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Iraq
8:47 am
Sat May 30, 2015

Thousands Who Run, Few Who Fight: A Journalist On Ramadi's Fall

Iraqi anti-terrorism forces patrol in central Ramadi, Iraq, on April 18. A month later, the city fell to the self-declared Iraqi State. Ayman Oghanna, a journalist who was embedded with Iraqi Special Forces in the city, says the Special Forces are capable precision fighters — but are being asked to fill the role of an entire military.
AP

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 10:32 am

More than a week ago, the Iraqi city of Ramadi, in Anbar province, was taken by the self-declared Islamic State.

The fall of that key city wasn't just a setback for Iraq: It was also a blow to the current U.S. strategy of trying to contain ISIS through air strikes.

Iraqi soldiers and Shiite militias allied with the Iraqi government continue to move against ISIS in Anbar Province. The battles bring back American memories. Some of the fiercest fighting in the Iraq War ocurred there, and many Americans died trying to win back the city of Ramadi from Sunni insurgents.

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Author Interviews
7:43 am
Sat May 30, 2015

How Bad Risotto Led To A House 'Full Of Yogis': A Critic's Childhood Story

Brahma Kumaris fill Will Hodgkinson's suburban living room on a Saturday in 1982.
Liz Hodgkinson Courtesy of Will Hodgkinson

Originally published on Sat May 30, 2015 10:36 am

When Will Hodgkinson was a kid just outside of London, his whole family was laid low after eating some bad chicken risotto. His father, Nev (short for Neville), a well-regarded science writer, was especially sick and took months to recover. During that time, he rethought his life and put it back together in a way that upended his happy family, but may also have enriched them.

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Television
3:44 am
Fri May 29, 2015

'Halt And Catch Fire' Explores What It Was Like For Women In '80s Tech

Actress Mackenzie Davis plays an '80s punk software developer in AMC's Halt and Catch Fire. The second season premieres May 31.
RIchard DuCree AMC

Originally published on Fri May 29, 2015 3:23 pm

The TV series Halt and Catch Fire tells a story you might not expect about the personal computer revolution of the 1980s. For one thing, it's set in Texas, not Silicon Valley. And though there are plenty of bearded, bespectacled men building things in garages, the resident software genius is a woman. Cameron Howe, played by actress Mackenzie Davis, is a punk, anarchist loner who intimidates many of her co-workers.

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All Tech Considered
3:28 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Got A Voice For Radio? The Algorithm Speaks

iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed May 27, 2015 9:46 am

Nearly a thousand of you heeded our call on All Tech Considered to submit a voice sample. The idea: Let a computer algorithm decide if you have a voice for radio.

Now, we've got the results.

Actor Wilbur Fitzgerald rated highly (surprise, surprise):

But most of you who responded are not actors. And it turns out, you don't need professional training to impress man or machine.

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Author Interviews
6:10 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

Post-Ron Swanson, Nick Offerman Has The 'Gumption' To Be Himself

Courtesy of Dutton

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 10:46 am

TV recently lost its manliest man — a small-town government employee named Ron Swanson. Actor Nick Offerman's run on NBC's Parks and Recreation ended when the show went off the air in February. He's since shaved his mustache and gotten back to his normal self.

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Interviews
5:16 pm
Sun May 24, 2015

'It's For You To Know That You Forgive,' Says Holocaust Survivor

Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor sits in a courtroom in Lueneburg, northern Germany, on April 21, 2015. She testified at the trial of 93-year-old former Auschwitz guard Oskar Groening.
Julian Stratenschulte AP

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 6:54 pm

Around this time 70 years ago, following the liberation of Nazi concentration camps in Europe, the world was coming to grips with the scale of the holocaust, and how to deal with crimes so horrendous, they're almost incomprehensible.

That process is still ongoing.

Right now in Germany, a 93-year-old former Nazi who served at Auschwitz is on trial. Holocaust survivor Eva Kor flew to Germany to testify about her experience in the camp.

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Code Switch
7:31 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Novelist Mat Johnson Explores The 'Optical Illusion' Of Being Biracial

Mat Johnson is the author of Pym, Drop, Hunting in Harlem and The Great Negro Plot as well as several graphic novels including Incognegro, Dark Rain and Right State.
Meera Bowman Johnson

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 9:34 am

Growing up in Philadelphia, Mat Johnson lived mostly with his mother in a black neighborhood. The son of an African-American mother and an Irish-American father, his skin was so light that he might have passed for white. But being biracial meant only one thing back in the '70s: "Um, it meant: black," Johnson says with a laugh. "There wasn't a lot of ambiguity there. I didn't hear the world biracial or didn't think of myself as biracial. And when I did hear that, I reacted to it defensively.

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Book News & Features
5:45 am
Sun May 24, 2015

This Weekend, Navigate The Changing World Of 'Vikram Lall'

Originally published on Sun May 24, 2015 11:15 am

It's the 1950s in Kenya, and young Vikram Lall is a third-generation Indian boy coming of age during a time of great political unrest, as a group of fighters known as the Mau-Mau try to break free of British rule.

The In-Between World of Vikram Lall is his story, told by the adult Vikram, who's living in exile, decades after his African childhood. He's reflecting on his life — a life in which friends were murdered and few could be trusted.

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Author Interviews
9:48 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

What If The Drought Doesn't End? 'The Water Knife' Is One Possibility

Ariel Zambelich NPR

What if the devastating drought in the western U.S. doesn't end? A few years ago, the science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi started exploring what could happen.

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Movie Interviews
6:01 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

'Sunshine Superman': A Love Story Against The Backdrop of BASE Jumping

Jean and Carl Boenish in jump down a ledge towards camera.
Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 5:40 pm

Two climbers died May 16 as they attempted a wing suit flight in Yosemite National Park. Dean Potter and Graham Hunt were BASE jumping, a sport that involves parachuting from a fixed structure.

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