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The Two-Way
6:26 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Company To Offer $75,000 Balloon Rides To 'Near Space'

If you can't afford a trip into orbit as a space tourist aboard a cramped Russian Soyuz capsule (about $35 million) or a reservation on Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipOne (price tag: $250,000), World View Enterprises just might have the ticket: a leisurely high-altitude balloon ride for a less-than-stratospheric $75,000.

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The Two-Way
6:21 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

The Sounds Of New York City, Circa 1920

Times Square near 42nd Street in New York City, in the 1920s.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:59 pm

We can hear the music of the Roaring '20s anytime we want. But what if you could hear the day-to-day sounds of what it was like to live at that vibrant time?

That's the basis of Emily Thompson's project "The Roaring Twenties." She's a history professor at Princeton University who's been mapping the sounds of New York City in the late 1920s and early '30s.

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The Two-Way
6:05 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Sony Explains Why Its PlayStation 4 Costs $1,845 In Brazil

Sony announced U.S. and European prices for its new PlayStation 4 at a news conference this summer. The game system will cost some $1,845 in Brazil, angering fans.
Eric Thayer Getty Images

Sony's new PlayStation 4 won't be on store shelves until next month, but the gaming console has already raised eyebrows in Brazil, after reports that it would cost 3,999 Brazilian real — or about $1,845 at today's exchange rate.

The company says the steep cost isn't a case of price gouging, but instead a sign of Brazil's heavy taxes and fees on imported electronics.

The game system will be released in the United States on Nov. 15 and in countries including Brazil later that month. Large retailers in the U.S. will offer the PS4 at a base price of around $400.

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Environment
5:33 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Despite Efforts, The Rio Grande Is One Dirty Border

Kayakers head out on the Rio Grande toward one of the international bridges that connect Laredo, Texas, and the town of Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. Raw sewage and animal carcasses float in the water.
Neena Satija Texas Tribune

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

There's one easy way to find out how bad the water quality is in the Rio Grande: get into a kayak.

Paddle through chocolate brown water in Laredo and the overwhelming smell makes it hard to breathe. A dog's carcass floats by; there are many dead fish, too.

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Law
5:15 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

How A County Clerk Ignited The Gay Marriage Debate In N.M.

Dona Ana County Clerk Lynn Ellins talks with Thom Hinks and Richard Sunman (far right) after they obtained a marriage license at the Dona Ana County Clerk's Office in Las Cruces, N.M. In August, Ellins' office began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Juan Carlos Llorca AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:51 pm

New Mexico law doesn't explicitly ban or approve same-sex marriage. There were a spate of lawsuits seeking to clarify the issue, but they were tied up in the courts. Then in August, the clerk of Dona Ana County, Lynn Ellins, a long-time supporter of same-sex marriage, consulted his staff.

"And we all agreed that it was about time to bring this thing to a head, and if we did nothing, the cases would languish in the district court if we did not move to issue these licenses and try and put the ball in play," Ellins says.

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The Two-Way
5:11 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

IRS Delays Start Of Tax Season Because Of Shutdown

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:59 pm

If you were one of those Americans who just can't wait to file your taxes because you're owed a handsome refund, the Internal Revenue Service has news for you: You're going to have to wait.

The IRS said today that the 16-day federal shutdown means it will delay the start of the 2014 filing season by one to two weeks. The shutdown delayed the updating and testing of some of the IRS' systems.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Funeral Contest Rewards Those Who Think Outside The Pine Box

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

Melissa Block talks with Christine Pepper, CEO of the National Funeral Directors Association and judge for the Design for Death contest, about the competition and the winning entries.

Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

15 Years Of Wrangling Over Yellowstone Snowmobiles Ends

A bison crosses a road ahead of a herd of snowmobilers in Yellowstone National Park in 2003. New federal rules announced Tuesday will further restrict the noise and exhaust such vehicles are allowed to emit inside the park.
Craig Moore AP

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 9:08 pm

The U.S. government Tuesday announced new rules for snowmobiles in Yellowstone that should make the country's oldest national park cleaner and quieter.

The rules were 15 years in the making because of intense wrangling between snowmobile operators and environmentalists. But both groups support the plan and give credit to snowmobile makers for designing cleaner machines.

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Music Interviews
4:54 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Lucy Wainwright Roche: In The Family Business

Lucy Wainwright Roche.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:13 pm

Songs by Lucy Wainwright Roche seems to be told with a shrug, a note of apology, or modesty. And, yet, her father is the witty and acerbic singer-songwriter Loudon Wainwright III. Her mother is Suzzy Roche — one third of the harmonious Roche sisters.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Poll: Support For Legalizing Pot Surges During Past Year

A person identifying himself as Jermagisty Tha King of Denver lights up a 28 ounce blunt on April 20, 2012 in Denver, Colo.
Marc Piscotty Getty Images

Over the past year, Americans' support for legalizing pot has surged 10 percentage points.

That's according to Gallup, which has been asking the question since 1969. That means that 58 percent of Americans — a clear majority for the first time in more than 40 years — support legalizing marijuana and just 39 percent say the opposite.

To see the dramatic shift in public opinion, just look at this historical graph from Gallup:

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The Salt
4:31 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Coffee Coming Up, Nice And Hot ... And Prepared By A Robot

Briggo's Coffee Haus takes up about 50 square feet of space, has a nice exterior wood design, and accepts orders either on-site or via a website.
Courtesy Briggo

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 5:19 pm

A new trend is brewing in the coffee world: coffee prepared by a robot, able to be preordered via cellphone and picked up at an unmanned kiosk, perfectly adjusted to your taste and ready to go.

To some, this might seem lamentable: the beginning of the end of coffee shops as we know them. No more huddling around warm cups of coffee with friends or sipping a refreshing iced latte while reading.

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Shots - Health News
4:28 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Online Insurance Brokers Stymied Selling Obamacare Policies

Independent online insurance brokers, like eHealth, haven't yet been able to sell subsidized health insurance policies.
eHealthInsurance.com

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 7:18 pm

Consumers aren't the only ones frustrated by problems with the online health insurance exchanges being run by the feds.

Private companies that sell health insurance on the Internet are also in a bind. Websites like eHealthInsurance.com that were planning to start selling new, subsidized health care policies on Oct. 1 still can't offer them to customers.

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The Two-Way
4:27 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

In Cost-Cutting Move, NOAA To Stop Printing Nautical Charts

This undated photo made available by NOAA shows a computer displaying an electronic nautical chart aboard a ship.
AP

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 11:21 am

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agency charged with surveying the nation's navigable waters to help keep mariners off the rocks and out of the shallows, will cease printing paper charts after mid-April.

Partly as a cost-saving measure, the NOAA's Office of Coast Survey will offer charts only via on-demand printing, as PDFs or electronic charts.

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Shots - Health News
4:10 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Doctors Enlist Therapists To Deliver Better, Cheaper Care

Tyler Engel with his parents, Dave and Jennifer. His doctor and therapist worked with the family to help Tyler recover from a concussion.
Kristian Foden-Vencil OPB

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 12:21 pm

The state of Oregon is trying some experiments to bring different kinds of medical professionals under the same roof. Patients can see different kinds of doctors in one visit, and the hope is it will provide better patient care, eventually at less cost to the state.

This can make sense in a primary-care setting, where doctors often have to deal with stomachaches and migraines that stem from mental rather than physical problems.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:10 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

The Two Faces Of Science

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 22, 2013 6:36 pm

Science is unabashedly radical, willing to toss aside established wisdom and ideas to embrace mind-warping new concepts (if the data backs them up). Science is relentlessly conservative, deeply suspicious of new claims and determined to hold firm to cherished truths that have stood the test of time. As strange as it may seem, both these contradictory statements have held true throughout the 450-year history of "modern" science. In fact, they are what have given science the stability and creativity that root its cultural power.

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