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When I first saw Nina Diaz back in 2010, she was fronting a punk trio from San Antonio called Girl In A Coma. She and the band sounded ferocious, with an unmistakable spirit of fun — for proof, here's their Tiny Desk concert from a couple years later.

Can Slowing Down Help You Be More Creative?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Adam Grant's TED Talk

Despite being a self-described 'pre-crastinator, psychologist Adam Grant says those who slow down — even procrastinate — tend to be more creative, original thinkers.

About Adam Grant

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Tim Urban's TED Talk

Blogger Tim Urban explains his process of extreme procrastination in which his brain wages war between instant gratification and the moment of pure panic just before a deadline.

About Tim Urban

When Was The Last Time You Did Absolutely Nothing?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Andy Puddicombe's TED Talk

Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe says one path to happiness is ten minutes, each day, to stop and enjoy the sensation of doing nothing.

About Andy Puddicombe

What Can We Gain By Writing A Letter By Hand?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Lakshmi Pratury's TED Talk

Lakshmi Pratury reflects on the dozens of letters she received from her father, while he was alive, and on the painstaking time it takes to pen a letter.

About Lakshmi Pratury

Can Slow-Moving Art Disrupt Our Hectic Routines?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo's TED Talk

Early in his career, video artist Gabriel Barcia-Colombo noticed the way people breeze past works of art. He describes how his deliberate, slow-moving installations encourage people to stop and think.

About Gabriel Barcia-Colombo

Why Would Millions Tune Into 'Slow TV'?

Aug 26, 2016

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Slowing Down

About Thomas Hellum's TED Talk

Norwegian TV producer Thomas Hellum describes why his programs — which feature hours of train rides, fishing, and knitting — help viewers slow down and return to life in 'real time.'

About Thomas Hellum

This week, we took ourselves to the Disney live-action film Pete's Dragon, currently riding high with (most) critics and answering the question, "Can you really put a line in a movie about capturing a dragon where a guy says, 'Follow that dragon!'?" We talk about how well the film's very sweet and optimistic tone worked on the various members of the panel, including NPR Music's Daoud Tyler-Ameen in the fourth chair. Can Glen make peace with this much earnest sweetness? Oh, he'll tell you.

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The presidential candidates this week accused one another of racism and bigotry, with Hillary Clinton arguing that Donald Trump's rhetoric and policies are an invitation to the "alt-right" movement.

One of China's most valuable tech startups, Xiaomi, is trying to innovate itself out of a bind. With its core smartphone business struggling, the company is turning to networked appliances — sometimes referred to as the Internet of things — to revive its fortunes.

When 2 feet of rain fell, and the Vermillion River swelled its banks earlier this month, the mayor of Maurice, La., Wayne Theriot, got hit with a double whammy: He lost his home and his office. The two are just a couple hundred yards apart in this small town of about 1,000 people that straddles Vermillion and Lafayette parishes in a largely rural corner of the state.

"You're in City Hall — what's left of it," he says, pointing to the ruined furniture and computers in the tiny three-room building.

In Japan, you sometimes hear the term "village on the edge." What it means is "village on the edge of extinction."

Japan's population is declining. And the signs of that are easiest to see in rural areas, like the mountainous interior of the southern island of Shikoku. For example, the village of Nagoro used to have around 300 residents. Now it has 30.

If you've seen Sleeping Beauty, The Jungle Book or the Toy Story movies, you've seen the work of animator Floyd Norman; for decades, he has helped bring Disney and Pixar classics to life.

Now 81, Norman still works for Disney, where he has plied his trade, on and off, since he became the studio's first African-American animator in the 1950s.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture took a largely symbolic step to help struggling dairy farmers this week. It announced that it will buy $20 million worth of cheese and give it away to food banks. The USDA is doing this, it says, to help "reduce a cheese surplus that is at a 30-year high."

Enormous trucks from all over the country are rolling down highways toward Baton Rouge, La.

When they get to town, their task is to clear neighborhoods where streets are lined with trash from last week's massive flood.

Baton Rouge contracted with DRC Emergency Services to handle disaster response when the floods began last week. It started out rescuing people in boats, and now that the boats are docked, trucks are coming in to handle the cleanup.

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Imagine you're a teenager in Beijing in the 1960s and '70s, during the Cultural Revolution. Everything that's deemed Western and bourgeois is banned — so listening to a 78 rpm recording of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, powerfully transformative as it might be, is off limits.

The First First Date Unfolds In 'Southside With You'

Aug 25, 2016

Two attractive young idealists named Barack and Michelle tour a Chicago full of hope together in Southside With You, a date movie about the First First Date. It's summer 1989, and neither of the future Obamas has any inkling what's in store for them (even though the script they're inhabiting does).

If you could slough off the life you'd built every few years and reinvent yourself as a whole new person, would that be a great escape or evidence of severe psychic damage? It's a great premise to lift off from, and I only wish that the overwrought but undercooked new drama, Complete Unknown, stepped up with a sharper idea of what it wanted to talk to us about. Especially with the suitably inward Rachel Weisz and Michael Shannon on hand to deepen the enigma and then open it up.

A man, a plan, a canal — Panama! The classic palindrome also doubles as tidy descriptor for Hands of Stone, a shoddy biopic about Roberto Durán, a legendary Panamanian boxer whose identity, according to the film, is tied closely to the fate of the Panama Canal.

Italian writer-director Nanni Moretti's Mia Madre (My Mother) is about an everyday drama in which nearly everyone eventually participates: the death of a parent. It begins not in a hospital but in the streets, where striking factory workers clash with police. It looks real enough, until the director yells, "cut!"

The ability to interlace reality and fantasy is one of cinema's strengths, and at times Mia Madre is as bewitchingly surreal as 8 1/2, Fellini's stream-of-consciousness classic. But Moretti's movie is less swaggering and more tender.

America's most famous drag queen, RuPaul, is finally mainstream, with two Emmy nominations for his reality show, RuPaul's Drag Race.

We visited set of Drag Race here in Los Angeles, where RuPaul and the gang are taping the show's ninth season. The show is a competition — contestants go through challenges to prove their drag skills: lip synching, runway walks and photo shoots. Then RuPaul and a panel of judges choose a winner.

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Trust the Italians to meet disaster with food.

While nobody is making light of Wednesday's earthquake that struck Amatrice, a small town in the Appenine mountains about 70 miles as the crow flies from Rome, several independent efforts have sprung up to use the town's signature dish — spaghetti all' amatriciana — to help relief efforts.

She's a poet, a writer, an artist, an entrepreneur and someone who knows how to use her voice to encourage social change. Early in 2016, when Ani DiFranco's Paint Congress Blue Tour came through the 30A Songwriters Festival in Florida, she stopped by for a Folk Alley session. Here, she performs her poem "Binary," the title track from her forthcoming album (due in 2017), which she says addresses the overriding concept that "consciousness is binary."

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