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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
1:24 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Fracking's Methane Trail: A Detective Story

A natural gas drilling rig's lights shimmer in the evening light near Silt, Colo.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri May 18, 2012 7:36 am

Gaby Petron didn't set out to challenge industry and government assumptions about how much pollution comes from natural gas drilling.

She was just doing what she always does as an air pollution data sleuth for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"I look for a story in the data," says Petron. "You give me a data set, I will study it back and forth and left and right for weeks, and I will find something to tell about it."

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Afghanistan
1:15 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Afghan Justice: A Brief Trial, A Lengthy Sentence

Afghanistan is struggling to develop its court system, and public trials are still relatively rare. Here, an Afghan man named Mahmood (standing, right) listens to a court judge during his trial in the western city of Herat on Jan. 24. He had photos of NATO bases in Afghanistan and was sentenced to 16 years for spying for Iran.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:01 am

Handcuffed and wearing dark blue traditional clothes, the Afghan defendant enters the newly renovated court in the capital of Kunar province, about 5 miles from the border with Pakistan.

Members of the local community are waiting to witness the public trial of Abdul Wali, who is accused of manufacturing alcohol — a crime that carries a lengthy prison sentence in Afghanistan.

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Europe
1:14 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Not Your Cold War NATO: Alliance To Examine Itself

A NATO soldier aims his weapon during a gun battle in Kabul, Afghanistan, in April. NATO is holding a summit in Chicago this weekend, and discussing the future of the alliance is on the agenda.
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:28 am

This weekend, about 60 heads of state and government, and thousands of others will descend on Chicago to attend a NATO summit. The gathering will focus on the alliance's involvement in Afghanistan — and ensuring a long-term commitment to the country.

But the meeting comes at a time of tension within NATO. Discussions will also include the future of NATO itself, and whether it can overcome its shortfalls.

Unilateral Action In Libya

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Fine Art
1:00 am
Thu May 17, 2012

A Museum Visit For Art Lovers With Alzheimer's

Students and seniors discussed Claude Monet's Sunset at Pourville during a recent visit to the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C.
The Kreeger Museum

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 4:58 am

Many art lovers feel completely in the moment when they stroll through the galleries of a museum. That feeling was particularly true on a recent morning at the Kreeger Museum in Washington, D.C. The Kreeger runs a special program for people with Alzheimer's — seniors, their caregivers and middle school students are paired together to enjoy the art and one another's company.

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The Two-Way
4:53 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'Information' To 'Knowledge Agent': Google Changes The Way It Does Search

What a search result may look at on Google now.
Google

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 10:52 am

Google announced a big change in its approach to search today.

The search giant said the move was the first step in transitioning from an "information agent" to a "knowledge agent."

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Remembrances
4:30 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Chuck Brown, 'Go-Go' Funk Pioneer, Dies

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

The man known as the Godfather of Go-Go has died. Chuck Brown pioneered a musical style of percussion-heavy funk that was born in Washington, D.C. Brown died at age 75 after suffering from pneumonia. Robert Siegel has this remembrance.

The Two-Way
4:20 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Video Evidence Helps Acquit Student in First Occupy Wall Street Trial

Occupy Wall Street protesters march through in an impoverished community in December 2011.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:32 pm

Alexander Arbuckle, the defendant in the first Occupy Wall Street case to go to trial, has been found not guilty after video of the incident he was involved in showed him breaking no laws. The Village Voice reports:

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It's All Politics
4:20 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

White House Sandwiches Followed By Snark, Disappointment, Warnings

President Obama's limo in what was, in part, the world's most impressive lunch run, Washington, May 16, 2012.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:44 pm

President Obama and congressional leaders lunched at the White House Wednesday on sandwiches the leader of the free world purchased during a visit to a Washington, D.C., eatery where he met earlier in the morning with a group of small-business people.

Descriptions of the White House lunch meeting from those on the opposing red and blue teams aware of the details of the discussion made it sound like yet another meeting featuring the nation's top policymakers that you could have accurately described beforehand.

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Violence Against Women Act Becomes Latest Controversial Measure In House

The House and the Senate are once again at odds: This time over a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

The Senate passed a beefed-up version of the bill and the House removed those new protections in their version. With that, the conversation has shifted into the controversial areas of immigration and identity politics. The House debated the bill — H.R. 4970 — today and a vote could be scheduled for this week.

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All Tech Considered
3:45 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

'What Facebook Is Selling Is Us'

A worker sits in the Facebook office in Menlo Park, Calif. The amount of information Facebook learns about its users seems to have entranced Wall Street.
Jeff Chiu AP

Facebook's initial public offering is shaping up to be one of the largest in history. This morning the company told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it was expanding its offering ... again.

Now Facebook is planning to raise up to $16 billion from investors by taking a small slice of the company to the public. And it will likely be worth more than $100 billion on its opening day of trading. It could easily go higher.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:27 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

CDC Cuts Lead-Poisoning Limit For Kids

Don't rely on luck to keep kids safe from lead.
iStockphoto.com

Preventing the exposure of kids to lead is a great idea, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today.

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The Two-Way
3:24 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Chuck Brown, The Godfather Of 'Go-Go', Dies

Abby Verbosky NPR

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 3:55 pm

Chuck Brown, known as the "Godfather of Go-Go," a style of percussion-heavy funk pioneered in Washington, D.C., died Wednesday. His death was reported by The Washington Post, quoting his manager, and other local outlets confirmed his death with family members.

Brown had been hospitalized for pneumonia. He was 75.

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The Salt
3:22 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Can Coffee Help You Live Longer? We Really Want To Know

Bring on the caffeine — maybe.
antwerpenR Flickr.com

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:49 pm

It seems like every day there's some new research about whether our favorite drinks are good for us. One day, science says a glass of red wine a day will help us live longer. The next day, maybe not.

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Get Ready For Bike To Work Day (And Share Your Photos)

Three men stand with their penny farthing bicycles. Follow their example for Bike to Work Day, and take a photo of yourself and your bike. Then, post the photo to Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtag #NPRbike.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 4:11 pm

Bike to Work Day is this Friday, May 18. And that prompts a question: Do you bike to work? If so, you should prove it — by taking a photo of yourself with your bike. Then share the picture, and we'll consider it for NPR's Bike to Work Day gallery.

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Middle East
3:16 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

U.N. Presence Fails To Prevent Syrian Bloodshed

U.N. monitors in Syria leave their Damascus hotel on Wednesday on a mission. A day earlier, their U.N. colleagues were at the scene of a major clash in northern Syria that left more than 30 Syrians dead.
Louai Beshara AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 6:51 pm

There was a deadly clash in northern Syria on Tuesday, but it was different than many other such episodes over the past 14 months of the Syrian uprising.

This time, United Nations monitors were watching. The monitors are in Syria to keep an eye on the government forces and the opposition, who are supposed to be observing a cease-fire and opening a dialogue.

But the trouble Tuesday began with a funeral the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun.

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It's All Politics
3:11 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Lugar's Last Race: Indiana Senator Doesn't Take Defeat Sitting Down

Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., crosses the finish line of the 3-mile Capital Challenge charity race with Olympic marathoner Meb Keflezighi. It was Lugar's 31st race, and his last as a senator after he lost a primary challenge this month.
Javaun Moradi NPR

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

The partisan divisions on Capitol Hill are numerous — but Wednesday morning, about two-dozen members of Congress did something entirely nonpartisan. They ran in a 3-mile race for charity, along with their staffs and teams from the executive and judicial branches and the media (including NPR).

The ACLI Capital Challenge is an annual tradition that dates back to 1981, and one senator has run the race every time: Dick Lugar, R-Ind. But Wednesday's race was also his last.

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Animals
3:00 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

What Killed Orca Victoria? Some Point To Naval Tests

Orca L112, also known as Victoria, was 3 years old when she washed up on the Washington coast. An investigation into her death has been inconclusive.
Center for Whale Research

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Few people know the orcas of Puget Sound as well as Ken Balcomb.

A researcher with the Center for Whale Research on Washington state's San Juan Island, Balcomb has been studying the whales for more than 30 years.

It takes Balcomb only a few seconds of listening to the squeaks and whistles of underwater whale recordings to recognize the different pods of orcas.

In one recording, Balcomb identifies the group known as the L Pod — the family many people in the area are talking about right now.

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Asia
2:41 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

U.S. Forces In Australia Draw Mixed Reaction

U.S. Marines are shown during a training exercise south of Darwin, Australia. Marines recently arrived in Australia as part of a move by the U.S. to place greater emphasis on Asia and the Pacific.
Glenn Campbell The Sydney Morning Herald/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

Since a small contingent of Marines landed in the northern port town of Darwin last month, the U.S. has shown greater interest in using Australian military facilities as part of a larger effort to refocus its military capabilities in Southeast Asia and the western Pacific.

"We have no better ally or friend in the world than Australia, and we have no area in the world which is as important or dynamic over the next 50 years as the Asia Pacific," says Jeffrey Bleich, the U.S. ambassador to Australia.

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Performing Arts
2:03 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

UniverSoul Circus Organizer: 'Soul Is Not A Color'

The Shaolin Warriors, from Shaolin Monastery in central China, put on a demonstration of traditional kung fu fighting techniques, with some crowd-pleasing stunts thrown in. They had never performed with a circus before this year.
Courtesy of UniverSoul Circus

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 5:34 pm

For almost 20 years, the UniverSoul Circus has been pitching its tent in urban plazas across the country. The circus was founded by a Baltimore native as a showcase for black talent, one that he hoped would inspire black audiences.

In more recent times, the circus has evolved into an eclectic mix of acts from around the world. Now, it's pushing to diversify its audience, with a show called "Us."

Strength, Precision And Crowd-Pleasing Nerve

In the beginning, all of the talent was black. They came from Africa, the Caribbean and the U.S.

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Planet Money
1:43 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

For $75, This Guy Will Sell You 1,000 Facebook 'Likes'

How much for that thumb?
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 11:48 am

Looking to get more popular on Facebook? Alex Melen will sell you 1,000 "likes" for about $75.

Melen runs an Internet marketing company. About six months ago, companies he worked with started coming to him more and more with a simple problem: They had created pages on Facebook, but nobody had clicked the "like" button.

"You would go there, and there would be two likes," Melen says. "And one of them would be the owner. And people right away lost interest in the brand."

For the right price, Melen can fix that.

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The Salt
1:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Thank The Patron Saint Of Bakers For This Cake Today

The author pauses to photograph the St. Honore cake before she digs in.
Deena Prichep

We here at The Salt usually ignore food festivals and those "Celebrate Whatever We're Eating Now" Days. They're a bit precious, no? But this one was too good to pass up: Today is the day the French celebrate the Feast of St. Honoré, the patron saint of bakers and pastry chefs.

And since the French hold their corner bakery right up there with the Catholic Church, the celebration is not complete without a big bite of the complicated confection named for the saint in question. More on the cake a little later.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Bloomberg: Facebook's Saverin May Save $67 Million By Renouncing Citizenship

Eduardo Saverin, co-founder of Facebook.
Jason Kempin Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 6:17 am

Bloomberg took out its pencil, paper and calculator and came up with this number: $67 million.

That's how much the news service estimates Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin could save in federal income taxes after having renounced his United States citizenship in advance of social media company's public debut.

Bloomberg reports:

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The Fracking Boom: Missing Answers
12:41 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Town's Effort To Link Fracking And Illness Falls Short

NPR

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 9:35 am

Quite a few of the 225 people who live in Dish, Texas, think the nation's natural gas boom is making them sick.

They blame the chemicals used in gas production for health problems ranging from nosebleeds to cancer.

And the mayor of Dish, Bill Sciscoe, has a message for people who live in places where gas drilling is about to start: "Run. Run as fast as you can. Grab up your family and your belongings, and get out."

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Wed May 16, 2012

Chipping In To Your Office Lottery Pool? Read This First

Tim Boyle Getty Images

Here's yet another reminder about why it's important to have somebody write down the rules and keep accurate records if you're pooling money at the office to buy lottery tickets.

After all, for every heart-warming story about "three amigos" who seem to have gotten along swimmingly and deserved the money they won, there are tales such as this:

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Election 2012
11:57 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Latino Voters: Seen, But Will They Be Heard, In 2012?

Latinos protest Mitt Romney's opposition to the Dream Act, outside his campaign headquarters in Las Vegas on Feb 2.
Michael Thurston AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:03 pm

If young voters were the breakout stars of the 2008 presidential election, then Latino voters may take center stage this year.

Every other week or so, it seems, a new poll gauges Latinos' opinions about the candidates, the issues and their level of engagement. Both parties are pouring millions into their Latino outreach. Latino politicians have assumed prominent roles in the conventions of the Republican and Democratic parties. And a Latino senator is on the short list of potential running mates for presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Wed May 16, 2012

EU Human Rights Court Could Be Last Stop For German Claiming CIA Kidnapping

Khaled El-Masri.
ACLU

A German man, who says he was mistakenly shipped to a secret prison in Afghanistan as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program, took the stand at the European Union's human rights court today.

After unsuccessfully seeking redress in the U.S. and Germany, Khaled El-Masri is suing Macedonia, where he was allegedly kidnapped. El-Masri argued that the country was callous and calculating when it turned him over to the U.S. This hearing could also mark the end of the legal road for a case that spans eight years.

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The Two-Way
10:51 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Four Decades After Dying In Cambodia, Soldier To Receive Medal Of Honor

Army Specialist Leslie H. Sabo Jr. will posthumously receive the Medal of Honor at a White House ceremony.
army.mil

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:04 pm

President Barack Obama awarded a posthumous Medal of Honor today to Spec. Leslie H. Sabo Jr., a Pennsylvania rifleman killed after sacrificing his body to grenade fire in Vietnam during 1970's "Mother's Day Ambush".

A Defense Department description of Sabo's heroic actions says the 22-year old saved the lives of several other soldiers. He charged enemy positions and killed several North Vietnamese fighters while drawing fire away from his unit.

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Report: Syrian Opposition Sees Greater Support From Gulf States, U.S.

There's quite a bit of news coming of out of Syria today. The big one is a report from The Washington Post, quoting "U.S. and foreign officials" saying that the Persian Gulf states and the United States have stepped up their efforts to assist and arm the opposition.

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It's All Politics
10:46 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Minority Rules: Who Gets To Claim Status As A Person Of Color?

Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren is shown here attending a 2010 Capitol Hill hearing on the Troubled Asset Relief Program.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 2:13 pm

Massachusetts Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren isn't backing down from her claim of Native American ancestry, despite the apparent lack of primary documents proving that she's 1/32nd Cherokee.

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Shots - Health Blog
10:39 am
Wed May 16, 2012

Buyers Of Hyped Skechers 'Toning Shoes' Can Get Refunds

An ad that featured Brooke Burke touting Shape-ups as the latest way to burn off calories and make muscles stronger was cited by the Federal Trade Commission.
FTC

Originally published on Wed May 16, 2012 12:49 pm

No more ifs, ands or butts about the claims that Skechers USA made for its goofy-looking toning shoes.

The company has agreed to pay $40 million to settle claims that it deceived customers by saying its Shape-ups shoes would help people who wore them shed pounds and tone their abs, buttocks and legs, the Federal Trade Commission said.

The FTC alleged there's no evidence the Skechers shoes would do a better job by those measures than regular old gym shoes.

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