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Krulwich Wonders...
4:03 am
Sat March 22, 2014

I Can't Believe What I'm Seeing: A Springtime (Froggy) Miracle

NOVA scienceNOW

Originally published on Sat March 22, 2014 10:19 am

Two weeks ago this animal was frozen solid. If you found one in the woods, packed in the topsoil, hiding under a leaf, you could pull it from the ground and it would feel like an ashtray. You could bang it (lightly) on a table — it would go, "Konk!" like a rock. It doesn't seem to be breathing. It reacts to nothing. It's so dead. Or seems to be. And then, this (I want to call it a miracle) happens ...

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The Salt
4:00 am
Sat March 22, 2014

Remember Fat-Free Mania? Take Our Survey

The 1990s were rife with low-fat packaged snacks, from potato chips to cookies.
Youtube and RetroJunk

If it was fat-free, it was good for us. That was the message we got from food marketers in the 1990s.

Just look back at some of the food ads from the era. Granola bars were healthy, as long as you removed the fat and added in some sugar. Same with yogurt: Skim off the fat, add sugar.

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The Two-Way
5:53 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Defense Of 'Whitey' Bulger Has Cost Taxpayers More Than $3 Million

A courtroom sketch of James "Whitey" Bulger (left) and defense attorney J.W. Carney, Jr.
Margaret Small AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:06 pm

The defense of notorious Boston gangster James "Whitey" Bulger has cost American tax payers a little more than $3 million.

The Boston Globe reports that public defenders made their billing public in a court filing on Friday.

The Globe reports:

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Shots - Health News
5:27 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Insurance Chief Suggests Adding A New, Lower Level Of Health Plan

America's Health Insurance Plans President and CEO Karen Ignagni says she would loosen regulations on which insurance plans comply with the Affordable Care Act by adding a "lower tier" option that could entice healthier people.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:26 pm

Rather than letting people keep their old health plans that don't comply with the new requirements of the Affordable Care Act, the head of the group that represents the nation's health insurance companies is floating an alternative: weakening the requirements.

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The Two-Way
5:14 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Declined: Visa, MasterCard Freeze Out Targeted Russian Banks

A woman holds a portrait of Russia's President Vladimir Putin during celebrations on the main square of the Crimean city of Simferopol after in its official annexation on Friday.
Shamil Zhumatov Reuters/Landov

In what has likely come as a rude shock to some Russians, Visa and MasterCard have stopped processing payments at several of the country's banks as part of U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

The BBC reports that four banks have been affected, "all of which have links to Russians blacklisted by the U.S."

Russia's RIA Novostri reports:

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Health
4:39 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

OK To Vape In The Office? Cities, Feds And Firms Still Deciding

Some employees say e-cigarettes increase their productivity and help them steer clear of tobacco. But health regulators are looking into possible risks to e-cig users — and to co-workers.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:50 am

E-cigarettes aren't yet federally regulated as tobacco products, but many cities and some states are already moving to include the devices in their smoking bans. Such bans are raising a debate about whether e-cigarettes should be permitted to be used in smoke-free workplaces.

Gary Nolan was a two-pack-a-day cigarette smoker until he switched to e-cigs. Now Nolan, who hosts a libertarian talk show based in Columbia, Mo., freely puffs — or vapes, as it's come to be called — at work.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Michigan Gay-Marriage Ban

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:48 pm

A federal judge has struck down Michigan's ban on same-sex marriage, making the state the latest to see such a prohibition overturned on constitutional grounds.

The Associated Press reports:

"[U.S. District] Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Friday, two weeks after a trial. Two Detroit-area nurses who've been partners for eight years claimed the ban violated their rights under the U.S. Constitution.

"It was not clear if gay marriages could begin immediately."

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The Two-Way
4:03 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

WATCH: A Big Upset Leads To Some Awesome Dancing

The Mercer Bears celebrate with after defeating the Duke Blue Devils 78-71 in the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
Grant Halverson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 6:27 pm

How big an upset was No. 14 Mercer's victory over No. 3 Duke today?

Mark caught us up on the actual news.

Here is video that simply shows you:

Update at 7:22 p.m. ET. The 'NaeNae':

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Politics
3:32 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

With Clock Ticking Down, Obama Polishes Judicial Legacy

President Obama speaks in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in November 2013, shortly after the Senate voted 52-48 to weaken the power of the filibuster.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 5:22 pm

Republicans have a decent shot at taking control of the Senate in November, so President Obama could have as little as nine months left to shape the judiciary he will leave behind.

Senate Democrats positioned themselves to help with that endeavor when they eliminated the filibuster for most judicial nominees last November. But Republicans are still finding ways to slow things down.

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Education
3:30 pm
Fri March 21, 2014

Black Preschoolers Far More Likely To Be Suspended

Education Secretary Arne Duncan, right, and Attorney General Eric Holder, appeared at a Washington, D.C., elementary school and said schools need to reduce "unnecessary and unfair school discipline practices and other barriers to equity and opportunity at all levels of education."
Cliff Owen AP

Here's what the education data show: kids who are suspended or expelled from school are more likely to drop out, and those dropouts are more likely to end up with criminal records. In many places, school discipline pushes kids directly into the juvenile justice system. Take just one example: a school fight can end in an arrest for assault.

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