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Will Fans Return To A Nicer 'Idol'?

American Idol is back tonight. The program was once indisputably the biggest thing on TV, based partly on the entertainment value of watching the judges snipe at each other. Recently, rival singing competition, The Voice has been successful on the strength of the good-natured banter between its judges. Can Idol be nicer — and will that make it more successful?
NPR

These Guitars Are For The Birds — Literally

A new exhibit at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., features a flock of 70 finches and an array of tuned and amplified guitars. As the flock fills the open room, the birds are free to land on the guitars, making music of their own as they move and jump off the instruments.
NPR

The Few, The Fervent: Fans Of 'Supernatural' Redefine TV Success

Supernatural, a TV show about a duo of demon-fighting brothers, doesn't have the most viewers. But it's lasted nine seasons so far — partly because of its passionate fans, who take their love to Twitter, Tumblr and fan fiction websites. That raises a question: What matters more, ratings or fans' enthusiasm?
WAMU 88.5

The History Of Black Barber Shops (Rebroadcast)

Modern black barber shops are civic, cultural and business institutions in many major cities. Their history, however, is complicated, shifting from places where only white men were served to the democratic social spaces of today in just over a century. We consider the political and social movements brought that change about and the role these shops play in communities now.

NPR

Where In The World Is The Best Place For Healthy Eating?

Researchers ranked countries in terms of how easy it is to get a balanced, nutritious diet. The U.S. didn't even make the top 20, even though it has the greatest abundance of cheap food in the world. Western Europe nearly swept the top 10. Guess which country was No. 1?
NPR

New Nordic Food Gods Loosen Up On Strictly Local Cuisine

The New Nordic chefs have helped make the flavors of Scandinavia — from reindeer to foraged fungi — among the most revered in the food world. But lately they've started talking about evolving their cooking beyond local ingredients.
NPR

Blogger Reveals Cracks In Codes Onscreen

Computer programmer John Graham-Cumming began the blog, "Source Code in TV and Films," several weeks ago. The blog points out the frequent misuse of computer code in shows and movies.
NPR

Dying In The Digital Age: When Should The Conversation End?

An active conversation — and a hefty dose of outrage — is swirling on social media about the proper boundaries between public and private when it comes to illness and death. Lisa Adams, a stage 4 cancer patient, has been tweeting her experiences with the disease. Writers Bill and Emma Keller have derided her tweets as akin to "deathbed selfies." Melissa Block talks with Meaghan O'Rourke about how we treat dying in the digital age.
NPR

Chang-rae Lee Stretches For Dystopic Drama, But Doesn't Quite Reach

Lee is acclaimed for his realistic and historical fiction, but he's made a foray into the futuristic sci-fi genre with a new novel called On Such a Full Sea. Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan says sometimes it's better for writers to stick closer to familiar shores.
NPR

'What Everyone Needs To Know' About Today's Cyberthreats

Security questions such as, "What's your mother's maiden name?" are easy to look up online. So for an extra layer of protection, author P.W. Singer advises making the answer something counterintuitive, like pizza.

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