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Animals
8:13 am
Sat December 20, 2014

A Snail So Hardcore It's Named After A Punk Rocker

This spiky mollusk is called Alviniconcha strummeri, named after Joe Strummer, the late frontman for the Clash.
Taylor & Francis Online

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 8:58 am

Shannon Johnson, a researcher at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, found that when she talked to youngsters about sea snails, she communicated a little more effectively if she skipped the technical description and called them "punk-rock snails."

"Their entire shells are covered in spikes," Johnson explains. "And then the spikes are actually all covered in fuzzy white bacteria."

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Movie Interviews
4:30 am
Sat December 20, 2014

Sondheim's Songs Go 'Into The Woods' And Onto The Big Screen

Emily Blunt and James Corden star as a baker and his wife in Rob Marshall's new adaptation of Into the Woods.
Peter Mountain Disney Enterprises

Originally published on Sat December 20, 2014 6:56 am

Into The Woods is a 1987 Stephen Sondheim musical that we'd now call a mashup: A baker and his wife want a child. The little girl in a red hood who lifts pies from their shop lives next to a witch who once kidnapped the baker's baby sister, whom she now keeps locked in a tower. But she'll reverse a curse on the baker and his wife if they can find a white cow, a red cape, long blond hair, and a gold slipper: Jack and the Beanstalk meets Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Cinderella.

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Book Reviews
4:02 am
Fri December 19, 2014

5 Under-The-Radar Reads From Librarian Nancy Pearl

Nataliya Arzamasova iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 9:22 am

Librarian Nancy Pearl occasionally joins Morning Edition to talk about books she loves that you might not have heard of. As she tells NPR's Steve Inskeep, her latest batch of under-the-radar reads includes some older books as well some new ones.

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Movie Interviews
3:01 am
Fri December 19, 2014

The Eye-Opening Saga Of Walter And Margaret Keane, Now On Screen

Amy Adams stars as painter Margaret Keane in the new movie Big Eyes.
Leah Gallo The Weinstein Company

Originally published on Fri December 19, 2014 8:45 am

It's a story almost too strange to be true: Throughout much of the 1960s and '70s, the wistful, wide-eyed children of painter Walter Keane were absolutely everywhere.

Paintings and posters of the big-eyed waifs, often in rags, their hair unkempt, brought fame and fortune to the charming, smooth-talking artist — along with widespread critical disdain.

But years later, it emerged that the art was actually the work of Walter's wife, Margaret Keane. She painted in secret, behind closed doors, and he publicly claimed the work as his own.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Wed December 17, 2014

Japan's Butter Shortage Whips Its Cake Makers Into A Frenzy

A customer picks up a block of butter at a food store in Tokyo on Nov. 10. Japanese shoppers are up in arms over a serious butter shortage that has forced Tokyo to resort to emergency imports, as some grocers limit sales to one block per customer.
Yoshikazu Tsuno AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 18, 2014 10:21 am

We are well into the Christmas season, and if you live in Japan, that means sponge cake.

The traditional Japanese Christmas dish is served with strawberries and cream, and it is rich, thanks to lots and lots of butter. But the Japanese have been using even more butter for their Christmas cakes this year, exacerbating what was already a national butter shortage.

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