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The Salt
3:03 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Kitchen Time Machine: A Culinary Romp Through Soviet History

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

The French novelist Marcel Proust immortalized the connection between food and memory when the narrator of his novel Remembrances of Things Past bit into a madeleine and was transported to thoughts of his childhood.

But what if that madeleine were poisoned, so to speak?

That is the question underlying Russian American writer Anya von Bremzen's new memoir, Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking. Though it contains recipes, this is not a cookbook but rather, a history of a family and of Soviet Russia.

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Parallels
3:02 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Japan's Rice Farmers See Trade Deal As Threat To Tradition

Rice farmers pull a harvest festival cart down country lanes in Narita city, Chiba prefecture. The area is home to Tokyo's main airport, but also has many agricultural areas.
Anthony Kuhn NPR

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

The Japanese city of Narita is best known to the outside world for its major airport that serves Tokyo, the nation's capital city.

Narita is also a rural area of Chiba Prefecture, however, with a long tradition of rice farming.

Toward the end of the summer, Narita's rice farmers gather to pray for bountiful harvests. They dance, play music and ride elaborate festival carts. From afar, the wagons appear to glide through a sea of lush green paddy fields as villagers pull them down Narita's placid country lanes.

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The Salt
3:01 am
Tue September 17, 2013

American Farmers Say They Feed The World, But Do They?

A cornfield is shrouded in mist at sunrise in rural Springfield, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Thu September 19, 2013 6:30 pm

When critics of industrial agriculture complain that today's food production is too big and too dependent on pesticides, that it damages the environment and delivers mediocre food, there's a line that farmers offer in response: We're feeding the world.

It's high-tech agriculture's claim to the moral high ground. Farmers say they farm the way they do to produce food as efficiently as possible to feed the world.

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The Two-Way
2:20 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Mission Success: Costa Concordia Is Vertical

The Costa Concordia is seen after it was lifted upright on the Tuscan Island of Giglio, Italy, early Tuesday morning. Officials declared the results of the 19-hour operation "perfect."
Andrew Medichini AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 12:24 pm

In an operation that took 19 hours, the luxury cruise ship Costa Concordia is now in an upright position.

The head of Italy's Civil Protection agency, Franco Gabrielli, announced the ship had reached vertical and that the operation to rotate it was complete, according to The Associated Press.

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Animals
7:52 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Earwax From Whales Keeps Record Of Ocean Contaminants

A blue whale (and human diver) swimming off the coast of Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, in April 2011.
Amos Nachoun Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 8:07 am

How often do whales clean their ears? Well, never. And so, year after year, their earwax builds up, layer upon layer. According to a study published Monday, these columns of earwax contain a record of chemical pollution in the oceans.

The study used the earwax extracted from the carcass of a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach back in 2007. Scientists at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History collected the wax from inside the skull of the dead whale and preserved it. The column of wax was almost a foot long.

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The Two-Way
7:24 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

JPMorgan To Get Whale Of A Fine For Trading Losses

JPMorgan Chase will reportedly pay a $700 million fine to settle allegations that it made risky trades out of its London office that led to more than $6 billion in losses.
Mark Lennihan AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:38 am

Authorities are set to slap banking giant JPMorgan Chase with a massive fine over the bank's huge trading losses in London last year, confirms NPR's Jim Zarroli.

Though details of the deal are still pending, several reports put the amount at more than $700 million. It comes on the heels of the bank's having recently paid $410 million to settle charges that it manipulated energy markets.

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Code Switch
7:12 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

'It Could Have Been Me': The 1983 Death Of A NYC Graffiti Artist

A passenger boards a subway car painted with graffiti, in New York in 1984.
AP

"It could have been me. It could have been me."

These were the words uttered by painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, who was deeply shaken after he heard the story of a black graffiti artist who was beaten to death by New York City police. Seeing his own life reflected in the death of a fellow artist, Basquiat went on to create Defacement (The Death of Michael Stewart), not only to commemorate the young man's death, but also to challenge the state-sanctioned brutality that men of color could face for pursuing their art in public spaces.

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Code Switch
6:14 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

A War Of Tweets Erupts Over Latest Miss America

Miss New York, Nina Davuluri, walks down the runway after winning the the Miss America 2014 pageant on Sunday in Atlantic City, N.J.
Mel Evans AP

Editor's note: After the crowning of Nina Davuluri as Miss America, we solicited this commentary from writer Anna John, one of the co-founders of the blog Sepia Mutiny. This post includes several embedded tweets that contain explicit language.

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The Two-Way
6:11 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Alleged Navy Yard Killer A Former Reservist, Authorities Say

Aaron Alexis, whom the FBI believes to have been responsible for the shootings at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., is shown in this handout photo released by the FBI on Monday.
FBI Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 10:04 am

Aaron Alexis, the 34-year-old man believed responsible for Monday's shooting rampage that killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard, was a former full-time Navy reservist who had obtained a concealed-carry permit in Texas and was arrested three years ago for illegally discharging a weapon.

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Energy
5:55 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Natural Gas May Be Easier On Climate Than Coal, Despite Methane Leaks

A rig drills a hydraulic fracturing well for natural gas outside Rifle, Colo., in March.
Brennan Linsley AP

Originally published on Mon September 16, 2013 7:11 pm

From the standpoint of global warming, burning natural gas can be better than burning coal, a study published this week suggests.

This is a contentious issue among people who are opposed to the natural gas drilling practice known as fracking. That technique involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into wells to release far more gas than conventional drilling can. Opponents of fracking have been concerned not only about local environmental issues, but also about the potential for methane leaks to make global warming worse.

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