Kelly McEvers | KUER 90.1

Kelly McEvers

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

In 1963, Alfred Hitchcock had a huge amount of power in Hollywood. That's when he plucked actress Tippi Hedren from relative obscurity to star in his new movie, The Birds. It was a big break for Hedren.

The Country Music Association Awards ceremony was Wednesday, but people are still talking about the show because of what wasn't said that night. The CMA tried to create a politics-free zone for hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley, and for reporters covering the event.

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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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I'm Kelly McEvers, and this is EMBEDDED.

Hello, hello. Can you hear me?

DANIEL GOLDEN: Hi. How are you?

MCEVERS: Hey, I'm good. This is Kelly.

This is Daniel Golden.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

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You may have read that Bigfoot was found dead on a lake shore in New Mexico this summer. He wasn't. You can learn about that hoax here from the myth-busting and fact-checking site Snopes.

You may have heard NASA predicted the Earth will endure 15 straight days of darkness this fall. It didn't. Snopes has that covered too — debunking the claim when it first appeared in 2015 and again in May when it resurfaced.

Only a well-trained ear might be able to hear the difference between a generic keyboard and the IBM Model F keyboard that was popular in the 1980s.

The Model F is considered by many people to be the best keyboard ever. IBM stopped making it in the '90s and the patent expired. But the keyboard is having another moment.

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One taco is good, but two tacos are better. By that reasoning, hundreds of tacos should be incredible.

And Mike Sutter, food critic for the San Antonio Express-News, is now about halfway through his "365 Days of Tacos" quest to eat at a different taco joint every day for a year. So far, he's consumed about 700 tacos.

Plastic surgery, private jets, toddlers in designer clothes, magnums of champagne — Lauren Greenfield's 500-page photo collection, Generation Wealth, shows all of that. But this book isn't just about people who are wealthy, it's about people who want to be wealthy.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus — who plays U.S. Vice President Selina Meyer on the HBO comedy Veep -- says that growing up in Washington, D.C., and later living in Los Angeles helped her prepare for the role:

"I think I understand the insular nature of Washington ... " she says. "There's an inside-the-Beltway mentality, not dissimilar from Hollywood — it feels like the only thing that matters. I think you're selling a brand of yourself."

When you talk about the unrest that broke out in Los Angeles 25 years ago after the Rodney King verdict, one thing people usually remember is the looting.

People went into stores and just walked out with stuff. Some people stole vital things such as food and baby formula because they didn't know how long the riots would last. Others stole booze and cigarettes. Still others dared to carry mattresses and giant TVs home on their backs — and they weren't stopped by anyone.

Gilbert Monterrosa was one of those looters. But, he says he was a reluctant participant.

Aimee Mann's music has always been characterized as melancholy. So on her new album, Mental Illness, she decided to lean into the stereotype.

Editor's Note: This story includes videos and descriptions of violent encounters between police and civilians, as well as language that may not be appropriate for all readers.

Comedian Iliza Shlesinger has a lot to say about what it's like to be a lady these days — and what things could have been like in the past.

"Do you think for a second, that if women were physically stronger than men, we would have waited for the right to vote?" she asks in her latest Netflix special, Confirmed Kills. She goes on to imagine a "jacked up housewife" in 1910, with a "shaker of horse testosterone and creatine," shoving her husband out of the way because "mama's going to the polls."

Earlier this year, a 6-year-old girl was shot and badly wounded during a firefight between U.S. and Afghan forces and the Taliban. Her father, a Taliban fighter, her mother and some siblings were all killed in the gun battle.

Dr. Chance Henderson, a Texas-born orthopedic surgeon, was there when the girl, whom NPR is calling Ameera, was brought to the hospital at the Bagram Airfield outside Kabul.

"I remember her quite vividly there on that stretcher, and how tiny she looked," he says.

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A major natural gas storage well in Southern California is still leaking, though less so than back in late October, when the giant gas leak was first reported. More than 5,000 families and two schools have been relocated since then, and the local utility that operates the facility is now facing several legal actions.

Utah has housed nearly all of its chronically homeless people — those who have a disabling condition, and who have been homeless for more than a year, or four times in the past three years. These days, there are fewer than 200.

But chronic homelessness is just a small part of a major problem.

A decade ago, Utah set itself an ambitious goal: end chronic homelessness.

As of 2015, the state can just about declare victory: The population of chronically homeless people has dropped by 91 percent.

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Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM "THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 2")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the 76th Hunger Games.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

We know more than ever about concussions, the permanent brain damage of chronic traumatic encephalopathy and the other physical risks of football.

Yet so far this year, at least 19 students have died playing football, according to the University of North Carolina's National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research.

Though participation is slowly declining, football is still the country's most popular high school sport. Over a million high schoolers played last season.

The latest front in the debate over religious freedom is all about an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper.

This particular piece of paper is a notice — one the state of California will soon require to be posted in places known as crisis pregnancy centers. These resource centers, often linked to religious organizations, provide low-cost or free services to pregnant women, while encouraging these women to not have abortions.

Republicans in the U.S. House will take an initial vote Thursday on who they think should replace John Boehner as speaker of the House.

Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz recently announced his candidacy for speaker, but the front-runner for the job is current House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from Bakersfield, Calif.

And McCarthy's roots in California's Central Valley provide some clues about how McCarthy might run the House, if he's elected speaker.

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