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A Senator's Surprising Inauguration Shout-Out Probably Wasn't So Surprising

It may have struck many people as odd that Lamar Alexander, the senior senator from Tennessee, gave a shout-out to Alex Haley, the author of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, during his remarks at the presidential inauguration.

"The late Alex Haley, the author of Roots, lived his life by these six words: Find the good and praise it," Alexander said Monday on the National Mall, just before he introduced Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who swore in Vice President Biden. (Alexander was the only Republican lawmaker to speak at President Obama's inauguration.)

But it turns out that Alexander and Haley, who died in 1992, were old friends from way back, according to The Washington Post.

"The Tennessee Republican and the celebrated author were good friends. During his second term as governor, Alexander invited Haley to co-chair a homecoming celebration for Tennesseans. During the planning, Haley was convinced to move back to the state. The two once traveled for weeks on a cargo ship together, both working on books. Alexander has called Haley 'the greatest storyteller Tennessee has ever produced.' "

In 2011, Alexander donated many of his papers, including his long correspondence with Haley, to Vanderbilt University.

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A Star-Crossed 'Scientific Fact': The Story Of Vulcan, Planet That Never Was

For decades, astronomers believed there was another planet in our solar system, tucked just out of sight. Then Albert Einstein figured out it wasn't there. Author Thomas Levenson explains.

Internet Food Culture Gives Rise To New 'Eatymology'

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2 Degrees In Paris: The Global Warming Set To Dominate Climate Conversation

As world leaders gather in Paris to talk about climate change, one phrase that will dominate conversations is "two degrees." Global leaders will discuss how to prevent global temperatures from warming by more than two degrees since the industrial revolution.

Payoffs For Prediction: Could Markets Help Identify Terrorism Risk?

In a terror prediction market, people would bet real money on the likelihood of attacks. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Stephen Carter about whether such a market could predict — and deter — attacks.

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