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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

In Kabul, Banking On Luxury Accommodations

A five-star hotel in Afghanistan may seem a risky business proposition. But not to the Marriott chain, which is going to manage a six-story hotel under construction in Kabul. Part of the U.S. and NATO security bubble, it will likely draw foreign businesspeople hoping to sign reconstruction deals.

Election 2012
3:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

In Iowa, All Eyes On Republican Hopefuls

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 4:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.

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NPR Story
2:30 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Finish Your 2011 To-Do List? The Clock's Ticking!

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 2:30 pm

Remember those 2011 new year's resolutions? If you haven't contributed to your child's college savings plan or spent your use-it-or-lose-it flexible savings account funds, there are still a few days left to get it done. Chicago Tribune columnist John McCarron shares tips on taking care of business.

Animals
1:38 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Endangered Turtle Survives Trans-Atlantic Journey

A Kemp's ridley sea turtle like this one traveled 4,600 miles across the Atlantic ocean in 2008. After being rehabilitated in Portugal, it is being reintroduced into its native Gulf of Mexico waters on Tuesday.
US EPA via flickr

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 4:28 pm

On Florida's Gulf coast Tuesday, there will be a celebrated homecoming. For a turtle. This is no ordinary turtle: Known as Johnny Vasco da Gama, after the 15th-century Portuguese explorer, it crossed the Atlantic twice — by sea and by air.

Johnny, as his human friends call him, is a critically endangered Kemp's ridley turtle. Only a few thousand of these sea-turtles exist, mostly in the Gulf of Mexico. Normally, they do not migrate across the Atlantic.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

How Iraq, Afghanistan Have Changed The Military

U.S. forces have left Iraq and a drawdown in Afghanistan is underway, but both wars have left an indelible impact on the U.S. military. The armed forces have altered strategy and tactics, and countless lives have been changed — including those of the families of service members serving multiple deployments.

Conflict In Libya
12:55 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Injured In Battle, Libyans Recuperate In U.S. Hospital

Dr. Ryan Zaklin and other doctors at Spaulding Hospital are wearing name tags in English and Arabic to help their Libyan patients. There are also small sticky notes with English words written on them scattered throughout the hospital to help the patients learn terms for common objects.
Sacha Pfeiffer for NPR

Libya's civil war toppled a dictator and put the country on a path to democracy, but many of the rebel fighters who helped create that change are still recovering from battle injuries. Spaulding Hospital in Salem, Massachusetts, near Boston, is treating about two dozen of them — the only hospital in the country providing this kind of care.

Handwritten signs in Arabic are hung in a physical therapy room at the hospital, where several Libyan patients are getting rehab for injuries to their shoulders, hands and arms.

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Digital Life
12:24 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

The Touchy-Feely Future Of Technology

While many think of the tablet computer as a new idea, the concept can traced back to the original Star Trek series and Arthur C. Clarke's 1968 novel 2001: A Space Odyssey.
Noel Celis AFP/Getty Images

In 1975, when then-composer and performer Bill Buxton started designing his own digital musical instruments, he had no way of knowing he was helping to spark the next technological revolution. But nine years — and a master's in computer science — later, that all changed.

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The Record
12:00 pm
Mon December 26, 2011

Skylar Grey: And The Hits Keep Coming

Skylar Grey.
P.R. Brown Courtesy of Universal Music Group

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 2:41 pm

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Technology
11:38 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Timeline: A History Of Touch-Screen Technology

The University of Illinois released its PLATO IV touch-screen terminal in 1972.
Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 10:15 pm

1948 The Electronic Sackbut
The history of touch technology begins with touch-sensitive music synthesizers. According to the Canada Science and Technology Museum, Hugh Le Caine's Electronic Sackbut, completed in 1948, is widely considered to be the first musical synthesizer. The Sackbut is played with the right hand on the keyboard and the left hand on control board above the keyboard. The right hand controls volume by applying more or less pressure on the keys, while the left hand controls four different sound texture options.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
11:15 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Jimmy Fallon's 'Thank You Notes' For Everything

Jimmy Fallon says he spends almost 12 hours each day at the Late Night offices, which makes the rest of his life difficult. "If I want to play video games now, I have to schedule it," he tells Terry Gross.
Virginia Sherwood NBC

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 11:18 am

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on May 23, 2011.

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It's All Politics
11:02 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Paul Disavows Newsletters, But In '95 Video He Seems To Claim Credit

Rep. Ron Paul of Texas speaks during a campaign stop in Fort Madison, Iowa on Dec. 21.
Chris Carlson AP

Originally published on Wed December 28, 2011 12:15 pm

Ron Paul's struggles to distance himself from some decades-old controversial newsletters got a bit tougher over the holiday weekend.

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It's All Politics
9:12 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Gingrich Ballot Stumble In Virginia Could Be Sign Of Delegate Fight Ahead

A supporter takes a photo with a cell phone as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich greets supporters Dec. 22 in Richmond. Gingrich said then that he would gather enough signatures to make the Virginia ballot, but over the weekend he failed to qualify.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Every four years, a small subset of political junkies starts salivating over the prospect that no one candidate will garner enough delegates to win his or her party's nomination for the presidency. That would lead to the junkie's greatest fantasy: a brokered convention.

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The Best Of Fresh Air 2011
9:11 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Waits: Paying Homage To Outcasts On 'Bad As Me'

Tom Waits.

Jesse Dylan

This week on Fresh Air, we're marking the year's end by revisiting some of the most memorable conversations we've had in 2011. This interview was originally broadcast on October 31, 2011.


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Around the Nation
7:10 am
Mon December 26, 2011

NBA Commissioner Turns Boos Into Cheers

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's All Politics
7:07 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Silent For A Night (Or Two) In Iowa, Candidates Keep Pace In Ads

Around the Nation
7:05 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Santa Trackers Set Record On Christmas Eve

The North American Aerospace Defense Command keeps an eye on Saint Nick's progress from an Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo. NORAD volunteers in elf hats fielded more than 100,000 calls from kids checking on Santa.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Milwaukee VA Cuts In-Patient Stays

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

The VA hospital in Milwaukee is shortening its residential mental health treatment programs. Doctors there say the shortened stay — from 90 to 45 days — will mean more intense treatment and will make it easier for veterans to transition back into society sooner. Some patients worry about being pushed out too soon.

Sports
5:26 am
Mon December 26, 2011

NBA Stars Didn't Disappoint In Season Openers

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Perhaps more than any other major professional sports league in this country, the National Basketball Association is star-driven. And yesterday, the stars did not disappoint. A Christmas slate of season-opening games featured the electric play of the league's Most Valuable Player, Derrick Rose, and the NBA's top scorer, Kevin Durant, and this guy named LeBron James as well. NPR sports correspondent Tom Goldman monitored as much as he could of 13 hours of NBA action. And he joins me now.

Good morning, Tom.

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Europe
5:18 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Russians Keep Up Protests For Free Elections

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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Children's Health
4:20 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Philadelphia Practice Flight Helps Autistic Kids Fly

People travelling through Philadelphia International Airport Terminal A West Transit Corridor. The airport is the 12th busiest in the world.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

Air travel horror stories typically involve lost luggage, missed connections and overzealous security staff. But families affected by autism face other challenges in navigating airports and planes.

A Philadelphia program is bringing families, airport employees and airlines together to help autistic kids fly more comfortably.

Airports are loud, hectic places: blaring announcements, glaring lights and long lines can spell trouble for people with autism. They often can't tolerate noise, bright lights and close quarters.

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Business
4:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Top Gadgets Of 2011

Linda Wertheimer talks to Rich Jaroslovsky, tech columnist for Bloomberg News, about his top gadget picks for 2011.

Business
4:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Last Word In Business

Steve Inskeep has the Last Word in Business.

Business
4:00 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Business News

Steve Inskeep and Linda Wertheimer have business news.

It Was A Good Year For...
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Now Hovering Above Us All: 'The Cloud'

The cloud became a common term in 2011. Here, a screengrab from the Dropbox website shows how the cloud-based data storage service shares the same information on multiple devices.
NPR

The digital cloud became a household word in 2011.You can now store and share things via the Internet in ways you never could before. But what does the cloud look like, and where can we find it?

The section of the cloud we visited has a lot of concrete and security.

Behind a ballistics-grade door, data center owner David Sabey ushers us into a spotless Seattle-area facility the size of nine football fields. It's crammed full of racks upon racks of powerful servers, sophisticated computers that serve up information. There are lots of blinking lights and wires everywhere.

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Research News
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Wisdom Of Trees (Leonardo Da Vinci Knew It)

Leonardo DaVinci noted that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch they sprang from.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon January 9, 2012 1:15 pm

Hurricanes topple plenty of trees, but when you think about it, the more amazing thing is that many trees can stand up to these 100-mile-per-hour winds.

Now a French scientist has come up with an explanation for the resilience of trees. And astonishingly, the answer was first described by Leonardo da Vinci 500 years ago.

Leonardo noticed that when trees branch, smaller branches have a precise, mathematical relationship to the branch from which they sprang. Many people have verified Leonardo's rule, as it's known, but no one had a good explanation for it.

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The Record
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

The Music Stories We Missed This Year

The Edge and Bono performing in June at the Oakland, Calif., stop of U2's 360˚ Tour — the most successful in history.
Tim Mosenfelder Getty Images

This year, Morning Edition covered the death of Amy Winehouse, Spotify's arrival in America and the end of R.E.M. Listen above to host Steve Inskeep and Ann Powers catch up on the year's musical stories the show didn't cover.

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Sports
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Horse Breeders Seek To Rein In Bets On Barrel Races

Barrel racing champion Charmayne James rides during a demonstration at a new arena in Gretna, Fla., that plans to hold wagering on the sport.
Brendan Farrington AP

Originally published on Mon December 26, 2011 7:16 am

At rodeos, barrel racing has long been a popular event. Riders, often young women, race their horses in a cloverleaf pattern around barrels in an arena. Using quarter horses, the sport has grown in popularity in recent years and has its own circuit of races and competitive riders.

But in Gretna, Fla., a plan to turn barrel racing into a betting proposition has run into opposition. Quarter horse breeders and trainers are suing to stop it, saying the new event could destroy their industry.

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Shots - Health Blog
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

Singing Therapy Helps Stroke Patients Speak Again

Laurel Fontaine, 16, (left) and her twin sister Heather. When Laurel was 11 years old, she suffered a stroke that destroyed 80 percent of the left side of her brain. The singing therapy helped her regain the ability to speak.
Ellen Webber for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:39 am

Debra Meyerson was hiking near Lake Tahoe 15 months ago when a stroke destroyed part of the left side of her brain, leaving her literally speechless. It happens to more than 150,000 Americans a year.

But now Meyerson is learning to talk again through an approach that trains the undamaged right side of her brain to "speak." Specifically, it's a region that controls singing.

For more than 100 years, it's been known that people who can't speak after injury to the speech centers on the left side of the brain can sing.

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It Was A Good Year For...
12:01 am
Mon December 26, 2011

For Novak Djokovic, A Year To Celebrate In Tennis

In 2011, Novak Djokovic had just about the best year a male tennis player has ever had, including wins at three of the four Grand Slam tournaments.

"This is the athlete of the year," says Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated. "This is a brutal, brutal sport. This guy is playing on six continents, every surface....This is one of the all time great years in open tennis history."

This year, Djokovic also kept to a gluten-free diet. Must have been particularly difficult since his family's business is a pizza parlor.

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Music Interviews
4:13 pm
Sun December 25, 2011

A Jazz Pianist's Cinematic 'Fantasy'

Harold O'Neal's new album is Marvelous Fantasy.
Luke Kaven Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun December 25, 2011 5:06 pm

Harold O'Neal is a jazz pianist with an unusual resume. Born in Tanzania and raised in Kansas City, Miss., O'Neal is also a hip-hop dancer, martial artist and actor. He's just released a new album with an unusual back story of its own: Marvelous Fantasy is a largely improvised collection of solo piano pieces, an homage to the music of silent films.

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