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The Two-Way
1:13 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

The Toothbrush: It's In The Space Station's Toolbox. How About Yours?

The toothbrush/space tool.
NASA.gov

When we heard that astronauts aboard the International Space Station took a spare toothbrush along on a spacewalk today and used it to help clean debris from around some bolts they needed to secure in order to install a power unit, it got us thinking.

Just how versatile are old toothbrushs? We know we've used them to:

-- Clean bike gears.

-- Get grime out of our hubcaps.

-- Get at the crust around a car battery's terminals.

-- Polish jewelry.

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The Two-Way
12:57 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

Racer Alex Zanardi Wins Gold Medal At London Paralympics

Alex Zanardi celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's individual H4 time trial cycling final at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Brands Hatch circuit, in Kent, southern England. Zanardi's legs were amputated after a racecar crash in 2001.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:33 pm

Alex Zanardi, who was a star racecar driver when he lost his legs in a 2001 crash, has won a gold medal in the London Paralympics. The Italian, 45, beat Germany's Nobert Mosandl by more than 27 seconds to win the men's handcycle time trial. The race took place at Brands Hatch, a track that Zanardi has previously tackled behind the wheel of high-powered racecars.

"Last time I was here I was going about five times faster but I still love this circuit," he said this week.

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Joe's Big Idea
12:00 pm
Wed September 5, 2012

3 Clues To How Geography Fuels Innovation

Group Genius: Rubbing shoulders with other smart people, like these employees at Google, fuels innovation.
Paul Sakuma AP

The image of the lone genius toiling in isolation, finally emerging with a brilliant new concept is compelling, even romantic. Too bad it's not true.

Instead, innovation thrives in ecosystems, much as microbes flourish in a warm, cozy petri dish.

"There's an important geography to where innovation happens," says AnnaLee Saxenian, dean of the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley, who studies how regional differences affect innovation.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:55 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Insurer's Files Show Big Cost Differences For Same Illnesses

Yes, we've seen this before: a study showing large spending disparities to treat similar ailments and little if any link between expenditure and effectiveness.

What's different about a new analysis is the patients.

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It's All Politics
11:47 am
Wed September 5, 2012

The Odd Couple: What Clinton Adds For Obama

President Obama and former President Bill Clinton appear at a campaign event in New York in June.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:45 pm

In public, at least, they're the best of friends. And no one will have a more public role extolling President Obama than his Democratic predecessor, former President Bill Clinton.

Clinton, who has already been featured in an Obama campaign ad, is speaking tonight at the Democratic National Convention in what is traditionally the prime spot reserved for the vice presidential nominee.

"He's clearly the best asset the Democrats have," says GOP consultant David Carney. "Clinton is their best surrogate."

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NPR Story
11:45 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Philly Mayor Michael Nutter Thinks Local At DNC

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, there are a lot of college ranking guides out there, but we're going to tell you about one of them that says it rates colleges and universities on their value to you and to the country. That's ahead.

But first, we're following the Democratic convention in Charlotte, and while the spotlight is on national debates during the convention, we remember that old saying that all politics is local.

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NPR Story
11:45 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Thinking Harvard? Ranking System Says Think Again

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Switching gears now, school is back in session in much of the country and for many high school students that means it's time to look at colleges and, increasingly now, as more students go to college than ever, they and their parents are turning to rankings, such as the one published by U.S. News and World Report, to try to figure out the best fit.

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NPR Story
11:45 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Democrats Pulling No Punches At GOP Rivals

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 1:05 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. The Democratic National Convention is underway in North Carolina. We'll speak with the president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, about some of the local issues mayors are thinking about as they gather in Charlotte.

But first we want to talk about the message the Democrats are trying to send from the convention podium. Last night's keynote speaker was San Antonio's Mayor Julian Castro. He shared his American dream story.

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It's All Politics
11:22 am
Wed September 5, 2012

With A Flip Of Her Hair, Julian Castro's 3-Year-Old Becomes A Star

Carina Castro during the Democratic National Convention.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 1:12 pm

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The Two-Way
11:13 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Earthquake Triggers Pacific Tsunami Warnings For Central & South America

The star marks the epicenter of today's earthquake in Costa Rica.
U.S. Geological Survey

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 2:48 pm

The Pacific coasts of Costa Rica, Panama and Nicaragua are no longer the focus of tsunami warnings, the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center announced just after 1 p.m ET.

As we've been reporting, there was a strong — 7.6 magnitude — earthquake in Costa Rica this morning. At first, there were concerns about possible tsunamis from Mexico south to Chile. As the day continued, however, authorities gradually reduced their warnings.

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The Salt
11:13 am
Wed September 5, 2012

To Maximize The Joy Of Eating Candy, Apply Physics

These German Liebesperlen, or "love pearls," helped researchers unravel the mysteries of how candies dissolve. Why the baby bottle packaging? Beats us.
Matthias Rietschel APN

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 4:12 pm

When it comes to candy, most people fit into two camps — either you savor your candy, or you devour it right away.

If you're a "savorist," you'll be happy to learn that certain spherical candies can take up to a half-hour to dissolve if you don't bite into them, at least according to some research recently submitted to the journal Physics Education.

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The Two-Way
10:50 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Hundreds Of Afghan Soldiers Arrested Or Discharged

A U.S. Marine (right) and an Afghan National Army soldier on patrol this summer in Afghanistan's Helmand Province.
Adek Berry AFP/Getty Images
  • Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson on the NPR Newscast

Looking to stem the recent wave of "green on blue" attacks in which men wearing police or military uniforms have killed more than 30 U.S. or other international forces, Afghan officials said today that they have "arrested or discharged hundreds of their country's soldiers," NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reports from Kabul.

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It's All Politics
10:23 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Because Of Weather, Obama's Acceptance Speech Will Move Indoors

The skyline of Charlotte, N.C., rises behind Bank of America Stadium.
Chuck Burton AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 11:27 am

President Barack Obama will not be in a stadium full of supporters on Thursday when he delivers his acceptance speech.

The Democratic National Convention said that because of the threat of thunderstorms, it was moving the events of Thursday from Bank of America Stadium to the Time Warner Cable Arena, the host of the first two days of events.

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The Two-Way
9:39 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Nearly 18 Million U.S. Households Had Trouble Getting Food Last Year

In Oswego, N.Y., this summer, a child waited at a food distribution site.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

An estimated 14.9 percent of U.S. households — 17.9 million in total — "had difficulty" at some point last year getting food because they just didn't have enough money or other resources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported this morning.

In 2010, 14.5 percent of households were similarly "food insecure" at some point, USDA says.

Even worse:

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The Two-Way
9:16 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Slaughtering Of Elephants Is Soaring Because Of China's Demand For Ivory

Elephants in Kenya's Tsavo-east National Park earlier this year.
Tony Karumba AFP/Getty Images
  • Jeffrey Gettleman talks with Steve Inskeep

"For the first time in history," hundreds of millions of people in China are now wealthy enough to buy jewelry, combs and trinkets made of ivory and that's led to a huge spike in the illegal slaughtering of elephants in Africa, The New York Times' Jeffrey Gettleman said earlier today on Morning Edition.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:39 am
Wed September 5, 2012

What's With Frosty? Why Isn't He Showing Up On Time?

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:57 am

Check out this graph of America's "Growing Season" — it measures the number of continuous days and nights when it never gets below 32 degrees. You could call this our "frost-free" time of year. In many places, the frost-free season begins in the spring and ends somewhere in October.

As you can see, over the 20th century, it's been staying frost-free longer...and longer...and longer...

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It's All Politics
8:14 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Bill Clinton, Politics' Comeback Kid, Rides Again At The DNC

It may be in former President Bill Clinton's (and his wife's) interest to help keep the Democratic party together for the next convention.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 5:19 pm

Bill Clinton will add yet another chapter to his storied career tonight when the former president places in nomination the name of the current president, Barack Obama.

It will be the focal point of the evening and for some, perhaps, the most newsworthy moment of the entire convention. The old Clinton-Obama feud remains an endless source of political gossip, and the convention planners are happy to have the former president's supposedly unedited and unvetted remarks as a rare source of suspense. Maybe it will help the ratings.

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The Two-Way
8:00 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Wow! NASA Video Shows 'Mind-Bogglingly Gorgeous' Solar Eruption

That's quite an eruption.
nasa.gov

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 8:23 am

Before we run through the news of the day, let's pause for something spectactular: a new video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It shows a "massive filament" eruption on the sun that occurred last Friday. As Britain's The Register says, it is "mind-bogglingly gorgeous."

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It's All Politics
7:29 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Democrats Unleashed Some 'Dubious Or Misleading Claims,' Fact Checkers Say

The scene Tuesday night at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 11:56 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': Mara Liasson reports on Night One

Just as they did during the Republican National Convention, independent fact checkers spent the first day of the Democratic National Convention listening for claims that don't add up — and found them.

-- FactCheck.org says it heard "a number of dubious or misleading claims" from the Democrats who spoke on stage Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C. Among the problems it found:

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Around the Nation
7:20 am
Wed September 5, 2012

Doolittle Doesn't Want To Converse With Alligator

Originally published on Wed September 5, 2012 7:23 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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