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Joe's Big Idea
1:26 am
Thu December 27, 2012

The Quest For The Perfect Toothbrush

A drawing from Michael Davidson's 2012 patent for "Toothbrush And Method Of Using The Same."
Patent 8,108,962 U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 2:34 am

There are some consumer products where every year brings new innovations. Computers get faster, cellphones get lighter, cars get new bells and whistles.

It's easy to imagine why inventors are drawn to redesigning these products — the technology for making them is changing all the time.

But what about consumer products that have been around for a long time? For the toothbrush, the answer is a resounding yes.

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U.S.
1:26 am
Thu December 27, 2012

For Veterans, The Wait For Disability Claims Grows Longer

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs began the year with a promise to cut wait times disability benefits claims. Instead, the backlog of pending claims has worsened.
Karen Bleier Getty Images

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:46 pm

Kevin English served three tours as a Marine in Iraq. When he came home to Arizona, he suffered from vicious headaches and neck pain that made it hard to keep a job. The worst day, he says, was when he found he couldn't lift a simple aluminum ladder.

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Economy
4:06 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Fed Boosts The Economy, But What About The Risks?

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke speaks during a news conference in Washington on Dec. 12. Some economists worry the Fed has set the stage for inflation as well as stock and housing bubbles by keeping interest rates low.
Kevin Lamarque Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

The Federal Reserve continued to keep its foot on the accelerator in 2012, using unusual tactics to try to boost economic growth. But there's disagreement among economists about whether the Fed's policies were effective or whether the risks to the economy outweighed the rewards.

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Law
3:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Toyota Reaches $1 Billion Deal On Accelerator Lawsuits

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

A plaintiffs' attorney says Toyota Motor Corp. has reached a settlement exceeding $1 billion in a class-action lawsuit involving complaints of unintended acceleration in its vehicles. Robert Siegel talks with NPR's Sonari Glinton about the deal, which still needs a judge's approval.

U.S.
3:32 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Legalized Pot Creates Quandary For Adults In Wash.

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

In Washington State, parents and drug counselors are in a quandary. Now that recreational marijuana is legal, they're wondering how to talk to kids about pot.

NPR's Martin Kaste has that story from Seattle.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Ten, nine, eight, seven...

CROWD: Nine, eight, seven...

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Under the Space Needle, marijuana enthusiasts counted down to the moment of legalization.

CROWD: Two, one...

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

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The Two-Way
3:25 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Toyota Moves To Settle 'Sudden Acceleration' Lawsuits For More Than $1 Billion

Toyota has agreed to spend more than $1 billion to resolve lawsuits stemming from "unintended acceleration" cases. In November, the company displayed new cars at the Los Angeles Auto show.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 5:27 am

Owners of Toyota vehicles that experienced sudden and unintended acceleration have reached a settlement that could require the carmaker to pay as much as $1.4 billion in claims, according to the auto maker and the law firm representing Toyota customers.

U.S. District Court Judge James Selna, at whose direction the many lawsuits over the "runaway car" fears were consolidated in 2010, will review the proposed settlement Friday.

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Shots - Health News
3:02 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

How A Drug Shortage Hiked Relapse Risks For Lymphoma Patients

The number of new drug shortages each year in the U.S., from 2001 through Dec. 21, 2012.
University of Utah

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Katie Alonzo was stunned when doctors told her they couldn't get a drug her 10-year-old daughter, Abby, was taking to fight lymphoma.

"When a doctor says, 'This is what you need to take.' And then all of a sudden somebody tells you, 'Well, that is what you need to take but this isn't available so we're going to try this instead,' it's very scary," say Alonzo, who lives in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

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U.S.
2:34 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Debating The Impact Of An Immigration Crackdown

John Steinbach shows a day laborer in the parking lot of Ricos Tacos Moya a photo he took of him for an ID.
Lauren Rock NPR

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

In 2007, when Virginia's Prince William County ordered police to check the immigration status of anyone they had "probable cause" to suspect was in the U.S. unlawfully, the impact was swift at family restaurant Ricos Tacos Moya.

"Suddenly nobody showed up," says Stacey Moya, an employee, and daughter of the owner. "Nobody was around. Not one soul. We would go hours without any customers, any clients. Nothing."

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Music News
1:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

The Killers Return, Guitar-Rock Holdouts In A Pop World

The Killers perform on the season finale of NBC's The Voice last week.
NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 27, 2012 11:39 am

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NPR Story
1:54 pm
Wed December 26, 2012

Climate Change Gets Real For Americans

Originally published on Wed December 26, 2012 5:24 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Now to a scientist looking back at the year that's about to end, commentator Adam Frank is an astrophysicist. And in the category of science, he is confident about the headline for 2012.

ADAM FRANK: Something remarkable has happened that may etch this year into history for centuries to come. Twenty-twelve's importance comes not through elections, economic shifts or the new movements in art. No, 2012 may well be remembered for something far more elemental.

This was the year that climate change got real for Americans.

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