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The Two-Way
12:49 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

How The Transit Of Venus Helped Unlock The Universe

The planet Venus is seen crossing the sun in June 2004 as photographed through a telescope at Planetarium Urania in Hove, Belgium. The earliest known observation of such a transit was in 1639 by English astronomer Jeremiah Horrocks.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Originally published on Tue July 31, 2012 9:46 am

In an age when the size of the observable universe is known to a few decimal places, today's Transit of Venus offers a good opportunity to reflect on just how far we've come.

(For viewing information, click here.)

Less than 250 years ago, the brightest minds of the Enlightenment were stumped over how far the Earth is from the sun. The transits of the 1760s helped answer that question, providing a virtual yardstick for the universe.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

In Poll, Facebook Users Say They Are Not Swayed By Its Advertisements

Facebook's logo.
Emmanuel Dunand AFP/Getty Images

It's more bad news for Facebook today. A poll by Reuters/Ipsos found that most of its users are not swayed by its advertisements.

Four out of five users surveyed said they had never bought a product based on advertising they saw on the network. What's more, the online poll revealed that "34 percent of Facebook users surveyed were spending less time on the website than six months ago, whereas only 20 percent were spending more."

Reuters reports:

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Around the Nation
12:37 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

How Louisiana Became The World's 'Prison Capital'

In the past two decades, Louisiana's prison population has doubled.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:07 pm

A new expose by The Times-Picayune of New Orleans calls Louisiana the "world's prison capital."

The state imprisons more people per capita than any other state or country in the world, with one out of every 86 adults behind bars. Its rate of incarceration is three times higher than Iran's and 10 times higher than Germany's.

How did Louisiana double its prison population in the past 20 years? And what differentiates it from other states?

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Economy
12:37 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Growing Economic Inequality 'Endangers Our Future'

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:45 pm

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz grew up in Gary, Ind. — a city that has weathered many economic storms over the past half-century.

Stiglitz went on to study at Amherst College and MIT, where he received a Ph.D. in economics. He later served on and chaired President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers and became the chief economist at the World Bank. But even as a child, Stiglitz says, he noticed ways in which the markets weren't working.

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It's All Politics
12:23 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

The Uniqueness Of The 2012 Election

Protesters in Nice, France, hold banners depicting then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy and President Obama before a November 2011 G-20 summit where global financial issues were discussed. Sarkozy has since lost re-election; some political scientists say economic problems in Europe also could play an unprecedented role in the upcoming U.S. election.
Frederic Nebinger Getty Images

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 3:11 pm

All U.S. presidential elections "are unique in some fashion," says John G. Geer, a political science professor at Vanderbilt University.

Sure, but what about 2012? What exactly will make the 2012 election between President Obama and Mitt Romney truly unique?

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The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

From Our Readers: Unpacking Pew's Data On American Polarization

Starting today, we're trying something different. We've enlisted Marissa Alioto, an intern on NPR's social media desk, to comb through your comments and highlight those that are smart and insightful and can teach us all something. We know there is a wealth of knowledge there. We expect some of them to be opinion, but we hope others just point out something that moves a story forward. With that here is Marissa:

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Around the Nation
11:59 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Breast-feeding In Uniform: Brave Or Brazen?

Photos of Air Force moms breast-feeding in uniform recently went viral and sparked debate. The photos were meant to support military moms in breast-feeding. But some critics say the photos are disrespectful to the uniform. Host Michel Martin discusses the issue with active and retired military moms, including one who was featured in the photos.

Environment
11:59 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Do Plastic Bags Bans Help The Environment?

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:40 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, during his long and varied career, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman has played everyone from soldiers to servants, from cowboys to criminals - not to mention the almighty. In a moment, he'll tell us what music he plays for inspiration. That's our feature we call In Your Ear, and it's just ahead.

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Politics
11:59 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Artur Davis On Leaving His Job, Home, And Party

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:40 pm

Transcript

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, a picture of military moms breastfeeding their children has gone viral and it's raising questions about what's appropriate for women in uniform. We'll speak with one of the women in the picture about why she did it and the reaction to it. That's in just a few minutes. But first, voters are casting ballots in several states today and many political observers will look to the results for clues about the battle for the White House.

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The Two-Way
10:54 am
Tue June 5, 2012

This Video May Creep You Out: Artist Turns Dearly Departed Cat Into Helicopter

Orville, the flying helicopter cat made by artist Bert Jansen. The cat is part of an art fair in Amsterdam.
Ade Johnson AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed June 6, 2012 2:20 pm

(Did you read our headline? Think twice before clicking "play.")

Dutch artist Bart Jansen says he loved his cat, Orville.

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