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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
8:28 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Seeing The World Is Like Dancing With It

iStockphoto

When we gaze up into the night sky, we look out into the past. Adam Frank makes this point eloquently in a recent post. And it is a point redolent with consequence in the field of physics. It is the starting point of Einstein's special theory of relativity.

But is it right to suggest, as Adam does, that when I look into the face of my loved one across the table from me, what I see, really, is how she looked a tiny fraction of a second earlier? Adam writes:

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The Two-Way
8:07 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Israelis Pay Respects To Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Israel's President Shimon Peres stands next the coffin of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the Knesset in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Bernat Armangue AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:52 am

The body of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was lying in state on Sunday outside the country's parliament.

As Haaretz reports, the Israeli public, as well as top government officials gathered at the Knesset to pay their respects.

Sharon, one of Israel's most iconic figures, died on Saturday after spending eight years in a coma.

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Sunday Puzzle
8:02 am
Sun January 12, 2014

A's On Either End

NPR

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 11:41 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a word that begins and ends with the letter A. You'll be given an anagram of the letters between the A's. For example, given "ern," you would say, "arena."

Last week's challenge: Name something in five letters that's generally pleasant, it's a nice thing to have. Add the letters A and Y, and rearrange the result, keeping the A and Y together as a pair. You'll get the seven-letter word that names an unpleasant version of the five-letter thing. What is it?

Answer: Dream; Daymare

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Author Interviews
5:26 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Months After Marriage, A Military Wife Becomes An 'Unremarried Widow'

This photograph of Artis Henderson and her husband Miles was taken in 2006, on the day he deployed to Iraq. Miles was killed just a few months later in an Apache helicopter crash.
Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 12:47 pm

Artis Henderson never imagined she'd end up a military wife. She had dreams of becoming a writer and traveling the world; settling down with a conservative, church-going Army pilot wasn't the life she'd planned for herself.

But she fell in love with Miles Henderson and she followed him to Army bases in small towns where she struggled to fit into military life and culture. Then, in 2006, her new husband deployed to Iraq and was killed just months later in an Apache helicopter crash.

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The Salt
5:22 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Prison Gardens Help Inmates Grow Their Own Food — And Skills

Prisoners build an organic vegetable garden in the prison yard of the medium security unit at San Quentin State Prison in December.
Kirk Crippens Insight Garden Program

Last week, we reported on the correctional industry's enduring practice of punishing certain inmates with a bland, lumpish food known as "the loaf."

Fortunately, there are also more encouraging stories to tell about prison food.

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My Guilty Pleasure
5:21 am
Sun January 12, 2014

Caped Crusader, Or Cruel Sadist? Miller Makes One Fan Wonder

Courtesy of DC Entertainment

When I was a kid, my local comic book store was a seedy, subterranean hole. I never saw other kids there — only adults and teenagers, who came alone and seemed furtive and abashed. We guiltily pored over the spandex-covered torsos and gore-splattered pages in separate corners.

Now, as an adult, I live partially in Seattle and partially on the Internet, two places where comics and graphic narratives are as respected and celebrated as any other medium. No one hides in the corner, and I read comics without shame — almost. One comic book hero remains a guilty pleasure.

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Around the Nation
5:20 am
Sun January 12, 2014

A Black Church's Dilemma: Preserve A Building, Or Our Identity?

Centennial Baptist Church in Helena, Ark.
Dave Anderson

Originally published on Wed May 7, 2014 10:51 am

The towers framing the majestic roof of Centennial Baptist Church reach for the heavens near downtown Helena, Ark. The elaborate red brick church stands out in a neighborhood that's seen better days, given the boarded-up homes and businesses nearby.

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The Two-Way
7:49 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Main Contractor Behind HealthCare.gov To Be Replaced By Accenture

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:08 am

Updated 8:50 p.m.

The main contractor behind the embattled Affordable Care Act enrollment site, which suffered major technological issues after its Oct. 1 debut, will be replaced early this year.

Accenture will replace CGI Federal, the IT contractor that built HealthCare.gov, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Saturday. CGI Federal's contract expires on Feb. 28.

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Code Switch
6:17 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Superhero Super-Fans Talk Race And Identity In Comics

As part of Orion Martin's project, X-Men of Color, he reimagined this famous X-Men cover by recoloring two characters as brown. This cover comes from a storyline in which mutants are being rounded up and exterminated by the government.
Orion Martin

The X-Men comic franchise has proven remarkably sturdy in the half-century since its launch. It's spawned dozens of animated series and four major Hollywood films with a fifth due out this summer. Part of that is due to its central premise — a minority of superpowered humans called mutants are discriminated against by their government and fellow citizens — which has functioned as a sci-fi allegory for everything from the civil rights movement to the AIDS crisis.

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World
5:35 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

New Iranian President Brings 'Resurgence Of Hope' For Some

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath.

Reporting on Iran is difficult and frustrating, and for those on the ground there, dangerous. It was especially bad after the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009, which triggered massive protests. Iran cracked down hard on the dissenters and heavily restricted Western reporters' access. But the country's recently elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has started to change things.

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World
5:34 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon's Death Sparks Strong Emotions Across Middle East

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. I'm Arun Rath.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon died today at the age of 85. The controversial military and political leader had spent the last eight years in a coma following a stroke. From Jerusalem, NPR's Emily Harris reports.

EMILY HARRIS, BYLINE: Ariel Sharon was part of the nearly-gone generation of leaders who fought for Israel before the state's founding. That history built trust, says Israeli military analyst Jonathan Spyer.

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World
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Egyptians To Vote On New Constitution For Troubled Nation

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Now to another country where the political process has been animated by an intense mix of optimism and fear: Egypt. Voters there are deciding whether to adopt a new constitution this week. The hopes that sprang out of the popular uprising that ejected President Hosni Mubarak in 2011 had been tempered by the political instability in the years that have followed. Last summer, President Mohammed Morsi was overthrown in a military coup. And this week's constitutional referendum is the third in as many years.

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Around the Nation
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Flies Into Retirement

The Trans World Airlines Douglas DC-9, a twin jet aircraft designed to take off and land on runways of less than 6,000 feet, is shown in this 1966 photo, less than a year after its first commercial flight.
AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:48 pm

It's the end of an era in aviation. The McDonnell Douglas DC-9, a plane that once ruled the skies, is finally retiring.

The DC-9 first took flight in 1965 and production stopped in 1982. While most airlines phased the planes out in the '90s, Delta overhauled its fleet and kept them in the air, until now.

On Monday, Delta Flight 2014 from Minneapolis to Atlanta marked the last scheduled commercial flight for a DC-9 on a major U.S. airline.

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Opinion
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

A New Rule For The Workplace: 'Hug Sparingly'

Research psychologist Peggy Drexler says one way to resist an unwanted hug at work is with a stiff handshake.
Simone Becchetti iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

Everyone loves hugs right? Well, no. And for those who aren't fans, things can get really awkward.

In a recent piece for TIME.com, research psychologist Peggy Drexler declared: "I am not a hugger. And I am not alone."

She calls for an end to the "hugging arms race," particularly at work.

"It's something that's in the zeitgeist, but we really haven't made any rules," she tells All Things Considered host Arun Rath. "My own rule is: I won't hug if you don't."

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Religion
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

When The Right To Religion Conflicts With A Changing Society

Little Sisters of the Poor runs the Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver, Colo. The group is seeking exemption from an Affordable Care Act requirement.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 6:40 pm

As the White House continues dealing with well-publicized problems with the HealthCare.gov website, there's at least one big question related to the Affordable Care Act that's outside the president's control: Can employers with religious objections be compelled to provide access to contraception coverage for their workers?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has granted a temporary injunction while she considers a challenge to the contraception requirement by a group of nuns called the Little Sisters of the Poor. The Catholic organization serves the poor elderly.

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The New And The Next
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

A Feminist Walks Into A Diet Clinic

Samantha Schoech is a writer and co-editor of the book The Bigger the Better, the Tighter the Sweater.
Courtesy subject

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 2:42 pm

Samantha Schoech has struggled with weight for most of her life.

"I am sort of a lifelong yo-yo dieter and like many women, weight is a frustrating topic for me," she tells NPR's Arun Rath.

As a feminist, she faces another struggle — the tricky prospect of balancing society's expectations of body image, without giving into them, and also wanting to be healthy.

She wrote about this tension in a piece for Ozy.com.

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Author Interviews
5:32 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

American Literature And The 'Mythos Of The Boozing Writer'

The title of Olivia Laing's new book was taken from Tennessee Williams' 1955 play, Cat On A Hot Tin Roof.
John Lent AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 1:24 pm

There is a long history of alcoholism in American literature. The heavy drinking of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Hart Crane inspired a kind of myth of the American writer as a genius armed with a typewriter and a bottle of whiskey. The success of writers like Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald also gave rise to the belief that alcohol somehow stoked their creativity.

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The Two-Way
4:50 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Neiman Marcus Notifying Customers Whose Cards Were Compromised

A Neiman Marcus in Chicago.
M. Spencer Green AP

The luxury retailer Neiman Marcus says it has begun notifying customers whose credit cards were compromised during a security breach.

The AP spoke to Ginger Reeder, spokeswoman for Dallas-based company, who would not estimate how many customers could be affected.

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Parallels
3:50 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

A Feud That Lasted A Lifetime: Ariel Sharon Vs. Yasser Arafat

Ariel Sharon, who was Israel's foreign minister in 1998, negotiated with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat at the Wye River Plantation, Md. They reached a limited agreement, but Sharon refused to shake hands with Arafat, his life-long rival. This is one of the few photos showing them together.
Israel Government Press Office AP

Originally published on Sun January 12, 2014 4:38 pm

Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat. It's hard to speak of one and not mention the other. They were inextricably linked by the Israel-Palestinian conflict, symbolizing a feud so enduring it's now outlasted two of its most prominent protagonists.

Neither would appreciate being compared to the other. But you could track the conflict from its earliest days to its present state by charting the lives of Sharon, who died Saturday, and Arafat, who was recently in the news following the latest inquiries into the still-fuzzy cause of his 2004 death.

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It's All Politics
3:48 pm
Sat January 11, 2014

Lieutenant Governors Make Headlines — For All The Wrong Reasons

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr and his wife Kim give an interview at the Arkansas Capitol building on Monday. After weeks of pressure to step down from both sides of the aisle, Darr announced his resignation on Friday.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 5:26 pm

In the end, Mark Darr had to give in.

Darr, the Republican lieutenant governor of Arkansas, announced Friday that he will resign Feb 1. Earlier this month, he agreed to pay the state ethics commission $11,000 in fines for making personal use of campaign funds and receiving improper expense reimbursements from the state.

Darr called his errors "careless and lazy," but said they were not intentional violations of the law. In a series of interviews with Arkansas news outlets Tuesday, Darr said he would refuse to resign.

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