Planet Money
1:57 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Why Legos Are So Expensive — And So Popular

Lego minifigures are displayed on October 18, 2012 in the newly-opened store of the Danish construction toys group at the "So Ouest" shopping center in Levallois-Perret, west of Paris.
Thomas Samson Getty Images

Originally published on Fri January 11, 2013 9:26 am

I went to Toys R Us recently to buy my son a Lego set for Hanukkah. Did you know a small box of Legos costs $60? Sixty bucks for 102 plastic blocks!

In fact, I learned, Lego sets can sell for thousands of dollars. And despite these prices, Lego has about 70 percent of the construction-toy market. Why? Why doesn't some competitor sell plastic blocks for less? Lego's patents expired a while ago. How hard could it be to make a cheap knockoff?

Luke, a 9-year-old Lego expert, set me straight.

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Books
1:47 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

'World On A String': John Pizzarelli Jazzes It Up

In a new memoir, jazz guitarist and son of jazz legend Bucky Pizzarelli tells stories from growing up in a musical household and making a name for himself as a musician.
Goldberg McDuffie Communications

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 12:13 pm

Brothers John and Martin Pizzarelli were born into a family of musicians. Their father is the famed jazz guitarist, Bucky Pizzarelli, who, during the 1960s, performed in the Tonight Show Band and who worked as a session player for rock acts such as Dion and the Belmonts. Musical greats, too, were in and out of the Pizzarelli house in Paterson, New Jersey, as John and Martin were growing up. It makes perfect sense then that, eventually, Martin picked up the upright bass professionally and John found his calling with jazz guitar, singing and songwriting.

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JazzSet with Dee Dee Bridgewater
1:31 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Wynton Marsalis On JazzSet

The clock strikes midnight with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Frank Stewart for Jazz at Lincoln Center

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 2:44 pm

The energy in the room is palpable, as Wynton Marsalis launches into "Dipper Mouth Blues," a tune named for King Oliver's trumpet player, Louis Armstrong. "New Orleans Bump" features the whimsical clarinet of Victor Goines.

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Music Interviews
1:26 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Miguel's Steamy Musical Inspirations

Timothy Saccenti The Chamber Group

"I've definitely stopped in the middle of sex and recorded things."

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Shots - Health News
1:19 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

We're Living Longer, But Not All That Healthier

Average life expectancy around the world has ticked up over the past twenty years. Here it's shown for men in 2009. The extremes are in dark green and dark red, which represent 78 to 82 years old and less than 66 years old, respectively.
Courtesy of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 3:52 pm

People around the world are living longer than they did two decades ago, but many people aren't very healthy during those extra years.

That's a key finding from a large-scale study estimating what makes people sick worldwide.

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NPR Story
12:54 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Drought Continues: Farmers, Shippers Feel Pressure

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:17 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. We're in the worst drought since the 1950s, according to NOAA, and while we associated extended dry spells with summer, conditions out west have remained unchanged since the warm weather ended.

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NPR Story
12:54 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Options For Intervention In Mali's Growing Crisis

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:13 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Many of us may not be able to point to Mali on a map, but this landlocked nation in West Africa has emerged as a crisis. Here's a quick synopsis: A government once hailed as a model of democracy collapses in a coup last March. Three northern provinces, an area the size of Texas, break away and declare themselves independent.

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NPR Story
12:54 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

NCAA Shake-Up: The Future Of College Athletics

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 1:15 pm

In 2013 and 2014, there will be a number of substantial realignments in the NCAA conferences. Some believe that the realignment process will ultimately result in the creation of four "super conferences." NPR's Mike Pesca talks about how conference shifts could effect the future of college athletics.

The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Sales Soar In Gaza Of Fragrance Named For Rocket Fired At Israel

Bottles of M75 on sale at a shop in Gaza City. The fragrance is named for the rockets fired from Gaza into Israel.
Ashraf Amra APA /Landov

Originally published on Sun December 16, 2012 7:50 am

Before anyone else does, we'll make the "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" reference that comes to mind when you read this:

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Best Music Of 2012
12:11 pm
Thu December 13, 2012

Top 10 Latin Alternative Albums Of 2012

Xenia Rubinos is one of our favorite artists of 2012.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon March 4, 2013 10:35 am

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