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Alt.Latino
2:23 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Making It Rain Cafe Con Leche: Latin Songs About Coffee, Sex And Politics

A Colombian farmer sips cofee during a national coffee producers' strike Feb. 25 in Colombia. Thousands of coffee farmers rallied and marched throughout Colombia in protest the economic difficulties of the sector.
AFP AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 17, 2013 10:00 am

Coffee runs through the veins of Latin America. As economically and culturally ubiquitous as it is throughout the continent, it's only natural that it would also be a constant theme in Latin American music. But coffee, present throughout Latin song, is rarely just about a cup of joe: the drink and its colors and flavors are often used as a way to discuss sociopolitical realities.

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Space
2:03 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Can You Hear Me Now? Cellphone Satellites Phone Home

Three PhoneSats, like the one seen here during a high-altitude balloon test, were launched into space on Sunday. The slightly modified cellphone satellites cost a few thousand dollars in parts.
NASA Ames Research Center

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 5:59 pm

Smartphones can check e-mail, record videos and even stream NPR. Now NASA has discovered they make pretty decent satellites, too. Three smart phones launched into space this past Sunday are orbiting above us even now, transmitting data and images back to Earth. The PhoneSats, which cost just a few thousand dollars each, could usher in big changes for the satellite industry.

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Planet Money
2:02 am
Fri April 26, 2013

The Lollipop War

Spangler Candy via Flickr

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 5:59 pm

I recently got a tour of the Spangler Candy Co., a family-owned firm in Bryan, Ohio. The company makes 10 million Dum Dums lollipops there every day, and it has a whole separate building where it stores the sugar — enough to fill eight Olympic-size swimming pools.

The CEO, Kirk Vashaw, says he wants to expand the factory and make even more candy there. There's just one thing he needs.

"Let us buy sugar on the free market," he says.

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Around the Nation
7:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Thousands Attend Memorial For Plant Explosion Victims

President Obama visited Waco, Texas, on Thursday day to take part in a memorial for those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week.

Around the Nation
7:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Making Room: Can Smaller Apartments Help New York City Grow?

Some housing experts say New York's zoning code has discouraged the building of affordable housing by requiring that all apartments be at least 400 square feet. The city is interested in finding ways to rewrite the rules.
iStockphoto.com

New York City is notoriously crowded, and it's only getting more so. The city estimates it will have 1 million more people by the year 2030, many of them single. Where to place all these newcomers is a major challenge.

Mayor Mike Bloomberg has announced plans to put up an experimental building of micro-apartments that could be replicated throughout the city. And the Museum of the City of New York is looking at ways to make better use of the city's housing stock.

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Music Reviews
7:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Jonny Fritz: A Country Jester Gets Personal

Jonny Fritz's third solo album, after two under the alias Jonny Corndawg, is called Dad Country.
Josh Hedley Courtesy of the artist

Dad Country is the ersatz debut of Jonny Fritz, but it's actually his third album: He recorded the first two under the name Jonny Corndawg. I enjoyed his 2011 album Down on the Bikini Line, but it's so much slighter, so much sillier and more risqué, that at first I didn't connect the two. From the new album's first seconds, Jonny Fritz sounds more intense and pained.

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Middle East
7:16 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Evidence Of Syria's Chemical Weapons Use Questioned

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Saying that Syria has used chemical weapons is a major step for the administration. But as we've heard, there's still a lot we don't know about the evidence the White House is relying on.

Joining us now to discuss those uncertainties is NPR's Larry Abramson. And, Larry, what is known about the evidence that the administration is citing and how the U.S. got a hold of it?

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Business
5:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Regulators Warn Banks On Direct-Deposit Loans

Regulators are warning some of the nation's largest banks to stop offering loans that are hard to distinguish from those given out by storefront payday lenders.
CX Matiash AP

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:16 pm

Consumer advocates call them "debt" traps. The banks that offer them call them direct-deposit advances and describe them as available funds for short-term emergencies.

But the cash advances have many of the negative characteristics of payday loans. And on Thursday, U.S. bank regulators took a step toward protecting consumers from the risks they pose. The regulators proposed standards for "deposit-advance products."

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Around the Nation
5:05 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Controversy Brews Over Church's Hallucinogenic Tea Ritual

Ayahuasca brew used in South and Central America.
Nha Flickr

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 7:17 pm

A small church in Santa Fe, N.M., has grown up around a unique sacrament. Twice a month, the congregation meets in a ritualized setting to drink Brazilian huasca tea, which has psychoactive properties said to produce a trance-like state.

The Supreme Court confirmed the UDV church's right to exist in 2006. The church doesn't seek new members and prefers to keep a low profile. It did, however, agree for the first time to open up to a journalist.

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Books
1:26 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

75 Years Of Superman: The Man Of Steel's 'Unauthorized' Bio

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A week ago, Superman turned 75, and ever since his debut in the first issue of "Action Comics," we've thrilled to the adventures of the Man of Steel.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Up in the sky, look.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It's a bird.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: It's a plane.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: It's Superman.

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