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Animals
12:50 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

In The World's 'Sixth Extinction,' Are Humans The Asteroid?

Elizabeth Kolbert says the "taxicab yellow" Panamanian golden frog was nearly wiped out by a fungal disease. It's just one of the species affected by what scientists call the Sixth Extinction.
Jacquelyn Martin AP

Originally published on Thu February 13, 2014 9:25 am

The dinosaurs were killed during the Fifth Extinction — which scientists suspect was caused by an asteroid. Now, we are living through an epoch that many scientists describe as the Sixth Extinction, and this time, human activity is the culprit. As one scientist put it: We're the asteroid.

Elizabeth Kolbert is the author of the new book The Sixth Extinction. It begins with a history of the "big five" extinctions of the past, and goes on to explain how human behavior is creating a sixth one — including our use of fossil fuels and the effects of climate change.

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Shots - Health News
12:16 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Judge Dismisses Assisted Suicide Case Against Pennsylvania Nurse

Barbara Mancini with her father, Joseph Yourshaw.
Barbara Mancini via Compassion & Choices

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 2:39 pm

A Pennsylvania county judge has thrown out an assisted suicide case against a 58-year-old nurse named Barbara Mancini, who was accused of homicide last year for allegedly handing her 93-year-old father a bottle of morphine.

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The Two-Way
12:12 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Scientists Say Their Giant Laser Has Produced Nuclear Fusion

The National Ignition Facility's 192 laser beams focus onto a tiny target.
LLNL

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 8:00 pm

Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.

Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.

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The Two-Way
11:46 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Justice Thomas: Americans More Race Conscious Now Than In '60s

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Michael Dwyer AP

This Yahoo News report is causing some conversation today:

"Americans today are too sensitive about race, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told a gathering of college students in Florida on Tuesday."

Yahoo's Chris Moody reports that at Palm Beach Atlantic University, a nondenominational Christian school in West Palm Beach, Fla., Thomas said:

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:16 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Parents With Noisy Babies Shouldn't Read This. They'll Be Too Jealous

Stacey Dunn University of Idaho

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 11:42 am

If only ... if only, instead of that noisy, bawling, crying little person, you could have produced an antelope baby — and oh, the quiet! The blissful, total silence. When pronghorn antelopes have babies, nobody hears anything for weeks and weeks — which is the whole point.

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All Songs Considered
11:04 am
Wed February 12, 2014

The Moth & The Flame, 'Winsome'

Watch 'Winsome' by The Moth
Courtesy of the band

Originally published on Tue July 8, 2014 10:15 am

If you try to watch this video for its plot, good luck. There's a mermaid, a sandstorm, a dude, a chase, sea creatures, close-up lips ... I tried, but gave up and simply gave in to the flow of the song and the images.

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Sports
11:01 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Winter Olympics: Empty Seats Signify Low Interest?

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 12:43 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

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World
11:01 am
Wed February 12, 2014

U.S. Mayor Recalls Putting Together The First Jamaican Bobsled Team

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 12:43 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

We're going to stay in the spirit of the Winter Olympics. You might be keeping an eye on the Jamaican bobsled team. Their first appearance at the winter games back in 1988 was immortalized in the popular Disney movie "Cool Runnings." Here's a clip.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "COOL RUNNINGS")

DOUG E. DOUG: (As Sanka Coffie) ...I am Sanka Coffie, I am the best pushcart driver in all of Jamaica. I must drive. Do you dig where I'm coming from?

JOHN CANDY: (As Irv) Yeah, I did where you're coming from.

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Economy
11:01 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Fixing Poverty Is More Complicated Than Handing Out Cash

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 12:43 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. It's been 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson declared a war on poverty so all this year we've been looking at poverty here in the U.S. We've been talking about strategies to end poverty, what's worked, what hasn't and what's on the table because according to the U.S. Census, the rate of poverty seems to be stuck at 15 percent. That's about 46 million people.

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Parallels
10:28 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Global Military Spending Set To Rise In 2014

A visitor to a military exhibition in New Delhi, India, on Feb. 6. Global military spending is expected to increase this year for the first time in five years. The biggest increases are expected in China and Russia.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters/Landov

After years of decreases, military spending is expected to rise globally in 2014 for the first time in five years.

And the rising defense budgets of China and Russia are a key reason why.

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