Religion
4:35 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents'

Andrew Hamblin preaches while holding a snake above his head, LaFollette, Tenn.
Ciaran Flannery NGT

Snake handlers dwell at the edge of the spiritual frontier — a community of people who are willing to die for their faith three times a week in church. Members of the Pentecostal Holiness Church take up venomous serpents to prove their faith in God. The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.

Pastor Jamie Coots warns about the scent in the snake room behind his house in Middlesboro, Ky.

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Europe
4:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Tories Tell Jobless Brits: It's Time To Work For Your Dole

Job seekers line up outside a work support office in London in 2009. New measures proposed by the Conservative-led government will require recipients of unemployment benefits to do unpaid community work, spend workdays at a job center or participate in intensive programs to help solve personal issues that prevent them from working.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 5:18 pm

Britain's Conservative-led government delivered a one-two punch to more pillars of Britain's social benefits system this week. It announced more cuts to the country's social welfare programs — moving ever closer to "workfare."

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Shots - Health News
4:24 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Want To Read Others' Thoughts? Try Reading Literary Fiction

Would time spent with Anton Chekov, famed for his subtle, flawed characters, make you a better judge of human nature?
Hulton Archive Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 8:33 am

Your ability to "read" the thoughts and feelings of others could be affected by the kind of fiction you read.

That's the conclusion of a study in the journal Science that gave tests of social perception to people who were randomly assigned to read excerpts from literary fiction, popular fiction or nonfiction.

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World Cafe
3:53 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Shuggie Otis On World Cafe

Shuggie Otis.
Courtesy of the artist

Blues and R&B musician Shuggie Otis is back with a new album for the first time in almost 40 years. For the reclusive Otis, the release of Wings of Love is major news. Its release is paired with his 1974 masterpiece Inspiration Information, which drew attention to Otis when it was first reissued by the Luaka Bop label in 2001.

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The Government Shutdown
3:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

The 'Faux Friday' Jobs Report: What Economists Can Guesstimate

Even without official Labor Department data, economists estimated jobs grew moderately last month.
Andrey Popov iStockphoto.com

Thanks to the federal government's partial shutdown, the Bureau of Labor Statistics skipped its monthly Big Reveal at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

There was no September employment report.

Without access to the BLS numbers, data junkies were left to scrounge around for lesser reports. Maybe if they could suck in enough small hits of other statistics, they could feel that old familiar rush?

Nope. Nothing can replace that BLS high.

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The Two-Way
3:51 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Google Vs. Facebook: A Map Of Global Conquest

Google is red; Facebook blue.
Mark Graham/Stefano De Sabbata Internet Geographies at the Oxford Internet Institute

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 5:14 pm

The U.K.'s Oxford Internet Institute has put together an interesting illustration of the most popular websites around the world. Not surprising, Google and Facebook dominate the globe.

We're not quite sure what the data mean, if anything, but you can be the judge.

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Shots - Health News
3:19 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

The Last Word On Hormone Therapy From the Women's Health Initiative

Once hailed as a feminine fountain of youth, then vilified, hormone replacement therapy may finally be finding its place as a short-term treatment for menopause symptoms.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 6:37 pm

Back in 2002, a research study blew apart the widely held belief that hormone replacement therapy protected women from heart disease and other chronic ills.

Instead, the Women's Health Initiative study found that taking estrogen plus progestin hormone replacement therapy — HRT — actually increased a woman's risk of heart disease and breast cancer.

The study had a huge effect: Within months the number of women using HRT dropped by almost half.

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It's All Politics
3:17 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Obama's Lunch: Sandwich With A Side Of Shutdown Messaging

President Obama and Vice President Biden at Taylor Gourmet sandwich shop near the White House on Friday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:59 pm

Before President Obama canceled his Asia trip, some of us wondered how he could possibly leave the U.S., especially for the exotic resort island of Bali, during the federal government shutdown.

Forget the logistical complications caused by having so many staffers unable to work the trip. What about the optics of having the president at a lush tourist destination while hundreds of thousands of government workers were furloughed and worried about missing paychecks?

Obama solved that potential problem by canceling his overseas trip, which would have started Saturday evening.

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Books News & Features
3:05 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

New E-Book Lending Service Aims To Be Netflix For Books

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 4:24 pm

Movie lovers have Netflix, music lovers have Spotify — and book lovers (whether they read literary fiction or best-selling potboilers) now have Scribd. The document sharing website has been around since 2007, but this week it launched a subscription service for e-book lending.

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The Salt
2:40 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Of Goats And Gardens: Making Sense Of Urban Agriculture In LA

A garden in Santa Monica, Calif.
Courtesy of Cultivate LA

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 9:12 am

Until recently, if you wanted to find out the rules for raising goats in Hollywood, bees in Bel Air or squash in a community garden in South Central Los Angeles, it would have been pretty tough — like standing in various lines at the DMV.

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