Unrest in Ukraine Escalates | Scientists Discover Surprisingly Bright Black Hole | Is Technology Killing the Magic of the Holidays?

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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Ukrainian protesters clash with riot policemen outside the Ukrainian President's office in Kiev on December 1, 2013. (VASILY MAXIMOV/AFP/Getty)

Rail Safety Questions Raised After NY Train Derails | Unrest Grows in Ukraine as Protesters Demand Regime Change | Scientists Discover Surprisingly Bright Black Hole | As Hours Wane, Can Congress Get Productive? | Is the Constitution to Blame for D.C. Gridlock? | Is Technology Killing the Magic of the Holidays?

Rail Safety Questions Raised After NY Train Derails

In 2008, Congress passed the Rail Safety Improvement Act, which mandated that railroad companies install positive train control—a technology that automatically detects excessive speeding and other human error, and might have been able to prevent or mitigate the damage from the Metro North train crash this weekend. James Oberstar, former chair of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, as well as Stuart Silverstein, assistant editor at FairWarning.org, explain what's next in train safety.

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Unrest Grows in Ukraine as Protesters Demand Regime Change

Protests in Ukraine escalated on Monday as tens of thousands took to the streets in the capital city of Kiev to call for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovich. Andrew Kramer is in Kiev reporting for our partner The New York Times and gives us an update of the situation on the ground. Lee Feinstein, a former Obama and Clinton administration official who served as ambassador to Poland from 2009 to 2012, explains the protests within the context of Ukraine’s history.

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Scientists Discover Surprisingly Bright Black Hole

Turns out black holes really aren't so black. A team of researchers has discovered an incredibly bright black hole located some 22 million light years away in the neighboring Pinwheel Galaxy. It’s twice as bright as astronomers ever thought possible. Joining The Takeaway to explain is Joel Bregman, co-author of the study and professor of astronomy at the University of Michigan.

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As Hours Wane, Can Congress Get Productive?

So far, Congress has only passed 52 new laws this year—the fewest in the post-World War II era—and there are only a handful of days left before the close of this historically ineffective Congressional session. Is it possible to inject some productivity into this Congress as the hours wane? Todd Zwillich, The Takeaway's Washington correspondent, checks in to discuss what needs to happen before 2013 comes to a close.

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Is the Constitution to Blame for D.C. Gridlock?

The American Constitution is the world's oldest still in use, but even Thomas Jefferson believed that all constitutions should expire. Jeffrey Toobin, attorney and staff writer for The New Yorker, writes persuasively in this week's magazine that the Constitution may be to blame for the gridlock in Congress. Toobin discusses liberal and conservative critiques of the Constitution, and explores why our founding document may still result in the world's best government.

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Is Technology Killing the Magic of the Holidays?

It’s no secret that technology is changing the way we live, but what does that mean when it comes to our experience of the holiday season? Some may say that digital technology is taking the magic out of the holidays as Christmas no longer seems quaint when 1 in 3 children write their lists to Santa through a website or smartphone app. Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s New Tech City, joins The Takeaway to discuss how technology has transformed our holiday traditions.

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