Parth Shah

Parth Shah is an Assistant Producer at Hidden Brain. He came to NPR in 2016 as a Kroc Fellow, where he reported on the national desk, contributed to election coverage and produced for multiple national shows. Previously, he was a Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where he served as a general assignment reporter.

Parth graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in broadcast journalism. He's also the founder and host of Hyphen, a podcast series about identity.

Have you ever noticed that when something important is missing in your life, your brain can only seem to focus on that missing thing?

After you read this sentence, pause for a moment to think back on advertisements you first heard when you were a child.

Perhaps you recall a favorite jingle or the catchphrase of a cereal mascot. You probably can remember more than just one.

On this week's Hidden Brain radio show, we look at the shelf life of commercials. According to University of Arizona researcher Merrie Brucks, an ad we watched when we were five years old can influence our buying behavior when we're fifty.

Voting ballots for the upcoming 2018 midterm elections will feature a record number of female candidates. Despite the influx of women interested in political office, men still dominate most leadership roles in the United States.

The U.S. Embassy in Havana will continue to operate with minimal staff and will become what is known as an unaccompanied post, with an indefinite ban on family members of embassy employees residing there, the State Department says.

NPR's Michele Kelemen reports that this status typically applies only to war zones or other dangerous cities.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson temporarily pulled all nonessential State Department staff out of Cuba in September 2017 after numerous diplomats reported experiencing strange medical symptoms, ranging from dizziness to hearing loss.

What does the song "Satisfaction" by The Rolling Stones have in common with the periodic table of elements? Both are the product of dreams.

Creative reawakening is just one of many boons provided by a full nights rest, argues neuroscientist Matthew Walker.

"Sleep is the Swiss army knife of health. When sleep is deficient, there is sickness and disease. And when sleep is abundant, there is vitality and health."

Staying up until the early hours of the morning with friends. Skipping sleep to prepare for an exam. These are fairly standard aspects of student life for many young people.

But these sorts of all-nighters pale in comparison to the stunt Randy Gardner pulled when he was 17.

Spoiler alerts are sacred.

We plunge our fingers into our ears when a friend divulges details about a TV series we have yet to finish. We avoid articles that discuss important plot points of a movie we haven't gotten around to watching.

Sometimes, this 'no spoilers' mentality leaks in other parts of our lives. We avoid getting an important medical test done, fearing bad results. We turn off the news when the headlines make us upset, even though the information is pertinent to us. According to economist Joshua Tasoff, this behavior is irrational.

In its 152-year history, Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. never had a deaf female president — until a year ago. Roberta Cordano is the first deaf woman to lead the school.

Gallaudet is a liberal arts university devoted to deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Classes are taught in American Sign Language, and all students and faculty are required to know how to sign.

But president Cordano never attended a deaf school herself.

The Department of Labor has guidelines for companies that want to keep unpaid interns. Essentially, unpaid interns have to be treated like students and shouldn't do the work of paid employees.

Those rules, however, don't apply to government agencies.

Oshun Afrique is getting her 35th tattoo.

She has come to the Pinz-N-Needlez tattoo shop in Washington, D.C., where practically every inch of wall space is covered in artwork. While Afrique lounges on the sofa at the front of the small, quaint shop, owner Christopher Mensah sits at his desk and sketches her tattoo design.

Afrique came to the store after seeing Mensah's work in her Facebook news feed. She and Mensah both agree that anyone looking to get tattooed should scour online portfolios to find the right artist.

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

LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

When the National Museum of African American History and Culture opened in September, Associate Director Beverly Morgan-Welch expected a lot of visitors.

But she didn't expect how long people would stay once they got in. Museum experts call that "dwell time."

"The normal dwell time for most museums is an hour 45 minutes to two hours," says Morgan-Welch. "Our dwell time can go to six."

There's an etiquette to holiday decorations.

The jack-o-lantern should be tossed in the compost on November 1st and the Christmas tree ornaments need to stay in the attic until Thanksgiving dinner is over.

And in my family, there's another holiday tradition to consider: On Diwali, we put out swastikas.

Moshe the cat lives in an old brick house in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. His owner, Cassandra Slack, moved in a little more than a year ago.

The first floor feels open and airy. Large windows bring a flood of light inside, making the original hardwood floors shine.

But downstairs, in the basement where Slack lives, the atmosphere is different. The floor is carpeted, the lights are dim, and the ceiling is low.

Slack had an eerie experience down here when she first moved in.