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AHA!

May 26, 2017

In this final round, every answer contains the letters A-H-A in consecutive order, somewhere in the answer. For example, if the clue was, "Ashton Kutcher replaced Charlie Sheen on this CBS sitcom," the answer would be, "Two and A HAlf Men."

Heard On Tank And The Bangas: Tiny Desks And Disney Musicals

Remembering 'Jesus' Son,' From Denis Johnson

May 26, 2017

Award-winning writer Denis Johnson died Thursday at 67, according to his publisher, Farrar Straus and Giroux. The prolific writer explored many forms during his career, and in 2007, novelist Nathan Englander wrote about Johnson's short story collection Jesus' Son for NPR.

A school district near Houston has apologized after a 13-year-old student received an award declaring her "Most Likely to Become a Terrorist."

The award was one of several "insensitive and offensive fake mock awards," the Channelview Independent School District said in a statement, and the teachers in question have been disciplined, KHOU in Houston reports.

Ever since the twin surprises of Brexit and Donald Trump's political rise, Western media has been obsessed with what's going on in the minds of rural and working-class people. In America, this helped make a star of J.D.

Afghanistan has been dubbed the "graveyard of empires" for punishing the hubris of powerful invaders, but eight years after the 9/11 attacks lured American forces to Afghanistan, it had become more like a purgatory. With anything like a clear-cut victory long off the table and the "coalition of the willing" whittled down to half-hearted, qualified commitments from U.S. partners abroad, the mission had lapsed into dangerous inertia. The new President, Barack Obama, was looking to draw down troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but ending the war completely was never a viable option.

Beijing's 1989 Tiananmen Square protests ended with a military massacre that left hundreds dead. Hong Kong's 2014 Occupy Central movement ended with a pizza party. Talk about one country, two systems.

That's too flippant, of course. As depicted in the friskily titled Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower, the Hong Kong protests do appear something of a lark. But the Occupy Central protesters were attacked with batons, tear gas, and flash grenades, and the encampments were eventually destroyed. Unruly-haired Joshua Wong, now 20, was one serious teenager.

Updated at 3:12 p.m. ET

Denis Johnson, the author behind the seminal collection Jesus' Son, has died at the age of 67. A protean stylist who made a career of defying readers' expectations, he crafted fiction, poetry and reportage that was often as unsparing as it was unconventional.

Because of a scheduling snafu this week, it's just me and Stephen Thompson sitting down with our sci-fi buddy Chris Klimek to talk about Alien: Covenant, the film that dares to ask: "Is it okay if I put this little thing in your ear? I promise it won't grow into something that will burst out of your chest."

Then, we move on to a visit with Selina Meyer and friends as another season of Veep finds the group out of office and loving it. Or ... not really loving it, more like tooth-grittingly enduring it until something else can be arranged.

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Abigail Marsh's TED Talk

When Abigail Marsh was 19, a complete stranger risked his life to save her from a car accident. Today, she studies what motivates us to help others — and why some of us are "extraordinary" altruists.

About Abigail Marsh

Cheryl Steed: Can Altruism Be Learned?

May 26, 2017

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Cheryl Steed's TED Talk

At the prison where Cheryl Steed works, certain inmates are chosen to be caregivers for elderly inmates. The program has made her wonder — can altruism be learned?

About Cheryl Steed

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Peter Singer's TED Talk

Philosopher Peter Singer's work focuses on "effective altruism" — how to do the most good to make the world a better place. He argues effective giving involves balancing empathy with reason.

About Peter Singer

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Larissa MacFarquhar's TED Talk

Larissa MacFarquhar writes about extreme altruists, people who make great sacrifices to help others. She says most of us aren't prepared or willing to do that — which is why we don't give more.

About Larissa MacFarquhar

Thirty-nine real-life years passed between Rocky and Creed, a film about the scion of Rocky Balboa's rival-turned-friend. The span dividing the original Pirates of the Caribbean from its latest sequel, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is about a third of that. But life moves faster at sea, apparently, because the ersatz, angular hero of this fifth Pirates cruise — 27-year-old Brenton Thwaites — is playing the adult offspring of lovers Keira Knightley (current age 32) and Orlando Bloom (40) from the initial trio of Pirates pictures.

On Friday, Hillary Clinton addressed the graduating class of her alma mater, Wellesley College.

She used the opportunity to wade into current politics and direct a few jokes at President Trump.

The time was right to revisit the Buena Vista Social Club. The blockbuster 1997 album and 1999 documentary, chronicling the recording sessions of an ad-hoc group of remarkable Cuban musicians, set off a global wave of appreciation for Son cubano music in the late '90s. The principal players, many of whom had begun their musical careers before the Communist revolution and had been retired for years before making the album, became overnight celebrities.

In Egypt, Gunmen Open Fire On Coptic Christians

May 26, 2017

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A deadline arrives next week for the White House. A federal ethics office has given the Trump administration until June 1 to turn over documents.

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Ford Motor Company's new CEO, Jim Hackett has a pretty daunting job description: prepare Ford for a future of self-driving cars and keep things profitable by selling trucks. While Hackett has a unique set of skills, that's still an extremely tall order.

Ford Motor Company is different than the other car companies.

As I hurry home battling the rush hour traffic in the evening, I see a queue in front of the gates of the local mosque. Men in white skull caps, women clad in saris and burkas, young children with school bags on their backs — all are waiting with containers in their hands for a share of the nombu kanji. Mosques in the south Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala distribute the kanji, a lightly spiced rice and lentil porridge, before the sunset prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan, which starts Friday evening.

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In a rush to get the holiday weekend rolling? Here are some quick facts about last night's Eastern Conference championship game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics:

  • The Cavaliers ended the Celtics post-season — winning the game, 135-102.
  • The win sets up a third consecutive match-up with Western Conference champion Golden State in the Finals.
  • LeBron James scored 35 points to become the NBA's all-time playoff scoring leader — surpassing Michael Jordan.

Updated 5:40 p.m ET

Gunmen attacked buses that were taking Egyptian Christians to a monastery Friday, killing at least 28 people and wounding about the same number, according to local reports citing Egypt's government.

In retaliation, NPR's Jane Arraf reports, "President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi says he ordered strikes near Derna in eastern Libya after determining that militant forces there were involved in Friday's attack. [Egypt] hit the same area two years ago after an Islamic State affiliate beheaded 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya."

Four months into the Trump administration, the president's lawyer needs a lawyer.

Intensifying investigations into Russian interference in last year's presidential election and ties between Russians and the Trump campaign have a lot of high-profile people in search of legal advice, if only out of an abundance of caution. And, two sources tell NPR, one of them is White House counsel Donald McGahn.

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So LeBron James is not called the King of the Court for nothing. The star of the Cleveland Cavaliers is at the peak of his career. And just last night, he led his team to the NBA finals for the seventh straight year.

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When you think about the 16 years America has been fighting in Afghanistan, "funny" probably isn't a word that comes to mind. So, at first blush, the new dark comedy War Machine feels a bit risky. It stars Brad Pitt as a revered but semi-clueless four-star general who's appointed to oversee the entire war effort in Afghanistan.

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