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Mano Sundaresan

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In the late 1960s archaeologists discovered a set of familiar bones in Ethiopia - a skull bone, a lower jaw, parts of a torso. These were remains of Homo sapiens, early humans. That collection is known as Omo 1.

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These days, a New Year's Eve celebration doesn't feel complete without a few numbers.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Five, four, three, two, one.

These days, a New Year's Eve celebration doesn't feel complete without one thing: a countdown.

But that 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 ritual to ring in the new year isn't as old as you might think.

Alexis McCrossen is a history professor at Southern Methodist University and says clock-watching is actually relatively new for Americans.

"We used to celebrate New Year's Day. You woke up on January 1st, you said, 'happy new year', you went to church, perhaps, and maybe you exchanged gifts, and it was a calendar holiday," she said.

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Logic - 1800-273-8255
YouTube

In 2017, the rapper Logic named a song after the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number: "1-800-273-8255."

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In 2017, the rapper Logic named a song after a phone number.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "1-800-273-8255")

LOGIC: (Singing) I've been on the low. I've been taking my time. I feel like I'm out of my mind. I feel like my life ain't mine. Who can relate?

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Dustin Stockton and Jennifer Lynn Lawrence spent years as cheerleaders and organizers for Donald Trump while traveling the country in an RV.

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

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN: (Singing) Born in the USA. I was born in the USA.

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One of the most revered and influential cultural critics of the last 30 years has passed away. Greg Tate was a writer with encyclopedic interests, best known for his incisive writing on early hip-hop.

By analyzing white lead paint in Dutch paintings from the 1600s, including works by Rembrandt and Rubens, scientists were able to devise a new line of evidence for dating and authenticating paintings.

P. D'Imporzano et al, Time-dependent variation of lead isotopes of lead white in 17th century Dutch paintings

The United States has been labeled a "backsliding democracy" in a new report from the European think tank International IDEA.

"I think for many of those studying U.S. democracy, this should not come as a surprise," the report's lead author, Annika Silva-Leander, said.

International IDEA measured the global state of democracy in 2020 and 2021 using 28 "indicators" of democracy based on five "core pillars."

The core pillars were representative government, fundamental rights, checks on government, impartial administration and participatory engagement.

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Some songs will just never go away - like this one.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERY BREATH YOU TAKE")

THE POLICE: (Singing) Every breath you take and every move you make.

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The NBA has been tough to watch this year.

Compared to this same point in previous seasons, the 3-point percentage is the lowest since 2015-16 as everyone from Jayson Tatum to Damian Lillard to Bradley Beal seems to be struggling to find the basket.

My fantasy basketball team is in shambles. My team is shooting 43% from the field, and my high school friends are roasting me in the group chat. Something's gotta give.

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If you have tuned in to an NBA game this season, you might have noticed something weird. A lot of this...

(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER #1: Tatum is going to take. Nope.

Updated November 2, 2021 at 12:41 PM ET

The rapper Fetty Wap was arrested last week at Rolling Loud New York, on drug charges. But he's not the first rapper to be detained ahead of the annual hip-hop festival, or barred from performing by local authorities. There exists, says journalist Jayson Buford, a continued pattern of law enforcement "essentially using rap lyrics to try to prove that rappers are violent people in real life."

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Janet Jackson opened her album "Control" not with a song, but with a statement.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "CONTROL")

JANET JACKSON: This is a story about control, my control.

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Red light, green light - you know, a kid's classic - stop on red, run on green. And if you get caught moving on the red light, you're out.

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Well, what if the stakes were higher?

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "SQUID GAME")

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