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4:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Why Is It So Hard To Make A 100 Percent American Hand Dryer?

The Xlerator hand dryer is made almost entirely of American components and assembled in Massachusetts. But the company's owner says it's simply not cost-effective to use an American-made motor.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:17 pm

Fifteen years ago, Denis Gagnon bought a company that made a product nobody really liked: hand dryers. But he quickly managed to turn Massachusetts-based Excel Dryer into an innovator with the Xlerator — a high-speed dryer that cut drying time from more than 30 seconds to less than 15.

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Music Reviews
4:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Reissued And Relevant, Marcos Valle's '70s Bossa Nova Returns

Marcos Valle in Los Angeles in 1968.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:36 pm

Marcos Valle wasn't identified with Brazil's influential Tropicalia movement during the 1960s and 1970s. But, like his peers Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, he made ambitious and subversive pop music during those years, mixing American soul and rock with samba, bossa nova and other Brazilian styles.

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Music
4:48 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Easy-Listening 'Muzak' Reborn As 'Mood Media'

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 6:36 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From a death in the music world, now to something of a rebirth.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

SIEGEL: Muzak, best known for its inoffensive, unobtrusive, ultra-bland music is changing its brand name. The company announced today that it will now be known as Mood, after Muzak's owner, Mood Media. It's chairman and CEO said in a statement that this marked the end of an iconic American brand, or as fast company put it, the musical equivalent of white bread.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

JOSEPH LANZA: Muzak was all over the place.

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World Cafe
4:43 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Festival In The Desert On World Cafe

Tinariwen at Mali's Festival in the Desert.
Alice Mutasa Alice Mutasa Photography

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 11:16 am

In light of ongoing conflicts in Northern Mali, we checked in with Chris Nolan, an organizer of Festival in the Desert — the music festival that takes place each January in the Sahara region where much of the recent fighting has occurred. On today's installment of World Café, Nolan discusses the festival's history and elaborates on the decision to postpone the event this year.

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World Cafe
4:43 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Guards On World Cafe

Guards.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 3:35 pm

Richie Follin is the leader of the Brooklyn pop-rock band Guards. Listening to the group, it's hard not to mention the singer's older sister, Madeline Follin of Cults, as their shared upbringing and influences are obvious.

Beyond literal lineage, Cults and Guards share an aesthetic of buzzy and revitalized old-school pop. In perfect little-brother form, though, Guards is a bit edgier — a little grungier and more eclectic in a way that people with cool older siblings often are.

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The Two-Way
4:39 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

White House Says Obama Will Visit Israel This Spring

Originally published on Sun February 10, 2013 8:49 am

President Obama will make his first presidential visit to Israel this spring, the White House announced this afternoon.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney did not give an indication of date, but he said that Obama will also visit the West Bank and Jordan during the trip.

As The Washington Post points out, the trip comes at a time when Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations have stalled. The Post reports:

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Shots - Health News
4:19 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Exercise Can Be Good For The Heart, And Maybe For Sperm, Too

Human sperm race to fertilize an egg.
David M. Phillips Science Source

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 10:39 am

Guys, it may be time to get off the couch and hit the treadmill — especially if you want to have kids.

Okay, we all know that exercise is good for us. It can reduce the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to name a few benefits. Now researchers say physical activity may also help keep sperm healthy and happy.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Mixing Alcohol With Diet Soda May Make You Drunker

The rum in that Cuba libre will hit your bloodstream faster if it's mixed with diet cola.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 4:36 pm

Looking to cut back on the calories in your cocktail by mixing, say, diet soda and rum? Well, get ready for the buzz.

According to the results of a new study, this combination will leave you drunker than if you'd mixed the liquor with a sugary, caloric mixer.

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Kitchen Window
3:56 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Chocolate: Out Of The Box, Into The Frying Pan

Peter Ogburn for NPR

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 12:02 pm

Chocolate is like sex or pizza: Even when it's bad, it's still pretty good. There are those who prefer light, refreshing desserts after a big meal, but I think those people are crazy. I always gravitate to the most decadent dessert on the menu, which is usually laden with chocolate. And while I love the stuff, there is nothing sadder than giving or receiving a box of boring chocolates on Valentine's Day. Each year, men and women shamefully duck into grocery stores and pharmacies to grab a box of assorted chocolates. Because nothing says "I love you" quite like chocolate from a gas station.

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The Two-Way
3:50 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

5 Questions About Justice Department Memo On Targeted Killings

Originally published on Wed February 6, 2013 6:48 am

A confidential Justice Department memo obtained by NBC News outlines legal theories the Obama administration has used to justify killing American citizens abroad. Here are five key questions and answers about the document:

1) What is it?

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