Weekend Edition

BSPR News: Sat at 6 a.m. & Sun at 6 a.m. | BSPR News/Music: Sat at 6 a.m. & Sun at 6 a.m.

Hosts Scott Simon and Lulu Garcia-Navarro deliver hard news, interview a variety of newsmakers, and cover cultural stories with care, accuracy, and a wink of humor.

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What makes a banana taped to a wall worth $120,000 to someone?

If it has been put there by the right artist.

This banana was duct-taped to a wall by Maurizio Cattelan, the Italian artist, and it's on display this week at Art Basel in Miami Beach.

The banana is real, by the way, not a sculpture. It will soon go brown, slimy, and may already be ... fragrant.

The Perrotin art gallery of Paris has already sold this piece of produce, and it turns out that $120,000 is practically a bargain. Another banana the artist taped to a wall is going for $150,000.

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French Entertainer Madeon On 'Good Faith'

Dec 7, 2019

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(SOUNDBITE OF MADEON SONG, "DREAM DREAM DREAM")

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Scorpions Infest Brazilian Cities

Dec 7, 2019

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Life in Sao Paulo, Brazil, may feel a little like a science fiction film right now. Scorpions roam the realm. They're finger-sized, armed with two pincers and, of course, a poisonous stinger. And apparently, they're everywhere.

The old way to think about your dog's "human age" — the age in actual years times seven — is wrong. And researchers now have a new formula they think will calculate your dog's age more accurately.

Simply put, compared with humans, dogs age very quickly at first, but then their aging slows down, a lot.

Trey Ideker of the University of California, San Diego was part of a team of researchers that looked at aging on the molecular level.

William Ruckelshaus was a conservationist, an Indiana Republican conservative who believed in conserving balanced budgets, limited government powers, constitutional checks and balances, and clean air and water.

"Nature provides a free lunch," he said, "but only if we control our appetites."

He helped write Indiana's first air pollution laws as a state deputy attorney general in the 1960s, and was appointed the first head of the Environment Protection Agency by President Nixon in 1970.

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And talk about methane release. Time to talk sports.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Meg Schmidt's signature song is a Top 40 track that could have been written for her.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHUT UP AND DANCE")

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Now by seaplane, fishing boat and kayak to Southeast Alaska. There, NPR's Anya Kamenetz met a young woman who's trying to reinvent higher education. Her aim, to use the wilderness to prepare diverse students for lives of purpose in an ever more fragile world.

My Signature Song: 'This Must Be The Place'

Nov 23, 2019

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Sometimes there's a song that you know will stick with you forever. For Jerrica Vowels of Louisville, Ky, it's "This Must Be The Place" by Talking Heads.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THIS MUST BE THE PLACE")

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Pope Francis has arrived in Japan for a four-day visit, where he is expected to call attention to the issue of capital punishment, which he contends is inhumane. Japan and the U.S. are the only G7 countries that have the death penalty.

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Now a story to lift the spirits of an improbable reunion. Five years ago, Viktor Usov adored Sasha, his fluffy, little black kitten. They lived happily in Portland, Ore. Sasha really liked people, and he loved being outdoors. Cue menacing music in your mind.

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The forced imprisonment of more than a million Muslim Uighurs in detention camps in the Xinjiang region of western China may make Americans feel outrage and sadness. But many may just shrug and ask, "What does that have to do with me?"

Look down at your shoes.

About 99% of the shoes sold in America are made overseas, with China being the largest manufacturer by far. Nike, Naturalizer, Dr. Scholl's, Hush Puppies, Keds and many other American companies make shoes in China, where the costs of production are far less.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF NOISEMAKERS)

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I look forward all week to saying it's time for sports.

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Alex Gibney On 'Citizen K'

Nov 16, 2019

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It might be called "Revenge of the Pin-Stripes."

In this week's House Intelligence Committee hearings, career diplomats dressed in somber suits who have often been derided as "elites," "insiders," "the establishment," and even "the Deep State" got the chance to tell Americans how they have been nonpartisan representatives of America from administration to administration.

Those parts of their testimony weren't news "bombshells." But their words are worth noting.

The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years. Today, Nov. 9, marks the 30th anniversary of when it began to come down.

It may be hard to imagine, a generation later, what a momentous event that was and why the sight of ordinary citizens, chipping away by hand and hammer at that edifice of cruelty, lifted so many hopes around the world.

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NPR has lost a friend and an old colleague. News reached us this week that David Rector died last month at the age of 69. He'd suffered an aortic dissection years ago that left him a quadriplegic.

Ever since he was a child, Michael Menta looked up to his uncle Sal Leone for becoming a Marine. Menta would eventually follow in Leone's footsteps to serve his country, enlisting in the Navy during his senior year of high school.

Their shared veteranship brought them closer.

"We spoke the same language," Menta said, when he and Leone visited StoryCorps last month.

'Blue's Clues' Returns With A New Host

Nov 9, 2019

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(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED CHILDREN: (As characters) A clue.

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"Blue's Clues" is back.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "BLUE'S CLUES AND YOU")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) Oh, a clue. Wait. Where's the clue?

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Germany today celebrates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. NPR's Berlin correspondent Rob Schmitz brings us this story on what's left of where the wall once stood.

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