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Politics
12:40 am
Sat November 19, 2011

Foreign Policy Funding A Top Candidate For Cuts

Workers take a break in front of the cooling towers of a coal-fired power plant in Dadong, Shanxi province, China. At a House hearing on Tuesday, Nisha Biswal defended USAID's programs in China, saying the money goes to efforts that include reducing harmful emissions from the country's power plants.
Andy Wong AP

Should the United States give aid to China? Given America's trade imbalance with China, few politicians think it's a good idea.

That's why a hearing over $4 million that the U.S. Agency for International Development intends to spend on environmental programs in China drew such heat on Capitol Hill this week.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers lined up at a House hearing on Tuesday to denounce the program as "an insult to the American taxpayer" that would pour "U.S. taxpayer dollars down the toilet."

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The Two-Way
6:43 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Cool Photo: Scientists Present 'Lightest Material On Earth'

Researchers created a "micro-lattice" structure of interconnected hollow tubes with a wall thickness of 100 nanometers, 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.
Dan Little HRL Laboratories

We were stunned when we saw this image:

According to HRL Laboratories that is an "ultralight metallic microlattice" sitting atop a dandelion. The material was developed by scientists at HRL, The California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine.

The material is 99.99 percent air and 100 times lighter than styrofoam.

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Music Interviews
6:26 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Peggy Sue: Mining The Dark And The Discordant

Peggy Sue's new album is Acrobats.
Patrick Ford

There's no Peggy Sue — or even a Margaret or a Susan, for that matter — in the British folk-rock band Peggy Sue. There is, however, a hard-driving group that has just released its second album, Acrobats. Peggy Sue is the trio of singers and guitarists Rosa Slade and Katy Young, and drummer Olly Joyce.

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Music Interviews
6:24 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Romeo Santos: Taking Bachata Mainstream

Romeo Santos.
Courtesy of the artist

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Social Entrepreneurs: Taking On World Problems
5:58 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

India Eye Care Center Finds Middle Way To Capitalism

Patients sit after their cataract surgeries at a hospital of the Aravind Eye Care System in Madurai, India.
Reinhard Krause Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue November 29, 2011 7:38 pm

At an Aravind hospital in Madurai, a city on India's southern tip, the waiting room is packed. A clinical assistant calls out the names of patients, and they're escorted to examination rooms. This hospital alone screens around 2,000 patients a day — and tour guide Shawas Philip says this day is busier than usual.

"We might break that record today — of the number of patients that are seen on a particular day. That's exciting," he says.

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Movie Interviews
5:49 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

In 'Hugo,' Scorsese Salutes A Movie Magician

For his new film, director Martin Scorsese worked to recreate the scenes of Brian Selznick's illustrated children's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Jaap Buitendijk GK Films

In his 2007 children's book, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, author Brian Selznick tells the story of an orphan named Hugo who lives in the walls of a Paris train station and spends his time winding the clocks.

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Music Interviews
5:41 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

A.A. Bondy: Making His Own World

A.A. Bondy performs at The Waiting Room in Omaha, Neb. He says it took him eight days to write his new album, Believers.
Hilary Stohs-Krause

One Friday night at The Waiting Room in Omaha, Neb., more than 150 people are milling around waiting for A.A. Bondy to take the stage. His new album, Believers, came out two months ago and caught fans like Andre Steinbergs by surprise.

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The Two-Way
5:19 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Self-Help Guru Sentenced To Two Years In Prison Over Sweat Lodge Deaths

The self-help guru responsible for three deaths at a 2009 sweat lodge ceremony in the Arizona desert was sentenced to two years in prison, today.

At his sentencing James Arthur Ray begged for forgiveness. The AP reports:

"Ray said during his sentencing hearing that he would have stopped the ceremony near Sedona had he known people were dying or in distress. He turned to the more than a dozen family members seated in the courtroom, tearfully taking full responsibility for the pain and anguish he caused them.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:34 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Gingrich's History On Health Care Gets An Exam

At a Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas last month, Newt Gingrich got zinged by rival Mitt Romney for coming up with idea of an individual insurance mandate.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 3:54 pm

Republican Newt Gingrich's presidential stock is rising in the polls. And his newfound popularity is also bringing new scrutiny to what he's been up to since he stepped down as Speaker of the House in 1998.

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The Two-Way
4:26 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Former Penn State Coach Joe Paterno Has Cancer

Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno in September.
Justin K. Aller Getty Images

Joe Paterno's son said his father has lung cancer, but that it was treatable.

The AP reports:

Scott Paterno says in a statement provided to The Associated Press by a family representative that the 84-year-old Joe Paterno is undergoing treatment and that "his doctors are optimistic he will make a full recovery."

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Asia
3:46 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Myanmar's Ghost Capital Rises From The Jungle

People offer prayers at the newly completed Uppatasaniti Pagoda in Naypiydaw earlier this year. It's unclear when construction on the new capital began or how much it has cost this impoverished nation where round-the-clock power is a rarity.
Soe Than Win AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 28, 2012 12:31 pm

The government of Myanmar bars or severely restricts reporting by foreign correspondents. NPR is withholding the name of the veteran journalist who recently entered the country and filed this story, in order to protect his identity and his ability to return in the future.

The newest — and nicest — road in Myanmar is, paradoxically, one of the emptiest as well: Only a handful of cars travel along the desolate four-lane highway to nowhere, or so it seems.

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The Two-Way
3:45 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

NCAA To Examine Penn State's Sports Programs

Former Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno in September.
Justin K. Aller Getty Images

Saying it is deeply troubled by "tragic events" alleged to have happened at Penn State, the NCAA has told the school it is launching an examination of whether the university has "institutional control over its intercollegiate athletics program, as well as the actions, and inactions, of relevant ... personnel."

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Politics
3:41 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Panetta On Other End Of Budget Cuts As Role Changes

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (left) talks with Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Washington on Tuesday. The pair testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on security issues relating to Iraq.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 1:41 pm

It's hard to miss the irony: Leon Panetta, as President Clinton's budget guru, backed billions of dollars in Pentagon cuts. Now, as secretary of defense, he's warning that the U.S. could become a "paper tiger" if his department's budget is further reduced.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

China Now Investigating Nude Photos Of Outspoken Artist Ai Weiwei

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei (C) posing with women in the nude in Beijing.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 3:32 pm

The artist Ai Weiwei can't seem to catch a break with the Chinese government. His open dissension, of course, doesn't help, but the government has kept coming after him time and time again.

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NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Clinton To 'Test Waters' In Myanmar

President Obama says his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will visit Myanmar next month, the first such visit in half a century. Relations between the U.S. and Myanmar have been strained during years of rule by a secretive military junta, but its new president has started a process of reform that the U.S. wants to encourage. Michele Kelemen

NPR Story
3:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

LA County Sheriff Reopens Natalie Wood Case

The Los Angeles County Sheriff is reopening the investigation into the death of Hollywood legend Natalie Wood. She died in 1981 while on a yacht anchored off Catalina Island with her husband Robert Wagner and actor Christopher Walken. At the time, her death was ruled an accidental drowning. Karen Grigsby Bates

National Security
3:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Army Successfully Tests Hypersonic Missile

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 8:02 pm

Transcript

GUY RAZ, HOST:

Imagine flying from L.A. to New York in about 30 minutes. That's roughly eight times the speed of sound. And yesterday, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command managed to launch a missile that flew at that speed. The test missile was sent from Hawaii to hit a site on the Kwajalein Atoll in the South Pacific about 2,400 miles away, and within a half hour, the missile struck its target. And the military is hoping to speed it up even more.

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Analysis
3:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Week In Politics: Gingrich, Debt Panel

Melissa Block speaks with our regular political commentators, E.J. Dionne of The Washington Post and Brookings Institution and David Brooks of The New York Times.

Religion
3:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Catholic Church To Buy Famed Crystal Cathedral

The Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, Calif., known for its Hour of Power broadcasts, is being sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 8:02 pm

The Roman Catholic Church is about to buy a beacon of Protestant televangelism.

The Crystal Cathedral, a temple of glass in Garden Grove, Calif., will be sold to the Catholic Church for $57 million — a decision that left some congregants furious and their future up in the air.

When the Crystal Cathedral declared bankruptcy last year, it soon became clear that the legendary building would have to be sold. There were several offers, but in the end, the church's board favored the Catholic diocese in Orange County.

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Environment
2:49 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Climate Panel: More Extreme Weather On The Way

A U.N. climate panel says that we can expect more extreme weather conditions as a result of climate change. Above, people run from a high wave on Nov. 8 in Nice, France, where heavy rain and flooding forced hundreds to evacuate.
Vallery Hache AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 4:55 pm

Brace yourself for more extreme weather. A group of more than 200 scientists convened by the United Nations says in a new report that climate change will bring more heat waves, more intense rainfall and more expensive natural disasters.

These conclusions are from the latest effort of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — a consensus statement from researchers around the world.

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The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Columbia University Will Let Band Play At Lion's Home Finale

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 2:17 pm

The Columbia University Lions are 0-9 this season. So after the team's ninth loss of the season against Cornell, the marching band decided to poke a little fun. The Columbia Spectator explains:

"'Every time every game ends, we play 'Roar," said José Delgado, CC '12 and the band's manager. 'There's music, there's a part in between when we sing lyrics, and there's music again—that's where it happened.'

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Balanced Budget Amendment Falls Short In House

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 2:02 pm

A balanced budget amendment to the Constitution just failed to get the two-thirds majority vote in the House that's needed to move such a measure forward.

It was approved by a simple majority: 261 to 165. But for a two-thirds majority, at least 290 votes would be needed.

There are currently 434 House members (one seat is vacant). Of those, 242 are Republicans and 192 are Democrats.

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The Salt
1:44 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

From Wall Street To Big Food, Occupiers Are Hungry For Change

Butterball frozen turkeys on display in a supermarket in Ohio.
Amy Sancetta AP

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 5:49 pm

Not all the people who have been protesting in New York's Zuccotti Park are trying to Occupy Wall Street. Some are trying to Occupy Big Food, and are ready to march. That includes boycotting that Thanksgiving icon, the Butterball turkey.

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Mitt Romney
1:23 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Where's Mitt Romney? 'Running Out The Clock'

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives with his wife, Ann, for a rally at the American Polish Cultural Center earlier this month in Troy, Mich. The former Massachusetts governor is in effect the front-runner in the race for the GOP nomination, despite holding fewer rallies, town hall meetings or media appearances than other candidates.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 18, 2011 8:02 pm

Through the ups and downs of the Republican presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has remained in effect the front-runner.

He has done so even without holding as many rallies, town hall meetings or meet-and-greet events as some of the other candidates. He's also done fewer media appearances.

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NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Geron To End Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Citing "capital scarcity" the Geron Corporation said it will abandon its research into using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Stem cell expert Leonard Zon discusses the announcement and what it means for the future of embryonic stem cell research.

Space
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Is A Moon Necessary For A Planet To Support Life?

For years, a theory has held that Earth's large moon played a critical role in stabilizing the planet's tilt, damping down differences between the seasons. Now, astronomer Jason Barnes says that life on our planet would endure even without a moon, a finding that might increase the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy.

Energy
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Solar Sector At War Over Cheap Chinese Panels

Seven solar companies have filed a trade complaint with the federal government, accusing China of dumping artificially cheap solar panels on the US market. But solar installers welcome the low prices. Ira Flatow and guests discuss what's best for the domestic solar industry--and US jobs--in the long run.

Technology
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Building A Better Toilet

Toilets, as most of us know them, haven't changed much since the 1800s--they use a lot of water, and require an infrastructure that many communities can't afford. Ira Flatow and guests look at the problem of access to sanitation, and how engineers are making toilets better.

Health
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Strangers Can Spot Genetic Disposition For Empathy

Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write that complete strangers are capable of spotting individuals with a genetic predisposition to empathy and sociable behavior. Author Sarina Saturn discusses the study, and how sociability has evolved across cultures.

Pop Culture
1:00 pm
Fri November 18, 2011

Balloonatics Prepare For Thanksgiving Day Parade

With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the balloon technicians. Science Friday goes behind the scenes at Macy's design studio to find out about the final preparations for the parade.

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