Mano Sundaresan

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In the late 1960s archaeologists discovered a set of familiar bones in Ethiopia - a skull bone, a lower jaw, parts of a torso. These were remains of Homo sapiens, early humans. That collection is known as Omo 1.

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These days, a New Year's Eve celebration doesn't feel complete without one thing: a countdown.

But that 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ritual to ring in the new year isn't as old as you might think.

Alexis McCrossen is a history professor at Southern Methodist University and says clock-watching is actually relatively new for Americans.

"We used to celebrate New Year's Day. You woke up on January 1st, you said, 'happy new year', you went to church, perhaps, and maybe you exchanged gifts, and it was a calendar holiday," she said.

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Logic - 1800-273-8255
YouTube

In 2017, the rapper Logic named a song after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number: "1-800-273-8255."

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In 2017, the rapper Logic named a song after a phone number.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "1-800-273-8255")

LOGIC: (Singing) I've been on the low. I've been taking my time. I feel like I'm out of my mind. I feel like my life ain't mine. Who can relate?

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Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence spent years as cheerleaders and organizers for Donald Trump while traveling the country in an RV.

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(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BORN IN THE U.S.A.")

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Born in the USA. I was born in the USA.

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What happens when you combine detective skills with art history and then throw in a good chunk of science?

You unlock new information about some of history's most renowned painters and a method for dating and authenticating their artworks.

Confused? Let's back up.

For hundreds of years, up until the 20th century, there was one type of white paint that reigned supreme globally. It was called "lead white" and artists were drawn to its particular buttery texture and concealing power.

By analyzing white lead paint in Dutch paintings from the 1600s, including works by Rembrandt and Rubens, scientists were able to devise a new line of evidence for dating and authenticating paintings.

P. D'Imporzano et al, Time-dependent variation of lead isotopes of lead white in 17th century Dutch paintings

The United States has been labeled a "backsliding democracy" in a new report from the European think tank International IDEA.

"I think for many of those studying U.S. democracy, this should not come as a surprise," the report's lead author, Annika Silva-Leander, said.

International IDEA measured the global state of democracy in 2020 and 2021 using 28 "indicators" of democracy based on five "core pillars."

The core pillars were representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement.

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More than 700,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19. One of them was Lynne Balla. She was 75 years old.

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The Police — Every Breath You Take
YouTube

Some songs will never go away, like "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.

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Some songs will just never go away - like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE")

THE POLICE: (Singing) Every breath you take and every move you make.

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The NBA has been tough to watch this year.

Compared to this same point in previous seasons, the 3-point percentage is the lowest since 2015-16 as everyone from Jayson Tatum to Damian Lillard to Bradley Beal seems to be struggling to find the basket.

My fantasy basketball team is in shambles. My team is shooting 43% from the field, and my high school friends are roasting me in the group chat. Something's gotta give.

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If you have tuned in to an NBA game this season, you might have noticed something weird. A lot of this...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Tatum is going to take. Nope.

Updated November 2, 2021 at 12:41 PM ET

The rapper Fetty Wap was arrested last week at Rolling Loud New York, on drug charges. But he's not the first rapper to be detained ahead of the annual hip-hop festival, or barred from performing by local authorities. There exists, says journalist Jayson Buford, a continued pattern of law enforcement "essentially using rap lyrics to try to prove that rappers are violent people in real life."

PinkPantheress agreed to an interview, but kept her camera off and chose not to share her name. The life of the internet's buzziest new artist has been shrouded in mystery, but in conversation she's cheeky and approachable. The 20-year-old from southeast England laughs through her phase of making K-Pop fan edits, name-drops formative artists with the abandon of someone who religiously makes Topsters, and describes the song "All My Friends Know" on her new mixtape as a "Drake type beat."

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Janet Jackson opened her album "Control" not with a song, but with a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTROL")

JANET JACKSON: This is a story about control, my control.

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Red light, green light - you know, a kid's classic - stop on red, run on green. And if you get caught moving on the red light, you're out.

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Well, what if the stakes were higher?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SQUID GAME")

"I grew into love of my music and of my ministry because it was actually a way out," says Pastor T.L. Barrett, Jr. in an interview with NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. Barrett, now 77 years old, recalls his difficult youth; as a teenager, he turned to songwriting to express himself. And 50 years ago, in the years following the Civil Rights movement, he released his classic album, Like a Ship (Without a Sail). The title track described how he was feeling at the time.

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Sir Clive Sinclair has died. The British inventor helped revolutionize the computer industry.

WILL GUYATT: Well, you had everything going on in Palo Alto. And you had Wozniak and Jobs. We had our very own guy, and this was Sir Clive Sinclair.

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While recording Donda, Kanye West paid $1 million per day to live in the belly of Mercedes Benz Stadium, in a stuffy room that resembled a jail cell. As with his last several records, his hulking new album arrived in fits and starts, like a lawnmower revving up for three weeks. Three stadium listening parties – two at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, one at Soldier Field – brought millions of viewers into his process.

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