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The Uppermost Aristocracy of the Hoverfly Society

14 minutes ago

You may have seen a hoverfly before. You also may have mistaken it for something else — a bee, or a wasp. They are masters of mimicry, imitating more dangerous insects to avoid predators.

Fredrik Sjöberg is not fooled by these disguises. He's spent the last thirty years hunting for hoverflies, and can distinguish between species based on tiny differences in antennae color or wing shape.

Sjöberg is an amateur entomologist, but a committed one.

"You want to know something that no one else knows," he explains, "you want to become the real expert."

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

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

Eleven U.S. Army soldiers are headed to the Summer Olympics in Brazil next month on a mission that doesn't have anything to do with security. They're all U.S. Olympians, including some who only recently became American citizens.

#NPRreads is a weekly feature on Twitter and The Two-Way. The premise is simple: Correspondents, editors and producers from our newsroom share the pieces that have kept them reading, using the#NPRreads hashtag. Each weekend, we highlight some of the best stories.

The suspect in the attack on a shopping mall in Munich on Friday is an 18-year-old German-Iranian high school student who lived in Munich and had a history of depression, Munich police said. The shooting rampage left at least 10 people dead, including the alleged attacker, and 27 injured, according to police.

The NPR Politics team was on the road this week, bringing you stories from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Math is "contemptible and vile."

That's not from a disgruntled student. It's from a textbook.

The author, 16th century mathematician Robert Recorde, nestled the line just after his preface, table of contents and a biblical quote citing God's command to measure and number all things.

Recorde didn't believe in math's awfulness — quite the opposite. He was simply reflecting popular opinion on his way to a spirited defense of math. Why?

Fran Beesley was still in her bathrobe early one morning in June when she emerged from her home to find a Japanese family taking photos of her flowerbeds.

She lives in a 1970s-style one-story bungalow in the rural village of Kidlington, about a 90-minute drive northwest of London. It's a quiet place. Doesn't get many visitors. Beesley is retired and cares for her invalid husband. They're both in their 70s.

What are the biggest social and economic problems the world faces today? And how close are we to ending them?

Those are the questions that the U.N. Economic and Social Council aims to answer in its first report on the Sustainable Development Goals, released this past week.

The SDGs, as they're known, are 17 global goals to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and tackle climate change by 2030. The U.N.'s member states approved them last September.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is promising a military shake-up after last week's failed coup attempt. More than 7,000 soldiers are already in custody, including nearly 100 generals.

Turks were thrilled to see last Friday's coup effort thwarted, but some are wondering if the armed forces are in any condition to deal with the many challenges facing the country — fighting the Islamic State, battling Kurdish militants and managing chaotic borders with Iraq and Syria.

When you're pregnant, going to the doctors can be exciting. You get to find out if you're having a boy or a girl. Maybe hear the baby's heart beat.

But in southern Africa, many women find out something else.

Sociologist Alison Groves recently ran a study in a town outside Durban, South Africa. They followed about 1,500 pregnant women. The results left her speechless.

While many pundits and political observers were quick to praise Hillary Clinton's pick of Tim Kaine as her running mate on Friday, the choice wasn't met with universal acclaim.

One important group — progressives and backers of Clinton's former rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders — were not as pleased with the selection of the Virginia senator who has cultivated a reputation of working across the aisle over the course of his political career.

"My name is Becki," says a young woman standing in a convention center turned comic book bazaar. Then she flips a mane of orange hair and launches into Scottish accent. "And today, I am Merida from Brave."

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In a well-kept neighborhood in Miami with lush gardens, Larry Smart, a county mosquito control inspector, holds a turkey baster up to the light. "If you look closely, you'll see some moving fast. They're wriggling around," he says. "That's actually mosquito larvae." Smart uses the turkey baster to sample standing water in hard-to-reach places.

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A rape survivor is suing Texas' Harris County after she was jailed for more than a month and subjected to beatings and "psychological torture."

According to court documents, she had suffered a mental breakdown while testifying against her rapist, and authorities checked her into the general population at Houston's Harris County Jail because they feared she would flee before finishing her testimony.

The entire Russian Paralympic team is facing a possible ban from the upcoming Summer Games in Brazil because of signs of widespread drug violations among Russian disabled athletes, the sports' governing body said Friday.

The announcement by the International Paralympic Committee was the latest pointing to widespread Russian doping practices in recent years, though this was by far the most serious leveled against the country's para athletes.

It's not often — if ever — that presidential nominees use footnotes in their acceptance speeches.

But last night, Donald Trump used 282 of them in the written version of his acceptance speech — to bolster what he promised would be a presentation of the "facts plainly and honestly." I was footnote number 145.

Trump told the Republican audience that if they wanted to hear "the corporate spin, the carefully-crafted lies and the media myths" they should go to the Democratic convention.

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