The Salt
4:19 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

What The World Eats For A Better, Luckier 2012

In Denmark they eat a towering cake called kransekage for New Year's Eve.
Jeremy Noble via Flickr

Many cultures greet the New Year with a feast that symbolically sets the table for the year ahead. As they sit down to traditional dishes, people often try to internalize their hopes and goals for the coming year.

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American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen
4:09 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

American Graduate: Incarceration and Education

Louisiana incarcerates more people per capita than any other state. Ironically, schools contribute directly to this dubious distinction. The phrase, "school-to-prison pipeline," describes how schools convey students directly into the criminal justice system through "zero-tolerance" policies that criminalize mundane school infractions, which are called status offenses.

These policies lead to high suspension and expulsion rates. Dana Kaplan of the Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana explains our state of affairs.

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Shots - Health Blog
4:09 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Transplants Bring New Faces In 2011

Charla Nash received a full-face transplant after she was mauled by a chimpanzee in 2009.
HO AFP/Getty Images

If there's a medical advance that seized the public imagination this year, we'd venture to say it was facial transplant surgery.

Three transplants gave severely injured patients completely new faces in 2011. Now the doctors involved have revealed details about the complex cases in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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The Two-Way
4:07 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

China Officially Sets Its Sight On The Moon

China laid out its vision for space exploration in a white paper released today. In it, China declares its intention to put a man on the moon, a feat accomplished last by the United States almost 40 years ago.

The Financial Times says that while the prospect has been discussed by scientists in the past, the paper is "the first public government document to enshrine it as a policy goal."

The Times adds:

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Middle East
4:04 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

In Syria, Arab League Observers Caught In Crossfire

In this frame grab from an amateur video posted on YouTube, members of the Arab League monitor violence in the Syrian city of Homs this week.
YouTube

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 5:51 pm

Despite the presence of an Arab League monitoring mission, Syrian security forces shot dead at least 40 protesters on Thursday, according to activists.

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The Two-Way
3:31 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Body Odor May Explain Why Mosquitoes Like Certain People

An Anopheles albimanus mosquito, which is an important vector for malaria transmission in Central America.
James Gathany CDC

It's a question that has surely crossed the minds of many of you: Why is that mosquitoes tend to prefer certain people?

Scientists think they have an answer — at least to what attracts the the African mosquito Anopheles gambiae sensu stricto, which is partly responsible for the transmission of malaria. The researchers, led by Niels Verhulst of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, found that the blood suckers are attracted to certain people because of the kinds of bacteria on their skin.

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Environment
2:57 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

U.S. Military Tests Out Green Tech In Afghanistan

In this photo released by the U.S. Marines and taken in December 2010, Lance Cpl. Dakota Hicks, from Laharpe, Ill., connects a radio battery to a portable solar panel communication system in Sangin District, in Afghanistan.The U.S. military is trying to wean itself off reliance on fossil fuels by employing solar energy and biofuels, among other measures.
Gunnery Sgt. William Price Small AP

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 7:19 pm

The heavy, mine-resistant vehicles that almost all U.S. military personnel use to move about Afghanistan are gas guzzlers. And even though the U.S. military buys that fuel at a reasonable price, the energy it takes to fly it and truck it to remote parts of Afghanistan drives the price into the stratosphere.

There's also a much greater cost, says Ray Mabus, secretary of the U.S. Navy.

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National Security
2:56 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Terrorists Struggle To Gain Recruits On The Web

The Twitter page for al-Shabab, the radical Islamic group in Somalia that has been branded a terrorist organization by the U.S. Such groups are active in social media, but have not attracted many recruits.
Twitter.com

Terrorist groups seemed to be all over the Web in 2011. There were al-Qaida videos on YouTube, Facebook pages by Islamic militants in Somalia, and webzines – like Inspire magazine – produced by al-Qaida affiliates in Yemen.

If there were an award for the best known terrorist music recording in the past couple of years, it would probably go to the Somali militia group al-Shabab for a YouTube video that extolled the virtues of jihad, or holy war.

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The Two-Way
1:58 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Are You Being Paid $600,000 To Party?

She'll be paid well to party: Kim Kardashian.
David Livingston Getty Images

Headlines claiming that celebrity-whose-famous-for-being-famous Kim Kardashian will be paid $600,000 to host a New Year's Eve party at the Tao nightclub in Las Vegas' Venetian hotel and casino and then return to the Tao a few more times in 2012 to make "special appearances," certainly catch your eye.

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The Two-Way
1:32 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Verizon Will Charge $2 To Pay Bill Online Or By Phone

The Verizon Wireless logo hangs over a store in Portland, Ore.
Don Ryan AP

Originally published on Thu December 29, 2011 1:34 pm

Beginning Jan. 15, Verizon will charge you an extra $2 if you choose to pay your bill online or by phone. In a statement, the largest mobile service provider in the country said the "convenience fee" is "designed to address costs incurred by us for only those customers who choose to make single bill payments in alternate payment channels."

Verizon also lists seven ways that allow you to pay without incurring the fee and it reads a bit like the complex mobile bills you get each month. They are:

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