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NPR's Backseat Book Club
5:15 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Roald Dahl Wanted His Magical 'Matilda' To Keep Books Alive

Author Roald Dahl stands with his wife, American actress Patricia Neal, and their newborn daughter, Lucy, outside their home in Buckinghamshire, England, in August 1965. Roald Dahl died in 1990.
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 10:26 pm

Every night, author Roald Dahl told his children a story: "Most of them [were] pretty bad," he admitted in a 1972 BBC4 interview, "but now and again you'd tell one and you see a little spark of interest. And if they ever said the next night, 'Tell us some more about that one,' you knew you had something. This went on for quite a long time with a story about a peach that got bigger and bigger and I thought, 'Well heck, why don't I write it.' "

That bedtime story became Dahl's first children's book, James and the Giant Peach.

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The Two-Way
5:10 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Denver's Smell-O-Scope Targets Marijuana's Skunky Scent

A man uses the Nasal Ranger to detect smells in the southern U.S., in this photo provided by St. Croix Sensory. In Denver, the device is being used to monitor complaints of strong marijuana smells.
Courtesy of Nasal Ranger

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado. But that doesn't mean residents want the air to smell like a pot rally. Denver is getting more calls to enforce an odor ordinance that can impose a buzz-killing fine on violators. To find them, the city relies on a device called the Nasal Ranger.

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All Tech Considered
4:57 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

For Ridesharing Apps Like Lyft, Commerce Is A Community

A Lyft driver in San Francisco drops off a passenger as a taxi passes by. The smartphone app lets city dwellers hitch rides from strangers.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:34 pm

This week on-air and online, the tech team is exploring the sharing economy. You'll find the stories on this blog and aggregated at this link, and we would love to hear your questions about the topic. Just email, leave a comment or tweet.

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All Tech Considered
4:57 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Electric Cars Drive Demand For Cheaper, More Powerful Batteries

A prototype of a flexible battery from Imprint Energy, one of 40 companies working on battery technology in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Imprint Energy

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

If there's one person you'd expect to have an electric car, it's Venkat Srinivasan. He's in charge of battery research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

"I'm actually in the market for a new car and would love to buy an electric car," he says. "But there are practical problems."

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Shots - Health News
4:57 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Oregon Shines On Medicaid, As Texas Stalls On Sign-Ups

Kyle Thompson and his family are all going to have health coverage in Oregon, thanks to the state's successful effort to enroll people in Medicaid.
Kristian Foden-Vencil

Originally published on Thu November 14, 2013 7:29 pm

Oregon might be seen as a complete failure or a surprising success when it comes to its health insurance exchange.

One the one hand, the state's website has yet to allow a single person to enroll. That's a big problem for the folks who are hoping to qualify for subsidies and buy insurance that will start Jan. 1.

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