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1:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Underground Cities And 'Ghost' Miners: What Some People Do For Gold

The price of gold rose dramatically after Lehman Brothers collapsed in 2008.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:41 pm

Gold is assumed to have eternal, inherent value, but what makes it valuable? And what determines its value now that it's no longer the basis of our currency? In the book Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal, journalist Matthew Hart examines the new gold rush driven by investors. He travels to gold mines — including the Mponeng mine in South Africa, where he descended into the deepest man-made hole on Earth — and investigates why gold and crime sometimes go hand in hand.

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Author Interviews
1:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Ted Williams: A Perfectionist Ballplayer With Many Demons

Ted Williams, pictured here in 1941, was deeply marked by his parents' absence while he and his brother were growing up.
AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:16 pm

There are great ballplayers, and then there's Ted Williams. In a 22-year career, Williams accomplished things that give him a legitimate claim to being the greatest hitter who ever lived; but he was also a tormented soul who hurt a lot of people, including himself.

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The Salt
12:31 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Your Waiter Is Having A Bad Day. Can You Tell?

Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 6:11 pm

Imagine how Robbie Travis felt. He waits tables at Libertine, a high-end restaurant just outside St. Louis, and his ex insisted on coming in just a few days after they'd broken up.

Like everyone else, waiters and waitresses have to show up for work on days they'd rather be anywhere else. But it's especially tough to shrug off a bad mood in a job where people expect you to greet them gladly.

"You have to fake it a little bit," Travis says. "That's what pays the bills."

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The Two-Way
12:25 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

American Held In North Korea Reportedly Oversaw Guerrilla Group In War

Park Boo Seo (right), a former member of the Korean Kuwol partisan unit, speaks about Merrill Newman, an American tourist detained in North Korea. Newman supervised the group during the Korean War.
Ahn Young-joon AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:03 pm

Merrill Newman, the 85-year-old American war veteran and tourist who was arrested in North Korea in October, once supervised a guerrilla group of "perhaps the most hated and feared fighters" of the Korean War, some of his former comrades say. That's according to The Associated Press, which offers details about Newman's service as a possible explanation for his detention.

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The Two-Way
12:18 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

Cleveland Kidnapper's Death Was Suicide, Experts Say

Ariel Castro in court on July 17.
Marvin Fong The Plain Dealer/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:59 pm

Cleveland kidnapper Ariel Castro committed suicide by hanging himself, two independent corrections consultants said in a report released on Tuesday.

Before this report was released, a review by a state prisons agency had suggested that Castro died in September while performing autoerotic asphyxiation. That is likely not the case, Lindsay M. Hayes and Fred Cohen, who were hired by Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, found.

The AP reports:

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The Two-Way
11:39 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Detroit Is Eligible For Bankruptcy Protection, Judge Rules

The Detroit skyline as seen from Windsor, Ontario, across the Detroit River.
Rebecca Cook Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 6:55 am

The largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history took a major step forward Tuesday when a federal judge ruled that the city of Detroit is eligible for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. bankruptcy code.

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The Two-Way
11:10 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Thai Anti-Government Protesters Claim 'Partial Victory'

An anti-government protester cuts a lock on a gate outside Government House in Bangkok, Thailand, on Tuesday.
Wason Wanichakorn AP

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:12 pm

Anti-government protesters in Thailand are claiming a symbolic victory Tuesday after police allowed them to swarm into the prime minister's compound and shout slogans.

The protests began Nov. 24 but turned violent two days ago when police clashed with demonstrators opposed to the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Four people were killed and more than 250 others wounded in the past three days, according to The Associated Press.

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Shots - Health News
11:00 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Overweight And Healthy: A Combo That Looks Too Good To Be True

Gym members warm up on treadmills at Downsize Fitness in Addison, Texas. Membership at the gym is limited to people who have a high body mass index.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Thu December 5, 2013 9:30 am

Overweight or obese people are indeed more likely to die prematurely than people of normal weight, say researchers who've analyzed the data. Their conclusion throws cold water on recent studies that have found some excess weight isn't so bad.

Earlier this year, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that overweight people actually live a bit longer than their skinnier peers.

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The Two-Way
10:23 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Chimps Are People, Too? Lawsuit Will Test That Question

A four-month-old baby Chimpanzee is seen at the National Zoo in Kuala Lumpur in February 2013.
Mohd Rasfan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 12:20 pm

Is a chimp, living as a pet in the home of Patrick and Diane Lavery in Gloversville, N.Y., really enslaved and entitled to his freedom? Does the 26-year-old Tommy, who scientists argue is cognitively similar to humans, deserve some of the same rights as Homo sapiens?

Those questions are at the center of a lawsuit (pdf) filed in the State of New York Supreme Court in Fulton County, N.Y., on Monday.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
9:54 am
Tue December 3, 2013

The Man Who Knew Comets

In 1986, the European spacecraft Giotto looked into the heart of Halley's Comet as it approached the sun. Data from Giotto's camera were used to generate this enhanced image of the comet's potato-shaped nucleus, measuring roughly 15 kilometers across.
Halley Multicolor Camera Team/Giotto Project/ESA NASA

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 2:14 pm

Imagine stepping into an elevator and bumping into Lou Reed or Maya Angelou or Paul Newman. What would you do? What would you say? And what if the legend you bumped into on your ride up the 32nd floor was none other than the father of the comet (kind of)?

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Monkey See
9:31 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Little Ditty About Lackin' Diane: Hug A Skeptic Today

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 10:11 am

Perhaps while you were enjoying your Thanksgiving turkey (or, in my case, your hotel tub and your Hallmark movies), you heard the story of "Diane in 7A."

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The Two-Way
8:50 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Biden Says U.S. 'Deeply Concerned' About China's Air Defense Zone

Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Tuesday.
Toru Yamanaka AFP/Getty Images

Kicking off a weeklong trip to East Asia, Vice President Joe Biden urged China and Japan to put in place new mechanisms to reduce the chance of an escalation in tensions.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:30 am
Tue December 3, 2013

How To Keep The Dust Off Your White Pants With 7 Desk Fans

Copyright Heirs of Rube Goldberg

Originally published on Wed December 4, 2013 4:53 pm

Once upon a time, you could crack open a radio, a telephone, a lawnmower, even a car, take it apart and figure out how it worked. No more. Pretty much everything we use these days comes with computer chips, which you can't really take apart. (I mean, you can, but all you'll find inside are a bunch of 1's and 0's with no obvious logic.) So car mechanics can snap a new chip into an engine, wait till it whirs and watch the gears come to life, but do they know what's going on in there? For most of us, chips are "black boxes." They work, but we don't know why.

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The Two-Way
8:19 am
Tue December 3, 2013

Six-Year Jail Term For Dancer In Bolshoi Acid Attack

Pavel Dmitrichenko, a former leading dancer in Russia's Bolshoi ballet, stands inside the defendant's cage in a Moscow court Tuesday. He was sentenced to six years in prison for ordering an acid attack on the Bolshoi's artistic director, Sergei Filin.
Alexande Nemenov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 3, 2013 1:53 pm

A Moscow court on Tuesday sentenced the man who ordered an attack on Bolshoi Theater artistic director Sergei Filin to six years in a penal colony.

Former Bolshoi ballet soloist Pavel Dmitrichenko, 29, was one of several people convicted in the attack in which a masked assailant threw acid into Filin's face, nearly blinding him.

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