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Education
5:10 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

They're No. 1: U.S. Wins Math Olympiad For First Time In 21 Years

Head coach Po-Shen Loh (far left) and assistant coaches John Berman and Alex Zhai (far right) flank the members of the winning squad: Shyam Narayanan, David Stoner, Michael Kural, Ryan Alweiss, Yang Liu and Allen Liu.
Courtesy of Po-Shen Loh

Originally published on Mon July 20, 2015 1:26 pm

In one of this year's most intense international competitions, the United States has come out as best in the world — and this time, we're not talking about soccer.

This week, the top-ranked math students from high schools around the country went head-to-head with competitors from more than 100 countries at the International Mathematical Olympiad in Chiang Mai, Thailand. And, for the first time in more than two decades, they won.

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Music Interviews
5:10 pm
Sat July 18, 2015

Leaving Los Angeles: Rickie Lee Jones Turns A Decade Into An Album

The new album The Other Side of Desire marks Jones' first original material in years, spurred on by a life-changing move to New Orleans.
David McClister Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed July 22, 2015 2:51 pm

If you turned on a radio in 1979, there was very good chance you'd hear the music of Rickie Lee Jones. At only 24, she leapt onto the world stage with her big single "Chuck E.'s in Love." Rolling Stone called her "the dutchess of coolsville."

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Middle East
8:43 am
Sat July 18, 2015

Former Hostage: Under Deal, Iran Has Less Incentive To Hold Americans

Shourd and fellow hikers Shane Bauer (center) and Josh Fattal held a press conference shortly after Bauer and Fattal were released in 2011. Shourd was released in 2010.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Sat July 18, 2015 10:33 am

President Obama responded sharply this week when a reporter asked if he was "content" to celebrate the nuclear deal with Iran when at least three and possibly four Americans are being held in Iranian jails.

"Nobody's content," he said, "and our diplomats and our teams are working diligently to try to get them out."

At least one former American hostage thinks the deal is worth signing, despite the remaining hostages.

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The Salt
7:44 am
Sat July 18, 2015

How An Ice Cream Stand Made Pineapple A Local Flavor Of Missouri

Jennifer Fortner Courtesy of Pineapple Whip

Originally published on Mon July 20, 2015 11:57 am

All summer, Weekend Edition has been traveling the country in search of local flavor. The Midwest marks the latest stop on that trip of taste, down in Springfield, Mo. But the spot we found sports a distinctly tropical vibe.

It's called Pineapple Whip — both the beloved frozen dessert, and the series of roadside stands that sling them to long lines of eager eaters. And the treat is simple, too: a nondairy, juice-based soft serve. Something so simple, and so distinctive, it's tough to label it with any readily recognizable category, any name but its own.

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Deceptive Cadence
4:48 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

The Rifleman Who Fiddled For Truman, Churchill And Stalin

Photo from The Rifleman's Violin, directed by Sam Ball, Copyright Citizen Film 2015.
Citizen Film

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 7:39 pm

Seventy years ago, shortly after defeating Nazi Germany, three victorious leaders met in Potsdam, just outside Berlin. President Harry Truman was there with British and Soviet leaders Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. Stuart Canin was also there — he was a 19-year-old GI from New York City who played the violin.

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StoryCorps
5:09 am
Fri July 17, 2015

At The End Of A Murder Sentence, A Redemption Forged From Forgiveness

Mary Johnson-Roy spoke with Oshea Israel at StoryCorps in Minneapolis.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 2:54 pm

On Thursday, President Obama became the first sitting president in U.S. history to visit a federal prison, taking a tour of the El Reno Federal Correction Institution in Oklahoma. Earlier in the week, he addressed the NAACP in Philadelphia, calling for reforms in the criminal justice system — with the hopes of helping people who have served time turn their lives around.

Oshea Israel, whom listeners first met through StoryCorps in 2011, has done just that.

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Environment
5:09 am
Fri July 17, 2015

Reduce, Reuse, Remove The Cellophane: Recycling Demystified

Workers pull out plastic and trash from a conveyor belt of paper at a recycling plant in Elkridge, Md. The plant processes 1,000 tons of recyclable materials every day.
Dianna Douglas NPR

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 10:29 am

It's easy to think we're being virtuous when we fill up the blue recycling bin and put it on the curb. But it's clear we have embraced some magical thinking when it comes to what can be recycled.

Morning Edition asked its social media followers to share what puzzles them the most about the recycling process. Then, NPR's Dianna Douglas visited a waste management plant in Elkridge, Md., to get the answers from Michael Taylor, director of recycling operations for the plant.

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Parallels
8:41 am
Thu July 16, 2015

The View From Inside Syria

Saeed al-Batal, a Syrian photographer, posted this image from Douma, Syria, on his Facebook page on March 31.
Courtesy of Saeed al-Batal

Originally published on Thu July 16, 2015 3:46 pm

Syria's civil war has created the worst refugee crisis in the world, with more than 4 million people fleeing the country. Millions more have been displaced inside Syria, though we rarely hear from them.

Over the past year, NPR's Morning Edition has spoken three times with Saeed al-Batal, a photographer and filmmaker who doesn't use his real name for security reasons.

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It's All Politics
6:54 pm
Wed July 15, 2015

Logo Or No Go? When Campaign Logos Look A Little Too Familiar

@CNNPolitics tweeted a combination of Scott Walker's campaign logo with America's Best Eyeglasses logo to show the design similarities.
Via @CNNPolitics/Twitter

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 8:01 pm

The "E" in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's newly unveiled presidential logo is a stylized American flag — as it turns out, one that looks remarkably similar to the logo for America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.

The company's CEO, Reade Fahs, said he doesn't mind but also that it's unlikely the governor hasn't seen the 18-year-old logo. "It's on hundreds of stores across the country. So assuming he's got good vision, he probably would have spotted it in his campaign travels. And we have lots of stores in Wisconsin too."

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All Tech Considered
3:49 pm
Mon July 13, 2015

#RaceOnTech: How An Early Love Of Math Led Her To The Role Of CEO

Dr. Lisa Dyson is the CEO of Kiverdi, a next-generation sustainable oil company that converts CO2 and waste carbon gases into oils using biotechnology.
Maurice Dean Courtesy of Lisa Dyson

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 10:03 am

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All Tech Considered
7:03 am
Mon July 13, 2015

Follow #RaceOnTech, Explore Diversity In Tech And Science

Follow the #RaceOnTech hashtag on Twitter to participate in a conversation about diversity in STEM fields.
Mary McLain NPR

Originally published on Fri July 17, 2015 9:44 am

Silicon Valley admits it has a diversity problem. Companies from Google to Facebook to Twitter have reported that a majority of their employees are white males.

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Music
5:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

'Happy Birthday' Hits Sour Notes When It Comes To Song's Free Use

Everyone knows how to sing "Happy Birthday to You." But performing the song in movies or on TV requires payment of sometimes hefty licensing fees. Now the song is at the heart of a lawsuit.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 11:21 pm

The Guinness Book of World Records calls "Happy Birthday to You" the most recognized song in the English language. But you'll rarely ever hear it on TV or in a movie.

Instead, you usually hear something that sounds sort of like the song, but not quite. In Disney's The Emperor's New Groove, for example, the characters sing: "Happy, happy birthday from all of us to you, we wish it was our birthday so we could party, too."

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Author Interviews
5:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

After Fight For Life And Media Firestorm, 'Distressed Baby' Is Happy Toddler

Lydia Thompson NPR

Originally published on Wed July 15, 2015 2:11 pm

In an age of CEO gaffes and snafus, one in particular drew significant backlash last year.

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Television
5:24 pm
Sun July 12, 2015

The Pitch Of A Lifetime: One Enterprising 'Star Trek' Fan's Big Chance

George Takei as Sulu (left) and Walter Koenig as Chekov in the original Star Trek series. The franchise has spun off a bounty of shows, but the last one came off the air a decade ago. One fan has a plan for the next installment.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 10:16 am

Like many Star Trek fans, Michael Chang Gummelt wants the legendary franchise to return to TV. And like many fans, he has a lot of ideas about what such a reboot should look like.

But Gummelt also has something no other fan does: a meeting with Paramount to pitch his concept.

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Author Interviews
6:26 am
Sun July 12, 2015

In Palestine, A Child Of Violence Becomes A Music Educator

Bloomsbury USA

Originally published on Sun July 12, 2015 8:29 am

When the first Palestinian uprising began in the late 1980s, the images from the intifada showed exploding tear gas canisters launched by Israelis, answered by Palestinian youngsters shooting slingshots and hurling rocks. A photographer snapped a photo of a boy with tears in his eyes, an 8-year-old named Ramzi Aburedwan. The image came to represent the rage and frustration of life in the refugee camps. But although his face was famously stuck in time, Ramzi's life changed dramatically when he was introduced to music at age 16.

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Race
5:11 pm
Sat July 11, 2015

He's Shared 'Every Single Word' — But It's The Silence That Rings Louder

YouTube

Originally published on Sun July 12, 2015 10:34 am

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Music Interviews
5:11 pm
Sat July 11, 2015

Iron, Wine And Horses: 2 Friends Make The Ultimate Mixtape

Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Sam Beam of Iron & Wine team up on Sing Into My Mouth, a new album of covers.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon July 13, 2015 7:52 am

It sounds like a dream: Two old friends, supporting each other from afar, both carve out stellar reputations in the music industry. Then, when they're established enough to call the shots, they band together. For two musicians, it's what really happened.

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Author Interviews
5:11 pm
Sat July 11, 2015

Fearing Her Mind's Decline, Patricia Marx Scrambles To Get 'Less Stupid'

Patricia Marx is also the author of two novels, Starting from Happy and Him Her Him Again the End of Him.
Courtesy of Hachette Book Group

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 9:35 pm

Patricia Marx is a former writer for Saturday Night Live and Rugrats. She's a contributor to The New Yorker.

And she's afraid she's losing her mind.

"There were just so many moments of, 'What's that thing that you put the thing in that's got the thing that, you know, that what is it called?' " Marx tells NPR's Arun Rath.

"I was really worried that in a matter of days, I was going to need a caregiver and the caregiver was going to find the butter dish in my sock drawer."

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Animals
7:45 am
Sat July 11, 2015

For This Tarantula-Killing Wasp, Dinner's A Meal Best Served Living

Meal time for one species probably means sleepless nights for others.
Debbie Hall Flickr

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 10:38 am

It's been wet in Texas this year — exceptionally wet, as a matter of fact. With record amounts of rain, Texas is more than a little hot, green and rife with happy insects.

Take the tarantula hawk, for example. In case you've never heard of it, it's a wasp that's so big, and so nasty, that it attacks tarantulas — who happen to be quite big and nasty themselves.

So, what does a happy tarantula hawk look like? Ben Hutchins, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, takes NPR's Wade Goodwyn through all the gruesome wasp-on-tarantula details.

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Sports
7:45 am
Sat July 11, 2015

Winning Is For Losers: The Great Stories Of The Guys Who Finish Last

Originally published on Sat July 11, 2015 10:38 am

Cyclists competing in the Tour de France entered the 8th Stage on Saturday, where they'll face some short but steep climbs as they ride west through Brittany. At the end of the day, cheering crowds will gather around the finish line, the stage winners feted.

What about the guy at the end of the pack? That's the question Max Leonard answers in his new book, Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France. Leonard tells NPR's Wade Goodwyn that the riders in the back often have far more interesting stories than the riders in the front.

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