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3:29 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Are We On The Titanic Or The Olympic?

Olympic (left) returning to Belfast for repairs in March 1912, and Titanic (right). This was the last time the two sister ships would be seen together. (Robert John Welch/Wikimedia Commons)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

Are we on the Titanic or the Olympic? That’s the question New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik asks in his piece “Two Ships,” as he looks at the last time Western civilization went from ’13 to ’14.

Gopnik is re-visiting the turn from 1913 to 1914, to think about the turn from 2013 to 2014.

He writes that 1913 was “full of rumbling energy and matchless artistic accomplishment,” which included achievements for Cubism in art, Proust in literature and Stravinsky in music.

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NPR Story
3:29 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

2014 Consumer Electronics Show Begins

Visitors check Audi's Concept Vision of Tomorrow during the 2014 International CES at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 7, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show opened this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. More than 3,200 exhibitors will present both retailers and the media with the latest in consumer technology.

NPR technology correspondent Steve Henn joins Here & Now’s Meghna Chakrabarti to discuss what items are already selling and what the next major technological breakthrough will be.

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The Two-Way
3:28 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Germany's Merkel To Visit U.S. Amid Anger Over NSA Spying

President Obama walks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Sept. 6, 2013. Relations between the two allies are strained after documents leaked by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor, suggested the agency had spied on Merkel and other world leaders.
Ivan Sekretarev AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:09 pm

German Chancellor Angela Merkel accepted an invitation Wednesday from President Obama to visit the U.S., just months after relations between the two allies hit a low following revelations the U.S. was spying on Merkel and other world leaders.

Obama made the invitation during a conversation Wednesday with the German chancellor. Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, said the visit would occur in the next few months.

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NPR Story
3:28 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Listener Thoughts On Laser Beam Headlights

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

Earlier this week, Paul Eisenstein, publisher of the car news website The Detroit Bureau, joined us to talk about all the high-tech car innovations at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. (See the interview here.)

There was one thing he said that drew some pretty strong listener reaction. It was about a new device from Audi.

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NPR Story
3:28 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Should We Do Away With 'Wind Chill Factor'?

(Mel Evans/AP)

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 4:14 pm

As cold weather grips much of the country, we’re hearing a lot about the “wind chill factor.”

The measurement comes from Canadian Antarctic explorers Paul Siple and Charles Passel, who in 1945 worked out an equation to show how quickly water froze at different temperatures depending on the wind.

The numbers that come out of their equation were the precursor to our modern day “wind chill factor,” which is supposed to tell you how cold it feels outside.

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The Salt
3:21 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

This GMO Apple Won't Brown. Will That Sour The Fruit's Image?

Soon after being sliced, a conventional Granny Smith apple (left) starts to brown, while a newly developed GM Granny Smith stays fresher looking.
Courtesy of Okanagan Specialty Fruits Inc.

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

If you (or your children) turn up your nose at brown apple slices, would you prefer fresh-looking ones that have been genetically engineered?

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All Tech Considered
3:07 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

TV Makers Look To Pack More Pixels Into Your Home TV With 4K

Hollywood studios are wary of "ultra HD" or 4K TV making people more picky about what they watch in cinemas. But first, the TVs have to become mainstream.
Gero Breloer AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 7:21 pm

Companies from Sony and Samsung to Netflix and Google's YouTube are putting their money into TVs that pack more pixels. Several models are on display at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week.

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Parallels
2:49 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal's Expansion?

A view of the Panama Canal last Thursday. The canal is being widened to accommodate larger ships, but the builders and the canal operators are locked in a dispute about who will pay the higher-than-expected costs to finish the project.
Alejandro Bolivar EPA /Landov

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:29 pm

For five years, a multibillion-dollar expansion has been underway on the Panama Canal so that ships three times the current size can pass through the vital waterway. The new, wider canal will alter global trade routes and dramatically increase revenue for Panama's government, primarily from toll charges.

The expansion is more than two-thirds done, but now a funding dispute between the builders and the canal operators threatens to bring construction to a halt.

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Europe
2:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

The 'Pussy Riot' Arrests, And The Crackdown That Followed

Pussy Riot members Yekaterina Samutsevich (left), Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova sit in a glass-walled cage in a Moscow court on Oct. 10, 2012.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:19 pm

Masha Gessen is a prominent journalist who is also a lesbian and an outspoken LGBT rights advocate in Russia. After Russia passed two anti-gay laws in June, she decided it was time for her, her partner and their children to leave. In late December, they moved to New York.

"The only thing more creepy than hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive is hearing someone suggest the likes of you should be burned alive and thinking, 'I know that guy.' "

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Television
2:18 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

On TV This Week: 'Babylon' Has Good Fun, 'Detective' Is The Real Deal

IFC's The Spoils Of Babylon follows a sister (Kristin Wiig) and adopted brother (Tobey Maguire) caught up in a passionate romance.
Katrina Marcinowski IFC

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:55 pm

Two new miniseries this week are worth special mention — and couldn't be more different.

True Detective, which begins Sunday on HBO, is a combination series and miniseries, kind of like American Horror Story on FX. Each season is designed to tell a different, self-contained story, followed the next year by a new tale with new characters and sometimes even new actors. This first season of True Detective is an eight-hour murder mystery starring Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, neither of whom is expected to return next season.

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