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Middle East
9:28 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Syrian Rebels Fear Radicals May Hijack Revolt

Syrian rebels pose after seizing control of the Bab al-Hawa border post on the Syrian-Turkey border on July 20. Now, the rebels are facing a new challenge: radical Islamists, who they say do not represent them.
Bulent Kilic AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 7:09 pm

Homegrown rebels have done most of the fighting against the Syrian government troops. But Islamist militants from abroad, including some with links to al-Qaida, are now joining the fight against the government in growing numbers.

The local rebels are not pleased with this development, and there is growing tension between the groups that share a desire to oust President Bashar Assad but little else.

Until a few weeks ago, the border crossing at Bab al-Hawa on Syria's northern frontier with Turkey was the site of a training camp for a militant Islamist group.

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Krulwich Wonders...
8:44 am
Wed September 19, 2012

U.S. Explodes Atomic Bombs Near Beers To See If They Are Safe To Drink

National Technical Information Service via Alex Wellerstein

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 3:34 pm

So you're minding your own business when all of a sudden, a nuclear bomb goes off, there's a shock wave, fires all around, general destruction and you, having somehow survived, need a drink. What can you do? There is no running water, not where you are. But there is a convenience store. It's been crushed by the shock wave, but there are still bottles of beer, Coke and diet soda intact on the floor.

So you wonder: Can I grab one of those beers and gulp it down? Or is it too radioactive? And what about taste? If I drink it, will it taste OK?

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Education
8:33 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Do Scores Go Up When Teachers Return Bonuses?

An incentive system that gave bonuses to teachers upfront, with the threat of having to give the money back if student performance didn't improve, proved effective in one study.
David Franklin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 7:47 pm

In Chicago, parents were fuming over a weeklong strike by teachers. Around the rest of the country, in the face of growing evidence that many U.S. students are falling behind, administrators have tried to devise different ways to motivate teachers.

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Planet Money
8:33 am
Wed September 19, 2012

Teachers Get Bonuses, With A Catch: They May Have To Pay Them Back

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 7:16 am

NPR's Shankar Vedantam has a story today about a study conducted by a bunch of economists. He writes that they:

divided 150 teachers into three groups. One group got no incentive; they just went about their school year as usual. A second group was promised a bonus if their students did well at math.

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