NPR Staff

The much-hyped consumer virtual reality headset, Oculus Rift, is finally hitting the market. The reviews have been mixed. As The Wall Street Journal put it, "the first totally immersive home virtual reality rig is a pricey, awkward, isolating—and occasionally brilliant—glimpse of the future of computing."

Opioids are becoming the latest serious addiction problem in this country. Among these drugs manufactured from opium, heroin is the most serious, dangerous, cheap and available everywhere.

In April's edition of Harper's Magazine, Dan Baum has examined a new response to this latest addiction problem: the legalization of drugs.

Over the past few years, pop songs have come to play so consistently in advertising that there are smartphone apps designed to listen and help you name that tune, and the word "sellout" has lost a lot of its bite.

As President Obama touched down in Cuba over the weekend, Cuban artists were making waves at the SXSW music festival in Austin.

There are 11.3 million people in the U.S. who have immigrated illegally. And as you have probably heard, the presidential candidates have different opinions about how to handle them. Most notably, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump wants to deport them.

Albert Woodfox has spent more time in solitary confinement than any man alive in the U.S. today — 43 years. He and Robert King are the surviving members of a group known as the "Angola Three."

Together with the late Herman Wallace, they spent more than 100 years in solitary confinement for the 1972 death of a prison guard, Brent Miller, at the maximum security Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola. No forensic evidence tied the Angola Three to Miller's killing, and they always maintained their innocence.

Communities all over Europe are struggling to manage the refugee crisis. In France, chaos broke out earlier this month when the government began demolishing the squalid refugee camp in Calais known as "the Jungle." Estimates of the number of people in the camp ranged from 2,500 to 6,000.

For three generations, Tanya James' family has worked the coal mines of West Virginia. James is no different. She began working in the mines in 1979, when only about 1 in 100 coal miners were women — and she didn't begin under the happiest of circumstances.

Her father died when she was 17, leaving her mother to take care of the family. Out of necessity, Tanya's mother took a mining class, and Tanya would go down with her every day — so the instructor invited Tanya to join the class.

Six months later, Tanya was working in the mines as well.

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing, for the first time, privacy regulations for Internet service providers. The goal is to let consumers weigh in on what information about them gets collected and how it's used.

As they connect us to the Internet, ISPs have insight into our lives — websites we frequent, apps we download or locations we visit — and may use that data for their own promotions or sell it to data brokers to be used for marketing or other purposes.

Donald Trump's planned rally in Chicago on Friday was canceled, but not before ugly scenes played out between Trump supporters and people who had come to protest the event.

Jedidiah Brown was there. He was the young man who was shown on television yelling as he was pulled from the event stage. He's part of an organization called Young Leaders Alliance.

While combing through various Civil War files at the National Archives, a volunteer recently discovered a letter written by poet and essayist Walt Whitman on behalf of a Union soldier dying in a hospital far from home.

The National Archives is the repository of the nation's most important documents, including some they didn't even know they had, like said letter.

Washington, Jan. 21, 1865(6)

My Dear Wife,

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Women sportscasters are heartened by the jury verdict this week that awarded their colleague Erin Andrews $55 million.

Andrews was secretly videotaped while naked by a stalker through the peephole in her hotel room door. Both the stalker and the hotel owner were found liable.

Last week, Izaic Yorks, a senior at the University of Washington, ran a mile in 3:53 — the fastest college mile ever by an American. The effort qualifies him for the Olympic trials this summer.

So why isn't Yorks running in the mile at this weekend's NCAA championships in Birmingham, Ala.?

Turns out, he had to make a decision: run that mile alone, or run with his team in the distance medley relay or DMR.

We here at The Salt like to bring you serious journalistic tails from the world of food. But hey, we like to unleash our silly side, too — and like the rest of the world, we've got a soft spot for man's (and woman's) best friend.

So of course, we're howling with delight at the latest food images charming the Internet: Meme-meister Karen Zack's clever Twitter photos highlighting the eerie resemblance between mutts and meals. In some cases, it takes dogged determination to separate the canines from the cuisine.

Before Black Lives Matter was a hashtag, before it was a slogan chanted by protesters in cities across the country, before it was a national movement, it was a Facebook post by an Oakland-based activist named Alicia Garza. She wrote it after George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.

The Apple-FBI standoff, where Apple is refusing to write special software that would help investigators crack into an iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters, is largely viewed as a battle between privacy and security.

If you've been following the presidential campaign, you have probably heard some talk about the power of the evangelical vote.

Pastor Max Lucado is a prominent evangelical pastor and a prolific best-selling writer who almost never writes about politics. And that's one reason millions found a recent essay of his so interesting.

Lucado took to his website to describe all the reasons he says Republican front-runner Donald Trump's tone and decorum fail the decency test, in a blog post titled "Decency for President."

President Obama has been talking about closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since he ran for president in 2008.

Now, eight years later, his administration has put out a plan to make it happen.

The plan is to transfer some of the remaining detainees to other countries and those who can't be transferred would be moved to a facility in the U.S. And that's the part of the plan many in Congress are railing against.

From M'Lynn Eatenton in Steel Magnolias to Mary Todd in Lincoln, Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field doesn't shy away from taking on emotionally charged and challenging roles.

All of these characters become a part of her in a sense. "They stay in me and they have always changed me in some way," Field tells NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro.

Now, playing a woman in her late 60s with some borderline personality issues for her latest film, Hello, My Name Is Doris, part of Doris is already in Field.

It was a love of mystery novels that brought Gary Shulze and Pat Frovarp together — a love of God Is a Bullet by Boston Teran, to be specific.

"I was looking at books," Frovarp, who is 75, tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "Gary and I had seen each other. We didn't know one another. And he walked over to me in this particular bookstore and handed me a book by Teran and said, 'You've gotta read this book, it's really good.'"

This post was updated on March 4.

On March 7, the film that won the Oscar for best documentary, short subject, will have its television premiere, airing on HBO at 9 p.m..

A Girl In The River: The Price Of Forgiveness is by Pakistani director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. The 40-minute documentary tackles the tough topic of honor killings in Pakistan, from a rare point of view: a survivor's. Saba, an 18-year-old girl, was shot and thrown in a river by her own family for secretly eloping with her lover — and lived to tell the tale.

More than 250,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced as a result of the conflict in Syria. But the destruction also extends beyond human lives. Significant parts of that country's heritage are now lost. Architecture, art and antiquities dating back more than a thousand years have been wiped out — in what some have called cultural genocide.

In 1988, when Eddie Murphy presented the nominees for Best Picture at the 60th Academy Awards, he told the audience that when he'd been invited to present the award, his initial reaction was, "I'm not going, because they haven't recognized black people in the motion picture industry."

Almost 30 years later, the 88th Academy awards will be presented under a similar cloud. For the second year in a row, all the acting nominees are white.

With apologies to Andy Williams, now is the most wonderful time of the year ... for it is Girl Scout cookie season.

But after plowing through several sleeves of Thin Mints, fatigue can set in. So we wondered, when you're starting to feel sick of Girl Scout cookies, is there a way to rekindle the love?

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