Chris Bram is the author of the novel Gods and Monsters.
Gore Vidal was famous for his hates: academia, presidents, whole portions of the American public and, most notably, Truman Capote. Yet he could be incredibly generous to other writer friends. He wrote beautiful, appreciative essays about Tennessee Williams and Dawn Powell.
He was a man of many facets and endless contradictions.
Scientists reported new evidence Wednesday that supports a provocative theory about cancer.
Three separate teams of scientists said they had, for the first time, shown that so-called cancer stem cells can be found naturally in brain tumors and early forms of skin and colon cancer.
Evidence has been mounting in recent years for the existence of these cells, which would be especially insidious. They are believed to resist standard chemotherapy and radiation and fuel the growth of tumors and relapses.
When I say citius, you say altius; when I say altius, you say fortius. Or don't. That's fine, too, traditional even. But these Olympics have conspicuously defied traditional notions by having cheerleaders, in a few different styles, at a few different venues. In basketball, dance teams perform between matches. In beach volleyball, highly choreographed teams delight attendees.
The Internet is slowly becoming a less anonymous place. YouTube has a new policy encouraging commenters to use their real names, and many news sites have switched to a login system run by Facebook.
News sites that still allow anonymous comments are finding there are legal risks. The Spokesman-Review newspaper in Spokane, Wash., has spent the last few months trying to protect the identity of a reader who saw a photo of a Republican Party official in Idaho named Tina Jacobson, and then posted a disparaging comment.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says America's national security priority should be preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and he was talking tough about this in his recent stop in Jerusalem.
"History teaches with force and clarity that when the world's most despotic regimes secure the world's most destructive weapons, peace often gives way to oppression, to violence, or to devastating war," Romney said. "We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option."
Cuban performers ranging from dancers to opera singers were packing in audiences at Havana's El Cabildo restaurant and cabaret. In a case seen as a test of Raul Castro's commitment to economic changes, government inspectors recently closed the restaurant.
Credit Nick Miroff for NPR
Ulises Aquino, a prominent Cuban singer, is the owner of the caberat and restaurant. He describes himself as a strong supporter of Cuba's socialist system and split the earnings among his 130 employees.
Ulises Aquino was already one of Cuba's best-known baritones when he founded his own company, Opera de la Calle, or Opera of the Street, in 2006. By combining Cuban rhythms and dance with his formal musical training, he won fans at home and abroad.
Aquino also considers himself a good "revolucionario," meaning he's a loyal supporter of Cuba's socialist system. And when President Raul Castro urged Cubans to increase productivity by starting small businesses, Aquino answered the call.
Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus.
There are still days when rain flooding the gutters conjures a picture in my mind of a paper boat being chased by a little boy in a yellow raincoat. The boy's name is Georgie and he is about to meet a rather gruesome fate, smiling up at him from a storm drain.
U.S. investigators allege that Afghan Gen. Ahmad Zia Yaftali stole tens of millions of dollars' worth of medicine from the Mohammad Daud Khan military hospital in Kabul. He has been removed from that post, but has not been prosecuted. He's shown here at the hospital on Dec. 18, 2010.
Credit Yoshikazu Tsuno / AP
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is greeted by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in Tokyo on July 9. The international community recently pledged $16 billion in additional aid, but wants Karzai to crack down on rampant corruption.
Oscar Pistorius of South Africa runs in the men's 200-meter event at the Paralympic World Cup in May. Some observers have suggested Pistorius receives an unfair advantage from his carbon-fiber "blade" legs.
Credit William McDermott, Ph.D. / The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital, Murray, Utah.
"The unaffected leg produces peak vertical forces that are on average 9 percent greater than those produced by the affected leg using a running-specific prosthesis," concluded scientists who studied a Paralympic sprinter. The sprinter ran on one prosthetic like that of Oscar Pistorius; his other leg was unaffected.
The technology that makes walking possible for amputees is also making running possible at the Olympics. On Saturday in London, South African Oscar Pistorius will run on artificial limbs in the 400-meter sprint. Pistorius is a double amputee who runs world-class times on his carbon-fiber legs.
At last month's Prefontaine Track and Field Classic in Eugene, Ore., Pistorius ran in the inside lane of the 400-meter race. He leaned forward on his knees and fingers, and slipped his feet into the starting blocks — well, they're not actually feet.
Rabbi Yaacov Israel Ifargan is known as the 'X-ray' rabbi for what his followers say is his ability to "see right through" a person. According to Forbes in Israel, he is worth about $23 million, which makes him the country's sixth-richest rabbi.
Credit Daniel Estrin for NPR
Ifargan, right, sits next to businessman Nochi Dankner, center, at an annual gala in Netivot, Israel, that honors the rabbi.
Over the past year, Israelis have taken to the streets to protest the country's high cost of living. They've also directed their anger at a small group of business moguls who have used their close ties to government officials to gain control of large chunks of the Israeli economy.
Now, the Israeli edition of Forbes magazine has shed light on a surprising category of Israelis who have quietly also climbed to the top rung of society: multimillionaire rabbis.
Bibi Tanga is a true musical globe-trotter. Born in the Central African Republic to a family of diplomats, he spent most of his life following his father around the world. But Tanga says his journey has helped him to incorporate diverse genres into funky, multilingual songs that tackle themes well-hidden behind groovy hooks. Together with his band the Selenites, he is now touring the U.S. in support of his new album 40 Degrees of Sunshine.
As fighting between the Syrian military and rebel fighters rages, concerns are growing about how the regime of President Bashar Assad might react if it becomes convinced it's about to lose power.
One theory involves the establishment of a breakaway region dominated by Syria's Alawite minority — which includes the Assad family — in the northwestern coastal mountains. Analysts say this would be a disaster both for Assad and the region, but it can't be completely ruled out.
A massive power cut in India left more than 300 million people — about a quarter of the population — without electricity on Monday. The cause of the collapse of the northern Indian power grid is still being investigated, but resulted in blackouts across at least eight Indian states. With no lights or hot water at home, millions of Indians then had to face a long struggle to get to work because trains were stopped and roads were jammed by lack of power for stop lights.
A report released Monday by Senate Democrats says for-profit colleges exploit students with aggressive recruiting tactics, high tuition and low graduation rates. The report says some schools set tuition based on the level of government grants or raised the price for some courses if the school was not making enough profit on them. The report is the culmination of a two-year investigation.
Speaking from Israel on Sunday, presumptive GOP nominee for president Mitt Romney said that he would respect the nation's "right to defend itself" against Iran. He said the United States also has "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to prevent Iran from creating nuclear weapons.
Romney's trip and his speech are typical of presidential candidates, who every four years work to outdo one another when it comes to credentials on Israel and U.S. relations with the Jewish state.
Killer Joe (2012) is the latest film from William Friedkin, the director of The French Connection and The Exorcist. The movie, which stars Matthew McConaughey, earned an NC-17 rating for its violent content.
Credit Anne Marie Fox / Le Festival de Cannes
McConaughey and Zac Efron play brothers in Lee Daniels' 2012 film The Paperboy, based on a novel by Pete Dexter. The film played at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Credit Claudette Barius / Warner Bros. Pictures
In 2012's Magic Mike, McConaughey brings a subtle, frightening darkness to the role of a strip-club owner with a sizable sleazy streak.
This may be the year of actor Matthew McConaughey.
At the very least, fans will remember 2012 as the year that McConaughey revolutionized his career. He's starred in five different independent films, taking on smaller, character-actor parts in place of his usual roles as the sly-grinning heartthrob in romantic comedies.
You might not be able to hear it on television, but in the Olympic stadiums and arenas of London over the next weeks, games-watchers will be treated to some exclusive new tracks from world-renown mashup artist Jordan Roseman, better known as DJ Earworm.
"Out of the blue, there was an email," Roseman tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz. "They wanted these mixes."
Something is happening when it comes to religion in America.
Though more Americans go to church or believe in God than their counterparts in virtually every other Western country, fewer Americans now trust religious institutions. A recent Gallup poll showed that just 44 percent of Americans have a great deal of confidence in "the church or organized religion."
The Olympic Games are officially under way, and we're watching sports many of us glimpse only every four years: gymnastics; track; judo. But we're willing to bet that the sports' sounds are just as memorable: the clanking of foils, the tick-tock of table tennis, the robotic "Take your mark!" before swimmers launch.
Those unique sounds are part of the Olympic experience. And it's one man's job to make sure we hear them clearly: Dennis Baxter, the official sound engineer for the Olympics. He's been at it since 1996.