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"Extreme." "Unprecedented." "Historic." Those are just a few of the words being used to describe the start of this year's fire season in North America.

The wildfires are centered in the northwest of the continent, but their consequences are far-reaching. Thick smoke has blanketed parts of Wisconsin and North Dakota. It's triggered air alerts in Minnesota and Montana and muddied skies as far south as Tennessee and Colorado.

And, of course, things are even worse at the source.

Our days are full of things to remember, and they don't always arrive in an orderly fashion. Perhaps you begin your commute home and remember that you need to pick up milk. But then immediately, another to-do springs to mind: You never called back your friend last week. You may try to hold both in your head, but in the end the milk, the phone call or both still sometimes fall away, forgotten.

A new scientific model of forgetting is taking shape, which suggests keeping multiple memories or tasks in mind simultaneously can actually erode them.

It's been wet in Texas this year — exceptionally wet, as a matter of fact. With record amounts of rain, Texas is more than a little hot, green and rife with happy insects.

Take the tarantula hawk, for example. In case you've never heard of it, it's a wasp that's so big, and so nasty, that it attacks tarantulas — who happen to be quite big and nasty themselves.

So, what does a happy tarantula hawk look like? Ben Hutchins, an invertebrate biologist with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, takes NPR's Wade Goodwyn through all the gruesome wasp-on-tarantula details.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

WADE GOODWYN, HOST:

The movie "Forrest Gump" came out more than 20 years ago and it's still inspiring people.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "FORREST GUMP")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As reporter) Why are you running?

Wimbledon, Golf And The Week In Sports

Jul 11, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In the dirty, crowded, and impoverished immigrant barrios of Buenos Aires of 1913, a 17-year-old girl arrives with little more than some clothes and her grandfather's violin.

Her name is Leda, and she's the character at the heart of Carolina De Robertis' third novel, The Gods of Tango.

Leda, an Italian girl, was sent for by her cousin-husband, but widowed before her ship even lands in South America. She soon finds comfort and excitement in a new kind of music that's filling the city's courtyards, bars and brothels: the tango.

It's controlled after-school anarchy at the Christian-Carter household. Seven-year-old Chloe has rolled herself up in an exercise mat in the living room of the family's Oakland, Calif., home.

"Look I'm a burrito," Chloe shouts.

Her 4-year-old sister, Jackie, swoops in for a bite — and a hard push.

"Ow!" Chloe shouts. "Mom! Jackie pushed me!"

When Secretary of State John Kerry goes to Havana to raise a flag over the soon to be reopened embassy this summer, it won't be just an important symbolic moment.

The administration says the U.S. will be able to station more American personnel in Cuba, and that should be a big help in practical terms as more Americans travel to and trade with the Cold War-era foe.

Remembering 'Britain's Schindler'

Jul 4, 2015
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ERIC WESTERVELT, HOST:

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