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4:01pm

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Iowa Gov. Discusses GOP Presidential Field

It's a big night in Iowa: The Republican presidential candidates are holding their final big debate prior to the Iowa caucuses, which take place on Jan. 3. Melissa Block talks with Iowa Republican Gov. Terry Branstad about various candidates' strengths and weaknesses. In short, he says there's a lot of excitement, and he's reserving judgment on who the winner will be.

3:57pm

Thu December 15, 2011
NPR Story

Tracking An Order In Real-Life Santa's Workshops

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 7:23 pm

Javier Polendo, an employee at a largely automated Target.com fulfillment center in Tucson, Ariz., scans items to be shipped to online customers.
Ted Robbins NPR

There's a world of activity between the time online shoppers click the "place order" button and when a holiday package is delivered to their doorsteps. The National Retail Federation estimates that 38 percent of holiday purchases will be made online this year, which is keeping fulfillment centers large and small very busy.

Target.com runs five fulfillment centers. One of them, in Tucson, Ariz., stretches the length of 16 football fields.

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3:55pm

Thu December 15, 2011
The Two-Way

Chemists Unveil Future Self-Cleaning Clothes

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 4:04 pm

In the future, cleaning your clothes could be as easy as hanging it in sunlight.
Rodrigo Buendia AFP/Getty Images

A group of chemists have presented what they say is self-cleaning fabric that could one day lead to jeans, shirts and other clothing that dissolves stains and kills bacteria when exposed to sunlight.

The scientists announced their findings in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, which is peer-reviewed and published by the American Chemical Society.

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3:44pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Still No Job: Over A Year Without Enough Work

Changes In The Economy Leave Workers Scrambling

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 6:34 pm

A counselor (right) talks with a man about training programs at a nonprofit training and job placement center in Menlo Park, Calif. Seventy percent of the long-term unemployed and underemployed would like the government to offer more job training services, an NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll found.
Paul Sakuma AP

If you're unemployed, it can be painfully clear when you don't have the right skills to land a good job.

With unemployment at 8.6 percent, upwards of 13 million Americans are without a job and looking for work. A recent NPR/Kaiser Family Foundation poll surveyed hundreds of long-term unemployed and underemployed people, asking whether they thought they had the skills required to find a job.

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3:43pm

Thu December 15, 2011
Rick Perry

Perry Tries To Ride Back Into Iowans' Hearts

Originally published on Thu December 15, 2011 5:10 pm

Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry walks with former Marine officer Dan Moran during a campaign stop Wednesday in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Eric Gay AP

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is trying to reclaim a place in the top tier of the Republican presidential field — and his campaign is betting a barnstorming bus tour of Iowa is the key to exceeding expectations in the state's Jan. 3 caucuses.

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