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  • Boston Marathon: five historic moments

    Monday's Boston Marathon was one for the record books. Geoffrey Mutai of Kenya ran the fastest marathon ever to win the men's division with a time of 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 2 seconds. Kenya's Caroline Kilel beat American Desiree Davila by two seconds to win the women's division with a time of 2:22:36. Japanese Masazumi Soejima won the men's wheelchair division in a time of 1:18:50, with nine-time defending champion Ernst Van Dyke finishing third one second behind. Another Japanese, Wakako Tsuchida, won the women's wheelchair division. Here are five of the most memorable moments from the marathon's 115-year history.
    04/18/2011 01:41 pm

  • Record store day: 10 of the best album covers ever

    In honor of Record Store Day (which I imagine the GOP wants to get rid of), I've compiled my own fairly random list of top ten album covers. The criteria was simple: I'd hang it on my wall. . . if I hung record jackets on my wall. Enjoy!
    04/16/2011 03:03 pm

  • Tax day 2011: Last-minute tips to keep the Internal Revenue Service away

    The Internal Revenue Service has taken on a gentler demeanor in recent years, but let's face it: The IRS still wants you to pay what you owe, and to pay it on time. This year, on time means April 18, due to a calendar quirk involving the District of Columbia's celebration of Emancipation Day. State deadlines may vary. Here are nine tips that tax experts (and the friendly Internal Revenue Service itself) offer to help keep you from getting audited, owing a penalty, paying more than you really owe, or having to file an amended return because of a mistake:
    04/15/2011 04:43 pm

  • Record Store Day: Five gems worth hunting for

    Saturday is Record Store Day, an occasion to give thanks to the socially challenged luddites and misfits who are bravely and somewhat foolishly keeping the big 12-inchers alive and rotating from coast to coast! Huzzah! And Gabba Gabba Hey, y'all! I confess without shame that, many years ago as an art student, I spent most of my tuition money at one such hot, dusty vinyl den, Aron Records on Melrose Ave. in Hollywood, Calif. It was in Aron's burgeoning bins of advance DJ copies (50 cents each) that I discovered a young, wildly talented Elton John, stumbled upon the great Ry Cooder and the criminally underrated Little Feat, fell hard for Dusty Springfield, and built my voluminous Monk collection. And that was just my first semester. As you might imagine, I've unearthed a few treasures over the years at Aron, Rhino Records, and other favorite haunts. Here are five gems that you'll never see warping in the sun at a garage sale at my house.
    04/15/2011 04:33 pm

  • Job opportunities on the rise: Five things new college grads should know

    Thanks to improved job opportunities, this year’s crop of college graduates won’t have to hit the pavement quite as hard as their counterparts did in the past few years. Their spring job outlook is the best it’s been since 2007, with employers planning to hire 10 to 20 percent more new graduates this year than they did last year, according to two recent surveys. Here’s a breakdown of hiring and salary prospects for various industries, college majors, and skill sets:
    04/15/2011 03:31 pm

  • Local jobs: Top five cities leading the turnaround

    Last year, these five metropolitan areas were struggling economically with unemployment above the national average. By February 2011, however, they were among the fastest recovering cities in the United States, most of them with unemployment rates below the national average of 9.5 percent. Here’s a look at these Top 5 fast-recovery cities:
    04/15/2011 10:01 am

  • Who are the BRICS?

    The BRICS countries, five nations grouped together because of their burgeoning economies, are in the spotlight this week as their leaders meet in China. Made up of Brazil, Russia, India, China and, as of this week, South Africa, the BRICS countries are grouped together because while they are not yet economic powerhouses, they have the potential to become the world’s most dominant economies in the next few decades.
    04/14/2011 05:29 pm

  • Bestselling books the week of 4/14/11, according to IndieBound*

    What's selling best at independent bookstores across America.
    04/14/2011 04:00 pm

  • Tax day 2011: Four ways to protect your tax returns from data thieves

    Tax-related identity theft is the fastest growing kind of identity theft. Between 2005 and 2009 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission tripled from 11,000 to nearly 34,000, according to a Scripps Howard News Service investigation. Thieves steal personal information to use for themselves or sell, or they take it to divert a tax refund into their own pockets. Identity theft, as a whole, is on the decline, but the abundance of personal information in circulation during tax season makes it a prime time for thieves to strike. Here are four tips for keeping your information safe:
    04/14/2011 01:14 pm

  • Kashmir 101: Decoding Kashmir's conflict

    For six decades, a piece of land about the size of Britain between Pakistan and India has been the source of major tension and fighting between the two. But recently, the nature of the lengthy conflict has changed. In India-controlled Kashmir, young people inspired by protests across the Middle East have intensified their push for independence – and they want the world to take note. Here is a quick primer about the conflict.
    04/14/2011 10:41 am

  • 4 new mysteries for spring

    As April is the cruelest month, it seems like a fine time to check in with some of the mystery genre's most reliable wordsmiths. From forgotten historical figures to lost children, there are enough puzzles and double-crosses here to carry fans through to summer – but not a butler in sight.
    04/14/2011 07:05 am

  • Coupon sites that could save you hundreds

    When group coupon site Groupon went online, similar sites started popping up everywhere. Pretty soon they were turning down multi-billion dollar buyout offers from Google, prompting Facebook to consider a similar feature, and setting the tone for the new industry. The idea for all these sites is that with large numbers of buyers and titillating promotions, daily coupons usually worth 50-70 percent off become a win-win for customers and businesses. With ever more regional and national competitors trying to get your email address, here is a list of popular group coupon websites that could help you save money in your city.
    04/14/2011 05:13 am

  • Obama vs. Paul Ryan: five ways their debt plans differ

    The battle over the national debt and fiscal responsibility has been joined. President Obama laid out his own idea of a path to prosperity Wednesday, countering a rival plan set forth last week by Rep. Paul Ryan (R), the chairman of the House Budget Committee. The plans share important similarities: big spending cuts, a form of automatic trigger if Congress fails to act, and reforms to entitlements like Medicare. But the contrasts are clear and significant. Here are five prominent differences between President Obama's and Congressman Ryan's plans on deficits and debt:
    04/13/2011 08:37 pm

  • Top 5 nations working the most hours

    Americans might like to think of themselves as the world's hardest workers, but a new report ranks them ninth in terms of working hours when placed alongside 28 nations, including China, India, and South Africa. The study, released April 12 by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, found that Americans work about 15 minutes more per day than the average 8 hours worldwide. Chinese work about eight minutes longer per day than Americans. Belgians work the least, at seven hours a day. Here's a quick glance at the top five longest-working nations, which has some surprising members.
    04/13/2011 02:56 pm

  • 10 best novels about the US Civil War

    It was 150 years ago this week that Confederate troops fired on a federal fort in Charleston harbor and began the violent four-year struggle in which Americans raised arms against Americans. The history books can tell us much about the trauma of war, but for those who prefer the emotional truths that can be conveyed by a good novel, here are 10 classic stories of the US Civil War.
    04/13/2011 01:24 pm

  • NASA space shuttle: Coming to a city near you?

    For three years, 29 institutions competed for a (very large) piece of NASA history. On Tuesday, Charles Bolden, administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, named the four cities that will house the space shuttles Atlantis, Discovery, Endeavour, and Enterprise. To make it to their new homes, the vehicles will hitch rides on the backs of 747 jumbo jets. Each institution will pay $29 million to cover the space shuttle preparation and transportation costs. Here are the cities that won.
    04/12/2011 07:14 pm

  • France's burqa ban: 5 ways Europe is targeting Islam

    France issued its first ticket to a woman wearing an Islamic veil on Monday, the day a national ban on face coverings in public took effect. The new law is among a number of legal and political moves across Europe targeting Islam amid a growing debate over multiculturalism. Here are five recent actions taken regarding Islam in the public sphere.
    04/12/2011 05:38 pm

  • Orange Prize for fiction 2011 shortlist

    Celebrating its 16th anniversary this year, the Orange Prize for Fiction honors "excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world." Last year's winner was American author Barbara Kingsolver for her novel "The Lacuna." The 2011 award will be announced on June 8, 2011, and the winner will be one of these six novelists.
    04/12/2011 04:52 pm

  • Five famous jailed dissidents in China: Ai Weiwei to Liu Xiaobo

    Chinese authorities have cracked down on dissent in hopes of preventing a popular uprising in China like those that have erupted in the Middle East. Sweeping arrests of prominent dissidents have been part of the campaign and have earned the Chinese government widespread internal and international criticism. Who are some of these activists being put behind bars?
    04/12/2011 01:45 pm

  • 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010

    Every year at this time the American Library Association compiles its list of "most frequently challenged" library books from the past year. The 2010 list includes some titles carried over from previous years (No. 1 on the list, "And Tango Makes Three," has appeared on the top of the "most challenged" list every year since its 2005 publication) and some new ones (including No. 5, teen bestseller "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, causing The Washington Post to comment that making the list has become "a virtual rite of passage for young adult sensations.") Here are the 10 books on the top of the 2010 list.
    04/12/2011 12:56 pm

  • 10 best-paid American mystery writers

    It's no secret that, in the realm of literature, crime pays – big time. And, according to a study cited in The Guardian, American mystery writers receive a particularly staggering payoff for their work. (Totals include book sales, box office returns, license fees, and company accounts.) Here are America's top-ten best compensated mystery writers.
    04/11/2011 03:48 pm

  • Government shutdown: Will those who like government least miss it most?

    The mail will still go through, as will Social Security payments, veterans benefits, and military pay. Federal employees will still direct plane traffic, inspect food, and prosecute crime. By its own estimates, the federal government represents about 8 percent of the United States economy, so the economic impact of a long government shutdown would eventually affect just about everybody. Even in the short term, some groups will notice. Ironically, some of those who will be affected most are those who like government least. Here's a look at four such groups:
    04/08/2011 05:00 pm

  • Top 5 myths about starting a business

    More Americans became entrepreneurs in the past two years than at any other time in the past 15 years, according to the Kauffman Foundation. But if you’re considering leaving your day job to take the leap into entrepreneurship, first learn the facts behind these Top 5 myths about starting a business:
    04/08/2011 09:00 am

  • Glenn Beck leaving Fox: his 10 most controversial statements (so far)

    With the news of Glenn Beck leaving Fox officially announced, it's time to reflect. The host has packed a lot of wallop in just two-plus years at Fox News. Conspiracy theories, apocalyptic predictions, and just plain eyebrow-raising statements have kept the folks at Media Matters for America, a liberal watchdog group, busy. They track his show (along with many others) and take notes. Now that the show “Glenn Beck” is ending later this year, Media Matters has opened its files and shared some of the most noteworthy moments. We’ve whittled the list down to the 10 most controversial things Mr. Beck has said on Fox – so far, at least. It bears noting that Beck has a lot of followers, who admire his populist conservative critique of the Obama era. His Facebook page has more than 1.8 million fans -- coincidentally, the same number of viewers he had as of January (down from 2.9 million in January 2010). Whether those fans believe his every word is hard to tell. But, like any good showman, he knows how to draw a crowd.
    04/07/2011 03:41 pm

  • Portugal bailout: Who's Europe rescuing, and by how much?

    Portugal announced today that it would seek a bailout from the European Union, becoming the fourth country in western Europe to request a financial rescue package. All eyes are now on Spain, the last of the so-called PIGS (an acronym for Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain, the least economically robust members of the eurozone) to not request a bailout. Here's a look at the financial rescue packages for each nation.
    04/07/2011 03:05 pm

Doing Good


What happens when ordinary people decide to pay it forward? Extraordinary change...

Danny Bent poses at the starting line of the Boston Marathon in Hopkinton, Mass.

After the Boston Marathon bombings, Danny Bent took on a cross-country challenge

The athlete-adventurer co-founded a relay run called One Run for Boston that started in Los Angeles and ended at the marathon finish line to raise funds for victims.

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