The Two-Way
2:35 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Christmas Stamps Are OK; Christmas Carols? Not At The Post Office

There's been some consternation on the Web about what happened this weekend at a post office in Silver Spring, Md., when three Christmas carolers — all decked out in shawls, bonnets and a top hat (for the guy) — popped in and started singing.

It seems that one of the USPS managers on duty jumped into action, telling the trio that they couldn't do that because they were on government property.

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The Sound of Books
2:16 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

New Book from journalist and Loyola journalism Professor S. L. Alexander

Today on The Sound of Books with Fred Kasten, the new book from New Orleans journalist and Loyola University journalism professor S. L. Alexander, Courtroom Carnival: Famous New Orleans Trials.

To find out more about "Courtroom Carnival" – and S. L. Alexander – please click here .

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Shots - Health Blog
2:15 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Hospitals Torn On Reducing Repeat Admissions

Joseuly Claudio, 53, gets weekly checkups from nurse practitioner Mary McDonagh at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York.
Fred Mogul WNYC

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 4:01 pm

What doesn't kill you, only makes you a repeat customer.

So says Prescott Pharmaceuticals, fictional and macabre sponsor of The Colbert Report.

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The Reading Life
2:12 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Holiday reading with The Reading Life

This week on The Reading Life: Suggestions for holiday giving from Judith Lafitte of Octavia Books (children's books), Donna Allen of Maple Street Book Shop (nonfiction), and Britton Trice of Garden District Book Shop (fiction).

The Two-Way
1:59 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Putin Loyalist Resigns As Russia's Speaker Of Parliament

Tens of thousands of protesters turned out in Moscow and other major cities across Russia in open defiance to strongman Vladimir Putin's 12-year rule.
Dmitry Chistoprudov AFP/Getty Images

The protests that have spread across Russia took a big political toll today, when the speaker of parliament announced his resignation. As the AP reports, the move appears to be tailored by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an attempt to "stem public anger."

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Economy
1:47 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Michigan Town Grapples With Shrinking Public Sector

Inkster, Mich., resident Darrel Osborne says he's noticed the reduced police presence in the city.
Sarah Hulett for NPR

Tammi Warren has lived on the same winding street in the Detroit suburb of Inkster, Mich., all her life. But as she drives down the block in her Ford pickup, Warren points to several houses on her street that stand vacant, casualties of the housing market collapse.

Vacant houses mean less tax revenue for the city, and less revenue makes it harder for Inkster to provide basic city services.

"[The] city of Inkster has eliminated 38 positions," says City Treasurer Mark Stuhldreher. "It's about 25 percent, roughly, of the workforce."

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The Two-Way
12:26 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Scientists Set New Internet Speed Record

Now, we all have reason to complain about the speed of our Internet connection. Scientists announced yesterday that they have broken the Internet speed record by transferring data at 186 Gbps between two cities.

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Rick Perry
12:17 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

5 Things You May Not Know About Rick Perry

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition 2012 Presidential Candidates Forum in Washington, D.C., last week.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 10:36 am

The eyes of Texas have been upon James Richard "Rick" Perry ever since he boot-scootin' boogied onto the public-service stage. Now political observers are watching Perry's fortunes fluctuate as a Republican candidate for president.

Political junkies have followed the career of Perry — an Eagle Scout, veterinary student and son of a farmer and a bookkeeper — from his initial election as a Democrat to the state House of Representatives in 1984. They have studied his endorsement of Al Gore for president in 1988. They watched him as he changed parties in 1989.

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The Two-Way
11:40 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Voyager 1 Speeds Toward The Brink Of Interstellar Space

An artist's conception shows Voyager 1 encountering a stagnation region. To the left is interstellar space.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 12:09 pm

(Note: This post was first published on Dec. 14. It was reposted Monday — the 26th — because that's when it was broadcast on Morning Edition.)

The Voyager 1 spacecraft is 11 billion miles from the sun. And every minute, it gets 636 miles closer to its destination: the frontier of interstellar space.

The craft is currently in what NASA calls, not undramatically, "the boundary between the solar wind from the Sun and the interstellar wind from death-explosions of other stars," an area that astrophysicists also call, less dramatically, a stagnation layer.

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All Tech Considered
11:32 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Voyager Probes Aim For Interstellar Space, Four Decades Of Travel

Artist's concept of NASA's Voyager spacecraft. For 35 years, the probes have been beaming images and information back to Earth via a 23-watt transmitter.
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed December 14, 2011 11:57 am

NASA is on the brink of putting a man-made craft into interstellar space for the first time, as Voyager 1 speeds toward the outer edge of our solar system. The Voyager program's chief scientist, Dr. Ed Stone, spoke with NPR's Steve Inskeep about that feat, and what it means for NASA.

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