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Around the Nation
5:24 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

To Survive A Shooting, Students Learn To Fight Back

Many schools advise students and staff to lock doors and stay in place during a shooting threat. But others are adopting an approach that includes fighting back if escape is impossible.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 5:30 pm

The names Columbine and Virginia Tech have both become tragic shorthand for school shootings in America. In the wake of those shootings, schools have developed a fairly typical lockdown procedure when there's a threat: sound the alarm, call police, lock doors and stay put.

The standard school-lockdown plan is intended to minimize chaos so police arriving on the scene don't shoot the wrong people. Students practice following directions, getting into classrooms and essentially, waiting.

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Music Interviews
5:19 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'Looper': A World Of Musical Clicks And Pops

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in the science-fiction thriller Looper.
Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment

Originally published on Tue January 8, 2013 2:19 pm

When you think about the great music of science fiction, a few staples spring to mind — say, the theme from the classic Star Trek series, or John Williams' compositions for the Star Wars movies.

Nathan Johnson, the composer for the new time-travel thriller Looper, wanted to break with tradition. Instead of going for that slick, orchestral sound, he immersed himself in the world of the film to find his source material.

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Solve This
5:12 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Obama, Romney On Higher Ed Help: Dueling Visions

Gan Golan holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt during at a Occupy DC event last year.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Many Americans today feel like they've lost or are losing their shot at a college education because paying for it often seems out of reach. So how big of an issue is this in the presidential campaign?

Here's what President Obama has done to help families pay for college: He negotiated a deal with Congress this summer that kept the interest rate on government-backed Stafford loans from doubling for 7.5 million students.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A 'Big Picture' Intently Focused On The Details

Paul (Romain Duris), an aspiring photographer, assumes another man's identity to escape his job, marriage and dull life.
MPI Media Group

The original French title of The Big Picture — an adaptation of a novel by American expatriate writer Douglas Kennedy — means "the man who wanted to live his life." That's pointedly ironic, since this existential thriller is about a person who seeks personal freedom by becoming somebody else.

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Books
5:02 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

From Boy King Of Texas To Literary Superstar

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Domingo Martinez is the author of The Boy Kings of Texas. He has been nominated for a National Book Award in the nonfiction category.

Yesterday morning I'm lying in bed and the phone rings. It's way too early. I'm thinking — "Wow, bill collectors are calling earlier and earlier."

Except it wasn't a bill collector. It was Alice Martell, my agent. She was calling to tell me that I'd been nominated for the National Book Award.

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The Two-Way
4:57 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'Softball-Sized Eyeball' Washes Up In Florida; Can You I.D. It?

Quite a baby blue.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 10:41 am

Tell us you can resist clicking on this headline from Florida's Sun Sentinel:

"Huge Eyeball From Unknown Creature Washes Ashore On Florida Beach."

It's big, it's blue and the newspaper says "among the possibilities being discussed are a giant squid, some other large fish or a whale or other large marine mammal."

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has sent the eye off for study.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:51 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Among Disciplined Nurse Aides, Criminal Records Turn Up

HHS found that 19 percent of nurse aides who'd been disciplined had a prior conviction that would have shown up on a background check.
Matt Rourke AP

There are two ways to look at results of a recent investigation of nursing homes by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Both are pretty disturbing.

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The Salt
4:23 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

How A Sleepy Pennsylvania Town Grew Into America's Mushroom Capital

Four hundred million pounds of mushrooms come from farms in Chester County, Pa.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

Here's an astonishing fact: Half of America's mushrooms are grown in one tiny corner of southeastern Pennsylvania, near the town of Kennett Square.

But why? It's not as though this place has some special advantage of climate or soil, the kind of thing that led to strawberry fields in Watsonville, Calif., or peach orchards in Georgia. Mushrooms can grow indoors. They could come from anywhere.

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Music Interviews
4:21 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Blake's Poems, Reborn As Bluesy Folk Tunes, Burn Bright

Martha Redbone's new album is The Garden of Love: Songs of William Blake.
Fabrice Trombert Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 5:13 pm

The words of the English poet William Blake still resonate 185 years after his death. Blake, who was also a painter and printmaker, wrote the famous lines, "Tyger! Tyger! burning bright / In the forests of the night."

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Shots - Health Blog
3:58 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

How Cellphones Helped Researchers Track Malaria In Kenya

More than 90 percent of Kenyans use mobile phones, giving scientists a powerful tool to track how diseases spread.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Cellphones are popping up all over in health care these days. They're monitoring our blood sugar, tracking the flu season and even mapping the junk food we eat at night.

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It's All Politics
3:34 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

How Ohio Could Swing The Election

A campaign charter flight carrying Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan arrives in Ohio, which has seen nearly nonstop visits from the candidates in recent weeks.
Mary Altaffer AP

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:52 pm

Kentucky may be the site for tonight's debate between the vice presidential candidates, but the monster swing state of Ohio remains the focus of White House dreams for President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Both the incumbent and his challenger have been in and out of the state with increasing frequency; GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan plans a trip to the Buckeye State on Friday, after his tangle with Vice President Joe Biden.

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The Two-Way
3:27 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Panda Cub's Death Due To 'Lung And Liver Damage'

Mei Xiang at the National Zoo earlier today. Her cub died last month.
Rod Lamkey Jr. The Washington Times /Landov

The giant panda cub born at Washington's National Zoo did, as first suspected, die on Sept. 23 because of "lung and liver damage" stemming from problems with her development, zoo officials say.

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The Two-Way
3:18 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Very Fancy: Scientists Detail A Diamond Encrusted Super-Earth

Illustration of the interior of 55 Cancri e — an extremely hot planet with a surface of mostly graphite surrounding a thick layer of diamond, below which is a layer of silicon-based minerals and a molten iron core at the center.
Haven Giguere via Yale University

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 6:39 pm

Scientists have discovered a world much fancier than our homely, little Earth.

New research that will published in the journal Astrophysical Journal Letters details a planet that is eight times heavier than Earth and with twice its radius. But instead of being covered in water and granite, it is encrusted in graphite and diamond.

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Inside NPR.org
2:55 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Ways Ohio Could Swing The Election

Kentucky may be the site for tonight's debate between the vice presidential candidates, but the monster swing state of Ohio remains the focus of the White House dreams for President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Both the incumbent and his challenger have been in and out of the state with increasing frequency; GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan plans a trip to the Buckeye State Friday, after his tangle with Vice President Joe Biden.

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Asia
2:42 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Shooting Foreshadowed By Taliban Threats

Malala Yousafzai is treated in a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, after she was shot on Tuesday.
ISPR EPA/Landov

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:00 pm

A 15-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl remains in critical condition after being shot in the head for defying the Taliban and championing the right of girls to go to school. Malala Yousafzai rose to prominence during the recent war in Pakistan's Swat Valley by writing a blog under a pen name. NPR's Philip Reeves reported on that war — and twice met Malala's father. Reeves sent this account of the tough world in which Malala spent her childhood.

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Technology
2:16 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

In Digital War, Patents Are The Weapon Of Choice

iStockphoto.com

If you don't think of patents as a particularly exciting or interesting field, consider a point Charles Duhigg makes in his recent New York Times article, "The Patent, Used as a Sword": According to an analysis done at Stanford: "In the smartphone industry alone ... as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions."

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World Cafe
2:02 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Patrick Watson On World Cafe

Patrick Watson (right).
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri October 12, 2012 3:16 pm

Polaris Prize-winning singer-songwriter Patrick Watson makes music the way some directors make film: in three dimensions and with lots of emotion. With the aid of guitarist Simon Angell, percussionist Robbie Kuster and bassist Mishka Stein, Watson crafts songs that are experimental in nature, blending cabaret-style pop with classical and indie-rock music.

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Book Reviews
1:50 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

'May We Be Forgiven': A Story Of Second Chances

Viking Adult

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 4:58 pm

A.M. Homes is a writer I'll pretty much follow anywhere because she's indeed so smart, it's scary; yet she's not without heart. It's been a while since her last book, the 2007 memoir The Mistress's Daughter, which is certainly the sharpest and most emotionally complex account of growing up adopted that I've ever read.

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The Salt
12:58 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

100 Years Ago, Maillard Taught Us Why Our Food Tastes Better Cooked

A tower of profiteroles like this one, known as croquembouche, was created in France to celebrate Maillard, the man credited with identifying a key reaction in food science.
Gavin Tapp via Flickr

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 2:36 pm

A few hundred scientists gathered in the small French city of Nancy recently to present scientific papers related to a chemical reaction. Now that may seem a bit humdrum and hardly worth mentioning in The Salt, but in this case, it isn't.

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The Record
12:45 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

Taking Stock Of The MP3 At Midlife

The Hardware: The Rio, a portable MP3 player introduced by Diamond Multimedia in 1998, had 32MB of internal memory, just about enough to hold one 35-minute album of MP3s encoded at 128 kBps.
Getty Images

Originally published on Mon October 22, 2012 7:31 am

Last week, Joel Rose wrote about the compact disc on its 30th anniversary, but it could have been an obituary. In the last decade, CD sales in the United States have dropped by more than two thirds, fulfilling a cycle that dates back to wax cylinders and 78 rpm discs: the 20 to 30 year lifespan of a format, followed by the rise of a new technology. So we decided to look at the format that usurped the CD's place in music listener's ears and hard drives, if not always hearts.

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