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The Two-Way
3:34 am
Sat October 27, 2012

Storm's Uncertain Track Defies Weather Rules

In this satellite image provided Friday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Hurricane Sandy's huge cloud extent of up to 2,000 miles churns over the Bahamas, as a line of clouds associated with a powerful cold front approaches the East Coast of the U.S.
Handout Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 5:53 pm

It's still unclear whether Sandy will be a devastating storm or just a bad one.

It is clear, however, that Sandy will be remembered as the storm that broke all the rules and baffled the nation's top weather forecasters.

Early Saturday morning, the National Weather Service downgraded the storm from a hurricane to a tropical storm — only to return it to hurricane status a few hours later. Either way, forecasters warn, "widespread impacts" are expected along the coast.

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It's All Politics
4:11 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Obama May Not Need To Repeat 2008 Support From White Voters To Win

The erosion of President Obama's support among white voters means he must rely even more on nonwhites.
Tony Dejak AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 5:28 pm

While much of what will happen on Election Day is now unknowable, we can predict with certainty that President Obama won't win a majority of the white vote.

No news there. No Democratic presidential candidate, after all, has received the support of most white voters since President Lyndon Johnson's 1964 historic rout of Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona.

Still, four years ago, Obama did manage to get a very respectable 43 percent of white voters to choose him over Goldwater's Senate successor from Arizona, Sen. John McCain.

That was then.

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Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Prediction

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:24 am

Our panelists will predict who will be the next superhero to make a major life change.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Bluff The Listener

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:24 am

Our panelists tell us three stories of newfangled punishments, only one of which is true.

Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me!
4:07 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Lightning Fill In The Blank

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 9:24 am

All the news we couldn't fit anywhere else.

The Two-Way
3:59 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

If Sandy Becomes 'Frankenstorm,' It Could Be Worst In A Century

National Hurricane Center's "5-day forecast cone" at 2 p.m. ET today (Oct. 26).
www.nhc.noaa.gov

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 8:52 am

"We're not trying to hype it," National Weather Service meterologist Paul Kocin tells Bloomberg News. "What we're seeing in some of our models is a storm at an intensity that we have not seen in this part of the country in the past century."

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World
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

What's A Lake Doing In The Middle Of The Desert?

A midas fly touches down on the sands of the desert in the United Arab Emirates. A lake in the area has brought new forms of wildlife, but some scientists are concerned it could harm the habitat of the midas fly.
Brigitte Howarth

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 3:37 pm

One place you don't expect to see waves lapping against the shore is in the middle of a desert. But that's exactly what's happening deep inside the United Arab Emirates, where a recently formed lake is nestled into the sand dunes, and a new ecosystem is emerging.

Drive through the desert in the United Arab Emirates, and all you see mile after mile are red, rolling dunes. Maybe some occasional trees or shrubs, but otherwise a dry, red sandscape.

And then, suddenly, a bright blue spot comes into view. It must be a mirage, you think. But it's not.

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National Security
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

As Jihadists Spread, Connecting The Dots Proves Hard

The Ansar Dine group in northeastern Mali is among the Islamist factions proliferating in North Africa and the Middle East. Officials have focused on possible links between these groups and al-Qaida, but counterterrorism experts say understanding the differences is just as important.
Adama Diarra Reuters /Landov

More than a year after popular protests rocked the Arab world, U.S. intelligence officials are struggling to understand the myriad of Islamist groups that have filled the vacuum.

Those groups run the gamut from moderate believers who are willing to give the political process a try to violent extremists. The difficulty is figuring out which is which.

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It's All Politics
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Economists: Romney's 12 Million Jobs Target Realistic, Even If He Loses

Alan Shull attends a job fair in Portland, Ore., on April 24.
Rick Bowmer AP

As the election draws closer, the economy and jobs remain top issues in the presidential race.

President Obama points to the improvement in the labor market since he took office in the midst of a downward spiral.

Both he and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney have five-point plans for improving the economy, although their strategies differ.

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Author Interviews
3:57 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

History Inspired Travel Tales Of Donoghue's 'Astray'

Originally published on Sat October 27, 2012 4:29 am

A young mother sets sail from Ireland after the potato famine to meet her husband in Canada; two gold prospectors seek their fortune in the frozen Yukon; a slave poisons his master and the master's wife escapes with him.

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It's All Politics
3:50 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Gay Marriage On Ballot In Four States; Obama Endorses Measures

Supporters rally for a referendum to legalize same-sex marriage, Sept. 10 in Portland, Maine.
Joel Page AP

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 4:17 pm

Six states and the nation's capital have recognized the legality of same-sex marriages, either by law or by court order.

But over the past decade and a half, each of the 30 states to consider constitutional amendments that would outlaw such unions has adopted the ban — from Alaska in 1998 to North Carolina earlier this year.

That may change on Election Day, when voters in Maryland, Washington, Maine and Minnesota — awash in money, messages and advertisements from both sides of the issue — will make their decision on whether to recognize gay marriage.

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Shots - Health News
3:40 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

FDA Says Massachusetts Pharmacy Knew Of Sterility Problems For Months

A Framingham police officer keeps watch as federal agents search the New England Compounding Center company in Framingham, Mass., on October 16.
Dominick Reuter Reuters /Landov

In a highly unusual step, the Food and Drug Administration has released a report of inspections it conduct this month of the Massachusetts pharmacy at the center of a national outbreak of fungal infections.

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Around the Nation
2:37 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Computers, Pinch Of Art Aid Hurricane Forecasters

These are some of the "spaghetti map" models used to generate a forecast for Hurricane Sandy's track. The models have grown increasingly sophisticated over the years.
PCWeather Products Inc.

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 5:07 pm

If you've ever found yourself anxiously wondering where a hurricane might make landfall, then you're probably familiar with "spaghetti charts" — the intertwined web of possible storm tracks put out by many forecasters.

Those lines represent hundreds of millions of observations from satellites, aircraft, balloons and buoys, all crunched from complex forecasting equations on some of the world's most powerful computers.

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It's All Politics
2:37 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

Why The Economy Won't Help Obama — Or Romney

The U.S. economy remains in a gray area, so it's no wonder that the presidential race is essentially tied.

Gross domestic product grew at a 2 percent annual rate between June and September, according to figures out Friday. The White House says this means the economy has been growing for 13 straight quarters.

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'It's All Politics': NPR's Weekly News Roundup
1:54 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

It's All Politics, Oct. 25, 2012

Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Now comes the debate over the debates. No matter who "won" or "lost," it's clear that there has been momentum building toward Mitt Romney since he first debated President Obama early this month in Denver. Plus, a look at the competitive Senate races. And the comment by Indiana Republican Richard Mourdock about rape, pregnancy and God has put a GOP Senate seat in jeopardy.

Join NPR's Ron Elving and Ken Rudin for this week's political roundup.

Music Interviews
1:53 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Moogfest' Celebrates The Synthesis Of New Sounds

Bob Moog, namesake of the annual Moogfest music festival in Asheville, N.C.
Courtesy of the Bob Moog Foundation

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 7:53 pm

This interview was originally broadcast on Feb. 28, 2000.

Follow NPR's All Songs Considered (@allsongs) this weekend for reports and photos from the 2012 Moogfest. Check NPR Music next week for concert recordings from the festival and explore our 2011 archive here.

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Movie Reviews
12:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

'Cloud Atlas': You're Better Off Reading The Book

Zachry and Meronym are only two of the combined 12 characters Tom Hanks and Halle Berry play in Cloud Atlas. It is a challenge that bests both actors, according to David Edelstein.
Jay Maidment Warner Bros.

First I need to talk about the book, because it's not as if Cloud Atlas the movie came from nowhere — and if you think it's only the movie you want to know about, I think you need a context for what's onscreen.

Author David Mitchell writes exquisite pastiches, and Cloud Atlas is in the form of six distinct and enthralling novellas set in six different eras with six different literary styles.

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Music Reviews
12:43 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

George Cables: A Heartfelt Tribute To His 'Muse'

Saxophonist Art Pepper called George Cables his favorite pianist.
Courtesy of the artist

In the 1970s and '80s, George Cables was the pianist of choice for saxophonists Dexter Gordon and Art Pepper; Pepper called him his favorite pianist.

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Books
11:08 am
Fri October 26, 2012

The SciFri Book Club Falls For Mr. Feynman

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Time for our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY Book Club. Here with me are SCIENCE FRIDAY's multimedia editor, Flora Lichtman, and our senior producer, Annette Heist. And this month we have the physics - physics on our to-do list, right? A classic book by Richard Feynman, Annette?

ANNETTE HEIST, BYLINE: That's right. It is called "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character."

FLATOW: How did we pick that one?

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Digital Life
11:05 am
Fri October 26, 2012

In Twitter We Trust: Can Social Media Sway Voters?

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. There it was in big, bold type on the Fox News website, how Twitter may have tipped the election for Romney. A column written by Juan Williams, who points out that Twitter reported there were, quote, a whopping 10.3 million tweets during the first debate, unquote.

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Science
11:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Medusa's Gaze And Vampire's Bite

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF SPOOKY MUSIC AND HOWLING)

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Next up, the science of monsters. Like most myths, there are some real-world phenomena behind the stories. Take vampires, for example. Let me read you a passage from Bram Stoker's "Dracula," where Professor Van Helsing describes the monster.

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Mental Health
11:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Scared To Death... Literally

Earthquakes, terrorist attacks and muggings have all scared people to death. Sporting events, too, sometimes cause frenzied fans to drop dead. Neurologist Martin Samuels of Brigham and Women's Hospital explains how positive or negative excitement can lead to a heart-stopping surge of adrenaline.

Mental Health
11:03 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Plunging Into the Science of BASE Jumping

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, time for our Video Pick of the Week. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is here.

Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: You have a super-duper, super-duper this week.

LICHTMAN: Yes, and we have one of our listeners to thank. It is about - this week's video is about humans who fly.

FLATOW: Humans who - well, you get in the plane and you fly.

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It's All Politics
9:31 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Do Political Ads Actually Work?

Democrats and Republicans are on track to spend about $1 billion each on television advertising in the presidential race. Most of it is negative, and almost all of it is concentrated in nine battleground states.

If you live in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia or Wisconsin, you cannot get away from the ad blitz being waged by both sides. For the folks who track political advertising at Kantar Media CMAG, these commercials tell a story.

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Strange News
4:51 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Shark Surprises Golfers In Southern California

Golfers are used to hazards like sand traps, though rarely an obstacle as interesting as a shark. This week, at a golf course in Southern California, a 2-pound leopard shark was spotted on the 12th tee. It had apparently been dropped by an ocean bird flying overhead.

Strange News
4:42 am
Fri October 26, 2012

Jail Inmates Sue For Access To Dental Floss

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep with a reminder that guns don't kill people, dental floss kills people. Jail inmates in Westchester County, New York have sued the county for $500 million because they want to be issued dental floss. The county is reluctant, saying prisoners elsewhere have used floss as a weapon. They've also used it to escape, weaving ropes out of braided floss or even using toothpaste-coated floss to cut very slowly through cell bars. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

It's All Politics
5:08 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Obama, Romney Tweak Each Other In Swing States

President Obama at a campaign rally at City Park in Denver Wednesday.
Ed Andrieski AP

With 13 days left until the Nov. 6 election, President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, both included trips to Iowa and Nevada on their schedules. Each tried to fire up his supporters and cast doubts about the other to gain an advantage in a race that appears essentially tied.

At rallies in Davenport, Iowa, and Denver, both swing states where the election is fluid, Obama trotted out attack lines he's used in recent days against the former Massachusetts governor.

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The Two-Way
4:41 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

U.S. Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage Loans To Fannie And Freddie

The top federal prosecutor in Manhattan filed a lawsuit today that alleges Bank of America Corp. cost American taxpayers more than $1 billion when it sold toxic mortgages — originally issued by Countrywide Financial — to the government controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

NPR's Margot Adler explains it like this to our Newscast unit:

"U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara described the conduct of Countrywide as 'spectacularly brazen in scope.'

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Media
3:50 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Newspaper Endorsements: Prized, But Often Ignored

The power of newspaper endorsements has faded, but candidates still compete for them.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 7:02 pm

This weekend, a slew of newspapers in key swing states including Ohio are expected to release their endorsements for the presidency and other elected positions.

Such external validation is highly prized by candidates, but it's no longer entirely clear why.

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The Salt
3:49 pm
Wed October 24, 2012

Aspartame And Cancer Risk: New Study Is Too Weak To Defend, Hospital Says

Diet soda
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed October 24, 2012 4:06 pm

We almost brought you news today about a study that appeared to raise some troubling questions about aspartame, the popular sugar substitute found in many common foods like diet soda. Note the key word — almost.

A study due to be published at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and released to reporters earlier in the week under embargo found some correlation between drinking diet soda and an increased risk of leukemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, as well as a few other rare blood-related cancers.

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