And now, we'd like to take a moment to remember jazz great Dave Brubeck. The pianist and composer died earlier this week. He was just shy of his 92nd birthday. He's remembered for songs like the one you just heard, "In Your Own Sweet Way." The Dave Brubeck Quartet influenced performers all over the world and pushed boundaries by making music that used inventive timing and beats that gave their music a distinct swinging style like in the classic song, "Take Five."
This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Later in the program we'll crack open the mail bag to hear what you have to say about stories we covered this week. That's Backtalk and it's coming up. But first, we want to talk about the latest unemployment numbers which are now out. The Department of Labor says that unemployment is down to its lowest level since December 2008.
Judy Smith, of Dalton, Ga., looks over paperwork as she files for unemployment benefits in August after being laid off from a catering job. More than 2 million people who get extended benefits may lose them if Congress doesn't act soon.
Credit Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
The total number of weeks of benefits available in any particular state depends on the unemployment rate and unemployment insurance laws in the state where the person worked. This map shows the maximum number of weeks of benefits currently available in each state.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:49 pm
The Labor Department's glad tidings Friday about the uptick in job creation last month might morph into bad news next month for many of the long-term unemployed.
That's because the boost in November hiring, with employers adding 146,000 jobs, might make it more difficult for Democrats to argue in favor of having Congress renew the extension of benefits for people out of work more than six months.
Originally published on Fri December 7, 2012 12:03 pm
Why Even Tragedy Gets A Laugh — When comedian Tig Notaro found out she had breast cancer, she incorporated the grim news into her stand-up routine--and got quite a few laughs from the audience. Notaro and neuroscientist Robert Provine discuss the origins of laughter, what separates the amusing from the truly funny, and why even tragedy sometimes gets a laugh.
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: We're ending this hour into the sea, Ira. Could you tell?
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
Ooh, yeah. I like it.
LICHTMAN: The noise you're hearing comes from a blue whale; that's an animal that can reach 90 feet in length, which is longer than a tennis court. Biologist...
JEREMY GOLDBOGEN: Hands down, these are largest animals of all time. And so one of the questions we're interested in is how do they sustain such an extreme body mass and why don't we see anything bigger than a blue whale?
FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Up next, more spacey news.
IRA FLATOW, HOST:
All right. Can't get enough?
LICHTMAN: Earlier this week, NASA announced plans to launch another rover to Mars in the year 2020. And there's some buzz, there's some speculation that this one could have a wheel up on Curiosity. Maybe it wouldn't just analyze samples there but could shift them back to Earth.
Next up, who didn't, at one time or another, now think about it, who didn't want to be an astronaut when they were growing up, especially those of us, the children of the space-age space race? Well, for those of us whose lives are a bit more Earthbound, we've got a fun edition to our Ask an Expert series. How about Ask an Astronaut? Everything you wanted to ever ask an astronaut, Flora.