NPR Staff

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, 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.

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.

In the mid-1960s, Larry Kane was a young, straight-arrow radio news guy who lucked into what had to be the greatest assignment in the history of rock: flying from show to show with The Beatles. Ron Howard's new documentary, Eight Days a Week: The Touring Years, follows the band through their early years on tour. It also features Kane, the reporter who got to ride along when The Beatles traveled through the U.S. in 1964.

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.

UNGA began this week. In case the acronym is unfamiliar, that's the United Nations General Assembly, which has just commenced its 71st session. The Assembly is the time for member nations to gather and discuss international issues.

Think you know UNGA? Take our quiz to test your knowledge.

The nation's first lighthouse celebrates 300 years off the Boston coast on Wednesday. It's called Boston Light and it's manned by Sally Snowman.

"I jokingly say 'womanned.' I'm the 70th keeper of Boston Light. The first 69 were all men," Snowman says.

This isn't just a job. For Snowman, this is a lifestyle. She knows the mechanics, all of the history, she even dresses in period clothing.

"I just think it as the best government housing in the United States," she says.

Since Angel Olsen's first album in 2010, she's carved out a smoky, country-flavored corner of the indie rock world for herself. Her distinctive voice delivers taut meditations on love and loneliness, sometimes with a shout and other times with more of a whisper. Her music earned her critical acclaim, but also a reputation as a tortured soul — one she wasn't really looking for.

On Sept. 13, 1996, Tupac Shakur died, six days after he was targeted in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas. Twenty years later, Tupac has become a celebrated figure around the world. He's not only a lodestar of hip-hop, but a global cultural phenomenon.

Mara Wilson says that the most complicated relationship she has ever had is with a fictional 6-year-old girl. That's because you probably know Wilson best as Matilda, from the 1996 film adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic.

"I wanted to be her so badly ... " Wilson tells NPR's Rachel Martin. "She's kind of like my big sister overshadowing me."

Wilson, now 29, was a successful child actress — you may also recognize her from her starring roles as Natalie Hillard in Mrs. Doubtfire, or as Susan Walker in Miracle on 34th Street.

Between his bands The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as his more recent solo work, Jack White has won 12 Grammy awards and sold millions of albums.

Robert Glasper is always making music. Solo or with his quartet, the Robert Glasper Experiment, he's released 9 albums and collaborated with everyone from Herbie Hancock to Kendrick Lamar, investigating the sounds and rhythms of jazz and hip-hop in equal measure,

With the grim milestone of 500 homicides already passed this year in Chicago, police are grappling with a toxic mix of illegal firearms and gang culture.

And social media is added to that mix with gang-affiliated Facebook pages, Twitter handles and YouTube channels. Images of a kid getting beat down or worse are easy to find online.

On Sept. 11, 2001, two men arrived at the ticket counter late for American Airlines Flight 77 out of Dulles International Airport. This was before the days of the Transportation Security Administration, when airport security was quite different from what it is today. At the time, the man working at the counter, Vaughn Allex, followed procedure and checked them through.

Those two men were among the five hijackers who crashed that flight into the Pentagon — killing 189 people, including themselves.

M.I.A. grew up in war-torn Sri Lanka, and later in public housing in London. She's made a career singing and speaking about the social justice issues around refugees and minorities.

It's a classic summertime treat, the kind you might get from an ice cream truck.

It's a sugar cone, in the shape of a taco, filled with light vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with nuts on top. It's the Choco Taco.

But where did this highly engineered dessert come from?

The meaning of words – and the way we used them – change all the time, and that's OK with linguist John McWhorter of Columbia University. He writes about how the English language has evolved in his new book, Words on the Move: Why English Won't — And Can't — Sit Still (Like Literally).

The hard line against marijuana is softening all across the country.

Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia allow some form of marijuana use, mostly for medicinal purposes, though a few allow recreational use. And more states could decriminalize marijuana this year. But if you play in the NFL and you use weed it could cost you your job.

Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan would like to change that; he would at least like the NFL to look into the health benefits of marijuana in a profession where injuries and ongoing pain is normal.

The StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative records stories from members of the U.S. military who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. This week we hear from Jenna Henderson whose husband died while serving in Afghanistan.

Sgt. First Class Chris Henderson joined the Army right out of high school in 1991. He served in Bosnia and Kosovo before deploying to Afghanistan in 2007 as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. On that tour, he was killed by an IED, when he was just 35 years old.

We can't print the full name of LOLO's new album, In Loving Memory of When I Gave a S***. But the woman born Lauren Pritchard wants you to know that she does still care –- about some things.

"The meaning of the title is, I grew up in a really small town in Tennessee, and it's sort of the buckle of the Bible Belt," she says. "And I always tried to be a good, sweet little Southern girl, but I wasn't. I wasted a lot of energy trying to be what other people wanted me to be, and I can't be anyone but myself now."

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick dropped to one knee rather than stand during the national anthem at a preseason football game Thursday night. It's an extension of the protest Kaepernick began last week when he sat as the anthem played before an earlier game, declaring, "I am not going to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color."

A restaurant chain that charges twice as much for a meal in one location as it does in another? You would think that's a recipe for angry customers.

But Everytable in Los Angeles is betting that this will prove a successful business model, while also serving up a hefty side of social mission.

Pablo Escobar was one of the most notorious drug kingpins the world has ever known. His cartel — based in Medellin, Colombia — ruled in the 1980s and at one point supplied 80 percent of the cocaine coming into the U.S.

The drama and danger of those days is captured in the Netflix series Narcos. Brazilian actor Wagner Moura plays Escobar in the series, and at the time it was a surprising casting choice. For one thing, Escobar is on the chubby side, and as Moura tells NPR's David Greene, "I was very skinny." Also: He didn't speak Spanish.

The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., is home to so much Americana, including Civil War uniforms, Dorothy's red shoes from The Wizard Of Oz, and video game prototypes. It also has an extensive collection of presidential campaign memorabilia.

"We collect a fair amount of Republican, Democrat, red, white and blue stuff, but there are great objects that engage issues for 2016, that can communicate those issues and debates 100 years from now," says Jon Grinspan, one of the museum's curators for political history.

The V&E Simonetti Historic Tuba Collection in Durham, N.C., is the result of an obsession that grew one oom pah-pah at a time.

Vincent Simonetti started playing tuba in high school in the 1950s – and it was love at first puff.

"And I would draw it in study hall. I'd draw pictures of it. I don't know why. I just became obsessed with it," he says.

One of America's most distinguished men of letters says he believes that speech, not evolution, has made human beings into the creative, imaginative, deliberate, destructive, and complicated beings who invented the slingshot and the moon shot, and wrote the words of the Bible, Don Quixote, Good Night Moon, the backs of cereal boxes, and Fifty and Shades of Grey.

William James Stokes is the son of a church man, and on his first album he comes right out with it. The Preacher's Kid is the singer and rapper's debut as Sir the Baptist, a name he felt suited his origins in the Bronzeville district of South Side Chicago. "I grew up in a Chicago area where they called it 'Chi-raq' — and I felt like if I was gonna be the voice crying out in the wilderness, I would want to be John the Baptist," he says.

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