The White House made me a poster child for beating the odds. Then I dropped out of college. by Anthony Mendez on May 31, 2016

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

(Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

“I was making rice when the phone rang that afternoon.

“Hello, is this Anthony?”

“Yes, who is this?” I figured it was someone from Hartford, closing out any remaining business.

“Anthony, this is the Office of the First Lady of the United States. We’d like to invite you to attend the State of the Union address next week with the First Lady. Are you available and interested?”

I nearly dropped my phone into the still-cooking rice.”

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We Watched “Roots” With a “Roots” Expert – MICHAEL MECHANIC MAY 31, 2016 5:00 AM

Part 1: An edgy new Kunta Kinte arrives in America.

The British actor Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte. Casey Crafford

What are the most-watched shows on television these days? I checked. For network TV, as of the end of March, Nielsen listed The Big Bang Theory, with 14.2 million viewers, followed by Empire, with 12.5 million. (Empire led among black viewers.) For regular cable, The Walking Dead dominated with 14 million viewers. In the premium realm, in April, the season premiere of HBO’s popular Game of Thrones drew roughly 8 million viewers.Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at May 31, 2016 1.30

Compare that with Roots, the eight-part miniseries based on Alex Haley’s fictionalized family history, which first aired on ABC in January 1977. America’s population was just 220 million then—it’s 323 million now—and plenty of families still didn’t own a television. Yet nearly 29 million US households watched Roots that first night. By the finale, more than 36 million households (100 million-plus individuals) were tuned in. It was the most-watched miniseries in history, beating out the previous year’s Gone With the Wind saga, which depicted a romantic version of slavery.

In his upcoming book, Making Roots: A Nation Captivated, Arizona State University historian Matthew Delmont recalls how the original book and series took flack for historical inaccuracies, and how Haley himself was attacked for plagiarizing passages and for playing loose with the facts. But simply depicting the horrors of slavery onscreen was revolutionary. Delmont quotes a Washington Post reviewer: “The scenes on the ship, with the slaves chained together, stacked alongside one another, lying in their vomit and excrement…are something we have never seen before. We have read about slavery. But we have never seen it, never in such painstaking detail and never being experienced with such excruciating pain.”

As you’ve likely heard, Roots is backre-envisioned for a 2016 audience and airing for four straight nights on History starting last night. (You can watch it here.) And who better to watch it with than Delmont? What follows is the first of our four conversations recapping each installment as it airs. And yes, of course there will be spoilers.


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Turkey’s Next Military Coup – By Gonul Tol May 30, 2016

How Empowering the Generals Could Backfire

4 reasons disease outbreaks are erupting around the world – by Julia Belluz on May 31, 2016

In the week prior to May 27, there were 965 alerts about health threats to the disease tracking website Health Map. | Health Map

In the week prior to May 27, there were 965 alerts about health threats to the disease tracking website Health Map. | Health Map

MERS, H1N1, swine flu, chikungunya, Zika: Another virus with a peculiar name always seems to be right around the corner, threatening to become a pandemic.

Over the past decade, the World Health Organization has declared four global health emergencies. Two of them were in the past two years: the Ebola epidemic in West Africa and the Zika outbreak that’s spread through the Americas.

If that seems like a lot, it is. Researchers who charted the rise of infectious diseases from 1980 to 2010 in the journal The Royal Society in 2014 found that outbreaks have indeed become more common in recent decades:

 The Royal Society
The global number of human infectious disease outbreaks and richness of causal diseases, from 1980 to 2010. Outbreak records are plotted with respect to (a) total global outbreaks (left axis, bars) and total number of diseases causing outbreaks in each year (right axis, dots), (b) host type, (c) pathogen taxonomy, and (d) transmission mode.

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From Medical Maggots To Stench Soup, ‘Grunt’ Explores The Science Of Warfare : Shots – Health News : NPR

NPR delivers breaking national and world news. Also top stories from business, politics, health, science,close technology, music, arts and culture. Subscribe to podcasts and RSS feeds.

Source: From Medical Maggots To Stench Soup, ‘Grunt’ Explores The Science Of Warfare : Shots – Health News : NPR

Harambe the gorilla: the zoo killing that’s set the internet on fire, explained – Updated by Alex Abad-Santos on May 31, 2016, 10:30 a.m. ET

Harambe the gorilla.

Harambe, a western lowland gorilla, turned 17 at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden on Friday. The zoo celebrated his birthday. The next day, zoo officials shot and killed the critically endangered ape.

The reason? Harambe acted like a gorilla.

On the day Harambe died, a 4-year-old boy managed to get into his enclosure. Video of the incident shows that Harambe grabbed the child, stood over him at times, and dragged him. The severity of Harambe’s actions and the perceived reasoning behind them depend on whom you ask. And after evaluating the situation, zoo officials decided to kill Harambe instead of tranquilizing him.

It took around 10 minutes from the moment the boy fell into Harambe’s enclosure to the decision to kill Harambe. But the controversy surrounding Harambe’s death has just begun.

What happened to Harambe

The controversy surrounding Harambe’s death is much more complicated than the actions that led to his death. A boy found his way into Cincinnati’s “Gorilla World” enclosure, and when he fell in (a 10- to 12-foot drop), Harambe grabbed him, stood over him, and dragged him. The full video of the incident is up at WLWT, an NBC affiliate in Cincinnati. This video, a condensed version of the encounter, has been making the rounds:

Witnesses at the scene as well as people watching the video have been split on the severity of the situation. Some people believe Harambe was protecting the child in the same way a gorilla would protect its own offspring. However, according to the incident report cited by the New York Times, Harambe was described as “violently dragging and throwing the child.”

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