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Remembrances
2:36 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of The AK-47, Dead At 94

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

The inventor of the iconic AK-47 automatic rifle, Mikhail Kalashnikov, has died. Kalashnikov's simple, durable and easily maintained gun became the world's most popular rifle, with more than 100 million in circulation. Kalashnikov was modest about his invention, saying he created it solely for the defense of the motherland. Some analysts say his domination of Soviet and Russia weapons design actually kept the country from entering the modern age of small arms.

Digital Life
2:32 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

How To Protect Yourself And Your Data After Target Hacker Breach

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

It was reported that some 40 million people may have been victims of a hacking spree at Target recently. What should people who may have been in that group do now to protect themselves and their accounts? Robert Siegel speaks with Mark Rasch, a security expert and former Department of Justice cyber crime prosecutor, for more advice for those who may have been affected.

Economy
2:31 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

The President And A Majority of Americans Want A Minimum Wage Hike

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 11:16 am

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here's a number for you: 725. That's the minimum hourly wage in the United States, as set by the federal government. It hasn't budged in four-and-a-half years. President Obama is pushing to increase it. Some state and local governments are doing that on their own. As 2013 draws to a close, we're hearing about the year in numbers

Today, NPR's Scott Horsley on 725.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: 725 is a number that Mary Coleman knows all too well.

MARY COLEMAN: I work at Popeye's here in Milwaukee. I make $7.25 an hour.

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Economy
2:29 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

1.3 Million Americans Prepare For Life After Unemployment Checks

Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 8:52 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

American economic numbers have been stronger lately. Consumer spending rose in November, according to the Commerce Department today. Last week, there were strong growth numbers and unemployment in November sank to a five-year low, seven percent. For many Americans that is not reassuring. We'll hear in this segment about those who are still not working and those making minimum wage.

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Africa
2:29 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Fighting, Fears Escalate In South Sudan

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

The United Nations' chief is calling for additional peacekeepers for South Sudan where fighting between forces loyal to the president and those loyal to his former deputy is spiraling.

Health Care
2:22 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Insurers Dismayed Over Obamacare Rule Changes

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

At the last minute, the Obama administration gave consumers more time to sign up for health insurance starting Jan. 1. People will now have until the end of Christmas Eve, giving them an additional day. The administration hopes a late surge of enrollments will boost numbers, which have lagged far behind expectations. The insurance industry is hoping the same thing. But it is also expressing dismay over recent changes to the law that allow some people to opt out of the individual mandate or purchase plans otherwise prohibited under the law.

Health Care
2:20 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

White House Gives Another Day For Health Exchange Sign Ups

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:56 pm

People who are uninsured now have one more day to sign up for health coverage that start on the first of 2014. On Monday, the White House extended the deadline to sign up for plans under the Affordable Care Act from midnight on Dec. 23 to Christmas Eve at midnight, describing the move as a way to accommodate people in different time zones.

Digital Life
2:18 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A YouTube Powerhouse Looks Beyond Its Gamer Base

One of Machinima's signature offerings is a series called Christopher Walkenthrough, in which creator Jason Stephens, in character as actor Christopher Walken, navigates his way through popular video games. You kind of have to see it to understand.
Machinima.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:53 pm

One of the most popular channels on YouTube is aimed toward people who play video games. It's got tons of content — thousands of game reviews, how-to videos of people gaming away enthusiastically, even little homemade movies that people have made using video-game software.

That last format is a user-generated phenomenon called machinima — "little m" machinima. "Big M" Machinima is a company, and it wants to be a new media empire. It's the entity behind that YouTube channel.

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Shots - Health News
2:16 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Alabama Blue Cross Shares Obamacare Tax Woes With Customers

Kajdi Szabolcs iStockphoto

Insurance companies aren't crazy about their share of the health law's taxes, but mostly they've complained to politicians and regulators.

At least one health plan wants to bring consumers into the loop.

"Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes" is a separate line on bills Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is sending to individual customers.

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Found Recipes
2:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Don't Knock The Nog Until You've Tried This One

Courtesy of Tara Striano

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:51 pm

We ran an unofficial office poll at NPR last week, via email: "Where do you weigh in on eggnog? Love it? Hate it?"

Those who hate it really hate it. They used words like "detest," "loathe" and "ick." They also used font sizes well above 14 point and broke out the red type to emphasize their distaste.

But the haters were in the minority. By about 2 to 1, NPR is an eggnog drinkin' kind of place, but — and this was emphasized by many — only if it's eggnog done right. That means: not too sweet, not too thick and just the perfect amount of booze.

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Code Switch
12:44 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

The Extraordinary Story Of Why A 'Cakewalk' Wasn't Always Easy

Cakewalk dances were an integral part of minstrel shows for decades.
Minstrel Poster Collection (Library of Congress)

Anything that can be done with straightforward ease is said to be a "cakewalk." Any action that is "not a cakewalk" is, of course, difficult and complicated.

No surprise, right? But stay with me a little longer.

The cakewalk was a pre-Civil War dance originally performed by slaves on plantation grounds. The uniquely American dance was first known as the "prize walk"; the prize was an elaborately decorated cake. Hence, "prize walk" is the original source for the phrases "takes the cake" and "cakewalk."

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The Two-Way
12:36 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

WATCH: A 'Mistletoe Drone' Descends On San Francisco

A couple kisses under a drone mistletoe.
YouTube

Most would agree: We don't usually think of drones as charming.

But two artists — George Zisiadis and Mustafa Khan — have produced a piece of performance art that mixes the unmanned aerial vehicle with a long-loved holiday tradition.

The artists propped a mistletoe on a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and flew it over San Francisco's Union Square.

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The Two-Way
12:10 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

White House Grants Extra Day For Obamacare Sign-Up

This image shows part of the HealthCare.gov website in Washington on Friday noting a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 1:03 pm

A midnight deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act that starts Jan. 1 has been extended by a day in what the White House describes as an effort to accommodate people in different time zones.

The deadline that had been midnight on Dec. 23 has been pushed to Christmas Eve at midnight.

The Washington Post reports:

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Movie Reviews
12:07 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Great New DVD Box Sets: Blasts From The Past And 'Breaking Bad'

A new MDV Entertainment boxed set called Here's Edie: The Edie Adams Television Collection features the widow of Ernie Kovacs, in shows from her 1962-64 ABC variety series, which was televised just after her husband's death.
AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:01 pm

Here's a short list of some of the most exciting recent TV offerings on DVD. These are sets you can still order and receive in time for the holidays — and regardless, they're perfect to dive into over the vacation period, enjoying an episode or two a night.

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Television
12:06 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

'Getting On' With It: A New HBO Show Doesn't Tiptoe Around Death

Alex Borstein (left) and Niecy Nash star as nurses in the HBO comedy series Getting On, which was modeled after the hit BBC series of the same name.
Lacey Terrell HBO

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:01 pm

When they set out to create the HBO series Getting On, Mark V. Olsen and Will Scheffer wanted to create a different kind of workplace comedy — one that celebrated the workplace and the employees in it.

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Commentary
12:04 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards

Decades ago, the SAT test was seen as a measure of raw ability, not as something students ought to cram for. Now, test prep is a huge industry. Linguist Geoff Nunberg wonders what exactly students learn when they're flipping through vocabulary flashcards.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 2:01 pm

When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.

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The Two-Way
12:02 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

VIDEO: Carlos Santana Reunites With Homeless Ex-bandmate

Carlos Santana, left, and Marcus Malone when they reunited in Oakland. Malone was part of Santana's band in the late '60s, then spent the past four decades or so living on the streets or in prison.
YouTube

Our good-news story of the day comes from the Bay Area, where a KRON-TV report earlier this month has led to a homeless man's reunion with a famous former friend — guitarist Carlos Santana.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:57 am
Mon December 23, 2013

What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly

Robert Krulwich NPR

First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys. Every day.

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All Tech Considered
11:43 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Quantified Men: Tinder, Lulu And The Fallacy Of Hot Dating Apps

With the Tinder dating app, you swipe right if you want to meet someone, and swipe left if you don't.
Courtesy of Tinder

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 8:18 pm

Let's stipulate, for the purposes of this post, that you are looking for love. Thanks to our ever-connected devices, you can skip the bars or gyms or extracurricular activities to find a hookup. And even if you do meet someone the old-fashioned, analog way, romance and social media are so entwined that you can't escape getting ranked somewhere on an app.

This is the modern reality made possible by the two hot dating apps of 2013: Tinder and Lulu.

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Parallels
11:40 am
Mon December 23, 2013

How Tiny Qatar 'Punches Above Its Weight'

Soldiers on camels take part in a military parade on Qatar's National Day in the capital Doha last Wednesday. The city's rapidly growing skyline is in the background. Despite its small size, Qatar has used its wealth to play an outsized role in regional affairs.
Chen Shaojin/Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 24, 2013 7:31 am

Qatar is a tiny place that insists on being heard.

The Arab nation just off the coast of Saudi Arabia has made itself a major diplomatic player, a generous donor of foreign aid, and a leader in modernizing education in the region. The ultra-modern capital Doha is full of skyscrapers, museums and history, much of it dating as far back as ... the 1990s.

Qatar is also a commercial capital that aims to become a cultural, sports and tourist center for the Gulf region despite having just 260,000 citizens.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Customers Sue Target Over Credit Card Breach

A couple of shoppers leave a Target store on a rainy afternoon in Alhambra, California.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

At least 11 customers have filed lawsuits against Target over a security breach that exposed the credit card information of 40 million customers.

The BBC reports:

"The lawsuits, each seeking class-action status, have been filed in US courts in the past several days.

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All Tech Considered
10:49 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Tech Team Podcast Episode 5: Inequality In The Bay Area

This San Francisco man doesn't have a home, but he does have a laptop.
Laura Sydell NPR

It's time for our biweekly podcast, in which your NPR tech reporting team mashes together the themed reporting we do on a certain subject and produce one delightful, downloadable podcast.

This episode's theme is the changing economy and culture of the San Francisco Bay Area, thanks in large part to the latest tech boom there. We've explored it from several angles — housing, transportation and individual lives, and the stories are aggregated here, if you want to read them.

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The Two-Way
10:13 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Reports: Mikhail Kalashnikov, Inventor Of AK-47, Dies

Mikhail Kalashnikov, with his AK-47, in 2002.
Jens Meyer ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mikhail Kalashnikov, whose name will forever be connected to one of the world's most popular and deadly weapons, has died, according to news reports from Russia.

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Technology
9:58 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Free Wifi Promised To Open Opportunities in Harlem

More than 80,000 Harlem residents are being promised free public wireless internet. But similar projects in other cities have run out of fuel. Guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with the New York City Housing Authority's Dupe Ajayi about the plan.

Health
9:58 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Coping With Loss Amid Holiday Cheer

The holidays can be difficult if you've lost a loved one through suicide. Guest host Celeste Headlee gets tips for coping. She hears from Eric Marcus of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, whose father and sister-in-law took their own lives and psychiatrist Christine Moutier.

Education
9:58 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Racing To The Top, But Leaving Students Of Color Behind In Special Ed

Children of color are reportedly over represented in special education classes in Minnesota and other states. For more on whether anything can be done about it, guest host Celeste Headlee speaks with Dan Losen of the The Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Best Music Of 2013
9:38 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Top 10 Top 40 Of 2013

Bard Ylvisaker (L) and Vegard Ylvisaker of Ylvis perform "The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)" in September.
Ethan Miller Getty Images

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

Two Takeaways From An Offensive Tweet Heard 'Round The World

Public relations professional Justine Sacco is now an unemployed public relations professional after tweeting Friday that she was:

"Going to Africa. Hope I don't get AIDS. Just kidding. I'm white!"

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The Two-Way
9:05 am
Mon December 23, 2013

UPDATED: Gay Marriages Will Continue In Utah, Federal Judge Rules

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:19 pm

Update at 1:22 p.m. ET. Gay Marriages Will Continue:

A federal judge on Monday refused to set aside a ruling that invalidated Utah's ban on gay marriage.

That means same-sex couples will be able to continue to receive marriage licenses across the state, even though the ruling will be appealed before a higher court.

Utah had asked U.S. District Court judge Robert Shelby for an emergency stay of the ruling he issued on Friday. The state argued that gay marriages should be put on hold, while the state appealed.

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The Two-Way
7:42 am
Mon December 23, 2013

Peyton Or Tom? Which QB Do You Want When Game's On The Line?

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, left, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in 2012.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 11:07 am

There's nothing like a "who's the best quarterback" debate to get NFL fans going.

So, on this day after Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos broke the single-season record for touchdown passes, we're wondering what Two-Way football fans think about one of the ongoing topics of conversation in recent years:

Who's the quarterback you'd like to see in charge when your team's behind in a playoff game with time running out?

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