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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:06 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Gigging The Edible Frog: An Inhumane Tradition

iStockphoto.com

Late last Friday afternoon, just about to relax into the weekend, I checked NPR.org to see what was new and ran smack into a story about a cruel tradition here in the American South: frog gigging.

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Alt.Latino
10:32 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Argentine Digital Folk, Mexican Cumbia And A Panamanian Classic Reborn

On this week's episode, Argentina's Tremor leaves us in awe with a new single called "Huellas."
Maxime Bessieres ©Maxime Bessieres/studiophoto14

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 2:57 pm

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The Two-Way
10:29 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Stars And Stripes: Pair Of Sumatran Tigers Born At National Zoo

A Tigercubcam view of the new cubs, born at the Smithsonian's National Zoo on Monday.
Smithsonian's National Zoo

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 1:03 pm

The Smithsonian's National Zoo has announced the birth of a pair of Sumatran tigers, a species that has dwindled to less than 500 in the wild. Both mother and cubs are reportedly doing well.

There was no immediate word Thursday on the sex of the cubs.

Four-year-old Damai gave birth on Monday. The new arrivals appear healthy, and so far, "Damai is being a great mom, and is nursing and grooming both cubs," the zoo says on its website.

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Shots - Health News
10:18 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Scientists Disclose Plans To Make Superflu In Labs

Some scientists think new types of bird flus should arise only in chickens, not in labs. Here a worker collects poultry on a farm in Kathmandu, Nepal, where the H5N1 virus was infecting animals in October 2011.
Prakas Mathema AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:56 am

Who do these guys think they are, the Dr. Frankensteins of virology?

First, two teams of virologists created more dangerous versions of the deadly H5N1 flu. Now they want to give the H7N9 virus, which has already sickened at least 134 people and killed 43 people in Asia, a few new capabilities: drug resistance, faster transmission between people and the ability to sneak past the immune system.

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The Two-Way
10:16 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'Total Disgrace': Jackie Robinson Statue Defaced In Brooklyn

Before the damage: The statue of Pee Wee Reese and Jackie Robinson, outside the stadium where the minor league Brooklyn Cyclones play.
AP

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:15 am

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The Two-Way
9:48 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Fannie Mae Books $10.1 Billion In Second-Quarter Profits

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 11:05 am

Driven by a recovery in the U.S. housing market, mortgage finance giant Fannie Mae netted profits of $10.1 billion in the second quarter, its sixth-straight quarter with positive results. The company, which has operated under federal conservatorship since 2008, reported its earnings Thursday.

Fannie Mae cited "a significant increase in home prices in the quarter," which nearly doubled that of last year's second quarter.

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The Two-Way
8:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Weekly Jobless Claims Hold Steady

The scene at a job fair in Manhattan earlier this year.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:54 am

There were 333,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance last week, the Employment and Training Administration says. Claims were up 1.5 percent from the previous week's 328,000 — and basically remained at the lower end of the range where they've stayed for the better part of the last two years.

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The Picture Show
8:33 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Burrowed In Brooklyn: A Little Ukrainian Beach Town

Women walk to the sea during a Christian Epiphany ceremony, January 2013.
Uliana Bazar

Originally published on Sat August 10, 2013 1:35 pm

Resting on the southern shore of Brooklyn, between Coney Island and Manhattan Beach, is a place known to New York City dwellers as Brighton Beach. To some, though, it's just "Little Odessa."

Photographer Uliana Bazar grew up in Ukraine and had heard of "Little Odessa" during her childhood. The New York community is named after a Ukrainian city on the Black Sea — and today it's a community of mostly Eastern Europeans, many of whom immigrated after 1970.

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The Two-Way
8:17 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Report: NSA Is Searching 'Vast Amounts' Of Americans' Emails

The National Security Agency headquarters at Fort Meade, Md.
Saul Loeb Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:50 am

"The National Security Agency is searching the contents of vast amounts of Americans' e-mail and text communications into and out of the country, hunting for people who mention information about foreigners under surveillance, according to intelligence officials," The New York Times reported Thursday.

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All Songs Considered
8:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Song Premiere: The Avett Brothers, 'Another Is Waiting'

The Avett Brothers will release Magpie and the Dandelion on Oct. 15
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 8:46 am

It hasn't even been 11 full months since The Avett Brothers released The Carpenter, the North Carolina band's most recent collection of poignant and infectious, bluegrass-inflected folk-rock.

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Summer Books 2013
8:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Of Ingenuity And Insane Clown Posse: 5 Books On Music For What's Left Of Summer

cover for Dinner With Lenny
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:58 am

It's already August 8, which means you've got maybe three or four weeks left to complain about preseason football, inadequately shield yourself from the scorching heat of the sun, and communicate with your kids about something other than why they haven't done their homework. So why not get cracking on a book?

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Shots - Health News
8:00 am
Thu August 8, 2013

What Makes Good Bacteria Go Bad? It's Not Them, It's You

S.pneumoniae bacteria may look harmless, but don't rile them.
CDC

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:01 am

Imagine a friend of a friend brings his family to stay with you — his family of tiny survivalists. For weeks or months you all live quietly side by side with no problems. You share meals. Your kids play together.

Then one day you get sick — maybe felled by a bad cold or the flu. Suddenly certain the end is near, your jittery houseguest breaks out an armory's worth of chemical weapons. He abandons his community to save himself and hunt for a new home, wreaking havoc on the way out the door.

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Krulwich Wonders...
7:58 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Watch Me Do Something Impossible In Three Totally Easy Steps

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 7:19 pm

Here's what the Swedish artist Oscar Reutersvard did. In 1934, he got himself a pen and paper and drew four cubes, like this.

Then he drew some more, like this.

And, then — and this is where he got mischievous — he drew one more set, like this.

He called this final version "Impossible Triangle of Opus 1 No. 293aa." I don't know what the "293aa" is about, but he was right about "impossible." An arrangement like this cannot take place in the physical universe as we know it.

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The Two-Way
7:43 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Book News: Publishers Object To Proposed Punishments For Apple

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:15 am

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:28 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Burglars Return Loot To Group That Helps Sex Assault Victims

The note left behind by whoever took computers and other valuables from the offices of the San Bernadino County (Calif.) Sexual Assault Services. The goods were returned.
California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Originally published on Fri August 9, 2013 8:12 am

(Update at 7:30 a.m. on Aug. 9: Click here for new information about efforts to help the agency pay for the damage done to its office.)

Let's start our day with a feel-good story:

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Book Reviews
7:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Magic And Politics Beyond The Portal In 'Guide'

It's one of the most familiar stories in fantasy: someone from our world stumbles on a gateway to a world entirely other — usually magical, sometimes dangerous, and always ripe for a great adventure. But despite the iconic image of a paradise just beyond the doorway, the portal fantasy is often, at heart, a cynical work. After all, some of folkore's most notable archetypes were supernatural threats who crossed from their world to ours to beleaguer us.

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Europe
6:53 am
Thu August 8, 2013

'Magic Flute' Singers End Up In Lake Constance

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute," Tamino and Pamina can't get married unless brave Tamino passes three tests or trials. At a performance on Lake Constance in Austria this week, the trials by silence and fire were no sweat but water turned out to be a bit trickier. As a gondola carrying three characters approached the floating stage it capsized, tossing the three into the lake's shallow waters. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
6:44 am
Thu August 8, 2013

3 Winning Powerball Tickets Sold: 2 In N.J., 1 In Minnesota

This one wasn't a winner: A Powerball ticket sold Wednesday in Port Washington, N.Y.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 10:43 am

If you haven't gotten in touch recently with relatives in New Jersey and Minnesota, this might a good time to check on how they're doing.

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Around the Nation
6:32 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Republicans And Democrats Get Behind 'Voices For Yes'

Originally published on Thu August 8, 2013 6:54 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Linda Wertheimer.

Republicans and Democrats agree. Strategists who worked on opposing campaigns are urging the Twitterverse to just say yes to the candidacy of the progressive rock band, Yes. Plus, a Facebook page, a website, a documentary, all to get the Rock 'n' roll Hall of Fame to say yes to Yes. Is our national polarization at an end? Or perhaps "The Gates of Delirium" have opened.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Politics
6:03 am
Thu August 8, 2013

Government Shutdown? Odds Are Uncomfortably High

Protesters urging a government shutdown and spending cuts demonstrate in front of the U.S. Capitol in 2011.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

It's going to be another ugly fall in Washington.

The federal government runs out of money on Oct. 1, unless spending authority is granted to agencies for the new fiscal year. If Congress can't pass its spending bills by then, most of the government will shut down.

It's no empty threat. Many who watch the budget process closely think there's a very good chance that's exactly what's going to happen.

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