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Literature
6:58 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Literary Iceland Revels In Its Annual 'Christmas Book Flood'

A shopper browses in a branch of the Icelandic book chain Penninn-Eymundsson.
Courtesy of Bryndís Loftsdottir

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 2:46 am

In the United States, popular holiday gifts come and go from year to year. But in Iceland, the best Christmas gift is a book — and it has been that way for decades.

Iceland publishes more books per capita than any other country in the world, with five titles published for every 1,000 Icelanders. But what's really unusual is the timing: Historically, a majority of books in Iceland are sold from late September to early November. It's a national tradition, and it has a name: Jolabokaflod, or the "Christmas Book Flood."

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Games & Humor
6:41 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Google Integrates Kevin Bacon In Its Search Function

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

OK, remember the game "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon"? Google, which can bring you the weather forecast for any spot on the planet, launched another very useful service this year. The search engine's "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" game will connect any movie star, living or dead, to the veteran Hollywood actor Kevin Bacon.

The game has become so popular, we went in search of its origins this past September. We had so much fun that once again we bring what we found on our expedition.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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Movie Interviews
6:22 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Vic Flick's Riff Captures The Sound Of James Bond

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 4:39 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

We've been looking back at some of the stories we heard on MORNING EDITION in the past year and bringing you encore performances of our favorites. 2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the first Bond film, "Dr. No." and to help 007 celebrate, we investigated one of the ingredients that helps make Bond films so Bond.

(SOUNDBITE OF JAMES BOND THEME SONG)

MONTAGNE: Ah, yes, the music. This is one of the most famous themes in movie history, and here's the part that gives it that secret agent feel.

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NPR Story
6:01 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Business News

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:23 am

Holiday Sales rose by less than 1 percent from the year before, according to MasterCard's SpendingPulse unit. That's the slowest growth in spending since the 2008 recession. Even online sales — which posted double digit gains over the past few years — were lackluster this year.

NPR Story
6:01 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Checking In With Rep. Bruce Braley

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:11 am

The new Congress will have big problems to tackle and little love from the people who elected them. To find out what can be done to get things working again on Capitol Hill, David Greene catches up with Iowa Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley.

NPR Story
6:01 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Worst CEO List, Who's On It?

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:53 am

David Greene talks to Sydney Finkelstein, who teaches management at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, about his list of the worst CEOs of 2012. Of interest is not just who made the list this year, but who didn't.

Business
3:25 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Wall Street Wiretaps: Investigators Use Insiders' Own Words To Convict Them

Raj Rajaratnam, center, billionaire co-founder of Galleon Group, is surrounded by photographers as leaves Manhattan federal court May 11 after being convicted of insider trading charges.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:07 am

It was another busy year for federal authorities pursuing insider trading cases. Seventy-five people have now been charged in the last three years, and investigators say that success comes largely from their decision to attack insider trading the way they take down the Mafia and drug cartels — with tools such as wiretaps, informants and cooperators.

The story behind how the government decided to go after insider trading as hard as it goes after the mob is really just a story about dead ends.

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Business
3:23 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Who Could Be Watching You Watching Your Figure? Your Boss

Mobile apps and devices track a user's health statistics. But those data are sometimes sold and can end up in the hands of employers and insurance companies.
iStockphoto.com

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

Those of us trying to lose some pounds after overindulging this holiday season can get help from a slew of smartphone apps that count steps climbed and calories burned. Self-tracking has also become a way for companies to make money using your fitness data. And some experts worry that the data collected could be used against users in the long run.

At a recent Quantified Self Meetup in downtown San Francisco, technology lovers are testing homemade do-it-yourself devices on people eager to measure their mind and body.

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Food
3:22 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Don't Fear That Expired Food

The expiration date on foods like orange juice and even milk aren't indicators of when those products will go bad.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed January 2, 2013 8:57 am

Now that the Christmas feast is over, you may be looking at all the extra food you made, or the food that you brought home from the store that never even got opened.

And you may be wondering: How long can I keep this? What if it's past its expiration date? Who even comes up with those dates on food, anyway, and what do they mean?

Here's the short answer: Those "sell by" dates are there to protect the reputation of the food. They have very little to do with food safety. If you're worried whether food is still OK to eat, just smell it.

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Arts + Life
3:21 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Online Videos: Not Just Made By Amateurs Anymore

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:07 am

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Food
2:14 am
Wed December 26, 2012

The Rebirth Of Rye Whiskey And Nostalgia For 'The Good Stuff'

Templeton bottles, filled and almost corked.
Noah Adams NPR

Originally published on Fri December 28, 2012 11:04 am

It used to be said that only old men drink rye, sitting alone down at the end of the bar, but that's no longer the case as bartenders and patrons set aside the gins and the vodkas and rediscover the pleasures of one of America's old-fashioned favorites.

Whiskey from rye grain was what most distilleries made before Prohibition. Then, after repeal in 1933, bourbon, made from corn, became more popular. Corn was easier to grow, and the taste was sweeter.

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Best Music Of 2012
2:12 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Top 10 Top 40 Of 2012

Ellie Goulding
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 7:51 am

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Music Interviews
2:12 am
Wed December 26, 2012

Perfume Genius: A 'Creepy, Beautiful Mix'

Perfume Genius.
Angel Ceballos Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 6:07 am

Mike Hadreas describes the sound of Perfume Genius as "that kind of creepy, beautiful mix of things — that warm wash of something that is beautiful, but unsettling at the same time."

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Animals
4:20 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Study: Red Noses Help Reindeers Cope With Polar Air

Rudolph is of course known as the red-nosed reindeer, and scientists say they may know why that's the case.

Physiologist Dan Milstein with the University of Amsterdam and a group of colleagues examined the noses of several living reindeer.

"There was a much richer amount of blood vessels present inside Rudolph's or reindeer's nose in comparison to humans," Milstein says.

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The Salt
3:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Computers May Someday Beat Chefs At Creating Flavors We Crave

Does bell pepper and black tea sound appetizing? A computer may think so.
Ryan Smith NPR

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 10:06 am

Mario Batali, watch your back.

Computer scientists at IBM have already built a computer that can beat human contestants on the TV quiz show, "Jeopardy." Now it appears they're sharpening their intellectual knives to make a computer that might someday challenge the competitors on "Iron Chef."

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Food
3:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

The Bittersweet Tale Of An Odd Christmas Cookie Sandwich

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

We've asked you to tell us what you eat on Christmas Day, regardless of whether you celebrate the holiday. And one thing we've learned from your emails, many of you do share common food traditions: puddings, cookies, eggnog. And some of you have your own little bit of quirk, like Sarah Schwab's(ph) family in Milwaukee. They have a special drink.

SARAH SCHWAB: It's called a Holiday Harvey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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Middle East
3:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

'Prophet School' Trains A New Generation In Israel

Originally published on Sun December 30, 2012 8:34 am

Hear the word "prophet" and the names Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jesus or Mohammed may come to mind. While these are figures from the distant past, Rabbi Shmuel Fortman Hapartzi is training a new generation of prophets for a new age.

Fortman runs the Cain and Abel School for Prophets in Tel Aviv. It's named for the sons of Adam and Eve who, in the Bible, were the first human beings born of woman to speak directly to God and therefore, Fortman says, the first prophets.

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Around the Nation
3:59 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Instead Of Celebration, Christmas A Time For Solace In Newtown

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:22 pm

In Newtown, Conn., Christmas is very different this year, a little more than a week after the shooting at an elementary school. Eight families that attend St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church lost children to the tragedy. Parishioners came to Christmas masses there seeking solace, and priests gave a message of hope and comfort.

News
2:25 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Texas Man Takes Last Stand Against Keystone XL Pipeline

David Daniel, an east Texas landowner, was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 4:20 pm

An east Texas landowner was so determined to block the Keystone XL pipeline from coming through his forest that he took to his trees and built an elaborate network of treehouses eight stories above the ground.

"It popped into my head a long time ago, actually," says 45-year-old David Daniel. "If I had to climb my butt on top of a tree and sit there, I would. It started with that."

It turned out to be Daniel's last stand in a long battle against the Keystone XL, a pipeline project that would bring oil from Canada all the way to refineries in the Texas Gulf Coast.

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World Cafe
12:03 pm
Tue December 25, 2012

Latin Roots: The Christmas Music Of Latin America

Ranchera star Lila Downs.
Eric Jamison Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 25, 2012 6:46 pm

In this edition of World Cafe, Beat Latino host Catalina Maria Johnson sits down with host David Dye to discuss the Christmas music traditions of Latin America. One thing that sets Central America's music apart from that of North America, she says, is the fact that a lot of it is made for dancing.

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