Election 2012
3:41 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

In Battleground Iowa, Even Office Space Up For Grabs

President Obama arrives to speak at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on Wednesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

In Iowa, President Obama's re-election campaign is already in gear, with staff and volunteers on the ground.

The Obama campaign hopes its head start over the campaign of Republican Mitt Romney — who until recently had been focused on fending off GOP opponents — will make the difference in November in this swing state.

The Obama campaign headquarters in Des Moines is a former Blockbuster Video store, where this week a couple of dozen 20-somethings tapped away at laptops, painted signs by hand and worked the phones.

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Digital Life
3:30 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

What We Have Here: A Failure To Communicate

Commuters immersed in their smartphones ride the subway in Beijing.
Nelson Ching Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 5:45 am

It is the weirdest thing. There are more ways than ever to communicate with people, yet it sometimes seems like it is more difficult to connect — and stay connected — with anyone.

Should you shoot off an email? Tap out a text? Post a private message on Facebook? Write on their Facebook wall? Skype, poke, ping or conjure them up on a digital tin can phone?

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You Must Read This
3:14 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Something Wicked: A Haunting Must Read

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Matthew Rudenberg

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of Unholy Night.

I know it's strange to be thinking about October right now, but whenever I write, in a way that's always where I am. Growing up in Connecticut, it always held a special place in my heart — "a rare month for boys," as Ray Bradbury begins Something Wicked This Way Comes.

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Environment
3:08 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Countries Losing Steam On Climate Change Initiatives

Germany plans to take all of its nuclear power plants offline by 2022, which means coal-fired power plants like the Kraftwerk Westfalen, in Hamm, Germany, will be a key component of the country's energy infrastructure.
Lars Baron Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

Energy ministers from around the world met in London this week and got a scolding. The International Energy Agency warned the ministers that they are falling way behind in their efforts to wean the world from dirty sources of energy. Nations are nowhere near being on track to avert significant climate change in the coming decades.

It turns out that right now, just about everything is conspiring to make it harder to clean up the world's energy supply.

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Statewide Races
3:08 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

N.C. Gay Marriage Amendment Has Unlikely Foes

Jennifer Cockrham, a nurse from Walkertown, N.C., holds her hand over her heart for the Pledge of Allegiance during a rally supporting a constitutional ban on gay marriage Friday in Raleigh.
Allen Breed AP

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

North Carolina is the only Southern state without a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. But that could change next month.

On May 8, voters will decide whether to change the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage, as well as civil unions and domestic partnerships. Leading Republican lawmakers think it's one of the most important issues facing voters.

But some conservatives worry that the measure goes too far.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
3:08 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

American Whiz Rises Up In The World Of Ping-Pong

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 6:21 pm

The United States has never won an Olympic medal in table tennis. China has long dominated the sport, winning almost every medal since 1992. That's not likely to change at this year's Summer Olympics in London, but a group of young American women may be on their way to competing at the sport's highest levels.

Ariel Hsing, 16, already has the attributes of a fine table tennis player — quick hands, perfect balance and strong lungs. While she plays, she'll often shout "Sa!" — a meaningless word — to help relieve stress, something she's been dealing with a lot lately.

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Movie Reviews
3:03 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

A 'Five-Year Engagement' Leaves A Bitter Taste

Tom (Jason Segel) and Violet (Emily Blunt) celebrate their impending nuptials with their families before Violet drops a bomb: She's been accepted at a program at the University of Michigan, and wants to move there and postpone their wedding day.
Universal Pictures

Originally published on Fri April 27, 2012 7:38 am

There are many dramas and comedies in which career trajectories take couples to different corners of the country, complicating or ending romantic relationships. There will be many more, at least until someone invents a teleportation machine. What's different about each work is how the problem gets interpreted.

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Africa
2:45 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Victims Find Justice After Liberian Leader Is Charged

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

When Charles Taylor was first indicted, his trial was set to take place at the special court of Sierra Leone in Freetown, but the young government there expressed concern that the trial could destabilize the nation's fragile peace, so it was moved to The Hague. Today, though, the special court in Sierra Leone hosted a live broadcast of the verdict. NPR's Susannah George was there. She sent this report.

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The Salt
2:15 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

Stone Age Mediterranean Farmer ISO Hungry Nordic Hunter-Gatherer?

A family near Karsta, Sweden, in the 1930s. Did their ancient forebears hail from the Mediterranean?
Swedish Heritage Board

Farming transformed Europe when it arrived from the Near East about 6,000 years ago. But was it the agricultural know-how that traveled, or the farmers themselves?

By comparing DNA from Stone Age farmers and hunter-gatherers, Swedish researchers say it's clear that the farmers traveled north through Europe, bringing their agrarian skills with them.

How else would a farmer with Mediterranean DNA end up in Sweden?

I'm imagining suave dark-eyed farmers seeking out Nordic maidens tired of all that berry picking and hide scraping.

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Africa
2:06 pm
Thu April 26, 2012

At Last, Egypt Settles On Presidential Candidates

Amr Moussa, the front-runner in the Egyptian presidential race, speaks during a press conference in Cairo on Apr. 22. The country's election commission said Thursday that Moussa and 12 other candidates are eligible to compete in next month's election.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

After months of anticipation, and just a few weeks before the voting, Egypt now has a list of 13 officially approved presidential candidates.

Amr Moussa, the former secretary-general of the Arab League, is one of the 13, and he is ahead in most opinion surveys in advance of the May 23-24 election.

And in a reversal, Egyptian election officials agreed Thursday to let one of Hosni Mubarak's former prime ministers run for president.

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