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Space
1:28 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity dug up five scoops of sand from a patch nicknamed "Rocknest." A suite of instruments called SAM analyzed Martian soil samples, but the findings have not yet been released.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 2:11 pm

Scientists working on NASA's six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it's a good problem.

They have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.

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Movies
1:26 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Controversial Casting For A Nina Simone Biopic

Nina Simone (left) and actress Zoe Saldana are seen in this composite image. Saldana has been cast to play the late singer in a film biopic.
John Minihan/Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:35 am

The rumors that had been around for a couple of years have finally been confirmed: At long last, there's a film in the works about the turbulent life of Nina Simone, otherwise known as the "High Priestess of Soul."

Simone was famous from the 1950s through the '70s for her music and her civil rights activism. And although she died in 2003, her voice remains popular on TV, movie soundtracks and commercials.

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Law
1:25 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Will U.S. Try To Snuff Out State Marijuana Laws?

A worker inspects a marijuana plant at a grow house in Denver on Nov. 8.
Ed Andrieski AP

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:54 pm

The Justice Department has a big decision to make.

Parts of new laws in Colorado and Washington that legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana will take effect early next month. The Obama administration needs to choose whether it will sue to stop the legislation or let those states go their own way — even though the drug remains illegal under federal law.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, says the message he got from voters is unambiguous.

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Business
1:20 am
Tue November 20, 2012

Tempted By Holiday Discounts, Consumers 'Self-Gift'

People crowd the aisles inside Macy's department store Nov. 25, 2011, in New York after the midnight opening to begin the "Black Friday" shopping weekend.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 3:23 am

Have you ever been out shopping for other people during the holiday season, and the sales were so good you couldn't help but buy something for yourself?

The National Retail Federation calls that self-gifting, and says that this year consumers who do it plan to spend an average of about $140.

Spokeswoman Kathy Grannis says that's the most in the 10 years the NRF has been asking shoppers about the trend.

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It's All Politics
3:52 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Siren: Meet The Man Behind The Curtain

Peter G. Peterson speaks at the Fiscal Summit in Washington, D.C., last year. The event was sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 6:28 pm

Debate over the long-term debt and the annual deficit has dominated the post-election agenda. Both the White House and Congress want to avert massive budget cuts and tax hikes early next year, a situation popularly called the "fiscal cliff."

The challenge has been brewing for years. But its current prominence owes much to the decades-long lobbying of billionaire Peter G. Peterson and his private foundation.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:23 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Beethoven's Famous 4 Notes: Truly Revolutionary Music

An autographed portrait of Ludwig van Beethoven.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 9:00 am

A new book, a new recording and some old instruments, all addressing the most memorable phrase in music: the opening of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.

Matthew Guerrieri has written a book about this symphony, called The First Four Notes: Beethoven's Fifth and the Human Imagination. Guerrieri writes about how Beethoven's piece resonated with everyone from revolutionaries to Romantics, and German nationalists to anti-German resistance fighters.

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The Two-Way
3:15 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Documents Show FBI Kept Tabs On Stalin's Daughter After Defection

You may remember that Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin's only daughter, who had defected to the U.S. in 1967, died last year. Today, The Associated Press reports that the FBI kept close tabs on Lana Peters after her defection to determine how her presence in the U.S. was affecting international relations.

The AP obtained documents under the Freedom of Information Act following Peters' death at age 85 in a Wisconsin nursing home.

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Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
2:38 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Egypt Tries To Help Hamas Broker A Cease-Fire

Originally published on Fri January 18, 2013 1:50 pm

Egypt has stepped up negotiations on a cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip on Monday. Hamas' top leader and two senior Israeli envoys were in Cairo and met separately with Egyptian officials, including President Mohammed Morsi. One of Morsi's aides said a truce deal could be imminent.

Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
2:38 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

As Rockets Fly In Gaza, U.S. Influence Seems To Wane

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:52 pm

The Obama Administration is hoping allies like Egypt and Turkey use their influence to persuade Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel. But can the U.S. count on that kind of help, with a new government Egypt that doesn't see things the same way? The U.S. has shown no sign that it will pressure Israel to ease tensions. Officials have repeatedly said that Israel has the right to defend itself.

Israeli-Palestinian Coverage
2:33 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Hamas May Be Closer To Regional Legitimacy

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:52 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

More now on Hamas, which is an Islamist group. It won the 2006 legislative elections in the Palestinian territories. After briefly belonging to a coalition with the nationalist Fatah movement, Hamas seized control of the Gaza Strip, and it has governed there ever since, under a blockade. For more on Hamas, we're joined now by Professor Rashid Khalidi of Columbia University. Welcome to the program once again.

RASHID KHALIDI: Thank you.

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The Two-Way
2:30 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Violence in Congo Is The Worst in Four Years

Fleeing the fighting: Internally displaced Congolese sit inside a United Nations base in Monigi, near Goma, as they seek shelter from the violence.
Phil Moore AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 4:29 pm

As all eyes turn to the fighting between Israel and fighters in Hamas-controlled Gaza, another long-simmering conflict has reemerged with full force.

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Shots - Health News
2:28 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Matching DNA With Medical Records To Crack Disease And Aging

A light micrograph image of telomeres, shown in yellow, at the end of human chromosomes. Women tend to have longer telomeres than men and tend to outlive men, according to new research matching genetic information with medical records.
Peter Lansdorp Visuals Unlimited/Corbis

Originally published on Wed November 21, 2012 3:29 pm

A massive research project in California is beginning to show how genes, health habits and the environment can interact to cause diseases. And it's all possible because 100,000 people agreed to contribute some saliva in the name of science.

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Asia
2:23 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Indian Politician Was Popular And Polarizing

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:52 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Mumbai was shut down yesterday for a funeral. Not just any funeral, the funeral of Bal Thackeray, the 86-year-old political boss of the city and the Indian state of Maharashtra. Thackeray was a Hindu nationalist extremist who championed the local Marati population of Mumbai against newcomers to the city, including Muslims.

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Television
2:23 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

YouTube The New Platform For Urban Comedians

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:52 pm

Walter Latham was one of the biggest comedy producers in the 1990s. He was the brains behind the Kings of Comedy tour that featured such headliners as the late Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer and Steve Harvey. Audie Cornish talks to Latham about starting a new YouTube channel called, "Walter Latham Comedy" and both the new opportunities and challenges it presents.

It's All Politics
1:31 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Rubio Dodges Question On Earth's Age

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., in Iowa on Saturday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:25 pm

According to scientists, the Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. Most of the people who vote in presidential primaries aren't scientists, however.

Indeed, a Gallup poll this year reported that 46 percent of Americans (58 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents) held a nonscientific belief in creationism, the religious-based view that humans were divinely created within the past 10,000 years.

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The Salt
1:19 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Could Nate Silver Predict How Good Your Pumpkin Pie Will Be?

All out of nutmeg? The same algorithms that predicts your friends on Facebook can also figure out ingredient substitutions for your pumpkin pie this Thanksgiving.
Courtesy of Lada Adamic.

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:55 am

We've been hearing a lot recently about how algorithms can predict just about anything. They find long-lost friends on Facebook and guess which books we'll buy next on Amazon. Algorithms hit the big time this month, when New York Times blogger Nate Silver used mathematical models and statistics to correctly forecast the outcome of every state in the presidential election.

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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

Maybe Twinkies Do Last Forever: Union, Hostess Headed To Mediation

The big name in the Hostess lineup.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 6:43 am

"Twinkies Saved! Hostess, Bakers Union Agree to Mediation, Avoiding Shutdown."

That's the "alert" this hour at CNBC.com.

Reuters has issued this "bulletin":

"US BANKRUPTCY JUDGE SAYS PARTIES AGREE TO MEDIATION ON TUESDAY IN HOSTESS CASE."

And according to The Associated Press:

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Movie Interviews
1:15 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

'Life Of Pi' Star On The 'Duet' Of Acting

Pi Patel (Irrfan Khan) looks back on the adventure he went on as a teenager in Life of Pi.
Peter Sorel Twentieth Century Fox

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 2:54 pm

You might think that actor Irrfan Khan — the co-star of the special effects-filled film Life of Pi -- performed his scenes by himself, or with inanimate objects that would later be transformed via CGI. Not so: As the older Pi in Ang Lee's new adaptation of the best-selling novel, Khan went back to the basics.

He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he thinks of scenes as being like duets: "You strike a note, and somebody responds, and then you respond accordingly," Khan says.

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All Tech Considered
12:42 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

What's The Big Idea? Pentagon Agency Backs Student Tinkerers To Find Out

Students Blake Jamar (from left), Ryan Clifton and Gregory Gonzales take apart a bicycle that generates electricity at Analy High School in Sebastopol, Calif.
Jon Kalish for NPR

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 3:52 pm

At Analy High School in Sebastopol, Calif., three students are taking apart a bicycle that generates electricity. Another student is calibrating a laser cutter. They're all working in a cavernous building that once held the school's metal and electronics shop. Let's just say it has been updated.

"I'm thinking that I might make a quadrocopter and a tremolo. It's a type of guitar thing that uses light to change the volume. And a few other things; we'll see," says Gabe Cook-Spillane, a senior at Analy High.

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Author Interviews
12:35 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

'Color Of Christ': A Story Of Race And Religion In America

UNC Press

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 2:55 pm

What did Jesus look like? The many different depictions of Christ tell a story about race and religion in America. Edward J. Blum and Paul Harvey explore that history in their new book, The Color of Christ: The Son of God and the Saga of Race in America. The book traces how different races and ethnic groups claimed Christ as their own — and how depictions of Jesus have both inspired civil rights crusades, and been used to justify the violence of white supremacists.

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Planet Money
12:26 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

The U.S. Is Borrowing Less From China, More From Everybody Else

Lam Thuy Vo / NPR

In popular U.S. mythology, China is the creditor-bogeyman. Japan is the place where robots take care of old people.

Mythology notwithstanding, Japan is about to pass China as the biggest foreign lender to the U.S. government.

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Shots - Health News
12:11 pm
Mon November 19, 2012

More Teens Take Steroids To Trade Fat For Muscle

Six percent of teenagers say they've used steroid drugs in the past year, according to a study in the journal Pediatrics.
iStockphoto.com

Many teens aspire to have lean bodies and big muscles, like the professional athletes they so admire. But they don't always want (or know how) to sweat to get them. A new study finds a surprisingly high number of teens have used steroids to try to slim down and bulk up.

Six percent of teenagers say they've used steroid drugs in the past year, which is a lot higher than the 1.1 percent reported in a 2011 survey.

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The Two-Way
11:28 am
Mon November 19, 2012

5 Reasons Why The Israeli-Palestinian Fighting Is Different This Time

The Israelis and Palestinians have clashed repeatedly over the Gaza Strip, but the recent upheavals in the Middle East have changed the dynamics this time. Here, a Palestinian woman is helped after being injured in an Israeli strike in Gaza City on Monday.
Bernat Armangue AP

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:49 am

This round of Israeli-Palestinian fighting may seem almost identical to all the battles that came before. After all, the Israelis and Palestinians waged an intense fight over the Gaza Strip just four years ago, in December 2008 and January 2009.

But since then, the Arab Spring and its aftermath have radically altered the dynamics of the Middle East. Here are several reasons to look at this clash from a different perspective:

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Music Reviews
11:26 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Bill Withers: The Everyman Singer With A Poet's Soul

Bill Withers onstage in 1973.
Fin Costello Redferns

Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 9:38 am

Bill Withers' very first single became a breakout hit in 1971. He would go on to record nine albums over the next 14 years, and all of them are now available on a new box set, The Complete Sussex and Columbia Masters.

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The Two-Way
10:28 am
Mon November 19, 2012

27 Animals In 'Hobbit' Movie Died At Farm Where They Were Housed

A promotion for J.R.R. Tolkien's classic, which is now being made into a movie trilogy, at the Frankfurt Book Fair last month.
Arne Dedert EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 11:33 am

Just days before the movie's premiere, there's word that during the filming of director Peter Jackson's The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey as many as 27 animals used in its production died at the farm in New Zealand where they were housed.

Animal wranglers tell The Associated Press that there were "bluffs, sinkholes and other 'death traps' " at the farm. Three horses died, along with "six goats, six sheep and a dozen chickens."

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:57 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Why Not Say It Simply? How About Very Simply?

xkcd: "Another thing that is a bad problem is if you're flying toward space and the parts start to fall off your space car in the wrong order. If that happens, it means you won't go to space today, or maybe ever."
xkcd

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:27 am

There are people (and I hear from them constantly) who think if a subject is sophisticated, like science, the language that describes it should be sophisticated, too.

If smart people say torque, ribosome, limbic, stochastic and kinase, then the rest of us should knuckle down, concentrate and figure out what those words mean. That's how we'll know when we've learned something: when we've mastered the technical words.

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Asia
9:42 am
Mon November 19, 2012

President Makes History, Stirs Controversy In Asia

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the fiscal cliff is seen as a serious threat to the nation's financial health but for federal workers the impact could be even more immediate and devastating. We'll take a closer look at that in a moment.

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Governing
9:42 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Federal Workers Keep Eye On Looming Fiscal Cliff

Transcript

CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Celeste Headlee. Michel Martin is away. Coming up, the reelection of President Obama triggered a huge amount of racism on social media, particularly on Twitter. We'll talk about the psychology behind those tweets.

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Digital Life
9:42 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Post-Election Racist Tweets Raise Questions

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:03 am

After the president's re-election, a slew of racist comments appeared on Twitter and Facebook. Guest host Celeste Headlee discusses some of the legal and privacy issues raised when people vent online. She speaks with Rey Junco of Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and The Root's Political Correspondent Keli Goff.

The Two-Way
9:04 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Will San Francisco Tell Its Nudists To Cover Up?

Woody Miller, a "naturist," was among the men out on Market Street in San Francisco this day.
Kimhiro Hoshino AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:30 am

San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener (yes, that's his name) says last year's law ordering those who bare everything in public to put a towel between their bottoms and public benches or restaurant seats hasn't stopped the complaints he gets about men who prefer to go without (clothes, that is) in the city's Castro District.

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