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The Two-Way
3:34 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Physicists Crush Diamonds With Giant Laser

Physicists put diamonds at the center of this massive laser, to see what would happen.
Matt Swisher Matt Swisher/LLNL

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 11:09 am

Physicists have used the world's most powerful laser to zap diamonds. The results, they say, could tell us more about the cores of giant planets.

"Diamonds have very special properties, besides being very expensive and used for jewelrey etc.," says Raymond Smith, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. "It's the hardest substance known to man."

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Shots - Health News
3:31 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Skimping On Sleep Can Stress Body And Brain

Maria Fabrizio for NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:58 am

"The lion and calf shall lie down together," Woody Allen once wrote, "but the calf won't get much sleep."

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The Two-Way
6:52 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Federal Judge Declares Death Penalty Unconstitutional In California

California's death row at San Quentin State Prison is crowded, but the execution chamber has been idle since 2006
Eric Risberg AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:22 pm

A federal judge has ruled that California's use of the death penalty is dysfunctional and violates the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney's ruling came in response to an appeal by Ernest Dewayne Jones, who was sentenced to death in Los Angeles in 1995 for the rape and killing of his girlfriend's mother three years earlier.

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The Salt
6:07 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

This Dirty Little Weed May Have Cleaned Up Ancient Teeth

This young male, buried at a prehistoric site in Central Sudan, probably munched on the roots of a plant called purple nutsedge.
Donatella Usai Centro Studi Sudanesi and Sub-Sahariani

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 5:35 pm

The menus of millennia past can be tough to crack, especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. For archaeologists studying a prehistoric site in Sudan, dental plaque provided a hint.

"When you eat, you get this kind of film of dental plaque over your teeth," says Karen Hardy, an archaeologist with the Catalan Institute for Research and Advanced Studies at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

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The Two-Way
5:46 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

U.S. Sanctions Major Russian Banks And Energy Companies

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk visits forces stationed near the small city of Izyum on Wednesday.
Sergey Bobok AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 17, 2014 8:18 am

President Obama outlined a new package of sanctions against Russian firms and individuals on Wednesday.

"These sanctions are significant but also targeted," Obama said. "Russia will see that its actions in Ukraine have consequences."

The administration targeted large banks, as well as energy and defense firms. The sanctions stopped short of covering entire sectors of the Russian economy.

Obama said they were designed to inflict pain on Russia without harming U.S. companies or the nation's allies.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
4:55 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

What The World Needs Now Is A New Enlightenment

Our planet is unique. When are we going to recognize and celebrate this fact? Above, the Southern United States as seen from the International Space Station.
NASA

Something quite extraordinary happened in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries: the diversified intellectual explosion called the Enlightenment. Philosophers, natural scientists (the divide between the two wasn't that wide then), artists and political scientists created a revolution in thought based on equal rights for men the freedom to reason without constraint.

Admittedly, it was a relative equality, with some Enlightenment philosophers mistakenly placing white men at the apex of society.

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The Two-Way
4:54 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Militias Clash At Libyan Airport For Fourth Day

Flames and smoke billow from an airplane at the Tripoli international airport on Wednesday, the fourth day of fighting there
MAHMUD TURKIA AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:08 pm

The control tower and 20 aircraft have been damaged by shelling at Libya's main airport in Tripoli as fighting continued there for a fourth day.

"It's a disaster for the country at large," says Dirk Vandewalle, an expert on Libya at Dartmouth College.

Since the revolution that deposed longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, the central government has relied on — and financially supported — militias to help fill the power vacuum.

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Patients With Low-Cost Insurance Struggle To Find Specialists

Dr. Charu Sawhney examines patient Mang Caan. Sawhney supports the Affordable Care Act, but has been frustrated by how difficult it is to find specialists who accept some of the plans her patients bought.
Carrie Feibel for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 8:02 pm

The Hope Clinic in southwest Houston is in the very heart of Asia Town, a part of the city where bland strip malls hide culinary treasures — Vietnamese pho, Malaysian noodles, Sichuan rabbit and bubble tea.

Inside the clinic, internist Charu Sawhney sees patients from many countries and circumstances. She's a big believer in the Affordable Care Act since most of her patients have been uninsured. She actively pushed many of them to sign up for the new plans.

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The Two-Way
2:39 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Democratic Effort To Override Hobby Lobby Ruling Fails

GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire complained about a Democratic effort to reaffirm a contraceptive mandate at a Tuesday news conference
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 4:34 pm

A Democratic effort to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling on contraceptive coverage failed in the Senate on Wednesday.

Bill sponsors fell four votes short of the 60 votes needed to cut off debate on the measure.

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The Salt
2:13 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

Not So Offal: Why Bone Soup, A 'Perfect Food,' Tastes So Meaty

Sup tulang, as this dish is called in Singapore, is Malay for "bone soup." The fattiness of the marrow rounds out the chili, tomato, fennel, cumin and ginger.
Konstantin Kakaes for NPR

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 2:43 pm

I ate the best meat I've ever eaten through a straw.

When the Singaporean food stall proprietor who'd just served me a plate of bones first offered the straw, I refused. I didn't want to take any shortcuts as I worked the tastiest bits of marrow out from the skeletal hollows.

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The Two-Way
11:52 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Casino Boat Runs Aground Off Georgia Coast In Maiden Voyage

The Escapade grounded on a rocky bottom off the Georgia coast early Wednesday
U.S. Coast Guard

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 10:36 pm

This post was updated at 10:35 p.m. ET.

The Coast Guard has evacuated passengers from the Escapade, a casino boat that ran around off the Georgia coast after midnight on Wednesday. The boat remains lodged on a sandbar.

Passengers were shuttled to a Coast Guard cutter via small rubber zodiacs, according to the Savannah Morning News.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:51 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Neil Whosis? What You Don't Know About The 1969 Moon Landing

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Sun July 20, 2014 1:29 am

Forty-five years ago, this week, 123 million of us watched Neil and Buzz step onto the moon. In 1969, we numbered about 200 million, so more than half of America was in the audience that day. Neil Armstrong instantly became a household name, an icon, a hero. And then — and this, I bet, you didn't know — just as quickly, he faded away.

"Whatever Happened to Neil Whosis?" asked the Chicago Tribune in 1974.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed July 16, 2014

A Huge New Crater Is Found In Siberia, And The Theories Fly

Aerial footage posted online shows a large crater in northern Siberia, in an area called "the end of the world."
YouTube

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 12:46 pm

The area of Russia is said to be called, ominously enough, the end of the world. And that's where researchers are headed this week, to investigate a large crater whose appearance reportedly caught scientists by surprise. The crater is estimated at 262 feet wide and is in the northern Siberian area of Yamal.

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Shots - Health News
10:57 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Dialing Back Stress With A Bubble Bath, Beach Trip And Bees

Avi Ofer NPR

Originally published on Fri July 18, 2014 8:58 am

Standing in the middle of a swarm of bees might not be your idea of stress relief, but it works for Ray Von Culin. He's a beekeeper in Washington, D.C., and he says caring for bees is one of the most relaxing things in his life.

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The Two-Way
10:43 am
Wed July 16, 2014

A Dozen People Killed As Typhoon Batters The Philippines

Residents wade through floods as they go back to their home while Typhoon Rammasun batters suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, on Wednesday
Aaron Favila AP

Originally published on Wed July 16, 2014 11:26 am

At least a dozen people were killed as the Philippines was battered by its first typhoon of the season on Wednesday. Since the storm passed through major population centers, officials were relieved that the death toll wasn't higher.

The storm, known as Rammasun but called Glenda locally, sideswiped Manila but knocked out power there and across Luzon, the most populous island of the archipelago.

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