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The Salt
1:18 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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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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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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Music Reviews
12:14 pm
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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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
11:12 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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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...
9:46 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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The Two-Way
8:25 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Good Signs: Home Sales Are Up; Builders' Confidence Is Also Higher

This home sold last month in Miami.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 12:39 pm

Two positive economic indicators:

-- "Sales of existing homes increased in October, even with some regional impact from Hurricane Sandy, while home prices continued to rise due to lower levels of inventory supply," the National Association of Realtors reports.

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The Two-Way
8:04 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Outrage In India Over Woman's Arrest For Facebook Post

Bal Thackeray's funeral cortege made its way through a sea of supporters in Mumbai on Sunday.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

There was no violence, as had been feared, when hundreds of thousands of people gathered Sunday in Mumbai, India, to express their grief over the death of Bal Thackeray, "a Hindu extremist leader linked to waves of mob violence against Muslims and migrant workers in India."

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The Two-Way
6:56 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Top Stories: Israel, Hamas Trade More Fire; Obama Visits Cambodia

In New York City's Rockaway neighborhood, a sign asking for help in the clean-up.
Spencer Platt Getty Images
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The Two-Way
6:23 am
Mon November 19, 2012

U.S. Policy Is To Say 'Burma'; Obama Also Uses 'Myanmar'

President Obama and President Thein Sein of Myanmar (also known as Burma) earlier today in Yangon.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 10:31 am

  • NPR's Scott Horsley, reporting on 'Morning Edition'

We've noted before that whether you call the Southeast Asian nation Burma or Myanmar has mattered to many for many years.

It's official U.S. policy, out of support for the opposition that has pressed for democratic reform in that country, to call it Burma. That's the name the nation was known by before a military regime took power in 1989 and started using Myanmar.

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Asia
5:46 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Why Obama Put Asia On The Agenda Now

President Obama (center) and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (right) toured the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on Monday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Mon November 19, 2012 7:07 am

President Obama, in the midst of a five-day trip to Asia, is making stops in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar. But the strongest diplomatic signals are probably aimed farther north, at China, which has significant economic and strategic interests in the region.

Obama, who has billed himself as "America's first Pacific president" has already made several trips to Asia, but his administration's goal of making a "pivot" to the region — both militarily and diplomatically — has been hamstrung by the need to wind down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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The Two-Way
5:25 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Pressure For Truce Grows, But Israel And Hamas Continue Firing

A man covers his face as he passes smoke and fire after Israeli air strikes in Gaza City earlier today.
Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:48 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Anthony Kuhn reports from Gaza City
  • On 'Morning Editon': Sheera Frankel reports about 'Iron Dome'

(We rewrote the top of this post at 7:45 p.m. ET to sum up the day's news.)

The sixth day of Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip saw Israel striking a media center and other Palestinian targets, raising the Palestinian death toll to more than 100. Palestinian militants fired 95 rockets at Israel; a third of them were intercepted by Iron Dome, the Israeli missile shield. Also Monday, a flurry of diplomacy that attempted to mediate a cease-fire between the two sides.

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Business
4:58 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Visa Card Worth Its Weight In Gold

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne with a credit card that's worth its weight in gold. For those who want to buy bling with bling, a bank in Kazakhstan plans to offer a Visa card made of gold, plus a couple of dozen diamonds and mother of pearl. It will require $100,000 upfront and an annual fee of $2,000, but there are no late fees and you get a free iPhone. It won't be the first bejeweled card, just the first made of pure gold. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
4:53 am
Mon November 19, 2012

ATM Spews Cash In Glasgow, Scotland

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Does technology enrich our lives? This weekend in Glasgow, Scotland, it did. A Bank of Scotland ATM was dispensing cash at double the amount requested. Lines formed around the block until the police came. The bank says it's unlikely they'll try to get their money back. And they apologize for, quote, "any inconvenience caused." We suspect no apologies needed. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

National Security
4:34 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Maritial Fidelity Is A Sensitive Topic For Military

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Marital fidelity is a sensitive subject for many in the military. Relationships are often strained by distance, frequent moves, the dangers of war. Gen. David Petraeus' admission that he had an extramarital affair has led some military families to reflect on the difficulties of keeping their personal relationships whole. Reporter Joanna Richards spoke with families from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, in upstate New York.

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Political Junkie
4:33 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Both Sides Itching For A Confirmation Fight Over Susan Rice

Some Republicans are betting that President Obama won't push for a Susan Rice nomination if it could jeopardize negotiations with the GOP on things like the budget, or immigration.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 4, 2012 5:23 pm

The election was over. As President Obama faced the press in the East Room of the White House on Wednesday, the anger and bitterness of his long battle with Mitt Romney seemed to have faded. Unlike President George W. Bush after his 2004 re-election — and his comments about having political capital and intending to spend it — Obama seemed a bit more humble victor, talking more about compromise and saying he was willing to hear other points of view to solve the nation's problems.

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Environment
4:05 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Sandy Stirs Up Superfund Site In New Jersey

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

As the Northeast states take stock of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, a new concern is coming into focus. New York and New Jersey have dozens of superfund sites close to the shore. Some of these toxic zones were flooded by Sandy's storm surge.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ilya Marritz, of member station WNYC, reports that in New Jersey's largest city there are worries that toxic chemicals may have been swept into people's homes.

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Asia
4:00 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Obama Pays Historic Visit To Myanmar Monday

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

President Obama paid a historic visit to Myanmar today. The southeast Asian country, also known as Burma, is tiptoeing towards democracy after almost 50 years in military rule. Mr. Obama met with the former leader who is now the president of Burma and with opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is not a member of parliament after years of house arrest. The visit is the centerpiece of the president's three-day Asian tour, which is meant to underscore the United States' growing involvement in the region.

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Law
3:55 am
Mon November 19, 2012

BP Legal Troubles Persist Over Gulf Spill

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

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Around the Nation
3:27 am
Mon November 19, 2012

California Learns From Hurricane Sandy In Northeast

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Emergency managers around the nation have been paying close attention to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. From California, NPR's Richard Gonzales a look at what lessons disaster planners there say they've learned.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Superstorm Sandy didn't sneak up on anybody.

CHRISTOPHER GODLEY: They had days of warning before it made landfall, before the damage really started to occur, so people could prepare themselves, their families, their neighborhoods.

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Middle East
3:16 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Violence In Gaza Strip Enters A Second Week

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:48 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

The day had started with more intense air attacks between Israel and the militant Hamas rulers of Gaza. Overnight air raids pushed the Palestinian death toll to more than 90, with more than 700 wounded. The numbers on the Israeli side are dramatically lower, with three dead so far.

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Middle East
2:49 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Israeli Fans Adore Rocket Stopper Iron Dome

Two Iron Dome missiles launched near Ashdod, Israel, intercept a rocket fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip on Sunday. Israeli officials joke that a "cult of the Iron Dome" has developed, as Israelis have started running out of their homes, rather then into their bunkers, to film Iron Dome at work.
Ariel Schalit AP

Originally published on Sun November 25, 2012 7:48 am

Hamas militants have fired hundreds of missiles at Israel since the conflict intensified last week. Many of those missiles have fallen prey to Iron Dome, the U.S.-funded anti-missile system deployed in key areas across Israel.

In the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, guests at a wedding had barely managed to get through the hors d'oeuvres when a siren sounded warning of incoming rocket fire.

But instead of taking cover, the guests point at the sky and gawk as Israel's Iron Dome missile interceptor system explodes six Hamas rockets in midair.

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Business
2:49 am
Mon November 19, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 8:38 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

NPR's business news begins with credit card debt rising.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MONTAGNE: Americans are running up more debt on their credit cards, and that could be a good sign. The average American had almost $5,000 of credit card debt in the third quarter of 2012, up almost 5 percent over the previous quarter.

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