NPR Staff

William Shakespeare had a wildly extensive vocabulary. Of more than 800,000 total words in all of his works, almost 29,000 of them are unique.

Although impressive, there are a few rappers who give the Bard a run for his money. Data scientist Matt Daniels charted the vocabularies of hip-hop artists against Shakespeare and Herman Melville.

"This is not a serious academic study. This is an, like, 'I thought it'd be cool on the Internet [project],' " he says.

When people talk about extending the human lifespan to 120 it bothers Roz Chast. "That upsets me for a lot of reasons," she tells NPR's Melissa Block. "I feel like these are people who don't really know anybody over 95." The reality of old age, she says, is that "people are not in good shape, and everything is falling apart."

On April 30, the Etiwanda Fire ignited in the San Bernardino National Forest in Southern California, then quickly grew to more than 2,000 acres before crews were able to contain it.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers. The following is what you might call an "almost big break."

A search-and-rescue mission for landslide victims in a remote village in northeastern Afghanistan has been called off. Officials fear there's no hope for reaching the nearly 2,000 people who were buried Friday by mud and rock.

In Washington, the active search for victims of another mudslide was called off last week after more than a month of searching. Two bodies still haven't been found.

And as the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 goes into a third month, families and friends of passengers are yearning for a sense of closure.

The easiest time to get hired at one of the seven oil refineries in the Los Angeles area is during what's called a turnaround. These breaks, when the refineries are shut down for routine maintenance, are incredibly labor-intensive. And refineries want to get them done as quickly as possible.

So companies need enough people to get the job done. But those workers must have specific skills.

In this line of work, as with other U.S. industries, there's a skills gap.

A few years ago, the cartoonist Matt Freedman started having nagging pain around his ear. He bought mouth guards and tried pain relievers, but nothing seemed to work. Slowly, the pain got worse. In 2012, a bump appeared on his neck. It was a slow-growing, dangerous cancer that had already spread to his lungs.

When you consider that critics have been writing about him for over 60 years, it can seem as if there's nothing left to say about Sonny Rollins. But there is – because over the decades, the "Saxophone Colossus" has never stopped growing or adding to his sound.

Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says he believes the entire LA Clippers corporate organization is better off now that owner Donald Sterling has lost his standing with the NBA.

Sterling was banned for life from the NBA last week for racist remarks made on a recording released by TMZ Sports. Abdul-Jabbar says the punishment announced by NBA commissioner Adam Silver is wise and just, and has given the team confidence.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Now, a note about television from the other side of the earth, Australia.

A couple of months ago, I found myself watching an American show called "Rake." It starred Greg Kinnear as a criminal lawyer in Los Angeles, a man of many vices and more than a little charm.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "RAKE")

BOJANA HARBOUR: (As Mikki) There's no future for us.

A small number of universities are starting to go against the grain, reducing amenities and frills in favor of keeping the costs relatively low.

Neil Theobald is the president of Temple University, which recently began offering students $4,000 per year in grants — if they promise to limit the number of hours they work during the school year and graduate on time.

Twitter is growing and its brand is spreading but Wall Street is unimpressed. On Tuesday, the company announced it had doubled its quarterly revenue from a year ago to $250 million. The social networking site also increased its number of active users to 255 million, up 25 percent from a year earlier.

But despite the gains, Wall Street analysts have called the growth tepid. Twitter went public last November, and its shares have traded as high as $74; on Wednesday, it opened at under $38.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

A day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life and made clear his intention to force Sterling to sell the team, the question remains, just how will Silver do that?

Keyon Dooling, a former Los Angeles Clipper and founder of the Respect Foundation, discusses his time playing for the team under owner Donald Sterling. Sterling has come under fire for racially inflammatory comments he allegedly made.

The memo arrived on paper.

Because it was 1994.

A notice, to all NPR staff, proclaiming, "Internet is coming to NPR!"

And there was no directive to log on to this fast-growing "organization," by the way. "If you do not want to use Internet," the memo read, "simply do nothing."

You can see more highlights from NPR's pre-Internet days at the Nprchives Tumblr.

British comedian Eddie Izzard has been thinking a lot about language (no surprise to anyone who's heard him riff on monkeys on branches, mice under tables, and cats on chairs).

And he's had a crazy idea: training himself in new languages — German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic — so when he's on the road, he can perform in his audience's native tongue. Though that won't be a challenge when he hits the road in America this week.

This is what an inclusive classroom looks like: Children with disabilities sit next to ones who've been deemed "gifted and talented." The mixing is done carefully, and quietly. Students don't necessarily know who's working at what level.

Despite a court ruling 25 years ago that gave children with disabilities equal access to general education activities, change has been slow.

Today, about 17 percent of students with any disability spend all or most of their days segregated. Children with severe disabilities can still expect that separation.

This month, NASA revealed new details of the plan to send humans to Mars by 2030. It's an elaborate and expensive mission, involving a giant deep-space rocket, and roping an asteroid into the moon's orbit to use as a stepping stone to Mars.

But there are still some serious questions about a manned expedition to Mars. Namely, is it safe? That's where astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly come in. The Kelly brothers are identical twins, and the only siblings ever to both fly in space.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Dr. Sampson Davis is an emergency medicine physician in his hometown of Newark, N.J. He grew up in a rough neighborhood. As a kid, he excelled in school but didn't always stay out of trouble.

When Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts was a little girl, whenever she'd complain to her mother about how unfair life was, her mother would say, "Oh, everybody's got something."

Years later, in 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I had that moment of: Wow, I can't believe I'm going through this. Why is this happening to me?" she tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "And my mother ... sweetly and gently — said to me, 'Honey, everybody's got something.' And it just really stuck with me."

The online magazine Ozy covers people, places and trends on the horizon. Co-founder Carlos Watson joins All Things Considered regularly to tell us about the site's latest discoveries.

In five wars over 10 years, Ron Capps shifted back and forth between being a U.S. Army officer and a State Department foreign service officer in some of the world's deadliest places.

In Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere, he served as a senior military intelligence officer. In wartime Kosovo, Darfur and Rwanda, he worked as a diplomat out in the field, documenting violence and war. As he writes in his new memoir, all the while he was almost daily "in the midst of murder, rape, the burning of villages, crimes against humanity, war crimes, ethnic cleaning or genocide."

Just about anyone who's gone online has encountered the message: "Error 404" or page "Not Found." It's what you see when a link is broken or dead — when the resource is no longer available.

It happens all across the Internet, on blogs, news websites, even links cited in decisions by the Supreme Court. It's called link rot, and it spreads over time as more pages die.

Just a few words can hold a world of meaning. John Paul Stevens, the retired Supreme Court justice, has written a short new book in which he proposes a few words here and there that would create some sweeping changes.

The book, Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, details the half-dozen ways Stevens thinks the Constitution could be improved, changes that he says are worth the trouble of the arduous amendment process.

British comedian John Oliver made a name for himself as a correspondent for Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, where he spent his time lampooning the media and the politicians on it.

Now, as sometimes happens with an actual star reporter, Oliver has his own show. It's called Last Week Tonight and it premieres Sunday on HBO.

He joins NPR Steve Inskeep to discuss mocking the U.S. with an English accent and why the White House Correspondents' Dinner is where jokes go to die.

Ayodeji Ogunniyi was a pre-med student when his father was murdered by three young men. So Ogunniyi decided that becoming a teacher, not a doctor, would help ensure his father's death was not in vain. (This StoryCorps interview initially aired Oct. 30, 2011 on Weekend Edition Sunday.)

In the opening pages of Daphne du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca, the narrator lays out a feast for the imagination: "Those dripping crumpets, I can see them now. Tiny crisp wedges of toast, and piping-hot, flaky scones. Sandwiches of unknown nature, mysteriously flavoured and quite delectable, and that very special gingerbread." Of course, the reader can't actually see these treats — and that's where graphic designer Dinah Fried comes in.

Less than 20 years ago, Ellen DeGeneres hadn't come out, gay-wedding announcements didn't appear regularly in major newspapers and 17 states and the District of Columbia hadn't legalized same-sex unions.

But there was Steven Petrow. In 1995 he published The Essential Book of Gay Manners and Etiquette. He's been answering questions ever since — from LGBT and straight people alike — about new and sometimes perplexing social situations.

E-cigarettes are not new, but there is still much that's unknown about them. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains the latest research on e-cigarettes and offers his take on new regulations proposed by the Food and Drug Administration.

Pages