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NPR Music Essentials
11:47 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Heavy Rotation: 5 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Lianne La Havas
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu November 29, 2012 6:19 pm

There's no clear formula for why a new song catches fire at one of our partner radio stations. Sometimes it's a hook you can't get out of your head, and sometimes it's a tune's ability to distill a station's overall vibe into three sublime minutes.

We asked five stations to select a song currently blowing up on their airwaves and tell us why. For a limited time, you can download their answers — the results include new music from the smart Canadian pop band Metric, U.K. singer Lianne La Havas, folk newbie John Fullbright, funk collective Brownout and British pop group alt-J.

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The Salt
11:23 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Desert Plant's Potent Chemical Cocktail Makes Mice Go 'Ptooey'

Spiny mice eat the fruit of the mignonette bush but spit out the seeds
Michal Samuni-Blank Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Next time you're in the Negev Desert and you come across a sweet mignonette bush, stop and listen. You might hear a tiny "Ptooey" from somewhere underneath.

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The Two-Way
11:20 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Obama's Played 100 Rounds Of Golf; Which Presidents Beat That?

Presidents Clinton and Obama during a round of golf last September.
Chris Kleponis-Pool Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 1:04 pm

On Sunday, President Obama played his 100th round of golf since taking office, according to CBS News' Mark Knoller — the White House press corps' keeper of all sorts of presidential factoids.

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Monkey See
11:13 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Silverdocs 2012: Documentaries Galore

Detropia is one of the films on this year's slate at the Silverdocs documentary festival.
Silverdocs

It's that time again.

As I did last year at this time, I'll be spending this week at the Silverdocs documentary festival in Silver Spring, Md. If you've been reading the blog for a while, you're very familiar with this project, as it was the first place I saw a couple of fairly high-profile documentaries including Being Elmo and Buck, but also where I saw a couple of smaller movies that became favorites, including Resurrect Dead: The Mystery Of The Toynbee Tiles. (Available on Netflix streaming! Do it!)

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Opinion
10:23 am
Mon June 18, 2012

The Nation: The New Obama Doctrine

In this file picture taken on on June 13, 2010, a U.S. Predator unmanned drone armed with a missile stands on the tarmac of Kandahar military airport. An increase in drone strikes under the Obama administration has eliminated top al-Qaida operatives, but critics wonder if the souring public sentiment against the strikes across the globe is worth their tactical achievements.
Massoud Hossaini AFP/Getty Images

Nick Turse is the associate editor and research director of Tomdispatch.com and a contributor for The Nation.

This article originally appeared at TomDispatch.com.

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Opinion
10:23 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Foreign Policy: Head Of State

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks during a joint press conference with the Turkish Foreign Minister during the Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul, on June 7, 2012. A divisive figure during her tenure as first lady and her 2008 presidential run, Clinton now enjoys approval ratings over 60%.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Susan B. Glasser is editor in chief of Foreign Policy.

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PG-13: Risky Reads
10:15 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Teenage Brain: Gateway To A 'Bright And Dark' World

Cover detail

Originally published on Tue June 26, 2012 5:27 pm

Meg Wolitzer is a novelist whose most recent works include The Uncoupling and a book for young readers, The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.

You know how people talk about so-called gateway drugs — drugs that lead to harder ones? I think some books can be considered gateway books, because reading them leads you to start reading other books that are similar but more intense. Lisa, Bright and Dark, John Neufeld's 1969 novel for young adults, is one of these.

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Deceptive Cadence
9:52 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Finding True Love: Helping Your Kid Choose The Right Instrument

Can you fall in love with the sound of a plastic recorder?
iStock

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 4:46 pm

Whether it's learning saxophone in school band, taking Saturday piano lessons, or participating in a top-flight youth orchestra, there are tens of millions of kids in the United States learning to play instruments. Way back in 2003, Gallup pollsters figured that at least 84 million Americans play an instrument — and at least a third of those players were then between the ages of 5 and 17.

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The Two-Way
9:41 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Rodney King: 'What I Had To Do Was Make It Better'

Rodney King. (April 13, 2012 file photo.)
Matt Sayles AP

Originally published on Mon June 18, 2012 10:38 am

The death Sunday of Rodney King, the victim of a 1991 police beating in Los Angeles who became a "reluctant symbol of race relations," as the Los Angeles Times says, is prompting many looks back at what happened to him and the Los Angeles riots that followed the 1992 acquittal of the officers involved.

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Opinion
9:18 am
Mon June 18, 2012

Weekly Standard: Obama Fails To Act In Syria

Russia's President Vladimir Putin inspects Mi-24 ground-attack helicopter as he visits a military airbase in the city of Korenovsk on June 14. After coming under sharp criticism from Sec. of State Hillary Clinton, Russia said it is not making any new deliveries of attack helicopters to Syria and has only carried out repairs of helicopters sent there many years ago.
Mikhail Klimentyev AFP/Getty Images

Thomas Donnelly is codirector of the Marilyn Ware Center for Security Studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

The prominence of Russian-made helicopters in Bashar Assad's brutal and desperate efforts to hang on to power puts the Syrian war in a new light. It's getting difficult to categorize the conflict simply as a humanitarian crisis or a "teacup war" of secondary significance. Rather, Syria's civil war is increasingly fought under a great-power cloud that hasn't been seen in the Middle East for decades.

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