Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

2 hours ago
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Editor's note: This report contains accounts of rape, violence and other disturbing events.

Sex trafficking wasn't a major concern in the early 1980s, when Beth Jacobs was a teenager. If you were a prostitute, the thinking went, it was your choice.

Jacobs thought that too, right up until she came to, on the lot of a dark truck stop one night. She says she had asked a friendly-seeming man for a ride home that afternoon.

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Coffee's Natural Creamer

Jun 21, 2013
Originally published on August 23, 2013 10:41 am



Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. And it is more coffee.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Our fabulous coffee series by the great Jenny Woodward continues on SCIENCE FRIDAY. Drink up, everybody. This week we're diving into a tiny glass of espresso.

FLATOW: Ooh. Ooh. So small dive.

LICHTMAN: You need to be very careful. Keep your limbs in.

FLATOW: And why - what's so fascinating about espresso?

LICHTMAN: Well, one of things that espresso drinkers will know probably is that when you have an espresso straight, not a latte, not a cappuccino, just a straight little mug of espresso, when it comes out to you, it has this frothy, foamy thing on top. It's a little thin layer of tiny bubbles. It's a little lighter in color, and it's called the crema.

FLATOW: Right. I love that stuff. Yeah.

LICHTMAN: Yes. I always try to get it with a spoon. It's delicious.

FLATOW: Yeah. All right. Back to the video.

LICHTMAN: Back to the science. OK.


LICHTMAN: So there's a story behind this, we learned, from Harold McGee, who's a food science writer. And it comes down to how the espresso is prepared. So the difference when you're preparing espresso, you know, you put it in this little metal thing, right? And you pound it down...

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: ...if you've seen people making it.

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: And then you put it in a machine that pumps hot water through it. But it pumps water through at great pressure, like eight bars.

FLATOW: Mm hmm. Yeah.

LICHTMAN: And what that does is that it pushes out these little oils that are in the coffee beans into the liquid. And those oils and a few other things like plant carbohydrates, which are also - also come out in this process, stabilize these tiny bubbles and give you that long-lasting foam, or the crema. And it turns out that the crema is actually like a cream. You know, like cream has fat.

FLATOW: Right. Yeah. Little globules in there.

LICHTMAN: This is the oil version and it comes from the coffee itself.

FLATOW: Who would've known, you know, when we started this coffee series a while back, and it's so much...

LICHTMAN: So many revelations.


FLATOW: Let me just remind everybody that this is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. I'm Ira Flatow here with Flora Lichtman, and talking about the coffee series. Who would've known, you know? We always used to talk about chocolate having so many things going in it.

LICHTMAN: Yes. But coffee, definitely. And the people who prepare it, these baristas who we talk to...


LICHTMAN: So you can go to, and you'll see the latest video and our older one too. They're like technicians.


LICHTMAN: I mean, they're doing a lot of experiments to get the coffee tasting just right and using the right equipment for the job. It was very educational.

FLATOW: Yeah. It is. It's true. There's a lot of chemistry and a lot of physics. Now, we've got the physics part with the steam that goes through the giant pressure. You hear those things pumping away.

LICHTMAN: That's right.

FLATOW: I never knew why that was. You know why? You get something different than just putting the coffee in a cone with boiling water.

LICHTMAN: Right, right, right. Yeah, what's your favorite preparation?

FLATOW: I like - I - well, I used to have a vacuum maker, an old coffee...

LICHTMAN: Describe it.

FLATOW: It's hard to describe. It was a big - it came in the '40s, the 1940s. It's a big glass bowl and it has a bowl on top. It's like a double boiler bowl and it has a funnel that goes down into the middle and you put water in the bottom. And once you start heating that water, the hot air or the steam inside - the bottom part pushes the water up the glass into the top where the coffee grounds are. It's the most fun one.

LICHTMAN: The pressure differential, right?

FLATOW: Yes. And then once you take it off the heat, it loses the pressure at the bottom and it comes back down through. I was just fascinated with that one.

LICHTMAN: Very cool. I learned - one of my favorite ahas from the series is how maligned the French press is.


LICHTMAN: As a French press drinker for so long, I'm now embarrassed of my French press.


FLATOW: You don't want to tell anybody.

LICHTMAN: No. Oh, no. Yes. French press disgusting. But apparently, it's very hard, again, you know, because coffee making really can become a science with the right temperature and the right amount of time steeping...

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: ...the French press is hard to nail because there's...


LICHTMAN: many variables that are outside of your control.

FLATOW: Right. Right. And it's our Video Pick of the Week up there on our website, and it's beautiful animation.


FLATOW: A lot of gorgeous...

LICHTMAN: And they did a nice a job.

FLATOW: ...they did great animation in this. And I can't imagine having the patience to move these little dots around.

LICHTMAN: No. It's a...

FLATOW: It's coffee granules, I think.

LICHTMAN: ...a great visualization. And I should say that we have another video that done in the same animation style. It's part of the series. It's an experiment people can do at home. So...

FLATOW: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

LICHTMAN: ...this is a good one, and it's very simple. If you have a cone - a cone and a filter that you can just...

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: ...pour hot water over your grounds into. So you have a set of five glasses. You have this cone. You put grounds in it. And then you pour a little bit of - you put the water in and then move the cone from glass to glass over time and you can see the different flavors that come out at different times during your burning process. And the color changes as you go through. It's fun. It's a fun, you know, Saturday morning experiment.

FLATOW: Yes. It's something - it's fun - it's something that you can try at home. And also the other part of the series, and you mentioned this just a bit, is actually evaluating the different ways to - the different coffeemakers...


FLATOW: ..and which one works best for what reason.

LICHTMAN: We've all seen, you know if you've gone to one of these snooty coffee shops - I say that lovingly because I go to them.


LICHTMAN: But, you know, there are all these machines, and you wonder, well, why do you really have to use this one for this?

FLATOW: Right.

LICHTMAN: And this video decodes that.


LICHTMAN: It's the gear for your grinds video.

FLATOW: The coffee decoder series.


LICHTMAN: And with some very surprising results. Thank you, Flora.

Thanks, Ira.

FLATOW: Flora Lichtman here talking about - it's up there on our website. The whole coffee series, very - quite fascinating, up there on our website at And if you like to watch the way I do, I download them on our app on my iPad app and watch the series all together. It's kind of an interesting way to do it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.