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4:17 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

All Aboard! Real-Life Polar Express Chugs Through Michigan

The Pere Marquette 1225 rolls into view in Owosso, Mich. It's been a local favorite for decades and especially gained popularity after inspiring the look and sounds of the train in a 2004 film.
James DeVleeschouwer Jr. Flickr

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 5:12 pm

Every sight and sound of the magical Christmas train in the 2004 film The Polar Express is based on a real-life steam locomotive. The Pere Marquette 1225 has its own Christmas story to tell — and it involves a very close call with the scrapyard.

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

General Motors CEO: In The Bailout, Fair Is Fair

General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson speaks at the National Press Club on Monday in Washington, D.C.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Retiring General Motors CEO Dan Akerson made a case Monday for how losing should feel like winning — at least for U.S. taxpayers who lost more than $10 billion in a GM bailout.

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Technology
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Seniors Talk Back About Tech In Their Lives

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

A few Mondays ago, we reported on seniors and tech. The fastest-growing age group on social media is over 65. And we asked seniors in the audience this question: How has your relationship with technology changed as you have aged? Here's some of what we heard.

BILL PRINCIPE: I'm Bill Principe(ph) from Ayer, Massachusetts. At my age, I still use Facebook, Skype. I played "Temple Run," "Candy Crush." And I depend on my computer and my smartphone for so many things. But anything I can do on my smartphone, my grandson does so much better.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Scientists Find Tiny Exfoliating Beads In Great Lakes Fish Guts

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Tiny plastic beads used in some cosmetics and toothpaste are making their way into the bellies of fish in the Great Lakes, and it's raising concern among environmentalists. Dr. Sherri Mason, a chemistry professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, has been researching the issue, and she joins Audie Cornish to explain what this means for the Great Lakes ecosystem.

Europe
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

The Shipping Forecast: From Britain's Seas Into Its Soul

Fisherman Teddy Head tells a story to a group of children while mending his nets in Hastings in 1952. The fishermen of Hastings are tightknit; fathers, brothers and sons work together in rugged boats no more than about 30 feet long. Some families in Hastings have worked this way for centuries.
Fred Morley Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 19, 2013 1:29 pm

It is a bizarre nightly ritual that is deeply embedded in the British way of life.

You switch off the TV, lock up the house, slip into bed, turn on your radio, and begin to listen to a mantra, delivered by a soothing, soporific voice.

"Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger ...." says the voice.

You are aware — vaguely — that these delicious words are names, and that those names refer to big blocks of sea around your island nation, stretching all the way up to Iceland and down to North Africa.

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Parallels
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Denmark's 'Fix Rooms' Give Drug Users A Safe Haven

Inside the drug consumption room in Aarhus, Denmark's second-largest city.
Sidsel Overgaard for NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Martin Jensen smokes heroin.

In the past, when this gaunt-faced Dane had to hide in elevators and stairwells to feed his addiction, he probably wouldn't have been so willing to advertise that fact. Back then, his days were spent scouring Copenhagen — mostly the notorious Vesterbro neighborhood — for places to smoke, out of sight of the police and children. He says he never felt safe, understandably, given what happened to one of his friends.

"My friend, he [was trying to] get some sleep, when he had smoked," Jensen recalls.

That's when an arsonist stopped by.

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The Salt
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

In Florida, A Turf War Blooms Over Front-Yard Vegetable Gardening

Hermine Ricketts says she gardens for the food and for the peace it brings her.
Greg Allen NPR

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

In tropical South Florida, it's growing season. Temperatures are in the 80s, there's lots of sun and good rain, and normally, Hermine Ricketts' plants would already be in the ground.

"By now, this should be probably Red Sails lettuce, which is a beautiful color lettuce, or purple mizuna, which is a beautiful filigreed purple leaf," she says.

But this year, Ricketts' vegetable planting has been derailed by a legal fight over what she can plant and where she can plant it.

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Remembrances
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Oscar And Academy Award-Winning Actress Joan Fontaine Dead At 96

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:06 pm

Film star Joan Fontaine died Sunday at age 96. She was best known for her roles in films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, including Suspicion, which earned her an Academy Award in 1941.

Movie Interviews
3:20 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Spike Jonze Opens His Heart For 'Her'

Joaquin Phoenix plays a man in love with an operating system in director Spike Jonze's latest film, Her.
Warner Bros.

Originally published on Mon December 16, 2013 7:49 pm

Writer-director Spike Jonze's latest movie, called simply Her, is about a lonely man who falls in love ... with his operating system. The two lovers — Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) and Samantha (voiced by Scarlett Johansson) — never meet face to face. In fact Samantha has no face, not even an avatar.

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NPR Story
3:05 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Renee Graham's Guide To South Korean Cinema

The sci-fi action thriller "Snowpiercer," directed by Bong Joon-ho and based on the French graphic novel "Le Transperceneige," comes to the U.S. next year.

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 9:35 am

Spike Lee’s remake of the Park Chan-wook movie “Oldboy” has brought more attention to the South Korean film maker.

Here & Now pop culture critic Renee Graham tells host Robin Young that it’s about time — there is a lot of exciting work coming out of South Korea.

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