National

The Two-Way
12:22 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

What Is The Polar Vortex And Why Is It Doing This To Us?

Ice has built up along Lake Michigan in Chicago as temperatures have plunged in recent days. A dip in the polar vortex is to blame.
Scott Olson Getty Images
  • On 'Morning Edition': science writer Andrew Freedman talks with NPR's David Greene about the polar vortex

We've mentioned the polar vortex several times in recent days.

We've said, for instance, that it's "a low pressure system that's usually whirling around the North Pole but has weakened and come south."

But we're still getting asked this question:

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The Two-Way
12:13 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Frolicking Fido, Cozy Cats: How Your Pets Are Chilling Out

Izzy Haywood/Instagram

Originally published on Wed February 5, 2014 11:10 am

We asked you for photos of how your pets are dealing with the frigid weather — and you folks sure did deliver. Here are some of the images you tagged #nprfrostypaws on Instagram.

Just a reminder, though, that we are seeing record-breaking low temperatures in some places, so please keep your pets warm.

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Deaths Are Bitter Reminder Of Cold Snap's Dangers

This woman in Chicago was well protected from the cold on Monday.
Kamil Krzaczynski EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:56 am

While this week's super-cold conditions across much of the nation are fascinating and fun for many of us, there is a far more serious side to the story.

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The Two-Way
8:12 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Senate Votes To Move Ahead On Extending Unemployment Benefits

President Obama listens as Katherine Hackett of Moodus, Conn., speaks during an event in the East Room of the White House in Washington, on Tuesday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 1:25 pm

This post was updated at 12:00 p.m. ET.

A three-month extension of federal unemployment benefits for 1.3 million jobless Americans won a key procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday.

The 60-37 vote indicates there's enough Republican support to move the Emergency Unemployment Compensation, which expired on Dec. 28, forward to a full vote. As The Associated Press writes, the measure "is the leading edge of a Democratic program that also includes raising the minimum wage and closing tax loopholes on the wealthy and corporations."

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The Two-Way
8:05 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Hang In There Another Day Or So — Warmer Air Is Coming

Dealing with it in Detroit: A woman protects her face from the cold on Monday.
Joshua Lott Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 11:20 am

Yes, it's going to be awfully cold again Tuesday for 150 million or so Americans.

But if below-zero temperatures aren't to your liking, take heart:

"Bitterly cold air over the eastern two-thirds of the country will slowly moderate through Wednesday," the National Weather Service says.

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The Two-Way
6:51 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Florida State Wins A Thriller To Take College Championship

The winning catch: Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin of the Florida State Seminoles catches the 2-yard pass for a touchdown that put his team ahead for good with just 13 seconds left in the game.
Harry How Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 7, 2014 12:34 pm

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Tom Goldman on the championship game

Florida State and Auburn put on a show Monday night with a college football championship game that went down to the wire and ended with Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston throwing a touchdown pass with just 13 seconds to go to bring Florida State the crown.

At one point, the Seminoles were behind by 18 points.

The final score: Florida State 34, Auburn 31.

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Author Interviews
2:58 am
Tue January 7, 2014

CIA Lawyer: Waterboarding Wasn't Torture Then And Isn't Torture Now

John Rizzo is the CIA's former acting general counsel. His new memoir is Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.
Jay Mallin Simon & Schuster

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 10:07 am

In the years following the Sept. 11 attacks, many Americans heard the term "waterboarding" for the first time — a technique aimed to simulate the act of drowning. Waterboarding was at the center of the debate about what the CIA called "enhanced interrogation techniques" — and what critics called "torture."

John Rizzo, acting general counsel of the CIA in the years after Sept. 11, 2001, has written a memoir about his three decades at the agency. He talks with NPR's Renee Montagne about Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA.

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Around the Nation
2:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

Sunday Assembly: A Church For The Godless Picks Up Steam

Ian Dodd (center), co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Sunday Assembly, sings with other attendees. Chapters of the godless church, founded by British comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, have been spreading since launching in London in January 2013.
Jae C. Hong AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 3:41 pm

It sometimes feels like church in the auditorium of the Professional Musicians union in Hollywood. It's a Sunday morning, and hundreds of people are gathered to meditate, sing and listen to inspirational poetry and stories.

But then the live band starts up — performing songs by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jerry Lee Lewis. And instead of a sermon, there's a lecture by experimental psychologist and neuroscientist Jessica Cail about the biology of gender identification and sexual orientation.

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Around the Nation
2:57 am
Tue January 7, 2014

The Secret Burglary That Exposed J. Edgar Hoover's FBI

FBI director J. Edgar Hoover is seen in his Washington office, May 20, 1963. The 1971 burglary of one of the bureau's offices revealed the agency's domestic surveillance program.
William J. Smith AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 2:23 pm

More than 40 years ago, on the evening of March 8, 1971, a group of burglars carried out an audacious plan. They pried open the door of an FBI office in Pennsylvania and stole files about the bureau's surveillance of anti-war groups and civil rights organizations.

Hundreds of agents tried to identify the culprits, but the crime went unsolved. Until now.

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The Two-Way
8:57 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Texas Hires Coach Charlie Strong, And History Is Close At Hand

Incoming Texas Longhorns football coach Charlie Strong is embraced by Edith Royal, widow of famed Texas coach Darrell Royal, Monday.
University of Texas

The University of Texas introduced Charlie Strong as the school's new head football coach Monday, hoping to usher in a new winning era by hiring a man known for strong recruiting and stubborn defenses.

As he moves from Louisville to Austin, Strong becomes the first black coach of a men's team at Texas. For some, his hiring brings to mind how things have changed at a school that, during the 1960s, fielded teams made up of only white players.

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