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Technology
7:43 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

For The Blind, Connected Devices Create A Novel Way To Read

This Braille reader connects to a smartphone.
John Suchocki The Republican/Landov

Saturday is World Braille Day, commemorating the birth of Frenchman Louis Braille, who was blinded in an accident when he was a toddler. Undeterred, he became a brilliant student but was frustrated that he couldn't read or write.

In school, he learned about a system of dots used by soldiers to communicate at night. Braille adapted that system into something that would transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Not My Job: Jim Gaffigan Takes A Quiz On Gwyneth Paltrow

Mark Mainz Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

This segment was originally broadcast on July 26, 2013.

Comedian and actor Jim Gaffigan lives happily with his wife and his five young children in a two-bedroom apartment in lower Manhattan. You read that right: Five kids. Two parents. Two bedrooms. His latest book, Dad Is Fat, reflects on the challenges and triumphs of raising a big family in a small space.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Comedian Tig Notaro Plays Not My Job

Courtesy of Ruthie Wyatt

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

This segment was originally broadcast on July 19, 2013.

In 2012, comedian Louis C.K. tweeted: "In 27 years doing this, I've seen a handful of truly great, masterful standup sets. One was Tig Notaro last night at Largo." The set C.K. was referring to was Notaro's performance the day she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. That set became "Tig Notaro: Live," which is now out now on iTunes.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
7:17 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Amy Sedaris Plays 'Not My Job'

Getty Images Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 11:52 am

Originally broadcast Feb. 14, 2009.

Actress, comedian and writer Amy Sedaris plays our game called "Drinking this much will win me a Pulitzer Prize, or make not winning a lot easier to take." She answers three questions about the drinking habits of great authors taken from the book Hemingway and Bailey's Bartending Guide.

Health Care
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Is Not Your Parents' Health Insurance

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. It's been years since a new for-profit health insurance company launched in the U.S. The industry's dominated by large established firms. But some young tech entrepreneurs in New York believe they can take on the big guys, offering plans on the New York Exchange. NPR's Dan Bobkoff has their story.

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Around the Nation
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Big Cities See Violent Crime Rates Fall In 2013

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the start of this new year, a number of cities in the United States, including its five largest, have a common story to tell about crime. In 2013, they all saw violent crime rates drop significantly. Some also saw murder rates drop to historic lows. From Chicago, NPR's Cheryl Corley reports.

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NPR Story
4:31 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Explanatory 'Verticals' Give Big-Name Journalists More Power

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:26 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Recently we've heard of some big changes at several news organizations involving some of their most prominent journalists. At the Washington Post, the founder of the popular policy site Wonkblog, Ezra Klein, is weighing a departure. And the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are both scrambling to set up dedicated news teams to replace journalists who have left in pursuit of more money and independence. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik joins us from our studios in New York.

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The Two-Way
4:18 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

This Week's Massive Winter Storm, Seen From Space

A composite image shows large portions of the United States covered by snow, as a winter storm moved eastward across the country Thursday.
NASA/GSFC/Aqua/MODIS

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:38 am

NASA caught our eye earlier today when the space agency tweeted a composite image of the huge winter storm that has covered parts of the Midwest and Eastern U.S. with a deep blanket of snow.

The photos that make up the image were taken Thursday, NASA says, during several passes of its Aqua satellite. The craft used its Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer — MODIS — "to capture this true-color image of a massive winter storm moving up the eastern seaboard," the agency says.

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It's All Politics
4:08 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

House GOP Puts Another 'Target' On Obamacare

House Republicans plan to start the new year with a vote on HealthCare.gov that will place Democrats in a politically tough spot.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:32 pm

Updated at 7:55 p.m. ET

When Congress returns next week, House Republicans will welcome their Democratic colleagues with a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't vote.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has let it be known that the House will vote on legislation ostensibly meant to protect Americans from HealthCare.gov data breaches. Several Republicans have introduced HealthCare.gov-related security bills, so Cantor has plenty of material to work with.

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The Two-Way
3:37 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

The NSA's Quantum Code-Breaking Research Is No Secret

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md. The agency has been trying to build a quantum computer, The Washington Post reports — but that news doesn't surprise experts in the field.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

So the world's most clandestine spy agency is working on something called a quantum computer, The Washington Post tells us. It's based on rules Einstein himself described as "spooky," and it can crack almost any code. That's got to be top-secret stuff, right?

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NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Composer Caroline Shaw Nominated For Grammy

Violinist, singer and composer Caroline Shaw is the youngest person ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for music.

Her voice bending piece “Partita For 8 Voices” captured the attention of the Pulitzer judges this spring.

And she has been nominated for a Grammy award in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category, also for “Partita For 8 Voices.”

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NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

New Mayor Vows To Outlaw A Central Park Tradition

A horse-drawn carriage is seen near Central Park January 2, 2014 in New York. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced he would like the city council to outlaw the horse-drawn carriages and have them replaced by electric antique cars. (Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images)

The horse drawn carriages are a staple in New York’s Central Park and an almost mandatory destination for the hoards of tourists that visit the city each year.

They have been around for more than 150 years–ever since Central Park first opened in 1858.

But this year, New York’s new mayor Bill DeBlasio is vowing to do away with Central Park’s horse drawn carriages.

He says that the practice is cruel and essentially amounts to animal abuse.

DeBlasio says doing away with this NY tradition will be one of the first changes he makes in office.

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NPR Story
3:30 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Snowy Owls Head South In Biggest Numbers In 50 Years

Perched upon a car tire in a clam flat at Long Wharf in New Haven on December 15, 2013, a young male Snowy Owl scans its surroundings. In the background is Five Mile Point light in New Haven harbor. (Matt Messina/WNPR)

Birders in the Northeast are enjoying a rare spectacle this winter: sightings of the snowy owl.

Low supplies of food in the birds’ usual habitat — the Arctic — have sent some snowy owls south in search of prey, and they are sparking the imaginations of those who get a glimpse of the rare bird.

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Patrick Skahill of WNPR went searching for snowy owls along the Connecticut coast.

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Arts & Life
3:29 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

'Playboy' Gets Pranked: Group Flips The Script On Sex

You can't buy these panties at your local Victoria's Secret. While they mimic the look of that brand's Pink line, they're actually part of a project by FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture.
Courtesy of FORCE

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

Rebecca Nagle sometimes finds herself asking the question: What would Hugh Hefner say?

"The only sex that is good is when it's good for everyone," she says, laughing. "And I've only ever had good sex."

Hefner didn't actually say that. Nagle wrote it.

"But you can really imagine Hugh Hefner saying that," she insists.

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This Week's Must Read
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Tough Commute This Morning? Your 'Journey' Could Have Been Worse

Members of Robert Falcon Scott expedition's at the South Pole pose for the camera: Robert F. Scott, Lawrence Oates, Henry R. Bowers, Edward A. Wilson, and Edgar Evans.
Herbert George Ponting Library of Congress

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:10 pm

Jynne Martin is a poet who recently served as Antarctica's writer in residence.

If like many East Coasters, you had a miserable commute today through the blinding snow, just remember that it could be worse. You could've been one of the 74 passengers and crew aboard the ship trapped in Antarctica sea ice on Christmas Eve, who waited a week to be rescued, then got stuck again, enduring high winds, freezing cold, and what must have been a painful number of Crazy Eights games.

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Shots - Health News
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

California County Pushes Drugmakers To Pay For Pill Waste

Ground zero for a new approach to prescription drug disposal.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

The leftover prescription drugs you have around your house are at the center of a battle between small government and big pharmaceutical companies.

The immediate aim is to have the pharmaceutical companies take care of disposing of extra drugs. But Alameda County in northern California wants to make manufacturers think about the life cycles of their products — from their creation to what happens when they're no longer needed.

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Around the Nation
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Skier Vies For A Spot On Team USA After Breaking Both Legs

Alice McKennis speeds down the course during the women's downhill at the Alpine skiing world championships in Schladming, Austria, in February.
Alessandro Trovati AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:43 pm

On a cold, cloudy day in Colorado, ski racer Alice McKennis suits up. She buckles her boots, puts on a back protector and dons a tightfitting speed suit.

She's training at the U.S. Ski Team's Speed Center at Copper Mountain near Vail, Colo. — and how she got here is exceptional.

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Parallels
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

From The Ruins Of A Tsunami, A Rebuilt Aceh Rises Anew

A man rides a motorcycle near houses that were rebuilt in an area in Banda Aceh, the capital of Indonesia's Aceh province, that was devastated by the tsunami that hit on Dec. 26, 2004.
Heri Juanda AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 8:09 pm

As survivors of Haiyan — November's super typhoon in the Philippines — slowly put their lives back together, the rest of Asia has been marking the anniversary of another disaster.

Shortly after Christmas nine years ago, a huge tsunami swept across the region, killing at least a quarter of a million people.

Some of the worst damage was in the Indonesian province of Aceh, where whole villages were swept away by a wall of water so powerful it picked up ships and left them several miles inland.

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Business
3:26 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

How NAFTA Helped The Mexican Billionaires' Club

Carlos Slim Helu (left) talks with Steve Forbes of Forbes magazine. The magazine lists the Mexican telecom mogul as the world's richest man, with a net worth of $73 billion.
Jeremy Piper AP

Originally published on Mon January 6, 2014 2:50 pm

When the North American Free Trade Agreement was being negotiated, supporters promised it would increase the income of Mexicans. And the middle class did grow in Mexico over the past two decades. But it's clear that Mexico's ultrarich are among its big winners.

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The Salt
3:16 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Let Them Eat Sandwiches: USDA Eases School Lunch Restrictions

After the the school lunch program was overhauled in 2012 to curb childhood obesity, lots of kids began complaining that lunches were too skimpy.

Why? Because in some cases, schools had to limit healthy foods — such as sandwiches served on whole-grain bread or salads topped with grilled chicken — due to restrictions the U.S. Department of Agriculture set on the amount of grains and protein that could be served at meal-time.

In some districts, program participation dropped as more kids decided to brown-bag it and bring their own food to school.

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The Two-Way
3:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Obama Administration Moves To Alter Gun-Buying Rules

President Obama speaks in April after the Senate rejected a bill that would expand background checks on guns. The White House is seeking to clarify rules that bar firearm possession due to mental health problems.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 5:58 pm

Federal agencies are proposing new rules for handling gun buyers' background checks, in changes the Obama administration says will "keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands." The changes include a clarification of rules barring firearm possession due to mental health problems.

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Code Switch
2:15 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

2014: The Year We Weren't Shocked That People Of Color Watch Films?

The latest installment of Paranormal Activity has Latino themes and a Latino cast.
Paramount Pictures

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 7:27 pm

One of the stories of 2013 was that every time a movie with people of color in prominent roles got giant ratings, people were shocked. You could almost set your watch to this phenomenon, which Linda Holmes once memorably described as "fluke-ifying."

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World Cafe
2:04 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Moby On World Cafe

Moby.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sat March 29, 2014 4:05 pm

Today's Vintage Cafe is an extended session in front of an audience at Philadelphia's World Cafe Live with Moby. He and his singers play songs from his most recent album, Innocents, in this sparse and gorgeous session.

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It's All Politics
1:42 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Clay Aiken's Political Reality: Results Mixed For Stars Like Him

Clay Aiken performs a special one night only concert at the Progress Energy Performing Arts Center in Raleigh, N.C., in March 2010.
Jim R. Bounds AP

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 2:19 pm

Reality television star Clay Aiken set the political class chattering Friday with rumors that he may run for Congress.

Frozen in time as the elfin man-child of American Idol fame, the runner-up from a decade ago is reportedly considering running as a Democrat in his home state of North Carolina.

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The Two-Way
1:41 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Couples Urge Sotomayor To Deny Utah's Bid To Block Gay Marriage

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 1:48 pm

Attorneys for same-sex couples say Utah officials who want to block gay marriages "cannot meet their burden" of showing either an error by a lower court or serious damage if the ceremonies continue, according to papers filed with the Supreme Court Friday. The filing urges the court to deny a request to halt the unions in Utah.

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Book Reviews
1:40 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

A Critic Tours 'Echo Spring,' Home Of Beloved Boozy Writers

nito100 iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 3, 2014 3:19 pm

It's the quintessential "dog bites man" story. I'm talking about a new book I just read about a group of famous writers who — get this -- drank too much! I know, right? That's pretty much the equivalent of saying I just read a book about a group of famous writers who used commas in their sentences.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Everyone Poops, But Dogs Do It With Magnetism

Can a pup get a little privacy, please?
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 7, 2014 7:10 am

Dog owners have all been there when walking their canine companions.

Fido sniffs the ground and maybe turns around a few times. He searches. "No, not that patch," he seems to say. "Maybe this one. ... Or over here. ... Umm, maybe not."

Then, finally, he gets into position to ... well, let's just say leave that deposit that you'll have to pick up.

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NPR Story
1:10 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Marian McPartland On Piano Jazz, Part One

This week's installment of Piano Jazz marks a true milestone, as host Marian McPartland appears as a guest on the program with guest host Elvis Costello. In part one of this all-new interview, McPartland and Costello recount some memorable moments from the program's 30-year (and counting!) run.

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Ecstatic Voices
1:06 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

'Our Soul Music Is Mariachi Music': Houston's Mexican Mass

Jess Escalante (right), the 70-year-old founder of Mariachi Norteno, plays his guitarrón in a recent Mass for Our Lady of Guadalupe inside St. Joseph Catholic Church in Houston. He's joined by Jose Martinez.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Sat January 4, 2014 7:50 pm

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Hardcover Nonfiction Bestsellers
12:27 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

NPR Bestsellers: Hardcover Nonfiction, Week Of January 2, 2014

In One Summer, at No. 5, Bill Bryson tells the true story of a few fascinating months of 1927.

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