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Essays
7:03 am
Sun January 6, 2013

At Home In Fantasy's Nerd-Built Worlds

iStockphoto.com

Once, in an age long past, "epic" was a dirty word.

Way back when I was a young nerd growing up in the Midwest in the 1980s — long before I became a professional writer — histories of magic rings and chronicles of ancient evils were not exactly mainstream fare. Indeed, to publicize one's knowledge of Elvish sword-names and Orcish myth was to contract a kind of voluntary leprosy.

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You Must Read This
7:03 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Adjust Your Vision: Tolstoy's Last And Darkest Novel

cover detail

George Saunders' latest book is called Tenth of December: Stories.

It's become commonplace to say that good fiction "wakes us up." The speaker usually means that he — a righteous, likable person, living in the correct way — becomes, post-reading, temporarily even more righteous and likable.

Resurrection, Tolstoy's last and darkest novel, works differently.

It's a shocking and impolite book, seemingly incapable of that last-minute epiphanic updraft or lyric reversal that lets us walk away from even the darkest novel fundamentally intact.

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Strange News
7:00 am
Sun January 6, 2013

It Would Take Way More Seagulls To Lift James' Peach

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 10:02 am

Host Rachel Martin delves into the physics behind Roald Dahl's childrens' classic, James and the Giant Peach. Physics students at the University of Leicester calculated that it would take 2,425,907 seagulls to lift James' Giant Peach, making Roald Dahl's number (501), entirely insufficient.

Movies
7:00 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Film Flubs In 2012: A List Of Inconsistencies

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 10:02 am

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

2012 was a great year for U.S. movie ticket sales - nearly $11 billion. Some of the highest grossing films include "The Avengers."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE AVENGERS")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: (as character) What have I to fear?

ROBERT DOWNEY JR.: (as Tony Sparks) The Avengers - that's what we call ourselves. Earth's mightiest heroes type thing.

MARTIN: "The Dark Knight Rises."

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE DARK KNIGHT RISES")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: (as character) I need to see Bruce Wayne.

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The Two-Way
6:42 am
Sun January 6, 2013

The Tax Man Takes Aim At The World's Wealthy

Protesters demonstrate outside a Starbucks coffee shop in London last month. Protests were held at Starbucks throughout the U.K. after it was revealed that the coffee chain had paid almost no corporate taxes for the last three years.
Peter Macdiarmid Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 10:17 am

As 2013 begins with wealthy Americans in line for bigger tax bills, they're not alone. Tax fairness takes the spotlight worldwide this year, as cash-strapped governments look to impose more of the burden on well-heeled companies, individuals and institutions, and to catch and punish tax cheaters.

This week, as the U.S. Congress averted a plunge off the fiscal precipice, British Prime Minister David Cameron sent a letter to leaders of the Group of Eight countries that make up about half of the world's economic output.

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Music Interviews
6:15 am
Sun January 6, 2013

The Voice Of 'Schoolhouse Rock' On The Series At 40

Schoolhouse Rock!, the series of educational shorts that ran on Saturday mornings in the 1970s and '80s, is 40 this year.
ABC

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 10:02 am

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Performing Arts
6:15 am
Sun January 6, 2013

A Way Without Words: Mummenschanz Mimes Celebrate 40

Troupe member Philipp Egli says the genius of Mummenschanz lies in simplicity. The most beautiful pieces, he says, start with black space and some people on stage.
Mummenschanz

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 10:02 am

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U.S.
6:15 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Without Broader Action, Conn. Town Writes Its Own Gun Laws

The three selectmen for the town of Weston, Conn., David Muller (left), Gayle Weinstein and Dennis Tracey, hold a town meeting in which they discuss a proposed gun-control ordinance.
Jeff Cohen for NPR

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 1:35 pm

After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the state's governor and President Obama called for stricter gun laws.

In the meantime, at least one small town in Connecticut is drafting new ordinances of its own.

The town meeting in Weston begins with the Pledge of Allegiance. Moving through the agenda, the attendees discuss appointments to the Commission on Aging, there's some talk of the budget and two fourth-graders make their case for eliminating plastic bags.

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It's All Politics
6:15 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Former Sen. Scott Brown May Be Eyeing Quick Return To Washington

Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., attends the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 30. Scott lost his re-election bid, but could be running for office again in a matter of weeks.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Sun January 6, 2013 7:08 pm

Among the new members of Congress sworn in this week was Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And within days, the Massachusetts Democrat could become her state's senior senator.

That's because 28-year incumbent Sen. John Kerry is expected to be confirmed soon as secretary of state.

And replacing him later this year after a special election could be the very senator whom Warren unseated: Republican Scott Brown. For Brown, it would be an unusual second chance.

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Shots - Health News
6:15 am
Sun January 6, 2013

Mexico Aims To Save Babies And Moms With Modern Midwifery

Infants used to be born at home to traditional midwives.
Mónica Ortiz Uribe

Originally published on Mon January 7, 2013 11:04 am

In Mexico these days, the majority of babies are born in hospitals. That hasn't helped reduce the number of maternal deaths, though. So health officials are re-making the centuries-old tradition of midwifery. They are betting a new kind of midwife, one trained in a clinical setting, can offer a solution.

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