NPR Staff

With a big, soulful voice rooted in American blues and gospel, Hozier has spent 2014 on a clear path to stardom. His breakthrough song, "Take Me to Church," has racked up millions of views online, and his U.S. tour is sold out. He's been favorably compared to Lorde and Adele. But to the 24-year-old from Ireland, big stages and big crowds are still a bit intimidating.

U.S. Reps. Beto O'Rourke of Texas and Steve Pearce of New Mexico are looking for answers to their questions about the Border Patrol. These Southwest representatives, one Democrat and the other Republican, have neighboring districts along the U.S.-Mexico border.

They introduced legislation in March that calls for more oversight and accountability for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, or CBP.

As 92-year-old Betty Reid Soskin helped hash out plans for a new national park 13 years ago, this is what stuck in her mind: "What gets remembered is a function of who's in the room doing the remembering."

Barbara Walters had a big interview recently: She spoke with V. Stiviano, the girlfriend of disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

"Are you in love with Donald Sterling?" Walters asks. "I love him," Stiviano answers. There's a little back-and-forth about the nature of their love, and in the end, Stiviano admits she's not in love with Sterling, but she does love him "like a father figure."

When hundreds of California nutritionists and dietitians gathered for their annual conference in April, their Friday lunch was a bacon ranch salad, chocolate chip cookies and a pink yogurt parfait, all courtesy of McDonald's.

Debate: Is Death Final?

May 14, 2014

Is there some form of existence after death, or is the notion a product of wishful thinking about our own mortality?

These questions have fascinated humans for millennia. Many approach the concept of an afterlife as a religious one, but in a recent Intelligence Squared U.S. debate, a physicist and three medical doctors put faith aside to debate life after death from a scientific perspective.

Timothy Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve when the Wall Street bank Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008. A few months later, he became Treasury secretary as the crisis deepened on his watch.

Geithner received mixed reviews of his performance during that time. Wall Street types take him for a champion of excessive government intervention and regulation, while Occupy Wall Street types consider him a tool of the banks. Geithner, however, says he was just trying to get the financial system out of a multifaceted crisis with the threat of a Great Depression looming.

The federal government has spent billions helping veterans get the training and education they need to re-enter the civilian workforce.

Despite the effort, the unemployment rate for vets remains higher than the national average. Aside from dealing with the psychological transition, veterans also have to navigate how to transfer their military skills into civilian ones.

Citing an environment of fear, persecution and anti-gay violence in his home country of Uganda, John Abdallah Wambere has applied for asylum in the United States.

Wambere, 41, came to prominence for his work with Spectrum Uganda Initiatives, an organization that advocates for LGBT rights and provides health and education services.

He announced his decision to seek asylum at a news conference on May 6 in Boston. Wambere is currently living in Cambridge, Mass.

Philippe Petit says he hates books on creativity.

So his new book, Creativity: The Perfect Crime, isn't a compilation of ideas from great philosophers or creators.

The wirewalker, magician, street performer and artist breaks that mold with a book full of sketches and personal dialogue that captures his personal creative process.

And because it's so personal, he says, it will be more useful. "I'm not doing any rules. This is not a thesis on creativity. This is a kind of an outlaw confession," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.

A pair of former heavy metal guitarists who left Mexico for Ireland, Rodrigo y Gabriela developed an acoustic sound that has taken the duo from playing on the streets for change to some of the biggest stages on the festival circuit. Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero joined NPR's Arun Rath in the studio at NPR West to perform a few selections from their latest album, 9 Dead Alive. Hear the music, and their conversation, at the audio link.

As the Giro d'Italia bicycle race sets off in Ireland this weekend, the shadow of doping will not be far behind. In a competition to beat the cheaters, scientists are constantly trying to improve drug testing.

While it can be hard for regulators to keep up with new habits, when an athlete is finally caught doping, the result can be revolutionary.

Performance-enhancing drugs have plagued the sport of cycling for years, with Lance Armstrong at the center of the scandal. But he was not alone.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Director and producer Leah Warshawski's big break happened on the water.

It started when she was in college studying Japanese in Hawaii. Her dormmate worked on a boat and asked if Warshawksi wanted a job translating for Japanese tourists.

North Carolina is facing a very big mental health care challenge — 28 counties across the state do not have a single psychiatrist. That's despite the fact that in recent years, emergency rooms in the state have seen more patients with mental health, developmental disability or substance abuse problems.

Monterey Bay on California's central coast rests atop one of the largest underwater canyons in the world. It's deeper than the Grand Canyon, making it possible for lots of ocean life — including humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and sea lions — to be seen extremely close to shore. That is, given the right circumstances. Lately, the right circumstances have converged, and there's more marine and wildlife in the bay than anyone's seen in recent memory.

William Shakespeare had a wildly extensive vocabulary. Of more than 800,000 total words in all of his works, almost 29,000 of them are unique.

Although impressive, there are a few rappers who give the Bard a run for his money. Data scientist Matt Daniels charted the vocabularies of hip-hop artists against Shakespeare and Herman Melville.

"This is not a serious academic study. This is an, like, 'I thought it'd be cool on the Internet [project],' " he says.

A number of federal agencies are grappling with rules around drones as the popularity of the unmanned aircraft is rising. The National Park Service recently banned their use in Yosemite, and the Federal Aviation Administration is under orders from Congress to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into U.S. airspace by September 2015.

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers. The following is what you might call an "almost big break."

Each week, Weekend Edition Sunday host Rachel Martin brings listeners an unexpected side of the news by talking with someone personally affected by the stories making headlines.

As a criminal justice reporter for The Associated Press, Michael Graczyk has covered hundreds of executions of death row inmates in the state of Texas. This means, of course, that he must be there to witness those deaths.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

When you consider that critics have been writing about him for over 60 years, it can seem as if there's nothing left to say about Sonny Rollins. But there is – because over the decades, the "Saxophone Colossus" has never stopped growing or adding to his sound.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

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