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It's All Politics
2:19 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Do Political Ads Actually Work?

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 9:31 am

Democrats and Republicans are on track to spend about $1 billion each on television advertising in the presidential race. Most of it is negative, and almost all of it is concentrated in nine battleground states.

If you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia or Wisconsin, you cannot get away from the ad blitz being waged by both sides. For the folks who track political advertising at Kantar Media CMAG, these commercials tell a story.

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StoryCorps
2:19 am
Fri October 26, 2012

After 30 Years Of Surgeries, Doctor And Patient Dance

Marcela Gaviria met Dr. Dempsey Springfield when she was 12, and he performed an operation to save her leg from complications from cancer. Since then, he's performed countless operations on her.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 9:44 am

When Marcela Gaviria was 7 years old, she was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a type of childhood bone cancer. She survived, and the cancer was cured — but it nearly took her leg.

When Gaviria was 12, she needed a bone transplant and met surgeon Dempsey Springfield, who performed the operation.

"I was pretty scared, I remember, and I think I survived a very sort of traumatic moment 'cause you were so kind," Gaviria, now 43, told Springfield at StoryCorps in Boston.

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Animals
2:19 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Hey, Sexy Dino, Show Me Your Feathers

This artistic interpretation shows an adult and juvenile feathered ornithomimid dinosaurs.
Julius Csotonyi Science

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 6:43 pm

Some of the weirdest animal behavior is about romance. That's especially true with birds — they croon or dance or display brilliant feathers to seduce the reluctant.

This sort of sexual display apparently has a long pedigree: There's now new evidence that some dinosaurs may have used the same come-on.

The source is a kind of dinosaur that was built like a 400-pound ostrich. It lived about 75 million years ago and is called ornithomimus, meaning "bird mimic."

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Planet Money
2:19 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Energy Independence Wouldn't Make Gasoline Any Cheaper

Friedemann Vogel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 2:05 pm

Just about every president since Richard Nixon has set energy independence as a goal, and both major candidates have brought it up the current campaign.

As it turns out, there is a place, not so far from here, that has achieved energy independence: Canada.

Canada produces far more oil than it consumes. They're not dependent on the Middle East! They've got all the oil they need!

I called Stephen Gordon, a professor of economics at Université Laval in Quebec City, to ask him about what energy independence means for his nation.

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Strange News
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Obama Says Beef With Trump Goes Back To Childhood

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep. Donald Trump returned to the headlines, offering $5 million if President Obama would release college and passport records. Jay Leno brought this up when the president appeared on "The Tonight Show."

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "THE TONIGHT SHOW")

JAY LENO: What's this thing with Trump and you? I don't - it's like me and Letterman. What has he got against you?

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This all dates back to when we were growing up together in Kenya.

Strange News
5:05 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Cocoa City, Fla., To Citizens: Pull Up Your Pants

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's All Politics
3:02 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Watchdog Groups Prep For Voter Intimidation, Fraud

A sign directing voters to a polling place is seen during the first day of early voting on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 5:05 am

Concerns about problems at the polls appear to be greater and coming earlier than usual this election year. Already, mysterious phone calls in Florida and Virginia have told voters they can vote by phone — which they cannot do.

And until this week, there were anonymous billboards in Ohio and Wisconsin warning that voter fraud is a felony — which it is.

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All Tech Considered
2:39 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Watching TV Online Often Exposes Slow Bandwidth

In much of America, the availability of online video is often frustrated by slow broadband speeds. In this 2011 photo, Valerie Houde waits for a dial-up Internet connection in East Burke, Vt.
Andy Duback AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:20 am

There are more ways than ever to watch TV programs on the Internet, from Netflix and Amazon to Hulu. But many viewers discover that watching TV on the Web can be frustrating. Their favorite show might suddenly stop, stutter and be replaced by a note that reads "buffering." The problem is lack of bandwidth: The data that is the video just can't squeeze through the wires and onto the screen.

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Africa
2:38 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Poachers Decimate Tanzania's Elephant Herds

Tanzania has been identified as the leading exporter of illegal ivory in recent years. An estimated 10,000 elephants are being slaughtered in the country annually. Here, elephants walk in the Serengeti National Reserve in northern Tanzania in 2010.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 9:17 am

"The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it." — Joseph Conrad in Heart of Darkness

Conrad wrote more than a century ago, when there were no laws against shooting elephants. If anything, today's restrictions on the ivory trade have only increased its value.

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National Security
2:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

Energy Independence For U.S.? Try Energy Security

A drilling rig near Kennedy, Texas, on May 9. U.S. oil output is surging so fast that the United States could soon overtake Saudi Arabia as the world's biggest producer.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 12:17 pm

Gone from this year's presidential campaign are most mentions of climate change, environmental pollution, or green jobs. Former Gov. Mitt Romney, the GOP presidential nominee, prefers to call attention instead to the country's continuing dependence on foreign energy sources.

"I will set a national goal of North American energy independence by the year 2020," Romney declared in August.

The line is now a standard part of Romney's stump speech, and he repeated it in his first two debates with President Obama.

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Author Interviews
2:37 am
Thu October 25, 2012

From Ship To Sherlock: Doyle's 'Arctic' Diary

On Thursday, July 29, 1880, Doyle wrote, "Came across a most extraordinary natural snow house, about 12 feet high, shaped like a beehive with a door and a fine room inside in which I sat. Traveled a considerable distance, and would have gone to the Pole, but my matches ran short and I couldn't get a smoke."
Courtesy of University of Chicago Press

Originally published on Thu October 25, 2012 5:05 am

On June 15, 1880, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a vivid sentence in his diary. It read, "The only difference in the weather is that the fog is thicker and the wind more utterly odious and depraved."

Knowing that he was the creator of Sherlock Holmes, you might think Doyle is referring to the thick London fog drifting outside the windows of 221B Baker Street. But this sentence was written years before the first Holmes novel and it describes a considerably harsher environment — the thick fog and depraved wind of the Arctic, where Doyle traveled when he was 20.

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Strange News
5:30 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Superman's Alter Ego Quits 'The Daily Planet'

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. Stop the presses. Clark Kent is quitting The Daily Planet. The mild-mannered reporter apparently decided to show a little steel after being scolded one time too many by Editor-in-Chief Perry White. Superman's alter ego goes out big. Before the entire staff, he rails against the newspaper's new emphasis on entertainment and scandals. After seven decades on the news desk, Clark is reportedly reinventing himself in new media. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Strange News
5:30 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Animal Law Student Aims To Fight Dog Discrimination

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 6:10 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

All Tech Considered
4:01 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Google's Street View Goes Into The Wild

Before Steve Silverman helped Google build its new Trekker, he built cameras for NASA to photograph the surface of Mars. Silverman says the Trekker is built to survive in intense conditions. It will boot up at 10 below zero Celsius or at 110 Fahrenheit. It will even work after being fully submerged in water.
Steve Henn NPR

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 7:23 pm

Google's Street View maps are headed into the backcountry. Earlier this week, two teams from Google strapped on sophisticated backpacks jammed with cameras, gyroscopes and other gadgets, and descended to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. But this is just the first step in the search giant's plan to digitally map and photograph the world's wild places.

Luc Vincent — who runs Google's Street View — met up with a small group of reporters on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon this week.

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Afghanistan
3:04 am
Wed October 24, 2012

U.S. Eager To Step Aside; Are Afghan Forces Ready?

Afghan soldiers stand at attention during a ceremony transferring authority from NATO-led troops to Afghan security forces in Afghanistan's Kunar province. The transfer of responsibility for security from NATO-led ISAF forces to Afghan troops is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

America's exit strategy in Afghanistan is to have Afghan forces take the lead in fighting for their country. But too often these days, the job still falls to U.S. troops.

A senior officer in Afghanistan tells NPR that Americans continue to coddle Afghan forces and that this must stop. Tough love is in, the officer says. He says the Afghan forces are far more capable than the U.S. estimates and have simply grown accustomed to the U.S. doing everything for them.

That pretty much sums up the situation in southern Afghanistan earlier this year.

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The Impact of War
3:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

Vet Walks On New Legs, With A Little Help From Mom

Nick Staback, who lost both of his legs to a bomb in Afghanistan, talks with his mother, Maria Staback, in Scranton, Pa. Maria Staback took a leave of absence from her job to move in with her son while he was recuperating at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center outside Washington, D.C.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 12:58 pm

On furlough from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center this summer, 21-year-old Nick Staback lounges on his parents' back porch in Scranton, Pa., taking potshots at sparrows with a replica sniper rifle. The long plastic gun fires pellets that mostly just scare the birds away.

It's been a tough year for Staback since his last foot patrol in Afghanistan.

"We [were] just channeling down a beaten trail, of course, you just don't know what's on it," he says. "We had the mine sweepers out front and everything like that."

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How We Watch What We Watch
3:03 am
Wed October 24, 2012

So Many Screens, And So Little Time To Watch

A visitor looks at a bank of TV screens at a consumer electronics show in Berlin. While TV and movies are available on many devices, consumers often struggle to find exactly what they want, television critic Eric Deggans says.
Adam Berry Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

While sitting on a couch and gazing at a 50-inch TV remains a popular pastime in America, smaller screens have also edged their way into our lives. Phones, tablets and video game devices crowd pockets and coffee tables, offering access to what used to be called "TV," at any time of the day.

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Sweetness And Light
8:03 pm
Tue October 23, 2012

Brooklyn Finally Nets A Team Of Its Own

C.J. Watson of the Brooklyn Nets dribbles upcourt in a preseason game against the Philadelphia 76ers. The New York City borough finally has a pro sports team to call its own, says Frank Deford.
Bruce Bennett Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 5:30 am

It's largely forgotten now — but there was a time when the mere mention of Brooklyn would produce a cascade of laughs. It was like saying "woman driver" — surefire guffaws. Everybody from Brooklyn was supposed to be a character.

Every platoon in every war movie had one wise guy from Brooklyn in it. Brooklyn natives spoke funny. They said, most famously, "youse guys." At a time when African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Hispanics barely existed — visibly — in movies or on radio or television, Brooklyn was the all-purpose stand-in for our great American ethnic diversity.

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Strange News
3:53 am
Tue October 23, 2012

A Captive Beluga Whale's Remarkably Human Song

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a tale of the singing whale. Scientists this week published a study of a captive beluga whale in San Diego. The whale began to sing, apparently after spending time close to people. It died several years ago, but left behind a recording that sounds like a person in the shower.

(SOUNDBITE OF WHALE SINGING)

INSKEEP: We do not know if during his lifetime the singing whale ever made it to a karaoke bar.

Strange News
3:53 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Bridge Designers Envision Giant Trampolines

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Asia
2:58 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Malala Isn't Alone: Another Pakistani Girl's Dream

Pakistani security personnel stand guard in front of a burnt-out school following an attack by the Pakistani Taliban in the northwestern district of Upper Dir in June 2011. The Taliban have destroyed many schools in northwestern Pakistan.
AFP Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 6:18 pm

Stop someone in the street. Ask them about the case of Malala Yousafzai. They will likely know — after the worldwide publicity given to her story — that Malala is the Pakistani teenager who was shot for demanding the right of girls to go to school.

They will surely know, too, that the people who shot Malala in the head from close range were the Pakistani Taliban. They will probably view Malala as the heroine she clearly is. And the Taliban will be seen as the violent fanatics that they surely are.

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All Tech Considered
2:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Microsoft, An Empire Under Siege, Makes Its Next Moves

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer speaks at a Microsoft event in San Francisco in July. This week, Microsoft launches Windows 8, a radical redesign of its operating system, as well as a new set of tablet computers.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 4:49 pm

Microsoft, the company that defined the PC, is still enormously profitable — but not as profitable as it once was.

This week, Microsoft will try to regroup. It is rolling out the largest upgrade of its Windows software in more than a decade. All of this is meant to help the company break into the exploding market for mobile.

While the company still commands a formidable computing empire, it is now under attack.

Microsoft's CEO is Steve Ballmer, a big, bombastic, balding guy. These days he's riled up about Windows 8.

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Author Interviews
2:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Running Toward Redemption On 'Ransom Road'

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 am

Meet a man with a powerful addiction — to running. Caleb Daniloff says he believes the sport saved him from addictions that were far worse, and he's written a new book, called Running Ransom Road: Confronting the Past, One Marathon at a Time, about his experiences.

Daniloff has run some familiar marathons — New York and Boston — but he's also been to a place not famous for outdoor running: Moscow.

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Books News & Features
2:38 am
Tue October 23, 2012

America's Facebook Generation Is Reading Strong

Pew's study found that 60 percent of Americans under 30 used the library in the past year.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 23, 2012 3:53 am

In what may come as a pleasant surprise to people who fear the Facebook generation has given up on reading — or, at least, reading anything longer than 140 characters — a new report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project reveals the prominent role of books, libraries and technology in the lives of young readers, ages 16 to 29. Kathryn Zickuhr, the study's main author, joins NPR's David Greene to discuss the results.

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Sports
6:11 am
Mon October 22, 2012

World Cycling Body Upholds U.S. Ruling On Armstrong

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Lance Armstrong became a bicycle racing legend when he won every Tour de France from 1999 to 2005. But after what happened today, there will be no official record of all those victories. Cycling's international governing body announced it will not appeal sanctions by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

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Strange News
4:17 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Deceased Man's Treasured Maps Go To L.A. Library

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Strange News
3:53 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Out-Of-This-World Nuptials For London Klingon Couple

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 6:11 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

All Tech Considered
2:34 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Six New Video Games That Will Get You Hooked

Machinarium from Amanita Design is an adventure game centered a robot who has been sent to the scrap heap. Players solve puzzles to help the robot return to the city.
Amanita Design

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 12:03 pm

Video game makers are rolling out their new titles — with a wide range of creativity and style — just in time for the holiday shopping season. Jamin Warren, founder of Kill Screen magazine, shares his list of video games you should keep your eye on:

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Television
2:33 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Ratings Success? It's All In The (ABC) Family

Broadway veteran Sutton Foster stars in the ABC Family show Bunheads, which, while focusing on adults, is still popular with ABC Family's demographic.
Adam Larkey ABC Family

Originally published on Tue November 27, 2012 3:09 pm

In a sterile white boardroom in ABC Family's headquarters in Los Angeles, two young women are assiduously ignoring a spread of cookies in favor of two more important things: their laptops and a live broadcast of the show Pretty Little Liars playing on a large flat-screen TV.

Dalia Ganz, 28, is the show's social-media manager. She's patiently teaching one of the beautiful young actors on the show how to live-tweet this episode.

"Include #prettylittleliars in your answers," she instructs. That is a literal transcription of her words.

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The Salt
2:31 am
Mon October 22, 2012

Swapping Out Sugary Soda For Diet Drinks May Help Tip The Scale In Your Favor

Drinking diet soda and other low-calorie drinks may help you manage weight, but experts say plain old H2O is still the best way to go.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 10:42 am

Diet soda. We love it or hate it. But there's no doubt that consumption is on the rise. More Americans than ever are drinking diet colas, along with other zero- and low-calorie alternatives.

While diet drink consumption is up across the entire population — about 1 in 5 of us consume them — it's higher-income, middle-aged women who are most likely to be sipping diet drinks, according to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey.

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