The State of Things

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Host Frank Stasio.
Credit Ben McKeown / For WUNC

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The AIDS Memorial Quilt
Elvert Barnes / Creative Commons https://bit.ly/1dsePQq

According to the United Nations, more people are living with HIV than have died since the epidemic began in the 1980s. There have been large medical and social advances for those diagnosed with HIV and AIDS. But many of those early researchers, advocates and survivors are nearing the end of their lives. 

Promotional photo from 1937 screwball comedy 'The Awful Truth' starring actors Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. The actors face away from each other and the scruffy actor dog sits between them.
Columbia Pictures

Film Curator Laura Boyes is a sucker for old romantic movies. But digging for gems from the golden age of cinema also tends to turn up sexist tropes: the two-dimensional secretary, naive blonde and women who flounder without significant male help.

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock with her three sons.
Courtesy of Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock

Julie-Ann Scott-Pollock studies what it is like to live in the body of another person. She looks specifically at bodies that may make others uncomfortable, like those of people with memory loss or people who have bulimia. She transforms first-person interviews into performance pieces that explore perspectives on embodiment.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP Photo

President Donald Trump is in the United Kingdom for a two-day visit with British leaders. The visit turned awkward after the president blasted U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May in the press one day before the two were set to meet. He told a British tabloid that May ignored his advice on Brexit and that her political rival Boris Johnson would make an excellent prime minister.

Nikola Solic / AP Photo

The 21st FIFA World Cup hosted by Russia heads toward the final game on Sunday when France and Croatia will battle for the top spot. The tournament attracts millions of viewers from around the globe, with the last World Cup final between Germany and Argentina in 2014 drawing a record 1.01 billion viewers worldwide, according to FIFA.

D. Shawn and Soul
Courtesy of D. Shawn & Soul

Duo D. Shawn and Soul say their debut album takes on a different tone than the “turn up” or party songs that loom large in the rhythm and blues scene. According to the artists, a significant amount of R&B music does not show the true depth of who a woman really is, and their release “Ya Girl’s Playlist” is an effort to counter that one-dimensional narrative.

Colby Rabon / Carolina Public Press

In February, Congress enacted legislation geared at keeping children out of foster care and in a stable home with their family. The Family First Prevention Services Act frees up $8 billion in federal funds once allocated for foster care and adoption and allows states to use it for prevention.

Ragen Chastain is doing a split
Courtesy of Ragen Chastain

More than 90 million American adults are obese. Research shows that excess weight can increase your risk of certain health conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. But being overweight affects more than your health. Studies show obese people have a harder time finding a job and are paid less than thinner people.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck in 'Roman Holiday'
Classic Film / Flickr - Creative Commons -https://flic.kr/p/VkLRWH

Vacation movies may show off some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, but the most compelling films are the ones that show characters another side of themselves. Take a protagonist out of her usual environment and anything can happen.

courtesy of Jennifer Dasal

It can be as difficult to explain why an artist is driven to paint or sculpt as it is to define what makes great art. But for some of the highest-achieving artists the motivation to create is clear: competition.

Charles Rex Arbogast / AP Photo

In late June, a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to halt most family separations at the border and to reunify all families that had been separated. U.S. District Court Judge Dana Sabraw told the government to have all families back together by July 26 and to reunify children under the age of five with their parents by July 10.

Courtesy of Dan Ariely

Summer is filled with temptation. We know that fresh fruit is a healthier choice than ice cream. A ripe watermelon can be just as sweet, but often times we pass it by for a double scoop in a waffle cone. The barrage of pool parties and cookouts combined with summer vacation may leave many struggling to make and keep health commitments.

picture of Katie Mack staring up immersed in stars
courtesy of Katie Mack

Many kids take things apart to figure out how they work. They stare up at the stars and wonder how the universe functions. As a young child, Katie Mack did that too. But she eventually took that curiosity to the next level, and her childhood fascination led to a career in astrophysics.

Eat Your Feelings: How Hunger Becomes ‘Hanger’

Jul 6, 2018
Petras Gagilas/Flickr Creative Commons

Plenty of people blame feeling angry on being hungry and this year the Oxford English Dictionary added the word “hangry” as a colloquial blend of the two. The term reflects a common experience, but one that had not been well understood.

Jean Leon Gerome / Public Domain

Blackbeard’s stolen vessel, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, ran aground off the North Carolina coastline three hundred years ago this summer.

a picture of someone signing a picture of the band
courtesy of Gracie Curran

Gracie Curran grew up in the church. Her mom was the church choir director and most of the music in their house was gospel. While her friends enjoyed pop sensations like Britney Spears, Curran says she never really connected to popular music until she heard Etta James. James’s voice and lyrics spoke to her.

Robot from French technology summit
École polytechnique - J.Barande / Flickr - Creative Commons - https://flic.kr/p/UBfMcH

Despite the enduring narrative in pop culture of an impending apocalyptic robot-takeover, humans decided a while back to keep moving forward with plans to imbue intelligence into machines. 

abstract art of a world map
Art by Nicholas Raymond / http://freestock.ca/flags_maps_g80-world_map__abstract_acrylic_p2970.html

In the middle of a landmass in the Northern Hemisphere bordered by oceans, people call themselves Americans. According to both their own laws and broader international ones, they are members of a group known as a nation-state – in this case the United States of America.

photo of a scarred football helmet
HOUSE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION AND THE WORKFORCE DEMOCRATS / FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Football has remained one of America’s favorite forms of entertainment for years. Even as its ratings fall, the National Football League is estimated to have made $14 billion in 2017 alone. But science is finally catching up to the sport, and it suggests the big hits that delight fans do not come without a price. 

David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library / Duke University Archives

Last August, Duke University removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from the entrance to the Duke University Chapel. The removal came amidst country-wide protests over Confederate symbols, and soon after the violent clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia. Since then, Duke has embarked on a project to interrogate its history and identify some of the unsung heroes of the school.

Fred Nijhout poses with crossed arms in front of abstract
Megan Mendenhall / Duke Photography

Frederik Nijhout grew up in post-World War II Holland, and his childhood was full of stories from the war, including his father's imprisonment by the Germans and his daring escape with forged travel documents. As a child, he moved to Guatemala and later to Curaçao where he was captivated by the diverse and colorful nature.

Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement this week and sparked panic among many Democrats. During his time on the nation’s highest bench, he cast deciding votes on LGBTQ rights, abortion and the death penalty. President Trump has vowed to replace Kennedy’s seat with a more conservative justice.

J. Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

Public outrage shamed the Trump administration into agreeing not to separate families at the border. Now a federal judge has put an end to most family separations and is calling for the families to be reunified. Since May, an estimated 2300 children have been taken away from their parents while trying to enter the country.

Gabriella Bulgarelli / WUNC

Valerie June is known for her eclectic voice, energetic on-stage performance and soulful lyrics. She was born in Tennessee, raised in the church and got her start in the music biz by helping out her dad who promoted artists like Prince and Bobby Womack.

Josh Reynolds / AP Photo

President Donald Trump and the NFL continue to wage war over athletes’ right to protest during the national anthem. Earlier this month, Trump suggested that instead of protesting, NFL players should give him names of people who they think are “unfairly treated by the justice system.” In an editorial for the New York Times, four current and former NFL players argued that it is not about individual pardons, it is about systemic injustice.

A prosthetic hand grips an object with synthetic skin on its fingertips.
Osborn et al, Science Robotics 2018

Researchers have developed a new part for a prosthetic hand: a synthetic skin that can feel pain. The electronic dermis, or “e-dermis,” fits over the fingertips of a prosthetic hand and helps amputees differentiate between something sharp and something round.

Photo: The U.S. Supreme Court building
Sno Shuu / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Supreme Court announced yesterday that it refuses to hear a political gerrymandering case that would have decided whether Republican legislators in North Carolina violated the Constitution when they redrew voting maps.

Courtesy of Florence Dore

Literature and popular music are not worlds that usually intersect, at least not in most people’s minds. But Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in literature and Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize in music prove that these two forms not only intersect, but have been connected for decades.

Courtesy of Lindsay Zanno

A group of scientists led by a North Carolina paleontologist have uncovered a rare trove of dinosaur eggs from a species that does not even have a name yet. The dinosaur belonged to the oviraptorosaur group: bird-like dinosaurs that looked a little like parrots or chickens and walked on two legs.

Courtesy of Jason Brown

When he first started playing football, Jason Brown saw it as a business decision. He wanted to get a scholarship to college so that he would not be a financial burden for his parents.

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