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The Edge
10:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

In Bobsled, 'You Learn As You Go'

Elana Meyers, during a training session in Sochi last week, is a driver on the U.S. team. She started out as a brakeman.
Tobias Hase EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:51 am

If there's one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed, it's bobsled.

The bobsled brakeman does about five seconds of hard work, jumps in the sled and can then relax a bit. During the women's bobsled competition tonight in Sochi, we should keep our eyes open, because it's fun to watch.

The women call themselves brakemen — not brake women or brake person — in a nod to the fact that bobsled was an all-male sport until 2002.

Even now, the women only race two-man — not four-man — bobsled.

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The Two-Way
8:59 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Before Northeast Thaws, Thundersnow Will Roll Through

It will melt eventually: People walk past a pile of dirty snow in New York City's Times Square.
Andrew Burton Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:54 am

Hang on, you winter-weary folks.

"Temperatures are expected to warm to above average levels for late February from the Central Plains to the East Coast," the National Weather Service says.

But first, "we have to get through one more winter storm," The Weather Channel writes.

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NPR Story
8:08 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Candy Crush Saga's Developer Plans To Go Public

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:09 pm

King Digital Entertainment filed for an initial public offering aimed at bringing in a half-billion dollars. The company revealed it has 128 million active daily users, with 93 million playing Candy Crush Saga, the Apple App Store's No. 2 highest-grossing game. King also makes Pet Rescue Saga and Farm Heroes Saga.

The Two-Way
7:56 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Jimmy Fallon, 'Your Host ... For Now,' Takes Over 'Tonight'

Jimmy Fallon during his debut Monday as host of NBC's The Tonight Show.
Theo Wargo Getty Images for 'The Tonight Show'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 10:42 am

The new guy's getting pretty good reviews.

Jimmy Fallon took over NBC's The Tonight Show on Monday night, saying he just wants "to do the best I can ... make you laugh and put a smile on your face."

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The Two-Way
7:32 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Book News: J.K. Rowling's Second Crime Novel Coming Out In June

The daily lowdown on books, publishing, and the occasional author behaving badly.

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The Two-Way
7:05 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Pussy Riot's Nadya And Masha Detained In Sochi, Then Released

Maria Alyokhina (left) and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot on stage at Amnesty International's "Bringing Human Rights Home" concert earlier this month in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Jason Szenes EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:38 pm

The two most prominent members of the Russian punk protest band Pussy Riot say they were taken into custody Tuesday by police in Sochi, site of the Winter Olympics. Later in the day, there were reports that the women and other activists who were with them had been released.

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Around the Nation
6:13 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Woman Arrested For Not Returning Movie Rental

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene. Kayla Finley is finally paying for her crime. Back in 2005, the South Carolina woman rented a movie. It was "Monster-In-Law," starring Jane Fonda and JLo on VHS. She never returned it. The movie store is now closed but there was still a warrant out for her arrest and police nabbed her last week. She spent a night in jail. Given the reviews of the movie, she should've been given time served for the 101 minutes she spent watching that film. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Around the Nation
6:00 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Association Warns Of A Possible Clown Shortage

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Renee Montagne.

Sad clown face, we're headed for a clown shortage. As the head of a clown organization told the New York Daily News: Clowns just aren't cool anymore. Rubber noses and rainbow wigs just can't compete for young talent with tech startups and Wall Street. That's a pie in the face for the World Clown Association and its aging clown population. Its membership numbers have dropped like a pair of oversized polka dot trousers.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Arts & Life
5:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Classical Music Piece Enhances Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The children's author Roald Dahl died almost 25 years ago, and yet, today you can find more musical adaptations of his work than ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

"Matilda" is a hit on Broadway. A musical version of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is running in London's West End.

GREENE: Over the weekend, the London Philharmonic Orchestra debuted the newest adaptation of Dahl's work, a classical piece for children based on a collection of poems called "Dirty Beasts."

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Sports
5:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.S. Women's Bobsled Team Features 2 Summer Olympians

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There is one sport in the Winter Olympics you can do with your eyes closed. To be precise, you have to do a few seconds of work, after which you can close your eyes and hope for a gold. I am referring to the brakeman in bobsled. That's the athlete who pushes the sled. Tonight, the woman's two-person bobsled starts in Sochi.

NPR's Robert Smith introduces us to the team.

ROBERT SMITH, BYLINE: Let's get this out of the way. The women call themselves brakemen. Not brake women or brake person.

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Asia
5:03 am
Tue February 18, 2014

U.N. Panel Accuses North Korea Of Crimes Against Humanity

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:03 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning. For years we've been hearing horror stories from North Korea about mass starvation, torture, slavery, political killings. It's a long list that is hard for many of us to imagine. Well, now a new report from the United Nations Human Rights Commission presents almost 400 pages of eyewitness testimony from victims and also at least one perpetrator.

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Around the Nation
3:33 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings

A map of Detroit is spread on a table; on laptops, workers see the same map, overlaid with a grid of the city and blue dots representing surveyors in the field.
Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:39 am

Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life — broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.

"This is fresh water that's coming into the basement here," McPhee points out. "All of that plumbing has been ripped away 'cause someone found a value in it, so they don't care that it's running. This is all over the city."

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Around the Nation
3:30 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Mayor Wants To Drive Horse-Drawn Carriages Out Of NYC

Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association, gets his rig ready in New York City. Some say horse-drawn carriages are inhumane; if the mayor has his way, the practice will end.
Amy Pearl WNYC

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 12:33 pm

During New York City's mayoral race last year, then-candidate Bill de Blasio promised to fix big-picture problems, like income inequality and universal pre-K.

So he raised some collective eyebrows when he announced what one of his first initiatives as mayor would be:

"We are going to quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City," he said. "They're not humane; they're not appropriate to the year 2014; it's over."

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Education
3:29 am
Tue February 18, 2014

College Applicants Sweat The SATs. Perhaps They Shouldn't

Standardized tests are an important consideration for admissions at many colleges and universities. But one new study shows that high school performance, not standardized test scores, is a better predictor of how students do in college.
Amriphoto iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 5:26 pm

With spring fast approaching, many American high school seniors are now waiting anxiously to hear whether they got into the college or university of their choice. For many students, their scores on the SAT or the ACT will play a big role in where they get in.

That's because those standardized tests remain a central part in determining which students get accepted at many schools. But a first-of-its-kind study obtained by NPR raises questions about whether those tests are becoming obsolete.

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Sports
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Longtime Pair Take Home First American Ice Dancing Gold

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White won the gold medal Monday night in ice dancing. They earned a silver medal in the last Winter Games in Vancouver, and they entered competition favored to win in Sochi.

Sports
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Bronze In Bobsled For A Team Of Steves

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

At the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Team USA has been struggling to win gold. There were some hope today. Two pairs of American athletes went into their events as the best in the world. And we're going to hear now how they did, starting with two-men bobsled. America driver Steve Holcomb and his brakeman Steve Langton sounded like this on the bobsled course.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)

CORNISH: The Steves were going 82.7 miles per hour. The Russian sled, piloted by Alexander Zubkov, sounded like this...

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOUTING)

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Business
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Demographic Shifts Contribute To The Changing Face Of Retail

Retailers, including Wal-Mart, are trying to adapt their models to suit urban areas, including this mixed-use retail and residential development in Washington, D.C.
Meredith Rizzo NPR

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

So far this year, retail chains have announced some heavy cuts. J.C. Penney said it would close 33 stores. Macy's said it would lay off 2,500 workers. Sears will close its flagship Chicago store in April.

That's creating a glut of excess space. But that's just one of several forces changing the face of retail.

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All Tech Considered
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Hurting For Cash, Online Porn Tries New Tricks

Porn has a distinct problem that less racy media companies don't have: Users are afraid of leaving a digital record. Paid sites are trying to lure viewers out of the shadows and into credit card payments.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

I hit the streets of San Francisco to ask strangers their favorite search terms for online pornography. It was not hard to get answers, even on the record.

"Teacher porn, student-teacher fantasy," Jason Ravel says at a coffee shop. "That's who I was around most often in grade school. I was a really good student."

Chanelle Dorton, who's passing by a train station, is into ebony lesbian sex. "I don't like straight porn," she says.

Cab driver Neel Bell likes "heterosexual porn that doesn't involve porn stars. It lets you think that it's a real-life situation more."

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Parallels
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Olympics Set To Transform Rio — But For Better Or Worse?

Local authorities celebrate a demolition explosion that's part of Rio's Porto Maravilha urbanization project, in Rio de Janeiro, on Nov. 24, 2013. The state- and federal-supported project is part of the city's redevelopment ahead of the 2016 Summer Olympic Games.
Pilar Olivares Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 8:36 pm

Rio de Janeiro is set to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games and there are two starkly different visions of what that will mean for the "marvelous city," as it is known.

"I would love to be born in Rio in 2020. The babies that are born here in 2020 will be born in a marvelous city ... because of the games," says Leonardo Gryner, the chief operating officer of Rio's Olympic Organizing Committee.

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Parallels
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

A Heinrich Himmler Documentary, In His Own Words

Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler and his daughter Gudrun. Vanessa Lapa, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, has made a documentary called The Decent One, based on Himmler's letters to his wife and other personal documents.
Realworks

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

The film's protagonist is Heinrich Himmler, the merciless Nazi leader and a key architect of the Final Solution. The film's director is Vanessa Lapa, the grandchild of Holocaust survivors. Her family recently came into possession of long-lost private letters, diaries and photographs belonging to Himmler.

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Around the Nation
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Digging Graves The Old-Fashioned Way: 'This Ain't No Easy Job'

Everard Hall estimates he's dug about 2,500 graves over nearly 50 years. Some have been special: "I buried my mother, my father, my grandfather, and two aunts and two uncles. And I buried my sister Marilyn."
Jennifer Mitchell Maine Public Broadcasting Network

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 8:54 am

It's windy. It's winter. There's a funeral in three days, and the churchyard in rural Addison, Maine, is frozen solid. Everard Hall is hard at work, digging graves.

"No, this ain't no easy job, tell ya. You've got to have a lot of determination, a lot of willpower. And you can't be lazy," he says.

In his nearly 70 years, no one has ever accused him of that.

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All Tech Considered
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

DIY Houses In The Internet Age: Some Assembly Required

Good things come in small packages. Lacy Williams, an architecture student, and her boyfriend, Patrick Beseda, built a WikiHouse to live in during a field project in Utah.
Patrick Beseda and Lacy Williams

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 9:19 am

If you can barely swing a hammer, you can still build your own home.

Builders at the Maker Faire in New York City proved this point last fall, with something akin to an old-fashioned barn-raising.

The event celebrates the do-it-yourself aesthetic, particularly when it comes to digital fabrication and open-source construction plans. Using wooden mallets cut from plywood, a crew of eight banged together the slotted frame of a WikiHouse without a single nail.

The result: a livable home.

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Music Reviews
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Album Review: 'Always With Us,' By Ladysmith Black Mambazo

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:05 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, BYLINE: The South African all-male group Ladysmith Black Mambazo became world-famous after collaborating with Paul Simon on the Grammy-winning 1986 album "Graceland." Since their beginning in the '60s, the group has recorded more than 50 albums and won multiple awards. Their new release is a remembrance for one of their own, the late wife of the group's bandleader. It's called "Always With Us." Banning Eyre has this review.

(SOUNDBITE OF SINGING)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Singing in foreign language)

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National Security
4:43 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

The Art And Practice Of Protecting American Technology

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 7:59 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

To talk about the ongoing high tech Whack-A-Mole game between the U.S. and China, we're joined by James Lewis. He's with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

And, James Lewis, we've heard about parts for missile guidance systems, but what other kinds of technologies are vulnerable to China's commercial cyber espionage?

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