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Music Interviews
12:12 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Perfume Genius: A 'Creepy, Beautiful Mix'

Perfume Genius.
Angel Ceballos Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:07 am

Mike Hadreas describes the sound of Perfume Genius as "that kind of creepy, beautiful mix of things — that warm wash of something that is beautiful, but unsettling at the same time."

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Animals
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Study: Red Noses Help Reindeers Cope With Polar Air

Rudolph is of course known as the red-nosed reindeer, and scientists say they may know why that's the case.

Physiologist Dan Milstein with the University of Amsterdam and a group of colleagues examined the noses of several living reindeer.

"There was a much richer amount of blood vessels present inside Rudolph's or reindeer's nose in comparison to humans," Milstein says.

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The Salt
2:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Computers May Someday Beat Chefs At Creating Flavors We Crave

Does bell pepper and black tea sound appetizing? A computer may think so.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 8:06 am

Mario Batali, watch your back.

Computer scientists at IBM have already built a computer that can beat human contestants on the TV quiz show, "Jeopardy." Now it appears they're sharpening their intellectual knives to make a computer that might someday challenge the competitors on "Iron Chef."

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

'Prophet School' Trains A New Generation In Israel

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 6:34 am

Hear the word "prophet" and the names Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus or Mohammed may come to mind. While these are figures from the distant past, Rabbi Shmuel Fortman Hapartzi is training a new generation of prophets for a new age.

Fortman runs the Cain and Abel School for Prophets in Tel Aviv. It's named for the sons of Adam and Eve who, in the Bible, were the first human beings born of woman to speak directly to God and therefore, Fortman says, the first prophets.

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NPR Story
1:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Instead Of Celebration, Christmas A Time For Solace In Newtown

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:22 pm

In Newtown, Conn., Christmas is very different this year, a little more than a week after the shooting at an elementary school. Eight families that attend St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church lost children to the tragedy. Parishioners came to Christmas masses there seeking solace, and priests gave a message of hope and comfort.

NPR Story
1:58 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

The Bittersweet Tale Of An Odd Christmas Cookie Sandwich

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We've asked you to tell us what you eat on Christmas Day, regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday. And one thing we've learned from your emails, many of you do share common food traditions: puddings, cookies, eggnog. And some of you have your own little bit of quirk, like Sarah Schwab's(ph) family in Milwaukee. They have a special drink.

SARAH SCHWAB: It's called a Holiday Harvey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Energy
12:25 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Texas Man Takes Last Stand Against Keystone XL Pipeline

David Daniel, an east Texas landowner, was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:20 pm

An east Texas landowner was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he took to his trees and built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.

"It popped into my head a long time ago, actually," says 45-year-old David Daniel. "If I had to climb my butt on top of a tree and sit there, I would. It started with that."

It turned out to be Daniel's last stand in a long battle against the Keystone XL, a pipeline project that would bring oil from Canada all the way to refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast.

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Arts & Life
8:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

No Sugar Plums Here: The Dark, Romantic Roots Of 'The Nutcracker'

E.T.A. Hoffmann's original story, "Nutcracker and Mouse King," is darker and spookier than the ballet version most people know.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 2:20 pm

This is the time of year when one man's work is widely — if indirectly — celebrated. His name used to be hugely famous, but nowadays, it draws blank stares, even from people who know that work. We're speaking about E.T.A. Hoffmann, original author of The Nutcracker.

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Asia
5:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In India, All Religions Join In 'The Big Day'

Carolers from St. Columba's School in New Delhi stage their annual Christmas program, where the student body is Catholic, Sikh and Hindu.
Julie McCarthy NPR

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 3:43 pm

India, the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism, marks the birth of Jesus with a national holiday.

Indians call Christmas bara din, or the Big Day.

Chef Bhakshish Dean, a Punjabi Christian, traces the roots of Christianity in India through food.

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Around the Nation
5:27 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Is Santa's Sleigh Powered By Caribou?

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
5:19 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Santa Amazes Deaf Boy's Mother

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Africa
2:41 am
Tue December 25, 2012

U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa

Gen. Carter Ham is head of the U.S. African command. An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., will begin helping train African militaries beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:22 am

An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.

The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.

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Middle East
2:14 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Dig Finds Evidence Of Pre-Jesus Bethlehem

The Israel Antiquities Authority says archeologists have found the oldest artifact that bears the inscription of Bethlehem, a 2,700-year-old clay seal with the name of Jesus' traditional birthplace.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:13 am

Thousands of Christian pilgrims streamed into Bethlehem Monday night to celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's the major event of the year in that West Bank town. But Israeli archaeologists now say there is strong evidence that Christ was born in a different Bethlehem, a small village in the Galilee.

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U.S.
2:04 am
Tue December 25, 2012

In Pursuit of Recognition: An Undocumented Immigrant's Resilient Fight

Sofia Campos, 23, is the head of the United We Dream campaign — a national network of youth-led immigrant organizations. Campos was born in Peru, but grew up in California, entirely unaware of her undocumented status until she tried applying for college scholarships.
Courtesy of Sofia Campos

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Unlike many undocumented immigrants, Sofia Campos is not afraid to give her real name.

"It's deliberate, and it's liberating," she says. "It's kind of a shock to hear somebody say, 'I am undocumented' or wear the 'I am undocumented' T-shirt, just in your face."

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Economy
2:03 am
Tue December 25, 2012

Back To The Economy Of The '90s? Not So Fast

A lone employee oversees Hewlett-Packard workstations being assembled at a plant on Jan. 1, 1993. Huge improvements in computer technology propelled the economy during that decade.
Ovak Arslanian Time

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 7:42 am

Throughout the debate over taxes and the "fiscal cliff," there's been a lot of looking backward — to the 1990s. The economic expansion of the 1990s was the longest in recorded American history.

Democrats say the economy thrived under the leadership of President Bill Clinton, including his tax rate increase on high earners. Republicans say government didn't spend as much then and that growth didn't really take off until the GOP took control of Congress in 1995.

So what actually happened in the '90s? What made them tick?

A Unique Boom

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Middle East
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

As Syrian War Grinds On, A Rebel Keeps Reinventing Himself

In March 2011, at the beginning of the Syrian uprising, protester Ibrahim Abazid made a massive white flag out of a sugar sack. This picture of him waving the flag in his hometown of Dera'a became a hugely popular image. Now Abazid hopes to serve on a city council in Dera'a.
Courtesy of Ibrahim Abazid

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:51 pm

Ibrahim Abazid had no idea he would be part of a nationwide revolt in Syria — or that his role would keep evolving.

It was March 2011. Some teenagers in his hometown, Dera'a, got arrested for spray painting anti-government slogans outside a school. Rumors began circulating that the teenagers were being tortured while in detention in the southern town.

In the broader region, Arab protesters had been filling the streets for months. Dictators in Tunisia and Egypt had already fallen. Abazid and his friends went to pray.

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Around the Nation
3:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Finding New Meaning In The Loss Of A Son

Ronan at 2 years old. "I know Ronan's purpose in life was to shed light on this disease," says his mother, Maya Thompson. "This is why I will continue to fight for childhood cancer for the rest of my life."
Courtesy of Maya Thompson

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:00 pm

This is a story about loss and meaning. It's the story of a boy who died and a mother who tottered at the precipice of despair. It's about faith — not in God, but in the ability to build from ashes.

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It's All Politics
3:00 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Obama Administration Deported Record 1.5 Million People

Employees with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency search Guatemalan immigrants before they are put aboard a deportation flight to Guatemala City on June 24, 2011, in Mesa, Ariz.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 6:34 pm

Although President Obama supports setting a path to citizenship for many illegal immigrants, his administration deported a record 1.5 million of them in his first term.

In addition, the latest data released by the government in recent days show that an unprecedented 409,849 people were deported for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30.

The increase from the previous year occurred despite policy changes ordered by Obama to reduce the deportations of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.

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National Security
2:29 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Hagel Would Be First Former Enlisted Soldier To Run Pentagon

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., and then-presidential candidate Barack Obama in Amman, Jordan, in 2008.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 9:20 am

Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska is said to be on President Obama's short list to be the next defense secretary. But even the possibility of his nomination has stirred up opposition — particularly from members of his own political party.

If Hagel can survive a political ambush in Washington, he would be the first Pentagon chief who saw combat as an enlisted soldier.

The blunt-spoken Hagel favors deeper cuts in military spending and is wary of entangling America in long overseas missions.

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The Salt
2:22 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Christmas A Busy Season For Tamale-Makers

Tamales in Ofelio Crespo's home on Dec. 20.
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

For Christmas, Central and Mexican-American families don't crave a holiday turkey; they want a plate of steaming hot tamales.

Gustavo Arellano, author of the book Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, says that to him, tamales are more than food. They transmit Latino culture during Christmas.

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Business
2:15 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Detroit Three Look To Revive Their Luxury Brands

Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford Motor Co., stands next to the Lincoln MKZ. For the first time ever, Ford will promote the Lincoln brand during the Super Bowl.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 5:19 pm

GM, Ford and Chrysler are turning their focus to selling luxury cars — something they haven't succeeded at in decades. They're hoping that success in the competitive but lucrative luxury sector will signal that the U.S. auto industry's comeback is complete.

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Shots - Health News
2:09 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

UOK? 'Dystextia' Alerts Doctors To Neurological Problems

Doctors used a type of MRI test to look at the blood vessels in the brain of a woman with dystextia. The test confirmed she was suffering from a stroke on the right side of her brain
Archives of Neurology

A young, pregnant woman went for a routine doctor's visit to find out her due date. As she was leaving the office, she got a text message from her husband:

Husband: So what's the deal?

Wife: Every where thinging days nighing

Wife: Some is where!

Husband: What the hell does that mean?

Husband: You're not making any sense.

Turns out the woman was having a stroke. And her garbled texting — something doctors are now calling 'dystextia' — was an early clue to the problem.

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Shootings In Newtown, Conn.
1:51 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Pulling Together, Newtown Celebrates Holiday 'As Best We Can'

Mourners put decorations on a Christmas tree, part of a memorial in Newtown, Conn. Holiday greetings, toys and cards have flowed into the town, and some residents say the community feels closer-knit since the shooting.
Zhang Chuanshi Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:18 pm

The days leading up to Christmas are typically bustling in Newtown, Conn. But given the depth of grief in this community since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, preparations for the holiday began very late.

Local shopkeepers say Saturday was the first day many people came out for holiday shopping since the tragedy. Tamara Doherty, owner of the Wishing Well — a shop filled with local crafts, Christmas ornaments, pottery and potpourri — says her business is finally picking up.

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NPR Story
1:33 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

No Breakthrough In Sight For Peaceful Transition In Syria

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

Amid continued bloodshed in several parts of Syria, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi held another round of talks with President Bashar Assad in Damascus. But there was no sign of progress toward a peace deal.

NPR Story
1:33 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Firefighters Trapped And Shot After Responding To Blaze

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

Two firefighters died and two others were hospitalized in western New York on Monday. They were shot after responding to a fire in the town of Webster, outside Rochester. Police say the gunman is also dead, and they're not ruling out the possibility that the firefighters were led into a trap.

Music
1:22 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Another Year, Another 'Christmas With The Chipmunks'

The Chipmunks, left to right: Simon, Theodore, Alvin.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 4:37 pm

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Deceptive Cadence
1:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

Whatever Happened To The Classical Christmas Album?

A sampling of one listener's cherished classical Christmas albums from a few years back.
Mito Habe-Evans NPR

Originally published on Thu January 3, 2013 12:38 pm

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The Two-Way
12:03 pm
Mon December 24, 2012

One Comment Says A Lot: Here's Why We're Grateful

Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

We want to say thank you.

Our colleague Kate Myers has been helping us look back on The Two-Way's year — the most popular posts, the most frequent commenters, the heaviest traffic days and other such measures. We'll share some of what she's found in coming days.

But something Kate just turned up strikes us as worth noting right away.

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The Two-Way
11:53 am
Mon December 24, 2012

A Moveable Feast: What Are You Leaving For Santa?

Aside from the traditional plate of cookies, some households planned to leave Santa gourmet surprises that would land most people on the naughty list at the local gym.
Larry Crowe AP

Milk and cookies might be the traditional Santa offering on Christmas Eve, but in at least one household, St. Nicholas will be getting smoked salmon and scotch.

It's just one out-of-the-ordinary example we gleaned from a call out to fans of NPR's Facebook page. Many of them involved a different sort of Christmas "spirit" — the kind that could push Mr. Claus over the legal limit, at least during the U.S. leg of his annual aerial circumnavigation.

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All Tech Considered
11:24 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Kenyan Women Create Their Own 'Geek Culture'

Kenyan Susan Oguya created an app to help farmers in her homeland. Shown here in the office of her company, M-Farm, she also belongs to the group Akirachix, which seeks to bring more Kenyan women into the tech world.
Gregory Warner

Originally published on Mon December 24, 2012 3:18 pm

When a collective of female computer programmers in Kenya needed a name for their ladies-only club, they took their inspiration from the Japanese cult film Akira.

"So akira is a Japanese word. It means energy and intelligence. And we are energetic and intelligent chicks," says Judith Owigar, the president of Akirachix.

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