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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

1 hour ago
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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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.

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Spanish Surrealist Salvador Dalí spent much of the 1940s in the U.S., avoiding World War II and its aftermath. He was a well-known fixture on the art scene in Monterey, Calif. — and that's where the largest collection of Dalí's work on the West Coast is now open to the public.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Discovery's 'Big Brain Theory': Not That Kind Of Nerd TV

May 1, 2013

Perhaps the most revolutionary thing about Discovery's nifty new science series The Big Brain Theory, hosted by Kal Penn, is how ordinary it is.

Right from the title, Big Brain plays into the same fascination with nerd culture that fuels The Big Bang Theory, and that fueled other reality shows like Beauty And The Geek and this season's King Of The Nerds. But while it does highlight the personalities of engineers and scientists, Big Brain is refreshingly devoid of comments about not dating, living with parents, or being socially awkward in some magnificently conspicuous way.

The structure is simple in Wednesday night's opener: a bunch of science types (most are young enough that it feels like a very grad-school vibe) form two teams, and they're given a challenge. Here, they each get a pickup truck loaded with explosives set to blow up if the g forces are too high, so they have to figure out how to cushion/decelerate/protect the box so that when the trucks run into each other head-on, they don't explode.

If you're nodding and saying "Heh, cool," this is your show.

What The Big Brain Theory recalls, more than any other reality tradition, is something like the team challenges on Top Chef or Project Runway. People are given a problem to solve, and they have to figure out how to solve it. When they squabble, it's about leadership and science, not whether any of them know how to get a date. And a certain level of scientific literacy is both developed (through lots of diagramming and animations of what the teams are doing) and assumed. (It's kind of refreshing to hear tension among reality-show teams conveyed through a guy exasperatedly saying, "We could do a limit switch and a solenoid!", like that's the equivalent of one chef yelling at another, "We can make chicken and rice!")

This is how competitive reality shows work: it's mostly nice people who have a pronounced stubbornness and competitiveness (though this crop is more laid back than most collections of clothing designers, for instance), combined with one or two drama-causing jerkfaces. Only here, what you're watching the mostly nice people do is a lot of science and engineering problem-solving.

Oh, and then at the end, they run trucks into each other to see if they blow up. And the climactic moment is so funny that I freely admit I burst out laughing and had to explain to my co-workers what was happening.

It's entertaining, it actually is educational, and it presents a bunch of scientists who are clearly very smart but don't bring up Star Trek except when one of them says it's how he became curious about space. All in all, a good hour of television, and one that your local tinkerer might find surprisingly satisfying.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.