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The Two-Way
3:11 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Parents Say School Security Has Increased Since Newtown Massacre

Most parents of elementary school-age children say their schools boosted security following last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., according to a poll from NPR in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health.

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Fine Art
3:10 am
Sat December 14, 2013

In The Background: Art You May Never Notice

Mountain Gorillas, one of the first dioramas on which Fred Scherer apprenticed, completed in 1936.
Polina Yamshchikov for NPR

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 10:31 pm

You've probably never heard of painter Fred F. Scherer. If you've ever been to the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, though, you may have seen his paintings — probably without realizing it.

Scherer died at age 98 a few weeks ago. His art — those big murals you see behind taxidermic animals in museum dioramas — deserves a closer look.

We visited the AMNH to photograph some of the installations containing his paintings, and spoke with Stephen C. Quinn, who recently retired as an artist from the museum, and knew Scherer well.

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All Tech Considered
4:56 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

A Movement To Bake Online Privacy Into Modern Life, 'By Design'

"The death of privacy has been predicted repeatedly over the years," says Ann Cavoukian, Ontario's privacy commissioner. "And my response to that is, 'Say no to that,' because, if you value your freedom, you will value your privacy."
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:46 pm

As we become a more digitally connected society, one question has become increasingly pervasive: Is the expectation of privacy still reasonable?

Ann Cavoukian, the privacy commissioner for Ontario, Canada, thinks so. She contends that privacy — including privacy online — is foundational to a free society. She developed a framework for approaching privacy issues back in the 1990s that's been recognized around the world.

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Nelson Mandela, 1918-2013
3:59 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

South Africans Reflect On Mandela's 'Rainbow Nation'

A South African boy stands in front of a mural of Nelson Mandela in Soweto, South Africa, earlier this month.
Veronique Tadjo for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:39 pm

At the 1964 trial that convicted Nelson Mandela and his co-accused, and sent them to prison for life, he made a statement to the packed courthouse, which he repeated on his release in 1990, after 27 years in detention.

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The Record
3:58 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Beyonce's New Album Is Entertainment's October Surprise

Beyonce.
Nick Farrell Photography Courtesy of Columbia Records

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

Thursday night — just as Twitter was coming down from Scandal's midseason finale, and it's hard to think of this as a coincidence — Beyonce dropped an album out of nowhere. The news ricocheted through social media. People called it Bey Day and Christmas come early.

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All Tech Considered
3:36 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Twitter Critics Say It's Not Sensitive Enough To Cyberbullying

Twitter revoked its new blocking policy after backlash from users.
Leon Neal AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:01 pm

On Thursday, Twitter introduced — and later in the day, withdrew — a change to its "blocking" policy.

Thursday afternoon, the microblogging site started allowing users who had been blocked to continue to follow, respond to or retweet posts from people who had blocked them.

User response came swiftly. Many were outraged that the change allowed stalkers and abusers open access to their posts.

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Around the Nation
3:36 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

For Many Urban Schools, Gun Violence Remains A Daily Reality

Trevor Watson, 14, says he hears gunshots in his Oakland neighborhood so often that "it doesn't even affect me anymore."
Brett Myers Youth Radio

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:56 pm

With its colorful box-style buildings with big windows, Castlemont High in Oakland, Calif., looks like any other school. But inside, teacher Demetria Huntsman and Joseph Hopkins, 16, are deconstructing a shooting that happened out front just 30 minutes before.

"We just, like, heard gunshots," Joseph explains. "We just ... turned around and started running. That's the closest I've ever came to almost, like, actually getting shot."

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The Salt
3:31 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Call the FBI! China Is Trying To Steal America's Seeds!

Seed corn sits in the hopper of a planter.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:54 pm

If you think grains of rice or kernels of corn are free gifts of nature, think again. Seed companies — and the FBI — take a very different attitude, and walking off with the wrong seeds can land you in very serious trouble indeed.

In two apparently unrelated cases this week, federal prosecutors arrested citizens of China and charged them with stealing seeds that American companies consider valuable intellectual property.

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The Two-Way
3:30 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Catch The Geminid Meteor Shower Tonight

A Geminid meteor streaks across the sky early Friday near Scotland, Md.
Morgan Walker NPR

Stargazers are in for a treat if they're willing to wake up really early Saturday morning.

The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks tonight, potentially serving up more than a hundred shooting stars per hour. The meteors will appear to emanate from the constellation Gemini (thus the name), but that's just an optical illusion. The meteors are actually remains of an asteroid whose fragments burn up in Earth's atmosphere as our planet passes through the field of debris.

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It's All Politics
3:19 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

Cost Of Battling Filibuster Rules: No Sleep Or Fundraising

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 4:31 pm

When Senate Democrats voted last month to limit the minority party's ability to filibuster most presidential nominees, inside-the-Beltway hand-wringing commenced.

The Senate would never be the same without a 60-vote threshold on controversial matters! Just wait and see the dysfunction! The retribution!

Gregory Koger, historian and pre-eminent expert on the filibuster, was not among the doomsayers.

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