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It's All Politics
2:06 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Defense Cuts May No Longer Be Political Sacred Cow

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 8:17 am

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned that the automatic spending cuts due to hit the Pentagon and other branches of government next week will damage U.S. national security.

In a letter to Congress, he said those cuts would put the military on a path toward a "hollow force." But the warnings don't appear to be moving the needle with lawmakers or the American public.

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Planet Money
2:05 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Three Ways To Totally Transform U.S. Immigration Policy

Immigrants wait for their citizenship interviews at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on Jan. 29.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 9:42 am

With immigration policy in the news again, I asked three economists, "Dream big: If you could create any immigration policy for the U.S., what would it be?" Here's what they said.

1. The Best And The Brightest

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research would give out more visas to highly skilled workers: scientists, engineers, computer programmers and doctors.

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It's All Politics
2:03 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Meet The Virginian Shaping The House GOP's Immigration Plan

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., checks his phone before a hearing on Capitol Hill in September.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:24 am

Comprehensive immigration reform seems to top everyone's legislative wish list this year, and bills are already taking shape in the White House and the Democratic-led Senate.

A bipartisan group of senators recently laid out a path to citizenship for millions living in the country unlawfully. Less clear is where the Republican-led House is headed on immigration.

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It's All Politics
2:02 am
Thu February 21, 2013

One Place You May Notice The Sequester: At The Airport

A passenger jet flies past the FAA control tower at Washington's Ronald Reagan National Airport in 2011.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 4:52 am

Unless Congress acts, across-the-board spending cuts scheduled to take effect March 1 will be felt throughout the government. Some of the most visible effects will be noticed by air travelers.

Officials predict that cutbacks at the Federal Aviation Administration could lead to takeoff delays and fewer flights overall.

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The Salt
2:01 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Secret Menus Give Restaurants A Not-So-Secret Boost

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:06 am

When you're trying to decide where to eat, knowing what's on the menu is important. But for restaurants trying to bring customers through the door, what's not on the menu is just as important.

Secret menus aren't new. In-N-Out Burger has had one for years. But experts say more companies are now adding secret menu items, which are even catching on overseas in places like the United Kingdom and Singapore.

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Latin America
2:00 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Mexico's 'Crisis Of Disappearance': Families Seek Answers

A woman holds a sign that reads, "We demand justice after two years," during a Jan. 11 protest outside the government palace in Monterrey denouncing the disappearance of family members in the state of Nuevo Leon.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 7:47 pm

Maximina Hernandez says she begged her 23-year old son, Dionicio, to give up his job as a police officer in a suburb of Monterrey. Rival drug cartels have been battling in the northern Mexican city for years.

But he told her being a police officer was in his blood, a family tradition. He was detailed to guard the town's mayor.

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Hollywood Jobs
11:05 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

For Film Set Decorators, Tiny Details Count

The third floor of the Warner Brothers Prop House holds a host of antiques available for rent by set decorators working on television and films. Each of the building's four floors is as big as a football field.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Thu February 21, 2013 2:07 pm

Picture Rick's smoky cafe in Casablanca, Lincoln's office at the White House of the 1860s, or the Mos Eisley cantina on the desert planet of Tatooine: A production designer came up with the overall look of those movie sets. But the booze on Rick's bar or the pens on Lincoln's desk — it took a set decorator and a crew to make them look authentic and believable.

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U.S.
5:50 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Georgia Death Penalty Under Renewed Scrutiny After 11th-Hour Stay

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 6:05 pm

A Georgia inmate's execution was halted Tuesday night with less than an hour to go. Prison officials had already given Warren Lee Hill one of the drugs when a federal appeals court stepped in.

Hill has an IQ of 70 and his attorneys have long claimed that he's mentally impaired. His case is now raising questions about Georgia's law, which makes it difficult for defendants to prove they should be exempt from execution.

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Shots - Health News
4:53 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Print Me An Ear: 3-D Printing Tackles Human Cartilage

Larry Bonassar shows off an ear that he and his colleagues at Cornell University built out of living cartilage cells with the help of a 3-D printer.
Lindsay France Cornell University Photography

Originally published on Fri February 22, 2013 6:34 am

An ear, unsurprisingly, is difficult to make from scratch. Ear cartilage is uniquely flexible and strong and has been impossible for scientists to reproduce with synthetic prostheses.

If a child is born without one, doctors typically carve a replacement ear out of rib cartilage, but it lacks the wonderfully firm yet springy qualities of the original ear. And it often doesn't look so good.

So why not print one?

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The Two-Way
4:46 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

Cool Photo: A Black Spot, The Size Of Six Earths, Appears On The Sun

The bottom two black spots on the sun, known as sunspots, appeared quickly over the course of Feb. 19-20, 2013.
NASA/SDO/AIA/HMI/Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 8:42 pm

Over the course of two days in February, scientists watched something amazing happening on the surface of our sun: A giant black spot grew to over six Earths in diameter.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center released a picture of the sun, which shows the spots in deep black.

NASA explains that it's hard to know the full extent of the spots, because it's on a sphere "not a flat disk." NASA adds:

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