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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:17 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Would You Vote For An Atheist? Tell The Truth

Darren Hauck Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 8, 2013 10:44 am

Last week's election boasted many firsts: Tammy Baldwin was elected as the first openly gay senator, Tulsi Gabbard as the country's first Hindu member of Congress and Barack Obama will continue as the first black president of the United States. But some demographic groups remain underrepresented in high-level government positions.

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The Two-Way
12:09 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Says He Doesn't Support Secession

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to the media in January.
Allison Joyce Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 10:31 am

We told you yesterday about a petition on the White House website signed by more than 70,000 people that seeks the secession of Texas from the union.

Well, the governor of the great state doesn't agree with those people.

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The Two-Way
11:43 am
Tue November 13, 2012

'Washington Post' Editor Steps Down; 'Boston Globe' Editor To Fill Job

Jonathan Ernst Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 11:49 am

The Washington Post just announced that executive editor Marcus Brauchli is leaving that position to "become vice president of The Washington Post Company with responsibility for evaluating new media opportunities."

His successor has already been hired: Martin Baron, editor of the Boston Globe, will move to the Post on Jan. 2.

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Your Money
11:36 am
Tue November 13, 2012

How The Alternative Minimum Tax Could Slam You

Customers line up at an H&R Block office in Nashville, Tenn., on April 17, the deadline for filing 2011 federal income taxes.
Mark Humphrey AP

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 12:29 pm

Seriously, again?

Anyone who follows the adventures of the alternative minimum tax has to be getting sick of the many sequels. Again and again, this unpopular income tax threatens to hit middle-class families with large and unexpected tax increases.

And each time the threat reappears, Congress applies a "patch" to fix the problem temporarily. That makes the threat an annual event — along with the associated congressional hand-wringing and taxpayer confusion.

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Arts & Culture
11:24 am
Tue November 13, 2012

'Brief Encounters' With Real Life From A Scene-Setting Photographer

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"Untitled (Birth)" from Gregory Crewdson's Beneath The Roses series.
Gregory Crewdson Zeitgeist Films

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 8:14 am

A woman sits on a bed in a dim, wallpapered room. There's an old rotary phone on a nightstand, a prescription pill bottle by the foot of a lamp. Her long wavy hair is brushed back, and the moonlight peers in from between the curtains, illuminating the flowery pattern of her nightgown and the small tattoo on her fleshy arm. Curled sleeping on the bed is a baby, and the woman's head is turned towards the child. But the expression on her face is unclear. Perhaps it's a look of resentment and exhaustion, of alienation and despair.

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Deceptive Cadence
11:18 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Classical Lost And Found: The Versatile Sound Of Vivian Fung

Composer Vivian Fung's new album embraces the influence of John Cage and introduces her own versatile sound.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 4:41 pm

There are those who consider John Cage to be one of America's most important avant-garde composers, and consequently the recent flurry of celebrations and album releases honoring what would have been his 100th birthday continues. On the other hand, many conservative listeners tend to dismiss his pieces as preposterous gimmickry, rendering the performers little more than Foley artists.

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Book Reviews
11:18 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Delicious Deceit Abounds In McEwan's 'Sweet Tooth'

Ian McEwan's other books include Solar, For You and On Chesil Beach.
Eamonn McCabe Courtesy of Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 1:49 pm

Ian McEwan's 15th book of fiction, Sweet Tooth, is a Tootsie Roll Pop of a literary confection — hard-boiled candy enrobing a chewy surprise at its core. The novel is set 40 years ago, when communism was still perceived as a threat, and takes its title from a fictional clandestine mission by Britain's MI5 intelligence service to sponsor writers espousing the Cold Warrior cause.

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All Songs Considered
11:18 am
Tue November 13, 2012

First Watch: Bjork, 'Mutual Core'

Nick and Warren Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue December 18, 2012 12:02 pm

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Political Junkie
11:12 am
Tue November 13, 2012

It's ScuttleButton Time!

Ken Rudin collection

Originally published on Tue November 13, 2012 5:33 am

I know what you're thinking. Same old president. Same old Senate. Same old House.

And yes, same old ScuttleButton.

ScuttleButton, of course, is that once-a-week waste of time exercise in which each Monday or Tuesday I put up a vertical display of buttons on this site. Your job is to simply take one word (or concept) per button, add 'em up, and, hopefully, you will arrive at a famous name or a familiar expression. (And seriously, by familiar, I mean it's something that more than one person on Earth would recognize.)

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The Salt
11:12 am
Tue November 13, 2012

Adventurous Eating Helped Human Ancestors Boost Odds Of Survival

The first prehistoric chef who looked out at a field of grass in Africa and said, "dinner!" may have helped our ancestors use new resources in new locations.
Roberto Schmidt AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 14, 2012 8:38 am

Picture, if you can, a prehistoric Bobby Flay — an inventive 3 million-year-old version of the Food Network star chef. He's struggling to liven up yet another salad of herbs and twigs when inspiration strikes. "We've got grass here, and sedge," he says. "Grass and sedge, that's what this dish needs!"

His pals take a tentative taste of this nouvelle cuisine. Sedges usually aren't considered gourmet fare, after all, by these human ancestors. They're tough grasslike plants that grow in marshes. But wow! Not only is this a new taste sensation, it's found in many places.

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