Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who has leaked large amounts of classified information about the agency's electronic surveillance programs, is speaking to the South By Southwest Interactive forum this hour.
We've embedded a video player and you can get to it here as well. We'll also update this post with highlights.
Snowden, who is wanted for prosecution in the U.S., is speaking from Russia, where he's been given temporary asylum.
Earlier today, All Tech Considered previewed his SXSW appearance.
Update at 12:30 p.m. ET. Does Mass Surveillance Distract The NSA?
Snowden argues that "we've actually had tremendous intelligence failures because we're monitoring the Internet ... everybody's communications, instead of the suspects' communications."
Update at 12:25 p.m. ET. Says He's Not Weakening Nation's Security, NSA Is:
It's pointed out to Snowden that the NSA believes his revelations have harmed national security. His response? The NSA has "elevated offensive operations — that is, attacking — over the defense of our communications." And that, in Snowden's view, has made the nation less secure.
He makes the case that without a well-defended communications system, "our economy can't succeed."
Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. The Constitution As A Backdrop:
The background behind Snowden (presumably thanks to a "green screen" projection), is an image of the U.S. Constitution.
Note: NPR is not a SXSW sponsor, but our friends on the Music Desk are webcasting music from there and some NPR staff are appearing on some SXSW panels.
Wedding season is almost here, and that means wedding cake. But more couples are branching out to pies, cupcakes or even wedding cookies this Spring.
And maybe that will inspire you to try your own hand in the kitchen. Sally McKenney is a self-described "sprinkle lover" and author of the new cookbook Sally's Baking Addiction based on her popular blog by the same name. She says baking doesn't have to be intimidating, and wants her followers to experiment along with her.
She's become known for amping up familiar foods with recipes like brown sugar glazed apple bread, cake batter chocolate chip cookies and Nutella stuffed cinnamon sugar muffins.
"I really just think about all the tastes and foods that I love, and I try to combine them in a new way so that readers can experiment in the kitchen too," McKenney says.
One of those experiments that paid off is what she calls her "$5000 cookie." Her Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate cookies won a Nestle Toll House baking contest against other food bloggers in March 2013. And if stuffing caramel into a chocolate cookie sounds hard, read on to find out how she does it.
Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Cookies
Prep time: 20 minutes. Total time: 2 hours 50 minutes. Makes 16-17 cookies.
1 cup (125 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (80 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (115 grams) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) light or dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tablespoons (30 ml) milk
1 and 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)
18 chocolate coated caramel candies, such as Rolo
coarse sea salt
Instructions: Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar together in a large bowl on medium speed until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
With the mixer running on low, slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until combined. Add the milk. With a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold the chocolate chips into the dough. The dough will be heavy and sticky. Cover and chill for at least 1-2 hours.
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and allow to slightly soften at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Set aside.
Take 2 Tablespoons of chilled dough and split in half and roll each into a ball with your hands. Stick a caramel into 1 ball of dough. Top the caramel with the other ball of dough and seal down the sides so that the caramel is securely stuffed inside. See photo below for a visual. Repeat with the rest of the dough and caramel candies. Sprinkle each with sea salt before putting into the oven.
Bake for 12-13 minutes. Cookies will appear undone and very soft. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 7 days.
Sally's Tip: The trick to stuffing the caramel candy inside is to make sure the dough completely envelopes it. Otherwise you'll have a leaking caramel mess on your cookie sheets!
Orthy is our World Cafe: Next band for our Sense of Place visit to Austin. We picked Orthy, whose two EPs touch on electronic dance music, to illustrate the breadth of the Austin music scene. The inspiration for Ian Orth, who is at the heart of this band, is his ongoing weekly dance party Learning Secrets. He established Learning Secrets to turn rock fans on to dance music and vice versa. The full Orthy plays live, sharing music from their latest EP, E.M.I.L.Y.