Lourdes Garcia-Navarro | Connecticut Public Radio
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Lourdes Garcia-Navarro

Every week, Jorge needs to earn $364.08. His handwritten budget is taped to the wall of the windowless shed where he lives in Miami. Inside the tiny space, there's barely enough room for a twin bed and a battered dresser; his kitchen consists of a blender and a microwave. There's no running water, and mosquitoes fly in through the open door.

The little that he earns needs to cover more than just his living expenses — Jorge has diabetes and cancer to manage, and he needs to support his five children back home in Ecuador.

If you want healthy plants, some people say you should talk to them. If you want to make delicious cheese, try playing hip-hop music.

That's the finding of a recent experiment by researchers in Switzerland who set out to determine how sound waves might affect the microorganisms that give cheese its flavor.

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On a rainy day this past week, we went to visit a man named Jorge in a working-class neighborhood of Miami wedged between a highway and industrial warehouses. We walk up to the front door of a dilapidated, peach-colored duplex.

Art thieves stole a Flemish masterpiece valued at 3 million euros from a small Italian town church last week. Or so they thought.

To their surprise, the painting they stole was actually a fake. Town leaders and the Carabinieri, Italy's military police, had been tipped off about the planned heist and replaced the original painting, Pieter Brueghel the Younger's The Crucifixion, with a replica.

Out of around 8,500 residents of Castelnuovo Magra in Liguria, only a few knew about the switch.

Before her music career, Ximena Sariñana was a child actress in Mexican movies and telenovelas. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, she appeared in projects by her father, a director, and her mother, a screenwriter. Music was then just a hobby. But when she turned to it full time, the world noticed.

Before sunrise and illuminated by lantern light, the faithful gathered to pray, as they have many times before, at La Lomita chapel in Mission, Texas.

The chapel is made of simple white adobe, and Roy Rogers' song "Blue Shadows On The Trail" plays from a battery-operated radio in the chilly pre-dawn gloom as Rev. Roy Snipes makes his way down the aisle to preside over the Mass.

Kashmir Hill wanted Amazon out of her life, completely.

It was the first week of a six-week experiment in living without tech giants. She had a virtual private network, or VPN, that would keep her devices walled off from any Amazon product. She would avoid Whole Foods and power down her Kindles.

But she had a problem. A small, chipper problem.

Alexa.

She couldn't connect her Amazon Echo to the VPN. But if she just unplugged the smart speaker, someone, like her husband, might forget and plug it back in.

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In the latest social media craze, people are sharing photos comparing how they looked 10 years ago with how they look today. Dubbed the "10-Year Challenge," the viral fad has attracted everyone from celebrities like Mariah Carey and Justin Baldoni, to environmentalists seeking to highlight the impacts of climate change.

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Bridal shop co-owner Laura Allen didn't think it was a big deal when she had the idea to put a window display mannequin in a wheelchair.

The mannequin, affectionately named Prunella, sits in one of the two storefront displays for The White Collection, a small bridal shop in Portishead, England. Prunella wears a beautiful white wedding dress with a flowery boat neckline and a fabulous pair of Louboutin shoes.

This story is part of our ongoing "Missed Connections" series, and it begins at Southridge High School in Beaverton, Ore.

Greg McKelvey says the day he crossed paths with police officer Andrew Halbert eight years ago left him deeply affected. This month, McKelvey reflected on the incident in a Twitter thread that went viral.

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Holiday home decorations can be store-bought or homemade, handed down in a family from generation to generation. But what about from one homeowner to another?

ALISON LAPOINTE: When we were walking through the house for the inspection...

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Roll over Spot, Buddy and Rover. Say hello to Cardi B, Harry and Groot! These are just some of 2018's popular names for dogs.

Kate Jaffe is a dog name curator for Rover, the dog and cat service provider. She says that this year pop culture dog name names are in.

"We saw the royal wedding surging as inspiration for dog names," she says. "In fact, dogs named Harry and Meghan were both up about 130 percent this year."

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This is Lulu's Log, stardate December 2, 2018, where we explore matters of space, the stars and the universe.

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President Trump says he's planning to pull out of an international arms control agreement. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, it's a treaty signed by President Reagan designed to reduce the dangers of nuclear war.

At the Vdara Hotel and Spa in Las Vegas, robots are at the front line of room service. "Jett" and "Fetch" are delivery robots, designed to look like dogs, each about three feet high.

They can bring items from the hotel's cafe right to your room. Among their many capabilities, they can travel alone across the lobby, remotely call for an elevator, and even alert guests when they arrive at their hotel room through an automated phone message.

For all the talk of how Democrats running for re-election in states President Trump won are a protective shield for Senate Republicans, Nevada's Dean Heller has the opposite problem.

He is the only Republican senator up for re-election in a state that Democrat Hillary Clinton won in 2016. The candidate challenging him for the seat is Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen. "Right now, the Republicans have all three branches of government," Rosen said. "So what we can do is try to hold their feet to the fire every way we can, because we don't have the votes to win."

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