Arts & Life

Arts & Life
4:09 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

A 'Hobbit,' Off On His Unhurried Journey

Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) takes a fantastic adventure across Middle-earth in Peter Jackson's prequel to his Lord of the Rings trilogy.
James Fisher Warner Bros. Pictures

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

The Hobbit's path to the screen may have started out as tortuous as a trek through the deadly Helcaraxe, filled with detours (Guillermo del Toro was initially going to direct), marked by conflict (New Zealand labor disputes) and strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles (so many that the filmmakers threatened to move the shoot to Australia).

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Arts & Life
4:03 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Fighting For Their Family, One Day At A Time

When a boy with Down syndrome (Isaac Leyva) is abandoned by his mother, a neighbor couple (Garret Dillahunt and Alan Cumming) takes him in.
Music Box Films

It would take a heart of stone — or zero tolerance for soap — to resist Any Day Now, a full-throttle weepie about a West Hollywood gay couple trying to adopt a neglected boy with Down syndrome.

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Arts & Life
3:44 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Chronology: The Benghazi Attack And The Fallout

An armed man waves his rifle as buildings and cars are engulfed in flames after being set on fire inside the U.S. Consulate compound in Benghazi late on Sept. 11.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 20, 2012 10:31 am

A look at the events surrounding the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, and the controversy that followed.

Before The Attack: February 2011-Sept. 10, 2012

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Arts & Life
3:29 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

VIDEO: Speed Camera Nabs Car Sitting At Red Light

A screengrab of the video a speed-camera sent to driver Daniel Doty shows his car idling at a red light. Doty received a $40 fine for speeding.
Baltimore Sun

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 5:54 pm

When most drivers get a ticket from a speed-zone camera, there's little they can do but pay the fine. After all, the ticket often includes photographic proof that their car was over the limit. But a Maryland driver is fighting his $40 fine precisely because of what the photos show: his car, sitting at a red light.

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Arts & Life
3:27 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Cooking Up Holiday Songs From Scratch

Left to right: Seth Jabour, Amy Carlson and Syd Butler of Office Romance. The group's new EP is called I Love the Holidays.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

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Arts & Life
3:25 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

HSBC Critic: Too Big To Indict May Mean Too Big To Exist

HSBC has agreed to pay $1.92 billion to settle a multiyear U.S. criminal probe into money-laundering lapses at the British lender, the largest penalty ever paid by a bank.
Edgard Garrido Landov/Reuters

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 7:01 pm

Federal and state authorities have received criticism after deciding not to indict HSBC on accusations that it laundered money for Mexican drug cartels and conducted prohibited transactions on behalf of countries like Iran and Sudan. Instead, they entered into a $1.9 billion settlement this week with the bank.

There's no question that HSBC is a massive, sprawling operation. It markets itself as the world's local bank. But watchdogs of the banking industry say mere size should never insulate an organization from the law.

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Arts & Life
3:24 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Gravity Never Sleeps, And Other Lessons Nations Learn From Space Programs

This picture received from North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday shows an orbit image of the satellite Kwangmyongsong-3, being monitored on a large screen at a satellite control center in Cholsan county, North Pyongan province in North Korea.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:51 pm

Sputnik 1 just beeped. China's first satellite, launched more than a decade later, simply radioed a communist anthem back to Earth. So far, North Korea's first satellite appears to be less accomplished.

And that shouldn't be a surprise.

Given the history of first orbital space shots, North Korea's apparent struggle with its mission is fairly typical, says David Akin, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Maryland.

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Arts & Life
3:20 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Error Of The Year: CNN And Fox News Share The Dishonor

Poynter.org

We didn't make the list, and boy are we glad.

CNN and Fox News share the shame of the Poynter Institute's "error of the year" for mistakenly telling their audiences that the Supreme Court had struck down Obamacare.

In truth, the court had done the opposite.

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Arts & Life
2:56 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Good Tidings Of Great Joy: Google Maps App Released For iPhone

A screenshot of Google Maps on an iPhone.
NPR

Google's native maps app for the iPhone finally was released Wednesday, and there was much rejoicing. Just in time for Christmas, the three wise men are able to find the manger without spilling their frankincense or myrrh.

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Arts & Life
2:50 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Ah, Wilderness! Nature Hike Could Unlock Your Imagination

Maybe you can find that creative spark out in Zion National Park in southwestern Utah.
Jeff Turner Wikimedia Commons

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 4:50 pm

Want to be more creative? Drop that iPad and head to the great outdoors.

That's the word from David Strayer, a cognitive neuroscientist who studies multitasking at the University of Utah. He knew that every time he went into the southern Utah desert, far from cellular service, he started to think more clearly.

But he wanted to know if others had the same experience.

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Arts & Life
2:38 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Many Cups Of Tea: The Business Of Sipping In Western Sahara

A high-end tea set in a Saharawi home in Western Sahara.
Eliza Barclay NPR

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 4:16 pm

If you want to get anything done in Western Sahara, be prepared to drink tea — very, very sweet tea.

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Arts & Life
2:28 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

A Sweet Bread, A Wash Basin And A Shot Of Whiskey

Cookbook author Marilynn Brass says eating Virginia Lima's traditional Portuguese Sweet Bread is like biting into a cloud.
Andy Ryan

Originally published on Tue March 26, 2013 5:45 pm

For the holidays, why not give a gift that tastes like a cloud? Portuguese Sweet Bread may be as close as you can get, according to Marilynn Brass, one-half of the cookbook duo the Brass Sisters.

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Arts & Life
2:10 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Why Legos Are So Expensive — And So Popular

Lego minifigures are displayed on October 18, 2012 in the newly-opened store of the Danish construction toys group at the "So Ouest" shopping center in Levallois-Perret, west of Paris.
Thomas Samson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:26 am

I went to Toys R Us recently to buy my son a Lego set for Hanukkah. Did you know a small box of Legos costs $60? Sixty bucks for 102 plastic blocks!

In fact, I learned, Lego sets can sell for thousands of dollars. And despite these prices, Lego has about 70 percent of the construction-toy market. Why? Why doesn't some competitor sell plastic blocks for less? Lego's patents expired a while ago. How hard could it be to make a cheap knockoff?

Luke, a 9-year-old Lego expert, set me straight.

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Arts & Life
2:02 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

'World On A String': John Pizzarelli Jazzes It Up

In a new memoir, jazz guitarist and son of jazz legend Bucky Pizzarelli tells stories from growing up in a musical household and making a name for himself as a musician.
Goldberg McDuffie Communications

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:13 pm

Brothers John and Martin Pizzarelli were born into a family of musicians. Their father is the famed jazz guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli, who, during the 1960s, performed in the Tonight Show Band and who worked as a session player for rock acts such as Dion and the Belmonts. Musical greats, too, were in and out of the Pizzarelli house in Paterson, New Jersey, as John and Martin were growing up. It makes perfect sense then that, eventually, Martin picked up the upright bass professionally and John found his calling with jazz guitar, singing and songwriting.

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Arts & Life
12:17 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Sales Soar In Gaza Of Fragrance Named For Rocket Fired At Israel

Bottles of M75 on sale at a shop in Gaza City. The fragrance is named for the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
Ashraf Amra APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 7:50 am

Before anyone else does, we'll make the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" reference that comes to mind when you read this:

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