In the late 19th century, scores of celebrated, valorous explorers attempted to reach the North Pole. Groups of explorers from the U.S., Europe and Scandinavia invented clever new equipment, raised money, stirred national pride and enthralled the world by attempting to march, sail or sled to the most cold, remote and unseen place on Earth.
But it was a perilous business: Of the 1,000 people who tried to reach the North Pole in the late 1800s, 751 died during their attempt, author Alec Wilkinson tells NPR's Scott Simon.
Javier Sicilia is a novelist and a poet. In 2009, he was awarded Mexico's prestigious Aguascalientes National Poetry Prize. This September, he read a poem dedicated to his son, Juan Francisco, at a rally:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. An enormous cruise ship is lying on its side in the Mediterranean today. The Italian ship, Costa Concordia, ran aground off Italy's Tuscan coast, killing at least three people. Passengers described scenes reminiscent of the Titanic. Fabio Costa was working in a shop on the cruise liner when he felt a jolt.
SIMON: We got lots of comments on Gloria Hillard's piece on Native Americans who've moved off reservations into major cities. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Urban Relocation Program had encouraged that migration a few decades ago, and Los Angeles County has the country's largest urban Native American population.
The South Carolina primary is one week from Saturday. On Friday night, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum hit an upstate barbecue, vying to emerge as the candidate the state's conservative Republicans can rally behind. NPR's Debbie Elliott was there and has this report.
Haiti has long been regarded as a special challenge for international aid organizations. Haiti has a noble, unique and often bloody history. It was the only nation of slaves to successfully revolt against their colonial overseers, became the first black-led republic in the world. It has also been afflicted with its own demons and tyrants.
The film Pina is Germany's official entry at the 84th Academy Awards — and a collaboration between two famous Germans of the postwar generation. The filmmaker Wim Wenders captures the groundbreaking modern-dance choreography of the late Pina Bausch, in what many critics are calling a groundbreaking use of 3-D film.
We're used to thinking of "obesity" in physical terms — unhealthful weight that clogs our arteries and strains our hearts. But there's also an obesity of information that clogs our eyes and our minds and our inboxes: unhealthful information deep-fried in our own preconceptions.
I can't imagine a more stimulating conversation opener than "God is dead." Indeed, this quote by Friedrich Nietzsche sparked heated debate in his time, as it still does today. But how many of us know the writings of this 19th-century philosopher?