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Bird flu is raging through poultry farms across the United States. It's the largest outbreak in U.S. history, affecting 20 states and tens of millions of birds. The disease is particularly ravaging farms in the Midwest.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the H5 bird flu, the variety causing the outbreak, has not been detected in humans and currently poses a low threat to the public.

Saul Bellow, one of the 20th century's great writers, was born 100 years ago next month. The publishing world is marking the anniversary with a flurry of books — a Library of America edition of Bellow's fiction, a hefty tome of collected nonfiction, and a big new biography.

Another way to remember the author, of course, is to go back to the original books. His best-known work is probably Humboldt's Gift, the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1975 novel based on his own friendship with poet Delmore Schwartz.

A slice of history sails across Lake Michigan, carrying cars between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. It's the SS Badger: the largest coal-fired passenger ship still operating in the United States.

For years, the ship was the focus of environmental scrutiny because of its practice of dumping waste coal ash directly into the lake. The pollution nearly stopped the Badger from steaming again — but now, the ash-dumping has ended.

And this summer, after a half-century on the waters, the Badger is still ferrying on.

Brass And Telegraphs

The Planetary Society says it has regained contact with its LightSail satellite. Last week fears arose that the organization had permanently lost touch with the tiny spacecraft, which launched earlier this month to lay the groundwork for testing a solar sail in Earth orbit.

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First, Do This Puzzle

May 31, 2015

On-air challenge: Because tomorrow is June 1st, today's game is one of categories, based on the word "first." For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters F-I-R-S-T. For example, if the category were "Two-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Francis, Isaac, Richard, Simon and Tony.

1. State Capitals

2. Foreign Makes of Cars

3. Parts of a Book

4. Common Newspaper Names (like Post, Herald or Daily News)

5. Things to Take to the Beach

When we talk about higher education for the poor, we often mean community colleges and getting a degree in order to make more money. But 20 years ago, a writer in New York City decided that the poorest members of society should have the same access as wealthier people to learning, just for the sake of learning.

I visited one of these programs — called a Clemente course — in Harlem on a Thursday night.

"Can you live in a good life in a society where people are doing different things?" asks the teacher. "Of course," replies a student.

For the next six months, Italy is hosting a dinner party — and the entire world is invited to attend.

The event, called Expo Milano 2015, is the latest World's Fair. This year's theme is "feeding the planet, energy for life." The global population is projected to pass 9 billion by 2050, and Expo organizers want to start a global conversation now about sustainability, biodiversity and food security.

For almost a decade I worked as a nurse home visitor in Philadelphia with a well-regarded program that pairs nurses with first-time moms. In the morning I would put on my backpack full of child-development accoutrements, grab my baby scale and jump on the 23 bus.

In the Center City/downtown area where I lived, life expectancy was 78 to 80 years. When I got off the 23 bus less than 15 minutes later in lower North Philadelphia, it was less than 70 years.

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