Ruby (Zoe Kazan) comes to life when Calvin (Paul Dano) begins writing her into existence on his typewriter in <em>Ruby Sparks</em>. Kazan also wrote the new romantic comedy from the directors of <em>Little Miss Sunshine.</em>
Credit Merrick Morton / Fox Searchlight Pictures
Gertrude (Annette Bening) and Mort (Antonio Banderas) are Calvin's hippie parents, who win Ruby over despite Calvin finding them irritating.
There's a fine line between satire and the nasty snigger that marks so much of pop comedy these days — which is another way of saying that the corrosively funny takedown of child beauty pageants in the 2006 movie Little Miss Sunshine moved me to forgive (by a hair) its creepiest creation — Alan Arkin's heroin-addicted grandpa. Still, I wonder whether my 14-year-old, who has roared her way through that movie at least a dozen times, can tell the difference between sharp commentary and the juvie desire to shock.
The Obama administration has a special temporary visa extension for Syrians who've fled to the U.S., since it's unsafe for them to go home. But there's a catch. Syrians who've arrived in the last three months, when the violence really started escalating around Damascus, aren't eligible. No one thinks Syrians are going to be deported anytime soon, even if they get caught with expired visas. But without the special status, it's harder to get work or student visas.
The near-default on U.S. obligations cost $1.3 billion because of increased borrowing costs, according to a new GAO report. To put that in perspective, that's more than 1,600 times as much money as was wasted at a Las Vegas conference for government employees that the House has spent countless hours investigating.
Now, to a food menu that's out of this world. Specifically, it's meant for Mars. That's right. NASA is already cooking up a menu for astronauts on a planned mission to the red planet in the 2030s and, lucky for those aboard the spaceship, the cuisine will include more than just Tang and freeze-dried ice cream.
Maya Cooper is a senior research scientist at Lockheed Martin. She told us that NASA's current space food doesn't last long enough.
For three decades the Law of the Sea treaty has been debated without ever being approved by the Senate. But proponents say the stakes have never been higher for ratifying the convention. The irony is that just about everyone — of all political stripes, from oil and gas companies, environmental groups, to the U.S. military — is on board with the treaty. Still, a small group of opponents has managed to stall its passage.
The financial situation in Europe quickly deteriorated on several fronts this week. Spain's borrowing costs are soaring and several regions of the country are on the verge of asking the central government for a bailout. Spain is also trying to prevent a collapse in its stock market by banning short selling. At the same time, the continent's strongest economy, Germany, was put on a negative outlook by Moody's because of the huge costs it would absorb rescuing its weaker European neighbors.
Marketers, managers and panhandlers all have something in common: They regularly want to make you do things they want. Marketers want you to buy stuff, managers want you to finish projects on time, and panhandlers want you to spare a buck, or three.
Over the years, psychologists have studied the techniques of manipulation and found several that seem to work. (Read on only if you agree to use these techniques for good and not for evil!)
Much has been made about the rebel takeover of Syrian border towns in recent days. And while the rebels do control more territory than ever before, the fight for key points along the border is far from over. One town has changed hands multiple times — regime tanks move in and rebels respond with homemade bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. (This piece initially aired July 24, 2012, on Morning Edition.)