Many people think of the seedless watermelons popping up at grocery stores and markets everywhere in the last few years as a marvel of modern scientific technology. In fact, more than 60 percent of watermelon shoppers seek this smoother pink flesh, and the numbers are increasing every year, according to a recent survey done for the National Watermelon Promotion Board.
Rebeca Espinal admits with a shy smile that she's a straight-A math student. She's a high school graduate who dreamed of going to college.
Instead, Espinal, 17, is working in a Charlotte, N.C., factory that makes gas turbines and generators. She is an apprentice with the German company Siemens.
"I was planning on getting a degree in international relations, but with financial aid and how difficult it is to pay for college and everything," she says. "So when Siemens came along and gave me the offer, it was too good of an opportunity to just let it go.
The province of KwaZulu-Natal has emerged as the epicenter of South Africa's HIV epidemic. South Africa already has more people infected with HIV than any other country in the world, but parts of KwaZulu-Natal have HIV rates that are more than twice the national average.
Now in addition to HIV and AIDS, the province is also dealing with a major tuberculosis epidemic.
In the northeastern part of KwaZulu-Natal, dusty dirt tracks wind through pastures and fields of sugar cane. The hillsides are dotted with small huts made of cinder blocks and field stones.
Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie is a lifelong Seattle Mariners fan, and such an Ichiro Suzuki devotee he wrote a song about the outfielder. Though he wrote it years ago, he decided this week — when Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees — was the right time to release "Ichiro's Theme."
U.S.gymnast McKayla Maroney will compete in the London Summer Games, despite the lingering effects of a broken toe. Maroney, a gold medal contender, is the reigning world champion in the vault. Early reports suggested that Maroney broke her toe in London. But it appears that she merely tweaked an earlier injury.
On Twitter, NBC producer Alexa Ainsworth clarified that Maroney's toe "was broken before Classic and she just aggravated that here."
The Obama administration is enlisting new allies to fight health care fraud: insurers.
Today the Departments of Health and Human Services and Justice announced a partnership with more than a dozen health insurers and industry groups to nip fraudulent schemes in the bud, instead of tracking down bad guys after the fact.
Born in New Orleans and still in his mid-20s, Frank Ocean has already written songs for major pop stars. He sang on the Kanye West/Jay-Z collaboration Watch the Throne, and he's been part of the tumultuous Los Angeles musical collective known as Odd Future. None of which quite prepares a listener for the beautifully moody music that dominates his new album, Channel Orange.
Chicago-based journalist Catalina Maria Johnson hosts the 15th installment of World Cafe's Latin Roots music series. Johnson writes in Spanish and English for publications such as HOY, Revista Contratiempo, Gozamos and Nat Geo Music, and is a radio personality and host/producer for the radio program Beat Latino, which airs in Chicago, Mexico City and Berlin.