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As 2012 Comes To A Close, The Facts About Doomsday

When people have questions about the end of the world — the predictions of the Mayan calendar or other apocalyptic events — they often turn to the Internet. NASA astrobiologist David Morrison has taken it upon himself to answer thousands of questions about the science of existential threats.

Paying For Success: River Otters Are Being Trapped Again In Illinois

The state's otter population has exploded from 100 just a few decades ago to more than 15,000. They're eating their fill at ponds and fish farms, and are expected to soon double again in population if left unchecked. That's led Illinois to open the first otter trapping season in 83 years.

Jonathan Kozol On Kids That Survive Inner Cities

Jonathan Kozol has chronicled the lives of lower income children for nearly fifty years. In his new book, Fire In The Ashes, Kozol writes about families that he met in the 1980s, and the inspiring — and sometimes tragic — turns their lives have taken. He shares their stories with host Michel Martin.

Republicans Consider Breaking Tax Vow

Congress comes back to work this week and the fiscal cliff is its top priority. Some Republicans have said they'll break a longstanding pledge not to raise taxes. Host Michel Martin talks politics with columnist Mary Kate Cary of U.S. News and World Report and The Root's political correspondent Keli Goff.

SEC Chief Schapiro Is Leaving; New Chairman Chosen

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro will step down on Dec. 14. President Obama has designated SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter to be her successor.

Supreme Court Turns Down Appeal From Former Rep. William Jefferson

Known as "Dollar Bill" Jefferson after $90,000 was found in his freezer, the Louisiana Democrat is now set to stay in jail until 2023. He was convicted on corruption charges in 2009.

VIDEO: High Dives Into 'World's Biggest Pile Of Leaves'

What weighs about 20,000 pounds, is 17-feet high and 60-feet around? Answer: The pile of leaves that three guys in Utah assembled. Then, they did what comes naturally. They jumped into it.

'Cyber Monday,' 'Giving Tuesday;' Then 'Weeping Wednesday?'

There are clever names for many of the holiday season's key shopping days. Today's is in honor of what's said to be the biggest online shopping day. Tuesday's aims to get people to be charitable. Maybe Wednesday's should be for when the bills come in?