Election 2012
4:19 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Confused About The Iowa Caucuses? Here's A Guide

On Jan. 3, Iowans will caucus at 1,774 precincts across the state, in the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process. Above, Iowans caucus in 2004 at St. John's United Methodist Church in Des Moines, precinct 87.
Shaun Heasley Getty Images

At 7 p.m. central time on Tuesday, Jan. 3, the first contest of the 2012 presidential nominating process takes place in Iowa.

As you've heard countless times, Iowans vote in caucuses, which are small political meetings held in 1,774 locations scattered around the state.

NPR political correspondent Don Gonyea has prepared this basic guide to next week's contest.

How It Works

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The Salt
3:58 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

The Perfect Champagne Pour: It's A Science, Not An Art

The chemistry behind champagne has helped scientists figure out how to preserve its flavor and fizz.
Sean Parsons, American Chemical Society

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 4:14 pm

Here's something to impress β€” or annoy β€” your friends this New Year's Eve: the science behind the champagne pour.

To preserve the fizz and taste of the wine, you need to preserve the bubbles, a recent study found.

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It's All Politics
3:22 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

'Occupy' Activists Urge Like-Minded to Participate In, Not Disrupt, Iowa Caucuses

Former Democratic state legislator Ed Fallon, a vocal member of the Occupy movement, said activists should take part in the caucuses.
Becky Lettenberger NPR

In a cavernous Des Moines meeting hall just west of the state Capitol, progressive activist and writer John Nichols had a simple message for those involved in Iowa's iteration of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"Learn to get cool with losing," Nichols told about 50 people who had come to hear advice from longtime activists, including veterans of the civil rights battle.

"Get comfortable that you absolutely will be told you can't succeed," he said, and with the notion of a long-term struggle "that may last beyond your lifetime."

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The Two-Way
3:07 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

'An Evolutionary Throwback': Panda Filmed Eating Meat

A panda eating meat.
Wanglong Nature Reserve

The staff at a Chinese nature reserve have caught a very rare thing on film: a wild panda eating the meat of a dead widebeest.

The AP reports:

"Staff at the Wanglong Nature Reserve in southwest Sichuan province set up the camera after noticing dead animals with chew marks. It was not known if the panda had killed the animals.

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The Road Back To Work
2:26 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

When The Road Back To Work Detours

Randy Howland works in his small office in March, shortly after he began a work-from-home job with a call center earning $10 an hour.
Tamara Keith NPR

Part of an ongoing series

For the long-term unemployed, getting a job isn't always the end of the story.

Randy Howland spent most of this past year working at a $10-an-hour customer service job. He used to make six figures. With this job, he was settling, just so he could have the satisfaction of working. It was essentially a call-center job.

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Around the Nation
2:22 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

How A Teen's Coerced Confession Set Her Free

Nga Truong (front) meets with social services advocate Lisa Gigliotti. Truong says she's struggling to rebuild her life after nearly three years awaiting trial for murder.
Jesse Costa WBUR

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 8:53 pm

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Daniel Zwerdling is a correspondent in NPR's Investigations Unit.

Around the Nation
2:11 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

'Haters' Are Going To Hate This Story

The word "Hater" β€” as it's often used today β€” is derived from the term "Player Hater," a phrase popularized by late rapper Notorious B.I.G., shown here clutching his Billboard Music Awards in 1995.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Sat December 31, 2011 6:20 am

Haters are here. And there. And everywhere. And the word "hate" is in the air.

Fox has a new sitcom: I Hate My Teenage Daughter. A recent issue of Us magazine tells us "Why Scarlett Johansson Hates Blake Lively." Psychology Today explains "Why We Hate Airport Security." Dick Meyer, formerly of NPR and now executive producer for news services at BBC America, wrote a provocative book called Why We Hate Us.

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The Salt
2:08 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

A Year That Was Good To Beets

Heirloom beets served at Bibiana Restaurant in downtown Washington, D.C.
JOSEPH SILVERMAN The Washington Times /Landov

Children hate beets. Many adults hate beets. In fact, so few people in the U.S. eat table beets that the federal government doesn't bother to keep track of how many are grown and sold, even though it does keep track of just about every other crop, including turnip greens and horseradish.

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Shots - Health Blog
1:56 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Build-A-Bear Workshop Recalls Colorful Hearts Teddy Bears

Build-A-Bear has recalled almost 300,000 Colorful Heart teddy bears.
CPSC

If you gave or received a Build-A-Bear this holiday season, you may want to check it over.

Nearly 300,000 Colorful Hearts teddy bears from Build-A-Bear Workshop sold in the U.S. and Canada have been recalled.

The teddy bear's eyes can fall out and become a choking hazard for children, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. Company spokeswoman Jill Saunders tells Shots in a statement that Build-A-Bear hasn't received any reports of injuries or deaths from the teddy bears.

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