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Science
5:15 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Nobel In Physics: Your Tax Dollars At Work

In this combination of photos, American physicist David Wineland (left) speaks at a news conference in Boulder, Colo., and French physicist Serge Haroche speaks to the media in Paris after they were named winners of the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics.
Ed Andrieski, Michel Euler AP

Originally published on Wed October 10, 2012 8:45 am

You wouldn't be surprised to learn that a laboratory run by the U.S. Department of Commerce is working on more precise methods to measure stuff.

However, you might not expect it to be at the cutting edge of the mind-bending world of quantum physics. But on Tuesday, David Wineland became the fourth employee at the National Institute for Standards and Technology, a federal lab, to win a Nobel since 1997. Wineland learned he will share the Nobel Prize in physics with Frenchman Serge Haroche for work that's both esoteric and practical.

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U.S.
4:46 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

At U. Of Texas, A Melting Pot Not Fully Blended

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, a case that could determine the future of policies that include race as a factor in university admissions.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher was denied admission to the University of Texas, Austin.

Fisher sued the university, claiming she was denied admission because of her race. Her suit, Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, could mean the end of admissions policies that take race into account.

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Law
2:55 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Sandusky Sentenced To At Least 30 Years In Prison

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel. Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky will most likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Sandusky was convicted in June of sexually abusing 10 boys. And today, he was sentenced to at least 30 years in a state correctional facility.

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Law
2:53 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Supreme Court To Take Up Affirmative Action Case

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Tomorrow, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a landmark case about race and college admissions. In 2008, a white student named Abigail Fisher sued the University of Texas in Austin. Ms. Fisher claimed she was denied admission to UT because of her race.

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Around the Nation
2:27 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Instead Of Surgery, Man Pedals Off The Pounds

Ernest Gagnon weighed 570 pounds before he decided to lose weight by taking up cyclocross racing. Forgoing surgery, Gagnon lost more than 200 pounds and recently competed in his first cyclocross race.
Courtesy of Ernest Gagnon

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:02 pm

A lot of Americans are struggling to lose a whole lot of weight, and they try all kinds of crazy things.

Ernest Gagnon — a man from Billerica, Mass. — decided to shed pounds by getting into the often intense, high-adrenaline sport of cyclocross: racing road bikes on obstacle courses.

Two years ago, Gagnon tipped the scales at 570 pounds. He was depressed and embarrassed to leave the house.

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Music Reviews
1:24 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Shemekia Copeland Embodies The Blues On '33 1/3'

Shemekia Copeland's new album is titled 33 1/3.
Sandrine Lee Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:25 pm

Shemekia Copeland says she didn't really find her singing voice until her teen years, when her father, the late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, began suffering from health issues. On her new album, 33 1/3, she finds a different kind of voice — one that's eager to participate in a national dialogue.

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Europe
12:58 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

German Catholics' Path To Heaven Comes With Taxes

Bavarian bishops walk in a procession to the Basilica of the Fourteen Holy Helpers near Bad Staffelstein, Germany, in May. A decree by the German bishops' conference warns that German Catholics who do not pay a state church tax will be denied sacraments.
Daniel Karmann EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:02 pm

Germany's bishops have a clear message for the country's 25 million Catholics: The road to heaven requires more than faith and good intentions; it requires tax payments, too.

Last month, German bishops warned that if members of the Catholic Church don't pay the country's church tax, they'll be denied the sacraments — including baptisms, weddings and funerals.

In increasingly secular Europe, Germany is one of the few countries where the state collects a special levy from tax-registered believers and hands it over to three organized faiths.

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U.S.
12:41 pm
Tue October 9, 2012

Getting To Yes On Gay Marriage, One Voter At A Time

Rion Tucker is a canvasser for Equality Maine. The organization is working to get supporters to the polls on Election Day, to vote for a ballot initiative legalizing same-sex marriage.
Michael May for NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

Rion Tucker is covering a lot of ground in his home state of Maine these days. The 20-year-old is a canvasser for Equality Maine, and he's been knocking on lots of doors in an effort to make sure that voters in his state pass a ballot initiative in November legalizing same-sex marriage.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
7:28 am
Tue October 9, 2012

The City As Infestation

This nighttime photograph taken from the International Space Station shows much of the Atlantic coast of the United States. Parts of two Russian vehicles parked at the orbital outpost can also be seen in the frame.
NASA

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:10 pm

For all their variety and variation, cities are, at their root, physical systems. That means, at some fundamental level, they are also expressions of the laws of physics. In physics size matters (or "scale" as we call it). Physicists learn different things about an object by looking at it from different scales. In our first exploration of physics and cities we stayed at the street level. At that scale we saw cities as machines: cars and elevators, pipes and plumbing. Then we went up to the roof. At that scale we saw cities as engines, vast systems for turning energy into work.

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All Tech Considered
5:15 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Baseball Autographs Get A Digital Upgrade

Sarah Wagner shows off an Egraph of Kerry Wood, her favorite Cubs player.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 9:39 am

On her 22nd birthday this summer, Sarah Wagner of suburban Wheaton, Ill., who describes herself as a huge fan of the Chicago Cubs, opened an email to find an incredible surprise — a recorded message from her favorite Cubs player:

"Hey, Sarah! Kerry Wood here! Thanks for your message and I hope you're having a great summer!"

"When I heard for the first time, I instantly smiled," says Wagner. "I think my hands probably went over like my mouth, like, 'Oh my gosh, Kerry Wood is talking to me, even though he has no idea who I am!' "

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'Another Thing': Test Your Clever Skills
3:38 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

'Another Thing': Singing The Housework Blues

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 7:38 pm

Each week, All Things Considered and Lenore Skenazy, author of the book and blog Free Range Kids, bring you "Another Thing," an on-air puzzle to test your cleverness skills. We take a trend in the news and challenge you to help us satirize it with a song title, a movie name or something else wacky.

This week's challenge: A study out of Norway found that couples who split the chores equally are 50 percent more likely to divorce.

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From Our Listeners
2:41 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Letters: The Enduring Line Of Inigo Montoya

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 3:38 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Time now for your comments about our program. And today, comments inspired by this memorable movie line.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE PRINCESS BRIDE")

MANDY PATINKIN: (as Inigo Montoya) Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.

SIEGEL: Spanish swashbuckler Inigo Montoya in the 1987 film, "The Princess Bride." As the movie celebrates its 25th anniversary, the actor who delivered that line, Mandy Patinkin, talked with my co-host Melissa Block about how often he's asked to repeat it.

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Africa
2:33 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Uganda's Leader: 26 Years In Power, No Plans To Quit

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled since 1986, speaks in January at Uganda's Makarere University in the capital Kampala. Uganda celebrates a half-century of independence next month, and Museveni has ruled for more than half of that time.
Ronald Kabuubi AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 11, 2012 1:19 am

Rebel leader Joesphy Kony, head of the infamous Lord's Resistance Army, has achieved greater notoriety than any other Ugandan in the world today.

Idi Amin, who ruled the country through most of the 1970s, still stands as a symbol of African dictators who abused power and inflicted gross human rights abuses.

Yet as Uganda celebrated 50 years of independence on Tuesday, the man who has most shaped the country is far less known, at least in the West.

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It's All Politics
2:33 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Romney's Debate Performance Swings Polls In His Favor

Mitt Romney and President Obama wave to the audience during the first presidential debate at the University of Denver, on Wednesday.
David Goldman AP

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 8:10 pm

In the five days since Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was declared by many the winner of the first presidential debate, political watchers have waited to see if polls would shift in response to his performance. And, they did.

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Around the Nation
2:33 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

In Pumpkin Regatta, It's Toothy Grins All Around

Peter Geiger lines up before the start of the pumpkin race in Damariscotta, Maine.
Patty Wight Maine Public Radio

Originally published on Mon October 8, 2012 6:37 pm

The typical jack-o'-lanterns that don front stoops this time of year pale in comparison to their multihundred-pound brethren: the giant pumpkin. Every year in Damariscotta, Maine, people hollow them out, climb inside and race them in the annual pumpkin regatta. There are two divisions — paddleboat and powerboat — and thousands gather to see whether it will be sink or swim for the contestants.

Topher Mallory bolts a wooden frame onto the flesh of his 550-pound pumpkin powerboat. The stern is large enough to mount a 10 horsepower engine — double that of most competitors.

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NPR Story
2:33 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Romney Paints Obama As 'Weak Leader' In Middle East

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 6:28 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. Later this month, President Obama and Mitt Romney will meet for a debate focused exclusively on foreign policy, but the Republican is not waiting until then to confront the issue. Today, in a speech at the Virginia Military Institute, Romney attacked the Obama administration's policies, especially in the Middle East.

MITT ROMNEY: It's clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office.

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Presidential Race
5:44 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Presidential Politics: Does Likeability Matter?

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign event in St. Petersburg, Fla. Slate Magazine's John Dickerson says likeability doesn't matter as much in a presidential campaign as you might think.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:32 am

William Lowndes was a congressman from South Carolina who served in the early part of the 19th century. He was once asked to describe who should serve as chief executive.

"The presidency is not an office to be either solicited or declined," he said.

In 1876, Rutherford B. Hayes didn't even vote for himself. He saw it as unseemly. And in 1916, Woodrow Wilson called campaigning "a great interruption to the rational consideration of public questions."

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Games & Humor
5:43 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Three-Minute Fiction: 'No Down Time'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 6:11 pm

Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction. The new judge this round is thriller writer Brad Meltzer. And the new challenge this round, participants had to write a story in 600 words or less that revolved around a U.S. President--fictional or real. Nearly 4,000 storied were submitted. Host Guy Raz presents one of the favorites selected by our readers, "No Down Time" by Fiona Von Siemens of Los Angeles, Calif. You can read the full stories below along with other stories at www.npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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Music Interviews
5:43 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Anat Cohen Bends The Spectrum On 'Claroscuro'

Anat Cohen's new album, her sixth as a bandleader, is called Claroscuro.
Jimmy Katz

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 8:57 am

Born in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen came to New York two decades ago to study the masters of jazz. In so doing, the clarinetist and saxophonist started a bit of a stampede: Today, Israel is exporting some of the most vital jazz out there.

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Latin America
2:51 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Venezuela Election Critical Test For Divided Nation And President Chavez

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 5:43 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.

Thousands of Venezuelans turned out to vote today in a presidential election that pits longtime leader Hugo Chavez against a younger, more moderate rival in Enrique Capriles. Chavez, the fiery left-wing leader, has irritated Washington with his anti-American rhetoric, but he's also won support among many poor Venezuelans for his social programs.

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Science
2:14 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

New Dinosaur Was A Small, Fanged Vegetarian

Pegomastax africanus stood less than two feet tall and sported sharp fangs and a beak.
Todd Marshall

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 9:10 pm

A small, fanged dinosaur called Pegomastax africanus was identified this week, more than half a century after its skeleton was dug up in South Africa. The dinosaur looked like a fierce cross between a chicken and a porcupine, and had long fangs which it used to eat plants and compete for mates. Pegomastax was a diminutive beast, standing less than two feet tall and weighing no more than a small house cat.

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Movies I've Seen A Million Times
12:52 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

The Movie Queen Latifah Has 'Seen A Million Times'

Sally Field and Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias.
The Kobal Collection

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 8:21 pm

The weekends on All Things Considered series Movies I've Seen A Million Times features filmmakers, actors, writers and directors talking about the movies that they never get tired of watching.

For actress Queen Latifah, whose credits include Living Out Loud, Chicago, Beauty Shop and the new Lifetime TV remake of Steel Magnolias, the movie she could watch a million times is 1989's Steel Magnolias.

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Author Interviews
12:38 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

The Wild Adventure Continues In 'Under Wildwood'

Precocious seventh grader Prue McKeel looks over a City of Moles under siege in a scene from Under Wildwood.
Carson Ellis Balzer & Bray

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 12:04 pm

Colin Meloy is best known as the front man for the band the Decemberists. His music is praised for its lyrical quality and the stories the songs tell, so it may not be a surprise to learn Meloy is also a writer.

His newest book is a collaboration with his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis. The book is intended for young readers, the second in a series called Wildwood Chronicles.

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Music Interviews
12:36 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Anat Cohen Bends The Spectrum On 'Claroscuro'

Anat Cohen's new album, her sixth as a bandleader, is called Claroscuro.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun October 7, 2012 2:58 pm

Born in Tel Aviv, Anat Cohen came to New York two decades ago to study the masters of jazz. In so doing, the clarinetist and saxophonist started a bit of a stampede: Today, Israel is exporting some of the most vital jazz out there.

Read more
World
12:22 pm
Sun October 7, 2012

Stateless And Stranded On American Samoa

Mikhail Sebastian lived in Los Angeles before his fateful trip to American Samoa.
Courtesy Mikhail Sebastian

Originally published on Sun October 14, 2012 8:14 am

For many of us, no matter where we go, we'll always have a home. We'll always be from somewhere. But what if that somewhere no longer existed?

That is the strange position in which Mikhail Sebastian finds himself. Officially, he is from nowhere and has nowhere to go. The 39-year-old is stateless and stranded on American Samoa, a U.S. territory in the South Pacific.

Sebastian is an ethnic Armenian born in what is now Azerbaijan, but back then was part of the Soviet Union. When war broke out in the late 1980s, Sebastian says his aunt was stoned to death and he fled.

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Economy
3:29 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Unemployment Numbers Are Kept Under Guard

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

And undoubtedly, the president and Governor Romney were up early Friday morning reading and eagerly awaiting the unemployment numbers. Almost immediately after they were announced, theories began to circulate that maybe, just maybe, the Bureau of Labor Statistics was cooking the books to help the president's re-election.

Back in August, Caitlin Kenney of NPR's Planet Money team went to investigate just why those numbers are such a closely held secret.

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Business
3:20 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Why Companies Use Software To Scan Resumes

Originally published on Sat October 6, 2012 4:44 pm

The Labor Department announced on Friday the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009. Most big companies use software to screen resumes and ultimately move that unemployment number. These programs can be a big help for hiring departments, but a hindrance for job searches everywhere.

Music Interviews
3:02 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

Ultraísta: Radiohead's Knob-Twister Takes Off

Detail of the cover art from Ultraísta, the debut album from Nigel Godrich's new trio.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 9, 2012 5:58 pm

At the beginning of 1997, Nigel Godrich was a relatively unknown recording engineer. He'd been looking for a band that would trust his instincts as a producer, and he'd finally gotten his chance — with the band Radiohead. By the end of 1997, Godrich was one of the most talked-about names in music.

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Presidential Race
2:56 pm
Sat October 6, 2012

The NPR Third-Party Candidate Debate

Moderator Jim Lehrer sits at his desk before last Wednesday's debate between President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in Denver. For third-party candidates, getting into a presidential debate is practically impossible.
Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:00 pm

What's it like to be a third-party candidate running for president? Ralph Nader can tell us.

"You're excluded from the debates," he says. "You spend an exhausting amount of time, until Labor Day, trying to get over the ballot access barriers. Your petitioners are harassed in the streets; you're subjected to baseless lawsuits by one party or another."

Nader has run for president three times – four if you count the time he ran unofficially. In 2000, he managed to win almost 3 percent of the national vote.

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Around the Nation
9:07 pm
Fri October 5, 2012

Border Patrol Agent's Death May Have Been Accidental

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. There's new information tonight about the shooting of two border patrol agents along the Arizona-Mexico border earlier this week. One of the agents was killed in that incident. Well, the FBI now says that there are strong preliminary indications that the shooting was accidental and only involved the agents on the scene. NPR's Ted Robbins is following the story and joins me from Tucson. And, Ted, it sounds like the FBI is saying this is a case of friendly fire. What more do you know?

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