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Strange News
5:56 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Toy-Gun-Toting Sock Puppet Can't Get Past The TSA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

A Blog Supreme
4:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Remembering Jim Hall, A Different Sort Of Guitar God

Jim Hall performs with his trio and fellow guitarist Julian Lage at the 2013 Newport Jazz Festival.
Adam Kissick for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

Jim Hall was a guitar god, but not in the sense that he could blaze through a zillion notes a minute. He was worshipped by guitarists around the world, but you'd never know it from talking to him.

"I don't really have all that much technique anyway, so I try to the best with what I have you know," he said to me earlier this year.

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Science
4:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Megatons To Megawatts: Russian Warheads Fuel U.S. Power Plants

A Soviet SS-21 tactical short-range nuclear missile is shown for the first time in Red Square, at the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia on May 9, 1985.
Associated Press

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

Here's a remarkable fact: For the past two decades, 10 percent of all the electricity consumed in the United States has come from Russian nuclear warheads.

It was all part of a deal struck at the end of the Cold War. That deal wraps up today, when the final shipment of fuel arrives at a U.S. facility.

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Sweetness And Light
4:07 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Should Character Count In Sports Awards?

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston reacts during the ACC Championship game on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 9:10 am

The Grammy nominations are in, and the talk now is of what actors will be chosen for the Academy Awards, but not once have I heard anyone suggest that any of the singers or actors may not be nominated because of some character deficiency.

Likewise, when it comes to awards in theater or television or dance or literature, I don't ever recall any candidate losing out because of a personal flaw.

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Politics
5:55 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

House, Senate Negotiators Announce Deal To Avert Another Shutdown

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

House and Senate negotiators said late Thursday that they reached a budget deal. The agreement would restore some of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, and includes some relatively small deficit reduction over the next two years. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., hammered out the deal, which they characterized as a step in the right direction that would avoid another government shutdown in mid-January if both the House and Senate approve the budget.

NPR Story
3:38 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

The Music Of Liberation: Steven Van Zandt And Danny Schechter On 'Sun City'

Steven Van Zandt and Danny Schechter (Jon Kalish)

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:53 am

In the early 1980s, Nelson Mandela’s name was virtually unknown in the United States. In fact, it was Steve Biko, who died in police custody in South Africa in 1977, who first put the struggles of black South Africans into public consciousness in the U.S.

Peter Gabriel’s song “Biko” was written in 1980, the same year the United Nations established a cultural boycott of the country, and was among the first of the songs that catapulted the plight of apartheid onto the musical airwaves.

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Music
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Indie-Pop Albums That Make The Cut Are More Than Mere Collections

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At NPR Music, they're wrapping up the year the best way they know how, with their hotly contested list of their 50 favorite albums of 2013. Now, all this week, we'll get a peak of that list from our in-house experts, including NPR Music writer and editor Stephen Thompson, whose beat is the ever amorphous indie pop, which - Stephen, what exactly is that these days?

STEPHEN THOMPSON, BYLINE: I have absolutely no idea. It used to mean accessible but unpopular.

CORNISH: OK. So...

(LAUGHTER)

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Around the Nation
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Texas Ice Storm Plus Sand, Traffic Equals 'Cobblestone Ice'

Cobblestone ice has made travel downright dangerous. Over the weekend, Ross Hailey of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram captured this truck driving over cobblestone ice in Haltom City.
Ross Hailey Star-Telegram via KERA

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

The ice storm that's blanketed North Texas streets and highways has spawned a new name: cobblestone ice.

Cobblestone ice — sounds poetic, doesn't it?

Not if you've had to drive through it.

So what is it?

Ryan LaFontaine of the Texas Department of Transportation says cobblestone ice is a combination of ice accumulation and sand laid down by TxDOT and city trucks — which traffic compresses together to form a cobblestone-type surface, a thick layer of frozen ruts and potholes. In some places, it's several inches deep.

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Latin America
3:29 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Ex-Brazilian President Kubitschek Was Murdered, Commission Says

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:30 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

A probe into the death of one of Brazil's most celebrated presidents has determined he was murdered. It was thought that the former leader died in a 1976 car crash but an investigation has found he was assassinated by the military junta that once ruled the country. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro reports that the revelation is renewing calls for Brazil's amnesty law to be revised so that the killers can face justice.

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NPR Story
3:18 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Echoes Of The Madoff Scandal On 5 Year Anniversary

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:53 am

It’s been five years since the Madoff scandal broke — the largest Ponzi scheme in history that defrauded investors of over $17.5 billion dollars.

Earlier this week, Frank DiPascali, Bernie Madoff’s former finance chief testified against five former coworkers, detailing how they helped carry out the fraud.

In the meantime, Madoff will spend the rest of his life at a federal prison in North Carolina. He recently granted an interview to The Wall Street Journal.

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