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Planet Money
6:09 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ben Bernanke Acts Like His Hair Is On Fire

Warm around the ears.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:56 pm

The leaders of the Federal Reserve just did something that sounds boring but is actually a big deal: They promised to keep short-term interest rates at zero at least until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent, or inflation rises to over 2.5 percent.

It's clear on its face why this sounds boring. It takes a little doing to explain why it's a big deal.

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Best Music Of 2012
6:09 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Stephen Thompson's Top 10 Albums Of 2012

Japandroids' music celebrates the joy of a life lived loudly.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:18 pm

The caveats practically write themselves at this point: Top 10 lists are subjective and inherently insufficient to sum up any given year in music. They capture the opinions of one person and one person only — think "favorite," not "best" — and are bound to reflect not only individual tastes, but also individual experiences over the course of a given year.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
6:07 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Raging Against A Universe Past Its Prime

Enjoy it while you can: the spectacular star-forming Carina Nebula has been captured in great detail by the VLT Survey Telescope at the ESO's Paranal Observatory.
VPHAS Consortium/Cambridge Astronomical Survey Unit ESO

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 11:04 am

It's painful to say this, but our universe is fading, not that any of us would notice. Looking up at the sky, the stars are not disappearing from sight (in spite of regular apocalyptic predictions rippling through our culture). But the rate at which the cosmos makes new stars has been declining sharply over the past few billion years. The age of splendor, of countless lights born anew in the heavens, is long gone.

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Best Music Of 2012
6:07 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Listener Picks: Your Favorite Albums Of 2012

NPR listeners picked Mumford And Sons' Babel as their favorite record for 2012.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed December 19, 2012 12:47 pm

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Wisdom Watch
6:06 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Africa's Wisdom, Woes Occupy Soyinka's Existence

Nigerian Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka.
Glen Gratty Yale University Press

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:28 am

"First of all, it meant for me money, which I had never had."

Nigerian writer Wole Soyinka tells NPR's Tell Me More host Michel Martin that being the first black African to win the Nobel Prize in literature in 1986 was extremely lucky, especially for his pocket. The $290,000 in prize money gave him a life he had never dreamed of before. But that fame came with a cost.

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NPR Ombudsman
6:06 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Bias And Balance Of Republican And Democratic Voices On The 'Fiscal Cliff'

President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner met to discuss the impending "fiscal cliff" on Nov. 16, 2012.
Getty Images News

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 12:50 pm

Arthur Price of New York City asked this provocative question: "Is it my imagination or is NPR featuring an excessive number of Republican voices when it comes to the so-called 'fiscal cliff'?"

I didn't know, but I loved the issue he raised. Its relevance in influencing today's fierce tax and spending debate as we approach the Jan. 1 supposed "cliff" is obvious. But perhaps even more interesting, I thought, was the insight it might offer into political bias by NPR in general.

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The Picture Show
6:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Mom And Pop And Hoboken: Portraits In Mile Square City

Giorgio Pasticcerie Italian bakery is owned by a father-and-daughter pair: Giorgio, who moved to Hoboken from Italy, and his daughter, Mary Grace, a first-generation American.
John Delaney

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 9:53 am

Exactly 97 years ago today, Frank Sinatra was born in Hoboken. A few decades later, On the Waterfront, starring a young Marlon Brando, was filmed there. The small New Jersey city, which sits on the Hudson just across from Manhattan, has a storied past of which locals are fiercely proud.

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The Two-Way
6:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Gas Explosion Blows Up Section Of West Virginia Interstate

A fireball over Interstate 77 after a gas line ruptured in Sissonville, W. Va. on Tuesday, Dec. 11.
West Virginia State Police Associated Press

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:56 am

West Virginia road crews are repairing Interstate Highway 77, about 15 miles north of Charleston after a tremendous explosion wrecked the road. No one was killed in the blast.

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Kitchen Window
5:58 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Belgian Sweets Not Just For 'Sinterklaas'

Emily Hilliard for NPR

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 7:34 am

Though my grandmother Georgette was born in the United States, she is half Belgian (Flemish) and half French. On top of the cabinets in her blue kitchen you'll find a little Dutch village of porcelain houses. Above the sink are miniature figures of the Statue of Liberty, Manneken Pis and the Eiffel Tower — representations of her three nationalities. In her Delft cookie jar you'll find speculaas (also called speculoos) — the Dutch windmill-shaped gingersnap-like cookie traditionally eaten on St. Nicholas Day.

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The Two-Way
5:58 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Sitar Virtuoso Ravi Shankar Dies At 92

Musician Ravi Shankar performs at the Concert For Bangladesh benefit at Madison Square Garden in New York on Aug. 1, 1971. Shankar died Tuesday. He was 92.
JIM WELLS AP

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:03 am

  • Susan Stamberg on 'Morning Edition'

Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar has died. He was 92.

A tweet from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's official Twitter account broke the news to the world: "Prime Minister condoles the passing away of Pandit Ravishankar — A national treasure and global ambassador of India's cultural heritage."

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