You Can Watch A Rare, Stinky 'Corpse Flower' Bloom On Live Video

A "corpse flower" is seen in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2013. This is a different flower than the one about to bloom in New York.

A “corpse flower” is seen in bloom at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. in 2013. This is a different flower than the one about to bloom in New York. Jacquelyn Martin/AP hide caption

toggle caption Jacquelyn Martin/AP

This corpse flower could be just seconds away from blooming. And you can watch it live, thanks to the New York Botanical Gardens. This way, you don’t have to smell its famous, disgusting odor.

Unfamiliar with this so-called “botanical phenomenon”? The giant flower, which can grow to be 8 feet high, is better known for its smell than its beauty.

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There’s a reason it’s called a corpse flower. Here are a few descriptions of that smell:

Behind the safety of your computer screen, you can witness the Amorphophallus titanum‘s show with less sensory assault. The botanical garden gives this rundown of what to expect:

“Each day of careful tending and feeding has led up to this moment: a brief yet glorious window in which the enormous plant (up to eight feet high) will unfurl, displaying the striking red interior and uncanny scent to which it owes its name. This is the first time that a blooming titan-arum has been put on display at the Garden since 1939, and this unique plant is unpredictable—it may be in flower for only one or two days.”

According to National Geographic, the flower’s terrible smell is meant to attract helpful dung beetles and flies.

“It makes them think there’s rotten meat somewhere to lay their eggs, and then that helps the corpse flower to get pollinated,” the greenhouse and garden director with the University of Wisconsin’s botany department tells the magazine. “It smells bad to us, but it smells great to flies.”

Happy viewing!

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Experimental Plane Sets Off On Final Leg Of Its Round-The-World Journey

The Solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft prepares to take off from the Cairo International Airport in the Egyptian capital on Sunday as it heads to Abu Dhabi on the final leg of its world tour.

The Solar-powered Solar Impulse 2 aircraft prepares to take off from the Cairo International Airport in the Egyptian capital on Sunday as it heads to Abu Dhabi on the final leg of its world tour. Khaled Desouki /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Khaled Desouki /AFP/Getty Images

Solar Impulse 2 is about to complete the first round-the-world flight by a plane powered only by the sun. It took off from Cairo on Sunday and is now en route to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, where the journey began.

The experimental plane’s team calls this the most complex flight they’ve has encountered yet. “Crossing the Middle East is not as easy as you may imagine,” they say. Factors like “no-fly zones, heat, thermals, takeoff and landing conditions, and wind” all complicate the situation.

It’s really turbulent in this area ? It’s going to be a tiring night for the pilot pic.twitter.com/WCMeWeYKLT

— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) July 24, 2016

Pilot Bertrand Piccard, who has rotated legs with his co-pilot, Andre Borschberg, has faced unexpected turbulence in the initial portions of the flight. He’s now flying over the desert in Saudi Arabia.

You can watch a live video from the cockpit of the plane here:

SOLAR IMPULSE YouTube

“We are moved by this flight,” the team said in a statement. “A continuous criss-cross between thrill and sadness, we are finding it difficult to balance our emotions to prepare for our final landing with [Solar Impulse 2] on this round-the-world tour.”

The team is aiming to raise awareness about clean energy.

Absolutely extraordinary to fly above the mountains in #SaudiArabia ! Enjoy this moment on https://t.co/JIj9tHK6hl pic.twitter.com/4D7NIL59Bc

— SOLAR IMPULSE (@solarimpulse) July 24, 2016

Before takeoff, Piccard’s wife, Michèle, gave a speech praising her husband’s sense of adventure. “I look forward to seeing, upon landing, your explorer’s smile filled with joy and your eyes sparkling from this experience that you take back to us.” She added: “As Victor Hugo once said, ‘nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.’ “

As we’ve reported, “Solar Impulse 2 has the wingspan of a jetliner and the weight of a minivan. It uses 17,000 solar cells to generate power — some of which is stored in lithium-ion batteries that help the plane stay aloft overnight.”

We’ll keep you updated on the remainder of the milestone journey.

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Colorado Officials Say It's Safe To Get Back In The Water, After Brief THC Scare

An old city sign sits on the edge of Hugo, Colo., in 2011. Officials have lifted an advisory it had instituted after tests revealed the presence of THC in the town's water supply. Further tests have turned out negative.

An old city sign sits on the edge of Hugo, Colo., in 2011. Officials have lifted an advisory it had instituted after tests revealed the presence of THC in the town’s water supply. Further tests have turned out negative. Ed Andrieski/AP hide caption

toggle caption Ed Andrieski/AP

Join me, if you will, on a brief trip down memory lane — back to Wednesday, when authorities told residents of a small Colorado town that their tap water had been laced with THC. At the time, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office said that multiple tests of a local well had turned up “presumptive positive” for the compound, best known as the mind-altering component in marijuana.

Officials warned the some 700 residents of Hugo, Colo., to avoid drinking, cooking with or bathing in the local water supply — but Capt. Michael Yowell was also careful to add a caveat: “Any number of substances could cause a false positive,” he said at a Wednesday press conference. “That is being investigated.”

Now, that disclaimer appears to have been prudent.

On Saturday morning, the sheriff’s office announced that scientists with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation have determined that the samples were, in fact, negative for THC. “Based upon the conclusive results now known to us,” the office tweeted, “it is believed that there never was THC in the water system.”

#HugosWater CBI Scientists have concluded water samples are NEG for THC. Believed that test kit were false +. Water advisory is cancelled!!!

— Lincoln County S.O. (@LincolnCountySO) July 23, 2016

Officials expanded on the announcement in a Facebook post, saying, in part, “We are happy to report that the WATER ADVISORY is cancelled immediately. Please resume any and all water activities.”

As NPR’s Camila Domonoske reported earlier this week, it’s unclear that the THC would have had any significant effect on residents, even if it had been present in the water supply.

“In general, THC is relatively insoluble in water, which is why marijuana products usually rely on oil or alcohol to extract cannabinoids,” Camila said. As she noted, Joseph Evans, a former EPA scientist, told The Denver Post, “I can’t imagine, I can’t even fathom the idea that THC would be in water at any type of solubility to create any kind of health hazard.”

Now that the advisory has been lifted, one question is still nagging at this happy ending: The well that caused the trouble in the first place showed “signs of tampering,” according to Yowell. A criminal investigation into the matter remains ongoing.

In the meantime, residents are welcome to get back in the water — or leave it in disappointment, as the case may be.

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Green Party's Jill Stein Wants To Be 'Plan B' For Bernie Sanders Supporters

Jill Stein announced that she will seek the Green Party's presidential nomination on June 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Stein opposes both Clinton and Trump.

Jill Stein announced that she will seek the Green Party’s presidential nomination on June 23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Stein opposes both Clinton and Trump. Drew Angerer/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Third parties are not new to American politics. The Anti-Masonic Party emerged in the 1820s to campaign against the Freemasons, which its members viewed as a corrupt. The Free Soil Party opposed the expansion of slavery in the years before the Civil War. Others throughout history have emerged to champion various causes, like the Know-Nothings, the Progressives, the Prohibition Party, the Reform Party and many others.

In a country that’s been dominated by iterations of the Republicans and Democrats for more than a century and a half, 58 percent of respondents told Gallup pollsters in 2014 that “a third party is needed.”

Today the biggest third party in the U.S. is the Libertarian Party, which has taken a new prominence as it courts Republicans who have refused to fall in line behind the party’s nominee, Donald Trump. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee in 2012 and again this year, amassed 1.27 million votes in the last presidential election.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Green Party. The party traces its history to 1984. Its platform focuses on environmental issues and “social justice, peace and non-violence, local and regional self-management and grassroots democracy.” In 2000, 2.8 million people voted for Ralph Nader as the Green Party presidential candidate — leading to accusations of “spoiling” the election for Al Gore, a charge Nader has rejected.

This year Dr. Jill Stein is leading the Green Party ticket for president. She has run before — Stein garnered almost 470,000 votes in 2012 running as a Green.

Stein is hoping to capitalize on the wave of support Bernie Sanders experienced over the past year in his challenge to Hillary Clinton from the left. Stein told The Guardian she would even be willing to let Sanders run in her place as the Green candidate. Sanders didn’t respond and has now endorsed Clinton.

Stein is heading to Philadelphia to go to the Democratic National Convention — or at least to be outside of it. She is planning to take part in protests on the street in support of “economic justice” and a “Green New Deal,” among other causes.

She talked with NPR’s Michel Martin about why she’s crashing the party in Philadelphia and responds to criticism from columnist Dan Savage.

Interview highlights contain web-only extended answers.


Interview Highlights

On what the Green Party stands for

In a nutshell, the Green Party is the one national party that does not accept corporate money, lobbyist money, or have a superPAC. So we have the unique liberty to stand up for everyday people. We are basically a party that puts people, planet and peace over profit. And we put forward the real solutions that everyday Americans are just clamoring for.

On why they’re going to Philadelphia

We’ll be in Philadelphia to be at the convention in the streets — the people’s convention. I will be marching in the “March for Our Lives.” We’ll conclude that march with a “Power to the People” rally, which is sponsored by my campaign. And we are here especially for the Bernie Sanders movement that does not want to go back into that dark night, into the Hillary Clinton campaign, that for so many people represents the opposite of what Bernie was building and what they were building.

We are here to provide the support for that campaign. I think so many people learned that you cannot have a revolutionary campaign inside of a counter-revolutionary party. So we are here as plan B for Bernie to ensure that this fight will go on.

On columnist Dan Savage’s (explicit language-laden) criticism that supporting the Green Party is helping Donald Trump

I do not say there is no difference between the parties. What I say is that there’s not enough difference to save your job, to save your life, or to save the planet. And the scary things, the horrific things that Donald Trump says, Hillary Clinton has already done. Whether it’s massively deporting immigrants, whether it’s threatening nuclear warfare. …

Put it this way: I will feel horrible if Donald Trump is elected, I will feel horrible if Hillary Clinton is elected, and I feel most horrible about a voting system that says: Here are two deadly choices, now pick your weapon of self-destruction.

On Green Party candidates in local elections

We have hundreds of candidates, and unfortunately the media pays no attention to them, so of course the likes of Dan Savage have no clue. Not only do we have candidates, but we have had scores of elected officials. Including, for example, the mayor of Richmond, Calif., who was the Green mayor, Gayle McLaughlin, for eight years, where they did incredible, transformative things.

This is why the corporate media and the corporate political parties don’t want you to know that in fact, this revolution is alive and well. And it’s especially alive in the Green Party, because all of the other noncorporate parties that have challenged power — whether you’re talking about the Progressive Party or the Labor Party — they have been wiped off the map. They’ve been absolutely wiped off the map. So it’s only the Green Party that survives as a noncorporate, truly people-powered challenge. And we are challenging all over the place. So Dan Savage doesn’t have a clue about the fight that is going on. And if I weren’t running for president, no one will know.

This is why Frederick Douglass said, “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never [did] and it never will.” We have to bring that demand up into the highest headliner as possible.

Why give them a pass to conduct these wars? Hillary Clinton cannot challenge Donald Trump, because she agrees with him on too many things. Like these outrageous wars, like nuclear weapons, like devoting half of our budget and more to militarism. Half of your income tax is going to militarism — $75,000 per American household has been spent when you include the health costs of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. … These wars on terror that have done what? Created more terror, have created failed states, have created mass refugee migrations.

On what happens if the Green Party does not win the presidency

We are involved in social movements, we are involved in local races, and we are involved in building a party that provides an infrastructure for what is succeeding. And Bernie Sanders showed how powerful this movement is, how much momentum it has, and believe me, that movement and those supporters are rushing into our campaign, absolutely flooding in through every portal imaginable. And they have found a place in a party that supports the revolution and we are going to continue to go forward.

On commonalities between the Greens and Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party

We both support open debates, for example. We share two lawsuits between our two parties, we are both suing the Commission on Presidential Debates. Because Americans have a right not only to vote, but to know who we can vote for. So we are suing to open debates.

We’re both calling for an end to the war on drugs and for an end to American imperialism and being the policeman of the world.

But where we differ: The Libertarians, one of their first candidates was one of the Koch brothers. And their agenda is in some ways, it is the wish list of big corporate America — to get government out of the way. They would like to eliminate all controls on campaign finance. They would like to go to Citizens United on steroids. Provided there is a corporate logo that is put on the politicians and policies who are bought. We say it’s not enough to put a corporate logo on it. That’s the area where we differ. We think we need to get money out of politics so we can get the people back in.

On the possibility of all third parties uniting

Americans have a right to more than three choices. Americans deserve to hear from the whole political spectrum. Particularly when the two major parties are funded by the same predatory banks, fossil fuel giants and war profiteers. And the prison-industrial complex. And they have put an entire generation into debt. My campaign is the one campaign that will cancel that student debt and liberate a generation to move us forward as a society. We think people have a right to hear about this as much as they have a right to hear about the Libertarian vision.

On what would make a success in Philadelphia

I could not conscience sitting this one out and just letting politics as usual continue to throw people, planet and peace under the bus. So for me, success is showing up, building a movement and moving forward as hard and fast and loud as we can. And right now the American public is screaming for exactly that. …

If we get to 5 percent, it’s a whole new ballgame. Then we don’t have to spend the whole election just getting on the ballot. We are in ballot fights right now. We have had to put all of our money that we’ve raised into the ballot access struggles. We could actually begin without a huge handicap and begin to really get the word out in a much bigger way.

So there are many targets here which will advance the cause. But I would not underestimate the power of a generation who’s been locked out of a future, locked out of an income, locked out of getting out of debt. I would not underestimate their power to self-mobilize.

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Ryan Adams, Live In Concert: Newport Folk 2016

July 24, 20162:14 PM ET

Ryan Adams is well on his way to becoming a Newport Folk regular. For his 2016 set, Adams brought along some special guests: the modern bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters and their frequent collaborator, singer-songwriter (and accomplished viral-video kazoo player) Nicki Bluhm. The seven musicians arranged themselves in a semicircle on stage, lending the performance the intimacy and jollity of a family jam session.

The group’s hand-spun, Appalachian-tinged renditions of Adams’ songs — plus a couple metal covers — were punctuated by his goofy stage banter, which contributed to that overall sense of bonhomie. Adams affably chided the other players for setting audience expectations too high and paused mid-strum during “New York, New York” to shout merrily at the two military-looking choppers that were thrumming away over the harbor. He even improvised an entire song, which we’ll go ahead and title “Frightened And Rabid,” based on a phrase he thought he’d heard yelled from the crowd. As Adams invented silly lyrics about hydrophobia off the top of his head, Bluhm and the Stringdusters looked as visibly amused as the Newport audience.

Set List
  • “South Of Heaven” (Slayer cover)
  • “To Be Young (Is To Be Sad, Is To Be High)”
  • “My Winding Wheel”
  • “Oh My Sweet Carolina”
  • “New York, New York”
  • “I’m Frightened And I’m Rabid (improv)
  • “Tears Of Gold”
  • “Gimme Something Good”
  • “The End”
  • “Let It Ride”
  • “The Wizard” (Black Sabbbath cover)
Credits

Audio: Joshua Rogosin, Suraya Mohamed, Loretta Rae; Photography: Adam Kissick

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Verizon Reportedly Prepares To Buy Yahoo For $4.8 Billion

The Yahoo sign at the company's headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Yahoo has found a buyer for its core Internet business: the nation’s largest telecom provider, Verizon Communications. The two companies are set to announce a $4.8-billion deal on Monday, according to Bloomberg.

For Yahoo, this ends the final act of one of the longest-running Internet companies. Founded in 1994, it survived the dot-com boom; the company now has the third most popular search engine in the United States, trailing behind Google and Bing.

Aside from the search, Yahoo also has finance, news, mail and other specialty verticals as well as the blogging site Tumblr and photo site Flickr.

Yahoo’s biggest value, however, has rested in its stakes in the Chinese online retail giant Alibaba and in Yahoo Japan — and those will remain with Yahoo. The deal also could spell an end of the tenure of Yahoo’s high-profile CEO Marissa Mayer.

For Verizon, this is the latest purchase in its push to refashion itself into a digital conglomerate of various mobile, Internet, video and advertising services. Last year, the telecom company bought AOL for $4.4 billion, acquiring its content sites, including the Huffington Post and TechCrunch, as well as ad targeting technology.

A merger with AOL’s assets may add heft to Yahoo’s Internet real estate. As NPR’s Laura Sydell has reported, Yahoo’s share of worldwide digital ad revenues is around $2.6 billion, according to eMarketer, but that’s 1.5 percent of the online ad market — it pales in comparison to Google and Facebook, which control about 40 percent.

As Bloomberg puts it, “Yahoo got fat over the years as it navigated the rapidly changing industry in a sprawling effort to be all things to all people — from search to shopping to news outlet to blogging hub.” And that means high spending on acquisitions and recruiting to make up for decline in ad revenue.

Apart from Verizon, other bidders for Yahoo’s Internet business were said to include AT&T, buyout firms and Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert.

The details of Verizon’s deal did not specify the value of the “!” at the end of “Yahoo!”

The unforgettable Yahoo! yodel jingle.

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