NPR Staff

We've all been there — having fun relaxing with friends and family, when someone says something a little racially off. Sometimes it's subtle, like the friend who calls Thai food "exotic." Other times it's more overt, like that in-law who's always going on about "the illegals."

In any case, it can be hard to know how to respond. Even the most level-headed among us have faltered trying to navigate the fraught world of racial awkwardness.

A decade after Martin Cooper made the world's first public call from a portable phone in 1973, telephones were becoming truly mobile.

"It's still pretty rare to see someone using a telephone in a car. But it's about to become a lot more common." That's how NPR host Jim Angle introduced a piece on Nov. 5, 1983, titled "Cellular Phones Are Completely Mobile" — the earliest mention of the term found in NPR's archives.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head-to-head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton went head to head Monday night in the first presidential debate.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, live annotated the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are underlined in yellow, followed by context and fact check.

As we surf from website to website, we are being tracked — that's not news. What is news, revealed in a recent paper by researchers at Princeton University, is that the tracking is no longer just about the "cookies" that record our tastes. The researchers surveyed a million websites and found that state-of-the-art tracking is a lot more sophisticated, allowing websites to track the fingerprints left by our devices.

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Many Americans are familiar with the astronaut heroes of the 20th century space race — names like Gus Grissom and Neil Armstrong. But who did the calculations that would successfully land these men on the moon?

Several of the NASA researchers who made space flight possible were women. Among them were black women who played critical roles in the aeronautics industry even as Jim Crow was alive and well.

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(SOUNDBITE OF BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN SONG, "BORN IN THE U.S.A.")

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(SOUNDBITE OF BUCKWHEAT ZYDECO SONG, "ZYDECO LA LOUISIANEE")

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Studs Terkel had a gift for connecting with people and collecting their stories.

Some of those oral histories of everyday workers talking about their jobs became a bestselling book published in 1974 called Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day And How They Feel About What They Do.

Eimear McBride's new novel, The Lesser Bohemians, is an old story written in a new way: A May-December romance — or perhaps May-August — between 18-year-old Eily, an Irish drama student who comes to London in the 1990s, and a devilish rake of an older man, an actor, of course, named Stephen.

The novel is full of intricate, imaginative wordplay — and sex that can be similarly characterized — crafted by one of the most imaginative young talents in fiction.

Hip-hop artist Amisho Baraka, who performs as Sho Baraka, is one African-American man who feels left out by both major political parties — and he says this will affect his vote come November.

The Amazon series Transparent is about a transgender woman named Maura who for decades was known to her kids as Mort, or Dad. Actor Jeffrey Tambor plays Maura and has just won a second Emmy for his performance. "When those roles come along, you don't run away," he tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "It's a perfect role, you know? I thought I was gonna do Lear, but I'm gonna do Maura."

The New York Times recently published a story that examined the way that Donald Trump's presidential campaign promoted his tax plan. Trump had offered a big tax break to businesses, and his campaign told a leading business group he supported the tax break. He got their endorsement. Then his campaign told independent budget analysts he was against the same tax break.

The New York Times called this a lie — specifically, "the trillion-dollar lie."

A disturbing feature of this election cycle has been the growth in anti-Semitic hate speech online.

Jewish journalists, in particular, have received insults, slurs and threats over Twitter and other social media.

The Anti-Defamation League announced this week it is hiring a representative in Silicon Valley to work with tech companies to help fight anti-Semitic abuse online.

The U.S. government wants to help you take your hands off the wheel.

The Department of Transportation on Tuesday issued its Federal Automated Vehicle Policy, which outlines how manufacturers and developers can ensure safe design of driverless vehicles, tells states what responsibilities they will have and points out potential new tools for ensuring safety.

Simon Schama calls portraiture "the least free of painterly genres." He writes: "No rose will complain of excessive petal-droop in a still life; no cheese will take you to task over inaccurate veining. ... But portraiture is answerable as no other specialty to something lying beyond the artist's creativity. That something is the sitter paying the bill."

Simon Schama calls portraiture "the least free of painterly genres." He writes: "No rose will complain of excessive petal-droop in a still life; no cheese will take you to task over inaccurate veining. ... But portraiture is answerable as no other specialty to something lying beyond the artist's creativity. That something is the sitter paying the bill."

We all know the photo: It captures the rage, division and the racial tension from 40 years ago, that is still so present now in our country.

Titled "The Soiling of Old Glory," the photo won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography. Stanley Forman took the picture on April 5, 1976, by for what was then the Boston Herald American.

"For the time (it) has everything you want in the picture," says Forman. If you've seen the picture, it's hard to forget. A young, white man lunges at a black man with the sharp point of a flagpole, with the American flag attached.

Donald Glover's new TV show Atlanta has been described as having "dreamy and weird" moments, of mixing "hyper-realism ... with brief moments of surrealism ...

With around 50 days until Election Day, the NPR Politics team is back to discuss the top political news of this week. That includes Clinton's return to the campaign trail after taking a few days off due to pneumonia, Trump's visit to the Dr. Oz show to discuss his health, and the candidates' plans on child care.

On the podcast:

  • Campaign Reporter Sam Sanders
  • Campaign Reporter Asma Khalid
  • Campaign Reporter Sarah McCammon

In school, they called her stupid. Dumb. Lazy.

Eileen Kushner had always had trouble with reading and simple math, and while she was growing up in Detroit during the 1950s, her fellow students didn't make life easy on her. Later, she'd be diagnosed with a learning disability, but at the time, she just had to suffer the slings and arrows of her peers. When she married her husband, Larry, right out of high school and had three kids, she hoped that her life as a stay-at-home mom might hide her learning problems.

Things didn't work out that way.

If Hari Kondabolu cracks you up, you may actually have his mother to thank — he says she's the one who taught him to be funny. Uma Kondabolu was a doctor in India who "left everything behind," her son explains. "That's difficult, and yet she laughed her way through it."

It was only recently that he began to appreciate that his mom's life outlook was at the root of his own comedy. His dark sense of humor and his ability to transform negative things into positive? "That comes from her," he tells NPR's David Greene.

You're at a cafeteria, you've got your lunch ... and then you just don't know where to sit. You don't want to sit alone, but you also don't know who would be friendly and let you sit with them. Sixteen-year-old Natalie Hampton has been there. She's an 11th grader from Sherman Oaks, Calif., and the creator of a new app called Sit With Us.

Hampton spoke about the app with All Things Considered Host Audie Cornish. A transcript of their conversation follows, edited for clarity.

Tim Gunn, Emmy-winning co-host of the show Project Runway, says the fashion industry is not making it work for plus-size women.

In an article for The Washington Post, he called it a disgrace.

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