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The Salt
11:40 am
Wed October 17, 2012

A New Look For The Salt

Love white space? Hate the busy right rail? Want bigger art and easier access to The Salt from your mobile phone and tablet? We hear you. And as you can see, we've responded.

Welcome to the new, more streamlined look, designed for The Salt and all of NPR's blogs as we move to a responsive web design for a world that's looking to get news and information on the go, in all forms.

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Election 2012
11:06 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Speechwriters Size Up Round 2

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Was it debate night or fight night? We'll spend some time talking about that today. Later we'll ask our panel of women commentators, our Beauty Shop Roundtable, for their reactions, and we'll ask them about the latest Chanel No. 5 ad featuring - wait for it - Brad Pitt. That's later.

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Shots - Health News
10:56 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Insurance Exchanges Can Aid Some Medicare Beneficiaries

Increasingly, companies are contracting with Medicare exchanges to try to ease the transition for their former employees.
Michael McCloskey iStockphoto.com

When D. Sloan Hill retired 20 years ago at age 65 from his job in public affairs for a major manufacturing company, his former employer provided a health insurance plan that filled in the gaps in his Medicare coverage. It was a good arrangement--until the end of last year when the company discontinued his private coverage, and Hill had to figure out what to do.

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Krulwich Wonders...
10:36 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Tough Old Lizard To Face Grave Romantic Troubles, Say Scientists

Courtesy of Piotr Naskrecki

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:44 am

Oh, dear.

First off, this lizard? It's not really a lizard. It's an almost vanished species, a reptile like no other.

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The Two-Way
10:33 am
Wed October 17, 2012

June Trial For George Zimmerman, Accused In Trayvon Martin Death

George Zimmerman, who is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, at a court hearing last June in Seminole County, Fla.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/pool Getty Images

"George Zimmerman's murder trial in the death of Trayvon Martin was set for June 10 during a hearing in court this morning," the Orlando Sentinel reports. Attorneys expect the trial will take about three weeks, the newspaper adds.

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The Two-Way
9:52 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Construction Of New Homes Surges To Four-Year High

Construction worker Jim Castellano walks out of a Toll Brothers Inc. home he is working on in Boca Raton, Florida.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

The rate at which builders began work on new homes surged to a four-year high, the Commerce Department said today.

The AP reports that September clocked the fastest pace since July of 2008. The AP adds:

"The Commerce Department says builders broke ground at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000 in September. That's an increase of 15% from August.

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It's All Politics
9:32 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Debate Watchers Get A Town Brawl

Debate watchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, check out President Obama's performance Tuesday night.
Liz Halloran NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:27 pm

There will be blood.

Or at least a lot of aggressive walking and glaring, vigorous head-shaking and interruptions, all glazed with equal parts feigned respect and visceral distaste.

This season's presidential debates between incumbent Democratic President Barack Obama and his challenger, Republican Mitt Romney, including Tuesday's engagement, have evolved into base-rousing spectacles of their dislike for each other.

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The Two-Way
8:37 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Presidential Debate Spins 'Binders Full Of Women' Meme, Fact Checks

This photo of Playboy's Hugh Hefner was published on a Tumblr blog devoted to poking fun at the "women full of binders" meme.
Tumblr

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 3:34 pm

Answering a question about pay equity for women during last night's presidential debate, Gov. Mitt Romney said something that has become the talk of the Web.

He said that when he became governor, few women applied for cabinet jobs.

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The Two-Way
7:35 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Lance Armstrong Stepping Down As Livestrong Chairman

Lance Armstrong competes in the Rev3 Half Full Triathalon Sunday in Ellicott City, Md. Armstrong joined other cancer survivors in the event, which raised funds for the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults.
Steve Ruark AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 3:43 pm

Cyclist Lance Armstrong is stepping down from his role as chairman of the cancer-awareness charity Livestrong, the organization said in a press release today. (Update at 8:34 a.m. Separately, Nike dropped its sponsorship of Armstrong.)

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All Tech Considered
7:31 am
Wed October 17, 2012

The Brain Of The Beast: Google Reveals The Computers Behind The Cloud

Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, houses servers in over 115,000 square feet of space.
Connie Zhou Google

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 9:09 am

Behind the ephemeral "cloud" of cloud computing, the network we use for everything from checking our email to streamlining our health care system, there lies a very tangible and very big computer infrastructure.

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The Two-Way
6:59 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Rare Earthquake Rattles New England

A map from the USGS. The yellow represents the areas that felt the earthquake the most.
USGS

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:37 am

A rare 4.0 magnitude earthquake rattled New England, last night. While some of our readers on the West Coast would barely even blink with such a shake, it caused confusion and consternation for many around the epicenter about 30 miles outside of Portland, Maine.

The Bangor Daily News reports that the largest earthquake to strike the region measured 5.1 and it happened in 1904.

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It's All Politics
6:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

A Stronger Showing At Hofstra, But Ghost Of Denver Still Haunts Obama

President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney participate in the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Charles Dharapak AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:42 am

President Obama beat at least one of his adversaries on the stage at Hofstra University last night. He easily outperformed that guy — whoever he was — who debated against former Gov. Mitt Romney two weeks ago in Denver.

That much was obvious — and necessary for the president. The question now is whether it will be sufficient to restore his momentum in the race itself.

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World
6:32 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Mongolia To Sell Last Lenin Statue

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

In 1990, a bloodless revolution brought down the Communist government of Mongolia,and their memorials to communist heroes were destroyed or sold for scrap. But one remaining statue of Lenin is being sold at auction.

Around the Nation
6:25 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Birth Control Pills For Squirrels?

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Latin America
3:47 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Cuba To Lift Travel Restrictions But Not For All

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

After controlling the comings and goings of its citizens for 50 years, Cuba is relaxing its grip. The government announced it would eliminate the exit visa requirements. That announcement has been welcomed by many there, but as Nick Miroff reports from Havana, not all Cubans will be treated equally when the new immigration rules take effect in January.

NICK MIROFF, BYLINE: Cuban broadcasters read the announcement word-for-word on state television, just in case there were some who wouldn't have believed it otherwise.

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Business
3:47 am
Wed October 17, 2012

'Wired' Magazine Story

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 6:13 am

Google has nearly 20 data centers packed with computer servers that are huge consumers of energy. Google allowed technology writer Steven Levy of Wired magazine to see its facility in Lenoir, N.C. Levy talks to Steve Inskeep about what he saw while he was there.

NPR Story
3:39 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Farmers Cautious Of Drought-Resistant Seeds

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Here in the United States, the corn harvest is nearly complete. It was earlier and much smaller than in recent years, which means stockpiles are lower and prices will likely be higher. Now, while this summer's drought is largely to blame, the dry weather did offer perfect conditions to test drought-resistant corn. As Iowa Public Radio's Amy Mayer reports, seed companies and farmers are now crunching the yield numbers to see what these new varieties could mean in coming years.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Target Begins Running Holiday TV Ads Early

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And today's last word in business is: Are you ready?

(SOUNDBITE OF TARGET COMMERCIAL)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The holidays are coming, and they're going to be big.

MONTAGNE: Target has aired its first holiday ad of the season.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let me just get my face out of my palm here. That's right. Forget planning your Halloween costume or picking out a turkey. Target is making its mark early - six weeks before Thanksgiving, in fact. It had a lot of people double-checking their calendar.

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NPR Story
3:39 am
Wed October 17, 2012

How Will Sequestration Effect The Federal Budget

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:41 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And now let's go to our latest installment in the series Fiscal Cliff Notes.

(SOUNDBITES OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: On January 1st, 2013 there's going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: ...painful cuts to the Defense Department, food safety, education...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: ...the Bush tax cuts, the payroll tax cuts...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Taxmageddon.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: It's a cliff.

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Shots - Health News
2:51 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Poor Sleep May Lead To Too Much Stored Fat And Disease

Many Americans aren't getting the recommended seven to nine hours per night.
Franck Camhi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 10:57 am

Is that 6 a.m. workout getting in the way of good sleep? Don't think your fat cells won't notice.

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that inadequate shut-eye has a harmful response on fat cells, reducing their ability to respond to insulin by about 30 percent. Over the long-term, this decreased response could set the stage for Type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease and weight gain.

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Shots - Health News
2:49 am
Wed October 17, 2012

States Iron Out The Kinks In Long-Term Care Insurance

Not many elderly people get long-term care insurance. It's expensive and many hope their kids will look after them instead.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Long-term care insurance provides money for care when you're too old or sick to wash yourself and cook, though few American use it. Many who do have found that some insurance companies are slow to pay up or deny payments completely.

Oregon is one of several states that's adopting new regulations to improve the industry.

It used to be that the only way to appeal a long-term care decision in Oregon was in court, an arduous process for a person who may be elderly, sick or in a nursing home.

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Sweetness And Light
2:48 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Kickers Are Taking The Kick Out Of Football

Place kicker Matt Prater of the Denver Broncos kicks a second quarter field goal on a hold by Britton Colquitt against the Houston Texans at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High in Denver on Sept. 23.
Justin Edmonds Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 7:31 am

Of all the strained sports cliches, my favorite was "educated toe." Remember? An accomplished field goal kicker possessed an educated toe. I had a newspaper friend who wrote that a punter had an "intellectual instep," but the copy desk wouldn't allow it. Spoilsports.

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Health Care
2:47 am
Wed October 17, 2012

Home Health Aides Often As Old As Their Clients

Onether Lowery, 80, (standing) is a home health aide for Rosalie Lewis, 86. As a whole, the aides are largely female and far older than women in the general workforce.
Jennifer Ludden NPR

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 11:03 am

In a red brick rambler in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., Onether Lowery begins her daily shift as a caregiver. She skillfully helps 86-year-old Rosalie Lewis into her electric wheelchair, holding her from the back, then bending over to ease her down.

It's an impressive feat: Lowery herself is 80 years old.

"My mother, she was 89 when she passed away," Lowery says. "I took care of her and I just fell in love with older people. I get along with them very well."

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It's All Politics
11:56 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Media Circus: Candidates Brawl, Pundits Reverse Course Yet Again

CNN's Candy Crowley moderates the second presidential debate between Mitt Romney and President Obama at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., on Tuesday.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Pundits fretted that the town hall format for Tuesday's presidential exchange would yield tepid results: undecided voters posing questions over 90 minutes with little more than a passing touch from the moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley.

Boy, was that a misplaced fear. "So much for the analysis this would not be confrontational," Fox News anchor Bret Baier said in the moments after the debate.

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It's All Politics
11:47 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

How Obama Got His Groove Back, And Other Debate Takeaways

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Obama spar over energy policy during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University on Tuesday.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 12:25 am

Anyone who thought the presidential candidates couldn't get aggressive within a town hall-style format underestimated the sharp differences in policy that divide them.

President Obama and Mitt Romney remained continuously critical against one another throughout their second debate Tuesday night. Neither ever seemed to finish a statement without launching an attack against his opponent.

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The Two-Way
6:19 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Federal Investigators Search Pharmacy Linked To Meningitis Outbreak

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:42 pm

"The top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts on Tuesday said federal agents raided the New England Compounding Center, the pharmacy linked to a meningitis outbreak that has killed 15 people and sickened more than 200 others," Reuters writes.

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National Security
6:07 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Court Overturns Conviction Of Bin Laden Driver

A federal appeals court on Tuesday threw out the conviction of Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a former driver for Osama bin Laden, who served a prison term for material support for terrorism.
AP

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:26 pm

A federal appeals court on Tuesday overturned the conviction of Osama bin Laden's former driver and bodyguard, Salim Ahmed Hamdan. If the name sounds familiar, it should. Hamdan was at the center of a Supreme Court case that ruled that the Bush administration's military commission system at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was unconstitutional.

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It's All Politics
6:03 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

In Battleground Nevada, Voters We Met In February Offer Few October Surprises

Jared Fisher, who runs an outdoor recreation and bicycle company, voted for Barack Obama in 2008. He says he has yet to decide who he'll vote for this year.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:54 pm

With eyes on the presidential debate in New York, we decided to turn ours to the swing state of Nevada, where President Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney are battling mightily over the state's small but crucial trove of six electoral votes.

Polls show the race at a near dead heat in the Silver State, which was hit harder than any other by the recession, and still records among the highest unemployment and home foreclosure rates in the nation.

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The Two-Way
4:44 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Court Reverses Conviction Of Bin Laden's Driver

Salim Ahmed Hamdan, with his attorney, in a courtroom sketch from 2007.
Janet Hamlin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:01 pm

Today's decision by a federal appeals court to overturn the conviction of a former driver for Osama bin Laden is unlikely to affect the high-profile cases against the accused architect of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks or other suspected terrorists who face multiple charges, NPR's Dina Temple-Raston said earlier on All Things Considered.

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Books News & Features
4:44 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Hilary Mantel First Woman To Win Booker Prize Twice

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 6:06 pm

Writer Hilary Mantel has won her second Man Booker prize. She was recognized for her book, Bring Up The Bodies. Mantel is the first British writer and woman to win the award more than once.

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