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NPR Story
3:59 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Microsoft Reveals 'Epic' Xbox Sales

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with console sales.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Microsoft announced sales of its new Xbox One topped three million units by the end of 2013. In a blog post, the company called it the most epic launch of Xbox, by all measures.

The third-generation console was available a week before Thanksgiving. It's been competing with Sony's new baby, Playstation 4, which also launched in November. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Author Interviews
1:58 am
Tue January 7, 2014

CIA Lawyer: Waterboarding Wasn't Torture Then And Isn't Torture Now

John Rizzo is the CIA's former acting general counsel. His new memoir is Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.
Jay Mallin Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:07 am

In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks, many Americans heard the term "waterboarding" for the first time — a technique aimed to simulate the act of drowning. Waterboarding was at the center of the debate about what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques" — and what critics called "torture."

John Rizzo, acting general counsel of the CIA in the years after Sept. 11, 2001, has written a memoir about his three decades at the agency. He talks with NPR's Renee Montagne about Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.

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Around the Nation
1:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is seen in his Washington office, May 20, 1963. The 1971 burglary of one of the bureau's offices revealed the agency's domestic surveillance program.
William J. Smith AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 1:23 pm

More than 40 years ago, on the evening of March 8, 1971, a group of burglars carried out an audacious plan. They pried open the door of an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole files about the bureau's surveillance of anti-war groups and civil rights organizations.

Hundreds of agents tried to identify the culprits, but the crime went unsolved. Until now.

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Around the Nation
1:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

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All Tech Considered
1:56 am
Tue January 7, 2014

In Gaming, A Shift From Enemies To Emotions

The game That Dragon, Cancer is an interactive memoir about raising a child with pediatric cancer.
That Dragon, Cancer

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 5:56 am

A generation has grown up with video games — and video games are growing up, too. Developers are using the medium to tell sophisticated, emotionally complex stories.

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All Tech Considered
5:21 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

CES 2014: Toothbrush? Bed? Car? Put Some Internet On It

The Kolibree toothbrush, billed as the world's first Internet-connected toothbrush, monitors dental hygiene.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 10:18 am

The International Consumer Electronics Show is nothing less than a gadget-lover's dream.

Every year thousands of companies from all over the world flock to Las Vegas in the first week in January to show off the products they hope to sell in the coming year. What began as a trade show featuring the latest high-fidelity stereos 40 years ago has become an annual electronics circus.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Senate Confirms Janet Yellen As Federal Reserve Chair

The Senate has approved Janet Yellen as the next head of the Federal Reserve. At a ceremony commemorating the Fed's centennial last month, Yellen sat with (from left-to-right) former chairmen Paul Volker and Alan Greenspan, and current Fed leader Ben Bernanke.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 6:13 pm

The Senate has voted to approve the nomination of Janet Yellen as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. With Monday's vote, Yellen, 67, will become the first woman to serve as America's banking chief, heading an institution that was established in 1913.

Update at 6:31 p.m. ET: Some Senators Left Out

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Politics
4:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Tighter Access To 'Death Master File' Has Researchers Worried

To help cut down on fraud, Congress is limiting access to the Social Security Administration's data about people who die in the United States each year.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 9:51 am

The "Death Master File." It sounds like a ledger the Grim Reaper might keep, but in reality, it's a computerized list containing some 86 million names and other data kept by the Social Security Administration.

An obscure provision tucked into the budget deal that Congress approved last month would limit access to the list — and that has everyone from genealogists to bankers concerned.

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Shots - Health News
4:43 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Health Care Costs Grew More Slowly Than The Economy In 2012

NPR

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 3:55 pm

Health care spending grew at a record slow pace for the fourth straight year in 2012, according to a new government report. But the federal officials who compiled the report disagree with their bosses in the Obama administration about why.

The annual report from the actuaries at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, published in the journal Health Affairs, found total U.S. health spending totaled $2.8 trillion in 2012, or $8,915 per person.

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It's All Politics
4:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats Tackle Politics Of Income Inequality

White House National Economic Council Chairman Gene Sperling speaks during the daily briefing at the White House on Monday. With Congress back, the Senate is expected to work on a three-month extension of benefits for the long-term unemployed.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:26 pm

President Obama and fellow Democrats, just back from a long holiday break, are immediately embracing a legislative agenda that would increase the minimum wage and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an estimated 1.3 million long-term jobless in America.

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It's All Politics
4:03 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

4 Lessons From Liz Cheney's Ill-Fated Senate Run

Liz Cheney campaigns in Casper, Wyo., on July 17, one day after announcing her GOP primary challenge to Sen. Mike Enzi.
Matt Young AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 6:26 am

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, ended her Wyoming Senate primary challenge Monday, saying in a statement that a family health situation is responsible for her decision. (ABC News reports that sources close to Cheney said one of her daughters has diabetes.)

Even before family health issues arose, Cheney's apparently dimming prospects against GOP Sen. Mike Enzi would have been enough to give pause to many candidates.

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Shots - Health News
3:56 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How Much Does A New Hip Cost? Even The Surgeon Doesn't Know

How much is that hip implant in the X-ray? Only the hospital administrator and the company that made it know for sure.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue January 21, 2014 12:07 pm

What will a gallon of milk set you back? How about a new car? You probably have a rough idea.

But what about a new knee or a hip replacement? Chances are you have no clue. And you aren't alone. The surgeons who implant the devices probably don't know either, a survey finds.

Medicare spends about $20 billion each year on implanted medical devices. Nearly half of the total goes to orthopedic procedures. As the population ages and more Americans get joint replacements, the spending on implants is likely to keep rising.

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The Two-Way
3:49 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Don't Just Shiver, Here Are 3 Cold-Weather Experiments To Try

A bubble freezes in very cold weather.
SimonSaysBaka via YouTube

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:37 pm

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Parallels
3:40 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

How I Almost Got Arrested With A South Sudanese Ex-Minister

South Sudan's then-Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Peter Adwok Nyaba (center) celebrates the first anniversary of the country's independence in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, on July 9, 2012. Since then, all of South Sudan's Cabinet ministers have been sacked — including Adwok — for allegedly conspiring to overthrow President Salva Kiir.
Ding Haitao Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 1:28 pm

The unmarked, unpaved streets of Juba, the capital of South Sudan, can be tough for an outsider to navigate.

By the time I found the house of Peter Adwok Nyaba, the country's former minister of higher education, science and technology, it was already 5 p.m. The sun was dangerously low on the horizon. I had less than an hour to interview Adwok and get back to my hotel before the citywide curfew — imposed when the violence began three weeks before — took effect. After 6, there would be no one on the streets except myself and soldiers.

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The Two-Way
3:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Foul Weather In Britain Linked To U.S. 'Polar Vortex'

High tide storm waves batter the Cumbrian coast, completely inundating the harbor wall at Whitehaven on Monday.
Ashley Cooper Barcroft Media/Landov

Britain's southwest coast is getting slammed by a winter storm, with high winds driving waves as high as 27 feet ashore in an unusual event that meteorologists say is likely linked to the bone-chilling "polar vortex" gripping much of the U.S.

The U.K. Met Office is warning of continued "exceptionally high waves."

It said the waves were triggered by a large, deep depression in the Atlantic which was "whipping waves up" out at sea.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Technology Writer Calls For 'Information Environmentalism'

Evgeny Morozov says that perhaps constant connectivity is not a good thing. (Ed Yourdon/Flickr)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

Technology writer Evgeny Morozov says we’ve ceded key decisions on public space to technology companies, and he is joining the call for a movement to take the space back.

“We’ve decided by default that more connectivity is a good thing, but maybe it isn’t,” Morozov tells Here & Now’s Robin Young.

For one thing, Morozov argues, we turn to technology to escape boredom, but information overload also leads to profound boredom.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

A Modern Greek Saga: Sisyphus And The Ivy

Tom Banse/Northwest News Network

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

Some causes just seem hopeless some days. But you’ve no doubt met people who insist on tackling intractable problems locally and around the world.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Tom Banse of the Northwest News Network introduces us to a particularly dedicated fellow who wages a solo fight each weekday morning against invasive English ivy vines in his home state of Washington.

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NPR Story
3:35 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

JP Morgan To Pay $2 Billion Settlement In Madoff Case

The headquarters of JP Morgan Chase on Park Avenue December 12, 2013 in New York. JP Morgan Chase and federal authorities are close to a USD $2 billion settlement over the bank's ties to financier Bernard L. Madooff that involve penalties and deffered criminal prosecution. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

JP Morgan Chase is expected to reach a deal with federal authorities this week to pay about $2 billion in civil and criminal penalties to the government for its ties to Bernie Madoff.

The bank is suspected of ignoring signs of Madoff’s criminal financial scheme in order to win more commissions on services it provided.

With this payout, JP Morgan will have paid $20 billion to the government in the past year to resolve investigations.

The government reportedly plans to give some of the $2 billion settlement to investors affected by Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

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Book Reviews
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Book Review: 'Famous Writers I Have Known'

Alan Cheuse reviews a new novel by James Magnuson, Famous Writers I Have Known.

Education
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

UNC May Have Passed Football Players With 'Phantom' Classes

The University of North Carolina is embroiled in an academic fraud case involving students who received high grades for classes that were never held. Many of those students happen to be football players. The case has resulted in the indictment of a professor, who was a department chair. Audie Cornish talks to Dan Kane, an investigative journalist at The News & Observer newspaper in Raleigh.

Parallels
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Portugal's Baby Bust Is A Stark Sign Of Hard Times

Nurse Carina Araujo gives care to a child in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maternidade Doutor Alfredo da Costa Hospital in Lisbon, Portugal, on June 6. Portugal's birthrate has dropped 14 percent since the economic crisis hit.
The Washington Post The Washington Post/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 4:11 pm

In Lisbon, the waiting area of Portugal's biggest maternity hospital is empty. You can hear the hum of soda machines across the hall. There's just one expectant father, pacing the room.

Mario Carvalho, 40, has a toddler son and now awaits the birth of his baby girl.

"Today, I hope!" he says with a nervous smile.

The birth of a new baby is a joyous occasion. But in Portugal, it's an increasingly rare one. Since the economic crisis hit, the country's birthrate has dropped 14 percent, to less than 1.3 babies per woman — one of the lowest in the world.

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Environment
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Arctic Methane Bubbles Not As Foreboding As Once Feared

European scientists were alarmed in 2008 when they discovered streams of methane bubbles erupting from the seafloor in Norway's high Arctic. This gas, which contributes to global warming, was apparently coming from methane ice on the seafloor. A follow-up study finds that methane bubble plumes at this location have probably been forming for a few thousand years, so they are not the result of human-induced climate change. But continued warming of ocean water can trigger more methane releases in the Arctic, with potentially serious consequences to the climate.

Around the Nation
3:27 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Forest Service May Try To Recoup Rim Fire Costs With Logging

The U.S. Forest Service has proposed a large salvage logging operation in the area affected by last year's historic Rim Fire, which burned 410-square miles of California's Sierra Nevada. The proposal is meeting stiff opposition from environmental groups who say the land is better left untouched.

World Cafe
3:16 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

World Cafe Next: U.S. Royalty

U.S. Royalty.
Courtesy of the artist
  • Listen Two Songs By U.S. Royalty

Our first World Cafe: Next artist of the new year is the Washington, D.C., band U.S. Royalty. Led by brothers John and Paul Thornley, the group will release its second album (Blue Sunshine) on Jan. 21. After a year of touring and the death of the Thornleys' father, U.S. Royalty found a way to infuse its polished new album with the raw energy of its live shows.

All Songs Considered
3:00 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Question Of The Week: What Are Your Music Resolutions For 2014?

NPR

I began last year with some ambitious goals as far as music goes. I vowed to go to more live shows, to pay more attention to lyrics and to spend more time in general with the albums I hear. This was in addition to losing weight, writing a novel and quitting World Of Warcraft. (Ha ha, just kidding! Why would anyone quit World Of Warcraft?).

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World Cafe
2:56 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

The Decemberists On World Cafe

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 7:39 pm

The Decemberists have been on hiatus for quite a while — so long that the non-Colin Meloy members of the band have their own group, Black Prairie. We love these musicians together, and that's why we picked their session from 2011's The King Is Dead to feature on Vintage Cafe.

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The Salt
2:54 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Sandwich Monday: The Ignatius R

No mouths were harmed in the eating of this sandwich. Except Eva's — she wants Worker's Comp for a bad case of Sandwich Jaw.
NPR

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 1:01 pm

It's -16 degrees today here in Chicago, which for many of us has triggered hibernation mode. Fortunately the great Jerry's Sandwiches has created the Ignatius R., with enough calories to get us to the end of winter, which we expect to occur sometime in August.

The ingredient list: fried chicken, cold hickory-smoked sirloin, applewood bacon, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Carolina vinegar, fried shrimp, fried green tomato, mortadella, country ham, pickled okra, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, and Southwest mayo on a potato bun.

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The Salt
2:22 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Looks Like The Paleo Diet Wasn't Always So Hot For Ancient Teeth

Say aaaaaah! Dental caries and other signs of oral disease are plain to see in the upper teeth of this hunter-gatherer, between 14,000 and 15,000 years old. The findings challenge the idea that the original paleo diet was inherently healthy, says paleo-anthropologist Louise Humphrey. It all depended, she says, on what wild foods were available.
Courtesy of Isabelle De Groote

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 5:16 pm

One of the hinge points in human history was the invention of agriculture. It led to large communities, monumental architecture and complex societies. It also led to tooth decay.

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Shots - Health News
2:08 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Frostbite Tips For Novices: Skip Whiskey And Shed Your Rings

Jenny Hackett walks across a street in St. Louis, Mo., on Sunday. Subzero temperatures are predicted there Monday, with bitter cold sweeping east.
Jeff Roberson AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 7:38 am

Frostbite isn't usually a major worry here in Washington, D.C., but with wind chills below zero forecast for half of the Lower 48 by Tuesday morning, millions of people from the Plains to the East Coast will have to start thinking like Arctic explorers while waiting for a school bus or heading to work.

Noses, fingers, toes and ears face the biggest risk. Those body parts have less blood flowing through them and a lot less mass than the body's core. They're also more likely to be exposed to the elements. Obviously, bundling up those tender parts is key.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Deadly Violence Mars Elections In Bangladesh

Bangladeshi protesters burn election material Sunday at a polling station in the northern town of Bogra.
AFP/Getty Images

Bangladesh's parliamentary election Sunday proved to be among the most violent vote in the country's short history. At least 18 people were killed, including an election officer who was beaten to death, and scores of polling stations firebombed, according to local media reports.

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