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The Two-Way
9:23 am
Tue December 31, 2013

How Deflating: Huge Rubber Duck Goes Flat In Taiwan

Before the collapse in Taiwan.
Wally Santana AP

Earlier this year, it was Hong Kong's six-story tall rubber duck that went pffff.

Now, there's word from Taiwan that another of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman's floating works of art has collapsed.

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The Two-Way
9:21 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Has Tim Tebow Found His Right Place At ESPN?

Tim Tebow, right, during a TV interview before last January's Allstate Sugar Bowl. He's taking his talents to ESPN.
Matthew Stockman Getty Images

Although he says he still wants to be a quarterback in the National Football League, former phenom Tim Tebow has signed up to be a college football analyst for ESPN.

The sports network announced Monday that Tebow is coming aboard to be part of SEC Nation — a "pregame show that will originate from a different SEC campus each week beginning August 28, 2014."

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Monkey See
9:16 am
Tue December 31, 2013

From Paper To Punks, The Best Games Of 2013

A screenshot from Tearaway.
Sony

The year passed so awfully quickly, like a twitch in a shooter game, that it kind of faked me out. A week ago, I didn't believe there were 10 stellar games to make a complete 'best of' story. But I looked at a list I'd been keeping since January. I was suddenly overwhelmed — I saw at least 30 worthy games. And from those, I plucked the very best of 2013.

Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games)

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The Two-Way
8:56 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Rival South Sudan Factions Agree To Talks, Cease-Fire

A young, displaced girl cries after the relative she was with disappears into a row of latrines Sunday at a U.N. compound in Juba, South Sudan. Violence in the country has forced an estimated 70,000 people to take refuge in U.N. compounds.
Ben Curtis AP
  • NPR's Gregory Warner Talks To Michele Martin, Host Of Tell Me More

South Sudan's government and forces loyal to the former vice president agreed Tuesday to a cease-fire ahead of talks intended to prevent civil war in the world's newest country.

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Number Of The Year
8:40 am
Tue December 31, 2013

From Pandas To Health Care: The 13 Numbers Of 2013

Johann Balleis / Adam Cole Wikimedia Commons / NPR

0: Twitter collected no profit, Snapchat collected no revenue, and Apple's stock has roughly stayed flat over the past year. But in Silicon Valley, where companies are judged by potential, zero is still something.

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The Two-Way
7:27 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Happy New Year! The Celebrations Are Underway

A view of the New Year's Eve fireworks display in Sydney Harbor in Sydney, Australia.
Nikki Short EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 2:56 pm

  • Sounds of the New Year's celebration in Auckland, New Zealand

It's 2014 in Australia, New Zealand and other places on the "other side" of the international date line.

So we want to wish everyone a happy new year.

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Monkey See
7:23 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Remote Control: It Was Hard To Turn Off The TV In 2013

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 9:00 am

Here's why picking a Top 10 list of best TV shows has become such treacherous work for critics this year: Quite simply, 2013 was the year quality exploded in the television industry.

Thanks to the simultaneous maturing of Netflix, AMC, FX, HBO, Showtime, Amazon, BBC America, Sundance Channel, iTunes and many more media platforms, fans of great television had more options than ever to find high-quality product whenever and wherever they liked.

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Bonus Round: Ask Me Another
7:03 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Day 7: Shake It Up With An 'Ask Me Another' Cocktail

Cheers!
Steve McFarland NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:35 am

This is the seventh day of Ask Me Another's 12 Days of Xmas series.

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Music News
6:52 am
Tue December 31, 2013

In Memoriam: 2013

In Memoriam 2013: remembering some of the greats who died this year.
NPR

Each December, NPR Music draws up a tribute to some of the great musicians, composers, producers and other visionaries who died during the course of the year. Inevitably, the list is incomplete, but it provides a sense of how much talent and vision has been lost in the past 12 months.

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Monkey See
6:35 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Is The DVD Box Set Dead? Yes ... And No.

Are we witnessing the twilight of DVD and Blu-ray?

Kinda-sorta. With the emergence of various digital distributions systems — streaming and downloading through your laptop, your cable system, your game console — it's easy to see how these discs will be the next physical media formats to fade away. DVD and Blu-ray could well go the way of CDs and vinyl, becoming a niche boutique market for collectors.

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The Two-Way
6:18 am
Tue December 31, 2013

'Twerk' And 'Selfie' Top Latest List Of Words That Need To Go

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:47 am

This year's whimsical "List of Words to be Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness" from the wags at Michigan's Lake Superior State University is led by:

-- Selfie. The ubiquitous word for images snapped of one's self "has the honor of receiving the most nominations this year," the university says.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:43 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:28 am

When I first saw this," says cell biologist Alejandro Sanchez Alvarado, "it was with total amazement."

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The Two-Way
5:34 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Singing, Stomping, Stranded Explorers Prep Antarctic Helipad

Framed by ice: the MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck in Antarctic ice since Christmas Eve.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:31 am

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Around the Nation
5:25 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Giant Peach, Cheese Wedge To Ring In New Year

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne, with more ways to count down to 2014 tonight. In Georgia, an 800 pound peach is Atlanta's version of the Times Square crystal ball. Among the other huge items being dropped tonight: A giant ruby slipper in Key West, in Plymouth, Wisconsin, an 80 pound cheese wedge decorated for the occasion, and in Bartlesville, Oklahoma an oversized olive descends 19 stories into a martini glass. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
5:20 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Would-Be Robber Rejects Victim's Flip Phone

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm David Greene.

If you don't have a smartphone, no reason to envy those who do. Your old flip phone might be far smarter than you think. According to the New York Post, a man was being mugged in Central Park. The thief asked for his phone, then saw it was old, flip model. As the victim recalls, quote, "He looked at it like, what the bleep is this? And he gave it back to me."

Book Reviews
5:08 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Opening The Literary Liquor Cabinet In 'Echo Spring'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 10:09 am

Remember Brick's frequent trips to "Echo Spring" in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? Echo Spring, Olivia Laing reminds us in her illuminating new book, is a nickname for the liquor cabinet, drawn from the brand of bourbon it contains. Symbolically, she adds, it refers to something quite different: "perhaps to the attainment of silence, or to the obliteration of troubled thoughts that comes, temporarily at least, with a sufficiency of booze."

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The Two-Way
4:32 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Michael Schumacher Showing 'Surprising' Improvement

Race car driver Michael Schumacher in November 2012.
Mark Thompson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:25 am

Racing car legend Michael Schumacher is not out of danger, but is showing "surprising" improvement as doctors in France continue to treat him for the severe head injury he suffered Sunday while skiing, The Associated Press reports from Grenoble.

That improvement has allowed surgeons to operate for a second time, doctors said Tuesday.

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Business
4:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Local Brewery Has Starbucks Frothing Over Stout's Name

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

The giant coffee chain sent a cease-and-desist letter to the owner of Exit 6 Pub and Brewery in Missouri. Starbucks told the pub to stop referring to one of its dark, frothy beers as "the frappicino." Starbucks noted it sounds a lot like its trademarked frozen coffee drink.

Around the Nation
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Connecticut Plagued By Soaring Foreclosure Rate

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

OK. We're seeing more signs of recovery in the housing market. Last month, foreclosure filings dropped to their lowest levels since the housing crisis hit in 2007. And overall home prices are up nationwide. But recovery is not the narrative everywhere. In some states like Connecticut, foreclosures in 2013 have been up significantly over the year before.

Reporter Kaomi Goetz of member station WSHU has the story.

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Business
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Commercial Drone Testing Sites Chosen By FAA

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And if you start hearing a buzzing noise in your community in the next few months, here's a possible reason why. You live in one of the six states chosen yesterday for testing unmanned drone aircrafts. Among the states selected by the Federal Aviation Administration is New York.

Ryan Delaney of member station WRVO in upstate New York reports that the potential for job creation and investment was behind that state's decision to submit a bid.

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Business
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Electricity Use Drops In U.S. For 3rd Year In A Row

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

NPR's business news starts with backing off the power.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GREENE: Though our lives are more gadget filled than ever, home electricity use fell in the United States for the third year in a row. It's now at its lowest level since 2001.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

American Dialect Society To Vote On Word Of The Year

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's that time again, the American Dialect Society will soon vote on its Word of the Year. Last year it was hashtag. For this year's words that popped, we reached the society's new words guy, linguist Ben Zimmer.

Good morning.

BEN ZIMMER: Good morning.

MONTAGNE: So this year it seems that everyone is coalescing around one word. That word is selfie. It's so ubiquitous that I wonder if that is one of your top words.

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NPR Story
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

10,000 Year Clock Challenges Approach To Time

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:56 am

In this final interview in our series of conversations about the future, Morning Edition co-host Steve Inskeep talks to Danny Hillis, a scientist and engineer and the inventor of a clock designed to last 10,000 years. The clock is meant to encourage people to think about the long-range future; the "long now" as Hillis calls it.

NPR Story
3:04 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Syria To Miss Deadline To Remove Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 5:44 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

RENEE MONTAGNE: And I'm Renee Montagne. This New Year's Eve is also a deadline in one of the year's biggest stories. Syria is due to turn over more than 500 tons of some its most deadly materials in its stockpile of chemical weapons. That was part of the deal brokered with the Assad regime by the U.S. and Russia, after a chemical attack outside Damascus killed many hundreds of civilians. But the Syrian government will not meet today's deadline.

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Middle East
1:31 am
Tue December 31, 2013

What Israel's Release Of Palestinian Prisoners Means For Peace

Freed Palestinian prisoner Omar Masoud served 20 years of a minimum 90-year sentence for killing Ian Feinberg, an Israeli, in 1993. Israel freed Masoud in October as part of a political deal to restart peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Emily Harris NPR

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 8:17 am

On Tuesday, Israel released another two-dozen Palestinian prisoners convicted of violent crimes against Israelis.

It's the third of four groups to be released before their sentences are up, part of a confidence-building deal that helped restart peace negotiations in July.

Palestinian Omar Masoud was a prisoner freed in one of the previous releases. He says that when he agreed to kill an Israeli working in the Gaza Strip, he expected consequences.

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Around the Nation
1:30 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Despite The Headlines, Chicago's Crime Rate Fell In 2013

Pictures of Chicago residents who have died by gunfire are posted on the city's South Side.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 6:01 am

In 2013, Chicago newspapers and television stations kept a daily deadly count, listing those slain each day, most by gun violence. One of the most noted occurred early in the year when Hadiya Pendleton, 15, was shot and killed about a week after performing at inauguration events in Washington, D.C., with her high school band.

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Shots - Health News
1:27 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Nothing Focuses The Mind Like The Ultimate Deadline: Death

Could a countdown to death help you lead a more ecstatic life?
Daniel Horowitz for NPR

Originally published on Tue March 18, 2014 1:38 pm

Ticktock. Ticktock. Ticktock.

The seconds left in 2013 are slipping away. And you know what else is slipping away? The seconds left in your life.

Luckily for you, there's a new product called Tikker, a wristwatch that counts down your life, so you can watch on a large, dot-matrix display as the seconds you have left on Earth disappear down a black hole.

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Space
1:26 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Bon Voyage, Voyager: Old Friends Take Stock

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue December 31, 2013 7:37 am

For the scientists who have emotionally traveled with NASA's Voyager mission for decades, 2013 will be remembered as the year they knew Voyager 1 had finally become the first explorer from Earth to enter the mysterious realm of interstellar space.

Voyager 1 and its twin, Voyager 2, both blasted off in 1977, more than 35 years ago. Voyager 1 flew by Jupiter, then Saturn — and then on toward the unknown region that lies between stars.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Brain-Dead Girl Can Stay On Life Support, Judge Orders

Family spokesman Omari Sealey makes a statement to the media regarding the condition of his niece Jahi McMath on Monday, in Oakland, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

A judge has extended life support for a 13-year-old girl who was declared brain dead after complications from a tonsillectomy operation earlier this month.

The order, issued by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, grants the family's eleventh-hour appeal to keep Jahi McMath on a ventilator at least until Jan. 7. Another judge had ruled that Children's Hospital of Oakland, where McMath has been a patient since the Dec. 9 surgery, could shut off the breathing machine after 5 p.m. ET on Monday.

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