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The Picture Show
4:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Russia By Rail: Siberia's Serious Cold

A woman is bundled up by the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sat December 10, 2011 4:12 am

It's tempting, when beginning a visit to the far reaches of Siberia, to dismiss cold as some Russian cliché. Like vodka. And fur hats.

Sure, there'll be vodka — but not at every meal. Maybe I'll buy a fur hat as a souvenir — but I won't actually wear it.

Cold is no cliché. Siberia is cold.

I know cold. I like cold. I grew up in Pittsburgh, skiing, sledding and sitting through Pittsburgh Steeler football games in January, where beers and sodas freeze in plastic cups at your seats.

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Author Interviews
3:58 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Desai's 'Disappearance': Three Tales Of Art And Time

Novelist Anita Desai is a professor of humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has also written Journey to Ithaca, Village by the Sea and Clear Light of Day.
Jerry Bauer Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Anita Desai's new collection of stories, The Artist of Disappearance, reads a bit like three symphonic movements in a minor key. They're three novellas, set in modern India, where the past is giving way. In one story, a government official inspects the forgotten treasures left behind in a fated mansion. In another story, a translator becomes a little too creative; and in the third, a man living in solitude finds his world upset by roving visitors.

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Environment
3:00 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Climate Activists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests

The world's forests act as massive sponges, sucking carbon from the atmosphere. Above, an aerial photo from 2009 shows massive deforestation in the Brazilian state of Para.
Antonio Scorza AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 3:56 pm

Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests.

The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse.

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Around the Nation
12:34 am
Sat December 10, 2011

Naughty Or Nice?: Krampus Horror For The Holidays

A Krampus procession takes place on Dec. 4 near Merano, Italy. People around America are also taking up the European Alpine folklore tradition, dressing like the creature who steals naughty children around Christmastime.
Johannes Simon Getty Images

For generations the Christmas season has been infused with sweetness, but Saturday some families in Philadelphia will be adding a dash of horror.

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Economy
10:05 pm
Fri December 9, 2011

Alternate Routes To One Goal: Tax The Wealthy

This week, the governors of New York and California proposed tax hikes to plug major holes in their state budgets. Governors Andrew Cuomo and Jerry Brown are both Democrats, and both are asking their states' wealthiest residents to pay higher income taxes.

That's pretty much where the similarities end. The execution of their tax proposals is a study in contrasts.

'We Have To Talk'

In New York, Cuomo's tax reform proposal followed a carefully crafted script, including a recorded video message to his constituents.

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