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The Picture Show
10:49 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Earth As Art: 'How Did Nature Do That?'

Carnegie Lake, Australia, 1999 Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
NASA

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:04 pm

Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.

This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "

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The Two-Way
9:59 am
Wed February 20, 2013

OfficeMax, Office Depot Confirm Merger Deal

Justin Sullivan Getty Images

The deal has been talked about for days. Now it's official:

"OfficeMax Incorporated and Office Depot, Inc. today announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement," reads a statement posted online by Office Depot.

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The Two-Way
9:52 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Japan: Probe Of Battery Fire On Boeing 787 Finds Improper Wiring

The first Boeing 787-881 Dreamliner delivered to All Nippon Airlines.
Keith Draycott FlickrVision

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:33 pm

Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:

In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.

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The Two-Way
9:22 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Biden: For Protection; 'Buy A Shotgun, Buy A Shotgun'

Vice President Biden earlier this month during a roundtable discussion on gun control at Girard College in Philadelphia.
Tim Shaffer Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 11:00 am

Vice President Joe Biden's advice to his wife about protecting their home in Delaware:

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The Salt
9:18 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Calorie Counts: Fatally Flawed, Or Our Best Defense Against Pudge?

Could it all be wrong? Some scientists say calorie counts are too inaccurate to be trusted.
Ed Ou AP

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The Two-Way
8:41 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Guilty Plea From Jesse Jackson Jr. Over 'Lavish' Spending

Former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., as he entered court in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 3:51 pm

  • NPR's David Schaper reporting

We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:50 p.m. ET.

Saying that "I've never been more clear in my life" about what he was doing, a tearful Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty to using about $750,000 in campaign funds collected for his congressional races to buy himself presents that included a Rolex watch worth more than $43,000.

The former congressman, a Democrat from Chicago, appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. When he's sentenced in June, he could get a prison term of nearly five years.

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World
8:41 am
Wed February 20, 2013

In Bail Hearing, Pistorius Says Girlfriend's Death Was Accidental

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Single-Family Housing Starts Edged Up In January

Going up: A construction worker at a housing development in San Mateo, Calif., in June 2012.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Work was begun on 0.8 percent more single-family homes in January than had been started the month before, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development say.

And the number of single-family starts was up 20 percent from January 2012.

A 26.1 percent drop in starts, from December to January, on construction of apartment buildings and other multi-family homes dampened the news somewhat.

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The Two-Way
7:13 am
Wed February 20, 2013

'It Felt Like An Earthquake': One Still Missing After Kansas City Explosion

Fire fighters and utility workers at the scene of a massive gas explosion and fire Tuesday night in Kansas City, Mo.
Orlin Wagner AP

"It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake," Tracey Truitt, a lawyer who was working in a nearby building, tells the Kansas City Star about an explosion Tuesday evening that leveled a restaurant in the city's Country Club Plaza.

At least 16 people were injured and as of early this morning one person remained missing, the Star says.

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Europe
7:00 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Museum Goers Strip Down To View Nude Exhibit

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. An exhibit in a Vienna Museum titled "Nude Men From 1800 to the Present Day" drew a group of 60 present-day men who stripped down to view it. It was a special after-hours tour; they viewed the exhibition in nothing but socks and shoes. The tour guide was dressed. One of the men who viewed the art in his birthday suit first saw it while clothed. He said it's perfect to see naked men as a naked man. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Europe
6:56 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Italy Edges Out Election Pollsters

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

Italy is trying to keep pollsters from influencing the outcome of an approaching election. Pollsters still do surveys for private clients, but are banned from publishing results. Some websites have found coded ways to report surveys. A gambling site reports polls disguised as fake horse racing results, with horses named after political parties. Another site offers fake cardinals supposedly contending to be pope.

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

The Two-Way
6:50 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Pistorius's Story Challenged: Witness Heard Screams And Shots, Police Say

South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius in a Pretoria court Wednesday.
EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm

A neighbor has told investigators that he heard "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots" coming from the South African home of Oscar Pistorius in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, a police officer testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.

The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.

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Book Reviews
6:03 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Undercurrents Of Unease In Kasischke's 'Stranger'

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 9:18 am

As writers churn out novels about zombies and the apocalypse — books that portray our shared anxieties about the early 21st century — Laura Kasischke's first collection of stories, If a Stranger Approaches You, describes a world haunted, not by the undead, but by the phantoms of unemployment, increased airport security and missed credit card payments. The signature confluence between realism and the uncanny found in much of Kasischke's writing, both as poet and novelist, makes this book an important addition to her own body of work and to the contemporary literature of end times.

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Books
6:03 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Beyond Visible: LGBT Characters In Graphic Novels

The Heart of Thomas, by Moto Hagio, was one of the first Japanese comics to deal with same-sex relationships.
Fantagraphics

OK, yes: To gay comics fans like me, DC Comics' decision to hire an anti-gay activist like Orson Scott Card to write Superman — an iconic character who exists to represent humanity's noblest ideals of justice and compassion — is deeply dispiriting.

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