All Things Considered

President Barack Obama talks about National Security Agency surveillance Jan. 17 at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

Politics

5 Takeaways From The President's NSA Speech

The president's speech Friday offered a revealing look into the nation's phone data collection program and the direction of the surveillance policy debate. But some of biggest controversies have been put off or pushed to Congress.

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Author Interviews

A Strange Composition: Classical Music Meets Bioterror In 'Orfeo'

Richard Powers' new novel tells the story of an avant-garde classical composer who finds himself dabbling in DNA. He "gets obsessed with finding music inside of living things," Powers explains, and, as a fugitive, ends up leading officials on a low-speed chase.

Drivers step out of their vehicles for a better view while stuck in traffic along Beijing's Second Ring Road on a "Car Free Day" on Sept. 21, 2010. For foreigners trying to drive in car-crazy China, the headaches begin with the written test. Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

Parallels

How I Flunked China's Driving Test ... Three Times

NPR's Frank Langfitt recently decided to apply for a driver's license in China. Since he already has a U.S. license, the main requirement was passing a computerized test on the rules of the road in China. He's been driving for decades, and figured it would be a breeze. He was wrong.

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President Barack Obama talks about National Security Agency surveillance Jan. 17 at the Justice Department in Washington. Seeking to calm a furor over U.S. surveillance, the president called for ending the government's control of phone data from hundreds of millions of Americans and immediately ordered intelligence agencies to get a secretive court's permission before accessing the records. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

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