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4:18 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A YouTube Powerhouse Looks Beyond Its Gamer Base

One of Machinima's signature offerings is a series called Christopher Walkenthrough, in which creator Jason Stephens, in character as actor Christopher Walken, navigates his way through popular video games. You kind of have to see it to understand.
Machinima.com

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:53 pm

One of the most popular channels on YouTube is aimed toward people who play video games. It's got tons of content — thousands of game reviews, how-to videos of people gaming away enthusiastically, even little homemade movies that people have made using video-game software.

That last format is a user-generated phenomenon called machinima — "little m" machinima. "Big M" Machinima is a company, and it wants to be a new media empire. It's the entity behind that YouTube channel.

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NPR Story
4:17 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

A Neighborhood Stalwart Remains Unchanged

The storefront of Irving’s Toy & Card Shop in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. (Bruce Gellerman/WBUR)

If you’re one of those last minute, down-to-the-wire, deadline-defying holiday shoppers — you better get going. Time is running out for you and hoards of like-minded procrastinators.

But today, we’d like to take a trip to a store not too far from our studios where time has largely stood still. In an age of big box chain stores, this little store really stands out.

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NPR Story
4:17 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

HIV Positive Extra In 'Philadelphia' Reflects On Film's 20th Anniversary

Unable to work because of fatigue and pain, Suellen Kehler says her dogs give her a reason to get out of bed in the morning. Kehler was an extra in the 1993 film, "Philadelphia." (Emma Lee/NewsWorks)

Twenty years ago, today, a film that changed the conversation about AIDS in America opened in theaters.

“Philadelphia” starred Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks, and it won box-office success and critical acclaim.

It netted two Oscars, including one for Hanks who won a Best Actor award for his portrayal of Andrew Beckett, an HIV-positive lawyer who sues his former law firm after he’s unjustly fired.

“Philadelphia” also featured actors whose real lives mirrored the movie: several dozen extras were HIV-positive Philadelphians.

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Shots - Health News
4:16 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Alabama Blue Cross Shares Obamacare Tax Woes With Customers

Kajdi Szabolcs iStockphoto

Insurance companies aren't crazy about their share of the health law's taxes, but mostly they've complained to politicians and regulators.

At least one health plan wants to bring consumers into the loop.

"Affordable Care Act Fees and Taxes" is a separate line on bills Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama is sending to individual customers.

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NPR Story
4:16 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Tom Perrotta Returns to the Short Story

2013 has been a pretty big year for author Tom Perrotta: his novel “The Leftovers” has been picked up by HBO as a T.V. series, and he published “Nine Inches,” his first short story collection in nineteen years.

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Found Recipes
4:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Don't Knock The Nog Until You've Tried This One

Courtesy of Tara Striano

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 6:51 pm

We ran an unofficial office poll at NPR last week, via email: "Where do you weigh in on eggnog? Love it? Hate it?"

Those who hate it really hate it. They used words like "detest," "loathe" and "ick." They also used font sizes well above 14 point and broke out the red type to emphasize their distaste.

But the haters were in the minority. By about 2 to 1, NPR is an eggnog drinkin' kind of place, but — and this was emphasized by many — only if it's eggnog done right. That means: not too sweet, not too thick and just the perfect amount of booze.

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NPR Story
4:11 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Judge Denies Stay Of Utah Same-Sex Marriages, Unions Continue

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 5:56 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

Marriages for gay couples will continue in Utah for the time being. A federal judge has denied a request to stay his own decision, a ruling he handed down last week. The judge ruled on Friday that Utah's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. From member station KUER in Salt Lake City, Terry Gildea reports.

TERRY GILDEA, BYLINE: At the Salt Lake County Clerk's office on Monday morning, Nathan Tanner and Jon Ayre exchanged vows.

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The Two-Way
2:36 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

WATCH: A 'Mistletoe Drone' Descends On San Francisco

A couple kisses under a drone mistletoe.
YouTube

Most would agree: We don't usually think of drones as charming.

But two artists — George Zisiadis and Mustafa Khan — have produced a piece of performance art that mixes the unmanned aerial vehicle with a long-loved holiday tradition.

The artists propped a mistletoe on a Parrot AR Drone 2.0 and flew it over San Francisco's Union Square.

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Commentary
2:27 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards

Decades ago, the SAT test was seen as a measure of raw ability, not as something students ought to cram for. Now, test prep is a huge industry. Linguist Geoff Nunberg wonders what exactly students learn when they're flipping through vocabulary flashcards.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 4:01 pm

When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.

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The Two-Way
2:23 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

White House Grants Extra Day For Obamacare Sign-Up

This image shows part of the HealthCare.gov website in Washington on Friday noting a Dec. 23 enrollment deadline for coverage starting Jan. 1.
Jon Elswick AP

Originally published on Mon December 23, 2013 3:03 pm

A midnight deadline to sign up for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act that starts Jan. 1 has been extended by a day in what the White House describes as an effort to accommodate people in different time zones.

The deadline that had been midnight on Dec. 23 has been pushed to Christmas Eve at midnight.

The Washington Post reports:

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