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NPR's Backseat Book Club
3:06 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Both Community And Garden Grow In 'Seedfolks'

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 3:37 pm

April showers bring May flowers, and in this case they bring us a selection from the garden for NPR's Backseat Book Club. Each month we ask young people to read a book along with us, and for this month, our pick is Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman.

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Deceptive Cadence
3:05 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Bang On A Concerto: A New Percussion Piece By Rautavaara

Einojuhani Rautavaara, the elder statetsman of Finnish composers, has written a dynamic percussion concerto for Colin Currie.
Sakari Viika Ondine Records

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 2:09 pm

Pity the poor percussionist in Mozart's day. He didn't have much to do in the orchestra, save for the occasional punctuating roll of the kettledrum (usually supporting a burst of brass) or the rare ping of a triangle.

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It's All Politics
3:04 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Coloring In The Electoral Map Until You're Blue (Or Red) In The Face

Onlookers study a map of the electoral college system during a Nov. 5, 2008, U.S. presidential election party in Brussels. This year, the electoral vote landscape could be more challenging for Mitt Romney than national popular vote polls might suggest.
Jock Fistick Bloomberg via Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 2, 2012 1:51 pm

Most of us Americans find it hard to watch any sort of a competition without a scoreboard. And when the prize is the White House, the desire to know who's winning gets overwhelming.

That's why, now that Mitt Romney has all but wrapped up the Republican nomination for president, nearly every day brings a new national poll predicting the popular vote results in November.

Or purporting to do so.

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Books
3:04 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

'America's Great Debate' Saved Union From War

Originally published on Wed April 25, 2012 10:32 am

The Civil War remains the bloodiest conflict in U.S. history and the defining crisis of the nation. But it might easily have started 12 years earlier.

In 1850, California's application to join the Union threatened to unhinge the delicate balance of pro- and anti-slavery forces. The flood of European immigration had shifted power in the House of Representatives decisively to the North. Another free state would tilt the U.S. Senate.

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
3:04 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Water Crisis Looms For A Thirsty Planet

Access to fresh water is not a given for many, including this Indian girl carrying bottles of drinking water filled from a municipal tap two kilometers from her village.
Indranil Mukherjee AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 11:41 am

Twelve years ago, I was an intern working with the American Museum of Natural History on marine protected areas. One afternoon, after reading mountains of articles that documented the declining state of fisheries and reefs, I naively proclaimed that ocean conservation must be the most depressing field in the world of science.

"Not at all," countered my mentor. "It's the freshwater scientists that have it the worst." He was right.

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