1:12pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Law

Same-Sex Marriage May Hinge On Supreme Court

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:27 pm

In 2008, California voters passed Proposition 8, making same-sex marriage in the state illegal. Now, legal challenges to that initiative mean it could soon get a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court.
Max Whittaker Getty Images

With New York's legalization of same-sex marriage effectively doubling the number of Americans living in states where gays can marry, gay advocates like to say 2011 was a big year.

It's hard to imagine another doubling this year, but proponents are still hoping to build on last year's success. Same-sex marriage is currently legal in six states plus Washington, D.C., and it may come up for a vote in six more. All the while, legal challenges are pushing the issue closer to getting an opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court.

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1:05pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Shots - Health Blog

Common Chemicals Could Make Kids' Vaccines Less Effective

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 3:07 pm

iStockphoto.com

The more exposure children have to chemicals called perfluorinated compounds, the less likely they are to have a good immune response to vaccinations, a study just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association shows.

The finding suggests, but doesn't prove, that these chemicals can affect the immune system enough to make some children more vulnerable to infectious diseases.

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12:58pm

Tue January 24, 2012
All Tech Considered

Who Are You? Google+ Really Wants To Know

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 1:01 pm

On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog. But your true identity is key to Google+.
AP

Google will begin allowing users to add nicknames on Google+, Bradley Horowitz, the vice president of product at Google's social network said Tuesday.

True pseudonyms are still verboten on the network unless you go through an application process. To earn the right not to use your real name on Google+ you will have to prove you already have an online following that knows you that way.

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12:47pm

Tue January 24, 2012
The Two-Way

Massive Solar Storm Causes Planes To Be Rerouted

Originally published on Tue January 24, 2012 4:13 pm

This January 23, 2012 image provided by NASA, captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows an M9-class solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere.
AFP/Getty Images

You might have heard about a major solar storm that is hitting Earth right now. It's the biggest to hit us since 2005. You've also probably heard a few people say, "I didn't feel anything."

As our friends at 13.7 explained earlier today, the storms have the ability to disrupt sensitive electronics and even the power grid. Usually none of those things happen. But, today's solar storm did cause a bit of disruption.

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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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