The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

VIDEO: Northern Lights Seen In Minnesota

The Northern Lights in Minnesota.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 7:02 am

Last night was pretty spectacular in some parts of Minnesota.

Fergus Falls, for example, got a rare showing of the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights. Douglas Kiesling, of Storm Chasing Video, posted this video of them on YouTube:

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It's All Politics
5:02 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

As The Campaign Hits Cruising Altitude, Critics Again Target Presidential Travel

President Obama boards Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, en route to Florida, on April 10. Whenever a president runs for re-election, his travel tends to become a political issue.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

The White House has been fielding questions lately about President Obama's travel — what's official, what's political and whether taxpayers are getting stuck with the bill. It's the same issue that rolls around every time a president runs for re-election.

Take President Obama's trip to Florida earlier this month. It featured an official presidential speech on the economy at Florida Atlantic University. On the same trip, the president hit two fundraisers.

How do you sort that out?

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Animals
4:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

A Bug's Life: Store Caters To Collectors Of Crawly Pets

The Poecilotheria metallica is a species of tarantula that reflects a metallic blue color. It is just one of many tarantulas for sale in Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil's pet store. Price: $200.
Kenthebugguy.com

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:49 pm

If you're the kind of person who screams at the sight of an insect or spider — or worse, steps on it — then a new store in Tucson, Ariz., might not be the best place for you to pick up a new family pet.

Owner Ken "The Bug Guy" MacNeil says his store is the only retail pet shop in the country devoted to insects and other arthropods. Judging from the recent opening day crowd at the store, plenty of people think the critters make great pets.

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London 2012: The Summer Olympics
4:52 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Olympian's Arc: From 'Ninja Turtles' To London

Terrence Jennings (right) lands a kick during a taekwondo match last fall. Jennings, who says his love of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles drew him to the sport, will compete in his first Olympics this summer.
Martin Mejia AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Taekwondo is fairly new to the Olympics; it was first officially included in 2000. But in just a few years, the Olympics have become the pinnacle event of the Korean martial art. And the odds of earning a spot competing on that stage are incredibly slim. There are only four slots for Americans — two for men, and two for women.

Terrence Jennings has beaten those odds, by defeating opponents over months of qualifying matches. In July, he'll head to London for his first Olympics.

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Newt Gingrich
4:30 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Through Debt And Derision, Gingrich Keeps Running

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 6:38 pm

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is expected to win all five of the Republican presidential primaries being held Tuesday. The GOP front-runner hasn't had to worry about real competition since Rick Santorum dropped out of the race earlier this month.

But former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is still running for president, even though he's short on money and lagging far back in the polls.

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The Two-Way
4:28 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Obama Calls Secret Service Employees In Prostitution Scandal 'Knuckleheads'

President Barack Obama laughs with Jimmy Fallon during commercial break as he participates in a taping of the Jimmy Fallon Show on Tuesday.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 8:42 pm

In his first public comments about the prostitution scandal that has engulfed the Secret Service, President Obama praised the agency and said those implicated in the scandal should not the diminish the work of everyone else.

"The Secret Service, these guys are incredible," Obama said according to Politico. "They protect me, they protect our girls... A couple of knuckleheads shouldn't detract from what they do."

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Law
4:15 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Firm Leaves Miss. After Its Prison Is Called 'Cesspool'

In 2010, former inmate Ross Walton describes mistreatment he says inmates received from guards. Faced with a court order to reform the Walnut Grove juvenile prison, the company managing the prison is leaving Mississippi.
Rogelio V. Solis AP

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:06 pm

One month after a federal court ordered sweeping changes at a troubled juvenile prison in rural Mississippi, the private company managing the prison is out. A report by the Justice Department describes "systemic, egregious and dangerous practices" at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility.

As those words imply, the official report is scathing.

Federal Judge Carlton Reeves wrote that the youth prison "has allowed a cesspool of unconstitutional and inhuman acts and conditions to germinate, the sum of which places the offenders at substantial ongoing risk."

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NPR Story
4:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Robot Eyes As Good As Humans When Grading Essays

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

A new study has determined that some automated essay graders can do as good of a job as humans. Melissa Block talks with New York Times education columnist Michael Winerip about the study and the weaknesses of automatic essay readers.

NPR Story
4:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

James Murdoch Grilled On News Corp.'s Standards

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 5:37 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Rupert Murdoch's son James testified today before a public inquiry in Britain. There, he faced a fundamental question: Did his family use its media influence to bully British politicians into making decisions that advanced the Murdoch's corporate interests? NPR's Philip Reeves followed the hearing in London.

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World Cafe
3:57 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Ben Howard On World Cafe

Ben Howard is a no-nonsense, no-frills singer-songwriter.
Courtesy of the artist

A surfer and songwriter, Ben Howard's two loves intertwined when the English surfing world became the first audience for his quiet, meditative music. At the encouragement of friends, Howard released two EPs and was soon invited to tour with Xavier Rudd. Howard is a talented artist in the vein of labelmate and influence Nick Drake, with similarly dark and soulful lyrics.

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