NPR Staff

This story is part of NPR's podcast Embedded, which digs deep into the stories behind the news.

Sitting on a dresser in the back bedroom of a house in Austin, Ind., is the bottom of a soda can. A woman places a sliver of a pill, a powerful prescription opioid called Opana, on the jagged half-can. She begins to heat the pill with a cigarette lighter, melting its hard white coating and turning it the color of whiskey.

Her name is Joy.

Detroit singer Mike Posner's latest hit on the pop charts is — ironically — about the down sides of having a hit on the pop charts. It's called "I Took a Pill in Ibiza."

NBC's reality show The Biggest Loser turns dieting into a grueling training regime fit for gladiators. The victor this past season was Roberto Hernandez. He dropped a whopping 160 pounds to reach a body weight of 188 pounds.

Intel was once known for its success in branding personal computers with microprocessors, a technology that fueled the digital revolution. But the Silicon Valley veteran announced last month it would lay off 11 percent of its workforce — up to 12,000 positions — and that it's shifting away from personal computing.

Last week, NPR published a special report on suicide in Native Arctic communities. Reporter Rebecca Hersher spent 10 weeks in Greenland, the Arctic country with the highest known suicide rate in the world: 82.8 suicides per 100,000 people each year — six times higher than the U.S. suicide rate. She interviewed Inuit people in the Greenlandic capital, Nuuk, and in small towns on the country's remote east coast. She spoke with community leaders and mental health professionals who are trying to prevent suicide and come to terms with its underlying causes.

One photo of a pensive Congolese woman in her distinctive makeup could be mistaken for a Renaissance painting. Another, of a coal plant sending smoke plumes over a town in China, looks like a still from a 1950s propaganda film. And another, of a little girl yawning during an Indonesian festival, will just make you smile.

Sharon Long found her calling later in life. Back in the 1980s, she was a single mom trying to support her two kids, holding down several jobs at once — none of which she liked much.

"I worked at the Dairy Queen, and I cleaned a dentist's office, and I was a secretary," Long recalls, on a recent visit with StoryCorps. "I hated every morning I got up."

But, as she tells her colleague Steve Sutter, everything changed for her at age 40. When she she took her daughter to register for college, a financial aid officer persuaded Long to enroll herself.

To wrap up our series on public health in Baltimore, Audie Cornish met up with Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen in Freddie Gray's neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester. The health department recently opened a new outpost of its violence prevention program Safe Streets there, employing ex-offenders to mediate conflicts before they erupt in violence.

If you came of age in the 1960s, chances are you think about rock 'n' roll as the music of youth, of rebellion, of fighting the establishment. But in Nigeria, which was in the middle of a civil war, rock was one of the ways in which people expressed their politics.

For hundreds of years, Timbuktu has had a place in the world's imagination. Located on the southern edge of the Sahara desert, the city flourished as a center of Islamic culture and scholarship in the 13th through 16th centuries. It was placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1988, recognized for the University of Sankore, which had as many as 25,000 students who studied the Quran, as well as the historic Djingareyber and Sidi Yahia mosques.

This story is part of "The View From," an election-year project focused on how voters' needs of government are shaped by where they live. The series started in Illinois and this week, NPR took a road trip across three Appalachian states.

When Owen Husney first met Prince Rogers Nelson, the musician was barely old enough to vote — and still going by his government name. "When you meet someone before they became the unapproachable icon, you tend to have a different relationship with them," he says.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 this week, and like many of us do on our birthdays, she'll be celebrating with some cake.

This year the task of coming up with a cake fit for a queen fell to Nadiya Hussain, the winner of the most recent season of the wildly popular TV show The Great British Bake Off.

Earlier this month, Khairuldeen Makhzoomi, who came to the U.S. as an Iraqi refugee and is currently a student at the University of California, Berkeley, was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because another passenger overheard him speaking on his cellphone in Arabic.

We know that a third party helped FBI crack the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino shooters. But many questions remain. Should the FBI reveal the software loopholes, or vulnerabilities, of the iPhone to Apple? If yes, then what's the process? Can the hackers hold onto the technique and re-sell it in the future? And who can own a software vulnerability to begin with?

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