Space
2:01 am
Tue November 8, 2011

The Plutonium Problem: Who Pays For Space Fuel?

NASA's next Mars rover, Curiosity, seen in this artist's rendering, will use 8 pounds of plutonium-238 as its power supply. That's a significant portion of the remaining space fuel. NASA and the Department of Energy have offered to split the costs of producing the fuel, but Congress has so far opposed that arrangement.
NASA

When NASA's next Mars rover blasts off later this month, the car-sized robot will carry with it nearly eight pounds of a special kind of plutonium fuel that's in short supply.

NASA has relied on that fuel, called plutonium-238, to power robotic missions for five decades.

But with supplies running low, scientists who want the government to make more are finding that it sometimes seems easier to chart a course across the solar system than to navigate the budget process inside Washington, D.C.

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Europe
11:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

In Spain, Low Wages Become Increasingly Common

David Horcajada fishes a beer can out of his backpack at a Madrid square.

"Five years ago, believe me, there were really few people drinking on the streets," he says. "Right now, everybody is drinking on the street because people cannot afford to pay for drinks at bars. So since we're Spanish and we do drink, we party a lot, so it doesn't matter if we don't have money. We'll keep doing it."

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Fine Art
11:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Wal-Mart Heiress Brings Art Museum To The Ozarks

A model shows a view of the Crystal Bridges pavilion some museum staff refer to as "the armadillo" because of how its curved, copper bands resemble the animal's shell.
John Horner Crystal Bridges Museum of Art

The American art world's biggest event in decades is happening this week — but it's not where you'd expect it to be.

Bentonville, Ark. is home to Wal-Mart headquarters and, starting Nov. 11, it will also be home to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, and what some critics are calling one of the world's best collections of American art.

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Law
11:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Do Police Need Warrants For GPS Tracking Devices?

The Supreme Court considers whether GPS monitoring devices like this one may be affixed to suspects' cars without a warrant from a judge.
Yasir Afifi AP

Originally published on Tue November 8, 2011 10:52 am

The U.S. Supreme Court, an institution steeped in tradition, steps into the turbulent world of new technology Tuesday. At issue before the court is whether police must get a warrant from a judge before they can attach a GPS tracking device to a car so they can monitor a suspect's every movement for an indefinite period of time.

The case could have enormous implications for privacy rights in the information age.

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Science
11:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

For Copernicus, A 'Perfect Heaven' Put Sun At Center

Nicolaus Copernicus made the astounding claim that Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around. He's seen here circa 1515.
Hulton Archive Getty Images

It doesn't happen often, but there are times when a single book turns the world on its head. Isaac Newton's Principia unraveled the mystery of gravity. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species explained how evolution worked.

But before either of these, there was On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus. It was published in 1543. In it, Copernicus made the astounding claim that Earth revolves around the sun, not the other way around.

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Sports
11:01 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Some Local Businesses Hurting Without NBA Assist

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (left) and Miami Heat forward LeBron James warm up before an NBA charity basketball invitational game in Oklahoma City on Oct. 23. The NBA had a series of exhibition games to keep players in the spotlight during the lockout. The lockout is hurting local businesses and arena employees in Oklahoma City.
Sue Ogrocki AP

Originally published on Tue November 8, 2011 8:22 am

From Los Angeles to New York City and Miami to Dallas, professional basketball fans face November without the NBA. The league keeps canceling games because of the ongoing lockout as players and owners squabble over future contracts.

Most NBA cities have other professional sports to turn to with hoops on hiatus. But some markets, like downtown Oklahoma City, only have one game in town.

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The Two-Way
5:00 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Syrian Government Steps Up Assaults Against Protesters

A frame grab from a video posted on YouTube on November 4, shows two young boys sitting next to the body of a dead man identified as Yahya Hamad from Baba Amer neighborhood in Homs, where a rights watchdog has said that several victims were killed by Syrian security forces despite a Damascus pledge to withdraw forces from protest hubs.
AFP/Getty Images

More than 100 protesters have been killed in the past five days in clashes with government forces, Syrian activists said. Despite a ceasefire agreement with Arab League and despite protests from international governments, Bashar Asad's regime has continued its relentless assault against the opposition.

The New York Times reports on Homs, the country's third-largest city and the center of the uprising:

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NPR Story
4:39 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Why Is Food Stamp Usage Rising So Fast?

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 7:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The number of Americans who use food stamps is now close to 46 million, that's 15 percent of the population. The program is formally known as SNAP these days, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. And the number of people who depend on it to buy groceries has grown substantially, even since the recession was officially declared over, back in June of 2009.

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The Salt
4:31 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Organic Isn't Always Safer When It Comes To Botulism

Gourmet and organic, yes. But also a source of deadly botulism.
Food and Drug Administration

Organic Italian olives are the unlikely suspects in a new botulism outbreak, which has sickened two people in Europe. The Food and Drug Administration has urged people not to eat Bio Gaudiano organic olives stuffed with almonds, and the United States distributor has recalled the product.

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U.S.
4:15 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

New Measure Shows Higher Poverty Rate In U.S.

Joseph Byrd, unemployed and living on disability, prepares to pick up groceries at the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger food pantry in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2010. The new experimental poverty measure takes into account cost of living associated with geographic differences.
Bebeto Matthews AP

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 7:04 pm

The government released a new experimental poverty measure Monday that found that the poverty rate was 16 percent last year — slightly higher than previously thought.

The new measure won't replace the official one, but it is an effort to get a more accurate picture of who is and isn't poor.

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