3:24pm

Thu December 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:51 pm

This picture received from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows an orbit image of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, being monitored on a large screen at a satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.
AFP/Getty Images

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

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3:20pm

Thu December 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Error Of The Year: CNN And Fox News Share The Dishonor

Poynter.org

We didn't make the list, and boy are we glad.

CNN and Fox News share the shame of the Poynter Institute's "error of the year" for mistakenly telling their audiences that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare.

In truth, the court had done the opposite.

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3:00pm

Thu December 13, 2012
The Two-Way

Ambassador Rice Asks Not To Be Considered For Secretary Of State

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:23 pm

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.
Allison Joyce Reuters /Landov

Moving to withdraw her name from among those being considered to be the next secretary of state, embattled U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice has told President Obama she does not want to be nominated.

The White House just released a statement from the president that says, in part:

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2:56pm

Thu December 13, 2012
All Tech Considered

Good Tidings Of Great Joy: Google Maps App Released For iPhone

A screenshot of Google Maps on an iPhone.
NPR

Google's native maps app for the iPhone finally was released Wednesday, and there was much rejoicing. Just in time for Christmas, the three wise men are able to find the manger without spilling their frankincense or myrrh.

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2:50pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Shots - Health News

Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Maybe you can find that creative spark out in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Jeff Turner Wikimedia Commons

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

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2:32pm

Thu December 13, 2012
The Salt

Many Cups Of Tea: The Business Of Sipping In Western Sahara

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:16 pm

A high-end tea set in a Saharawi home in Western Sahara.
Eliza Barclay NPR

If you want to get anything done in Western Sahara, be prepared to drink tea — very, very sweet tea.

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2:28pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Food

A Sweet Bread, A Wash Basin And A Shot Of Whiskey

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:45 pm

Cookbook author Marilynn Brass says eating Virginia Lima's traditional Portuguese Sweet Bread is like biting into a cloud.
Andy Ryan

For the holidays, why not give a gift that tastes like a cloud? Portuguese Sweet Bread may be as close as you can get, according to Marilynn Brass, one-half of the cookbook duo the Brass Sisters.

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2:02pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Books

'World On A String': John Pizzarelli Jazzes It Up

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:13 pm

In a new memoir, jazz guitarist and son of jazz legend Bucky Pizzarelli tells stories from growing up in a musical household and making a name for himself as a musician.
Goldberg McDuffie Communications

Brothers John and Martin Pizzarelli were born into a family of musicians. Their father is the famed jazz guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli, who, during the 1960s, performed in the Tonight Show Band and who worked as a session player for rock acts such as Dion and the Belmonts. Musical greats, too, were in and out of the Pizzarelli house in Paterson, New Jersey, as John and Martin were growing up. It makes perfect sense then that, eventually, Martin picked up the upright bass professionally and John found his calling with jazz guitar, singing and songwriting.

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2:01pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Planet Money

Why Legos Are So Expensive — And So Popular

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:26 am

Lego minifigures are displayed on October 18, 2012 in the newly-opened store of the Danish construction toys group at the "So Ouest" shopping center in Levallois-Perret, west of Paris.
Thomas Samson Getty Images

I went to Toys R Us recently to buy my son a Lego set for Hanukkah. Did you know a small box of Legos costs $60? Sixty bucks for 102 plastic blocks!

In fact, I learned, Lego sets can sell for thousands of dollars. And despite these prices, Lego has about 70 percent of the construction-toy market. Why? Why doesn't some competitor sell plastic blocks for less? Lego's patents expired a while ago. How hard could it be to make a cheap knockoff?

Luke, a 9-year-old Lego expert, set me straight.

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2:01pm

Thu December 13, 2012
Shots - Health News

We're Living Longer, But Not All That Healthier

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:52 pm

Average life expectancy around the world has ticked up over the past twenty years. Here it's shown for men in 2009. The extremes are in dark green and dark red, which represent 78 to 82 years old and less than 66 years old, respectively.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

People around the world are living longer than they did two decades ago, but many people aren't very healthy during those extra years.

That's a key finding from a large-scale study estimating what makes people sick worldwide.

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