Nation/World

Penelope Spheeris On World Cafe

Jul 22, 2015

The 1980s in LA were a tumultuous time musically. A number of homegrown movements formed in reaction to the over-produced, corporate music scene, and filmmaker Penelope Spheeris was there to document these beginnings with a series of three extraordinary films titled The Decline of Western Civilization. The first is on the LA punk scene and came out to unanimous praise in 1979. She used extreme filmmaking methods, got inside the nascent scene with her camera and at times seemingly dove off the stage in small venues.

E.L. Doctorow used to tell a story about a journalism class he took as a high school student in the Bronx. As he told NPR back in 2003, he wrote a profile of a doorman at Carnegie Hall who was beloved by all the performers there. His teacher, apparently, loved the story so much, she wanted to publish the story in the school paper — so she told Doctorow to get a photo of the man.

There was just one problem.

"I hadn't expected that kind of enthusiasm," Doctorow recalled, "and I said, well, 'Not exactly, there is no Carl.' I made him up."

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Strolling through the annual meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists the other day, I saw several signs offering to solve an urgent problem American bakers face. The signs advertised "egg replacement."

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In a campaign looking for a jumpstart, Republican presidential hopeful Rand Paul released a video Tuesday that attempted to grab some of the spotlight away from Donald Trump.

The University of Birmingham in the U.K. says it has discovered a portion of a Quran manuscript from about the time of the Prophet Muhammad, making it one of the earliest versions of Islam's holy book to survive.

Radiocarbon analysis conducted at Oxford University dated the parchment on which the text is written to between the years 568 and 645. Muhammad is believed to have lived between 570 and 632.

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The Thistle & Shamrock: Common Currency

Jul 22, 2015

Follow the instrumental links and song streams that connect musical traditions across miles and oceans. This week's episode features music by Joe Craven, Pauline Scanlon, Tim O'Brien, Colcannon and more.

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Pakistan's Supreme Court has stayed the execution of Asia Bibi, a 50-year-old Pakistani mother of five who was sentenced to death by hanging for insulting Islam. On Wednesday, the court agreed to hear her appeal.

Bibi's death sentence was handed down by a lower court in 2010 for committing "blasphemy."

The BBC quotes her lawyer telling reporters outside the Supreme Court: "The execution of Asia Bibi has been suspended and will remain suspended until the decision of this appeal."

The Lamborghini Countach was one of the most outrageous supercars ever made. It's an ergonomic nightmare, a pain in the ass to get into, has zero tolerance for pedestrian (hell, vehicular) safety and yet ... it's still so awesome. Those defiantly sharp angles, that ludicrous speed, that rip-roaring engine — that's also not a bad way to describe Brooklyn's STATS.

The young man behind two undercover videos targeting Planned Parenthood seemed to come out of nowhere. No one had heard of David Daleiden, or his non-profit, the Center for Medical Progress, when he first accused the health care provider of illegally selling aborted fetal baby parts last week.

Actor Jake Gyllenhaal knows what it feels like to take a punch. "It doesn't feel great, you know," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "I don't like getting hit, but it was important for the movie. At least that's how I justify when I would get hit: 'That was good for the movie.' "

The movie in question is Southpaw, in which Gyllenhaal stars as a boxer who grew up in the foster care system and is struggling to be a father to his daughter.

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The next time you pop a Popsicle in your mouth, think about this: You're enjoying the fruits of an 11-year-old entrepreneur's labor.

Back in 1905, a San Francisco Bay Area kid by the name of Frank Epperson accidentally invented the summertime treat. He had mixed some sugary soda powder with water and left it out overnight. It was a cold night, and the mixture froze. In the morning, Epperson devoured the icy concoction, licking it off the wooden stirrer. He declared it an Epsicle, a portmanteau of icicle and his name, and started selling the treat around his neighborhood.

Intensive End-Of-Life Care On The Rise For Cancer Patients

Jul 22, 2015

Conversations about end-of-life care are difficult. But even though most people now take some steps to communicate their wishes, many may still receive more intensive care than they would have wished, a study published in July found.

The FBI says it's too early to tell whether Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez was radicalized before he attacked two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn., and killed five service members.

"This is a complex, ongoing investigation, and we're still in the early stages of piecing together exactly what happened and why," FBI Special Agent in Charge Ed Reinhold said Wednesday at a news conference.

Reinhold said between 700 and 1,000 agents are working full time on the investigation into what led the Kuwaiti-born Abdulazeez, 24, to carry out last week's attacks.

Dylann Roof, who police say carried out a ruthless attack that killed nine black worshippers in a Charleston, S.C., church, is now facing federal hate crime charges along with more than a dozen other serious charges he's already accused of.

"Hate crimes are the original domestic terrorism," Attorney General Loretta Lynch says.

The 33 counts center on both the victims' race and their identity as church-goers who were attempting to follow their religious beliefs when Roof attacked.

Last week, I wrestled with an idea that admittedly made me very uncomfortable: the possibility that for many defenders of racially loaded symbols like the Confederate battle flag and the Washington Redskins' brand, their affinity for these icons may be more understandable and — crucially — more relatable than many of us might like to admit.

Most transgender adolescents go through the same steps during the medical transition from one gender to another. They're given a drug that blocks or pauses puberty. Then, if they and their doctors are sure they want to continue, they are given sex hormones that will resume puberty and give them more male or more female bodies.

Farmers who grow marijuana for Colorado's legal market are running into problems as they try to control mildew and pests. Because of the plant's illegal status at the federal level, a main source of agricultural guidance isn't available to pot farmers.

Attempts to regulate marijuana production often hit another problem, as the plant's wide range of uses sets it apart from many traditional food crops.

Archie Comics Cartoonist Tom Moore Dies At 86

Jul 22, 2015

Artist Tom Moore, who gave life to the teen angst of Archie and his Riverdale pals from 1953 to the late 1980s, has died of lung cancer in El Paso, Texas.

If you've ever had hiccups in a quiet room, you know how embarrassing and completely uncontrollable they can feel. What if, instead of the hiccups, your body jerked involuntarily or you blurted out words without meaning to? That's a rough idea of what living with Tourette syndrome can be like.

Designers of a new computer program called TicHelper hope that they will be able to help children recognize and control these impulses themselves.

Both houses of Congress have now passed versions of the bill that would update the largest federal education law, known as No Child Left Behind, for the first time since 2001. They are big, meaty and complicated, and now they have to be reconciled into one messy Dagwood sandwich of a bill to go to the president.

The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei finally got his passport back today, four years after it was seized by government authorities.

Ai made the announcement on Instagram, posting a selfie of him holding his red and gold passport with a simple caption: "Today, I picked up my passport."

The Los Angeles Times reports:

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