12:58pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

White House: It's Time For Killing In Syria To Stop

In a statement from the president's press secretary, the United States called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to stop killing protesters.

"The United States is deeply disturbed by credible reports that the Assad regime continues to indiscriminately kill scores of civilians and army defectors, while destroying homes and shops and arresting protesters without due process," Press Secretary Jay Carney said in a statement.

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12:44pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Salt

What A Global Flavor Map Can Tell Us About How We Pair Foods

Each node in this network denotes an ingredient, the color indicates food category, and node size reflects the ingredient prevalence in recipes. Two ingredients are connected if they share a significant number of flavor compounds, and link thickness representing the number of shared compounds between the two ingredients.
Yong-Yeol Ahn, Sebastian E. Ahnert, James P. Bagrow, and Albert-László Barabási

There's a reason why Asian dishes often taste so different from the typical North American fare: North American recipes rely on flavors that are related, while East Asian cooks go for sharp contrasts.

That's the word from researchers at the University of Cambridge, who used a tool called network analysis to chart the relationship between chemical flavor compounds. They did it to test the widely believed notion that foods with compatible flavors are chemically similar.

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12:30pm

Wed December 21, 2011
The Two-Way

NewtGingrich.com Is Sending Surfers To Sites And Stories He Wouldn't Like

Looking for Newt Gingrich? Don't type "newtgingrich.com." You might get directed to Freddie Mac, Tiffany's or other sites that bring to mind less flattering stories about the Republican presidential candidate.
FreddieMac.com

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's official campaign website — at newt.org — is working fine.

But if anyone types "newtgingrich.com" and hits enter right now, they're not going to see things that the former House speaker would find very funny.

In the last few minutes when we've done that we've been directed to:

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12:14pm

Wed December 21, 2011
World

2011 Has Been A Rough Year For Dictators

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:11 am

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, whose death was announced Monday, was in power for 17 years. He succeeded his father, who ruled for nearly a half-century. Kim is shown here on Aug. 24 during a visit to Russia.
Dmitry Astakhov AFP/Getty Images/Emily Bogle

Dictators suddenly seem to have a lot less longevity. This year, several of the world's longest-serving autocrats have either died or been ousted from power.

The death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il from heart failure had nothing to do with the Arab uprisings that ousted four leaders who had been in power for decades — Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia.

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12:09pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Music Reviews

El Rego: A Singer From Benin With Soul And Funk

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 12:16 pm

El Rego, the godfather of Benin funk, and his band The Commandos.
Courtesy of the artist

It may seem counter-intuitive, but the history of world music proves that unfamiliar instruments and rhythms cross borders much more readily than vocal styles. There's no question that, starting in the late '60s, soul and then funk became very popular in sub-Saharan Africa. Decades of reissues show that a lot of players found their way into electric guitar, and that enriching the big beat of the West was a cinch for African percussionists.

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12:02pm

Wed December 21, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

After 25 Years In Woman's Stomach, A Pen Still Writes

Originally published on Tue December 27, 2011 10:32 am

CT scan proves woman was right. She did swallow a pen 25 years ago.
Courtesy of BMJ Case Reports

You might have heard about the case on Wednesday's Morning Edition.

Twenty-five years ago, a British woman who saw a spot on a tonsil tried to get a better look using a pen and a mirror. She slipped and the pen went down her throat.

Neither the woman's husband nor her doctor believed her. X-rays at the time didn't detect the pen. Now, "they are eating their words," as NPR's Linda Wertheimer put it.

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12:00pm

Wed December 21, 2011
NPR Story

In New Album, Tori Amos Revisits Classical Roots

In the 20 years since her platinum debut album Little Earthquakes, legendary singer/songwriter Tori Amos has released 11 more studio albums and received 8 Grammy nominations. Fans have watched Amos reinvent herself and turn out hits in a range of genres. Host Michel Martin speaks with Amos about her latest album, Night of Hunters.

12:00pm

Wed December 21, 2011
NPR Story

Great Books To Give Your Little Ones

A recently released children's book tells the story of how Duke Ellington brought swing to the holiday classic, 'The Nutcracker.' Also, Texan vampires go up against werewolves and were-armadillos in a popular young adult novel. These are just some of the books that top librarian Loriene Roy's list of holiday books. She speaks to host Michel Martin.

12:00pm

Wed December 21, 2011
NPR Story

Top Obama Advisor Makes West Wing Exit

Melody Barnes is leaving her post as director of the administration's Domestic Policy Council. Barnes was influential in crafting some of the president's major initiatives including health care and economic legislation. Host Michel Martin speaks with Barnes about her achievements and the president's popularity.

11:52am

Wed December 21, 2011
Movie Reviews

Stirring Adventures, At Home (In A Zoo) And Abroad

Matt Damon gets up close and personal with one of his new four-legged family members in We Bought A Zoo.
Neal Preston Twentieth Century Fox

After being force-fed a steady diet of Oscar hopefuls for almost a month, I may just be ready for empty-calorie time at the cineplex. But I have to confess a sense of relief this week, as I watched entertainments that didn't seem to want to do anything other than show an audience a good time.

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