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The Two-Way
12:52 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Rule Change Allows Rollover For Flexible Spending Accounts

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 1:43 pm

Workers who put money into "use it or lose it" Flexible Spending Accounts each year could benefit from a new Treasury Department rule change letting them roll over up to $500 at the end of each year.

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The Two-Way
12:05 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Germany Offers Third Gender Option On Birth Certificates

Germany will allow parents to choose a third indeterminate option for newborn babies, under a new law that takes effect Friday.
Deshakalyan Chowdhury AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 12:14 pm

A German law takes effect today that establishes a third gender option for parents filling out birth certificates for newborn babies. They can choose "indeterminate" if the child shows both male and female characteristics.

The parents will make that choice by leaving the boxes for male and female genders blank. The new law is meant to avoid the need to label an intersex baby as male or female before the child is old enough to decide.

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The Salt
10:07 am
Fri November 1, 2013

A Spice Buyer On Why Pepper Is Dirty, And How It Gets Clean

Pepper is the spice most commonly contaminated with salmonella and other pathogens.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 7:40 am

This week's news that the Food and Drug Administration found that 12 percent of spices imported to the U.S. are contaminated was a little disheartening.

As the FDA reported, all kinds of nasty stuff hitch a ride with spices into the country — from insects to animal excrement to pathogens. The agency looked closely at pepper and sesame seeds, but says this is an issue with lots of other spices, too.

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The Two-Way
10:07 am
Fri November 1, 2013

One Officer Dead, Several Shot By Gunman At LA Airport

Police officers stand near an unidentified weapon in Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport on Friday. Officials said a gunman who opened fire in the terminal was wounded in a shootout with police and taken into custody.
AP

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 9:33 pm

(Click here to jump to our latest updates.)

A lone gunman walked into one of the nation's busiest airports Friday in Los Angeles and opened fire with an assault rifle, killing at least one transportation security officer and wounding another, police and TSA officials say.

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Shots - Health News
9:34 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Polio Has Not Returned To South Sudan, After All

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 3:25 pm

We reported Wednesday that the polio outbreak in Somalia had spread to South Sudan. But health officials say that they were mistaken. There have been no polio cases in the country since 2009.

The World Health Organization said previously that it had confirmed three cases of polio in South Sudan back in August.

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The Two-Way
9:33 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Man Behind Oregon's Famous Exploding Whale Dies

A report by KATU-TV on officials' decision to blow up an 8-ton dead whale on an Oregon beach in 1970 went on to become an early viral video. The highway engineer who led the operation died this week.
YouTube

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:37 am

Oregon highway engineer George Thornton, who in 1970 led an operation to blow up a dead beached whale with half a ton of dynamite, died this week at age 84. Thornton's decision resulted in a foul shower of whale blubber; video of the event has resurfaced periodically, often leading viewers to declare the whole thing a hoax.

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Krulwich Wonders...
9:33 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Falling Into The Sky And Other Tales Of Gravity

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 5:01 am

For most of us, gravity is the tug that pulls us home.

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Shots - Health News
9:31 am
Fri November 1, 2013

Seeing In The Pitch-Dark Is All In Your Head

I think I can see something.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 7:13 am

A few years ago, cognitive scientist Duje Tadin and his colleague Randolph Blake decided to test blindfolds for an experiment they were cooking up.

They wanted an industrial-strength blindfold to make sure volunteers for their work wouldn't be able to see a thing. "We basically got the best blindfold you can get." Tadin tells Shots. "It's made of black plastic, and it should block all light."

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Shots - Health News
3:15 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Too Many Texts Can Hurt A Relationship, But

Illustration by Katherine Streeter for NPR

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 2:23 pm

Texting has become such a normal way to communicate that it's hard to imagine that we ever used our voices to tell our better halves, "Hey, I got the milk."

But when it comes to a committed relationship, researchers say it's better not to lean too heavily on the texts for the tough stuff. Stick to "I <3 U" rather than "I M sooo disappointed in you!!"

Texting terms of endearment really seems to help. Affirmations like that are associated not just with a more stable and satisfying relationship, but with mitigating hurts and frustrations.

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Business
3:14 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

More Foreign Firms Look To Make It In The USA

Acura MDX sport utility vehicles roll off the assembly line at a Honda plant in Lincoln, Ala., in May. Overseas investors have U.S. assets totaling nearly $4 trillion, including auto plants, banks and mines.
Joe Songer AL.com/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 1, 2013 10:44 am

When many Americans hear the word "globalization," they think: "jobs going overseas."

And sometimes it does mean just that.

But as globalization knits nations closer together, foreign companies increasingly are creating jobs in the United States, not luring them away. Despite the Great Recession, slow recovery and political dysfunction in Washington, the United States remains a top destination for the world's wealth.

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The Salt
12:55 pm
Thu October 31, 2013

Candy Sales Are Flat; The Industry Blames The Weather

Halloween candy is offered for sale at a Walgreens store on September 19, 2013 in Wheeling, Illinois.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 12:08 pm

Halloween candy sales have been flat over the last few years. And candy makers point to several reasons, including one I hadn't thought of: bad weather.

"The past two years have been plagued with major weather disruptions in key celebration regions," Jenn Ellek of the National Confectioners Association tells us in an email.

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The Two-Way
11:21 am
Thu October 31, 2013

FAA Says Fliers Can Safely Use Most Electronics

Leonardo Patrizi iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:09 am

Saying it has "determined that airlines can safely expand passenger use of Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) during all phases of flight," the Federal Aviation Administration announced Thursday that it is advising airlines they can let fliers use their much-loved e-books, tablets and other handhelds "gate-to-gate."

Cellphone calls, however, would still be prohibited.

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Monkey See
11:18 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Attention, Neighborhood Children! A Halloween Invitation

These aren't my actual neighborhood children. These are just examples of how happy my neighborhood children could be.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:44 am

Welcome, all you ghosts and goblins! Welcome, all you cats and princesses! Welcome, Iron Man Under That Down Jacket! Welcome, Werewolf Whose Mom Is On The Phone!

I am pleased to see you at my door. I welcome always the young people in whose vicinity I reside, provided they are not so old that they pause before picking up their candy to put down a lit cigarette, which really happened to my parents once. (I will be using that anecdote in my upcoming book, Signs That You Have Outgrown Trick-Or-Treating.)

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Planet Money
11:17 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Amazon Reviewers Debate Whether To Keep Quiet About Free Stuff

Amazon Vine Program
via Amazon.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 11:04 am

Our story about Amazon's Vine program, which sends free stuff to some of the site's top reviewers, prompted some interesting online

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
11:16 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Burial Rights: Who Owns Dead Bodies, Anyway?

Linda Bucklin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 8:23 am

On Halloween, we play around with what may scare us. Kids suit up in zombie and vampire costumes, of course, and there's also a lot of imagery connected directly with our own life trajectories: skeletons, skulls, gravestones, cemeteries.

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