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The Salt
2:30 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Elevenses And Then Some: How To Prepare A Feast Fit For A Hobbit

Precious snack: In Tolkien's books, lembas was a special bread made by elves that could stay fresh for months — perfect for sustaining travelers on a long journey (or engaging in an all-day movie marathon.) Try it for elevenses.
Beth Accomando for NPR

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 10:23 am

"If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." — J.R.R. Tolkien

Each year, I swear I will never do this again.

And yet, for the third year in a row, I am preparing to host a day-long Lord of the Rings movie marathon – and cooking up a seven-course hobbit-themed feast, plus dessert, to serve my guests. Maybe it's because, like Tolkien, I too would like the world to be a merrier place.

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The Two-Way
12:59 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Ouster Of North Korea's Jang Noted With Unease In China

A South Korean man watches TV news about the dismissal of Jang Song-Thaek, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's uncle, at a railway station in Seoul on December 3.
Jung yeon-je AFP/Getty Images

The recent, very public ouster of North Korea's Jang Song Thaek, the uncle of Kim Jong Un and formerly the country's No. 2 leader, has been noted with some concern in China, which is more or less Pyongyang's only friend in the region.

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Politics
12:56 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

How ALEC Serves As A 'Dating Service' For Politicians And Corporations

President Bush speaks to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Philadelphia, on July 26, 2007.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Wed December 11, 2013 11:07 am

A batch of internal documents recently leaked to The Guardian has revealed new insights into the goals and finances of the secretive group called ALEC. The American Legislative Exchange Council is a group that brings together state legislators and representatives of corporations. Together, they develop model bills that lawmakers introduce and try to pass in their state legislatures.

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Book Reviews
12:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Frustrating Heroine Stars In Fresh, Feminist 'Nightingale'

iStockphoto

Originally published on Tue December 10, 2013 2:33 pm

There's an unforgettable moment in the diary of the great Polish writer Witold Gombrowicz. He's on the beach and he spots a beetle that's been blown on its back by the wind and now lies there helplessly, legs wiggling, unable to right itself. Gombrowicz saves it by turning it over. He sees another upside-down beetle, and turns it over. Then, another. Looking along the sand, he realizes that there are so many beetles he can't possibly save them all. Eventually, he gives up trying.

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The Two-Way
12:00 pm
Tue December 10, 2013

Using Satellite, Scientists Pinpoint Coldest Place On Earth

Sastrugi stick out from the snow surface in this photo near Plateau Station in East Antarctica. Most of Antartica looks quite flat, despite the subtle domes, hills, and hollows.
Atsuhiro Muto National Snow and Ice Data Center

Using data from a NASA satellite, scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) say they have now pinpointed the coldest place on Earth.

On a 1,000 kilometer swath of the highest section of the East Antarctic ice divide, scientists measured temperatures of -134 to -137 degrees Farenheit.

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