6:00am

Sat October 29, 2011
The Salt

Eating Your Way To A Healthy Heart (If You're A Python)

Pythons' huge meals strengthen their hearts, and scientists hope it will help them learn how to treat human heart diseases.

Gabriel Bouys Getty Images/AFP

It's a huckster's dream: "Try the new Burmese Python Diet. No calorie counting or special foods. Eat whatever comes along, up to a quarter of your body weight. Not only is it good for your waistline; it's good for your heart."

Trouble is, what works in pythons probably won't work for humans.

Pythons employ what scientists call a "sit and wait foraging tactic." In other words, they lie around in a Burmese jungle and wait for the food to come to them. And of course, this can mean months between meals.

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5:33am

Sat October 29, 2011
Around the Nation

Unions Assume A Support Role For Occupy Movement

Union posters can be found all over the Occupy Philadelphia protest site near City Hall. Protesters and local union leaders meet regularly to discuss tactics and how to involve labor.

Jeff Brady NPR

Attend just about any of the Occupy Wall Street-inspired protests across the country and you're likely to see a group of people dressed in matching union T-shirts somewhere in the crowd. Typically, they're older than your average Occupy protester but no less enthusiastic in their chanting.

"I've been doing this [protesting] for five decades," said Mike Wisniewski at a recent Occupy Philadelphia protest at The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Wisniewski says he's a university library employee and has been a union member since 1972.

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5:22am

Sat October 29, 2011
Author Interviews

After 40 Years, Grisly 'Exorcist' Book Gets A Rewrite

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

'I'm Not Regan': Linda Blair played the young Regan MacNeil in the 1973 film adaptation of William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist. In the book, Regan becomes possessed by a malevolent demon who makes her head turn 360 degrees.

AP Warner Bros. Entertainment

In 1971, a novel set off a frenzy that soon inspired a film — and then a firestorm.

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5:00am

Sat October 29, 2011
Afghanistan

NATO: Troops, Afghans Among Bomb Casualties

A suicide car bomber struck a NATO convoy on the outskirts of Kabul on Saturday, causing casualties among the NATO service members and Afghan civilians, the U.S.-led coalition said. Afghan officials said three civilians and one policeman were killed.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which occurred near Darulaman Palace, the bombed-out seat of former Afghan kings on the southwest outskirts of the capital. It was one of three attacks in the day that targeted either the U.S.-led coalition or Afghan government offices in the country.

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4:29am

Sat October 29, 2011
Latin America

Small And Isolated, Belize Attracts Drug Traffickers

Special forces troops in Belize march through jungle looking for any sign of marijuana or drug smugglers. Drug traffickers have become increasingly active in Belize and other small nations in Central America.

Nick Miroff for NPR

A couple of decades ago, Colombian drug cartels dominated smuggling operations into the United States. In recent years, the Mexican cartels have taken over.

But Mexico's brutal drug war over the past five years is now pushing some of the drug trade into the smaller, weaker nations of Central America. And the traffickers are increasingly active in the region's least-populated and most vulnerable country, Belize.

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4:09am

Sat October 29, 2011
Business

After Scandal, Solar Industry Looks On Bright Side

Originally published on Wed November 2, 2011 8:36 am

A worker stands next to an array of Sharp solar cell modules at a power plant south of Tokyo in August. Sharp was one of 1,400 solar panel manufacturers in attendance at the Solar Power International conference, where industry optimism was high.

Toshifumi Kitamura AFP/Getty Images

Solar power's image has taken a hit lately with the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The California solar panel manufacturer received more than half a billion dollars in Energy Department loan guarantees before going belly up.

But the industry is still optimistic — that much was apparent at the Solar Power International conference held in Dallas in mid-October. Walking into the big hall of the Dallas Convention Center, it was impossible not to be impressed by the huge array of black solar panels hanging from the ceiling.

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2:45am

Sat October 29, 2011
Fresh Air Weekend

Fresh Air Weekend: Michael Shannon, David Carr

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Michael Shannon plays federal agent Nelson Van Alden on the HBO series Boardwalk Empire. "I think inside of Van Alden is a child — that arrested child — that never really got to develop its own identity," he says.

Mihcael B. Polay HBO

Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:

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2:26am

Sat October 29, 2011
The Two-Way

Comeback Cards Win It All: St. Louis Takes World Series Title

The St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Texas Rangers 6-2 to win the World Series in Game 7 at Busch Stadium in St Louis, Miss., on Friday.

Michael Heiman Getty Images

A World Series that saw plenty of drama, some history and a bit of the bizarre ended Friday night with the St. Louis Cardinals defeating the Texas Rangers by a score of 6-2 in the deciding Game 7.

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2:09am

Sat October 29, 2011
National Security

U.S. Dismantles The Biggest Of Its Cold War Nukes

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 1:10 pm

This undated photo provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration shows the last B53 nuclear bomb. It was dismantled this past week, just outside Amarillo, Texas. It's a milestone in efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.

National Nuclear Security Administration AP

This past week, the U.S. dismantled the last of its largest nuclear bombs, the B53.

This was a Dr. Strangelove bomb, conjuring up images of armageddon and apocalypse. At the same time, one of the smallest warheads was also removed from the nuclear arsenal.

These are steps the U.S. is taking apart from its arms control agreements with Russia. And thousands more American nuclear weapons are slated for destruction in a process that could take a decade or more.

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1:18am

Sat October 29, 2011
Around the Nation

New Water Map Washes Away S.F. Urban Legend

A disputed plaque in San Francisco's Mission District features Laguna Dolores. The most recent version of a map of the city's underground waterways removes the lagoon, as it was considered geographically impossible.

Amy Standen

Two creek geologists — people who study underground waterways — recently found themselves in the basement of a porn studio in San Francisco. Janet Sowers and Christopher Richard steered clear of the actors who were filming for Kink.com, an online fetish pornography studio that happened to have a stream running through its basement.

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