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The Two-Way
8:23 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Book News: Prize-Winning Mystery Writer Is Also A Murderer

Cuts Through Bone, by Alaric Hunt, is published by Minotaur/Thomas Dunne Books.
us.macmillan.com

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:47 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:36 am

Imagine a couple of million years ago, a curious young alien from the planet Zantar — let's call him a grad student — lands on Earth, looks around and asks, "Who's the brainiest critter on this planet? Relative to body size, who's got the biggest brain?"

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The Two-Way
7:12 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Egyptians Go To Polls With Opposition Largely Silenced

A woman casts her ballot Tuesday at a polling station in Nasr City, Cairo.
Amru Salahuddien Xinhua/Landov
  • On 'Morning Edition': NPR's Leila Fadel talks with Renee Montagne about the voting in Egypt

As Egyptians begin voting on a new constitution, the opposition to the huge role that nation's military plays in life there has been pushed to the side, NPR's Leila Fadel reported Tuesday from Cairo.

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Shots - Health News
3:33 am
Tue January 14, 2014

California Hospital Workers Pitch Obamacare To ER Patients

O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif., is encouraging uninsured patients to sign up for coverage in the emergency room.
Sarah Varney for NPR

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 11:10 am

Angela Felan is sitting in the ER waiting room at O'Connor Hospital in San Jose, Calif. A blue surgical mask covers her nose and mouth, and a sweatshirt is pulled snug over her head.

She first came into the emergency room a few days ago with what she thought was bronchitis. The doctor prescribed an inhaler that cost her $56.

Felan, 31, works part time in retail and hasn't had insurance for at least a decade because she hasn't been able to afford it. "Unfortunately even not having insurance is just as expensive," she says.

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The Two-Way
9:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Lawyers Seek Justice Department Records On Would-Be Bomber

Lawyers for a young Portland man convicted of trying to blow up a Christmas tree ceremony are asking a judge to order the Justice Department to open its files and share "facts and circumstances" of electronic surveillance that prosecutors disclosed only months after his conviction.

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The Two-Way
8:16 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Water Bans Lifted In Several West Virginia Areas

In West Virginia, a ban on water use has been lifted in at least three areas affected by a chemical spill. Here, Al Jones of the state's General Services department tests the water as he flushes a faucet and opens a restroom on the first floor of the Capitol in Charleston on Monday.
Steve Helber AP

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 10:10 am

A ban on using tap water has been lifted in at least three areas affected by a chemical spill in West Virginia, where some 300,000 water customers received "do not use" advisories Thursday. Since then, water has been trucked in to the affected area, which includes nine counties.

West Virginia American Water residents were told they should use the water only for flushing toilets — not for drinking, cooking or washing.

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The Two-Way
6:53 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Desegregation Pact Gets Judge's Approval In Arkansas

A long-running school desegregation fight in Arkansas is over, after a federal judge accepted a settlement reached by the state, lawyers for black students, and three school districts in and around Little Rock. Under the deal, the state will no longer have to send payments — around $70 million this year — to aid desegregation.

According to the terms of the deal, those payments can stop after the 2017-2018 school year. They had been mandated by a court-ordered program that also included forming magnet schools and shifting students between school districts.

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The Salt
5:56 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Coffee Myth-Busting: Cup Of Joe May Help Hydration And Memory

A barista makes coffee using the pour-over method at Artifact Coffee in Baltimore.
Benjamin Morris NPR

Originally published on Thu January 16, 2014 3:51 pm

Despite caffeine's many benefits, there's a belief out there that a daily coffee habit can cause dehydration.

So is it true? Not according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. studied the fluid levels of 50 men who had a habit of consuming about three to six cups of coffee each day.

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The Two-Way
5:50 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Federal Health Care Enrollees: Older Outnumber Younger

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 9:10 pm

For the first time, we are getting some demographic information about the more than 2 million people who have signed up for private health insurance through the exchanges set up by the federal government.

The New York Times reports that the Obama administration said older, less healthy enrollees outnumber healthy, younger ones. The Times adds:

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Monkey See
4:59 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

When Tough Questions Go Horribly Wrong

Girls executive producer Jenni Konner (from left), creator and star Lena Dunham and actress Jemima Kirke take questions on the first day of the Television Critics Association winter press tour.
Frederick M. Brown Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 9:45 am

Nothing exposes you like asking a tough question.

Like a boxer extending a jab, you reveal yourself in the moment, stepping aggressively to a subject in a way that also makes you vulnerable. Handle the moment badly, and like an off-balance prizefighter, you might be the one hugging the canvas after a knockout blow.

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The Salt
4:54 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Borscht Make Your Heart Beet? They're Serving 70,000 Gallons In Sochi

There are dozens of varieties of borscht — but at its most basic, it's a beet soup with potatoes, tomatoes and often beef or pork.
Flickr/Liz West

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 8:57 am

Russia's Soviet days are well behind it, but if you're headed to Sochi for the Winter Olympics, your dining options will still run deep red — as in borscht.

Organizers in Sochi expect to serve 70,000 gallons of this Russian staple — a hearty soup whose color comes from beets — to spectators. Borscht has graced both the high table of the Kremlin and the lowly tables of peasants across the former Soviet Union.

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The Two-Way
4:52 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Alex Rodriguez Sues Baseball, Players Union Over Suspension

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees, playing for the Yankees' minor league affiliate Charleston RiverDogs, runs to first base during a game in July 2013.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:25 pm

Baseball superstar Alex Rodriguez is suing Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association in federal court, trying to overturn a 162-game suspension.

The judge hearing the complaint also agreed to allow the Yankees third baseman and his lawyers to release an unredacted version of the decision handed down by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz.

ESPN reports:

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The Salt
4:35 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Breaded Steak Sandwich

The best sandwich photos are indistinguishable from crime scene photos.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 17, 2014 2:17 pm

There are those who say "less is more," and there are those who say "less is stupid." The latter are responsible for taking a steak sandwich, deciding it needed more calories, and creating the Breaded Steak Sandwich. A thin cut of beef is breaded and fried, placed in a hoagie roll, and covered in what they call "red gravy." Ricobene's here in Chicago is famous for it.

Eva: It's the kangaroo of sandwiches. It's carrying around a slightly smaller breaded thing in its pouch.

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Shots - Health News
4:33 pm
Mon January 13, 2014

Older Folks Get Modest Memory Boost From Brain Boot Camp

Study participants were trained in practical reasoning skills like managing medications.
Jorge Salcedo iStockphoto

Older people who took a few weeks of classes to train their brains say their ability to perform everyday tasks declined less than people who hadn't had the training, even years later.

But the difference between them was modest at best, and wasn't independently verified. So it's impossible to know if the people were really doing better at tasks like reading bus schedules or completing order forms, or if they just thought they should be.

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