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NPR Story
3:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Can A Computer Compose The Music Of The Future?

Photograph of Greg Wilder (Sean Hurley/NHPR)

Yesterday on Here & Now, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic talked about how record executives make decisions about who to sign and what to play, based on data about what music people like online.

Thompson’s conclusion is that the process is making music much more bland because people like to hear music that sounds familiar.

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NPR Story
3:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Rain Expected After Massive Snowfall In Buffalo

Sydney, a six year old golden retriever, makes her way through five feet of snow from a driveway on November 20, 2014 in the suburb of Lakeview, Buffalo, New York. (John Normile/Getty Images)

It has stopped snowing in the Buffalo area, but now rain in the forecast is leading to worries about possible floods and more roof collapses. Brian Meyer of WBFO in Buffalo joins Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson with the latest.

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NPR Story
3:12 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Country Awaits Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Police face demonstrators protesting the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown outside the police station on November 20, 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri. At least three people were arrested during the protest. Brown was killed by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, on August 9. A grand jury is expected to decide this month if Wilson should be charged in the shooting. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The country will soon know the fate of Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Tensions have been high in St. Louis County since the August shooting, which sparked violent protests and unrest.

A grand jury has been examining this case for weeks and is expected to come out with a decision on whether or not to indict Officer Wilson.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Legendary Director Mike Nichols Dies At 83

Director Mike Nichols presents the 'Lacoste Career Achievment award for Film' onstage at the 7th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on February 19, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri November 21, 2014 2:05 pm

Note: The audio in this story incorrectly identified the actor in a scene from “The Birdcage.” It was Luca Tommassini, not Hank Azaria. We apologize the error.

One of the most honored and successful directors in entertainment has died. Mike Nichols, director of “The Odd Couple” on Broadway, “The Graduate” on film and “Angels in America” on TV, died of a heart attack Wednesday at age 83. He once said his life as the ultimate showbiz insider came from lessons learned while growing up as an outsider.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Anger, Protests Grow Over Mexico's 43 Missing Students

A students takes part in a protest by students of the Ayotzinapa school and parents of the 43 missing students in Acapulco on November 19, 2014. A caravan of students and relatives of the missing students, feared to have been massacred, came to Acapulco as part of its journey to the Mexican capital to end November 20. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images)

Today is a day of protest across Mexico, and in other cities around the world, for the 43 university students missing for nearly two months.

In Mexico, the protests and the anger have been growing for days over the government’s handling of the disappearance and presumed murder of the 43 students. The protesters’ rallying cry: “Ya me canse” or “ya me canse del miedo” — I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough fear.

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NPR Story
12:34 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

NBA's First Openly Gay Player Retires

Jason Collins speaks with the media before a game between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks at the Barclays Center on November 19, 2014 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 1:37 pm

NBA player Jason Collins became a household name last spring when he penned an essay in Sports Illustrated announcing that he was gay. Collins not only became the first openly gay player in the NBA, but also the first openly gay man in the four major American sports.

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

NBC Drops New Bill Cosby Sitcom Amid Rape Allegations

NBC has reportedly canned a sitcom project in the works with Bill Cosby. The move comes as the comedian faces accusations of sexual assault and rape, and follows Netflix’ decision to shelve a Cosby stand-up special to commemorate his 77th birthday.

Model and television host Janice Dickinson is the latest woman to publicly accuse comedian Bill Cosby of sexual assault. She is one of a number of women to spark a firestorm of reaction to decades-old rape allegations against the comedian.

Cosby’s lawyer has denied the claims as “discredited allegations.”

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

West Virginia’s Rivers May Be Wild, But Fewer People Know About Them

West Virginia's white water rafting industry is heavily dependent on out-of-state tourism, but the state is spending far less on advertising than its neighbors. (ben loehrke/Flickr)

The river rafting industry in West Virginia has hit some rough water. Tour companies were at the state capital in Charleston this week, asking lawmakers to spend more on the state’s advertising budget.

A state program to fund advertising has fallen from $23 million in 2004 to less than $3 million this year — just a fraction of what nearby states are spending. The rafting industry says that means potential customers in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida aren’t even considering West Virginia in their vacation plans.

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NPR Story
12:57 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

ISIS Advertises For Oil Industry Managers

A view of the Kawergosk Refinery, some 12 miles east of Arbil, the capital of the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, on July 14, 2014. (Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images)

The Islamic State has reportedly advertised on the black market for people to manage its oil operations, for a salary of $225,000 per year.

A consultant with Dubai-based Manaar Energy confirmed the story for the Times of London, saying that ISIS is trying to recruit skilled professionals who are “ideologically suitable.”

Western intelligence officials say that, along with ransom and extortion, oil operations have made ISIS one of the wealthiest terrorist organizations in the world. But there have been recent reports of problems at ISIS oil facilities.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Record-Breaking Cold Sweeps The U.S.

A commuter walks along Market Street in freezing temperatures Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2014, in Philadelphia. The National Weather Service says parts of northwestern Pennsylvania are bracing for nearly 2 feet of snow as arctic air continues to produce lake-effect conditions. A lake-effect snow warning remains in effect for northwest Pennsylvania, northeast Ohio and parts of western New York through 7 a.m. Wednesday. (Matt Rourke/AP)

We know Buffalo, New York is no stranger to snow, but the season’s first big snowfall was a whopper and is being measured in feet, instead of inches. Nearly 3 feet of snow blanketed the Buffalo area, closing major highways and shutting schools.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Cholesterol Drug Vytorin Found To Lower Heart Risk

A new study finds the drug Vytorin helps lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. (Schering-Plough via Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 1:57 pm

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Statins have long been the drug of of choice to lower cholesterol to reduce the rise of heart attacks and strokes.

But a new study — funded by Merck — finds that the drug Vytorin, which combines the statin Zocor with the drug Zetia, is more effective than statins alone at lowering cholesterol and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in patients who have had a heart attack or severe chest pain.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Outspoken Olympic Runner Nick Symmonds Pens Memoir

Nick Symmonds of the United States celebrates winning silver in the Men's 800 metres final during Day Four of the 14th IAAF World Athletics Championships Moscow 2013 at Luzhniki Stadium on August 13, 2013 in Moscow, Russia. (Mark Kolbe/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 2:04 pm

Nick Symmonds has won his share of races, but he often gets as much attention for what he does off the track.

Symmonds is a two-time Olympian, a World Championship medalist and a multi-title winner in college, but he rubs some people the wrong way because he rails against the organizations that govern track and field and he speaks out on issues such as gun control.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Scientists Try To Bring Back The Original New Mexico Chile

New Mexico green chiles are pictured at a farmer's market. (Farmanac/Flickr)

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 1:55 pm

For years, the New Mexico green chile has been under siege. The chile is a huge part of the state’s cultural identity and it grows the most chile peppers of any state in the country, contributing about $50 million to the state’s economy.

But the New Mexico chile industry is in decline — suffering from drought and competition from China and other countries.

New Mexico green chile peppers were first grown in the 1800s and scientists say the secret to recapturing the industry is to recreate chiles from the old seeds and bring back the original flavor that has been lost.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

What Do The Midterms Mean For Medicaid?

It’s open enrollment time again for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. One key part of the president’s health law was an expansion of Medicaid, the federal program that provides health coverage for low income Americans.

Several states’ governors declined to expand Medicaid. In the midterm elections, Democratic governors in Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland and Arkansas who expanded Medicaid were replaced by Republicans. And Republican governors in Maine, Wisconsin and Kansas who campaigned against Medicaid expansions kept their jobs.

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NPR Story
12:30 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

Social Media Buzz: From A TV Anchor's Suit To Anonymous

Karl Stefanovic, an Australian morning show host, wore the same suit for one year to highlight how his female co-anchors receive more criticism about their appearance (screenshot)

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 3:06 pm

Annie Colbert, viral content editor for Mashable, joins Here & Now‘s Robin Young to look at some of the stories reverberating online:

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

African American Poetry of the 1800s

This is a picture of the First African Church drawn by W.L. Sheppard. (Courtesy of New South Books)

The 19th century was a vibrant period for poetry in the United States. But few know that African-Americans were an essential part of that.

Slaves, former slaves and free African-Americans wrote verses that were published in black-owned newspapers, not only in the more liberal North, but also in the South and center of the country.

The poetry explores oppression, freedom, religion and humor.

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Navy SEAL Who Says He Killed Bin Laden Explains Why He Went Public

Robert O'Neill while serving in Liberia. (Courtesy of CRC Public Relations).

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 2:55 pm

It’s been quite a week for Robert O’Neill, who last week told the public that he was the former Navy Seal who fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden.

The U.S. Defense Department has confirmed that O’Neill was on SEAL Team Six, and that he was part of the bin Laden raid, but has said it cannot confirm who fired the final shots.

The Pentagon issued a statement saying that O’Neill’s disclosures may have put “our national security at risk.”

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NPR Story
12:18 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

NBA Commissioner Supports Legalizing Sports Gambling

Commissioner Adam Silver commences the 2014 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 26, 2014 in Brooklyn. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Originally published on Fri November 14, 2014 1:05 pm

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is arguing for the legalization of betting on professional sports games.

In an op-ed published in the New York Times, Silver argued, “in light of these domestic and global trends, the laws on sports betting should be changed.”

The NBA currently bans the practice. In fact Tim Donaghy, former referee, was sentenced to federal prison for his role in a gambling scandal.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Woman Sues For The Right To Go Topless In Chicago

This is a screen shot of the video of Sonoko Tagami being ticketed by an officer for indecent exposure. She is now suing for the right to be topless in public. (LuvLuv/YouTube)

A woman who was issued a ticket this summer in Chicago, Ill. for going topless has filed a lawsuit in Federal Court, claiming the city’s ordinance against women appearing bare-chested in public is unconstitutional.

Sonoko Tagami, 41, received a $100 ticket for indecent exposure.

Jason Meisner, a federal courts reporter for the Chicago Tribune and has been covering the story.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Proposed Tobacco Ban Fires Up Citizens Of Small Massachusetts Town

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 12:54 pm

The idea that Westminster, Massachusetts would be the first town in the country to ban the sale of all tobacco and nicotine products lit a fire under residents at a public meeting Wednesday night.

Nearly 500 of them turned out – most of them calling the board of health’s proposal an act of too much “big government.” The meeting got so out of hand that it had to be cut short and its chairwoman led out of the building by police.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Myanmar Elephants' Rights Threatened By Democracy

Workers stand near white elephants at their shelter in Myanmar's capital Naypyidaw on May 10, 2014. Myanmar will parade its once isolated capital to international leaders this weekend, hosting a landmark summit of Southeast Asia's regional bloc as reforms see the country strut onto the world stage. ( Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama has been traveling throughout Asia this week, including Myanmar, also known as Burma. He will be attending the Asian Summit in the nation’s capital of Naypyidaw to discuss everything from Ebola to territorial trade disputes in the South China Sea.

The president will also be discussing the progress of the nation’s transition to a democracy. Part of the discussion is human rights, as the Muslim Rohingya minority faces a threat in the western Rakhine state.

Elephants are also facing a threat.

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NPR Story
1:27 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

What's Behind The Gluten-Free 'Obsession'?

The gluten-free aisle at a Kroger grocery store in Memphis, Tenn. Taken in March 2013. (ilovememphis/flickr)

A third of Americans say they’re trying to eliminate gluten from their diets, even though celiac disease affects only 1 percent of the population and many doctors don’t believe that non-celiac gluten sensitivity exists.

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NPR Story
12:55 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Giving The Homeless A Camera To Tell Their Stories

Uploaded from the Homeless GoPro Facebook page, pictured is one of the organization's autobiographers Jimbo. He is among many other people experiencing homelessness who share their stories through video.(Facebook)

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 12:52 pm

Few people know about the lives of homeless people.

So, in honor of his late uncle who battled schizophrenia and was homeless on and off for 30 years, Kevin Adler started the Homeless GoPro Project to capture the stories of 100 homeless people across the country.

Adler tells Here & Nows Robin Young how technology and connections with homeless service providers can help dispel myths the general public have about homeless people.

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NPR Story
12:55 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Family Of Ebola Victim Reaches Deal With Texas Hospital

The family of Thomas Eric Duncan, the only person to die of Ebola in the U.S., has reached an agreement with the hospital where he died.

Duncan reported to the hospital when he began feeling ill, but he was turned away and told to care for himself. When he returned to the hospital and tested positive for Ebola, it was too late for them to treat and he later died.

Duncan’s family holds a press conference to talk about the agreement they have reached with the North Texas Hospital.

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Berlin Wall A Shadow For Younger Generation

Some in Berlin say that although the Wall is gone, it casts a shadow over the new generation, especially over youth in the east. (Emanuele Toscano/Flickr)

Germany has wrapped up its events commemorating the fall of the Berlin Wall 25 years ago — a shining moment of freedom within a dark 20th century history. The country has done a thorough job of repudiating its first dictatorship and its role in the Holocaust.

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NPR Story
12:59 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Marking Veterans Day With 'Operation Flags For Vets'

A man places flags at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne, Mass. on November 8, 2014. (Greta Kaemmer/Flickr)

American flags mark veterans’ graves across the country on this Veterans Day. There are more than 50,000 on the graves at the Massachusetts National Cemetery on Cape Cod.

Hundreds of volunteers came to place them on Saturday. It’s a project called Operation Flags For Vets, which was started by Paul Monti, after his son Jared was killed in Afghanistan in 2006 and was buried there.

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12:59 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Study: Americans Don’t Know The Facts On U.S. Issues

Pictured is an infographic from the report by Ipsos MORI. (Ipsos MORI)

Americans don’t have their facts straight. At least that’s the conclusion of a new study from the research group Ipsos-MORI.

When it comes to the nation’s biggest issues, many Americans do not know the basics. They massively overestimate unemployment rates and the number of immigrants. They assume that the nation’s murder rate is rising, when in fact it’s falling.

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NPR Story
1:21 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

'Sesame Street' Turns 45

"Sesame Street" characters are pictured February 16, 2012, in New York. (Richard Termine/sesameworkshop.org)

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 2:48 pm

On this day in 1969, the first episode of Sesame Street aired on public television. A little girl named Sally is new to the neighborhood, and she meets some of the residents, including an awkward, nervous Big Bird.

Forty-five years later, Sesame Street is going strong, with nearly a million viewers every episode, according to PBS.

These days, Alistair Cookie no longer smokes a pipe on Monsterpiece Theatre, and the theme song has a jazzier beat than it used to.

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NPR Story
1:21 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Bistro Trains Ex-Inmates In the Art Of Fine Dining

Francine Warren gets ready to work on the orange duck at the French bistro EDWINS in Cleveland, Ohio. (Brian Bull/WCPN)

EDWINS, a French restaurant in Cleveland’s Shaker Square, celebrates its one year anniversary this month.

The bistro not only offers artisan cuisine, but also gives former inmates a job and the chance to learn a new skill.

From the Here & Now Contributor’s Network, Brian Bull of WCPN reports.

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1:21 pm
Mon November 10, 2014

Remembering The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

Three-year-old Hulda Planer-Friedrich sticks roses in the Berlin Wall Memorial. (Curt Nickisch/WBUR)

Germans have celebrated a weekend fraught with symbolism, remembering and commemorating a day 25 years ago — the 9th of November 1989 — when East Germans pushed through the gates in the Berlin Wall, danced on top of it, and brought it down, ending the Cold War along with it. From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Curt Nickisch of WBUR brought us this story from Berlin.

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