Arts & Life

Arts and lifestyle coverage from around the globe and Illinois.

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It’s a no-brainer to stay off your phone while driving. Yet nearly 9 out of 10 drivers admit to using their phones while behind the wheel. Why can’t we stop? Steph Yin (@Steph_Yin) of WHYY’s The Pulse reports.

Billionaire Tom Steyer announced a bid for president Tuesday, after pledging not to do so. The news comes as Democrat Eric Swalwell dropped out of the race Monday. Swalwell said his low poll numbers and lack of fundraising influenced his choice.

Updated at 1:49 p.m. ET

Virgin Galactic, the space tourism company founded by billionaire Richard Branson, is preparing to enter the stock market by the end of 2019, through a merger with an existing company.

It would be the first spaceflight company to be publicly owned; Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Elon Musk's SpaceX are both privately held.

It's the end of an era — an era that has stretched on for a very long time, albeit with slightly different silhouettes.

The last Volkswagen Beetle, a third-generation Denim Blue coupe, will be produced in Puebla, Mexico, on Wednesday.

"It's impossible to imagine where Volkswagen would be without the Beetle," said Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America. "While its time has come, the role it has played in the evolution of our brand will be forever cherished."

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The Supreme Court handed down two decisions at the end of their session last month that could have a big impact on the outcome of elections in the States. The court ruled it had no power to intervene when states use partisan gerrymandering to draw maps for electoral districts, saying it was an issue for state legislatures and state courts. And in a related case, the court ruled that the Trump administration could not add a citizenship question to the census.

Jessup Collins wants out. The main character of Alexi Zentner's tough new novel, Copperhead, Jessup is a 17-year-old high school football star with a decent shot at getting a college scholarship. That scholarship is essential because Jessup, his mom and his kid sister live paycheck-to-paycheck in a trailer on the outskirts of an upstate New York town that sounds a lot like Ithaca.

It’s been more than a year since electric scooters first arrived in Paris. The city’s mayor recently described the situation on Parisian streets as "not far from anarchy," but the city’s 20,000 scooters have proved popular among tourists and locals alike. Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks with Recode’s Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), who took scooters for a ride in Paris.

In a four-part series, Here & Now is looking at four specific countries in Asia and how China’s growing economic influence is affecting the U.S.’s influence in the region.

On a few occasions recently we've said or written "Customs and Border Patrol." That's a mistake.

Please remember: the agency's name ends with "Protection," not "Patrol."

It's Customs and Border Protection.

True, there is a United States Border Patrol within the agency. The Border Patrol has agents and officers.

But, again, there is no agency called "Customs and Border Patrol."

Thomas Edison invented the light bulb. Henry Ford invented the affordable automobile.

And, together, the brilliant best friends also invented the great American road trip!

OK, yes, that's a stretch. But it's the kind of puffed-up exaggeration the two publicity hounds would have delighted in, as author Jeff Guinn makes clear in his new book The Vagabonds.

Snowball, the dancing cockatoo, has at least 14 distinct dance moves.
Irena Schulz, / YouTube

Snowball the cockatoo got Internet famous in the late 2000s when a

When I think of Bud Selig, I always think about one particular moment.

It's the 11th inning of the 2002 All-Star Game. The event was held in Selig's hometown Milwaukee, in the beautiful new ballpark he and his family spent a decade fighting to get built. But instead of reveling in what should have been one of the greatest moments of his life, the Major League Baseball commissioner was frustrated, angry and holding his hands out in an exasperated shrug.

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In the 1950s, Stefan Mandel won the Romanian lottery twice.

And then he took his winnings, packed his bags and settled in Australia, where he won the lottery 12 more times. Yeah, you read that correctly: 12.

So how did this math whiz beat the system?

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the extradition bill that prompted weeks of street demonstrations is "dead," admitting that the government's handling of it was a "total failure."

The measure would have allowed people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face trials in courts controlled by the Communist Party, sparking fears of politically motivated prosecutions targeting outspoken critics of China.

The celebration of the Women's World Cup soccer championship shifts this week from France to New York City. On Wednesday, the U.S. Women's National Team will be honored with a ticker tape parade and keys to the city, following its 2-0 win over the Netherlands in Sunday's final in France.

Hand dryers are ubiquitous in public restrooms, but according to research recently published in the Canadian journal Paediatrics & Child Health, the noise they make may be harmful to children's ears.

And the study's author can speak from personal experience.

"Sometimes after using hand dryers my ears would start ringing," 13-year-old Nora Keegan from Calgary, Canada, tells NPR. "I also noticed that children would not want to use hand dryers, and they'd be covering their ears."

The novelist and poet Sinan Antoon grew up in Baghdad, Iraq — a city that's known many years of sorrow.

He was born to an Iraqi father and an American mother, and lived there until 1991. That was the year of the first U.S. invasion of Iraq, when he hid in the basement of a restaurant as U.S. bombs fell.

Antoon later moved to New York. But after the United States bombed Baghdad again in 2003, and took over Iraq, Antoon went back to make a documentary film.

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Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia have seized a large container ship from a global shipping company weeks after authorities raided its cargo and found more than 35,000 pounds of cocaine, or about $1 billion worth of the drugs.

Officials described the June bust at the Port of Philadelphia as the largest cocaine haul in American history.

Sam Dunklau / NPR Illinois 91.9 FM

The Illinois State Armory is perhaps the largest state-owned building that no longer has a purpose. The 200,000-square foot behemoth was once a fixture of life and culture in downtown Springfield, and a central component to the State Capitol complex.

But, the more than 80 year-old building is a shell of what it once was. It’s fallen into disrepair.

That may soon change now that state lawmakers devoted $120 million from the latest infrastructure bill to fix up the place. 

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