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When Amy Seitz got pregnant with her second child last year, she knew that being 35 years old meant there was an increased chance of chromosomal disorders like Down syndrome. She wanted to be screened, and she knew just what kind of screening she wanted — a test that's so new, some women and doctors don't quite realize what they've signed up for.

As the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots prepare to face off at the Super Bowl on Sunday, a scandal about under-inflated footballs is still dominating headlines.

While that subject has been a trending topic on Twitter, it is just the latest in a series of controversies this season. So many recent stories about the nation's most popular sport have focused on domestic abuse and sexual assault allegations, as well as the dangerous effects of concussions and other long-term health consequences for players.

Putting #Deflategate To The Test

Jan 25, 2015
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Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a surprise press conference yesterday, not to talk about next week's Super Bowl, but about, well, you know, deflated footballs.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

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Have you ever tried to organize a reunion for some of your old school friends? Everybody's scattered to various parts of the world, busy with their own lives; it makes you wonder if it's all worth it. The seven solo artists who sometimes get together as Doomtree can relate.

As part of a series called "My Big Break," All Things Considered is collecting stories of triumph, big and small. These are the moments when everything seems to click, and people leap forward into their careers.

Tom Toro didn't always dream of becoming a cartoonist at The New Yorker. Sure, he drew cartoons in college, but he didn't see that as a career path. Instead, he went to film school at NYU.

Then he came to the sudden realization that he was in the wrong field — and he had no idea what he was going to do.

At The William Grant Still Arts Center in the West Adams neighborhood in Los Angeles, jazz superstars and comic book superheroes are gathered together — in miniature, as part of the Black Doll Show.

For the past 34 years, the center has held a doll show to showcase diverse dolls for children. The exhibit features dolls submitted by artists and collectors from around the country. This year's theme is A League Supreme: Jazz Superheroes.

Mr. Bean is selling his car.

No, not the lime green British Leyland Mini that was the prop for so many of the character's antics. We're talking about the purple McLaren F1 "supercar" owned by the actor who plays Mr. Bean, Rowan Atkinson. It's the same car that Atkinson famously wrapped around a tree in 2011.

Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko says he will "calm" fighting between his forces and Russian-backed separatists in the country's east a day after rocket fire killed 30 people in and around the port city of Mariupol.

Poroshenko, speaking after an emergency meeting of Ukraine's security council, said reviving a shattered peace deal agreed in September was the only way out of the conflict.

The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Department of Interior says it's the first time it's recommended additional protections and that their new recommendations have the potential to be one of the largest conservation measures "since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act over 50 years ago."

At least nine people are dead in the Egyptian capital following clashes between police and Islamist protesters marking the fourth anniversary of 2011 uprising that ousted then-President Hosni Mubarak.

The Associated Press said nine people had been killed, but Reuters and ITV News put the figure at 11. Both agencies cited unnamed security officials.

Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET

Parts of the U.S. northeast are bracing for as much as 2 feet of snow as a blizzard-like system bears down on the region.

The strong system could leave significant snowfall on the ground from Philadelphia to Maine beginning late tonight and continuing through Tuesday.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio urged residents of the city to expect unusually icy conditions and to "look out for your fellow New Yorkers ... check on them." Long Island could get 24 inches of snow, forecasters said.

A Puzzle Full Of Air

Jan 25, 2015

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word starting with the letters A-R, which you will identify from its anagram. For example, given AR plus ROB, the answer would be "arbor."

Last week's challenge: Name two animals, both mammals, one of them domestic, the other wild. Put their letters together, and rearrange the result to name another mammal, this one wild, and not seen naturally around North America. What mammal is it?

Answer: dog + gnu = dugong

Winner: Michael Kurh, Geneva, Ill.

StoryCorps' OutLoud initiative records stories from the LGBTQ community.

Shane Fairchild's wife, Blue Bauer, was "very rough around the edges," he says: "Blue was 6-foot tall, weighed about 230 pounds, had red hair and brown eyes, had been a trucker all of her life," Fairchild tells their friend Sayer Johnson during a StoryCorps interview in St. Louis, Mo.

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

Greece's radical left Syriza party has become the first anti-austerity party to win elections in Europe, throwing into doubt whether the troubled country stays the course on an international austerity plan.

The party fell just short of an absolute majority, NPR's Joanna Kakissis reports for our newscast unit, and will have to work with another party to govern.

Republican presidential hopefuls are turning out this weekend for two big events, but just one of them, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, plans to be at both.

Cruz is among seven possible contenders who spoke Saturday at the Iowa Freedom Summit, co-sponsored by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, and the group Citizens United. Sunday night, Cruz is scheduled to join two possible primary rivals, Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., at a semi-annual conference of the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce.

Updated at 9:50 a.m. ET

In the latest attack by the suspected Boko Haram extremists in Nigeria, militants shelled the northeastern city of Maiduguri, Reuters reports, quoting witnesses.

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

Some researchers say big data could change the way medical research is done and the way individual doctors make medical decisions. Others say it raises too many questions when it comes to medicine. (This story originally aired on All Things Considered on Jan. 5.)

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Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Video games are great for passing time or battling monsters with friends online. But the medium is also being used to explore complex stories and themes. It's even being used as form of journalistic storytelling, immersing people in places and events that can be hard to imagine.

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Super Bowl Talk (Other Than Ball Deflation)

Jan 25, 2015
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In an unfinished building in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil, displaced Christian children sing a little song about returning to their village. "We're going back," they sing, "to our houses, our land, our church."

Right now, they're living in an open concrete structure. The self-styled Islamic State, or ISIS, took over their home village of Qaraqosh, and the Christians fled in fear, on foot.

Updated at 8:25 a.m. ET

President Obama announced Sunday that the U.S. and India have made progress on civilian nuclear trade. In a joint news conference with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Obama said the countries had agreed to more cooperation in other areas as well, including defense and climate change.

There is a common belief that requiring the use of "politically correct" language in the workplace stifles creativity.

Michelle Duguid, a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, tells NPR's Arun Rath that, intuitively, that assumption makes sense.

"People should be able to freely think, throw any crazy ideas, and any constraint would actually dampen creativity," Duguid says.

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This is the first in a series, "Inside Alzheimer's," about the experience of being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

In 2009, 59-year-old Greg O'Brien was a successful journalist and writer living in Cape Cod. He was healthy and happy — he exercised every day, made a good living, spent time with his three children and wife.

But he had also started to notice changes in himself. He was forgetting things, and his judgment sometimes seemed to fail him. Meanwhile, his own mother was dying of Alzheimer's disease.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

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Two fighters who used to perform for World Wrestling Entertainment, or WWE, are suing the company, alleging that it ignored signs of brain damage. NPR's Jasmine Garsd has more.

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