NPR Blogs

The Two-Way
7:29 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Book News: 'Stoner' Created Little Buzz In 1965, But Ignites In 2013

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

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Business
7:04 am
Mon December 9, 2013

New York's Insurance Exchange Readies For Holiday Rush

Joey Cappuccitti, who works at a Maximus call center, talks with a person looking for help with New York's insurance exchange.
Fred Mogul

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:55 am

New York's health insurance marketplace has been running relatively smoothly, compared with healthcare.gov, the site the federal government is running for 36 states.

But that's a low bar, and even though about 50,000 New Yorkers had signed up in the first two months, almost every day still brings complaints and glitches. Donna Frescatore, the head of the New York State Of Health, says there are no serious patterns of trouble, just individual issues that the state and its contractors address one by one.

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Shots - Health News
6:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Epilepsy Patients Help Decode The Brain's Hidden Signals

Scientists say that epilepsy patients like Bennett have helped them learn how the brain controls movement and emotion.
Amy Standen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 1:29 pm

Patients with severe epilepsy are giving scientists the chance to see the human brain in action, a view they could never get with an MRI or other high-tech tools.

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Monkey See
6:06 am
Mon December 9, 2013

After A Full Fall, A Few New TV Choices To Tide You Over

TNT's new period drama Mob City, from The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, is one of several shows and miniseries premiering this month.
Scott Garfield TNT

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 8:18 am

As the holiday season approaches, the TV cupboard may seem a bit bare; the industry winds down like everything else, filling cable and broadcast networks with holiday specials, reruns and also-ran reality shows.

But there are bright gifts, too: TNT offers Mob City, a three-week, lavishly produced noir-ish TV show about cops and crooks vying for control of 1947-era Los Angeles, airing Wednesdays.

On Dec. 8 and 9, A&E presents a four-hour miniseries on Bonnie and Clyde, retelling the story of the Depression-era outlaws and lovers.

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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Lawmaker Says Snowden May Testify Before EU Parliament

Edward Snowden, seen during a video interview with The Guardian.
Glenn Greenwald/Laura Poitras EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 12:54 pm

A European lawmaker says former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is set to testify before a civil liberties committee of the European Parliament later this month.

Snowden, of course, is expected to talk about the surveillance activities of United States' National Security Agency. Reporter Teri Schultz filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
3:17 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Report Details ATF's Use Of Mentally Disabled In Gun Stings

The seal of the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives photographed in 2007.
AFP/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel just published a blockbuster story that's today's must read: Based on court records, police reports and dozens of interviews, the paper details how the ATF used "rogue" tactics — including providing underage youths with alcohol and allowing them to smoke pot — to run storefront gun and drug stings across the country.

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The Two-Way
2:40 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

Is Mining On The Moon's Horizon?

Alexander Klein AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 6:27 pm

A U.S. company is taking what it hopes to be a small step toward eventually mining the moon.

Moon Express, based in Mountain View, Calif., just unveiled the design for a small robot spacecraft about the size of a coffee table that it says could move about the moon's surface powered only by solar panels and hydrogen peroxide.

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The Two-Way
1:17 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

WATCH: U.S. Air Force Band Stages A 'Holiday Flash Mob'

Col. Larry H. Lang conducts the Band's first-ever flash mob at the National Air and Space Museum on Dec. 3.
U.S. Air Force

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:26 am

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The Two-Way
12:42 pm
Sun December 8, 2013

In Kiev, Protesters Topple Statue Of Vladimir Lenin

Ukrainians break a monument of Vladimir Lenin in center Kiev, Ukraine, on Sunday.
Efrem Lukatsky AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 3:06 pm

Anti-government protesters in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev have toppled a statue of Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin.

Instagram user Arthur_potachik posted this video of the moment:

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The Two-Way
10:25 am
Sun December 8, 2013

World Leaders Heading To South Africa To Mourn Mandela

A man holds a portrait of Nelson Mandela outside his home in Houghton, Johannesburg, on Sunday.
Filippo Monteforte AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 2:51 pm

More than 60 heads of state have confirmed that they will attend services for Nelson Mandela in South Africa next week, the country's foreign ministry tells Reuters.

The South African government says that includes all living American presidents — except George H.W. Bush — as well as 26 members of Congress.

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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Sun December 8, 2013

U.N. Inspectors Visit Iranian Plant Linked To Nuclear Program

UN experts are inspecting the heavy water production plant in Arak, Iran, on Sunday. The visit is the first test of an interim deal Iran struck with the West in November.
Hamid Foroutan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 2:28 pm

Inspectors for the United Nations nuclear watchdog visited an Iranian plant linked to the country's nuclear program on Sunday.

The visit to Iran's Arak heavy water production plant — the first by international inspectors in more than two years — is the first real-world test of an interim deal Iran struck with the West in November.

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The Two-Way
8:08 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Countering China, S. Korea Expands Its Own Air Defense Zone

Japanese Coast Guard vessels sail near a group of disputed islands called Diaoyu by China and Senkaku by Japan.
Emily Wang AP

Originally published on Sun December 8, 2013 2:19 pm

Another diplomatic shot was fired in the spate unfolding over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea on Sunday: Countering China, South Korea announced that it was expanding its air defense zone to partially cover some of the same area China laid claim to in November.

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The Salt
5:34 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Between Pigs And Anchovies: Where Humans Rank On The Food Chain

An animal's ranking on the food chain depends on where its meals place on the ladder. That puts plants on the bottom (they make all their food), polar bears on top and people somewhere between pigs and anchovies.
Lisa Brown for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 10:28 am

When it comes to making food yummy and pleasurable, humans clearly outshine their fellow animals on Earth. After all, you don't see rabbits caramelizing carrots or polar bears slow-roasting seal.

But in terms of the global food chain, Homo sapiens are definitely not the head honchos.

Instead, we sit somewhere between pigs and anchovies, scientists reported recently. That puts us right in the middle of the chain, with polar bears and orca whales occupying the highest position.

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The Two-Way
2:53 am
Sun December 8, 2013

Winter Storm Moves Into Mid-Atlantic

Tractor trailers sit on I-35 north of Dallas on Saturday.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Mon December 9, 2013 10:28 am

Freezing rain has been creeping across Tennessee on its way to the mid-Atlantic as the stunning cold, snow and ice that gripped Texas and the west on Saturday advance eastward.

The storm is expected to turn Virginia and Pennsylvania into an icy mess today and scrabble north into New York and southern New England tonight.

Roads will be perilous in many places by this evening and forecasters warned travelers and holiday shoppers to stay home.

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The Two-Way
4:36 pm
Sat December 7, 2013

A Small 4.5 Quake Strikes During OU-OSU Game

An ESPN sportscaster reacts to a small earthquake.
YouTube

Originally published on Sat December 7, 2013 6:22 pm

Today college football saw another upset, when Oklahoma beat Oklahoma State to kill their Big 12 championship and BCS bowl game hope.

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