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From On the Road to Travels with Charlie, from The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test to Wild: the thrill of traveling across America romances many young people every year. This summer, a hitchhiking robot tried to do the same, but a brutal attack in Philadelphia stopped it in its tracks.

Twenty-seven years ago, journalist Buzz Bissinger decided that he wanted to write about the big-time stakes of small-town high school football — he just needed to find the right town. At the suggestion of a college recruiter, he visited Odessa, a west Texas town with a high school football stadium capable of seating 19,000 — and a population of approximately 90,000.

"Odessa is just kind of a dusty, gritty place," Bissinger tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "And I see that stadium ... and it's like a rocket ship on the desert."

Wheelchair Beauty Queen Sings For Toilets

15 hours ago

Grace Alache Jerry is everything you'd imagine a pageant winner should be — beautiful, smart, articulate. She's a gifted musician, holds a diploma in law and even campaigns for the less fortunate.

Motlapule Mofokeng missed his chance to see the biggest professional basketball game ever played in South Africa on Saturday. Tickets sold out in less than an hour for the NBA's All-Star Team Africa vs. Team World game in Johannesburg.

Fortunately, it wasn't the only big game in town. On Friday night the fashion design student at Vaal University of Technology cheered on the Egoli Magic, 7-0, as they battled the only other undefeated team in the Basketball National League (BNL), the Tshwane Suns.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. ET

President Obama formally unveiled his plan to cut power plant emissions — some two years in the making — calling it the "single most important step that America has ever made in the fight against global climate change."

This year was supposed to be one of the biggest returns in 40 years for the endangered Idaho sockeye salmon. But it’s not turning out that way. Only a fraction of these fish have survived their journey up the Columbia and Snake rivers. The biggest problem: warm waters. Now dam and fish managers and tribes are in a race against time to save the few remaining fish.

Updated at 6:52 p.m. ET

Republican calls to defund Planned Parenthood over its alleged handling of fetal tissue for research are louder than ever. But they are just the latest in a decades-long drive to halt federal support for the group.

This round aims squarely at the collection of fetal tissue, an issue that had been mostly settled — with broad bipartisan support — in the early 1990s. Among those who voted then to allow federal funding for fetal tissue research was now-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Facing securities fraud charges, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in at a jail in Collin County, Texas, on Monday morning. A grand jury recently indicted Paxton on three felony charges that accuse him of misleading investors into a technology company.

"Two of the charges — first-degree felony securities fraud — carry the possibility of hefty jail sentences," reports member station KUT in Austin.

This Land is a pilot podcast hosted by NPR's Jeff Brady and KUOW's Ashley Ahearn. This episode examines the role of climate change on wildfires burning this season in the Alaskan tundra and in an old-growth rainforest in Washington.

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Zimbabwean wildlife officials have accused a second American of killing a lion during an illegal hunt, this one in April. It comes a week after the international furor set off by the killing of Africa's iconic lion Cecil by a Minnesota dentist in early July.

In a new video, presidential candidate Ted Cruz has manages to combine one of America's near-universal loves with one of its more contentious pastimes: bacon and guns.

The story of hitchBOT — the robot that had visited Europe and New York City, but couldn't make it out of Philadelphia in one piece — may not be over. A Philadelphia tech group is offering to rebuild the robot and hoping to repair their city's reputation.

A kid-sized robot that's built around a plastic bucket and sports a friendly LED face, hitchBOT had been on a mission to travel from Massachusetts to San Francisco, relying on the kindness of humans it meets along the way.

Yiannis Kourtoglou/Reuters

In Athens’ largest and most central park, Pedion tou Areos, young volunteers are handing out water bottles, food, Band-Aids and toys to a growing camp of refugees from Afghanistan. The volunteers are tech savvy, mobilizing on Twitter with hashtags like #pedion_areos, #refugeesGR, and #refugeesGR_SOS. And they’re filling the gap left by an overwhelmed and beleaguered government unable to address the growing migrant crisis.

In a tragic accident that has left a Kansas community in mourning, a bat boy hit in the head by a player taking practice swings Saturday has died of his injuries. Kaiser Carlile, 9, was a well-loved part of the Liberal Bee Jays, a summer league team for college players.

Photos of Carlile show him as a freckle-faced boy: hustling around the field, sitting in the dugout and talking with the players. But during his team's National Baseball Congress World Series game Saturday in Wichita, he was hit in the head by a bat as he ran past the on-deck circle after an out.

Alina Simone

When I caught up with Alex Melamid, he was preparing to give a lecture on “de-artification.” The point was to persuade art students not to be, well, art students.

“Plumbers, on average, make much better money than average artist. Of course, there is no hope and no illusion that you can get on top and make millions of dollars,” Melamid says.

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