NPR News

Archie Williams likes his odds. He's made it through two rounds in the legendary Amateur Night competition at New York's Apollo Theater, where he'll perform this evening. "I'mma win," he says, chuckling. "That's how I feel."

Willams, 58, says it's always been his dream to sing on that vaunted stage. But his backstory is different from the average contestant's: His Apollo debut comes after 36 years in prison for a 1982 crime he didn't commit.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The public phase of the House impeachment inquiry has pushed Republican Jim Jordan to center stage.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM JORDAN: You use clear language, clear understanding and commitment. And those two things didn't happen, so you had to be wrong.

Pinyo Pukpinyo, 50, remembers the first time he was sent to remove a snake from someone's house. It was a 14 1/2-ft. python, high up in the rafters waiting for its prey 16 years ago.

"There were four of us, and I was really scared," he says. "We didn't have any experience, but we wrestled him down and got the hoop around his neck" — a kind of snare — "but he was very strong. And after we put him in the sack, we had to remove the hoop from his head, and that's the dangerous part, because at any time he's ready to bite you."

When we hear a sentence, or a line of poetry, our brains automatically transform the stream of sound into a sequence of syllables.

But scientists haven't been sure exactly how the brain does this.

Now, researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, think they've figured it out. The key is detecting a rapid increase in volume that occurs at the beginning of a vowel sound, they report Wednesday in Science Advances.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Here in Washington today, the man everyone has been waiting to hear from.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

GORDON SONDLAND: I expect that few Americans have heard my name before these events.

Pages