And let's consider the technology behind movie-making. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not made its Oscar nominations yet, but it has already announced some awards in the technical category.
DAVID GREENE, BYLINE: And one of the Oscars goes to Cooke Optics Limited. The Academy says the British company gets an award of merit because it helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century. Its innovations over the years have included zoom lenses for movie cameras and lenses that don't require bright light.
The bill that prevented the nation from plunging over the fiscal cliff did more than just stop income tax increases and delay across-the-board spending cuts. It also included several provisions that tweaked Medicare and brought bigger changes to other health care programs.
Among the more than 80 House freshmen who were sworn in this week, there were several who had been there before — including Florida Democrat Alan Grayson.
After starting his first term four years ago, Grayson quickly made a name for himself with biting comments targeting Republicans — like when he said during the health care debate: "If you get sick, America, the Republican health care plan is this: Die quickly."
His national stature didn't prevent him from being defeated in 2010. But now Grayson is back.
Every year at around this time, tens of thousands of people take part in a kind of bird-watching marathon. From Canada to Latin America and throughout the United States, participants will get up in the middle of the night. Some brave frigid winter temperatures, and many do whatever else it takes to count as many birds as they can in 24 hours.
A Kansas man's decision to donate sperm to help a lesbian couple conceive a child in 2009 has landed him in a complicated legal case, as a state agency is now pursuing him for child support payments. William Marotta, 46, is asking a judge to dismiss the case, which has grabbed national attention.
No matter how old people are, they seem to believe that who they are today is essentially who they'll be tomorrow.
That's according to fresh research that suggests that people generally fail to appreciate how much their personality and values will change in the years ahead — even though they recognize that they have changed in the past.
Daniel Gilbert, a psychology researcher at Harvard University who did this study with two colleagues, says that he's no exception to this rule.
Voting for this year's Oscar nominations was supposed to have closed today — but it's been bumped a day, in the wake of complaints about the new online voting system put in place by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Hollywood Reporter analyst Scott Feinberg tells NPR's Audie Cornish that the system was supposed to make life easier for academy members.
"Going to e-voting would allow voters to vote from anywhere in the world, if they're on vacation or whatever during the holidays, and just make the process itself more streamlined and efficient."
The wind energy industry is dependent on something even more unpredictable than wind: Congress. Hidden in the turmoil over the "fiscal cliff" compromise was a tax credit for wind energy.
Uncertainty over the credit had lingered long before the last-minute political push, causing the industry to put off further long-term planning. So while the now-approved tax credit revives prospects for an industry facing tens of thousands of layoffs, don't expect to see many new turbines coming up soon.