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Tattooists turn scars into butterflies

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Looking to dress up a scar? Turn it into a butterfly. Or a lizard. Many people, especially women who have had mastectomies or other surgeries, are electing to do just that. Some tattoo artists welcome the challenge.


Women keep their names after marriage for more than feminist reasons

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Thirty years after the feminist movement spurred women to keep their maiden names, women are choosing to hold on to these names for a different reason--to preserve their ethnic identities.


Whatchu Talkin' Bout?

A new wave of slang collectors are trying to keep up with language as it evolves. As an Oregon high schooler might say: dankidy!


Nasty knockoffs: Dangerous fake products enter U.S. at record pace

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Fake cigarettes, brake parts and condoms are only some of an increasing number of dangerous counterfeit goods now on the U.S. market. The days of seemingly harmless knockoffs like Rolex watches, Louis Vuitton purses and Nike sneakers are giving way to a new generation of fake goods that are being smuggled into the U.S. at a record pace.


From YouTube to the big time? Maybe

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Before the Internet, aspiring actors, comedians and television personalities followed traditional routes in their quest for success. But, with the rise of Web sites like YouTube, amateurs now have a chance to show off their talents to the world, and some people in show business are taking notice. Whether or not YouTube will become the great career launching pad remains to be seen.


Return of the typewriter

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Typewriters are back. People young and old are shunning the distractions of modern computers in favor of the old manual machines.


'Crazy Blind Date': A Web site plays matchmaker in a new and different way

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A new dating Web site has been luring adventurous singles away from the other sites by daring them to hook up with a complete stranger.


Fear factor: One person's pleasure is another's phobia

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Never before have there been so many things to be afraid of, a situation that has kept researchers busy compiling catalogues to keep up with the new fears. They range from the tragic (philophobia, fear of love) to the bizarre (consecotaleophobia, fear of chopsticks). Basically, if you can name it, someone is phobic about it.


Viagra: A 10-year love affair

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Has it really been 10 years since Viagra burst onto the scene and into the medicine cabinets of American men? A look back at the medical/cultural phenomenon that's resurrected late-life sex and provided endless fodder for late-night comedians.


How a 20-foot inflatable rodent became a union label

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From Hollywood picket lines in Los Angeles to nonunion construction sites in Chicago and New York, a 20-foot inflatable rat has become one of the most recognized symbols of the labor movement.


A natural woman, one bead at a time

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An increasing number of women are practicing medication-free birth control as part of a countrywide return to a back-to-basics lifestyle.


Dieters take a jab at fat with injections for weight loss

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In the name of melting off pounds, would you inject a hormone extracted from a pregnant woman's urine? Even one that studies show does nothing to help weight loss? Based on anecdotal evidence, more and more dieters are saying "yes."


FFF: Will a sexy sell help save the environment?

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Can online porn and vegan strip clubs save the rainforest? The erotic industry believes there’s a market for idealists who want to hug more than just trees.


Tech-savvy pen collectors still think real ink

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It takes one look around any lecture hall or office to make you believe that the ink pen's days are numbered. But the trusted writing instrument is not ready to roll off the table yet. In the United States and abroad, the fountain pen--the fancier and more respectable cousin of cheap ballpoints--is making a comeback, thanks to a a new generation of pen fans.


Couture by the slice: Wedding cakes get a makeover

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The wedding cake has been a matrimonial staple since medieval times. Now, high-end cake designers are serving up more colorful, more elaborate, more personalized--and more expensive--wedding cakes than ever before.


Recent 'chick flicks' are not just for girls

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More and more guys are becoming fans of so-called “chick flicks.” Recent studies show men enjoy them almost as much as women, and their enjoyment is higher if the movies involved are presented as fantasy rather than based on facts.


The housing market is tanking. Time to renovate

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A sinking real estate market is no time for homeowners to sit still, experts say. Spruce up your place now, because the buyers are coming back.


Explorers go to the ends of the earth, just to broadcast the experience back home

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Solitary expeditions to the ends of the earth--those glorified by Shackleton, Peary, and Sir Edmund Hillary--are being replaced by interactive trips built around streaming video, blog updates and Internet sites that document every trial, travail and observation of a new generation of explorers.


Hey kids, wash your teeth off with soap

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More Americans are tossing toothpaste aside for a mouth-cleansing throw back: soap. Entrepreneurs are adding flavors so it doesn't taste so much like, uh, soap. But some dental experts aren't convinced that soap is best for that clean, fresh feeling.


The latest in newly discovered species: You pay for it, you get to name it

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Want your name in the record books? Can’t find a gift for that special someone? Now you can name a species and help fund the not-so-sexy science of taxonomy


Latina converts look for answers in Islam

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Increasing numbers of Latinas are converting to Islam, for love, faith and, some say, a sense of respect. But some find acceptance from family and friends is harder to come by.


New masters: Dogs take up painting

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Get ready for it, pet owners are now encouraging their canines to paint, and then proudly displaying the "muttsterpieces" in well attended art shows.


"The Biggest Loser" spawns weight loss competitions around U.S.

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Inspired by a popular reality television show, company employees, gyms, even entire towns are holding weight loss competitions of their own. Prizes and teammates are motivating even the chronically obese to give exercise and dieting another shot.


Ten years later, ‘The Big Lebowski’ still abides

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The Coen brothers just won four Academy Awards for "No Country for Old Men," but longtime fans are busy celebrating another landmark in the filmmakers' career: the 10-year anniversary of "The Big Lebowski," a film that has achieved cult status among devotees.


Home cooking hits the back burner, but food culture heats up

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While books about food are flying off the shelves and cooking shows are hot, people are increasingly relying on their microwaves to make dinner. Cooking is becoming more recreational and less a necessity.


Amateur photography goes 3-D

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A growing number of amateur photographers are discovering the art of 3-D anaglyphs, sparking a resurgence in those goofy old-time glasses with the red and blue frames, and creating online communities of geeked-out grown-ups who can't stop posting pictures or talking about those cool 3-D photographs from the planet Mars.


'Belly casts,' the new rage to memorialize your pregnancy

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Thousands of pregnant women are making plaster belly casts to have keepsake sculptures of their expecting bodies. Some use them as art; others want to remember that very special time in their lives.


Micro-farming comes of age: How to grow crops in your kitchen

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Micro greens, once the domain of haute cuisine, are now ready to grow in kitchens everywhere. Consumers who want to eat organically and locally are being turned on to the ultimate homegrown crop, and the kitchen farming industry is responding.


Vinyl is back, at least when it comes to phonograph records

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Record shops are dying out and CD purchases are dwindling, but the love for old-fashioned records is still alive--and the market is thriving. The business of buying and selling vinyl, even making new records, appeals to a select but growing group of audiophiles.


Women who pluck too much turn to eyebrow transplants

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Some over-tweezed. Others simply want a bushier brow. Across the country, women (and some men) are discovering a new solution to their eyebrow woes: transplants.


Book tours go virtual to grab readers

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In an effort to get more Americans reading again, authors are taking their book tours to the big screen and online. By being able to appear to audiences without actually going anywhere, the authors and the people making the appearances hope to be able to spread the word faster.


U.S. communists, ever hopeful, say they're coming back

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After years in the wilderness, the Communist Party USA is giving itself a public relations and ideological makeover, and, with its new $1 million office, hopes to be running the U.S. within 50 years.


Parenting from the left side of the brain

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Scientist parents don't necessarily check their analytical minds at the nursery door. Some of them look on the common problems of parenting as an intellectual puzzle that needs to be solved.


Knit one, purl two: Guys, too, are now tending to their knitting

A growing number of men across the country are picking up an unlikely hobby--knitting--and changing the face of the knitting world in the process.


We Shall Overcome, the same old song: Trying to keep protests fresh and relevant

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As the Iraq War turns five, anti-war protesters struggle to grab the public's attention.


A snowy transmission: Public access television threatened

Public access TV, long the home of quirky, community-based programming, is struggling in the wake of efforts by cable companies to reduce funding for training and production for citizen producers.


Reform synagogues 'adopt' U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan

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The Union of Reform Judaism announced its opposition to the war in Iraq, but has encouraged its members to reach out and 'adopt' U.S. soldiers. Touched by the gifts and letters of support, the soldiers sometimes reach back.