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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

R.L. Stine: What's Scarier?

Author R.L. Stine tries to guess whether Ask Me Another listeners find "ventriloquist dolls" or "a swarm of bees" scarier.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:50 am

You'd think a guy who writes scary books for a living would know a thing or two about what makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. We put the best-selling horror author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series to the test in this Ask Me Another Challenge based on an audience poll. Did Stine know what scares our listeners more: ghosts, or being alone for the rest of your life?

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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Sympathy For The Tasmanian Devil

Mick Jagger was reportedly inspired to write The Rolling Stones' hit song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Mikhaíl Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. We were inspired to re-write "Sympathy for the Devil" after watching Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. As such, house musician Jonathan Coulton's musical clues in this game are about various Looney Tunes characters, from Tweety to Elmer Fudd.

Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Zombie Gourmets

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:17 am

Zombies eat brains, everyone knows that. But if brains aren't available, zombies are not picky; they'll eat anything that rhymes with "brains." In this round, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton serve up clues to groups of nouns or names that follow this rhyming pattern. Points awarded to those who answer in a scary zombie voice.

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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Random Questions With: R.L. Stine

R.L. Stine: This man wants to terrify your children.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:13 am

If you're a person of a certain age, R.L. Stine probably scared or delighted you with his Goosebumps and Fear Street series. (And you'll be happy to hear Stine recently announced a Fear Street reboot.) But the man who declares "terrify[ing] kids" as his job description actually started out as a humor writer — and his "jovial" nature remains intact.

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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Hurtful Words

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:10 am

They say that love is the universal language, but they're wrong — it's pain. In this game, house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you how people around the world say "ouch," and you have to name the language. "Úff, this eruption by the volcano Eyjafjallajökull is making me really hot!"...you said, in Icelan-glish. (That's Icelandic + English.)

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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Quoth The Raven, Something More

You are probably aware that in Edgar Allan Poe's famous poem, the titular raven repeatedly says, "Nevermore." Turns out, while he "still is sitting, still is sitting," that raven has moved on to quoth'ing celebrity names that rhyme with "-moore." Naturally, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton perform the clues about these famous folks in verse.

Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Killer Apps

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:14 am

Puzzle guru Will Hines leads this final round, in which every correct answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the letters "a-p-p" in order. For example, if he said, "It's what you tear off your birthday presents," you would say, "wrapping paper." Word nerds everywhere who rule this game, we applaud you.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Typhoon Haiyan Devastates The Philippines
8:34 am
Thu November 21, 2013

What I Saw: A Photographer's Last Dispatch From The Philippines

David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 6:12 pm

NPR photographer David Gilkey has photographed in extreme situations — from the surge in Afghanistan, to bombings in Gaza, to the tsunami in Japan, but he was shocked at what he saw in the village of Barangay 68 in Tacloban City, Philippines.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to find when I arrived.

"Barangay," loosely translated, means a neighborhood or village and Barangay 68 is just one of the tiny hamlets that make up greater Tacloban City in the central Philippines. The village was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

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The Two-Way
7:59 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Jobless Claims And Wholesale Prices Drop

Part of the scene at a job fair for veterans and family members earlier this month in Marietta, Ga.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:47 am

While it's always important to keep in mind that neither one week nor one month make for a trend, there is good economic news to pass along:

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The Two-Way
7:18 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama Says U.S. Will Respect Afghan Sovereignty

A member of the Afghan Loya Jirga listens as the more than 2,000 elders begin debating a proposed U.S.-Afghan security pact on Thursday in Kabul.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:15 am

As Afghan elders debate whether to approve a proposed security agreement with the U.S., there's word that President Obama has said the U.S. will respect Afghanistan's sovereignty and carry out raids on Afghan homes only under extraordinary circumstances, The Associated Press writes.

The wire service says Obama made that pledge in a letter to Afghan President Hamid Karzai. It adds that:

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The Two-Way
6:46 am
Thu November 21, 2013

It's Away! Cargo Jet That Landed At Wrong Airport Takes Off

Grounded: The Boeing 747 Dreamlifter that mistakenly landed Wednesday at Jabara airport in Wichita, Kan.
Jaime Green MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:54 pm

Update at 2:17 p.m. ET. In The Air:

Moments ago a massive Boeing 747 "Dreamlifter" cargo jet that mistakenly landed at a small municipal airport late Wednesday took off with a roar from an airfield with a runway much shorter than a jet that size usually uses.

We were watching an NBC News webcast as the big jet took off.

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The Two-Way
6:27 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Book News: James McBride, Surprise National Book Award Winner

National Book Awards judges lauded writer James McBride, seen in 2007, for "a voice as comic and original as any we have heard since Mark Twain."
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

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

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Around the Nation
6:00 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Small Town In Utah Forgets To Hold An Election

Mayor Jay Hortin of Wallsburg, population 275, will stay in office for two more years because the town's new recorder forgot to hold an election. It's the second time in a row this has happened.

Around the Nation
5:55 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Ad Backing Boeing In 'Seattle Times' Uses Airbus Photo

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

Boosters of Washington state decided to advertise. They want work on Boeing's new 777-airplane to stay in the state. Boeing is demanding tax breaks and union concessions. To build political support, the state boosters took out an ad in the Seattle Times, but maybe it's a subliminal jab at Boeing. The ad headlined "The Future of Washington," has a picture of an airplane that's not by Boeing. It's built by Boeing's rival, Airbus.

U.S.
5:41 am
Thu November 21, 2013

In Tornado-Ravaged Illinois 'War Zone,' Veterans Find A Mission

Washington, Ill., sits in ruins as the sun rises Monday, a day after a severe tornado tore through the community.
Zbigniew Bzdak MCT/Landov

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 1:10 pm

Lots of people in and around Washington, Ill., are referring to the areas devastated by Sunday's tornado as looking like a war zone.

David Casler is among them.

"Right here, right now, if you look around this street, this is a war zone, only no one's shooting at us," he says.

Casler knows the difference. He served as a Marine in Iraq in 2004 and was subsequently hit by a roadside bomb while working there as a security contractor, suffering a brain injury.

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Business
5:37 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Obama, State Insurance Commissioners Talk Policy Extensions

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

President Obama met with state insurance commissioners to discuss changes to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Some commissioners are in a difficult spot because their states passed laws that prohibit policies that don't comply with the law. Now, the president says companies can keep offering non-compliant policies for another year if they want to.

Books
5:17 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Members Of 'Lonely Craft' Gather For National Book Awards

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

James McBride won the National Book Award for fiction Tuesday for "The Good Lord Bird," about a young slave who meets and travels with abolitionist John Brown. The nonfiction award was won by George Packer for "The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America." The poetry award was won by Mary Szybist for "Incarnadine."

Afghanistan
4:55 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Hamid Karzai Lives In A 'World Of Paranoia And Conspiracy'

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

Steve Inskeep talks to William Dalrymple about his upcoming piece in The New York Times Magazine entitled: "How is Hamid Karzai Still Standing?" Dalrymple recently wrote the book, Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan 1839-42.

Politics
4:39 am
Thu November 21, 2013

'Alpha House' Latest Show To Be Based In Nation's Capital

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

The fourth episode of the web-only series Alpha House goes live on Amazon Prime on Friday. The political comedy stars John Goodman and was created and written by Garry Trudeau of "Doonesbury" fame. It's about four Republican senators living in a house and is loosely based on a real Capitol Hill living arrangement.

The Salt
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Organic Farmers Bash FDA Restrictions On Manure Use

TK
Dan Charles/ NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 2:01 pm

Many organic farmers are hopping mad at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and their reason involves perhaps the most underappreciated part of agriculture: plant food, aka fertilizer. Specifically, the FDA, as part of its overhaul of food safety regulations, wants to limit the use of animal manure.

"We think of it as the best thing in the world," says organic farmer Jim Crawford, "and they think of it as toxic and nasty and disgusting."

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The Picture Show
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Around The World In ... A Lot Of Steps

Paul Salopek and his guide walk into the desert, on day 19 of the "Out of Eden walk" in the Afar region of Northeast Ethiopia. The walk with take about 7 years total.
Paul Salopek National Geographic

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 10:51 am

Paul Salopek has discovered that the best way to take in information, to be a journalist and a storyteller, is not flying around the world with the latest technology. It's by walking.

"There's something about moving across the surface of the earth at 3 miles per hour that feels really good," he tells NPR's Steve Inskeep.

Salopek plans to walk 21,000 miles total — from Africa to the Middle East, across Asia, down through Alaska and all the way to Tierra del Fuego. He calls it the "Out of Eden Walk" because the idea is to follow the path of human migration.

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Music Interviews
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

The Orchestral Recipe, From The Pilgrims To Today

Food and music mingle in Pieter Claesz's Still Life with Musical Instruments (1623).
Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

If you're going to be cooking Thanksgiving dinner next week, you've probably already started gathering the traditional ingredients — but your ingredients are most likely very different from those that made up the first Thanksgiving meal in 1621. (Marshmallows with those sweet potatoes, anyone?)

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Education
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Kids Pay The Price In Fight Over Fixing Philadelphia Schools

Third-grader Kassim West last July at Walter G. Smith Elementary School, one of more than 20 Philadelphia public schools that closed at the end of the school year.
Matt Stanley for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 22, 2013 7:58 am

This is the first in a three-part report on Philadelphia schools in crisis.

Sharron Snyder and Othella Stanback, both seniors at Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin High, will be the first in their families to graduate from high school. This, their final year, was supposed to be memorable. Instead, these teenagers say they feel cheated.

"We're fed up with the budget cuts and everything. Like, this year, my school is like really overcrowded. We don't even have lockers because it's, like, too many students," Sharron says.

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All Tech Considered
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

How HealthCare.gov Is Giving A Once-Obscure Bill A Boost

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. (right) reacts to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., at a May hearing. The two are co-authors of a federal IT reform bill.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 9:42 am

As federal tech launches go, it's not just HealthCare.gov that didn't take off. A report from IT research firm the Standish Group finds that 94 percent of federal IT projects come in late, over budget or get scrapped completely.

President Obama focused on the issue of procuring technology for the federal government in a recent interview.

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Politics
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Mexican-American Vets Ignited Kennedy's Latino Support

President John F. Kennedy speaks to Mexican-American activists at a LULAC gala in Houston's Rice Hotel on Nov. 21, 1963, the day before he was assassinated.
Alexander Arroyos AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:12 am

On the evening of Nov. 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy, his wife Jacqueline, Vice President Lyndon Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird, walked through a wall of applause to take their place as honored guests in a Houston ballroom. They were making a brief stop at a formal dinner held by LULAC — the League of United Latin American Citizens — to show their appreciation for the Mexican-American votes that had helped the young president carry Texas in the 1960 election.

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NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Winner Of 2 Nobel Prizes, Fred Sanger Dies At 95

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

Nobel Prize winning biochemist Fred Sanger has died. He was 95. Sanger, who won two Nobel Prizes, pioneered research into the human genome. Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne have this remembrance.

NPR Story
4:04 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Medicare Project May Provide Better Care Less Expensively

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 5:55 am

Fort Dodge, Iowa, is not exactly what you'd think of as a hotbed of health care innovation. But the small town in the western part of the state is part of a Medicare pilot project that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care: providing better care at a lower cost.

The Two-Way
1:57 am
Thu November 21, 2013

'Good Lord Bird,' 'The Unwinding' Win National Book Awards

Author James McBride won the 2013 National Book Award for fiction for The Good Lord Bird, about the journey of a young slave in the 1850s.
Victoria Will AP

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 11:49 am

(This post was updated at 10:30 a.m.)

James McBride won the prestigious National Book Award for fiction on Wednesday for his novel The Good Lord Bird about a young slave who joins the abolitionist John Brown in his anti-slavery mission. Also honored were George Packer, who won in the nonfiction category, Mary Szybist, for poetry, and Cynthia Kadohata, for young people's literature.

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It's All Politics
6:28 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

What A Bitcoin Political Debut Could Mean For Transparency

Bitcoins have gone from an Internet oddity to much more. The FEC is now considering allowing the virtual currency to fund some political campaigns.
Rick Bowmer AP

Bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists as alphanumeric strings online, is on the verge of getting into politics.

The Federal Election Commission is expected to vote Thursday on a proposal to allow bitcoin contributions to political action committees — even as skeptics say that bitcoins could undermine the disclosure standards of federal law.

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It's All Politics
6:11 pm
Wed November 20, 2013

With Nominees Stalled, Democrats Reprise Filibuster Threat

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (left) with Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley on Capitol Hill in July. Both senators favor curtailing the minority's right to filibuster judicial nominees.
Jose Luis Magana Reuters/Landov

For the third time this year, the Democrats who run the Senate are threatening to change that chamber's rules on the Republican minority's most potent weapon: the filibuster. They say the GOP's obstruction of President Obama's nominations leaves them no other choice.

Democrats say that this time, they're ready to pull the trigger on what's known as "the nuclear option." Doing so would amount to altering the rules not with the traditional two-thirds majority but a simple majority of 51.

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