Blog Posts by Katie Couric

  • Be Katie's V.I.P guest

    Be Katie's V.I.P guest

  • Burning Man Festival Explained

    By Emily Scharnhorst

    Near the end of summer every year, about 100 miles north of Reno in the Nevada desert, tens of thousands of people gather for the Burning Man festival, an oasis for the most eclectic group of people on the planet.

    This year the event sold out in 44 minutes, but when it all started as a summer solstice celebration in 1986, it was simply a gathering of a small group of friends. San Francisco-based artist Larry Harvey and a few collaborators built an eight-foot wooden man on San Francisco's Baker Beach and set it on fire.

    By 1990, the event had become so popular that it was moved to Black Rock Desert in Nevada to provide more space for the masses.

    Over the past few years, Burning Man has become more mainstream, with attendees from Silicon Valley, such as Google's ex-CEO Eric Schmidt, and celebrities like Diddy. This year, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist is expected to partake in the festivities.

    Tickets for Burning Man go for nearly $400, but that's about all

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  • Omaze: Give To Charity And Win A Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

     

     

    By Katie Couric 

    What if I told you for as little as $10, you could win a chance to be an extra in the next "Star Wars" film or Uzo Aduba's, aka Crazy Eyes, VIP guest on the set of "Orange Is the New Black"? Well, thanks to Omaze, an online charity auction, you could!

    Best friends since college, Matt Pohlson and Ryan Cummins came up with the bright idea after attending an auction hosted by their childhood hero and basketball great, Magic Johnson. The opportunity to sit courtside and have dinner with Johnson was a dream come true, but like most auctions, the prize went to the highest bidder for $15,000.

    "We couldn't afford to participate," says Pohlson. They considered "What if this was available to everybody online for 10 bucks for the chance to win, you could raise so much more money, so much more awareness ... and then guys like us would also have the chance to play basketball with Magic Johnson."

    Instead of offering once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the wealthy donors, Omaze

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  • Ebola Outbreak: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

    By Katie Couric

    Liberia's President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed joy today about the recovery of American missionaries Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric. "We want to thank them for the service that they have rendered our country. And I'm glad Dr. Brantly said he's going to come back to Liberia. We just love him," President Sirleaf said.

    Brantly and Writebol were released from Emory University Hospital this week after contracting Ebola in Liberia last month. Both were given the experimental drug ZMapp.

    Liberia is facing the worst of the Ebola epidemic that has killed over 1,350 people in West Africa, including an estimated 576 Liberian citizens. President Sirleaf admits that her country is struggling to fight the spread of this disease — especially in the capital of Monrovia. Over the weekend a raid on a treatment center in Monrovia led to the implementation of a nationwide curfew and the quarantine of a

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  • Rick Perry's Indictment

    By Katie Couric

    For a politician facing two felony counts, Texas Governor Rick Perry certainly looked cheerful in his mug shot.

    On Tuesday, Aug. 19, he appeared at an Austin courthouse to answer charges of abuse of power and coercion.  After being booked and fingerprinted, he headed to a local burger joint for an ice cream cone and tweeted a photo.

    It all started back in April, when a Texas district attorney named Rosemary Lehmberg was arrested for driving while intoxicated. Perry wanted her to resign from her post as head of the Public Integrity Unit and threatened to veto $7.5 million in funding to the office if she refused.  Lehmberg stayed put, and Perry made good on his promise.

    Now, a legal battle has begun.

    The governor said this week, “The actions I took were not only lawful and legal, but right.”  But Texas Democrats claim it’s more complicated than that.  To find out more and what could possibly happen next, watch this video.

    Hopefully afterward you’ll be able to say,

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  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Pledge $1 Million to DonorsChoose

     

    By Katie Couric

    She's a philanthropist, mother and half of the world's most generous couple. Melinda Gates and her husband, Bill, have tackled numerous global issues through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Since the foundation's inception in 2000, they have given over $30 billion dollars to fight disease, prevent the spread of HIV and foster agricultural development.  Melinda joined me today from the Gates Foundation's headquarters in Seattle to discuss a top domestic priority — education.

    This week, Bill and Melinda Gates celebrated teachers through a series of blog posts and video interviews on GatesNotes.com. It's all part of Back to School week and wraps up with a big announcement in support of DonorsChoose.org — an online charity that accepts donations to directly fund classroom projects. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching up to $1 million of donations today, August 22, through Sunday, August 24. 

    "Teachers do this incredible job with our kids in the

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  • James Foley’s Brother: The U.S. Could Have Done More for Jim

    By Liz Goodwin

    The brother of American journalist James Foley said Friday morning that the U.S. government could have done more to attempt to free his brother and other American hostages from the Islamic militant group ISIL.

    “There’s more that could have been done directly on Jim’s behalf,” Michael Foley, 38, told Yahoo Global News Anchor Katie Couric in an exclusive interview near his parents’ home in Dover, New Hampshire. “I really, really hope that Jim’s death pushes us to take another look at our approach to terrorist and hostage negotiation.”

    Foley, a 40-year-old journalist who was covering the Syrian conflict for GlobalPost, was kidnapped nearly two years ago near the Syria-Turkey border. ISIL, also called ISIS, released a grisly video of his beheading Tuesday, claiming it killed him in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes in the region.

    But another issue was money. The group had also captured French and Spanish journalists, but freed them after their governments paid ransoms

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  • Harvard Researcher on Aging: There's no 'limit on the human lifespan'

    By Katie Couric

    My peers of a certain age will remember an Oil of Olay commercial about deciding not to grow old gracefully, but rather to "fight it every step of the way."

    And while we spend billions trying to turn back time, the Fountain of Youth has yet to be found at the bottom of a lotion bottle.

    But one researcher from Harvard Medical School, David Sinclair, believes the secret to stopping the aging process is closer than we think.

    "I wouldn't begin to put a limit on the human lifespan," he says.

    Sinclair has spent the past 20 years looking for ways to help people live longer, healthier lives. 

    In an exclusive look at his strictly guarded mouse lab, Sinclair showed us how his research team is looking to stop the clock on aging.

    It was Sinclair's research on resveratrol, a molecule found in grapes, that made headlines a decade ago when it showed promising results in keeping overfed mice as healthy as lean mice. Sinclair even chose to test resveratrol on himself, something he

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  • On Robin Williams, Parkinson's and Depression

    By Katie Couric


    Like so many people, I was devastated by the news of Robin Williams' suicide. I had had the sheer joy of interviewing him, and he'd also done a hilarious bit about colonoscopies at a benefit I hosted for colon cancer awareness back in 2002. Robin and I shared the belief that laughter really is the best medicine, and to honor his memory, I want to share that performance with you all today. You'll find that video above.
     
    When I heard about Robin's diagnosis of Parkinson's, it was doubly heartbreaking. My father dealt with the disease for more than a decade before his death three years ago, and Michael J. Fox is one of my heroes. This latest news about Robin made me want to learn more about the connection between Parkinson's and depression, so I reached out to psychiatrist Dr. Harold Koplewicz, president of the Child Mind Institute and a leader in mental health research.
     
    First of all, what is Parkinson's disease?
    Parkinson's disease is a degenerative nervous system

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  • Katie Couric Interviews Bionic Arm Inventor Dean Kamen

     

    By Katie Couric

    Back in 1980, when Luke Skywalker was fitted with a robotic limb after losing his hand in the film "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back," it was pure science fiction. But what was once fantasy is now a reality.

    Inventor Dean Kamen and his team at DEKA Research and Development, based in New Hampshire, have developed "Luke," a robotic prosthetic arm, aptly nicknamed after Luke Skywalker.  The arm is considered a game changer for amputees. "Instead of giving them a metal hook that they can't do anything with, what if we can give them a bunch of grips to do the things you do in daily living? Pick up a spoon or pick up an electric drill or open a door," says Kamen.  

    The idea first came about when the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) approached Kamen about building a better prosthetic for soldiers who have lost an arm in combat. "They said, 'Give us a real hand that works, that has all the fingers and the thumb that can move in every direction.

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