Wed July 18, 2012
NPR Cities: Urban Life In The 21st Century

Drive Time: Commuting In American Cities

CurvaBezier iStockphoto

Americans' methods for commuting to work vary by city. Some drive alone or carpool, while others use mass transportation. Use this map to explore the geographic differences in how residents in cities with more than 100,000 workers get to work.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

To Help Dissidents, YouTube Introduces Face-Blurring Tool

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 4:58 pm

A screenshot of how the face-blurring technology works.

In an effort to make posting video on YouTube safer for activists, YouTube has announced a new tool that automatically obscures faces.

"Whether you want to share sensitive protest footage without exposing the faces of the activists involved, or share the winning point in your 8-year-old's basketball game without broadcasting the children's faces to the world, our face blurring technology is a first step towards providing visual anonymity for video on YouTube," Amanda Conway, a policy associate at YouTube wrote in a blog post.

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Wed July 18, 2012

The Coming Out Of Frank Ocean

Flickr user vonlohmann

In a weird way, all of the recent announcements by celebrities coming out are reminiscent of celebrity deaths, as they often come in waves. And they seem to have the same power to shock. With some, we know it’s coming, but others are a complete surprise. When TV personality Anderson Cooper finally decided to make his sexuality public, he confirmed many people’s suspicions, including most of us gays. And while Anderson Cooper’s coming out may have been anticipated, the one that wasn’t was the coming out of R&B singer Frank Ocean.

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Wed July 18, 2012

High-speed rail gets the green light

Governor Jerry Brown gave high-speed rail the official green light today, signing legislation authorizing $8 billion in initial funding for the controversial $68 billion project.

Signing ceremonies in San Francisco and Los Angeles emphasized the political importance of the $1.9 billion allocated for improving existing commuter rail systems in these cities, the eventual “bookends” of the rail network that would connect northern and southern California.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

In First Enforcement, Consumer Watchdog Fines Capital One

People use an ATM at a Capital One Bank branch in Washington in April 2012.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Capital One Bank has agreed to refund two million of its customers $140 million over allegations that it used deceptive marketing tactics to pressure or mislead customers into buying add-on products, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced today. The bank and credit-card lending company will also pay a $25 million penalty.

This is the consumer watchdog agency's first public enforcement action.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Netanyahu Points At Iran After Explosion In Bulgaria Kills Israelis

Originally published on Sun July 22, 2012 6:42 am

One bus was largely destroyed and others nearby were damaged by today's explosion in Bulgaria.
AFP/Getty Images

Reports vary on the number of deaths in Bulgaria today from an explosion that tore apart a bus carrying Israeli tourists, most of them reportedly young people in the Black Sea city of Burgas on vacation.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Drought Disasters Declared In More Counties; 1,297 Affected So Far

A corn plant that was struggling to survive this week in a drought-stricken farm field near Shawneetown, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

With the addition of 29 counties in eight states today, there are now 1,297 counties across the nation so stricken by drought and heat that they've been declared natural disaster areas, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack just announced. That's about one-third of all U.S. counties, he said.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

Has Syria Reached A Tipping Point?

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 10:27 am

Video taken from Syrian TV purportedly shows government forces taking up position during clashes with rebels Wednesday in the Al-Midan district of Damascus.
AFP/Getty Images

In most every uprising that topples a government, there's a pivotal moment when the momentum swings dramatically to the opposition and a regime that once seemed sturdy suddenly appears extremely vulnerable.

That moment may have come with Wednesday's bombing inside the National Security building in Damascus, the most powerful blow the Syrian opposition has yet delivered to President Bashar Assad's regime since the uprising began in March 2011.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Salt

Hot Or Not? Potato Board Tries To Un-Dud The Spud

Originally published on Wed July 18, 2012 3:21 pm

Tiny spuds decked out with cheese fondue sauce and a sprinkling of broccoli shavings at a dinner sponsored by the U.S. Potato Board.
Benjamin Morris/NPR

It may not be obvious to the average shopper or diner, but the potato is an embattled vegetable. Yes, the simple spud, so ubiquitous, so unassuming, may be in need of a makeover.

That's at least the view of the U.S. Potato Board, the organization responsible for marketing American potatoes here at home and abroad.

"The potato has been in a rut," Meredith Myers, spokeswoman for the U.S. Potato Board, tells The Salt.

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Wed July 18, 2012
The Two-Way

ACLU Sues U.S. Government Over Targeted Killing Of Three Citizens

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 2:30 pm

In this image taken from video and released by SITE Intelligence Group, Anwar al-Awlaki speaks in a video message posted on radical websites in November, 2010.
SITE Intelligence Group AP

In a lawsuit filed today, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights allege the United States violated the Constitution's gurantee of due process when it ordered the targeted killing of three United States citizens.

The groups filed the suit against top military and intelligence officials on behalf relatives of the three Americans who were killed in drone strikes in Yemen last fall.

NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report for our Newscast unit:

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