Oliver Wang is a music writer, scholar, and DJ based in California. Since 1994, he's written on popular music, culture, race, and America for outlets such as NPR, Vibe, Wax Poetics, Scratch, The Village Voice, SF Bay Guardian, and LA Weekly.

Wang begins work as an assistant professor in sociology at Long Beach State this fall; He also hosts the renowned audioblog soul-sides.com. For more information, visit o-dub.com.

1:28pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Music Reviews

A 'Giant Anthology' Of Profile Records, Rap's Early Champion

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 10:59 pm

Profile Records never meant to get into the rap game, but the label launched the careers of rap groups like Run-D.M.C.
Frank Micelotta Getty Images

Before the rise of Def Jam as hip-hop's definitive record label, there was Profile, which helped shepherd in some of the genre's early shifts in sound and style. A new two-CD anthology, Giant Single: The Profile Records Rap Anthology, chronicles the label's 15-year history and legacy.

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1:19pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Music Interviews

Galactic: A Funky Day In The Life Of Mardi Gras

The New Orleans funk band Galactic's latest album, Carnivale Electrico, takes listeners from Fat Tuesday to Ash Wednesday.
Zack Smith

Get ready to dance, because it's Mardi Gras — a day to cut loose before Lent begins. In New Orleans, that means a day of parades, costumes and music everywhere you turn.

For the members of Galactic, Mardi Gras actually started on Monday, with an "annual gig that goes until the sun comes up at local club Tipitina's," saxophonist and harmonica player Ben Ellman says. For the long-running New Orleans funk band, it's one of the biggest gigs of the year.

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1:10pm

Tue February 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Seismic Activity May Mean Moon Is Not Dead Yet

Shallow graben that may have been formed in the past 50 million years.
NASA

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is casting doubts on the belief that the Moon is a lifeless piece of rock.

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12:54pm

Tue February 21, 2012
Animals

Cheers! Fruit Flies Drink To Their Health, Literally

Fruit flies will drink alcohol from fermenting fruit to kill off wasp parasites that can grow inside of them.
Jan Polabinski iStockphoto.com

As humans, we sometimes pay a price for drinking alcohol — in hangovers, or worse. But if you happen to be a young fruit fly, it turns out that alcohol can be just what the doctor ordered.

The pesky little fruit flies often show up when apples or bananas are left sitting around for too long on the kitchen counter. Most folks find them annoying, but Todd Schlenke can't get enough of them.

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12:40pm

Tue February 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Indiana Lawmaker Says Girl Scouts Are Destroying 'American Family Values'

Would Indiana Rep. Bob Morris approve of his fellow Republican's endorsement of this organization? 1997: Former President Reagan receives cookies from members of Girl Scout Troop #313 as a gift for his 86th birthday.
Mike Guastella AFP/Getty Images

Saying that the Girl Scouts is a "radicalized organization" that promotes "homosexual lifestyles" and is aligned with honorary president Michelle Obama's "pro-abortion" viewpoint, an Indiana state legislator has told his fellow Republicans he can't support a proclamation honoring the organization's 100th anniversary.

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12:28pm

Tue February 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Greece: So, What Now?

Originally published on Tue February 21, 2012 2:06 pm

Restoration work on the pillars of the Parthenon atop Athens' Acropolis is symbolic of Europe's recent negotiations to save Greece from default.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Greece is looking more and more like one of those "troubled homeowners" we hear so much about.

It's underwater and struggling to cover debts worth far more than its gross domestic product. So nervous lenders are offering to write down some of those loans in hopes of sending Greece a lifeline and keeping Athens current on its payments.

In return, the country has agreed to put its balance sheet in order, a process that is going to be neither easy nor quick.

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10:47am

Tue February 21, 2012
The Two-Way

Iranian General Warns Of Pre-Emptive Action If Threatened

International tension over Iran's disputed nuclear activities was ratcheted up today, when an Iranian general warned that his country would take pre-emptive action if its national interests were threatened.

Reuters reported Gen. Mohammed Hejazi made his comments in an interview with the semi-official Fars News Agency.

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10:37am

Tue February 21, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

When Body Piercings Go Bad

Will it look as good with a scar?
iStockphoto.com

Thinking about getting a body piercing? Who hasn't, right?

Well, one thing to consider is that about 20 percent of the time there are complications from the procedure, such as infection or scarring, a fresh review of the medical literature finds.

Piercings of the bellybutton and upper ear are especially prone to problems.

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10:19am

Tue February 21, 2012
The Fresh Air Interview

Catherine Russell: The Fresh Air In-Studio Concert

Catherine Russell.
Stefan Falke

Blues and jazz singer Catherine Russell says she frequently listens to the radio while washing dishes. One night, she was by the sink listening to a Chick Webb compilation when Ella Fitzgerald's "Under the Spell of the Blues" came on. The song struck her.

"The lyric came on, and it was just a beautiful story, and then I [was] compelled to learn the tune, and then I learned about everything surrounding it," she says.

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