All Things Considered

In-depth reporting and transformed the way listeners understand current events and view the world. Every weekday, hear two hours of breaking news mixed with compelling analysis, insightful commentaries, interviews, and special - sometimes quirky - features.

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Anthropologists believe early humans evolved in Africa and then moved out from there in successive waves. However, what drove their migrations has been a matter of conjecture.

One new explanation is climate change.

Anthropologist Anders Erikkson of Cambridge University in England says the first few hardy humans who left Africa might've gone earlier but couldn't. Northeastern Africa — the only route to Asia and beyond — was literally a no man's land.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but what do you do when there are no apples? It's a question western Michigan's apple growers are dealing with this season after strange weather earlier in the year decimated the state's apple cultivation.

Michigan is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S. after New York and Washington, but the state's apples will soon be in short supply. Now in the middle of harvest season, growers are picking only 10 percent to 15 percent of their normal crop.

Believe it or not, there's a lot of food involved in wet-plate photography. Egg whites (albumen) are used to make the glass plates adhesive to the light-sensitive chemicals. And one way to keep the plates from drying out after processing is to coat them in honey. It's also physically demanding, so you get really hungry.

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A very important, somewhat political convention took place here in Washington this past week.

Could SuperPACS Shift Strategy To Congress?

Sep 16, 2012

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Polls can be unstable. Up until the last moment, Jimmy Carter was leading Ronald Reagan in 1980. And in the past two weeks, President Obama has started to pull ahead of Mitt Romney.

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Pennsylvania's politically split Supreme Court is considering a challenge to a lower court ruling that upheld the state's polarizing voter identification law.

The law requires a state-issued photo ID card to vote, and supporters say it will help prevent voter fraud. Voting-rights activists have now shifted strategies from attempting to overturn the law, to instead putting up to a million state-issued photo ID cards in the hands of residents.

State officials recently estimated it is possible nearly 200,000 Philadelphia residents alone don't have proper ID.

We've heard much about big money pouring into some of the congressional races around the country, and now some of that money is breathing new life into the campaign of one unlikely candidate.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, author of books such as Kosher Sex and Kosher Jesus, and the host of Shalom in the Home, a reality show that worked with struggling couples, is running for Congress in New Jersey's 9th District.

Boteach is hoping to unseat Democrat Bill Pascrell in a district that is overwhelmingly Democratic.

In South Korea, K-Pop Gets New King

Sep 15, 2012

For 12 years, Park Jae-Sang — better known to his fans as the rapper PSY — has had a successful career in his native South Korea.

But now, thanks to the viral video for Gangnam Style, his new single, he's on top of the world.

Time magazine named author and pastor Brian McLaren one of the 25 most influential evangelicals in America.

McLaren has written more than 20 books, and he is a principal figure in the Emerging Church, a Christian movement that rejects the organized and institutional church in favor of a more modern, accepting community.

McLaren's new book is called Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World.

Does Middle East Unrest Go Beyond Film?

Sep 15, 2012

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There's an old shorthand for likeability in politics: "Which candidate would you rather have a beer with?"

Polls show President Obama has been winning that likeability contest. And he's been raising a lot of frosty mugs on the campaign trail, hoping to press his advantage over the teetotaling Mitt Romney.

The strategy could come to a head in the swing state of Colorado.

The White House Friday released a report detailing, in part, what life would look like on the other side of the fiscal cliff, which could occur at the end of the year.

Under orders from Congress, the administration detailed exactly how it would administer painful cuts to both defense and domestic programs that were ordered under last year's budget deal.

Spain is slashing spending to try to avoid a European bailout, and one of the biggest victims of budget cuts has been public education. Schools across Spain reopened this week with bigger classes, fewer teachers and increased fees for things like school lunch and books — placing a heavy burden on many families.

Conchi Redondo blows kisses at her three daughters after dropping them off on the first day of school in Madrid, the Spanish capital. She smiles and waves at the girls, but privately, she's worried.

When the U.S. military handed over the detention center at Bagram Air Field to Afghan authorities this week, it symbolized an American role that is winding down — and the uncomfortable relationship between the two countries.

The prison, where Taliban and terrorism suspects are housed, has been a sore point for Afghans for years.

At the ceremony, an announcer read the names of Bagram prisoners who the Afghans said were wrongly detained and were now being freed.

Haunted Harmonies On The xx's 'Coexist​'

Sep 14, 2012

The focal point of The xx, on its debut as well as its new album Coexist, is the existential romance between the singers, Oliver Sim and Romy Madley Croft — each of whom sounds adrift in his or her own bubble.

In the new movie Arbitrage, Richard Gere does something remarkable. He plays Robert Miller, a billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist, loving father and, as Gere told us, "He's a gambler."

Gere's character is racing to close a deal to sell his company and cash in before auditors discover a $400 million hole in the books, a hole that could not only scuttle the deal but land him in prison, child's play to Robert Miller.

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The world inside Mark Zandi's computer model feels pretty familiar. It's full of people who are worried about the economy. Their homes are being foreclosed on. They're paying more for gas. Something like 13 million of them can't find jobs.

Here's a new mantra you might consider adding to your list of daily kitchen chants: "It takes patience to perpetuate pickles."

One of the primary issues at the heart of the the Chicago teachers' strike is whether student test scores should be used to evaluate teachers and determine their pay. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing that approach, as are other officials around the nation.

But many teachers insist that it's inherently unfair to grade their teaching based on their students' learning.

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ZZ Top: Taking The Blues Back To The Future

Sep 13, 2012

Over the years, ZZ Top has stayed contemporary: dabbling in new wave, flirting with grunge and techno, making goofy music videos, even using a drum machine. But the band has never strayed too far from its classic amalgam of electric blues, garage rock and greasy grooves. On their new album, La Futura, the members sound like their old selves.

Republican hopes of capturing the Senate in November rest on a handful of tossup races in states like Montana, Missouri and Virginia.

Surprisingly, some analysts also are putting Hawaii in the tossup column.

Hawaii is the bluest of blue states; it hasn't elected a Republican to the Senate since 1970. But with the retirement of 22-year incumbent Daniel Akaka, Republicans believe they have a chance.

And regardless of who wins, the state will have its first female senator come January.

In Hawaii, the language of politics is a little different.

Hundreds packed the Washington National Cathedral today to pay their respects to Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

Perhaps the most amazing tribute came from Eugene Cernan, the man who followed in Armstrong's footsteps and became the last man to walk on the moon during the 1972 Apollo 17 mission.

When crossing from Uganda into Congo at the shabby border town of Bunagana, I encountered a broadly smiling man in a black leather jacket named Hamid Kashaisha.

He asked if I wanted to see the gorillas. I replied that it's guerrillas — with guns, that is — that I wanted to see: the M23 rebels who, for the past two months, had occupied a piece of real estate in eastern Congo larger than Delaware.

That was no deterrence to the pitchman.

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