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3:23 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

In Calif. Gold Country, A Rush That's Out Of This World

A section of the Sutter's Mill meteorite, dubbed "Darth Vader," is studied at a lab at the University of California, Davis. The meteorite is made of carbonaceous chondrite, which contains materials that formed the planets of the solar system.
UC Davis

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

On the crisp, clear morning of April 22, a 50-ton asteroid slammed into the Earth's atmosphere and shattered into countless pieces. Remarkably, they rained down onto Sutter's Mill, Calif., the exact spot where gold was discovered back in 1848, triggering the gold rush. And so follows a story of serendipity and scientific discovery.

"I was out on my hillside burning some branches and so forth, and I heard this sonic boom," says Gold Country resident Ed Allen. "It wasn't just one boom. It was a series of booms, literally right over my head."

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The Salt
3:02 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Big Food And The Big, Silent Salt Experiment

Food companies have begun quietly reducing salt in regular foods because low-salt items like these don't sell as well.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 9:18 pm

Have you noticed, perhaps, that some of your store-bought salad dressings or spaghetti sauces taste a little less salty lately?

Probably not. The companies that make those products are doing their best to keep you from noticing. Yet many of them are, in fact, carrying out a giant salt-reduction experiment, either because they want to improve their customers' health or because they're worried that if they don't, the government might impose regulations that would compel more onerous salt reductions.

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It's All Politics
2:25 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Cory Booker Eyes (Chris Christie-Free) Path To His Political Future

Newark Mayor Cory Booker greets a 13-year-old at a relief center for those affected by Superstorm Sandy, in November.
Julio Cortez AP

Here was the choice facing Newark Mayor Cory Booker: Run next year against New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose popularity would have made the Republican exceedingly difficult to beat; or fix his gaze on the Senate seat now occupied by an 88-year-old fellow Democrat, Sen.

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The Two-Way
1:53 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Gun Control: 'Only Modest Change' In Opinion Since Newtown Shootings

A Sig Sauer handgun on sale at a shop in Tucker, Ga.
Erik S. Lesser EPA /LANDOV

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 8:25 am

"The public's attitudes toward gun control have shown only modest change in the wake of last week's deadly shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.," the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported Thursday afternoon.

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The Two-Way
1:29 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Former Official Sentenced To 35 Years For Role In Rwanda's Genocide

An international criminal court has found a former Rwandan government official guilty of genocide and other crimes, sentencing him to 35 years in prison for his role in the Hutu-led government's murder of ethnic Tutsis on an epic scale. The trial is the last stemming from events 18 years ago.

As Gregory Warner reports for NPR's Newscast unit:

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The Two-Way
1:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

At Benghazi Hearing, Sen. Kerry Urges More Diplomatic Resources

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., led a Senate hearing Thursday on the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.
Karen Bleier AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:28 pm

Sen. John Kerry is considered the leading candidate to become the next secretary of state, and that gave added weight to his remarks Thursday as he oversaw testimony on the most volatile foreign policy issue in recent months: the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi.

The two top deputies of the current secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, acknowledged that the State Department failed to provide adequate security in Benghazi, which has remained extremely volatile following last year's ouster of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi.

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Politics
1:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Assault-Style Weapons In The Civilian Market

According to Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center, more people in the United States die every year from gun-related incidents than have been killed in all terrorist attacks worldwide since the 1960s.
iStockPhoto

As the country reels after Friday's massacre in Newtown, Conn., the question of how assault rifles like the one used at Sandy Hook Elementary School entered the civilian market is front and center.

The semi-automatic weapon found at the site where Adam Lanza shot to death 20 children and six adults, for example, is a variant of a type of gun developed for troops during Vietnam.

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Commentary
1:10 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Geoff Nunberg's Word Of The Year: Big Data

Adam Gryko iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 3:18 pm

"Big Data" hasn't made any of the words-of-the-year lists I've seen so far. That's probably because it didn't get the wide public exposure given to items like "frankenstorm," "fiscal cliff" and YOLO.

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Shots - Health News
12:47 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Merck: Niacin Drug Mix Fails To Prevent Heart Attacks, Strokes

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 1:59 pm

Niacin, a B vitamin that raises "good" cholesterol, has failed to benefit heart disease patients when taken in tandem with a statin drug that lowers "bad" cholesterol, according to drug maker Merck.

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The Two-Way
12:19 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Newtown Shootings Inspire '26 Acts Of Kindness' Campaign

A woman and child earlier this week at a makeshift memorial in Newtown, Conn.
Shannon Stapleton Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 2:33 pm

The idea is simple:

Do "26 acts of kindness" — one for each of the 20 children and six adults killed last Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

Since NBC News' Ann Curry tweeted that idea earlier this week, it's taken off. Thousands have tweeted back to her about things they've done.

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The Salt
11:44 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Elixirs Made To Fight Malaria Still Shine On The Modern Bar

Shaken with splash of malaria drug, please. The original James Bond martini is made with gin, vodka and Kina Lillet, a French aperitif wine flavored with a smidge of the anti-malaria drug quinine.
Karen Castillo Farfan NPR

Originally published on Fri December 21, 2012 9:23 am

This week, our colleagues over at the Shots blog have been talking a lot about malaria. And, here at The Salt, that got us thinking about one thing: gin and tonics.

As you probably know, tonic is simply carbonated water mixed with quinine, a bitter compound that just happens to cure a malaria infection, albeit not so well.

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Children's Health
10:53 am
Thu December 20, 2012

What Does Autism Have To Do With It?

Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza has been described as "quiet" and "different." Unconfirmed reports have suggested that he may have had autism or Asperger's syndrome. Host Michel Martin looks at the speculation about Lanza, and talks about the myths and truths about autism and Asperger's syndrome with two moms and a child psychiatrist.

Business
10:37 am
Thu December 20, 2012

From Shoes To M&M's, Custom-Made Products Take Off Online

High school student Jon Ledbetter designs his own "NikeiD" sneakers. Ledbetter can post his designs on Nike's website, where other shoppers can also order them.
Kathy Lohr NPR

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 12:53 pm

It wasn't long ago that all consumers went to retail stores to buy things. These days, of course, you can get just about anything online. Some companies are now taking that shopping experience to the next level, allowing customers to design almost anything individually — from a trench coat to a batch of M&M's.

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The Two-Way
10:26 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Armored Backpacks, Volunteer Guards Among Responses To School Shootings

U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Sgt. Craig Pusley stood guard Wednesday at Hughson Elementary School in Modesto, Calif.
Ed Crisostomo MCT /Landov

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:47 am

The latest stories about how the nation is reacting to last Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn., which left 20 first-graders and six adults dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, include:

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Shots - Health News
10:09 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Gun Lobby's Favorite Part Of The Health Law

There's wide disagreement on whether firearms in your closet are your doctor's business.
iStockphoto.com

Did you know the Affordable Care Act stands up for gun rights? The "Protection of Second Amendment Gun Rights" section says the health law's wellness programs can't require participants to give information about guns in the house. It also keeps the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from collecting data on gun use and stops insurance companies from denying coverage or raising premiums on members because of gun use.

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