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3:07 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Swoon Reads: The Next Romance Bestseller, Selected By You

Swoon Reads, a new young adult romance imprint at Macmillan publishing, solicits manuscripts and invites users to read and rate them. The most popular manuscript gets a first printing of 100,000 copies.
Swoon Reads

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:58 pm

The rise of self-publishing has already catapulted a few lucky writers to the top of bestseller lists. And major publishing houses often try to woo these stars into their fold. Swoon Reads, a new young adult romance publisher, is taking this dance a step further. It has added crowdsourcing to the mix, promising a contract to the writer whose book wins the hearts of a community of online readers.

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Parallels
3:06 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Will Helping Muslims Flee Central African Republic Aid 'Cleansing'?

Muslim women line up at a Red Cross distribution outside the mosque in Bouar. United Nations peacekeepers guard the mosque, where thousands of Muslim residents gather each evening for safety.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:58 pm

It is almost impossible to buy soap anymore in most small towns in the Central African Republic. Same with sugar, powdered milk, batteries, baby formula. Up until January, these kinds of imported goods — in the stratified society of this country — almost always would have been sold to you by a Muslim.

But for the past few weeks, bands of Christian militia groups called anti-Balaka have waged war on Muslims and their property.

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Television
3:05 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Antihero Or Villain? In 'House Of Cards,' It's Hard To Tell

Robin Wright and Kevin Spacey play Claire and Francis Underwood in Netflix's House of Cards. When the second season is released on Friday, audiences can expect to see more ruthless behavior from these power-hungry characters — but are they antiheroes, or plain old villains?
Nathaniel E. Bell Courtesy of Netflix

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:00 pm

[Editor's Note: This piece references plot points from the first season of House of Cards. If you've been waiting a year to binge-watch it, consider this your spoiler alert.]

When Netflix's groundbreaking online series House of Cards releases its second season to the world Friday — unleashing 13 new episodes about a wily congressman willing to kill to reach the vice presidency — fans will get more than another jolt of TV's most addictive political drama.

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The Salt
3:05 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

When Not In Sochi, Order The Khatchapuri And Eat Like You Are

Traditional foods in Sochi may be Russian, Ukrainian, Georgian or from the surrounding Krasnodar region. This table is set at Mari Vanna restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 4:57 am

We've got more snow here in Washington, D.C., than they have in Sochi, and it's colder. But still it's hard not to dream about being at the Winter Olympics, especially since reports from athletes and spectators say that the food in Sochi is beyond delicious.

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The Edge
3:04 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Maybe It's The Suit: U.S. Speedskaters Swap Gear In Sochi

Shani Davis of the U.S. skates in the prototype of the official US Speedskating suit during a training session at the Adler Arena Skating Center in Sochi, Russia, Friday. As U.S. skates have fallen short of their goals at the Winter Olympics, some skaters have asked to switch to their old suits.
Matt Dunham AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 4:34 pm

The American speedskating team has fallen short of its goals at the Sochi Winter Olympics, with favorites such as Shani Davis and Heather Richardson failing to win medals. Some athletes believe the new racing suits they were given for the Olympics may be slowing them down.

Update at 7 p.m. ET: Back To The Old Suits

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The Two-Way
3:04 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Author Isabel Allende Apologizes For Comments About Mystery Novels

Isabel Allende is apologizing for her comments about mystery novels.
Peter Morgan AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 2:58 pm

Author Isabel Allende is best known for her works of magical realism such as The House of Spirits, but it was comments she made during an NPR interview about her new book, Ripper, a mystery novel, that angered fans of crime fiction.

Here's what she told NPR's Arun Rath:

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The Two-Way
3:03 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says

A view of Venus, black dot at top center, passing in front of the sun during a transit in 2012. A quarter of Americans questioned failed to answer correctly the most basic questions on astronomy.
AP

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 3:41 pm

A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.

The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

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The Two-Way
10:59 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Even From Space, Near-Record Ice On Great Lakes Is Chilling

They're down there somewhere: The Great Lakes as seen from space on Wednesday. Lake Ontario, which has less ice than the others, is at the lower right. A bit of open water can be seen in Lake Superior, at the upper left.
CoastWatch.glerl.noaa.gov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 5:45 pm

The satellite photo we posted last month of a partially frozen Lake Michigan sent shivers down our spines.

Then when we heard today that the ice cover on the Great Lakes is approaching a record, we went in search of other such images.

After looking through several dozen, we need some hot cocoa. See if you agree.

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The Two-Way
10:58 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Delhi's Crusading Chief Minister Resigns, Slams Main Parties

Arvind Kejriwal addresses his supporters in New Delhi, India, on Friday after announcing his resignation as chief minister of Delhi.
Anindito Mukherjee Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 10:51 am

He said he represented the common man, and he caused a political earthquake in India when his party's election performance catapulted him to the chief minister's office in Delhi. On Friday — less than two months later — Arvind Kejriwal announced he was resigning after his effort to pass an anti-corruption bill was blocked by lawmakers in the state assembly.

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Parallels
10:54 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Iran's Hope Is Sanctions Relief, But Reality Is Struggling Economy

Low-income Iranians line up to receive food supplies in south Tehran. Iran remains an economy of subsidies, although some direct cash payments have been replaced by food baskets for the poor.
Davoud Ghahrdar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:07 am

Iran's economy may be struggling, but that doesn't mean everyone is suffering.

In a downtown Tehran restaurant, a well-dressed young man who asks to be identified only as Ahmad sits with a friend enjoying a water pipe of flavored tobacco.

Ahmad is a bit vague about what he does — first he says he's in the petrochemical business, then describes himself as an independent trader. He shares the general consensus that President Hassan Rouhani has brought a better atmosphere to the country but no real economic changes.

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All Tech Considered
10:51 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Tech Week: Love In Digital Times, Big Cable, Facebook Genders

Comcast announced a $45 billion offer for Time Warner Cable this week.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 9:35 am

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your sweethearts. Since we saw that the holiday was falling on a Friday this year, our tech reporting team spent the week exploring love in the digital age. To go along with the theme week, our weekly innovation pick was Nothing. Emily Siner explains in the post.

What were you talking about this week? Be part of the conversation in our comment section below or tweet at us.

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Shots - Health News
10:51 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Here's One More Reason To Play Video Games: Beating Dyslexia

Video games with lots of action might be useful for helping people with dyslexia train the brain's attention system.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 11:38 am

Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book rather than a game controller. But for kids with dyslexia, action video games may be just what the doctor ordered.

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world's population. Many approaches to help struggling readers focus on words and phonetics, but researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of an attention issue.

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The Two-Way
10:12 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Al Roker's Sorry For 1 Tweet, But Not For Blasting NYC Mayor

A little girl on her way to school Thursday in New York City. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his aides have come under fire for not closing the city's schools before a winter storm hit.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 8:22 am

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's decision not to close the city's schools Thursday has, as The New York Times says, become "another headache" for the Democratic chief executive.

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The Two-Way
9:42 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Worst Is Over, But More Snow's Coming

In Times Square on Friday morning, plows were clearing away the snowy mess.
Andrew Kelly Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 14, 2014 7:16 am

Here's the good news: The weather's about to get better from the Mid-Atlantic up through New England.

"The big nor'easter which recently delivered heavy snow and ice to much of the southern and eastern states will bring heavy snow and coastal rain to New England before exiting the region by Friday afternoon," the National Weather Service says.

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The Two-Way
9:42 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Shiny And New: World's Largest Solar Plant Opens In California

NRG celebrates the future of solar energy at the grand opening of the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System on Thursday in Nipton, Calif.
Jeff Bottari Invision for NRG

Originally published on Mon February 17, 2014 11:41 am

The world's largest solar power plant, made up of thousands of mirrors focusing the sun's energy, has officially started operations in the Mojave Desert, just inside southeastern California near the border with Nevada.

The $2.2 billion, 400-megawatt Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System, which covers 5 square miles and has three 40-story towers where the light is focused, is a joint project by NRG Energy, Google and BrightSource Energy. The project received a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee.

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