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Author Interviews
6:00 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Writers Illustrated: Q&A With Jeff VanderMeer, Author Of 'Wonderbook'

When you hear the phrase, "writing guide," unpleasant things may spring to mind: sentence diagrams or even — shudder to think — your high school textbook.

Now, imagine the exact opposite, and you might get Jeff VanderMeer's Wonderbook. It's a writing guide, sure, but it's unlikely you've seen one like this before. Misbegotten fish serve as models for revision. Dragons butt in from the margins to contradict lessons. There's even a talking penguin — but don't get him started on what he thinks of the duck.

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Business
5:34 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

More Foreign Firms Look To Make It In The USA

Acura MDX sport utility vehicles roll off the assembly line at a Honda plant in Lincoln, Ala., in May. Overseas investors have U.S. assets totaling nearly $4 trillion, including auto plants, banks and mines.
Joe Songer AL.com/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:44 pm

When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."

And sometimes it does mean just that.

But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.

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It's All Politics
5:22 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Booker Brings Dash Of Diversity To Still Old, White Senate

Vice President Joe Biden swears in Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) as his mother, Carolyn, holds a Bible on Thursday.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 4, 2013 10:05 am

Cory Booker is a Yale-educated lawyer and erstwhile tweeter who, as mayor of Newark, N.J., displayed a knack for grabbing headlines while building a mixed legacy as the troubled city's leader.

He's also black, and Thursday at noon the 44-year-old Democrat was sworn in as a U.S. senator, making Congress's upper chamber just a tiny bit more diverse in more ways than one.

Booker, who on Oct. 16 was elected as New Jersey's first black senator, will join Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina as the chamber's only black senators.

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Code Switch
5:07 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

What's So 'Chinese' About A Chinese Fire Drill?

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:09 pm

Enter the phrase "Chinese fire drill" into YouTube and you'll find page upon page of videos of a classic car prank that's been popular since the 1960s.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Everything At Stake, And Everything On The Table

Ender (Asa Butterfield) is a prodigy military cadet being trained by a team of adults — including Mazer Rackham (Ben Kingsley) — to fend off a hostile alien race in a much-discussed adaptation of Ender's Game.
Richard Foreman Jr. Summit Entertainment

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 4:33 pm

"When the war is over, we can debate the morality of what we do."

This sentiment, expressed by Harrison Ford's gruff Col. Hyrum Graff, pretty accurately sums up what director and screenwriter Gavin Hood is trying to do in his adaptation of the widely read 1985 sci-fi novel Ender's Game.

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Movie Reviews
5:03 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

'Tai Chi' Master: Keanu Reeves Takes The Director's Chair

Making his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi, Keanu Reeves also appears as the film's rich, ruthless villain.
RADiUS-TWC

Keanu Reeves' directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi, is basically the anti-Kill Bill. Both movies are quilted together from their auteurs' favorite Asian action flicks, but where Tarantino's was overheated, Reeves' is elegantly iced. It's martial-arts mayhem with a touch of zen.

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The Salt
4:56 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Heat, Drought Draw Farmers Back To Sorghum, The 'Camel Of Crops'

A test field of sorghum outside Manhattan, Kan., planted by Kansas State University.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:07 pm

Much of the world is turning hotter and dryer these days, and it's opening new doors for a water-saving cereal that's been called "the camel of crops": sorghum. In an odd twist, this old-fashioned crop even seems to be catching on among consumers who are looking for "ancient grains" that have been relatively untouched by modern agriculture.

Sorghum isn't nearly as famous as the big three of global agriculture: corn, rice and wheat. But maybe it should be. It's a plant for tough times, and tough places.

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Movie Interviews
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Four Decades On, 'The Exorcist' Is Still A Head-Turner

Director William Friedkin, shown here with Blair during shooting, says the film is more about questions of faith than it is about horror.
Warner Brothers/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 6:01 pm

The Exorcist was the story of one girl's demonic possession and the priest who saved her. It was engaging, terrifying and masterful — and it gave new meaning to the phrase "a real head-turner."

William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay, adapting his own best-selling book. The film starred Ellen Burstyn and a very young Linda Blair — barely 12 years old when shooting began. William Friedkin, who had recently won an Academy Award for The French Connection, was the director.

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Law
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Federal Court To Weigh Ohio's Execution Drug Cocktail

Ronald Phillips, convicted of the rape and murder of a 3-year-old girl, is scheduled to be executed Nov. 14. A court hearing may decide whether the new drug cocktail can be used.
Ohio Department of Rehabilitations and Corrections

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:51 pm

In Ohio on Friday, a hearing in federal court could decide whether that state will become the first to use a particular cocktail of deadly drugs to execute an inmate. It's the latest chapter in what's become a troubled history of capital punishment in that state.

While Texas is far and away the busiest state in the nation for executions, Ohio is just seven spots behind it. It has carried out 52 executions since 1999 and three so far this year, with another one scheduled in two weeks. And that one, the execution of Ronald Phillips, could use a new drug cocktail.

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Economy
4:50 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Economic, Political Volatility Cloud Housing Recovery

Despite a strong housing market this year, experts say the recent economic drama has contributed to less stability in real estate.
Steven Senne AP

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:30 pm

Housing has been one of the bright spots in the economy this year. This week, a report showed that home prices in the top 20 cities continued their robust upward march in August. There are also far fewer foreclosure sales and other signs of distress in the market.

But the Federal Reserve expressed concern Wednesday about the slowing housing market. Pending home sales fell far more than expected. And housing experts are bracing for some volatility.

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