NPR Staff

Our current cultural obsession with food is undeniable. But, while the advent of the foodie may be a 21st century phenomenon, from an evolutionary standpoint, flavor has long helped define who we are as a species, a new book argues.

In Tasty: the Art and Science of What We Eat, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist John McQuaid offers a broad and deep exploration of the human relationship to flavor.

"Flavor is the most important ingredient at the core of what we are. It created us," McQuaid writes.

In 1991, wildlife investigator J. A. Mills went to China to verify rumors about tiger farming. She worked undercover, for the World Wildlife Fund and an organization called Traffic.

"I mainly pretended I was a student of traditional Chinese medicine to try to figure out not only what was being traded, but why it was being traded," Mills tells NPR's Arun Rath.

She says she found China's first tiger farm — complete with a hand-written ledgers filling up with orders for tiger bone.

The International Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped up its showcase of the latest in high-tech, from wearables to curved-screen phones to extremely high-definition 4K televisions.

But according to a survey from the magazine Fortune, many Americans have a simpler wish: better batteries.

This week on Antiques Roadshow on PBS, a woman brought in a set of old baseball memorabilia that she had found in a desk drawer — and received a big surprise.

Peter Carey's new novel, Amnesia, opens just as a computer virus is unlocking the cells of Australian prisons from Alice Springs to Woomera. And because those computer systems were designed by an American company, the virus also worms its way into thousands of U.S. prisons, from dusty towns in Texas to dusty towns in Afghanistan. Around the world, security monitors flash with this message: "The corporation is under our control. The Angel declares you free."

In West of Sunset, novelist Stewart O' Nan imagines F. Scott Fitzgerald's final years, which he spent in Hollywood. It's a time when the glow of The Great Gatsby has dimmed, and he's trying to punch up scripts — most of which will never be produced — with a few lines of dialog for $200 a day. Holed up in the Garden of Allah apartments on Sunset Boulevard, he's supporting his daughter and the lost love of his life, Zelda, who is in a North Carolina sanitarium.

The new movie A Most Violent Year is set in New York City in 1981 — a chaotic time of spiraling crime. The story involves corruption in the heating oil industry: the hijacking of fuel tankers, a businessman trying to stay on the straight and narrow, and a prosecutor who has that businessman in his sights. And finally, there's the story of the businessman's wife ... who may hold all the cards.

Jessica Chastain plays Anna Morales, the upwardly mobile daughter of a Brooklyn gangster. She keeps the books for her husband's fuel business — as well as a number of secrets.

The average American produces an estimated 66 pounds of electronic waste every year. You can't compost it; it's gotta go somewhere.

Often, in violation of the law, that means a dump in the developing world — like the region of Agbogbloshie in the West African nation Ghana.

Before he made it big in Holloywood, actor, writer and comedian Patton Oswalt was a junkie — addicted to movies, as he explains in a new memoir, Silver Screen Fiend.

The word addiction gets thrown around a lot, but Oswalt tells NPR's Arun Rath that his relationship to movies was downright pathological.

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