NPR Staff

A couple years ago, artist and illustrator Christoph Niemann felt like he needed to shake things up. "When you do any kind of creative job for a while, you become better ..." he says, "but I think you always become a little bit more predictable."

Long ago, electronic music was created on massive consoles the size of refrigerators. But in 1970, the Minimoog Model D was unleashed, and its impact was nothing short of revolutionary.

Thousands will pack into the Staples Center in Los Angeles this weekend for a championship final event. It's not an uncommon scene for the center as it's home to the Los Angeles Lakers, but this weekend it's not the Lakers who are taking center court.

Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, armed groups on patrol — mostly men — look for illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. They're not U.S. Border Patrol, but regular people who've decided to take matters into their own hands.

They call themselves militias. Groups such as these have been around for decades, but they exploded in number after Barack Obama was elected president. Today, there are 276 militia groups around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Cori Bargmann's new job description includes "to help cure, prevent or manage all diseases by the end of the century." That's quite a lofty goal.

Bargmann is a neuroscientist and president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the joint venture of pediatrician Priscilla Chan and Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg. The couple pledged $3 billion to solve major medical problems by helping scientists and engineers collaborate long term, over 25, 50, even 80 years.

Lalin St. Juste, leader of the seven-piece, genre-bending band The Seshen, wrote the song "Distant Heart" in memory of a friend.

"She struggled with a lot of darkness and addiction and trauma and things like that," she says. "And over the course of our relationship, I watched her struggle to be resilient with it."

What Best in Show did for dog shows and what A Mighty Wind did for folk music, the new mockumentary Mascots does for, well, mascots. The film, from director Christopher Guest, follows contestants in the World Mascot Association Championship.

One late December day in 1950, Max Beckmann was standing on a street corner near Central Park in New York City. The German expressionist painter had been on his way to see an exhibition featuring his work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Called "American Painting Today," the show was displaying his Self-Portrait in Blue Jacket.

It would turn out to be his last self-portrait.

The Nobel committee made a bit of a surprising announcement Thursday morning: Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature for, according to the Swedish Academy, "having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition."

Paternity leave can make a big difference in a dad's long-term engagement with the child, doctors find. Paid family leave also fosters breastfeeding and reduces the incidence of maternal depression.

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Tim Bauerschmidt left home when he was 19. He would call or visit his parents in Michigan occasionally. Decades went by.

After his father died last year, he knew his mother couldn't live by herself. She was 90, and he realized he didn't know her that well.

"I had some stilted conversations," says Bauerschmidt. "She'd be on the other end of the phone when I talked to my dad. I'd have to say, 'Mom, are you there? Are you on the line?' [She would say] 'Oh yeah, I'm here.' "

In the world of illegal wildlife trade, the most valuable appendage — even more than elephant ivory — is the horn of the rhinoceros. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy estimates that the wholesale market for rhino horn is roughly a quarter of a billion dollars.

Mike Cruse is the father of a new baby. His daughter Olivia was born in July. But like most fathers in the U.S., he doesn't get paid parental leave. That means his wife, Stephanie, will have to take care of the baby mostly herself — an already difficult task that may be even harder for her since she's dealing with postpartum anxiety.

Cruse, who manages the warehouse for a lighting company, had to take vacation days from his job to stay home and help for those first 10 days. Now he has no vacation left for the next calendar year.

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