Audie Cornish

First, the bad news: Earth has been taken over by blob-shaped, toxic aliens, which kill humans on contact.

The good news: Although they have conquered humanity, they've left things more or less intact. You can keep your office job — but there's a catch. Each human is required to go through the painless but off-putting procedure of replacing their hands with metal claws.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This week, we're remembering some of the notable people who died in 2017 and Perry Wallace is one of them.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

PERRY WALLACE: I wasn't interested in being a pioneer or making history or doing any of that.

For the first time, a generation of children is going through adolescence with smartphones ever-present. Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has a name for these young people born between 1995 and 2012: "iGen."

She says members of this generation are physically safer than those who came before them. They drink less, they learn to drive later and they're holding off on having sex. But psychologically, she argues, they are far more vulnerable.

For students starting medical school, the first year can involve a lot of time in a lecture hall. There are hundreds of terms to master and pages upon pages of notes to take.

But when the new class of medical students begins at the University of Vermont's Larner College of Medicine next week, a lot of that learning won't take place with a professor at a lectern.

The school has begun to phase out lectures in favor of what's known as "active learning" and plans to be done with lectures altogether by 2019.

Two summers ago, we met a woman who went by the name Teacup.

"I'm an active heroin user," she told us. "Thirty-three years as a matter of fact."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Venezuela's ongoing political and economic crisis has taken a toll on daily life there.

A crash in oil prices and political instability under President Nicolas Maduro have led to food shortages, and that has prompted almost daily street protests by thousands of Venezuelans.

A 35-year-old protester named Carlos tells NPR's Audie Cornish the food situation is "pretty extreme." NPR is using only his first name for his safety.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Singer and multi-instrumentalist Krystle Warren has been compared to artists like Tracy Chapman and Nina Simone. The latter comparison is particularly intriguing: Not only does Warren share that icon's talent for evocative storytelling, but she also lives in France, as Simone once did.

Pages