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The Two-Way
5:27 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Christie Knew Of Lane Closures, Former Port Official Claims

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie listens during a Jan. 9 news conference in which he denied any knowledge of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge when they occurred in September.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 6:30 pm

The New York Times reports that a former Port Authority official says "evidence exists" that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie knew about politically motivated lane closings on the George Washington Bridge as they were happening.

The assertion contradicts earlier statements by Christie, who has said that he was "embarrassed and humiliated" when he found out that the lane closures were politically motivated instead of, as he'd been led to believe, part of a traffic study.

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The Salt
5:20 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Southern Fishermen Cash In On Asia's Taste For Jellyfish

Cannonball jellyfish soak up the sun on a South Carolina beach. Fishermen are now pursuing the pest that used to clog their shrimping nets.
Courtesy of Steven Giese

Originally published on Tue February 4, 2014 5:39 pm

On the Southeast coast of the U.S., jellyfish have earned a lengthy rap sheet for stinging beachgoers and getting tangled in shrimpers' nets. But lately, the tides have turned for shrimping, and some fishermen in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida are reaping profits from their local pests, the cannonball jellyfish, or "jellyballs."

"The shrimp season [of 2013] was the worst ever in history here," says Howell Boone, a shrimp trawler in Darien, Ga."The jellyfish industry has been about the best thing that's happened to us."

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The Two-Way
4:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Police Say White Powder Mailed To N.J. Hotels Was Cornstarch

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:32 pm

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are investigating a suspicious white powder that was mailed to several New Jersey hotels near the site of Sunday's Super Bowl — but there were no reports of injuries and preliminary tests suggest the substance was cornstarch.

NPR's Margot Adler reports that the white powder was found in letters mailed to five New Jersey hotels. Another letter was sent to the Midtown Manhattan law office of former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. A worker in the mailroom at Giuliani's office opened the letter.

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Music Reviews
4:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Too Much Of A Good Thing? Jane Ira Bloom's Beautiful Ballads

Jane Ira Bloom.
Johnny Moreno Courtesy of the artist

When soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom plays Kurt Weill's "My Ship" on her new album Sixteen Sunsets, a pale glow around her notes comes from a simple special effect: pointing her horn under the hood of a piano whose strings are free to resonate. Bloom has always been preoccupied with sound, and has one of the prettiest, clearest tones around on soprano.

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Book Reviews
4:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Midwestern Memoir Tracks 'Flyover Lives' Of Author's Forebears

The second best quality Diane Johnson has as a writer is that she's so smart. Her first best quality — and one that's far more rare — is that she credits her audience with being smart, too. Whether she's writing fiction, biography or essays, Johnson lets scenes and conversations speak for themselves, accruing power as they lodge in readers' minds.

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Interviews
4:08 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Pioneer Billie Jean King Moved The Baseline For Women's Tennis

Billie Jean King, seen here in 1977, learned to play tennis on the public courts near her Long Beach, Calif., home.
Kathy Willens AP/Press Association Images

This interview was originally broadcast on Sept. 12, 2013.

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The Two-Way
3:19 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

U.S. Issues Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review

Pipefitters work on construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline's southern portion outside Tulsa, Okla., last January.
PR Newswire

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 5:11 pm

The State Department says that production of Canadian tar-sand crude, which has a bigger greenhouse gas footprint than other types of oil, is unlikely to be increased if the Keystone XL pipeline goes ahead — and therefore would do little to contribute to climate change.

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The Two-Way
3:09 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

School's Out For Online Students In 'State Sponsors Of Terrorism'

Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Stanford University computer science professors who started Coursera, pose for a photo at the Coursera office in Mountain View, Calif., on Aug. 2, 2012.
Jeff Chiu AP

Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria are all U.S. government-designated state sponsors of terrorism. They're also the places where students who tried to log on to classes on Coursera this week were greeted with this message:

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The Two-Way
2:51 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

It's True: Snowiest Places Are Least Likely To Close Schools

Dark blue: It's going to take a foot or more of snow to close schools. Green: Any snow's going to shut things down.
reddit.com/user/atrubetskoy

Originally published on Fri January 31, 2014 8:48 pm

We all probably sort of knew this already, but a new map seems to show quite clearly that it doesn't take much snow to close schools in the Southern U.S. — and that it takes a lot to close them in the Northern half of the nation.

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The Two-Way
1:01 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

PHOTOS: When Barn-Sized Boulder Meets Barn, Barn Loses

Originally published on Sat February 1, 2014 6:54 am

First things first: No one was hurt.

Now, with that out of the way, we have to confess to being amazed by some photos from northern Italy — where a huge boulder broke free earlier this month, rolled down a mountain and turned a barn into splinters as it narrowly missed a farmhouse.

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