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The Salt
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

The Enigmatic Pecan: Why So Pricey, And How To Pronounce It?

Where In the U.S. do people say pee-kahn over pi-kahn? Joshua Katz answered your burning question by mapping Bert Vaux's dialect survey on regional variations in the continental United States.
Courtesy of Joshua Katz

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 3:08 pm

The price of pecans is going up, up, up, which may mean that if you're planning a pecan pie for Thanksgiving, the time to buy them is now. The reasons behind that escalating price all come down to natural forces: supply and demand and weather.

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The Two-Way
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Blockbuster Fades Out, But Some Zombie Stores Will Live On

This Blockbuster store in Mission, Texas, is franchised by Border Entertainment. The company has 26 stores across Texas and Alaska that will live on after the last 300 or so company-owned stores are closed by early January 2014.
Courtesy of Alan Payne

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Blockbuster was once the king of movie rental stores. At its peak, it had about 60,000 employees and more than 9,000 stores.

But after struggling for several years, the chain is breathing its last gasp. Dish Network, which bought Blockbuster in a 2011 bankruptcy auction, says it will close the remaining 300 or so company-owned stores by January.

On Twitter, it put out a call for "Blockbuster Memories."

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Shots - Health News
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

White House Releases Long-Awaited Rules On Mental Health

The mental health parity law passed in 2008, but it didn't cover people in smaller health plans.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 2:35 pm

The Obama administration delivered on a long-delayed health care promise when it issued rules to ensure equal health insurance treatment for people who have problems with mental health or need treatment for substance abuse.

The rules, issued Friday, require that most health insurance plans offer the same amount of coverage for mental health and substance abuse claims as they do for medical and surgical coverage.

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Books
5:30 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Art Lost And Found, The Echoes Of A Century's Upheaval

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Every week, a cluster of stories comes to define the landscape of news media. These can be stories of international scope or local intimacy, but for their own distinctive reasons, they all offer narratives defined almost in real time.

To get a better grasp on the hectic pace of current events, it's often vital to turn to another kind of narrative — our favorite kind: books. That's why each week we'll invite authors to suggest a book that somehow deepens, contextualizes or offers an entirely new angle on one of the week's major headlines.

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Shots - Health News
4:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

In Massachusetts, Health Care Prices Remain Hard To Get

The price for an X-ray is murkier than the image.
Ivica Kljucar iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

I threw out my back in September playing squash and went to the doctor. She sent me down the hall for X-rays. I may need more of them.

So I'm curious, how much does an X-ray cost? It sounds like a simple question. In most places, it's impossible to find out, but I live in Massachusetts, where a new state law says insurers must be able to tell members, in advance, how much a test, treatment or surgical procedure will cost.

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Movie Interviews
4:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Jake Gyllenhaal, Going After What's Real

Jake Gyllenhaal plays the stoic Detective Loki in Prisoners, trying to track down two missing girls.
Wilson Webb Warner Bros.

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

In the movie Prisoners, now in theaters, a detective investigates the abduction of two young girls. Things get a little more complicated when the father of one of the girls takes matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing the man he thinks is responsible.

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NPR Story
4:39 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Sitting At Her Son's Bedside, A Mother Re-Defines Religious Nut

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Health care insurance is designed to pay the bills but when we're faced with a life-threatening illness, what really sustains us? Writer Nancy Slonim Aronie was loathe to turn to religion, so she was surprised by what she found next door.

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Parallels
4:36 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

France Rethinks The Sanctity Of Its Day Of Rest

A woman walks amid both open and closed shops during a Sunday morning stroll at the Butte Montmartre in Paris, in July. Under France's Byzantine rules on Sunday trading, shops at the top of the hill are in a designated tourist area and so can open, but those at the bottom cannot.
Christian Hartmann Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:34 pm

There's a fight going on for the soul of France. Since 1906, Sunday has been deemed a collective day of rest in the country, and French law only allows stores to open on Sundays under very specific conditions — for example, if they're in a high tourist area. Sunday work is also tightly controlled.

But some people are questioning the sense of such a tradition in a languishing economy and 24/7 world.

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The Salt
4:32 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Can We Eat Our Way To A Healthier Microbiome? It's Complicated

While no one's sure which foods are good for our microbiomes, eating more veggies can't hurt.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon November 25, 2013 10:27 am

When our colleague Rob Stein got his microbiome analyzed recently in the name of science journalism, we were totally fascinated.

As Stein noted, it may be possible to cultivate a healthier community of bacteria on and inside us by modifying our diets.

Stein was advised to eat more garlic and leeks for his. But we wondered: Are there other foods that promote a healthy microbiome in most people?

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The Two-Way
4:06 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Mental Health Moves Closer To Parity In New Insurance Rules

Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy (left) is welcomed by Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, during a hearing about mental health parity rules Thursday. A new rule issued by the Obama administration aims to increase parity for how insurers handle mental health issues.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 8:28 pm

Many health insurers must treat coverage of mental health and substance abuse in the same way they handle treatments for physical illness, according to a new rule issued Friday by the Obama administration.

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