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All Tech Considered
4:43 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Forget The Register: Stores Use Mobile To Make Sales On The Spot

A Nordstrom salesperson shows a customer an online selection of shoes on an in-store iPad. Like some other retailers, Nordstrom is using mobile devices to make on-the-spot sales and check companywide product inventory instantly.
Courtesy of Nordstrom

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

The women's shoe department at Nordstrom's flagship store in Seattle is bustling. Shoppers are trying on everything from stilettos to rain boots — and when they're ready to buy, they can pay up right where they are.

The sales associate simply whips out a modified iPod Touch and scans the shoe box's bar code. The handheld device contains a credit card reader, too, so the customer can just hand over the plastic and sign with a fingertip. There's no trek to the cash register and no line to wait in.

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Shots - Health News
4:37 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

What Porcupines Can Teach Engineers

The barbs on porcupine quills make it easier from them to penetrate the skin.
National Park Service

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:04 am

Pulling out a porcupine quill is painful and slow, as many a dog discovers to its dismay after tangling with the big rodent. But those tenacious quills are inspiring efforts to develop better medical devices, including less painful needles.

It turns out that no one had really picked apart why it's so hard to remove a porcupine quill. Barbs, sure. But the barbs not only stick like mad. They also make it much easier for the quill to pierce skin and flesh.

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Politics
4:25 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Raising Taxes A Key Sticking Point In Fiscal Cliff Talks

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And if past negotiations are any indication, that silence could mean the talks are going well. We're joined now by NPR's congressional reporter Tamara Keith, who has been following developments on the Hill and beyond. And as Ari just said, neither side is talking about the details, but Tamara, what are they saying?

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Digital Life
4:23 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Social Media Advice: Sending Holiday Cards

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Now, from eShopping to eCards. That's this week's topic for our social media experts Baratunde Thurston, former digital director at The Onion and author of the book "How to Be Black," and Deanna Zandt. She's the author of "Share This: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking." When it comes to sending a holiday card, snail mail or email?

BARATUNDE THURSTON: So I actually prefer eCards.

DEANNA ZANDT: Really?

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The Two-Way
3:42 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

The Feds Can Tell Ernest Hemingway's Cats What To Do; Here's Why

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 11:06 am

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Shots - Health News
3:04 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

How A Superbug Traveled The World

Clostridium difficile bacteria produce a toxin that damages the intestine and causes severe diarrhea.
Courtesy of David Goudling/Nature Genetics.

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 8:06 am

Just as the name implies, Clostridium difficile is a difficult pathogen to beat. It causes a nasty infection in your gut, and it's often resistant to many antibiotics.

But C. difficile got even more troublesome about 10 years ago when a particularly virulent form of the bug cropped up in hospitals across the U.S and was no longer vulnerable to one of the most common classes of antibiotics.

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Asia
2:52 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Hunger Still Haunts North Korea, Citizens Say

The U.N. says food supplies in North Korea have increased, but citizens who spoke to NPR say many people are going hungry. In this photo from Aug. 13, workers stand next to a field that was damaged by flooding in Songchon County, North Korea.
David Guttenfelder AP

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

While North Korea has long struggled with dire food shortages, the United Nations now assesses its food situation as being the best in many years. But NPR has had unusual access to five North Koreans in China, who paint a dramatically different, and alarming, picture.

Even as North Korea mourned its leader Kim Jong Il last December, one surprising thing was on people's minds: fish. State-run television showed people lining up in shops; the dear leader's last wish, apparently, was to provide fish to his people.

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Sports
2:45 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Russia's Hockey Glad To Have NHL-Lockout Orphans

Erik Christensen, right, from Lev Praha challenges Alexander Ovechkin from Dynamo Moscow during their KHL ice hockey match in Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, Oct. 9. Ovechkin is among those NHL players who were signed by European clubs because of the NHL lockout.
Petr David Josek AP

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 3:43 am

As the National Hockey League lockout drags into its 86th day, which featured news that more games have been cancelled including the All-Star game, some of the league's biggest stars are getting plenty of action back in their home countries.

In Russia, major NHL players such as Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin are giving a boost to the fledgling KHL—the Kontinental Hockey League.

Russian NHL players are scattered throughout the KHL teams that still carry names from the Soviet era when Russia dominated world hockey.

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The Two-Way
2:20 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

Navy SEAL Killed During Afghan Rescue Is Identified

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 8:44 pm

The member of Navy SEAL Team 6 killed during this weekend's rescue in Afghanistan of an American doctor was Petty Officer 1st Class Nicholas Checque, 28, of Monroeville, Pa.

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The Picture Show
2:20 pm
Mon December 10, 2012

A Black And White 1860s Fundraiser

Rosa, Charley and Rebecca are three of eight freed slaves who sat for portraits in 1863-1864 that were sold to raise money to fund schools for emancipated slaves in Louisiana. The three were chosen because it was believed their near-white complexions would draw more sympathy — and support — from a country torn apart by slavery and civil war.
Charles Paxson Library of Congress

Originally published on Mon December 10, 2012 5:05 pm

They look like any other 19th century vignettes and portraits of children kneeling in prayer or cloaked in the U.S. flag.

But these cartes de visite (a calling card with a portrait mounted on it that was all the rage during the 1860s) featured Charles, Rebecca and Rosa — former slave children who looked white.

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