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Participation Nation
10:09 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Americans In Action, Helping Each Other And Making The Whole Country Better

With your help, we spent a month sharing stories about Americans taking action to make their world a better place.
Milos Luzanin iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 12:32 pm

Like a quietly efficient operating system whirring away in the innards of a supercomputer, a vast array of Americans — mostly unseen and unsung — spend hours and hours of every week working together to find ways to make their communities — and the whole country — better.

This is Participation Nation.

In a monthlong blog that ended Aug. 31, NPR collected stories of people actively helping other people, animals and the planet. Here is an executive summary of what we discovered.

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Music Interviews
10:03 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Garfunkel Defends His Art

Art Garfunkel performs at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 2010.
Barry Brecheisen WireImage

Originally published on Sat September 1, 2012 4:40 pm

Art Garfunkel is best known as half of the legendary duo Simon & Garfunkel. The harmonies he created with Paul Simon left an indelible mark on American music, but less remembered is his string of Top 40 hits as a solo artist.

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The Salt
6:03 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Want To Grill Like A Zillionaire? There's An App For That

The iGrill on display at Macworld 2011in San Francisco.
Tony Avelar Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 19, 2012 2:14 pm

There are so many cooking apps out there, it's easy to get lost. Good thing the iGrill has Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on its side.

Sales of the $80 device spiked by 400 percent after Zuckerberg updated his Facebook status on Aug. 19 with an enthusiastic thumbs up for the iGrill, a cooking thermometer that uses Bluetooth to connect to the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

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It's All Politics
4:30 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Republicans Gear Up To Thwart An Obama North Carolina Two-Peat

Romney-Ryan campaign volunteers Will Moore and Mindy Moorman in the Greensboro, N.C., office.
Frank James NPR

Blindsided is what North Carolina Republicans felt four years ago when President Obama won the state, though by the slightest of margins — a mere 14,177 votes out of 4.3 million cast.

Republicans admit they had taken as a given a 2008 North Carolina victory by Sen. John McCain. And who could blame them? No Democratic presidential candidate had won the state since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

But as McCain learned to his grief, history isn't always destiny. Obama's campaign had an effective strategy to win the state, and did.

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Your Money
4:12 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Saving For Retirement? Here's A Tip

Originally published on Tue September 4, 2012 3:05 pm

Anyone with a 401(k) retirement plan has been painfully aware of the gyrations in the stock market in recent years. The market has come back up lately, but the economy is still in low gear, so many analysts aren't too bullish in the short term. Also, treasuries and CDs are offering tiny returns.

So what's the average American trying to save for retirement to do? Answers are percolating at an annual economics retreat in Maine.

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