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Standing on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon, Simon Tam, the bassist and frontman of the Asian-American rock group The Slants, was fired up. He'd just watched as most of the eight justices questioned whether the government should back his right to use his band's name, which is a racial slur.

"If the government really truly cared about fighting racist messages they would have canceled the registrations for numerous white supremacist groups before they even approached our case," he told a crowd of reporters.

For many pregnant women, understanding what seafood is safe and healthy, and what should be avoided because of mercury concerns comes with a lot of hand-wringing. In part, that's because the federal government's advice on the matter, first issued in 2004, has long been criticized as unclear.

That guidance has included advice on how much seafood to eat, and which species pregnant and nursing women should avoid over concerns about mercury contamination.

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Even Rick Perry changes his mind.

At his confirmation hearing as President-elect Donald Trump's pick for Secretary of Energy, the former Texas governor said he no longer wants to do away with the department he once said should be eliminated.

Or, at least, that was something he tried to say.

In 2011, during one of his presidential campaign debates, Perry could only remember the names of two of the three agencies he wanted get rid of. The third agency is the very one he was chosen by Trump to head.

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Among the guests at Friday's inauguration will be one of Donald Trump's political kindred spirits, a fellow populist who railed against immigration and helped drive an electoral upset that stunned the world.

British politician Nigel Farage was a crucial force behind last June's Brexit referendum. Trump became so fond of him, the president-elect suggested the British government appoint Farage to be the U.K.'s ambassador to Washington — advice Prime Minister Theresa May ignored.

How Can Going Blind Give You Vision?

Jan 19, 2017

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Five Senses

About Isaac Lidsky's TED Talk

Isaac Lidsky lost his sight by age 25. Now, he says, losing his eyesight was a blessing — because it taught him that he is in control of his own reality.

About Isaac Lidsky

Are There More Than Five Basic Tastes?

Jan 19, 2017

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Five Senses

About Nicole Garneau's TED Talk

Scientists have long believed we have just five tastes - salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami (or savory). Geneticist Nicole Garneau argues we might be able to taste a sixth — fat.

About Nicole Garneau

How Can We Hear The Stars?

Jan 19, 2017

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Five Senses

About Wanda Diaz Merced's TED Talk

When astronomer Wanda Diaz Merced lost her eyesight, she thought she'd never succeed in astronomy. Eventually, she discovered a way to hear the stars.

About Wanda Diaz Merced

Why Is It Important To Be Touched?

Jan 19, 2017

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Five Senses

About David Linden's TED Talk

Neuroscientist David Linden thinks that of the five senses, touch is the most overlooked, and perhaps the most important for promoting psychological health.

About David Linden

How Do Pheromones Really Work?

Jan 19, 2017

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode The Five Senses

About Tristram Wyatt's TED Talk

Pheromones are mysterious compounds that can make a mammal smell more sexy--but that's not true for humans. Zoologist Tristram Wyatt says human pheremones are hard to find.

About Tristram Wyatt

Isidro Baldenegro Lopez, a Mexican indigenous activist and subsistence farmer who led the fight to protect ancient forests from illegal logging in the northern Mexican state of Chihuahua, was slain on Sunday.

Baldenegro Lopez, a leader among the Tarahumara people, for years had led non-violent sit-ins and blockades in protest of logging in the Sierra Madre mountain region.

A young man about whom we know little other than his name — Leo — arrives in a pretty French village, where, with little finesse and less success, he propositions a muscled sulk of a teenage boy (Basile Meilluerat). Leo, who's played by Damien Bonnard with a kind of predatory befuddlement, has better luck with Marie (India Hair), a shepherdess who calmly takes the sexual initiative.

xXx, in case you've forgotten, is the other action series that Vin Diesel started with director Rob Cohen (Stealth, Alex Cross) in the cultural desert of the early aughts, promptly abandoned, and then limped back to (after producers churned out one or more Diesel-less installments).

Set on an apparently tropical island, The Red Turtle (La tortue rouge) exalts the cycle of life and celebrates the beauty of nature. Yet this dialogue-free animated fable could hardly be more anthropocentric.

The man around whom the film revolves is introduced literally at sea, battling to survive the stormy waves of a slate-colored ocean. The sketchily drawn, button-eyed survivor soon washes up on a remote isle. It's inhabited mostly by insects and crustaceans — the sand crabs provide low-key comic relief — although sometimes a larger creature comes ashore.

When John Travolta's Vincent Vega told the tale of his visit to a Parisian McDonald's in the opening of the 1994 film Pulp Fiction, his noted that his "Royale with Cheese" had the same ingredients, the same taste, and the same packaging as his familiar Quarter Pounder with Cheese back home in Los Angeles.

Lee Daniels is known as a fiercely creative producer with a taste for controversy. He regularly tackles gay issues, race and class in the hit TV drama he co-created for Fox, Empire, and his new series for the network, Star.

But when I caught up to him after a press conference and asked how he felt about the election of Donald Trump, Daniels got unexpectedly emotional.

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"Reservoir Dogs," "Memento," "The Blair Witch Project" and the Coen brothers' debut film, "Blood Simple," all have one thing in common. They premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. My co-host Kelly McEvers has more.

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For nearly five decades, Daniel Barenboim has been making a case for the symphonies of Anton Bruckner. Tonight at Carnegie Hall, the conductor begins a complete cycle of Bruckner's nine numbered symphonies, leading the storied Staatskapelle Berlin.

"Our best musicians in the jazz tradition were radical imaginers," Samora Pinderhughes says. A pianist and composer in his mid-20s, he has asserted his connection to that lineage with The Transformations Suite, an earnest and ambitious new work combining music, words and visuals. The piece, which took five years to chisel into shape, was inspired by African-American resistance and protest movements, as well as the oppression that many still endure.

The Bay Area artist Hazel English makes jangly dream pop that has landed her on a lot of "Artists to Watch in 2017" lists. She premiered some brand-new songs from a forthcoming release in KCRW's first live session of 2017. "More Like You" was an instant favorite.

Set List

  • "More Like You"

Updated at 12:10 p.m. ET

An avalanche in central Italy has buried a ski resort, leaving about 30 people missing and prompting a frantic rescue effort.

Three bodies have been recovered, The Associated Press reports, but the full extent of the death toll is not yet known. Children are believed to be among the missing.

Rescue workers who arrived at the hotel found two survivors outside, but "no sign of life" in the building, the AP reports.

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. So we kind of have a rule on this program. We try not to talk about toilets or things you don't want to hear about at breakfast, but this is news.

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Allison Crutchfield is used to leaving things behind. She and her twin sister Katie have been on the road for more than a decade now, first as p.s. eliot, then as Bad Banana. Later, Allison formed the pop-punk four-piece Swearin', which would often tour alongside Katie's established solo project Waxahatchee.

Rock 'n' roll so often boils down to simple pursuits: the search for love, sex, escape, revenge, satisfaction, or some signifier of freedom and home. But for Brian King and David Prowse of Japandroids, that central pursuit is often majesty itself.

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