Darius Rafieyan

Darius Rafieyan joined NPR in 2017 as the founding producer of The Indicator from Planet Money. He has produced stories about infectious disease outbreaks, the world's greatest air salesman, and the economics of Tinder.

Before joining NPR, he was a producer at Bloomberg and Al Jazeera English. Rafieyan also reported from Iran for The Guardian's Tehran Bureau blog. He is a graduate of New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.

The shale oil boom that catapulted the U.S. into being the world's largest oil producer may be going bust. Oil prices are dropping amid weakening demand, bankruptcies and layoffs are up, and drilling is down — signs of a crisis that's quietly roiling the industry.

Some of the most successful companies in the oil business are household names — think Exxon Mobil or Chevron. But the boom in shale drilling has been driven by smaller, independent operators. These companies have pushed the limits of drilling technology and taken big risks on unproven oil fields.

On a recent morning before work, I found myself fidgeting nervously in a makeup chair at Sephora as beauty director and veteran makeup artist David Razzano schooled me in the proper application of liquid foundation.

"Always start in the center of the face," Razzano said as he gently ran a brush across my face. "A lot of times, women have had their mom or an older sister to teach them this, but guys most of the time have not been taught how to do makeup right."

Stefan Krasowski had a dream to visit every country on Earth before he turned 40. That took him to wondrous places, from the crystal blue crater lakes of Djibouti and the ancient Roman ruins of Tunisia to the foothills of the Himalayas in Bhutan.

And thanks to his considerable stockpile of credit cards, he was able to complete that dream and visit the one that eluded him — Syria. The moment his tourist visa was granted, after a two-year wait, he reached for his credit card.

"On one day's notice, I was able to be on a plane to Beirut and in Damascus by nightfall," he said.