Thomas Edison's talking dolls were reportedly pretty robust, but their miniature phonographs were another story. Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs/Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park hide caption

itoggle caption Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs/Courtesy of Thomas Edison National Historical Park

The Two-Way - News Blog

Edison's Talking Dolls Can Now Provide The Soundtrack To Your Nightmares

Thomas Edison built and sold about 500 dolls back in 1890. Now, new technology has made hearing their supercreepy voices possible for the first time in decades. (Thanks, technology.)

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Field Recordings

A Bluegrass Ditty By Way Of Uruguay

In "El Gigante," the Uruguayan band blends many sounds — including the Americana to its north.

Venezuelan comedian Laureano Marquez performs a stand-up routine at a theater in Caracas last year. Marquez says the government is now cracking down on comedians who make jokes about the government and the country's economic problems. Christian Veron/Reuters/Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Christian Veron/Reuters/Landov

Parallels - World News

It's No Joke: Venezuela Cracks Down On Comedians

Venezuela's economic woes provide plenty of fodder for comedians. But the government doesn't seem to have a sense of humor: Comics say they are being targeted and prevented from performing.

Public memorials, like the one at the scene where Freddie Gray was arrested, have also become sites to commemorate other deaths of unarmed black men in similar police encounters across the country. David Goldman/AP hide caption

itoggle caption David Goldman/AP

U.S.

Lessons Learned From Cities Of Unrest

What comes from such tragic events are crucial lessons about policing for other cities. Mainly, they've taught officials the importance of keeping the public informed and good community relationships.

Kathmandu Living Labs' earthquake site collects data about conditions and needs. Each blue dot represents the number of reports of help wanted — medical, food, water or shelter — near Kathmandu. Kathmandu Living Labs hide caption

itoggle caption Kathmandu Living Labs

Goats and Soda

Virtual Volunteers Use Twitter And Facebook To Make Maps Of Nepal

After the earthquake struck, they began using social media to find out the extent of the damage, who needs help — even where aid groups are setting up shop.

President Obama walks away from Marine One in his Nikes on Sunday. He heads to Nike Headquarters later this week. Carolyn Kaster/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Carolyn Kaster/AP

It's All Politics

Obama Laces Up To Tout Asian Trade Deal At Nike

The president says he's pushing for the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership in part to boost "Made in the U.S.A." products around the world. So why make the pitch at Nike?

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A sweet rainbow: Americans like their sweet potatoes orange and packed with sugar. But in Africa, yellow and white varieties are also popular. They tend to be less sweet. Image courtesy of the International Potato Center (CIP) hide caption

itoggle caption Image courtesy of the International Potato Center (CIP)

Goats and Soda

Natural GMO? Sweet Potato Genetically Modified 8,000 Years Ago

People have been farming — and eating — a GMO for thousands of years without knowing it. Scientists have found genes from bacteria in sweet potatoes around the world. So who made the GMO?

C. difficile bacteria, shown in yellow, are common in hospitals and nursing homes, and very difficult to treat. Paul Gunning/Science Source hide caption

itoggle caption Paul Gunning/Science Source

Shots - Health News

Spore Wars Help Fend Off Life-Threatening Bacterial Infections

Infections with C. difficile are a big problem for people in hospitals and nursing homes. An experimental treatment with spores from a harmless version of the bacterium prevented new infections.

In his new memoir, It's a Long Story, Willie Nelson writes about his early career as a DJ in Fort Worth. He can still recite what he'd say on the air. David McClister/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co. hide caption

itoggle caption David McClister/Courtesy of Little, Brown and Co.

Music Interviews

Willie Nelson: 'Ain't Many Of Us Left'

The Red-Headed Stranger has a new memoir out titled It's a Long Story. On a tour bus in Thackerville, Okla., Nelson explains to NPR's David Greene why no one can tell him what to do.

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There's appealing inscrutability to the music of My Morning Jacket that continues on the band's new album, The Waterfall. Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Danny Clinch/Courtesy of the artist

Music Reviews

My Morning Jacket's 'The Waterfall' Can Beat You Down Or Lift You Up

Beneath the band's musical strata is deeply ingrained spirituality. On its new album, My Morning Jacket directs its attention toward the natural world.

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Author Barry Estabrook says that pigs can be taught to play computer games and recognize themselves in a mirror. W. W. Norton & Company hide caption

itoggle caption W. W. Norton & Company

The Salt

'Tales' Of Pig Intelligence, Factory Farming And Humane Bacon

Journalist Barry Estabrook wanted to know more about the animal and its journey from the farm to his plate. In a new book, he explores the dichotomies of the industry that's raising our pork chops.

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