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Environment
5:02 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

In California, Fire Plus Drought Plus Rain Add Up To Mud

The King Fire burned 100,000 acres in the Eldorado National Forest in Northern California — 50,000 of those acres in one day. Now the danger is mudslides.
Andrew Nixon Capital Public Radio

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 2:46 pm

An hour east of Sacramento, Calif., trucks carrying burned timber from the Eldorado National Forest roar down the canyon as chain saws buzz in the distance.

But U.S. Forest Service ecologist Becky Estes says besides humans, not much else in this forest seems alive.

"We're standing in an area that ... is going to be probably 100 percent mortality of the trees," Estes says.

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The Two-Way
5:01 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Google News Is Taken Offline In Spain, After A Call For Payments

Reacting to a law that requires news sites in Spain to charge for their content, Google shut down its Google News service in the country Tuesday. The tech company and other news aggregators would face steep fines if they publish headlines and abstracts without paying.

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Games + Leisure
4:33 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

India's New Comic Book Hero Fights Rape, Rides On The Back Of A Tiger

The comic book superhero Priya survived a rape and now fights violence against women.
Courtesy of Ram Devineni

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:46 pm

Two years ago this day, a 23-year-old woman was brutally gang-raped on a moving bus in New Delhi. Three days later she died from her injuries. The incident pushed millions in the city and all over India to protest the widespread violence against women. The protests led to tougher laws and empowered women to stand up against sexual violence.

And one man was inspired to create a comic book superhero.

Ram Devineni, a New York-based filmmaker, gave life to Priya, a survivor of gang rape who seeks to stop violence against women.

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Shots - Health News
3:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

When You Burn Off That Fat, Where Does It Go?

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:40 pm

Lose weight and those pounds shuffle off, unmourned. Good riddance. Please don't come back soon.

But where does weight go when we lose it?

We talk about burning off fat, and it does burn in a way, going through a complex biochemical process. But mass can't be created or destroyed, so the atoms that made the triglycerides that plumped up the love handles have got to be somewhere.

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Arts + Life
3:46 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Skating Out Classroom Stress As A 'Derby Dame'

Nina Park, also known as Elle L. Cool Jam, is a member of the Cosmonaughties roller derby team in the Boston Derby Dames league.
Kayana Szymczak for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 10:42 am

The NPR Ed team is discovering what teachers do when they're not teaching. Pilot? Artist? Bartender? Explore our Secret Lives of Teachers series.

Every fall, on the first day of school, Nina Park greets her new honors English class with a game called "two truths and a lie." Her students, 10th-graders at TechBoston Academy in Dorchester, Mass. have to guess which is which.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Brothers On C-SPAN Divided By Politics, United In Mortification By Mom's Call

Dallas Woodhouse (left) and his brother Brad Woodhouse on C-SPAN's Washington Journal, listening to a caller who turned out to be their mother.
C-SPAN

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 12:18 pm

Brad and Dallas Woodhouse are brothers. Brad is president of the liberal group Americans United for Change. Dallas Woodhouse, a conservative, is president of Carolina Rising. They were both on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to talk about their documentary, Woodhouse Divided.

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The Two-Way
2:59 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Suspect In Shooting Spree Near Philadelphia Has Been Found Dead

Police cordon off a wooded area during the search for suspect Bradley William Stone in Pennsburg, Pa., Tuesday.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:12 pm

Bradley Stone, who police say went on a shooting rampage that killed six people in Montgomery County, Pa., has been found dead. Police had been looking for Stone, 35, for more than 24 hours; they found his body today.

Member station WHYY passes along this update from the Bucks County District Attorney's office:

"Authorities have confirmed that suspected mass killer Bradley Stone is dead, his body found in the woods near his Pennsburg home."

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Goats and Soda
2:52 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

A Game Of Ludo Helps Liberians Catch A Break From Ebola

Residents of New Georgia Signboard, a small village just north of Monrovia, pass the time by playing a fast-paced board game called Ludo.
John W. Poole/NPR

The president of Liberia is in town. She's about to launch her Ebola Must Go! Campaign in the dusty village of New Georgia Signboard.

But three residents sitting on chairs that are arranged in the middle of a red dirt walk not far from the ceremony are are oblivious to the hubbub. They're busy playing the fast-moving board game of Ludo.

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Arts + Life
2:40 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Early On, Comedian John Cleese Says, He Had Good Timing But Little Else

John Cleese, pictured above in 1976 with Monty Python's Flying Circus (from left, Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones), says he worked hard to learn physical comedy by imitation — "It was not something I was naturally gifted at," he says.
AP

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 9:41 am

Performing live comedy is like "a series of little scientific experiments," says John Cleese. "When you do comedy in front of an audience, they are the ones who tell you whether it's funny or not," he tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies, and each subsequent night on stage is an experiment in making jokes land better than the night before.

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The Best Music Of 2014
2:24 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Ken Tucker's Top 9 Albums Of 2014, Plus A Book

Elizabeth Grant is better known by her stage name, Lana Del Rey.
Neil Krug Courtesy of the artist

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

'Torture Report': A Closer Look At When And What President Bush Knew

President George W. Bush speaks to Vice President Dick Cheney by phone aboard Air Force One after departing Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska on Sept. 11, 2001.
Eric Draper AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 5:13 pm

One of the big, controversial questions to emerge from the Senate investigation into the CIA interrogation of terrorism suspects is this: Did President George W. Bush know the specific techniques used by the CIA to interrogate terrorism suspects?

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Parallels
1:47 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Amid Strains, Syrian Refugees Are Facing Curfews In Lebanon

A Syrian refugee child carries water in the Fayda Camp, some 25 miles east of Beirut, Lebanon, on March 10.
Jerome Delay AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:29 pm

In Lebanon — a fragile little country of just 4 million people — there are about 1 million refugees from Syria. Many have been here three years, and their welcome is starting to wear thin.

Some towns and villages have imposed a curfew on refugees – enforced by local groups of volunteers. But in a country that experienced a brutal civil war, some are concerned about the return of armed civilian groups.

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The Two-Way
1:40 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Apple Wins $1B iPod Antitrust Lawsuit

A California jury has found that Apple's iTunes 7.0 did not violate antitrust laws when it restricted files bought on other music services.

After deliberating for around three hours, the eight-member jury in the U.S. District Court in Oakland unanimously found that iTunes 7.0 was an improvement over the previous version of the software. Bloomberg reports that the finding means Apple can't be held liable for hindering competition even if it hurt its rivals.

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Business
1:23 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Economists: Congress Gets A Hat Tip (Barely) For Its Efforts

The Capitol's dome and Christmas tree are illuminated on Dec. 11 as Congress worked to pass a $1.1 trillion U.S. government-wide spending bill and avoid a government shutdown.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:59 pm

As the latest Congress draws to a close, economists are looking back — and seeing little.

Lawmakers passed no measures addressing tax reform, trade, immigration or even the minimum wage.

But judged by the very low standards of recent years, the 113th Congress did manage to win at least light applause from economists who are watching as the curtain goes down.

Sure, Congress allowed a disruptive government shutdown in 2013 — but it avoided repeating that drama in 2014.

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Science + Technology
1:21 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Scientists Debate If It's OK To Make Viruses More Dangerous In The Lab

The coronavirus responsible for Middle East respiratory syndrome (green particles) seen on camel cells in a scanning electron micrograph.
NIAID/Colorado State University

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:49 am

Imagine that scientists wanted to take Ebola virus and see if it could ever become airborne by deliberately causing mutations in the lab and then searching through those new viruses to see if any spread easily through the air.

Would that be OK?

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Monkey See
12:53 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Deggans: 'Fargo,' 'True Detective,' 'Transparent' Top Best TV Of 2014

Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson star in HBO's True Detective.
Michele K. Short HBO

Originally published on Wed December 17, 2014 11:44 am

When I was a kid, I loved reading Gene Siskel's movie reviews for the Chicago Tribune.

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Parallels
12:30 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Has Vladimir Putin Just Overplayed His Hand?

Russian President Vladimir Putin, shown delivering his state of the union speech earlier this month, was riding high this year as the country hosted the Winter Olympics. Russia is now embroiled in economic turmoil, and Putin has alienated Western countries that could potentially help.
Pavel Golovkin AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 1:16 pm

Since his return to the Russian presidency in 2012, Vladimir Putin has been on a tear: He has annexed Crimea, crushed opposition at home and challenged the West at most every turn.

With oil seemingly stable at more than $100 a barrel, the government coffers were full, and Putin received mostly cheers at home and few repercussions abroad for his consistently aggressive approach.

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Goats and Soda
12:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Dengue Fever Strikes Millions. Now Scientists Hope To Strike Back

The dengue virus has an icosahedral shape, similar to the pattern on a soccer ball. Antibodies stop the virus by binding to its surface.
Laguna Design Science Source

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 3:19 pm

Dengue — aka "breakbone fever" — has been a tough nut to crack when it comes to making a vaccine.

The problem is that the mosquito-borne virus comes in four flavors, or strains. Vaccines that work on one strain haven't worked well on the others.

Now scientists at Imperial College London have discovered a potential way around this problem.

Immunologist Gavin Screaton and his colleagues have found molecules — specifically antibodies — in human blood that stop all forms of dengue.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Tue December 16, 2014

FIFA Dismisses U.S. Lawyer's Appeal On Handling Of World Cup Report

FIFA, soccer's governing body, said an appeal by an American lawyer who spent two years investigating allegations of corruption in the bidding process for the World Cup is inadmissible.

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The Two-Way
10:49 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Jeb Bush Announces He Will 'Actively Explore' Presidential Run

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talks to supporters after speaking at the U.S. Cuba Democracy PAC's annual luncheon in Coral Gables, Fla., on Dec. 2.
J Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:06 pm

Jeb Bush, the former Republican governor of Florida and the brother and son of two former U.S. presidents, has essentially kicked off the 2016 presidential campaign with a pre-announcement announcement on Facebook.

Saying he had conversations with his family about the future of the country, Bush said he had decided to "actively explore" a presidential run.

He went on:

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