Looking Up: Pockets of Economic Strength
2:35 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

On Utah's 'Silicon Slopes,' Tech Jobs Get A Lift

Josh James co-founded the Web analytics site Omniture in 1996, then sold it to Adobe for $1.8 billion in 2009. Domo is James' latest startup.
Derek Smith

Last year, Utah created jobs at a faster pace than any other state in the country — with the single exception of North Dakota. While the boom in North Dakota is being driven by oil and gas, the hot job market in Utah is being powered by technology companies.

Computer-system-design jobs in Utah shot up nearly 12 percent in 2011. Scientific and technical jobs jumped 9.7 percent. With job opportunities expanding, the state is having little trouble attracting new residents.

For Jill Layfield, the decision to move here from Silicon Valley was not a tough call.

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Presidential Race
2:29 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Hey, Y'all: Why Romney Might Just Win In The South

Carla Castorina of Hurley, Miss., holds a sign supporting former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney after a campaign rally at the Port of Pascagoula in Pascagoula, Miss., on March 8. Polls show a tight race in the state, which holds its primary on Tuesday.
Dan Anderson Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 4:08 pm

Mitt Romney's stilted efforts to relate to Dixie voters by tossing off a few "y'alls" and references to grits have been roundly mocked as awkward pandering.

And rightfully so, says political scientist Marvin King, who cringed at the GOP candidate's sprinkling of vernacular and Southern stereotypes into his patter during appearances in Mississippi and Alabama. The two states hold their Republican presidential primaries Tuesday.

"You can tell Romney wasn't expecting to campaign down here, and it shows," says King of the University of Mississippi.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:21 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Circumcision May Lower Risk For Prostate Cancer

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 3:18 pm

Circumcision might reduce a man's risk of cancer.

Really?

It's possible, though not yet proved.

But the latest evidence in favor of protection comes from a study just published in the journal Cancer.

University of Washington researchers found a 15 percent lower risk of prostate cancer in men who'd been circumcised before they first had intercourse compared to men who hadn't been.

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The Two-Way
2:12 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

British High Court Will Hear Right-To-Die Case

In this family photo released in Jan. 2012 by Tony and Jane Nicklinson, former corporate manager, rugby player, skydiving sports enthusiast Tony Nicklinson sits at his home in Wiltshire, England.
Jane Nicklinson AP

Tony Nicklinson wants to die.

Except he can't commit suicide because he has "locked-in syndrome," which means his mind works fine but everything below his neck is paralyzed. A 2005 stroke left the 57-year-old unable to speak and he communicates largely by blinking. His case has been making headlines in Britain because the man wants a court to OK a doctor to end what he calls his "dull, miserable, demeaning, undignified and intolerable" life.

Today, the country's high court said it would hear his case.

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The Salt
1:58 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

How A Sunflower Gene Crossed The Line From Weed To Crop

Sunflowers in Birmingham, Ala.
Michelle Campbell Birmingham News /Landov

I'm rounding out The Salt's impromptu Pest Resistance Week (which started with stories about weeds and corn rootworms) with a little-known tale that may scramble your mental categories.

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Europe
1:57 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

For Russia's Troubled Space Program, Mishaps Mount

Russia's unmanned Progress space freighter, headed for the International Space Station, blasts off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, Oct. 30, 2011. A string of mission failures has raised concerns over the reliability of Russia's space program.
STR Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 7:56 pm

Russia was once the world leader in space exploration, but its space program has suffered a string of costly and embarrassing mishaps over the past year.

NASA says Russia is still a trustworthy partner, but critics say the once-proud program is corrupt and mismanaged — good at producing excuses, but not results.

The Memorial Space Museum in Moscow showcases the achievements of the Soviet Union's space program.

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Afghanistan
1:37 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Afghan Shootings Could Complicate U.S. Mission

The deaths of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by an American soldier, could make the U.S. mission even harder. Here, an Afghan soldier leaves a home where civilians were killed Sunday in the southern province of Kandahar.
AP

It's unlikely that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians on Sunday, allegedly by a U.S. Army staff sergeant, will drastically alter the course of the war.

U.S. and NATO strategy calls for a sizable contingent of international troops to stay in Afghanistan until 2014, with residual support after that. That timetable is unlikely to change.

But the task U.S. forces face in trying to stabilize the country could well be made more difficult by the shootings.

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Around the Nation
1:18 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Vegas Museum Offers A Mob History You Can't Refuse

Look Out, Copper: A 1928 Ford Model A car (left) and a 1938 Ford paddy wagon arrive at the Feb. 14 grand opening of The Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 12, 2012 7:56 pm

As soon as you step in the elevator of Las Vegas' new Mob Museum, a cop on a video monitor reads you your rights. When the doors finally open, you're greeted by a huge photo of 1920s-era gangsters standing in a police lineup, wearing fedoras.

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Games & Humor
1:00 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

'Dr. Fill' New E-Competitor At Crossword Contest

Challengers work to solve puzzles in the 2011 American Crossword Puzzle tournament. This year, a computer program named "Dr. Fill" will be allowed to unofficially compete.
Don Christensen American Crossword Puzzle Tournament

There's a new kind of technology that may be able to beat you at your own game — at least if your game is a crossword puzzle. Its name is "Dr. Fill," but unlike the TV psychologist, this doctor solves less complicated problems. Its solutions only go down and across.

The computer program will be an unofficial competitor at the 35th annual American Crossword Puzzle Tournament in New York this week. It was created by Matt Ginsberg's software company, On Time Systems, which specializes in optimization algorithms.

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It's All Politics
12:43 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Presidential Speeches: Sound And (Partisan) Fury, Signifying Not Much

When presidents give major set-piece speeches, they're mainly engaged in exercises in futility since a commander-in-chief's high-flown rhetoric rarely shifts voter attitudes for long.

Indeed, the exercise could even be more negative than neutral since speeches by presidents advocating specific policy not only leave citizen unswayed but can fire up political opponents in the other party, according to Ezra Klein in an essay in the New Yorker.

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