of turmoil farmers can expect disaster relief funding through the Farm Bill—but this year that relief is in limbo. Joining The Takeaway to discuss the importance of the Farm Bill is Gary Cammack, a South Dakota Republican state representative and a rancher who lost more than 100 of his own cows and calves in the storm.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the Newtown, Connecticut shooting spree at Sandy Hook Elementary. The desire to prevent a tragedy of this scope from ever taking place again is one shared by many Americans. But a year later gun laws are no stricter, and gun sales are on the rise. Robert Draper, contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine, writes about the legislative battle over gun control in this week's magazine.
Our work determines how we spend most of our days, the people we spend our time with, the kind of lifestyle we can afford, and it influences our fundamental sense of who we are. It turns out that what we're paid and how we really feel about our jobs aren't always in sync. Al Gini, a professor of Business Ethics at Loyola University’s School of Business Administration and resident philosopher at WBEZ, has dedicated much of his career to understanding the value of work. He’s also the author of “My Job My Self."
About 62 percent of Americans think no nation should have a nuclear arsenal—not even the U.S. Globally, the world's nuclear powers have 17,000 weapons combined—a number that's growing. Joe Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund and author of "Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late." In his new book, he argues that the proliferation of nuclear weapons poses a real threat to us all—even in times of safety and peace.
Automaker General Motors tapped a new leader this week. The company’s newest CEO, Mary T. Barra, will be the first woman to lead GM. She inherits a company that’s no longer in big financial trouble, but GM’s biggest challenges are likely to be conceptual. Jaclyn Trop, an automotive reporter for our partner The New York Times based in Detroit, tells The Takeaway what's in store for Barra.
Here’s a statistic that might surprise you: The United States has the highest child poverty rate of any developed nation except for Romania. Nearly half of all New Yorkers live below or very close to the poverty line. Children make up a large part of this population—in total there are more than 22,000 homeless children in New York. Andrea Elliot, reporter for our partner The New York Times, profiled one family caught in the shelter system in her five-part series “Invisible Child.”
This week our friends at Retro Report look back at a cold March night in 1989 when the tanker Exxon Valdez ran aground off the coast of Southern Alaska, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil into the waters of Prince William Sound and creating one of the worst oil spills in American history. Scott Michels, reporter for Retro Report, joins The Takeaway to examine how the spill happened and what we did and didn't learn from the disaster.
Fast food appealing for so many Americans is because it’s often significantly cheaper than fresh, healthy equivalents. A new study offers one model of how to change that. By offering food stamp users a rebate of 30 cents for every dollar of fresh fruits and vegetables they purchased, the researchers were able to incentivize food stamp users to eat more vegetables and fruits by a full 25 percent. Diane Schanzenbach, Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, authored the study.
Last year, Giving Tuesday brought $10 million in dollars of donations to charities, though it's a small sum compared to the billions of dollars spent on all other shopping days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. Peter Singer, a bioethics professor at Princeton University, teaches a course on charitable giving and is the author of "The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty." He joins The takeaway to discuss why Americans don't give more.
Men and women are different—is this news? According to a new study it is. Using a technique called diffusion tensor imaging, researchers have discovered that the basic circuitry of men and women’s brains is visibly different. Ragini Verma, Associate Professor in the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Radiology, is one of the study's co-authors. She joins The Takeaway to discuss her findings.
In the coming weeks, about 1,000 French soldiers will be taking up new posts in the Central African Republic (CAR). The French government says the violence currently being witnessed in CAR borders on genocide. Hannah McNeish, a freelance journalist just back from the Central African Republic, gives us an update on the sectarian conflict. Author Samuel Laurent is an expert on the lasting legacy of French colonial Africa and critical about his country's response to the crisis.
This week our friends at the Retro Report documentary team take us back to 1992 when Kimber Reynolds, the 18-year-old daughter of Fresno wedding photographer Mike Reynolds, was brutally killed in a robbery. Kimber's death prompted the passage of "Three Strikes" legislation. Karen Sughrue, Retro Report producer, joins The Takeaway.
HealthCare.gov can reportedly now handle 800,000 users a day. But with Americans rushing to meet the December 23rd enrollment deadline in order to get coverage by January 1st, administration officials admit the site might become overloaded. Congresswoman Diana DeGette, a Democrat representing Colorado’s 1st district, is among those who have been concerned.