Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931. Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg/Abrams ComicArts hide caption

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Author Interviews

Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

The term "Rube Goldberg machine" has become shorthand for a convoluted contraption made up of a series of chain reactions. But Goldberg was also a real person, whose ideas for whimsical devices have captivated imaginations for decades.

A master of the Brazilian bandolim, Hamilton de Holanda is determined to show the world what the instrument can do. Betto Arcos hide caption

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Music News

Pushing A Tradition Forward, Bandolim In Hand

A master of the Brazilian version of the mandolin, Hamilton de Holanda is determined to show the world what the instrument can do — and he's found friends in disparate musical worlds who are helping him prove is point.

Alexandra Jones-Twaddell and Malley Chertkov add a Christmas tree to the growing line in Island Beach State Park in February 2013. Similar dune restoration projects — using trees as a foundation to trap sand — will be carried out this year all along the Atlantic Coast. Adam Cole/NPR hide caption

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Science

Tree-Incarnation: Christmas Trees Return To Nature (A Poem)

Americans buy about 30 million live trees every year. Many end up as mulch, but in some communities they help rebuild dunes, create fish habitat and feed zoo animals. Hear the story of arborial resurrection in anapestic tetrameter.

Laverne Cox, left, plays Sophia, a transgender character in Netflix's Orange is the New Black. Eric Leibowitz /AP hide caption

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Transgender Issues Follow Path Blazed By Gay Rights

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Farandole The Gentlemen Losers
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Spider Lily The Gentlemen Losers

Rube Goldberg drew many of his devices, like this one for a machine that disposes of cigarette ashes, for his series, "The Inventions of Professor Lucifer G. Butts, A.K," published in Colliers magazine between 1929 and 1931. Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg/Abrams ComicArts hide caption

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Lovebirds + String + Watering Can + Dog = Rube Goldberg Magic

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Minuet in Jazz Raymond Scott, Raymond Scott Quintette

Alexandra Jones-Twaddell and Malley Chertkov add a Christmas tree to the growing line in Island Beach State Park in February 2013. Similar dune restoration projects — using trees as a foundation to trap sand — will be carried out this year all along the Atlantic Coast. Adam Cole/NPR hide caption

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Tree-Incarnation: Christmas Trees Return To Nature (A Poem)

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A master of the Brazilian bandolim, Hamilton de Holanda is determined to show the world what the instrument can do. Betto Arcos hide caption

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Pushing A Tradition Forward, Bandolim In Hand

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Samba do Véio Yamandu Costa & Hamilton de Holanda

Conditions are spare at the Window of Hope orphanage in Kabul, but American NGO worker Siavash Rahbari (upper left) says it's still better than how many Afghan children live. Sean Carberry/NPR hide caption

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Texas Man Becomes Unlikely CFO Of Ragged Kabul Orphanage

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Zen'aku Burnt Friedman
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The Big Country, film score [Main Theme] José Serebrier, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (conductor)
Jet Ellen Allien & Apparat

Neonatal nurse Florence Mwenifumbo monitors a newborn receiving bubble CPAP treatment in Blantyre, Malawi. The device was developed by students at Rice University in Houston. Rice 360/Rice University hide caption

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Saving Babies' Lives Starts With Aquarium Pumps And Ingenuity

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Jazz singer Ella Fitzergerald was said to have perfect pitch. Klaus Frings/AP hide caption

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Want Perfect Pitch? You Might Be Able To Pop A Pill For That

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Two turntables carved from wood scratch out the sound of Beat Nation artist Jordan Bennett learning his native Mi'kmaq language. David Sommerstein / NCPR hide caption

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Hip-Hop's Aboriginal Connection

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Things Go Better Things Go Better: Instrumentals