3:09pm

Mon December 17, 2012
NPR Story

Why Writers Can't Retire, Despite Their Best Intentions

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 5:19 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The literary world was abuzz this year with the runaway success of "Fifty Shades of Grey" and J.K. Rowling's books for grown-up muggles. But it was Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Philip Roth's retirement that got the attention of commentator Ben Dolnick.

BEN DOLNICK: This fall, in an interview with a French magazine, Philip Roth announced his retirement. I no longer have the stamina to endure the frustration, he explained. Instead, he's been entertaining friends, playing with his iPhone, and eating meals prepared by a personal chef.

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3:09pm

Mon December 17, 2012
All Tech Considered

Don't Like The Government? Make Your Own, On International Waters

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 8:19 pm

Andras Gyorfi's winning entry in The Seasteading Institute's 2009 design contest. The institute supports the idea of permanent, autonomous offshore communities, but it does not intend to construct its own seasteads.
Courtesy of The Seasteading Institute

Almost all of us have complaints about the government, which probably range from high taxes to too much bureaucracy. Periodically, we get to take our frustrations out at the voting booth. But no matter how unhappy you may be, you probably never thought, "I'm going get out of here and go start my own country."

A group of rich techies in Northern California is planning on starting its own nation on artificial islands in the ocean. They call themselves "seasteaders" and are sort of a mix between geeks and hippies.

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3:08pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Shots - Health News

Lead Poisoning Cases Offer New Reminder About Hazards Of Ancient Remedies

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 2:37 pm

The Ayurvedic remedies above were included in a 2004 study by researchers at Harvard Medical School that found dangerous levels of heavy metals in 14 out of 70 products.
CHITOSE SUZUKI ASSOCIATED PRESS

These days, just about everyone seems to be looking for more natural alternatives to what they eat and drink. So it's easy to see the appeal of traditional medicine. But as two recent cases from New York City highlight, just because a remedy is ancient or holistic doesn't necessarily mean it's safe.

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2:46pm

Mon December 17, 2012
The Salt

Not Just For Coffee Anymore: The Rise Of Caffeinated Foods

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 6:45 am

The contents of a box of some of the new foods containing caffeine collected by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Karen Castillo Farfán NPR

That buzz from your morning cup of joe waning? How about a quick boost from caffeinated mints, gum, Perky Jerky or, from the makers of Cracker Jack, coffee-flavored Cracker Jack'd snacks?

It's not just coffee and tea and soda anymore. "There's a proliferation of foods; all kinds of things are now being caffeinated," says Michael Jacobson of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

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2:39pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Politics

What Gun Control Could Look Like

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 5:55 am

In a pair of recent decisions, the Supreme Court has made it clear that Americans have a constitutional right to own handguns for self-defense. But the court will nonetheless allow "reasonable regulations" on firearms.

The country appears set, following the mass shootings at a school in Newtown, Conn., to have a debate about what restrictions should be put in place.

Members of Congress have already signaled their intent to introduce gun-control legislation next year, which President Obama has indicated in recent days will be a priority.

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1:33pm

Mon December 17, 2012
The Salt

Wine And Food May Rekindle Love Lost Between Russia And Georgia

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:10 am

Eating lamb dumplings called khinkali at a table in Tbilisi, Georgia.
ostromentsky Flickr.com

It's a big day in the religious and culinary calendar of the Republic of Georgia. Georgian Orthodox believers observe Dec. 17 as St. Barbara's Day, in honor of an early Christian martyr. And they typically mark the occasion by eating a type of stuffed bread called lobiani, baked with a filling of boiled beans with coriander and onions.

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1:04pm

Mon December 17, 2012
Shots - Health News

Scientists Look For New Drugs In Skin Of Russian Frog

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 11:01 am

Before the advent of refrigeration, Russians had a neat trick for keeping their milk from spoiling. They'd drop a live frog in the milk bucket.

The Russians weren't sure how this amphibian dairy treatment worked, but they were convinced it did.

Since then, researchers have discovered that the goo some frogs secrete through their skin has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

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12:45pm

Mon December 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Time To Talk About Assault Weapon Ban, Says 'Gun Rights' Sen. Manchin

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.
Mike Theiler UPI /Landov

It's time to talk about both banning assault weapons and how the nation treats those with mental illness, one of the Senate's most notable "gun rights" Democrats said today.

Friday's mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., "has changed where we go from here," West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin said on MSNBC's Morning Joe show.

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12:33pm

Mon December 17, 2012
It's All Politics

What Shut The Back Door To Congressional Compromise

Originally published on Mon December 17, 2012 12:50 pm

President Kennedy speaks with Senate GOP leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois in March 1961. Dirksen's support was critical to passing civil rights legislation through Congress.
Harvey Georges AP

Remember the important contributions Republicans made to civil rights legislation back in the 1960s?

They've almost been lost to memory. When Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the GOP presidential nominee that year, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater, opposed it, and Republicans have never recovered their former share of support among African-Americans.

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11:47am

Mon December 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Girls, Boys And Toys: Rethinking Stereotypes In What Kids Play With

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 4:50 am

Hasbro's pink Easy-Bake Oven is under fire for reinforcing gender stereotypes.
Peggy Turbett The Plain Dealer/Landov

We've been focusing on some serious news today. Here's something on the lighter side.

A New Jersey teenager who launched a campaign to get Hasbro to make a gender-neutral Easy-Bake Oven is expected to meet with the toy company Monday afternoon.

Update at 5:40 p.m. ET. Easy-Bake Oven goes gender-neutral:

After meeting with Pope, Hasbro now says it plans to introduce a new black, silver, and blue model of the oven, and to feature boys in ads for the product. Our original post continues:

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