Srinivas Ayyagari onstage in 1992 (left); at right, Ayyagari today. "Seeing someone from ESPN commenting on your style and strategy was bizarre and weird. But it's the closest I'll ever come to being an athlete," Ayyagari says.
Credit Karla Miller
Karla Miller competed in the national bees of 1984, 1985 and 1986. Her best finish was 31st, when she went out on the word "dashiki." Today, Miller is a writer and editor. At right, a recent snapshot of Miller and her daughter.
Credit Raga Ramachandran
(Left) 1988 champion Raga Ramachandran gives a TV interview at age 13. Today, Ramachandran is a surgical pathologist at the University of California, San Francisco.
For an academic contest pitting young spellers against the dictionary, the Scripps National Spelling Bee has taken on the intensity of the fiercest athletic events. Feeling the warmth of television lights — not to mention nerves and distractions — all while sports commentators are analyzing your "style" and approach is something only a select club of young word-nerdy Americans gets to experience. How does that early experience affect these mostly middle-school-aged kids later in life?
In the first Planned Parenthood defunding case to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the justices have refused to disturb a lower court decision that barred Indiana from stripping Medicaid payments to the organization.
For 20 years, Stephen King has had an image stuck in his head: It's a boy in a wheelchair flying a kite on a beach. "It wanted to be a story, but it wasn't a story," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. But little by little, the story took shape around the image — and focused on an amusement park called "Joyland" located just a little farther down the beach.
At least that's what you can glean from the latest Better Life Index issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which ranked Australia the world's happiest nation for a third year in a row.
Because we know you're wondering: The United States is ranked No. 6, behind Australia, Sweden, Canada, Norway and Switzerland.
A Nov. 23, 2010, photo shows Michael Adebolajo (center, in dark T-shirt) with suspected Al-Shabab recruits who were arrested by Kenyan police. Adebolajo, one of the main suspects in the brutal murder of a soldier in London, was discharged from the hospital Tuesday.
One of the suspects in the murder last week of British soldier Lee Rigby has been released from the hospital and is in police custody. Michael Adebowale, 22, received treatment after being shot by police following the brutal attack on Rigby in Woolwich, London. The other main suspect, Michael Adebolajo, 28, remains in the hospital.
Part of a competition in Northeast India, Pu Zozam ate five chili peppers, then collapsed. Food scientists call the Bhut Jolokia he ate one of the world's hottest peppers. Writer Mary Roach talks about her experience traveling to the state of Nagaland to try the pepper for herself.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. I was heading out to do an errand a while back and I decided to drive, and as I approached my car, which was parked in the street, I walked up from behind and, drat, I spot the rear taillight has been smashed, somebody obviously trying to park behind me had bumped into it and cracked it open.
As children, we are allowed to be confused, lost, and full of wonder. As adults in the age of Google, we are expected to project confidence, knowledge and understanding. Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, talks about how learning a foreign language reignited his imagination.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. A small hole in the ground, that's all it looked like the other day in the photo of the Christian Science Monitor, published in its coverage of a tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, a small hole in the ground surrounded on all sides by the wreckage of totally flattened homes, right up to the very edge of that hole in the ground, which oddly is rectangular in shape in the photo and has a door attached to it, flung open.
A 9-year relationship is ending between athletic apparel giant Nike and Livestrong, the cancer charity founded by cyclist Lance Armstrong before his career imploded because of evidence that he had been doping for more than a decade.
The number of eyelid lifts reimbursed by Medicare more than tripled from 2001 to 2011, according to the Center for Public Integrity. Here, a woman is prepared for the procedure, along with an eyebrow lift.
The number of eyelid lifts paid for by Medicare more than tripled in a 10-year span, according to a report by the Center for Public Integrity. The cost to U.S. taxpayers for the simple surgery rose to $80 million in 2011 from $20 million in 2001, according to the report.
Saying it was the world's largest international money laundering prosecution in history, authorities announced charges against the operators of Liberty Reserve, an online currency exchange that prosecutors say enabled more than a million people worldwide to launder about $6 billion.
The Gallup Organization has reached "an agreement in principle" with the Justice Department to settle civil allegations that the polling company overbilled the U.S. government by providing inflated estimates for federal contracts, according to a new court filing.
A deal could be announced by mid-June, the court filing says, bringing an end to a costly and embarrassing episode that first came to light when a Gallup insider blew the whistle.
The New York City band Vampire Weekend has carved out a sense of immaculate melancholy for our era as surely as Steely Dan once did for Upstate New York in the '70s. Characterized most immediately by the earnest, concise, sometimes surprisingly expansive vocals of Ezra Koenig, Vampire Weekend makes atmospheric music.
I'm Michel Martin, and this is TELL ME MORE, from NPR News. Today, we're going to spend some time on some important stories coming from overseas. In a few minutes, we'll hear what one young woman's charges of rap reveal about how Pakistan's system of justice works - or doesn't - when it comes to sexual violence.
Now, we head to Detroit. We've reported a number of times on the city's serious financial difficulties. The city owes billions of dollars to creditors and the governor of Michigan has appointed an emergency manager to try to settle the city's finances.
As they battle the White Fire north of Santa Barbara that has covered more than 1,000 acres in less than a day, firefighters are contending with strong winds, low humidity, high temperatures and other dangerous conditions "like they'd normally see in August and September," our colleagues at Southern California Public Radio report.
This much is true: Many Canadians apparently think their government has embedded a maple-scented scratch-and-sniff patch in the nation's $100 bills.
According to CTV, "dozens of people" contacted the Bank of Canada after the polymer bills were introduced in 2011 to say they were sure there was something fishy ... or perhaps we should say sweet ... about the money.
After that interview, we set up an interview with poet Brian Turner, whose poems took Nagl back to his days fighting in Iraq - back to the ghosts he tried to put away. Turner was a team leader for the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team. It was the first Stryker brigade to be sent into the combat zone in Iraq in 2003. Turner's book of poems about Iraq is called "Here, Bullet."
Let me ask you to read the title poem from your collection "Here, Bullet."
On this Memorial Day, we want to honor those who have died in war, and pay tribute to those who have risked their lives and are coping with the aftermath of war. In a couple of minutes, we're going to hear from Brian Turner, who fought in Iraq and wrote a book of poems about facing the constant possibility of death. The book's called "Here, Bullet."
Home prices in major cities across the nation were up 10.9 percent in March from March 2012, the biggest year-over-year increase since April 2006, according to the data trackers who put together the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices.
Their surveys show that:
-- While prices rose 10.9 percent on average across 20 metropolitan areas, the strongest gains were in Phoenix (22.5 percent), San Francisco (22.2 percent) and Las Vegas (20.6 percent).