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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:08 pm
Tue September 1, 2015

Science, Knowledge And Darkness

Prominent antiquities scholar Khaled al-Asaad speaks in Syria in this undated photo. He was later killed by the terror group ISIS for protecting Syria's ancient artifacts.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 1, 2015 12:44 pm

The auditorium lights were low as the high school students filed in — and I was on the stage with the teachers who led the school's honor society.

My job was to give a short speech to the new inductees whose grades and activities earned them their place in the auditorium. There were notes for the speech in my pocket but when the teacher lit a candle on the table with the student's certificates, I felt something shift.

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The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue September 1, 2015

Al-Shabab Militants Strike African Union Base In Somalia

Originally published on Tue September 1, 2015 3:40 pm

The Islamist militant group al-Shabab ambushed a base for African Union peacekeepers in southern Somalia early Tuesday.

The base, some 60 miles south of the Somali capital Mogadishu, is the second to be attacked this summer by the al-Qaida-linked militant group, NPR's Gregory Warner tells our Newscast unit. He says it raises questions about the success of the eight-year peacekeeping mission.

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Parallels
2:53 pm
Tue September 1, 2015

An Unanswered Question About Iran's Nuclear Program

An International Atomic Energy Agency inspector cuts a uranium enrichment connection at Iran's Natanz facility, 200 miles south of Tehran, in 2014. The U.S. Congress is expected to address the Iranian nuclear deal this month. One unresolved issue: How much work might Iran have done previously on weaponizing its program?
Kazem Ghane AP

Originally published on Tue September 1, 2015 10:50 pm

Ever since the U.S. and its partners finalized the nuclear deal with Iran in July, Secretary of State John Kerry has tried to downplay what diplomats call the possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear program.

"We're not fixated on Iran specifically accounting for what they did at one point in time or another. We know what they did," Kerry said this summer. "We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged in. What we're concerned about is going forward."

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The Salt
2:48 pm
Tue September 1, 2015

For Centuries, People Have Searched For Answers In The Bottom Of A Tea Cup

On Canadian tasseomancer Amy Taylor's vintage tea-leaf reading cups, your reading is determined by where your leaves fall on the preprinted symbols on the cups.
Mike Taylor for NPR

Originally published on Tue September 1, 2015 4:51 pm

Trying to divine what the future holds is an ancient human preoccupation. And for centuries, soothsayers have sought answers in the bottom of a teacup.

Amy Taylor was 18 when she stumbled into the practice of reading tea leaves. Now 46 and a professional tea-leaf reader, she remembers looking into her stepsister's teacup at a Toronto restaurant, and saying, "Oh, that's funny, that looks like a tree." She says she looked at all of her family's cups that night, and saw things in all of them. "I just thought that was really odd," she says.

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Author Interviews
1:56 pm
Tue September 1, 2015

Jonathan Franzen On Writing: It's An 'Escape From Everything'

Jonathan Franzen is also the author of Freedom and the essay collection How To Be Alone.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

Originally published on Tue September 1, 2015 5:44 pm

For novelist Jonathan Franzen, writing isn't just an escape from himself, it's an "escape from everything." He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross: "It's like having this dream that you can go back to, kind of on demand. When it's really going well ... you're in a fantasy land and feeling no pain."

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