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There is still debate as to whether the hot dog evolved from lesser sandwich forms or is the work of an intelligent designer, but everyone can agree it's a marvel of simplicity. At the Gapers Block Hot Dog Cookoff earlier this summer in Chicago, though, five chefs were challenged to reinterpret the humble tube steak, and we were challenged to eat them all.

The chefs were told to "start with Vienna Beef hot dogs" and "use them in any way imaginable." Those instructions, when you think about it, are frighteningly open to interpretation.

News that National Security Agency officers sometimes abuse domestic intelligence gathering practices to monitor potential love interests has led to a sweeping, satirical response by The People of The Internet. On Tumblr and Twitter, the #NSAPickupLines and #NSALovePoems hashtags have sparked all sorts of creativity from users poking fun at the potential intrusion of the NSA into our personal lives.

Lydia Ko, the New Zealand golfer who last year became the youngest person ever to win an LPGA event, has played her way into the record books again. By successfully defending her title at the Canadian Women's Open this past weekend, Ko, who's now 16, is the only amateur to win two LPGA events.

The Great Dumpling Debate: What Makes The Cut?

Aug 26, 2013

When we first started thinking about dumplings for NPR's Dumpling Week, we presumed that there wasn't much to the little balls of dough. They seemed simple, universally beloved and unencumbered by controversy.

But the semantics of the dumpling turns out to be far more fraught that we imagined. This became clear when we started wondering whether tamales, or samosas, counted as dumplings. The deeper we waded into the pool of quasi-dumpling snacks, the more we realized we needed some expert input to set us straight.

Imagine David Letterman sitting in the reception area where you work, going virtually unrecognized. That's how it was in 1981 when Letterman visited WHYY in Philadelphia to be interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, then a local program.

Doctors do make a difference when it comes to keeping children and teenagers from taking up tobacco. This may sound like a no-brainer, but until recently there wasn't strong evidence that anti-smoking efforts by pediatricians and other primary care doctors make a difference.

"I didn't do this to do any hating on anyone. I did this to be funny. I did it to be a joke," says Tuffy Gessling, the rodeo clown behind a skit at the Missouri State Fair earlier this month that sparked outrage when a masked "President Obama" was chased by a bull that Gessling said was "gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha!"

Amanda Knox, whose murder conviction was overturned in 2011, will not travel to Italy for a new trial in the stabbing death of a fellow student. In May, Italy's supreme court ordered Knox to be tried again, along with her former boyfriend, Italian Raffaele Sollecito.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The nation is marking the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington this week. Tens of thousands traced the path of civil rights leaders and foot soldiers in the nation's capital this weekend. On Wednesday, President Obama will speak from the Lincoln Memorial, just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other speakers did back in 1963. Tell Me More reflects on the role political activism played and is continuing to play in the civil rights movement.

Sarah Murnaghan, whose plight prompted a national debate about transplant policies when she came close to dying while waiting for new lungs, could leave a Philadelphia hospital as soon as Tuesday, CNN says.

In Defense of (Conceptually Messy) Psychology

Aug 26, 2013

In a recent post at The Daily Beast, Will Wilkinson lambasts the field of psychology.

A stream of fiction and stories written by reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be published between 2015 and 2020, according to a new biography about the writer of The Catcher in the Rye, who died in 2010. Some of the books will reportedly revisit beloved Salinger characters such as Holden Caulfield.

The claims come from David Shields and Shane Salerno, co-authors of the biography Salinger, which will be published next week. Days later, Salerno's documentary film of the same name will be released (and in January, it will air on PBS).

Newly declassified CIA documents "combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States' knowledge of how and when Iraq" used chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s, Foreign Policy reports.

According to the magazine:

You may have to turn off your television today if you wish to avoid seeing clips of one-time squeaky clean Disney star Miley Cyrus as she "twerked and gyrated, stripped and swayed," Sunday night at the MTV Video Music Awards.

Hundreds of firefighters are "digging trenches, clearing brush and starting back blazes to keep a wildfire raging north of Yosemite National Park out of several mountain hamlets," The Associated Press writes Monday morning in its latest update on the huge "Rim Fire" that is threatening some of the power and water services to the city of San Francisco.

The groom had on a big fake nose. The bride: an orange wig. And before the groom could run away, she reeled him in with a fishing pole. Makes sense, as they were two clowns and were married at Clownfest 2013 in Lancaster, Pa.

Just in case you're looking for Annalisa Quinn's "daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly," here's a reminder:

She's on vacation this week. So this might be the time to read one of those books she's been writing about for us in recent months.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

A new survey in Britain is airing that country's dirty laundry. The mattress company Ergoflex asked Britons how frequently they changed their sheets. Among men aged 18 to 25, more than half said they put fresh sheets on just four times a year.

With U.S. officials saying there's little doubt that President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons on the Syrian people last week, and with U.S. Navy ships moving toward that country's coast, it now seems to be a question of "when" not "whether" America will strike military targets inside that nation.

Parts of the South have seen record rainfall this year. After years of drought, you'd think all that rain would be a good thing. But too much of the wet stuff is bad for farmers' crops.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Well, after that, this sounds like no time at all, but it has been three decades since MTV broadcast its first annual Video Music Awards. The show had its 30th annual show last night.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, MTV rarely plays music videos anymore. But people still tune in to the VMA's for the moments.

MONTAGNE: Ten years ago, Madonna and Britney Spears stole the show with an infamous kiss.

GREENE: Last night, it was a racy duet between former child Star Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke that had people talking.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And a fire that started just outside of Yosemite National Park - here in California - is becoming one for the record books. It has raced through overgrown forest, doubling and tripling in size; crossed into Yosemite. And now, at more than 140,000 acres, it's bigger than the city of Chicago. Plus, it's still growing.

Thousands of firefighters are pitted against the fire, with more on the way; and thousands of residents have been evacuated. NPR's Nathan Rott is there, and he sends us this report.

The good news: Cigarette sales are down by about a third over the past decade. Not so for little cigars and cigarillos. Their sales more than doubled over the same time period, in large part owing to the growing popularity of these little cigars among teenagers and 20-somethings.

The appeal among young people has lots to do with the large variety of candylike flavors in the little cigars, according to Jennifer Cantrell, director of research and evaluation at the anti-tobacco Legacy Foundation.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are better known for their verbal fights and occasional border clashes, but for the first time since 1976, they battled on a soccer field in Kabul.

Some 6,000 rabid Afghan fans cheered on their team, clad in red uniforms. There were horns, flags, and face paint. It looked like any soccer game in the world, except for all the riot police, snipers, and Blackhawk helicopters passing overhead periodically.

Ahmad Mirwais, a 27-year-old tailor, was one of those lucky enough to score a ticket.

Katie Doderer is a very poised 15-year-old with short blond hair and a wide smile. She's a straight A student who loves singing, dancing and performing in musicals.

This could be considered something of a miracle.

"I have a complex medical condition known as congenital central hypoventilation – blah—syndrome. CCHS," Katie explains, stumbling on the full name of her malady. "Basically my brain doesn't tell me to breathe. So I am reliant on a mechanical ventilator."

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