12:44pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Around the Nation

Down And Out Escape To 'Slab' In California Desert

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 5:30 pm

Slab City is an informal community in the California desert on the site of a former WWII artillery range. The recent recession has sent the town a new wave of people who have fallen on hard times and are looking to escape the burdens of modern life.
Gloria Hillard For NPR

There are no signs leading to Slab City. From Los Angeles you head east deep into the desert, and then south, past the Salton Sea. For years, a diverse group of people has been drawn to the abandoned Marine base, but the troubled economy has driven even more travelers to the place dubbed "The Last Free Place in America."

Following the tire tracks of countless RVs, trailers, vans and campers, you pass a landscape of the vehicles that have taken root here, their tires now soft on the desert floor.

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12:32pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Economy/Labor/Biz

How to occupy a building: the Dutch example

Occupy protests in San Francisco
Artjoms Konohovs

This Saturday, the Occupy Oakland movement plans to take over an empty building to create a center for like-minded people. Whether or not the movement can hold onto the space is up in the air, but one need only look to the Netherlands for a possible glimpse of things to come.

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12:24pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Arts & Culture

Werewolves through the ages, in story and song

Berkeley-based musician and instrumentalist Tim Rayborn brings the werewolf to life in "Lycanthropos"

Vampires and werewolves, the possessed and undead souls featured in the Twilight books and their stylish movie adaptations, may currently have teens transfixed, but the idea of these creatures walking among us dates back to at least ancient Greece. There the man-wolf was called Lycanthropos.

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11:43am

Tue January 24, 2012
Asia

For China's 'Left-Behind Kids,' A Free Lunch

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 8:06 am

Students enjoy free meals on the inaugural day of the Free Lunch for Children program at Hujiaying primary school in Shaanxi province's Nanzheng county.
Louisa Lim NPR

For 10-year-old student Xie Xiaoyuan, just getting to school is an ordeal. On a recent day, her frostbitten ears are testament to just how difficult the trip is.

"I get up at five o'clock," she says, "then I comb my hair and start walking."

Xie navigates a mountain path in China's remote Shaanxi province in the dark, trudging through snowstorms and mudslides. Then she has to get a bus for about 10 miles. She hasn't time to eat breakfast.

"For lunch, I spend 15 cents on two pieces of bread and a drink," she says.

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11:37am

Tue January 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Your Brain On Psilocybin Might Be Less Depressed

This could be your forest on psilocybin.
Baxterclaus Flickr

Magic mushrooms are said to blow your mind, but the hallucinogenic chemical psilocybin, the active ingredient, actually reins in key parts of the brain, according to two new studies.

The memorably vivid emotional experiences reported by mushroom users may flourish because the parts of the brain suppressed by psilocybin usually keep our world view tidy and rational.

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10:51am

Tue January 24, 2012
The Salt

Why McDonald's In France Doesn't Feel Like Fast Food

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 2:41 pm

A McDonald's breakfast meal in Villeurbanne, France includes fresh baguettes and jam spreads with coffee for $4.55.
Juste Philippe Maxppp /Landov

Greetings from McDonald's, or "MacDo," as they call it here in Paris, where I am comfortably ensconced in a McCafé enjoying a croissant and a grand crème coffee. I'm surrounded by people of all ages who are talking with friends, reading, or typing away on their laptops like me.

The beauty of McDonald's in France is that it doesn't feel like a fast food joint, where hordes of people shuffle in and out and tables turn at a fast clip.

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10:38am

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Wesley Brown, Nation's Oldest Sitting Federal Judge, Dies At 104

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 10:50 am

Wesley Brown was appointed to the federal bench by President John F. Kennedy in 1962. When he passed the bar in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt was president.

As the Kansas City Star puts it, during his time as federal district judge in Kansas, Brown saw a shift in civil rights, and women's rights. He presided over cases about women in the workplace and tackled privacy issues on the Internet.

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9:36am

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

State Bill Outlaws Use Of Fetuses In Food Industry

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 10:34 am

A scientist holds a tray of stem cells in a lab, in this file photo from 2010.
Spencer Platt Getty Images

A bill introduced in the Oklahoma Legislature has some folks scratching their heads, as it prohibits "the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses."

Since the bill was introduced late last week by State Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican from Oklahoma City, corners of the Internet have been buzzing with the news, as people try to figure out two things: 1) is this real; and 2) is there any reason the bill might be needed?

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9:32am

Tue January 24, 2012
Business

Davos: A Super Bowl For Smart, Rich People

A guard stands next to a logo of the World Economic Forum at the Congress Center in the Swiss resort of Davos.
Fabrice Coffrini AFP/Getty Images

When winter reaches its dreariest depths each year, Americans cheer themselves by planning Super Bowl parties. They want to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about who is likely to win — or lose.

But if you are very smart or very rich or even better, both — then you break up the mid-winter blahs by going to Davos.

That's the Swiss town where the financially, intellectually and politically powerful convene each year to reconnect with friends, eat, drink and share observations about winning and losing.

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9:09am

Tue January 24, 2012
It's All Politics

Romney Taxes May Be Legally Sound But They're Politically Dicey

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 2:30 pm

Mitt Romney greets audience members at the National Gypsum Co. in Tampa, Fla., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012.
Charles Dharapak AP

The income fairness debate has just gotten a lot more interesting. And it's taking place in anything but Mitt Romney's "quiet rooms."

Romney's release of his federal tax details for 2010 and 2011 came the morning that President Obama was preparing to deliver his State of the Union address, a speech in which he was expected to make the increasing gap between the superwealthy and everyone else a major topic of the evening.

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