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Music News
4:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Buzz Bin: A Proper Look At Where Kazoos Come From

Everybody can play the kazoo, practically no skill required — but only two places in the U.S. make them.
Kazoobie Kazoos

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:28 pm

In case it's not marked on your calendar, Wednesday, Jan. 28, is National Kazoo Day.

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Middle East
4:11 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Considers Handing Over Prisoner For Hostage Pilot

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Middle East
4:11 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Jordan Tests Coalition Against ISIS With Offer To Negotiate

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

All Tech Considered
4:06 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Remaking The U.S. Government's Online Image, One Website At A Time

Leah Bannon (sitting) works on her laptop at 18F, a GSA project that aims to make government websites more user friendly and change the way government buys IT systems.
Emily Jan NPR

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:54 pm

When you think of the federal government and computers, these days, the image that likely comes to mind is the botched rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

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Business
4:06 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Yes, Your Toilet Paper Squares And Rolls Are Shrinking

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

Robert Siegel talks to Steven Chercover, a research analyst who studies the paper and forest industries, about the trend of shrinking toilet paper rolls. The old standard square sheet of 4.5 inches wide by 4.5 inches long has been getting increasingly smaller.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

The Two-Way
4:02 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Ad Fumble: GoDaddy Pulls Super Bowl Puppy Commercial Amid Outrage

A still from the GoDaddy Super Bowl ad that the company has now pulled.
YouTube

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Supreme Court Tells Oklahoma To Put Off Executions, Citing Drug Dispute

The execution of three inmates has been put on hold, as the Supreme Court intervenes in a case that involves the controversy over the drugs states use to put people to death. The justices cited the sedative midazolam, which has been used in three executions that did not go smoothly.

The Supreme Court's stay is likely to hold until April, when it will hear arguments from three inmates who say that Oklahoma's execution protocol violates the U.S. Constitution.

The court's order did not elaborate on the reasons or debate behind the move:

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Education
3:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

At 100, Dartmouth Grad Still Writing His Class Notes

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Law
3:28 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Convictions Of Civil Rights Pioneers, 'Friendship 9'

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

U.S.
3:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

End Of Life Care Can Be Different For Veterans

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
3:25 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Deal May Be In Sight For Pacific Coast Longshoremen

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
3:07 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Where Is All That Excess Oil Going?

Tankers are berthed beside the Fawley oil refinery on Jan. 7, in Southampton, England. With low oil prices, some traders are buying oil and storing it in tankers, hoping the price will rise soon so they can sell it at a profit.
Matt Cardy Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

There's a term traders use when the price of a commodity like oil has fallen because of oversupply but seems guaranteed to rise again.

It's a market that's "in contango," says Brenda Shaffer, an energy specialist at Georgetown University. "It almost sounds like a sort of great oil dance or something."

And Shaffer says that some oil speculators see an oil market that is in contango in a major way.

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The Two-Way
2:37 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Live, From Iceland: It's A Hamburger

An exhibit called "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland" now has a webcam devoted to it. The burger was purchased in 2009.
Bus Hostel Reykjavik

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:29 pm

They call it "The last McDonald's hamburger in Iceland." Purchased more than five years ago, it has been displayed in the Na­tional Mu­seum of Ice­land. Now a webcam has been devoted to the hamburger (with a side of fries), among the last sold by the American company in the country.

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Mountain Stage
2:11 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Joan Shelley On Mountain Stage

Joan Shelley.
Brian Blauser Mountain Stage

Joan Shelley appears on Mountain Stage, recorded live in Charleston, W.Va. A native of Louisville, Ky., the singer-songwriter has been compared to the likes of Nick Drake and fellow Kentuckian Jim James. Her latest album is last year's moody, languid, country-inflected Electric Ursa.

For her Mountain Stage debut, Shelley is joined onstage by Sean Johnson on drums, bassist John Pedigo and Daniel Dorft on keyboards.

SET LIST

  • "Rising Air"
  • "Easy Now"
  • "First Of August"
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The Record
2:03 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Rational Conversation With ASAP Yams

Some of A$AP Mob at BET's 106 & Park Studios in July 2013. Standing, from left to right, ASAP Bari, ASAP Yams and ASAP Illz. In front, from left to right, ASAP Ferg, ASAP Twelvyy and ASAP Rocky.
John Ricard Getty Images

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Movie Reviews
2:03 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Full Of Complexity And Ambivalence, 'American Sniper' Shows The Cost Of War

Bradley Cooper (right) plays Chris Kyle in American Sniper. The film has become a cultural phenomenon and has spawned knee-jerk squabbling.
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

In the years following the invasion of Iraq, it became a truism that Americans simply didn't want to hear about the war — especially at the movies. While there were scads of films about Iraq, including Kathryn Bigelow's Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker, none was able to attract a big audience. Until American Sniper.

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The Two-Way
1:49 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

A Saint With A Mixed History: Junipero Serra's Canonization Raises Eyebrows

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:35 pm

The name JunĂ­pero Serra is well known in California: Schools and streets are named in his honor, and statues of the 18th century Spanish missionary still stand. But Native American activists are far less enamored with the friar, saying Serra was actually an accomplice in the brutal colonization of natives. They object to Pope Francis' recent announcement that he will canonize Serra when he travels to the U.S. this fall.

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Goats and Soda
1:43 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

India Grows, Russia Shrinks: Mapping Countries By Population

Can you find Australia and Canada? The cartogram, made by Reddit user TeaDranks, scales each country's geographic area by its population. (Click through to see the high-resolution map.)
TeaDranks via Imgur

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:32 pm

World maps distort. It's inherent in their design.

Take a spherical object (the Earth) and try to represent it on a flat plane (paper). Some parts of the sphere are going to get distorted. (On most maps, Canada and Russia get puffed up, while countries along the equator get shrunk.)

Every now and then, though, you stumble across a map that enlightens.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Brisket Shortage Has BBQ Lovers Gnashing Their Teeth

Drought conditions are forcing ranchers to thin their cattle herds, and that means there’s a shortage of brisket, the front-end cut of beef that’s emblematic of Texas barbecue.

Texas Monthly barbecue editor Daniel Vaughn tells Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that higher commodity prices have even forced one best-in-state barbecue restaurant to close down recently.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

$4.5 Million, 30 Seconds, 1 Super Bowl Ad: Priceless?

The Super Bowl ad from the glue maker Loctite involves people dancing with fanny packs. (YouTube)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 3:45 pm

This Sunday is the Super Bowl, which means the biggest and most expensive advertising night of the year. Several of this year’s ads are already available online, in part or in full.

Television is far from the only way to advertise during the game these days, so at $4.5 million for 30 seconds, is it still worth it?

Here & Now’s media analyst John Carroll joins host Lisa Mullins to discuss that question and some of this year’s ads.

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NPR Story
1:29 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Disability Advocates Fight Disabled Governor

Texas Governor-Elect Greg Abbott listens to questions from the press after a meeting at the White House December 5, 2014 in Washington, D.C. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:18 pm

For the first time since 1987, one of the nation’s governors is in a wheelchair. Texas Governor Greg Abbott won the race by promising to fight the federal government with his literal “spine of steel,” but disability advocates are saying that he hasn’t fought for them.

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Shots - Health News
1:05 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains

Dr. Frances Jensen is a professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.
Courtesy of Harper Collins

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:42 pm

Teens can't control impulses and make rapid smart decisions like adults can — but why?

Research into how the human brain develops helps explain. In a teenager, the frontal lobe of the brain, which controls decision-making, is built, but not fully insulated — so signals move slowly.

"Teenagers are not as readily able to access their frontal lobe to say, 'Oh, I better not do this,' " Dr. Frances Jensen tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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Parallels
12:34 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

China Continues To Push The (Fake) Envelope

Some fake Apple stores like this one in Kunming, in China's southwestern Yunnan province, were so authentic-looking that even some of their employees didn't know they were fake.
Stephen Shaver UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 4:36 pm

Nobody does fake like China. In 2011, a fake Apple store popped up in the southwestern city of Kunming. It looked so authentic, even some employees thought it was real.

This year, three farmers in central China set up a fake local government.

This month, police shut down a fake bank in the eastern city of Nanjing, where depositors reportedly lost nearly $33 million.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed January 28, 2015

2 Israeli Soldiers Killed In Attack Near Lebanese Border

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:00 pm

Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven others were wounded during an attack near the Lebanese border on Wednesday.

Hezbollah, a long time Israeli rival in Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack and Israel told the United Nations that it would take necessary steps to defend itself.

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Monkey See
11:27 am
Wed January 28, 2015

If You've Gotta Reboot 'Ghostbusters,' At Least Do It With This Cast

There's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of Ghostbusters, just as there's a solid argument to be made against a reboot of just about anything. You could take any group of creative people, put them together, and wish they'd just start from scratch rather than revisit a property that's already been done.

However.

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Shots - Health News
11:02 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Is It OK To Pay Pregnant Women To Stop Smoking?

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, stillbirth and infant death.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 1:42 pm

Women who smoke while they're pregnant are more likely to have health problems, and their babies are at risk, too. But attempts to get women to stop smoking while pregnant usually fail.

When pregnant women in Scotland got paid to quit, 23 percent of them managed to stop smoking, compared with 9 percent who quit after they got counseling, support calls and free nicotine replacement therapy, according to a study published Tuesday in The BMJ.

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The Two-Way
10:36 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Judge Throws Out Friendship 9's Civil Rights-Era Conviction

Five members of the Friendship Nine — Willie Thomas Massey (from left), Willie McCleod, James Wells, Clarence Graham and David Williamson Jr. — sit at the counter of the Five & Dine restaurant in Rock Hill, S.C., on Dec. 17. A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961.
Jason Miczek Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:04 pm

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

A judge in South Carolina has thrown out the convictions of the Friendship Nine, nine black men who integrated a whites-only lunch counter in 1961, at the peak of the civil rights movement.

"We cannot rewrite history, but we can right history," Judge John C. Hayes III said before signing the order that vacated their trespassing convictions. (Hayes is the nephew of the judge who handed down the original sentence.) The prosecutor apologized to the eight surviving members of the Friendship Nine who were in the courtroom.

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Favorite Sessions
10:11 am
Wed January 28, 2015

opbmusic Presents: Greylag

Up and coming Portland rock band Greylag performed live in opbmusic's studios.
OPB

The Portland band Greylag quietly released a great self-titled debut in 2014. Produced by Phil Ek, the album finds a sweet spot in which moody, autumnal songs receive a welcome jolt of gritty electric guitar.

"Arms Unknown" opens with Andrew Stonestreet's strummed verse and gains momentum throughout a thumping chorus joined by guitarist Daniel Dixon, drummer Brady Swan and bassist Seth Mankoski.

Watch the rest of Greylag's studio performance at opbmusic.org.

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The Salt
10:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

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Goats and Soda
9:57 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Mr. Taxi Driver, You Are GOING TOO FAST!!!!

One of five stickers pasted in Kenyan passenger vans as part of a Georgetown University study to promote safe driving.
Courtesy of Georgetown University

Originally published on Wed January 28, 2015 2:17 pm

The worst traffic accident I've ever seen happened on a highway in Kenya.

A friend and I were returning to Nairobi from Lake Naivasha when the cars in front of us came to a halt. I pulled onto the shoulder and spotted a 15-passenger van — a matatu in local speak — on its side, split open like a coconut. Another matatu was sideways in a ditch, its front end smashed inward. People were stopping, getting out of their vehicles and rushing to help.

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