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Parallels
2:37 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Crimea: A Gift To Ukraine Becomes A Political Flash Point

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was Russian but felt an affinity with Ukraine. His decision to give Crimea to Ukraine is having consequences today.
AP

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 11:02 am

This post was updated at 4:18 p.m. ET.

In 1954, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave Ukraine a gift: Crimea. At the time, it seemed like a routine move, but six decades later, that gift is having consequences for both countries.

The transfer merited only a paragraph in Pravda, the official Soviet newspaper, on Feb. 27, 1954. The story was one long sentence and dense with detail. Here's what it said:

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Space
2:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Explains Why The Cosmos Shouldn't Make You Feel Small

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson hosts a new TV series called Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey. It's an update of the influential 1980 PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Journey, hosted by Carl Sagan.
Patrick Eccelsine Fox

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 9:45 am

When it comes to "callings" we usually think of people who feel drawn to religious career paths. But if you ask Neil deGrasse Tyson how he became an astrophysicist he says: "I think the universe called me. I feel like I had no say in the matter."

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Remembrances
2:36 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Remembering Harold Ramis, Master Of The 'Smart Dumb-Movie'

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. Harold Ramis, who died earlier this week, was a writer, director and actor who played a key role in several of the most popular comedies of the last half-century. His list of credits includes "Animal House," "Caddyshack," "Meatballs," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," and of course "Groundhog Day." Our critic-at-large John Powers is a fan and says there was more going on in Ramis' work than you might think.

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The Two-Way
1:26 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Latest Leak: U.K. Spied On Webchats, Grabbed Millions Of Images

Who else might be watching? Britain's spies collected millions of images from video chats, according to the latest secrets spilled by NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Paul Sakuma AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 6:27 pm

"Britain's surveillance agency GCHQ, with aid from the U.S. National Security Agency, intercepted and stored the webcam images of millions of Internet users not suspected of wrongdoing," The Guardian writes today in its latest report based on material leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

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It's All Politics
1:18 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Pentagon Cuts Promise Political Pain

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel briefs reporters at the Pentagon on Monday. Hagel and President Obama will need to fight through a wall of resistance to their proposed defense budget cuts, say former members of a defense base closing commission.
Carolyn Kaster AP

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:17 pm

Cutting defense spending in Washington is about as popular as proposing Social Security cuts. In other words, not very.

Which explains why, following Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel's announcement Monday that the Obama administration's new budget would propose shrinking the Army, closing bases and ditching weapons systems, the responses from Capitol Hill lawmakers have been some version of "over my dead body."

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Shots - Health News
1:08 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

Stethoscopes Do As Much Dirty Work As Hands In Spreading Germs

That stethoscope may have more germs than you'd expect. A simple wipe with alcohol can solve the problem, but when's the last time you saw that?
iStockphoto

A trip to the doctor's office may help you feel better, but it can also send you right back to bed if you're unlucky enough to pick up someone else's germs during your visit.

And researchers say you might be getting those germs from the doctor's stethoscope.

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Shots - Health News
11:47 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Dr. Yogi: Physicians Integrate Yoga Into Medical Practice

Yoga may be more than just an exercise. In Maryland, doctors are learning how to use yoga instead of drugs to treat various medical problems.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 7:50 am

Rajan Narayanan isn't your average yoga instructor. During his classes, he uses words like "neuroplasticity," avoids Sanskrit terms and sometimes shows up to teach in a suit and tie.

And often, as was the case on a recent Monday at a Maryland conference center, most of his students are doctors and nurses.

Stretched out on orange and green yoga mats for a weekend-long workshop, the 30 students learned breathing techniques, lifestyle tips and research findings that support the health benefits of yoga.

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The Two-Way
11:36 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Any Way It's Measured, Tesla's $5B 'Gigafactory' Is Huge

Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 1:31 pm

Just how big a deal is the "gigafactory" that Tesla Motors says it's going to build to make batteries for its electric cars?

-- It's projected to cost $5 billion between now and the year 2020. Tesla expects to invest about $2 billion. Partners — who it's rumored could include Apple and Panasonic — would invest the rest.

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Planet Money
11:02 am
Thu February 27, 2014

The Price Of A Pizza In 237 U.S. Neighborhoods

tk
tk

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 2:44 pm

Yesterday, we crunched thousands of pizza prices from around the country, and argued that you should always buy a bigger pizza. (And in a separate post, we presented the case against buying a bigger pizza.)

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The Two-Way
8:54 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Jobless Claims Jump Up, Orders For Durable Goods Fall Off

Thursday's economic news isn't great:

-- There were 348,000 first-time claims for unemployment insurance filed last week, up 14,000 from the week before, the Employment and Training Administration says.

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