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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Currying Danger: Restaurant's Spice Contest Puts Two In Hospital

The curry contest that put several participants in the hospital in Scotland likely used a relative of these 'Dorset Naga' chillies, one of the hottest varieties of chilli in the world.

Oli Scarff Getty Images

A Scottish restaurant's competition to see who could eat the spiciest curry — and raise money for charity in the process — has ended in painful trips to the emergency room for at least two participants.

The Kismot restaurant of Edinburgh, which serves Indian and Bangladeshi food, challenged competitors to eat its hottest curry. At least 20 people answered the bell. But problems became evident almost as soon as participants began eating the curry.

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Around the Nation
3:08 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

A Business Incubator Gives Funding And Jobs To Vets

Illumatek makes windshields that are engraved and lit with fiber optics so motorcycles are more visible on the road. Its founder worked with VETransfer, a nonprofit that connects veteran entrepreneurs with funding and business skills.

Courtesy of John Miller

Originally published on Tue October 25, 2011 3:08 am

As the U.S. winds down military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and troops come home, many are eager to start work in the civilian sector. But it's been tough: The federal government reports the unemployment rate for young veterans has hovered around 30 percent this year.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:56 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Penalties For 'Worst' Hospitals Could Hurt Minorities

Rating the best hospitals has become commonplace, with U.S. News & World Report, various research firms and lots of websites routinely issuing rankings.

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The Two-Way
2:18 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Gets Union Backing; Approval Rating Tops Congress

Occupy Wall Street protesters join a labor union rally in New York's Foley Square on Wednesday.

Seth Wenig AP

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 2:02 am

Occupy Wall Street is getting a shot in the arm, as some of America's largest unions have announced that they're now supporting the movement. The gain in momentum comes as off-shoots of the original Manhattan group plan marches and protests around the nation.

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National Security
2:09 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Gap Grows Between Military, Civilians On War

A new poll by the Pew Research Center shows a significant divergence on attitudes toward war and military service between members of the military and civilians.

David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri October 7, 2011 2:42 pm

As the U.S. marks the 10th anniversary of its involvement in the Afghan war this week, a Pew Research Center report shows some wide differences between the way military members and the general public view the fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Pew researchers talked to nearly 4,000 people, split almost evenly between military veterans and civilians. Paul Taylor, the editor of the study, said he wanted to explore this unique moment in American history.

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The Salt
2:08 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Undercover School Lunch Blogger 'Mrs. Q' Reveals Herself

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 2:13 pm

School lunch is a topic of endless fascination here at The Salt and, really, wherever parents of school age children compare notes. If we don't have time to pack their lunch, what exactly are the 32 million kids, including ours, eating?

Well, the secret of what's on the lunch tray has been out for some time in Chicago Public Schools, thanks to a blog called Fed Up With Lunch, and now the whole world knows who's been behind it.

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Monkey See
2:06 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Long Literary Shadows On Nobel Shortlist

Adonis, born Ali Ahmad Said Esber, is one of the contenders for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Mario Vedder AP

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 3:05 pm

They are the Nobel literature bridesmaids. Every year, they appear on Ladbrokes' betting site alongside their odds of winning. Les Murray: 16/1. Cees Nooteboom: 33/1. Claudio Magris: 40/1.

Perennial names probably more familiar to American readers include Haruki Murakami (7/1), Chinua Achebe and Amos Oz. The latter two aren't even ranked by Ladbrokes this time around. If recent history is any indicator, that means they've got a decent shot of winning. The Ladbrokes lads, after all, did not bother to place odds for such recent winners as Herta Muller or Elfriede Jelinek.

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The Two-Way
1:45 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Ron Paul Asks: Will The Government Assassinate Journalists Next?

Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul of Texas at the National Press Club in Washington today.

Patrick Smith Getty Images

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) was quick last Friday to condemn the killing of American-born al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen.

"If the American people accept this blindly and casually that we now have an accepted practice of the president assassinating people who he thinks are bad guys, I think it's sad," Paul said.

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It's All Politics
1:19 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Rubio's Veep Prospects Could Be Fueling Boycott Of GOP Debate

A dispute involving Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and the nation's largest Spanish-language TV network, Univision, has spilled over into the presidential primary. At least five Republican presidential candidates say they will not take part in a debate planned by Univision in January, before the Florida primary.

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The Two-Way
1:14 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Senate Democrats Pitch 5 Percent Surtax On Millionaires

Left to right: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) at a news conference on Capitol Hill today.

Alex Wong Getty Images

Making the case that some of the tax increases that would partly pay for President Obama's $447 billion jobs bill are aimed at Americans who are not that rich, the Senate's Democratic leaders are proposing a 5 percent tax on annual incomes above $1 million instead.

According to The Associated Press:

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Research News
1:13 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Nobel-Winning Chemist Fought Hard For Acceptance

Daniel Schectman, left, discusses the quasicrystal's structure with collaborators in 1985, just months after shaking the foundations of materials science. Schectman was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize for chemistry.

H. Mark Helfer NIST

If you or your mate shaved this morning with one of those thin-foil electric shavers, that face probably brushed up against a strange form of matter called a quasicrystal. Norelco is unlikely to get a Nobel Prize for that invention, but the man who discovered quasicrystals, Daniel Shechtman, will get this year's Nobel Prize in chemistry. And it didn't come easy.

Crystals, like diamonds and quartz, hold their sparkly allure because of the way the atoms inside those rocks line up so neatly.

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The Salt
1:06 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

East Coast Pumpkin Shortage Won't Dent The Canned Kind

Melissa Forsyth NPR

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 7:45 pm

With Halloween rapidly approaching, you've probably heard about the shortage of pumpkins along the East Coast caused by the flooding rains of Hurricane Irene.

But while you may have troubling finding just the right shape or the right price for your jack o'lantern this year, there's good news for those looking ahead to the pies and cakes of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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Research News
1:06 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Researchers Advance Cloning Of Human Embryos

Nature

Researchers in New York are reporting an advance in creating cloned human embryos. The embryos would not be used for reproduction, but rather the creation of embryonic stem cells. Many scientists believe that human embryonic stem cells made this way could revolutionize medicine.

The advantage of stem cells made this way is that they could be personalized to an individual.

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Election 2012
12:45 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

In Texas, Perry Has Little Say In 'Ultimate Justice'

In 2005, death penalty opponents protest the impending execution of condemned inmate Frances Newton in Huntsville, Texas. Newton was convicted of killing her husband and two children in their Houston apartment. She was put to death by lethal injection on Sept. 14, 2005.

David J. Phillip AP

Originally published on Thu October 6, 2011 11:54 am

As the longest-serving governor of Texas, Rick Perry has overseen the application of the death penalty more than any other U.S. governor — 236 executions, and counting.

While Perry is unquestionably a steadfast supporter of capital punishment, his overall record on criminal justice is more complicated than that.

'The Train Runs On Its Own'

Inside the Texas Prison Museum, off Interstate 45 in the city of Huntsville, sits a stout oak chair, its varnish dull with age, fitted with thick leather straps.

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The Two-Way
12:32 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Bankers To World's Super-Rich See Rise In 'Catastrophe Portfolios'

Private bankers who serve some of the world's richest families are seeing clients pile money into "catastrophe portfolios" and real estate, seeking defensive positions that might help them weather a far-reaching economic storm that has roiled financial markets worldwide.

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Remembrances
12:05 pm
Wed October 5, 2011

Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Civil Rights Pioneer, Dies

The Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, a pioneer of the civil rights movement, died Wednesday in Birmingham, Ala. Shuttlesworth led Birmingham's battle against segregation — a battle that focused the national spotlight on the violent resistance to equal rights in the South and forced change. He was 89.

As Birmingham goes, so goes the nation. That belief was the driving force behind Shuttlesworth's crusade for equality.

"He was the soul and heart of the Birmingham movement," Georgia Congressman John Lewis said. It was Birmingham, he said, that brought the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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The Two-Way
10:56 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Civil Rights Legend Rev. Shuttlesworth Dies; Defied Jim Crow Laws

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In this file photo from 2007, Sen. Barack Obama pushes civil rights activist Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth during a commemoration of the 1965 "Bloody Sunday" Voting Rights march in Selma, Ala. Shuttlesworth died Wednesday, at age 89.

Scott Olson Getty Images

Civil rights leader Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth has died, according to reports. He was 89. In the 1950s, Shuttleworth's activism resulted in beatings and attempts on his life in Birmingham, where he established the Alabama Christian Movement for Human Rights in 1956.

The Birmingham News has put up a slideshow of the civil rights leader, along with some highlights of his life-long struggle against racism and discrimination:

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The Two-Way
10:45 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Plot To Kill Karzai Foiled, Afghan Intelligence Agency Says

Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the funeral ceremony of slain Afghanistan High Peace Council and former president Burhanuddin Rabbani on Sept. 23, 2011.Â

AFP/Getty Images

Two weeks after the assassination of a former president, Afghan intelligence officials say they have disrupted a plot to kill the country's current leader.

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Afghanistan
10:29 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Afghan Officials Say Plot To Kill Karzai Foiled

Afghan officials said Wednesday that they have foiled a plot to assassinate President Hamid Karzai and arrested six people, including one of Karzai's bodyguards.

The bodyguard was recruited by a network of al-Qaida sympathizers at Kabul Medical University that is linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani militant network, according to Afghan intelligence officials.

Intelligence service spokesman Latifullah Mashal said three college students and a university professor were also among those arrested in Kabul.

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Author Interviews
10:28 am
Wed October 5, 2011

'Terrorists In Love': The Psychology Of Extremism

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Ahmed Al Shayea left Saudi Arabia in November 2004 to join the insurgents in Iraq. He was misled into driving a butane-gas delivery truck, which was detonated by remote control in an attack that killed eight people and left him disfigured. Today, he wants would-be insurgents to listen to his advice: "There is no jihad. We are just instruments of death."

Donna Abu Nasr AP

Originally published on Mon October 10, 2011 5:49 am

Ahmad Al Shayea grew up in Saudi Arabia in a middle-class family and dropped out of high school to join a local gang. Abdullah Al-Gilani fell in love with a girl who eventually married someone else. Zeddy was an old colleague of Osama bin Laden's.

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Wed October 5, 2011

National Cathedral Will Reopen In November; Repairs Will Cost Millions

Repairs are under way at the National Cathedral, which sustained millions of dollars' worth of damage in an August earthquake.

Bill Chappell NPR

The National Cathedral, closed since sustaining extensive damage from the August earthquake that shook Washington, D.C., and the surrounding area, will reopen on Nov. 12, according to officials.

The cathedral is also trying to raise money to pay for repairs, estimated to run into the tens of millions of dollars. A statement on the landmark's website says organizers are seeking "at least $25 million" to cover its expenses through the end of 2012.

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It's All Politics
10:00 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Rick Perry Raised $17 Million In Partial 3rd Qtr After Entering GOP Race Late

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's poll number may be sagging, but his campaign is flush with cash. Perry's campaign says it raised more than $17 million in the third quarter.

Perry entered the Republican presidential primary race in mid August with just 49 days left before the quarterly filing deadline. But in that short time he's shot to the top of the money race.

His $17 million haul likely outdoes front-runner Mitt Romney's efforts over the summer. Meanwhile, Perry's campaign says it's kept spending so low that it has $15 million cash on hand.

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Shots - Health Blog
9:26 am
Wed October 5, 2011

My Smartphone Is A Microscope. What Can Yours Do?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 12, 2011 8:02 am

I lied. My smartphone isn't a microscope — yet. But there are some smart physicists who want to make that transformation possible very soon, if not for you and me at first, then for doctors who don't have easy access to laboratories.

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Television
9:23 am
Wed October 5, 2011

'Breaking Bad,' 'Horror' Leave Viewers Wanting More

Over the past few seasons, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has changed from meek hero to forceful villain. TV critic David Bianculli says he isn't just breaking bad anymore...he's entirely broken.

Gregory Peters AMC

Originally published on Tue October 11, 2011 8:05 am

If you don't want to hear details, especially about last night's season finale of Breaking Bad, turn away from this website now. But I consider it fair game to talk in detail about TV shows once they've been televised — especially if they're doing interesting enough work to be saluted for it.

[Note: If the previous paragraph didn't convince you, maybe this will: There are many, many spoilers for Breaking Bad ahead. Proceed at your own risk.]

I was blown away by the season ender of Breaking Bad.

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The Two-Way
9:20 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Kenneth Dahlberg, Who Didn't Lie About Watergate, Has Died

The scene of the crime that brought down a president.

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 5, 2011 9:53 am

"There aren't a lot of people in the world who have been war heroes, created a high-flying business, and uttered the words that would bring down a presidency," our Minnesota Public Radio colleague Bob Collins writes today.

"Ken Dahlberg was one of them."

Now, Dahlberg has died at the age of 94.

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It's All Politics
9:00 am
Wed October 5, 2011

W. VA Democratic Guv's Narrow Win May Be Ominous Sign For Party

Democrats are surely relieved to have held onto the W. Virginia governorship, with Tuesday's special election victory by acting Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin over Republican Bill Maloney.

But it was a narrow 50 percent to 47 percent win that could portend trouble when Tomblin once again stands for election in 14 months.

Democrats have dominated W. Virginia politics for decades, controlling local and state offices though in presidential elections President Bill Clinton was the last Democrat to win the state in 1996.

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The Salt
8:59 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Thin Moms And Dads Pass On 'Skinny Genes'

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"Skinny genes": Maybe Gwyneth Paltrow can thank her mom, actress Blythe Danner, for her trimness? Parental weight strongly influences thinness in children, researchers say.

Gary Gershoff Getty Images

We inherit the darndest traits from our parents. My mom bequeathed to me that funny leg-shake she does when she's sitting. She also seems to have passed along a quick (but ... hmm ... endearing?) temper. And in the "thanks-for-that" column? Well, I'm on the skinny side. And so is she.

Our mother-daughter likeness isn't so unusual. Turns out, the "inter-generational transmission of thinness" is real. Thin parents appear to pass on "skinny genes."

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Shots - Health Blog
8:52 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Tainted Cantaloupes Claim 18 Lives, Sicken 100

The warnings from public health officials that the deaths and illnesses from listeria-tainted cantaloupes could drag on for a while are proving true.

The death toll from cantaloupes grown by Jensen Farms has hit 18, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's latest report on the outbreak. A hundred people have been sickened in 20 states, with Colorado and New Mexico the hardest hit.

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Politics
8:49 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Affirmative-Action Case Could Be Campaign Issue

The Texas Longhorns band performs during a basketball game against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on March 18. A challenge to the admissions policy at University of Texas, Austin, contends that the school does not need to consider race to achieve a diverse student body.

Ronald Martinez Getty Images

A Texas affirmative action case that has the potential to rewrite law on how or whether public colleges and universities may consider race and ethnicity as a factor in admissions could be headed for the U.S. Supreme Court, and soon.

Though the court, which opened its fall term this week, has not yet agreed to hear Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, constitutional experts on both sides of the issue say they believe the case will be scheduled for a hearing this year or next spring, just as the presidential election season heats up.

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The Two-Way
8:35 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Life's Still Hard For 'Reality Hits You Hard, Bro' Guy

Arizona Republic

In case you haven't seen this video yet, we'll wait while you watch. It's worth it.

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