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Law
3:12 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage May Hinge On Supreme Court

In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage in the state illegal. Now, legal challenges to that initiative mean it could soon get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Max Whittaker Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:27 pm

With New York's legalization of same-sex marriage effectively doubling the number of Americans living in states where gays can marry, gay advocates like to say 2011 was a big year.

It's hard to imagine another doubling this year, but proponents are still hoping to build on last year's success. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states plus Washington, D.C., and it may come up for a vote in six more. All the while, legal challenges are pushing the issue closer to getting an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:05 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Common Chemicals Could Make Kids' Vaccines Less Effective

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:07 pm

The more exposure children have to chemicals called perfluorinated compounds, the less likely they are to have a good immune response to vaccinations, a study just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

The finding suggests, but doesn't prove, that these chemicals can affect the immune system enough to make some children more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

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All Tech Considered
2:58 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Who Are You? Google+ Really Wants To Know

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. But your true identity is key to Google+.
AP

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 3:01 pm

Google will begin allowing users to add nicknames on Google+, Bradley Horowitz, the vice president of product at Google's social network said Tuesday.

True pseudonyms are still verboten on the network unless you go through an application process. To earn the right not to use your real name on Google+ you will have to prove you already have an online following that knows you that way.

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The Two-Way
2:47 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Massive Solar Storm Causes Planes To Be Rerouted

This January 23, 2012 image provided by NASA, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 6:13 pm

You might have heard about a major solar storm that is hitting Earth right now. It's the biggest to hit us since 2005. You've also probably heard a few people say, "I didn't feel anything."

As our friends at 13.7 explained earlier today, the storms have the ability to disrupt sensitive electronics and even the power grid. Usually none of those things happen. But, today's solar storm did cause a bit of disruption.

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Around the Nation
2:44 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Down And Out Escape To 'Slab' In California Desert

Slab City is an informal community in the California desert on the site of a former WWII artillery range. The recent recession has sent the town a new wave of people who have fallen on hard times and are looking to escape the burdens of modern life.
Gloria Hillard For NPR

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 7:30 pm

There are no signs leading to Slab City. From Los Angeles you head east deep into the desert, and then south, past the Salton Sea. For years, a diverse group of people has been drawn to the abandoned Marine base, but the troubled economy has driven even more travelers to the place dubbed "The Last Free Place in America."

Following the tire tracks of countless RVs, trailers, vans and campers, you pass a landscape of the vehicles that have taken root here, their tires now soft on the desert floor.

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Presidential Race
2:00 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Romney Releases His Tax Returns

Mitt Romney released his tax returns for 2010 and 2011, after earlier suggesting he would wait until after winning the GOP nomination. While Romney's total tax bill was in the millions, his tax rate was actually lower than that of many middle-class Americans.

World
2:00 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

A Look At Egypt, One Year After Its Revolution

Robert Siegel talks with Sherif Mansour about the events that have unfolded in the year since the Egyptian revolution began. Mansour is an Egyptian democracy activist, who is also a senior program officer for Freedom House's Middle East and North Africa programs.

Asia
1:43 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

For China's 'Left-Behind Kids,' A Free Lunch

Students enjoy free meals on the inaugural day of the Free Lunch for Children program at Hujiaying primary school in Shaanxi province's Nanzheng county.
Louisa Lim NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:06 am

For 10-year-old student Xie Xiaoyuan, just getting to school is an ordeal. On a recent day, her frostbitten ears are testament to just how difficult the trip is.

"I get up at five o'clock," she says, "then I comb my hair and start walking."

Xie navigates a mountain path in China's remote Shaanxi province in the dark, trudging through snowstorms and mudslides. Then she has to get a bus for about 10 miles. She hasn't time to eat breakfast.

"For lunch, I spend 15 cents on two pieces of bread and a drink," she says.

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NPR Story
1:43 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Letters: Love And Autism, Second Medical Opinions

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. During last week's show on love and autism, many listeners called and emailed, including Eric from Red Bluff, California. We read his email on the air. I will be a 40-year-old virgin in September. I dated once, when I was 32. Other than that, I've had no love interest where the love was reciprocated. I did not expect to ever find love. I do not believe I could be loved. That is all.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:37 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

This could be your forest on psilocybin.
Baxterclaus Flickr

Magic mushrooms are said to blow your mind, but the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin, the active ingredient, actually reins in key parts of the brain, according to two new studies.

The memorably vivid emotional experiences reported by mushroom users may flourish because the parts of the brain suppressed by psilocybin usually keep our world view tidy and rational.

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World Cafe
1:21 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Markéta Irglová On World Cafe

Marketa Irglova.
Courtesy of the artist

Czech musician Markéta Irglová has spent much of her life becoming a darling of the folk and indie-rock scenes. At 13, she began collaborating with Glen Hansard and his band The Frames.

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Religion
1:07 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

10 Years On, Clergy Abuse Scandal Still Reverberates

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 1:07 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Ten years ago this month, The Boston Globe published the first in a series of stories about the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests and systematic cover-up by the archdiocese of Boston.

The scandal shocked millions and proved to be just the beginning. It wasn't just Boston, and it wasn't just the U.S. Hundreds have now spoken out around the world. Their stories and their lawsuits forced the church to deal with an issue it kept under the rug for decades.

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The Salt
12:51 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:41 pm

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

Wesley Brown, Nation's Oldest Sitting Federal Judge, Dies At 104

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 12:50 pm

Wesley Brown was appointed to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. When he passed the bar in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was president.

As the Kansas City Star puts it, during his time as federal district judge in Kansas, Brown saw a shift in civil rights, and women's rights. He presided over cases about women in the workplace and tackled privacy issues on the Internet.

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Around the Nation
12:00 pm
Tue January 24, 2012

The Dangerous Lives Of Runaway Squatters

Eight young homeless people died in a fire at this abandoned warehouse in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans, on Dec. 28, 2010. The blaze was sparked by wood burning in a barrel, which the squatters were using to stay warm during the freezing night.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Wed January 25, 2012 11:25 am

In December 2010, eight young people died in a fire in a New Orleans warehouse. Local accounts describe them as homeless squatters. One of the victims was Katie Simianer, a 21-year-old who had told her mother she was backpacking across the country.

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