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You may have read something like this over the past few weeks, in the run-up to this year's hotly contested Academy Awards ceremony:

If your memory of virtual reality still includes climbing on a platform at the mall and strapping on a clunky headset, know that the '90s are long over and the future is in your hands ... literally. Recently VR has evolved into a medium where anybody with a computer or smartphone can experience it.

A few years back, two high-school friends from Vancouver met up in New York and combined their musical talents to form a poppy electronic duo under the moniker Bob Moses. Their star is rising fast, and KCRW was thrilled to host their U.S. live radio debut. "Tearing Me Up" sounds to us like an unmistakable hit.

Set List

  • "Tearing Me Up"

Watch Bob Moses' full performance at KCRW.com.

Here's What People Are Doing Sunday Night To Avoid Watching The Oscars

Feb 25, 2016

If you're tired of overwhelming whiteness at the Academy Awards, you're in good company. Famous people and normals alike have expressed indignation over the fact that for the second year in a row, zero people of color were nominated for any acting award.

Plenty Of Shadows Loom In 'Gathering'

Feb 25, 2016

The title of this followup to V.E. Schwab's 2015 fantasy novel A Darker Shade Of Magic might be considered a warning for impatient readers: In A Gathering Of Shadows, plenty of shadows gather. Portents simmer. Tension mounts. Disaster looms. Evil threatens. But nothing much comes of any of it until the final pages, which dash to an intense cliffhanger ending.

Why Even A Bad Review Can Help Sell A Book

Feb 25, 2016

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep with a test of some old sayings about your public image.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

People say all publicity is good publicity.

INSKEEP: People also say I don't care what the newspapers say about me, as long as they spell my name right.

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The night Cassius Clay beat Sonny Liston, the reigning heavyweight champion, crowds had squeezed into the venue, expecting to watch Liston beat the stuffing out of the young braggart. The odds were 7-to-1 in Liston's favor. The air was filled with testosterone and cigar smoke. Few people noticed the tall, quiet man at ringside, immaculately dressed in a dark suit and tie and crisp white shirt, watching the fight intently.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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President Obama has nominated Carla D. Hayden as the next librarian of Congress. If confirmed, she would be the first woman and first African-American ever to lead the world's largest library.

Hayden is currently CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore.

In a White House statement, Obama says he and the first lady have known Hayden since she was at the Chicago Public Library, where she was deputy commissioner and chief librarian from 1991-1993.

As if there's not enough controversy over the Oscars, there's also the matter of a curse.

The French have gotten themselves into one of their recurrent linguistic lathers, this one over the changes in their spelling that will be taking effect in the fall. The changes were originally proposed more than 25 years ago. But nothing much came of them until the government recently announced that they'd be incorporated in the new textbooks, at which point traditionalists took to the barricades.

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Once Mumbai's largest slum, Dharavi — made famous by the 2008 movie Slumdog Millionaire — is a teeming multi-ethnic and multicultural settlement claiming almost a million migrants from across India.

A Reference Guide To Reference In 'You Could Look It Up'

Feb 24, 2016

Of the many problems facing dictionary authors past and present, the most predatory of them seem to be — in order — time, politics, and ghost words. And if you're already pulling up a tab to Google "ghost words," You Could Look it Up is written just for you. A casual but fascinating read that feels like sneaking into a library after hours, it offers an absorbing glimpse into the world-changing and frequently turbulent history of the reference shelf.

British costumer Sandy Powell already has three Oscars, and now she's been nominated for two more. This year she's up twice for best costume design: one for Cinderella -- with its sweeping ball gowns — and another for her work in Carol -- featuring impeccable 1950s dresses.

Carol is a love story starring Cate Blanchett as a wealthy woman whose marriage is falling apart. Powell says Carol can afford the latest 1952 clothes — including a blonde mink coat.

News that British tea-drinking is on the decline is stirring a tempest in a teapot across the pond. But U.K. leaders might have welcomed such headlines in the 1970s, when the length of the tea break became a major point of political contention.

To be named "world capital" of something is both a badge of honor, yet also something of a badge of shame, writer George Pendle tells NPR's Robert Siegel.

It means your city revolves entirely around a single product, like gravel or toothpicks.

Five Hong Kong booksellers disappeared and later turned up in police custody on mainland China, and nearly two months later, Chinese authorities have yet to explain how they got there.

Foreign governments and the United Nations have expressed concern about the disappearances. The British government went so far as to assert that one bookseller had been "involuntarily removed" — basically kidnapped — from Hong Kong.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Finding bread alternatives may seem like a thoroughly modern obsession. (Can someone pass the chia-millet rolls?) But the widespread search for substitutes to white flour, in particular, dates back at least a century, to World War I, when Allied forces aggressively urged consumers to change their starchy habits for nationalistic reasons.

On one hand, bread was symbolically important: It conjured up ideas of comfort that were especially welcome during a time of fear and turmoil. The act of sharing a loaf — literally breaking bread together — carried psychological weight.

Wilco: Tiny Desk Concert

Feb 23, 2016

Thousands of bands have made strong debuts, and many of those have made good second and third records — it's harder, but not unusual. It's truly rare to make your 10th album exciting and relevant more than 20 years on. For all that, I'd say Wilco is an American legend.

You're about to listen to a song from what is likely to be my No. 1 album of 2016. I haven't felt this way about a guitar-based rock record since I heard Courtney Barnett's debut last year.

The total cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to approach $6 trillion, but it will be decades before we know what we've truly lost. We have a generation that's never really known peacetime, and thousands upon thousands of service members who have returned to the country wounded in ways the rest of us might never understand. The wages of sin might be death, but the wages of war could be something even worse.

In the central Japanese mountain village of Damine, children have kept up an unbroken tradition of performing Japan's classical theater, kabuki, year after year for more than three centuries. But as people age or leave for opportunities in cities, the village is running out of performers.

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