Around the Nation
1:20 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Fingerboarding Champ: No 'Fear Factor' Skateboarding

Fingerboarding is a miniature version of skateboarding where competitors use tiny skateboards and skate with their fingers. Fifteen people qualified for the national championship event held in New York City this weekend.
Alberto Marangoni

Tech Deck, a manufacturer of 2 1/2-inch long skateboards — "fingerboards" — has spent the past five months hosting competitions in more than 10 cities to find the best fingerboarder in America.

Fingerboarding is a miniature version of skateboarding, where people skate with their fingers on tiny skateboards. The boards are often made of wood or plastic and have a sandpapery grip tape on top and skateboard graphics underneath. They cost anywhere from a few bucks to more than $100.

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Performing Arts
1:07 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

In Search Of A Stage, Western Opera Singers Try China

Lesson number one: saying "thank you" in Chinese.

"Xie xie. Xie xie. Xie xie," repeats American soprano Maria McDaniel, as she struggles to pin down the elusive Chinese "x" sound.

"Too much lips going on!" is the verdict of her teacher, Katherine Chu, who was an assistant conductor at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

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The Two-Way
1:00 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Shootings Leave Several Dead In West Virginia And Nevada

As details come in about a shooting this morning in Carson City, Nev., that authorities are now saying left at least three people dead and at least six others wounded, there's word from West Virginia that as many as five people were shot and killed in Morgantown on Monday.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:35 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

Memory Quizzes Still Best For Alzheimer's Diagnosis

PET scans of the brains of a person with normal memory ability and someone diagnosed with Alzheimer's
Image courtesy of the National Institute on Aging/National Institutes of Health

When it comes to predicting whether someone will have Alzheimer's disease, newfangled diagnostic tests for the illness aren't as good as old-fashioned quizzes of thinking and memory.

That's the word from a study that compared different methods for identifying Alzheimer's. The results was just published in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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The Two-Way
12:21 pm
Tue September 6, 2011

James Murdoch In Spotlight Again Over His Knowledge Of Phone Hackings

News International executive James Murdoch testified at a parliamentary hearing that he was unaware of a wider problem of cell phone hacking until a lawsuit in 2010.
Warren Allott AFP/Getty Images

Earlier this year, Rupert and James Murdoch told Parliament they didn't realize how deep the phone hacking scandal went in their U.K. tabloid until 2010.

Today, in testimony before Parliament, two of James Murdoch's top executives contradicted him saying they had presented evidence to him much earlier during a meeting that implicated others beyond Clive Goodman, a royal reporter convicted over the practice.

The Guardian reports:

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11:25 am
Tue September 6, 2011

After Nuclear Mishap, Japan Debates Energy Future

Japan faces a dilemma: the country lacks natural resources and relies heavily on nuclear power. But in the wake of the nuclear accident in March, 70 percent of Japanese now say they want to phase out atomic energy.

It's a huge, long-term challenge. Even backers of renewable energy say it could take two generations for Japan to become nuclear free.

But Japan was taking action even before the accident at the Fukushima power plant on the country's northeast coast.

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The Two-Way
10:52 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Swiss National Bank Takes Aggressive Action, Caps Franc

Swiss francs.
Arnd Wiegmann Reuters

Planet Money's Jacob Goldstein writes that what the Swiss National Bank did today was essentially tell everyone seeking refuge in their currency to, "Go away. Now."

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The Two-Way
10:35 am
Tue September 6, 2011

Tracks, Equipment Left By Apollo Missions Visible In New Moon Photos

The Apollo 17 landing site: To the far right, the Lunar Roving Vehicle; Toward the center, the descent stage of the Challenger lunar module. The lines are tracks and cables.

Tracks and equipment left on the moon by astronauts from three of the Apollo missions can be seen in new photos just released by NASA.

Though not close-ups by any stretch of the imagination, the images do offer more detail than other photos taken two years ago by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which is now circling the moon.

As it flew over landing sites of the Apollo 12, 14 and 17 missions, the orbiter snapped pictures that show, among other things:

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Reflecting On Sept. 11, 2001
10:09 am
Tue September 6, 2011

5 Other Surprise Attacks That Changed History

One of the earliest accounts of a surprise attack comes from Greek mythology: the Trojan Horse.
Rischgitz Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The headline writers at USA Today put it this way: "9/11 How One Day Changed Our World." National Geographic observed that the attacks of Sept. 11 would "alter the course of history."

But the shocking assaults in 2001 on the World Trade towers, the Pentagon and the planned hit on the Capitol were not the first surprise attacks that changed the way humans do business.

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As a general assignment correspondent based at NPR West, Mandalit del Barco has reported and produced radio stories and photographed everything from street gangs to Hollywood, police and prisons, marijuana, immigration, race relations, natural disasters, Latino arts and urban street culture (including hip hop dance, music, and art). Every year, she covers the Oscars and the Grammy awards for NPR. Her news reports, feature stories and photos filed from Los Angeles and abroad can be heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, and