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5:27pm

Sat April 25, 2015
World

Solving Crimes With Pollen, One Grain Of Evidence At A Time

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 6:23 pm

Dallas Mildenhall, New Zealand's forensic pollen expert, peers at samples through a microscope.
Courtesy of David Wolman

Some murder cases are harder to solve than others. The investigation into the killing of Mellory Manning — a 27-year-old woman who was assaulted and murdered in 2008 while working as a prostitute in Christchurch, New Zealand — confounded police.

They conducted an investigation and interviewed hundreds of people, but months later, they still had no solid leads.

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10:15am

Sat April 25, 2015
Author Interviews

Imagining The Power Of Edouard Manet's 'Very Active Muse'

Originally published on Sat April 25, 2015 3:04 pm

Emily Jan NPR

Victorine Meurent was just 17 years old when she met the great Impressionist painter Edouard Manet on a Paris street in 1862. The young, poverty-stricken redhead became his favorite model, and Manet painted her reclining nude in Olympia — a work that scandalized the Paris art world in 1865 and now hangs in the Musée d'Orsay.

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6:41pm

Wed April 22, 2015
Music Interviews

The Nearly Lost Story Of Cambodian Rock 'N' Roll

Originally published on Wed April 22, 2015 9:25 pm

Cambodian band Baksei Cham Krong.
Mol Kamach Courtesy of Argot Pictures

The tragic story of Cambodia in the '60s and '70s is well-known: It became engulfed in the Vietnam War, then more than a million Cambodians died under the Khmer Rouge regime. Doctors, lawyers, teachers — educated people — were targeted in the communist takeover. So were artists and singers.

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12:39pm

Wed April 22, 2015
Intelligence Squared U.S.

Debate: Is It Time To Abolish The Death Penalty?

Originally published on Fri April 24, 2015 2:10 pm

Diann Rust-Tierney, executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, with teammate Barry Scheck, co-director of the Innocence Project.
Samuel LaHoz Intelligence Squared U.S.

The death penalty is legal in more than 30 states, but the long-controversial practice has come under renewed scrutiny after a series of botched executions in several states last year.

Opponents of capital punishment argue that the death penalty undermines the fair administration of justice, as wealth, geography, race and quality of legal representation all come into play, with uneven results.

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5:16am

Mon April 20, 2015
It's All Politics

O'Malley: America's Economy Needs 'Sensible Rebalancing,' Not 'Pitchforks'

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:09 am

"There are two ways to go forward from here, and history shows this," Martin O'Malley said of the two parties' approaches to fixing the economy. "One path is a sensible rebalancing that calls us back to our tried and true success story as the land of opportunity. The other is pitchforks."
Ariel Zambelich NPR

Martin O'Malley, former governor of Maryland, says he'll decide by late May whether he's running for president. Running would put him — even he seems to acknowledge — in an uphill battle against Hillary Clinton, currently the only Democrat who has declared.

O'Malley is positioning himself to Clinton's left, and even President Obama's left.

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6:49pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Health

Transgender Man Leads 'Men's Health' Cover Model Contest

Aydian Dowling is currently leading the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins, he will be the first trans man to appear on the cover.
Jason Robert Ballard FTM Magazine

Aydian Dowling of Eugene, Ore., is ripped. He has sharply defined muscles, piercing eyes and European-playboy-on-the-Riviera tousled hair.

It's not just striking good looks that distinguish Dowling, who is leading the voting in the annual "Ultimate Guy" contest held by Men's Health magazine. If he wins the contest (which is ultimately determined by judges), Dowling will be the first transgender man to appear on the cover of Men's Health.

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5:20pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Music

System Of A Down, Armenia's Favorite Sons, On Facing History

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 6:33 pm

System of a Down is made up of four Los Angelenos of Armenian descent. This spring, they'll play their first-ever concert in their ethnic homeland.
Frank Maddocks Courtesy of the artist

Here's a quotation about prison overcrowding: "All research and successful drug policies show that treatment should be increased and law enforcement decreased, while abolishing mandatory minimum sentences." That's not from some stodgy think tank. That's metal.

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5:20pm

Sun April 19, 2015
Author Interviews

Unsettling Tales Of Strange Suburbia Echo Through 'The Night'

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 8:16 pm

Emily Jan NPR

A town that experiences a sudden suicide epidemic, a mysterious traveling salesman who sells a magical mirror polish, a mermaid who washes up on shore: What happens to a small town when something strange and supernatural takes over?

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser explores that intersection of familiar life and disturbing, often bizarre events in his new short story collection, Voices in the Night.

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5:20am

Sun April 19, 2015
The Salt

This Robot Chef Has Mastered Crab Bisque

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 11:00 am

These robotic arms are part of a modular kitchen that's been set up so that the robot chef can find exactly what it needs.
Moley Robotics

Step aside, home chefs! The kitchen of the future draws near.

No, there's no hydrator from Marty McFly's kitchen in Back to the Future II. Right now, the chef of the future looks like a pair of robotic arms that descend from the ceiling of a very organized kitchen. And it makes a mean crab bisque.

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6:49pm

Sat April 18, 2015
Pop Culture

After Fan Pressure, Netflix Makes 'Daredevil' Accessible To The Blind

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 7:11 pm

Netflix's original series Daredevil, which stars a blind superhero, was originally hard for blind audience members to understand. The series was released without audio description that would make it accessible to the visually impaired. TV broadcasters are required to release such descriptions for some content, but Netflix, as an Internet streaming service, faces no such requirement.
Netflix

Netflix's original series now have a superhero among them. Comic fans know Daredevil as a crusader. He's a Marvel character who, in addition to his superhuman abilities, has a very human disability: blindness.

Needless to say, Daredevil has quite a few fans with visual impairments — and they were looking forward to the show.

But until this week, Netflix had no plans to provide the audio assistance that could have helped those fans follow the show.

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6:25pm

Sat April 18, 2015
The Salt

Late Chicago Chef Sought To Open 'A New Page In Gastronomy'

Originally published on Mon April 20, 2015 10:19 am

Chef Homaro Cantu holds a tomato in the kitchen of his Chicago restaurant Moto in 2007. Haute cuisine and extreme science collided in the kitchen of Chef Cantu, who took his own life Tuesday.
Jeff Haynes AFP/Getty Images

The culinary world lost a visionary this week. Homaro Cantu, a specialist in the avant-garde approach to cooking known as molecular gastronomy, died Tuesday in Chicago at the age of 38. The Cook County Medical Examiner ruled Cantu's death a suicide.

Every visit to Cantu's flagship restaurant, Michelin-starred Moto, was a trip down the rabbit hole.

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7:43am

Sat April 18, 2015
Fine Art

Wordless Ads Speak Volumes In 'Unbranded' Images Of Women

Originally published on Sat April 18, 2015 11:00 am

Come out of the Bone Age, darling....1955
Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Advertisements don't need any words to say a lot about a culture.

That's one of the messages that shines through in the work of artist Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, Thomas removed the text and branding from ads featuring African-Americans, creating a series he called Unbranded, which illustrated how America has seen and continues to see black people.

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3:43am

Fri April 17, 2015
Goats and Soda

When The World Bank Does More Harm Than Good

Originally published on Fri April 17, 2015 8:17 am

In the 1950s, the World Bank funded the creation of the world's largest man-made dam, the Kariba Dam, which sits on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The construction of such dams can have dire consequences for poor people living near a river, an investigation found.
Jekesai Njikizana AFP/Getty Images

The World Bank's goal is to end extreme poverty and to grow income for the poorest people on the planet.

The bank does this by lending money and giving grants to governments and private corporations in some of the least developed places on the planet. For example, money goes to preserving land, building dams and creating health care systems.

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3:46am

Thu April 16, 2015
Parallels

An American Journalist Explains Why He Had To Flee Iraq

Originally published on Thu April 16, 2015 12:05 pm

American journalist Ned Parker (foreground) is the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad. He fled Iraq last week after receiving threats in response to reports on human rights abuses by Shiite militias allied with Iraq's government. He's shown here at Iraq's Foreign Ministry in 2007.
Courtesy of Ned Parker

When the U.S. withdrew its troops from Iraq in 2011, many American news organizations followed suit, scaling back or shutting down their bureaus. Ned Parker was among a handful of American journalists who continued to report from the country.

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3:34am

Wed April 15, 2015
History

Who Was John Wilkes Booth Before He Became Lincoln's Assassin?

Originally published on Wed April 15, 2015 12:33 pm

John Wilkes Booth was the son of prominent, wealthy actors. He, too, became an actor and was so popular, he was one of the first to have his clothes ripped off by fans.
Hulton Archive Getty

John Wilkes Booth was the man who pulled the trigger, capping off a coordinated plot to murder President Abraham Lincoln.

But historian Terry Alford, an expert on all things Booth, says that there's much more to Booth's life. His new biography, Fortune's Fool: The Life of John Wilkes Booth, delves deep into his life — before Booth went down in history as the man who assassinated a president.

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