Daily Show host Jon Stewart recently called writer Jon Ronson an investigative satirist. As Ronson himself puts it: "I go off and I have unfolding adventures with people in shadowy places. I guess I tell funny stories about serious things."
Ronson has collected many of these stories in his new book, Lost at Sea. He talks to Guy Raz, host of weekends on All Things Considered, about the characters and places he has encountered along the way.
Housing is always in short supply in New York City, and Superstorm Sandy just made things much worse. The government is paying hotel costs for many of those displaced, while others are staying with friends and family.
That still leaves many people still looking for a spare bedroom, and some are now turning to the social networking website Airbnb – a site that matches people seeking vacation rentals — to find a place to stay.
One scene has become increasingly common amid Spain's economic crisis: Thousands of people, many of them immigrants, are searching trash dumpsters by night. Some scour the garbage for food, but many others are involved in a black-market trade for recycled materials.
The scavengers have slowly become a sad fixture in many barrios across Spain, like the well-dressed, middle-aged man on a Barcelona street corner on a recent night. He averts his eyes from onlookers as he reaches his arm down deep into a dumpster.
Each year around this time, weekends on All Things Considered welcomes world music DJ Betto Arcos onto the show to share some of his favorite nominees from this Latin Grammys, the 2012 installment of which is coming up next week. Arcos hosts the program Global Village on KPFK in Los Angeles; his picks include singer-songwriters from Mexico and Brazil, a Chilean rapper and a Puerto Rican-American jazz saxophonist.
Wild turkeys and buffalo have more in common than you might guess. Both were important as food for Native Americans and European settlers. And both were nearly obliterated.
There were a couple of reasons for the turkey's decline. In the early years of the U.S., there was no regulation, so people could shoot as many turkeys as they liked. And their forest habitat was cut down for farmland and heating fuel. Without trees, turkeys have nowhere to roost. So they began to disappear.
One of the most dangerous things you can do behind the wheel of your car is text or check your email. Texting and driving is illegal in 39 states, the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands and Guam.
Despite the danger, millions of us continue to do it. I am ashamed to say that I was one of them.
During the recent presidential campaign, I was on the road — a lot. I was mainly driving on rural roads in places such as Iowa, Indiana and, of course, Ohio. On several occasions I checked my email while driving, and like many people I rationalized my behavior.
Shu Qiao in front of the memorial (on the left side) he erected to the 32 victims of the famine in Shuangjing village, in the central province of Henan. The memorial is part of the Folk Memory Project, which records the stories of Chinese peasants who lived through the Great Famine a half-century ago.
Credit Courtesy of Shu Qiao
The father of Shu Youying died during the famine caused by Chairman Mao's Great Leap Forward.
Credit Courtesy of Shu Qiao
The brother and grandmother of Shu Qingfa died in the famine. In this village, most of the inhabitants share a single surname, Shu.
Credit Louisa Lim / NPR
Documentary maker Wu Wenguang started the Folk Memory Project, and believes it's the most important work he's been involved in. "We are in the era of forgetting," he says. He's just returned from a speaking tour to three U.S. universities.
Veterans from around the country have deployed to the Northeast to help after Superstorm Sandy. Jeff Blaney (left) of San Francisco was in the Army and Jamie Havig was a Navy medic attached to the Marines in Iraq.
Among the thousands of volunteers helping the victims of Superstorm Sandy in New York and New Jersey are hundreds of military veterans who have turned out to help.
For this group, work like this seems to address a real need for a sense of mission. Former troops who have been cleaning up and rebuilding say that volunteering helps them as much as it supports the local residents.
In front of Sami McFarlanes' house off Rockaway Beach Boulevard in Queens, N.Y., a group of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans take chainsaws to a huge spruce tree hung up on wires.