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The Two-Way
10:46 am
Fri December 28, 2012

As Water Level Falls, Concerns About Mississippi River's Barge Traffic Rise

This WWII-era minesweeper once was a floating museum in St. Louis. Swept away in a 1993 flood, it has been under water in the river for most of the years since. But the ship has been exposed as the river's water level has fallen. (Photo taken on Dec. 14.)
Army Corps of Engineers

With a gauge at the tricky section of the Mississippi River near Thebes, Ill., already registering a remarkably low water level — and projections that it will fall further in coming days and weeks — trade groups are warning that barge traffic through that part of the river may have to halt completely as soon as next week.

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Science + Technology
10:37 am
Fri December 28, 2012

The Mars Rover Takes A Selfie

Curiosity's self-portrait, captured on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
NASA/JPL/Caltech

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 4:45 pm

Who hasn't turned a camera around at arm's length to snap a picture to send to friends or family? It always seems like it takes a few tries to frame the shot just right to capture both you and that awesome mountain summit behind you.

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Food
10:33 am
Fri December 28, 2012

'The Book Of Gin' Distills A Spirited History

Workers pose for a photo at the Hoboken de Bie & Co. gin distillery in Rotterdam, Netherlands, circa 1900. By the end of the 19th century, cocktail culture had helped make gin a more respectable spirit.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 1:56 pm

Unlike a good martini, the story of gin isn't smooth; it's long, complex, sordid and, as Richard Barnett has discovered, it makes for tantalizing material. Barnett's newly published The Book of Gin traces the liquor's life, from its beginnings in alchemy to its current popularity among boutique distillers.

Barnett joins NPR's Renee Montagne to discuss the medicinal origins and changing reputation of gin.


Interview Highlights

On gin's medicinal origins

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Food
10:32 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Tamari Greens, Miso Yams: Chef Gives Vegans Multicultural Flavor

Jennifer Martiné Da Capo Lifelong Books

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 2:18 pm

Veganism has long been thought of as a bland, fringe diet typically associated with hippies or trend-setting Hollywood types. But chef Bryant Terry is trying to chip away at that stereotype.

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Food
10:26 am
Fri December 28, 2012

An Evolutionary Whodunit: How Did Humans Develop Lactose Tolerance?

Thousands of years ago, a mutation in the human genome allowed many adults to digest lactose and drink milk.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 12:41 pm

Got milk? Ancient European farmers who made cheese thousands of years ago certainly had it. But at that time, they lacked a genetic mutation that would have allowed them to digest raw milk's dominant sugar, lactose, after childhood.

Today, however, 35 percent of the global population — mostly people with European ancestry — can digest lactose in adulthood without a hitch.

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The Two-Way
9:45 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Little Hope, Low Expectations, Lots Of Gloom: 'Fiscal Cliff' Talk Is Dreary

Leaders will meet at the White House this afternoon.
Michael Reynolds EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 12:10 pm

  • David Welna on 'Morning Edition'

Yes, President Obama and congressional leaders are scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. ET to discuss how to avoid going over the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts.

But, no, that isn't inspiring much talk this morning of a breakthrough before the midnight New Year's Eve deadline:

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The Two-Way
8:51 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Top Stories: 'Fiscal Cliff' Talks Resume; Russia Bans U.S. Adoptions

Eric Waite and his 8-year-old daughter Emerson went sliding Thursday in Greenfield, Mass.
Matthew Cavanaugh Getty Images
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The Two-Way
8:33 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Remembering Gen. Schwarzkopf, 'Military Hero Of His Generation'

Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in 1990.
Kevin Larkin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 9:37 am

The death Thursday of retired Gen. H. Norman Schwarzkopf — "Stormin' Norman" — has prompted many looks at the legacy of the American commander who led coalition forces during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, which pushed Saddam Hussein's Iraqi Army out of Kuwait.

Schwarzkopf was 78. He:

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The Two-Way
7:56 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Secretary Clinton Due Back At Work Next Week, 'Foreign Policy' Reports

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Dec. 6 in Dublin.
Kevin Lamarque AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 9:38 am

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will return to the State Department next week after three weeks of recovery from a stomach virus and a related concussion," Foreign Policy's The Cable blog reports.

Clinton spokesman Philippe Reines tells The Cable that:

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Health
7:44 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Americans Support Physician-Assisted Suicide For Terminally Ill

John Kelly and Dr. Marcia Angell were advocates on opposing sides of a Massachusetts measure to legalize physician-assisted suicide.
Jesse Costa Jesse Costa/WBUR

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 10:07 am

Voters in Massachusetts were the latest to weigh in on whether it should be legal for doctors to prescribe drugs to help terminally ill patients end their lives.

The measure was controversial, and on Election Day it fell just short.

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Europe
7:40 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Present Thief Nabbed In France

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Around the Nation
7:31 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Author Offers Unique Reward To Finder Of His Dog

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Two-Way
7:23 am
Fri December 28, 2012

U.S. Families Stunned By Russia's Ban On Adoptions

Children at an orphanage in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don earlier this month.
Vladimir Konstantinov Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 9:37 am

As expected, Russian President Vladimir Putin today signed a law "that bans Americans from adopting Russian children and imposes other measures in retaliation for new U.S. legislation meant to punish Russian human rights abusers," Reuters reports.

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Europe
6:37 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Russia's Putin Signs Controversial Adoption Bill

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 1:42 pm

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a measure into law that would ban Americans from adopting Russian children.

Russia's parliament had overwhelmingly approved the ban, which was designed as retaliation for a new U.S. law that sanctions Russian officials accused of human rights violations.

The adoption ban stirred outrage in Russia as well as the United States.

An online petition against the measure rapidly collected more than 100,000 signatures in Russia.

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News
3:26 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Assessing Hillary Clinton's Legacy

Hillary Clinton, shown here boarding a plane in Prague earlier this month, is preparing to step aside soon as secretary of state. She hasn't said what she plans to do next.
Kevin Lamarque AP

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 12:04 pm

Hillary Clinton is preparing to leave the Obama administration after four years as secretary of state, earning generally high marks and fueling all kinds of speculation about what she wants to do next.

Her boss, President Obama, has paid tribute to her, calling her "tireless and extraordinary," though illness and a concussion have kept her out of public view for the past two weeks.

"More than 400 travel days, nearly 1 million miles," President Obama proclaimed at a diplomatic reception recently. "These are not frequent flier miles. She doesn't get discounts."

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Health
3:25 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Another Side Effect Of Chemotherapy: 'Chemo Brain'

Dr. Jame Abraham used positron emission tomography, or PET, scans to understand differences in brain metabolism before and after chemotherapy.
Dr. Jame Abraham

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 12:00 pm

It's well-known that chemotherapy often comes with side effects like fatigue, hair loss and extreme nausea. What's less well-known is how the cancer treatment affects crucial brain functions, like speech and cognition.

For Yolanda Hunter, a 41-year-old hospice nurse, mother of three and breast cancer patient, these cognitive side effects of chemotherapy were hard to miss.

"I could think of words I wanted to say," Hunter says. "I knew what I wanted to say. ... There was a disconnect from my brain to my mouth."

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Arts + Life
3:25 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Decades Later, Student Finds Teacher To Say 'Thank You'

John Cruitt reunited with his third-grade teacher, Cecile Doyle, to tell her about the impact she had on him as he coped with his mother's death.
StoryCorps

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 7:45 am

John Cruitt, 62, spent decades tracking down his third-grade teacher.

He wanted to talk with Cecile Doyle about 1958 — the year his mother, who was seriously ill with multiple sclerosis, passed away.

Her death came just days before Christmas. Cruitt had been expecting to go home from school and decorate the Christmas tree.

"But I walked into the living room, and my aunt was there, and she said, 'Well, honey, Mommy passed away this morning.' "

Cruitt remembers seeing his teacher, Doyle, at his mother's wake.

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Arts + Life
3:21 am
Fri December 28, 2012

Let's Double Down On A Superstorm Of Malarkey: Picking 2012's Word Of The Year

Selfie, one of the candidates for 2012's Word of the Year, means a self-portrait photograph, usually posted to a social networking site.
textsfromhillaryclinton.tumblr.com/Original image by Diana Walker for Time

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 2:26 pm

There is a major decision coming up that will truly define the year 2012. Yes, it's almost time for the American Dialect Society to once again vote on the Word of the Year. Will it be selfie? Hate-watching? Superstorm? Double down? Fiscal cliff? Or (shudder) YOLO?

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Remembrances
9:40 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Schwarzkopf, Commander In Gulf War, Dies At 78

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

General Norman Schwarzkopf has died. The military leader who earned the nickname Stormin' Norman was 78 years old. He became a household name in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, commanding the U.S.-led international coalition that drove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait.

Joining us now is NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman. And, Tom, to begin, tell us a little bit about his background. How did Schwarzkopf rise through the ranks?

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Literature
9:40 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Change Is The Only Constant In Today's Publishing Industry

Penguin and Random House, two of the biggest players in publishing, announced in October that they would merge.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

The publishing industry has been in flux for years. First chain stores, then Amazon, then e-books — many forces have combined to create dramatic change in the traditional publishing model.

Mike Shatzkin is the founder and CEO of the publishing industry consulting firm Idea Logical. He says one of the biggest changes happening in publishing right now is the planned merger of two of the biggest players in the field, Penguin and Random House — with whispers of further mergers to come.

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