1:22pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Branding Health Care Exchanges To Make The Sale

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:39 pm

Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, discusses California's health care plans in Sacramento in July.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

As states work to comply with the federal health care law, many are designing their insurance exchanges, where people will be able to shop for coverage.

But just the word "exchange" sounds to many like off-putting government-speak, and some states are eager to come up with a more appealing name for these new marketplaces.

Peter Lee directs California's Health Benefit Exchange. It's up for a new name, and Lee says they want it to sound fresh, dynamic and innovative.

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1:21pm

Tue September 25, 2012
All Tech Considered

National Security Experts Go Rogue For 'Drone Smackdown'

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:39 pm

Alice Beauheim, her father and Bill Love fly their homemade machines at the Drone Smackdown in Manassas, Va., on Sunday. Objections by the Federal Aviation Administration forced organizers to hold the tongue-in-cheek contest outside of Washington, D.C.
John Procter

It started as trash talk between two contributors to a national security blog. They decided to host a drone smackdown to see if one guy's machine could take down another.

Unarmed drones, of course. The kind you can put together with a toy-store model and $200 in modifications. But the game turned out to have some serious undertones.

First, a word about the location. For a moment last week, the whole drone smackdown was up in the air.

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12:39pm

Tue September 25, 2012
Arts & Culture

Today's Local Music: Los Boleros

What’s that you’re hearing? It’s the sound Los Boleros. They’re known as Northern California’s favorite wedding band -- but you don’t have to get married to hear them this week. They’ll be on the South Stage of the Pacific Coast Fog Festival in Pacifica on Sunday, September 30.

12:16pm

Tue September 25, 2012
The Salt

Meadmaker Bottles A Taste Of Maine With Roots In South Africa

Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 5:16 am

A bee gathers pollen from goldenrod, a wildflower that's popular with meadmakers, in Scarborough, Me.
Melissa Beuoy NPR

A few years ago, your best chance of tasting mead might have been at a Renaissance Fair. We're going to wager the enduring memory is of overpowering sweetness and little desire for a second glass.

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11:52am

Tue September 25, 2012
Middle East

As Numbers Swell, Syrian Refugees Face New Woes

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 4:39 pm

A Syrian refugee walks with her children at Zaatari refugee camp in Mafraq, Jordan, near the Syrian border, Sept. 8. Around 30,000 Syrians live at the camp, with the numbers growing each day.
Mohammad Hannon AP

Syria's refugees keep growing dramatically in number, and no country in the region has taken in more of them than Jordan — a poor, desert nation that is now hosting some 200,000 Syrians.

The conditions for the refugees are perhaps harsher in Jordan than in any other country, with many people sheltered in tents on a hot, dusty plain just inside Jordan's northern border with Syria.

At the Zaatari camp, everything is covered with a layer of sand and dirt; rows and rows of tents, once white, are now a golden color.

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11:43am

Tue September 25, 2012
TURNSTYLE NEWS

Turnstyle Opinion: Time to socialize social media

Flickr/cbcastro

No one knows when the next Facebook redesign is going to come, but chances are you’re going to hate it. And if you’re on Twitter, you probably have opinions about the recent decision to excise third-party apps as well. There is always a sense of injustice when these autocratic changes are announced. The libertarians in the crowd will say “well if you don’t like the service, stop using the product” (conveniently ignoring, of course, that in these companies’ business models the user is the product).

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11:22am

Tue September 25, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Korean Eunuchs Lived Long And Prospered

A mural in an ancient tomb in China shows a troupe of eunuchs. How long did they live?
Wikimedia Commons

Tell people you're doing a story about the life spans of Korean eunuchs, the typical reaction is a giggle or a cringe.

But if you can overcome your visceral response to the topic, a study scientists in Korea did is quite interesting, both for what they found, and the way they found it.

Several scientists have shown that there is a link between longevity and reproduction: the greater the fertility, the shorter the life span. This has been fairly well established in nonhuman animal species, but proving it's the case for humans has been tricky.

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11:09am

Tue September 25, 2012
The Two-Way

Sorry Ma'am: BBC Apologizes To Queen Over Terrorism Disclosure

The British cleric Abu-Hamza al Masri, seen here in February 2003, is set to be extradited to the United States to face terrorism charges linked to the taking of 16 hostages in Yemen in 1998 and setting up a terrorist training camp in rural Oregon.
Odd Andersen AFP/Getty Images

In Britain, frustration over why fiery radical Muslim preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri remained a free man for so many years went all the way to the top of society to the queen, the BBC revealed — a revelation the network has subsequently apologized for.

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10:59am

Tue September 25, 2012
Television

Mindy Kaling Loves Rom-Coms And Being The Boss

Originally published on Tue September 25, 2012 12:02 pm

Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling) must juggle a variety of responsibilities as an obstetrician-gynecologist in the new comedy The Mindy Project.
Jordin Althaus Fox

Mindy Kaling says she loves romantic comedies, even though she wrote last year in The New Yorker that saying so "is essentially an admission of mild stupidity."

Her new Fox TV show, The Mindy Project — which she created, stars in, writes and runs as co-executive producer — is essentially a serialized romantic comedy, where each week, viewers can check in with the character to see how her life is going, Kaling says.

Except she hopes her show is "actually funny," she tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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10:48am

Tue September 25, 2012
Economy

Two Plans For Fixing The Economy, But Few Details

Job seekers fill out applications Aug. 21 at a construction job fair in New York. Polls show voters want the presidential candidates to provide more details on how they would reduce unemployment, change tax policy and alter government spending.
Seth Wenig AP

As this presidential election year was kicking off, strategists were saying the focus would be on the economy. But now — even as absentee ballots are being filled in — the candidates are still dodging details about how to improve growth.

"President Obama doesn't have a plan," says Kevin Hassett, an economic adviser to Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

Jeffrey Liebman, an economic adviser to President Obama, says Romney has revealed no plan other than "going back to the failed policies of the past decade."

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