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Planet Money
3:17 am
Fri November 9, 2012

The Secret Genius Of Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift's fourth studio album, Red, sold 1.2 million copies in its first week, the highest first-week sales total in a decade.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 10:14 am

Taylor Swift's new album, Red, sold more 1.2 million copies in its first week — the highest first-week sales total for an album in over a decade. She did it partly by answering a surprisingly complicated question: What's the best way to sell an album?

There are so many ways to release your music these days. You can sell it at Amazon, iTunes, Wal-Mart, and Starbucks. You can release it to streaming sites like Spotify. You can go on tour.

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Movie Interviews
3:16 am
Fri November 9, 2012

From The Theater To MI6: Sam Mendes On 'Skyfall'

Sam Mendes, best known for his Academy Award-nominated films American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, takes a turn with the action film Skyfall.
Stuart Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 12:46 pm

A new James Bond movie opens this week, 50 years after the first film, Dr. No.

The latest installment, Skyfall, finds Daniel Craig once again in 007's perfectly tailored suit. And this time, Bond is battling both the bad guys and his own mortality.

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Asia
3:16 am
Fri November 9, 2012

For China's Rising Leader, A Cave Was Once Home

Xi Jinping (left) who is poised to become China's next leader, spent seven years living in a cave home in the 1960s and '70s after his father fell from power.
Lan Hongguang Xinhua /Landov

Originally published on Sun November 11, 2012 9:47 pm

Far from the political theater of China's Communist Party Congress in Beijing this week is a cave that the country's next leader once called home.

Just 15 at the time, Xi Jinping was sent by his family in Beijing to the remote rural village Liangjiahe in the hills of Shaanxi Province, hundreds of miles away, where for seven years he lived in a cave scooped out of the yellow loess hillsides.

He arrived there in 1968, after his father, a revolutionary fighter and former vice premier, had fallen from political favor.

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Author Interviews
6:02 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

What Happens When Kids Fall 'Far From The Tree'

iStockphoto.com

As the old saying goes, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In other words, the child takes after the parent; the son is a chip off the old block.

Of course, that's often not the case. Straight parents have gay children and vice versa; autistic children are born to parents who don't have autism; and transgender kids are born to parents who are perfectly comfortable with their gender.

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Monkey See
5:47 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Circus Roboticus, Or: This Actor Is A Serious Heavyweight

The cast and creative team of Sans Objet learned the hard way that a 2,800-pound robot can be a bit of a diva: Because he's run by a computer program, he never forgets his blocking.
Algae Bory

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 11:45 am

Whenever the military rolls out some revolutionary new robot, folks are quick with the Skynet jokes. But in recent years, some robotic-evolution experiments suggest that robotic rebellion might end in applause rather than annihilation.

Take, for example, the robot KUKA — the hulking star of a French nouveau-cirque performance, Sans Objet, which premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday. It's no special effect; it's a real robot, developed by the automotive industry in the 1970s.

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The Two-Way
5:47 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

CBO Warns Again: Ignoring Fiscal Cliff Could Result In Recession

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:57 pm

The so-called fiscal cliff is a double-edged sword, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says in a new report issued today.

Why? Ignoring the huge tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year "will probably cause the economy to fall back into a recession."

But: "They will make the economy stronger later in the decade and beyond."

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Movie Reviews
5:45 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Bond Is Back And Living Up To His Reputation

Daniel Craig returns for a third outing as James Bond in Skyfall, the 23rd installment in the spy movie franchise, and its 50th-anniversary release.
Francois Duhamel Sony Pictures

Originally published on Thu November 8, 2012 6:02 pm

Istanbul: Somebody's stolen a hard drive with info sensitive enough that ... oh, who cares? Bond is giving chase, and that's all that matters — cars careening through bazaars, motorcycles flying across rooftops until Daniel Craig's 007 lands atop a speeding train.

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Shots - Health News
5:33 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Why Energy Drinks May Not Be The Answer For Sleepy Soldiers

U.S. Army Pvt. Freymond Tyler sleeps on a laptop next to his gun at combat outpost Makuan in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, in 2011.
Romeo Gacad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 12, 2012 11:12 am

The promise of a quick boost has made caffeine-rich energy drinks all the rage among soldiers in combat zones.

The troops endure long hours under difficult conditions. But those convenient pick-me-ups could come with a steep price: difficulty sleeping.

Soldiers in Afghanistan who consumed three or more energy drinks daily were more likely to sleep fewer hours and have their sleep disrupted because of stress or illness, researchers found.

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It's All Politics
5:20 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Likely Suspects: Guessing Obama's Second-Term Cabinet

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick introduces President Obama at a Democratic National Committee fundraiser last year. Could Patrick be chosen to replace Eric Holder as attorney general?
Mandel Ngan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 9, 2012 6:18 pm

Every second-term president has to rebuild some or all of his Cabinet as high-profile members often time their resignations with the end of the president's first term. President Obama already is expected to receive a number of resignations, which he will have to fill.

With the guessing game under way, here's a look at some of the people who may emerge from a second-term Cabinet shakeup:

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Book Reviews
5:17 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Giving Wing To A Story Of Climate Change

Barbara Kingsolver's previous books include The Poisonwood Bible and The Lacuna.
David Wood

Originally published on Fri May 31, 2013 9:43 am

The mercury hit 100 for ten consecutive days in some places last summer, and the drought of 2012 may be a preview of what climate change will bring: amber waves of extremely short corn.

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