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This year marks the centennial of the last log drives on the Connecticut River. From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, logs up to 30 feet long were floated 300 miles downriver to sawmills in Massachusetts and Connecticut to build the cities of 19th century New England.

Jon Kalish brought Here & Now this story about two Vermonters who are keeping the history alive by chronicling the history of the drives.

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The rate of deforestation in Brazil has increased by 16 percent over the past year, the country's Environment Ministry announced.

Brazil has often declared progress in reducing the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, but the government's own figures, released Thursday, show the challenges still facing the country.

As France held a national ceremony Friday in homage to the victims of this month's terrorist attacks, President François Hollande called on his compatriots to display the French flag in their homes.

For many Americans, it's something they would instinctively do after such a national trauma. But the French have an entirely different relationship with their flag.

In France, the flag flies on public buildings and is often waved at sporting events, but it is not traditionally a symbol people personally embrace.

On Dec. 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., bus to a white man. That act of protest and her arrest sparked one of the most famous civil rights actions in American history. Through the boycott, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. rose to national prominence, and the U.S. Supreme Court eventually outlawed segregation on public transportation.

Garth Hallberg's "City on Fire"

Nov 27, 2015

Garth Risk Hallberg's "City on Fire" is this year's big debut novel. It's a sweeping 900-page story about New York City in the mid-70s, chronicling everything from the punk music scene to the rise of Wall Street's runaway hedge funds. Hallberg says he's fascinated by the idea of creative destruction.

Stephen Wolfram on Computer Creativity

Nov 27, 2015

Will a computer ever write a great novel? Absolutely, says the pioneering software developer Stephen Wolfram. He believes there's no limit to computer creativity.

They Had Androids in the Enlightenment?

Nov 27, 2015

Androids may seem like a modern idea, but there were life-size androids in the 18th century - beautiful robot women who could look around and even play the harpsichord. Historian Heidi Voskuhl tells this remarkable story.

App Intelligence

Nov 27, 2015

App Intelligence? Santa Fe Institute president David Krakauer says we're on the verge of abdicating our free will to everyday apps.

The Quest for the Master Algorithm

Nov 27, 2015

Machines that program themselves are all around us and they get smarter every day. Computer scientist Pedro Domingos says there's now a race to create the one algorithm to rule them all. But are you ready for the master algorithm that can tell a machine how to learn anything?

Is Automation Ruining Our Lives?

Nov 27, 2015

Robots that clean the bathroom, cars that drive themselves, computers that diagnose disease. They may sound appealing, but technology writer Nicholas Carr warns that the new age of automation could mean we'll lose basic life skills.

Las Vegas has The Mob Museum. Washington, D.C., has the International Spy Museum. And if a concerned citizen has his way, there will be a Museum of Political Corruption in Albany, N.Y.

New York is considered the nation's most corrupt state, according to a national poll by Monmouth University this year. This month alone, two politicians who were among the state's most powerful, are facing corruption charges in court.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and on The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the #NPRreads hashtag. On Fridays, we highlight some of the best stories.

This week, we bring you three items.

From Edith Chapin, executive editor of NPR News:

Debris From U.S. Rocket Found Off English Coast

Nov 27, 2015

A rocket piece, most likely from the unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 that blew up after takeoff in June, was recovered off the Southwest coast of England near the Isles of Scilly.

Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

When Peter Waldman, a reporter for Bloomberg's Businessweek, visited Tehran's Museum of Contemporary Art, he wasn't prepared for what he saw.

"You walk in and there’s a foyer and in the foyer there’s kind of a spiraling walkway that goes downward literally from the street," he says, "so you’re headed down into the ground."

As you go down, there's a storage units, where the museum holds some of its art. But its exact contents have been kept secret for 36 years.

France Holds Memorial Service 2 Weeks After Attacks

Nov 27, 2015

France paid homage today to those who died in terrorist attacks in Paris two weeks ago. The names of the 130 people killed were read at a national memorial service at a historic military building in Paris called Les Invalides.

President Francois Hollande delivered a speech, saying France would continue to defend the values for which the victims were killed.

Lou Blouin

According to bee researcher Maryann Frazier, the Varroa mite, a parasitic mite that feeds on the blood of adult bees and on the brood, is the main thing that’s been wiping out honeybees since the 1990s. 

What could have been: Mitch Albom originally wanted to be a singer-songrwriter

Nov 27, 2015
Vincent Wagner/<a href="">Wikimedia Commons</a>

Mitch Albom has been a lot of things — a sports reporter, a writer and a publishing phenomenon with more than 35 million copies of his books in circulation. But Albom initially wanted to be a songwriter.

“I was a musician before I was a writer, and I had every intention of staying one,” he says. “I lived over in Europe for a while and I played music and sang. And I came over here to New York and tried to make it as a singer-songwriter.”

But, as history shows us, things didn't quite work out that way.

“I flopped,” Albom says.

Reuters/Nour Fourat

A watchdog website,, has been counting up the number of civilians killed in Syria and Iraq in air strikes by the US-led coalition. Now that Russia has begun its own air campaign in the region, the group sees an alarming rise in civilian deaths, primarily from Russian air strikes.

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