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Thursday December 31, 2009

Intelligence Failures

American diplomats and the CIA in Nigeria knew that the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day plane bombing had texted his father from Yemen, telling his father that he had found the “real Islam” and was never coming back.  Also the National Security Administration knew Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen were talking about using a Nigerian man for an attack. So did the National Counterterrorism Center, which is supposed to coordinate intelligence, have those two pieces of information and did it fail to link them? Mark Mazzetti, who covers the CIA for the New York Times, is our guest.

The End of The Decade

Cultural commentator Michael Hirschorn reflects on the past decade that started with the Y2K scare and ended with a financial implosion. He wrote about the Aughts for New York magazine.  Did you emerge from this decade a winner or a loser?  Hirshorn says that answer has something to do with how you view the internet.

Champagne under the Microscope

Scientists say there are 20 million bubbles in a champagne bottle.  The bubbles come from the carbon dioxide (CO2) in alcohol, but it takes microscopic lint in your glass for them start working.  And each bubble is working to effect the taste, aroma, and experience of that sip.  We’ll speak with Robert Lee Hotz, science columnist for the Wall Street Journal, who calls CO2 the drinkable greenhouse gas.

Films on Ty Burr’s Best Of List

When Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr was asked to give his picks for the best films of the past decade, he came up with 33 …. and then was told to winnow it down to 10.  Ty joins us to review the long and short lists.

Blue Moon Gazing

The full moon rises over the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum during the first inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Oakland Athletics Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

A full moon rises on Friday, Oct. 2, 2009, in Oakland, Calif. (AP)

Every 19 years a so-called blue moon appears on New Year’s Eve, and 2009 is one of those years. It’s a full moon, but it’s not actually blue. We learn more from Sky & Telescope magazine senior contributing editor Kelly Beatty.

Music from the show

  • Led Zeppelin, “Fool in the Rain”
  • Charles Mingus, “Pedal Point Blues”
  • Fred Hirsch, “Desafinado”
  • Kid Cudi, “Day ‘N’ Nite”
  • Osvaldo Golijov, “St. Mark Passion” performed by Luciana Souza & Schola Cantorum de Caracas
  • Glenn Miller Orchestra, “Blue Champagne”
  • Randy Newman, “Monsters, Inc”
  • Frederic Chopin “Nocturne in C-Sharp Minor (1830)”performed by Janusz Olejniczak
  • The Marcels, “Blue Moon”
Spotlight

Peter O’Dowd follows the route of Abraham Lincoln's funeral train 150 years ago, to look at modern-day race relations and Lincoln's legacy.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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