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3:32am

Mon October 31, 2011
Television

'Rock Center': Serving Hard News, But Will It Sell?

Brian Williams will set the course for the new NBC newsmagazine Rock Center. The network is positioning it as a serious news program — and expecting a ratings struggle, at least at first.

Justin Stephens NBC Universal

At 10 p.m. on Monday, NBC anchor Brian Williams will do something that hasn't been done in nearly 20 years: launch a new network TV newsmagazine.

Hosted live from NBC's Rockefeller Center headquarters — thus the name, Rock Center — it's an ambitious attempt to showcase both Williams' serious news skills and his signature dry wit. And if it's going to succeed, he and NBC may have to reinvent the newsmagazine for a new age.

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3:29am

Mon October 31, 2011
Law

High Court Considers When Bad Lawyers Taint A Case

The Supreme Court hears two cases about ineffective lawyers on Monday.

J. Scott Applewhite AP

On television, most criminal cases are tried before a jury. But in reality, more than 90 percent of all criminal cases in the United States never get to trial; they are resolved with a plea bargain. For the state, these bargains save money and resources, and they often include agreements that the defendant will help prosecutors make other cases. But plea bargains have also been criticized as a boon for real criminals who have information to bargain with, while little guys, with nothing to trade, can get mauled by the system.

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3:28am

Mon October 31, 2011
Performing Arts

Houdini Relative Unlocks Some Family Secrets

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:20 am

Theodore Hardeen (right) poses with brother Harry Houdini around 1901. Although Hardeen was the less-famous brother, he was also a magician and escape artist who continued to perform Houdini's routines after his death.

Courtesy of John Cox wildabouthoudini.com

You'd think if you were a relative of someone as famous as Harry Houdini, you'd know it. But George Hardeen, 59, didn't find out he was Houdini's great-nephew until he was a teenager.

His grandfather was Houdini's brother, Theo Hardeen, also an escape artist. At one point, the brothers performed together. Houdini and his wife, Bess, had no children, and when he died — on Halloween, 85 years ago — he willed all of his props to Theo.

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2:52am

Mon October 31, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Losing Weight: A Battle Against Fat And Biology

One recent study found that people were able to burn up an extra 450 calories a day with one hour of moderate exercise. That can include walking briskly, biking or swimming.

iStockphoto.com

Part of an ongoing series on obesity in America

If you're among the two-thirds of Americans who are overweight, chances are you've had people tell you to just ease up on the eating and use a little self-control. It does, of course, boil down to "calories in, calories out."

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2:42am

Mon October 31, 2011
7 Billion And Counting

Visualizing How A Population Grows To 7 Billion

Watch as global population explodes from 300 million to 7 billion.

Adam Cole, Maggie Starbard NPR

The U.N. estimates that the world's population will pass the 7 billion mark on Monday.

Much of that growth has happened in Asia — in India and China. Those two countries have been among the world's most populous for centuries. But a demographic shift is taking place as the countries have modernized and lowered their fertility rates. Now, the biggest growth is taking place in sub-Saharan Africa.

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