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7:45am

Sat July 11, 2015
Animals

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

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

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

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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3:50am

Fri July 10, 2015
Code Switch

Ta-Nehisi Coates Looks At The Physical Toll Of Being Black In America

Originally published on Fri July 10, 2015 3:12 pm

Coates with his son Samori.
Random House

When writer Ta-Nehisi Coates sat down at NPR's New York studios a few days ago, he got a little emotional.

It was the first time that Coates, who writes for The Atlantic, had held a copy of his latest book, Between the World and Me.

This book is personal, written as a letter to his teenage son Samori. In it, we see glimpses of the hard West Baltimore streets where Coates grew up, his curiosity at work on the campus of Howard University and his early struggles as a journalist.

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12:27pm

Thu July 9, 2015
Architecture

Take A Trip To D.C.'s Indoor Beach, Where It's Always 75 And Sunny

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 5:24 pm

Museumgoers play in the 10,000-square-foot exhibition called "The Beach" at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.
Noah Kalina National Building Museum

The nation's capital is sweaty and sweltering right now, but Washington locals and visitors can find a seaside getaway in the most unlikely of places. In the middle of downtown D.C., the National Building Museum has installed a 10,000-square-foot indoor "beach" that has attracted kids, tourists and workers looking for an out-of-the-ordinary lunch break.

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4:26am

Thu July 9, 2015
Goats and Soda

He Fled Sudan And Made A New Life In The U.S. So Why Go Back?

Originally published on Thu July 9, 2015 10:22 am

Daniel Majok Gai revisits the two-bedroom apartment in Denver where he lived with seven other Sudanese refugees in 2001.
Kevin Leahy NPR

Daniel Majok Gai wants to go back to South Sudan.

He thinks he can help his homeland — the youngest nation in the world. Today marks the fourth anniversary of its independence. But there's little celebration. The country is being ripped apart by civil war.

Yet Gai, who suffered through years of violence and pain as a refugee, believes he can play a role in moving South Sudan toward peace and safety.

Against all odds, the 34-year-old is an incredible optimist.

He was 6 when a militia attacked his village.

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6:08pm

Sun July 5, 2015
Author Interviews

From Early Failures To New 'Trainwreck,' Judd Apatow Gets Serious

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 10:11 pm

Director, writer and producer Judd Apatow has both a new memoir and a new movie right now. Trainwreck, which he directed, is in theaters starting July 17 and Sick in the Head was published in June.
Kevin Winter Getty Images

It's a bit of an understatement to call Judd Apatow busy.

His new book, Sick in the Head, a 500-page collection of Apatow's conversations with some of the greatest minds in comedy, is on the New York Times best-seller list. Meanwhile, his film collaboration with the white-hot Amy Schumer, Trainwreck — his fifth movie as a director — is set for release within two weeks.

Oh, and he just wrapped up shooting another movie that's due out next year.

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5:22pm

Sun July 5, 2015
Author Interviews

From Blueprints To Betrayal: The Daring, And Downfall, Of A Cold War Spy

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 6:19 pm

Courtesy of Doubleday

It was the middle of the Cold War and the CIA was having a difficult time getting information on what the Soviet Union was up to next.

The agency needed a spy — a Russian spy — who was willing to go the full way and betray his country.

It found one in Adolf Tolkachev, a Soviet aviation expert.

David Hoffman tells Tolkachev's story in his new book, The Billion Dollar Spy.

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7:57am

Sun July 5, 2015
The Salt

What To Do With Weird Farmers Market Vegetables

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 10:10 am

Kohlrabi, peeled and sliced, is refreshing, but lightly poached is good too, says chef April Bloomfield.
iStockphoto.com

Walking through the farmers market this time of year is a wondrous thing: juicy tomatoes, rows of jewel-toned eggplants, fragrant basil and sweet yellow corn. But then, you see bunches of greens that look like weeds, stuff with names like kohlrabi and purslane, and suddenly, you feel intimidated. Other people know what to do with these greens, why don't I?

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5:10am

Sun July 5, 2015
Author Interviews

In 'Playing Scared' Pianist Grows Less Frightened Of Stage Fright

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 12:08 pm

Courtesy of Bloomsbury USA

Everyone has had the dream in one form or another. You are about to take a big test when you realize you don't know anything about the subject. You are on stage but you haven't memorized the lines. You have to make a speech but you haven't written it.

It's your basic performance anxiety nightmare.

But if you are a musician, performance anxiety, better known as stage fright, can ruin your career — maybe before it even gets started.

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5:06pm

Sat July 4, 2015
Strange News

Millions Of Mummified Dogs Found In Ancient Egyptian Catacombs

Originally published on Sun July 5, 2015 6:57 pm

Researchers discovered ancient animal mummies piled up in heaps inside a catacomb. Many of the mummies were in poor condition.
Courtesy of Paul Nicholson

In catacombs south of Cairo, researchers have discovered burial sites filled with huge numbers of mummified animals — nearly 8 million of them, mostly dogs.

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5:04pm

Sat July 4, 2015
Author Interviews

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI

Originally published on Sat July 4, 2015 6:42 pm

Courtesy of Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins

Louisa Hall was a nervous speaker when she was little. At school, kids teased her and said she talked like a robot.

"I think I was just so nervous that I kind of couldn't put any real animation in my voice," she tells NPR's Arun Rath. "But ever since then I've kind of looked at robots or looked at machines and wondered whether they were just having trouble acting human."

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