Patt Morrison for December 22, 2009

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Copenhagen got heated but did anything get done?

In 2007 U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had hope that by the end of the 2009 climate talks in Copenhagen there would be a legally binding agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions but by the end of the summit last week all that had been agreed upon was a nonbinding accord. What happened inside those meetings, how likely is it that the major emitters will stay true to their word, and where do we go from here?
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The language of Avatar

The special effects are incredible! The 3-D out-of-this-world! But what about the language? Is it real? Who created it? Cameron hired a linguistic expert from USC to create a unique, and very real, language for Avatar (If we learned anything from Titanic it’s how meticulous Cameron is about every detail of a film). It took over a year to craft the language used by the humanoids on the planet “Pandora” and it still isn’t perfected. So, how does one create a language out of nothing and what will be done with it now that the movie’s over—other than work on the sequel, of course?
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Not every vacation destination is a dream come true. In fact many arrive and feel as though they have stepped into one of Dante’s nine circles. In an age where most serve as their own travel agent, who can you trust to steer you clear of the world’s worst tourist traps? Patt talks travel with writer Chuck Thompson and gets the unfortunately ugly truth about the most torturous vacation hot spots.
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California's foster care system works for improvement

While the foster system has been notoriously problematic, two programs are making improvements. One addresses the problem of those who are emancipated from the system at 18 with no support services, by extending foster care to age 21. A second program, advocating for the child’s overall health, pays foster care-rates and provides training to family members to provide better care for their children. While it’s generally been very successful, some are concerned with the tragic, although rare, cases of fatal parental negligence. These programs may help address widespread problems throughout the foster care system in California.
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Imagine Theodore Roosevelt in a PETA ad, hunting with Sarah Palin, and advocating for environmental policy before “green” became a catchphrase for environmentally aware. With incredible foresight and conviction, Roosevelt became the father of both the environmental and wildlife conservation movements, making the rich heritage of places like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Parks possible, yet Americans still disagree over importance of wildlife conservation and outdoor preservation. As the current administration determines its response to the enormous environmental crises of today, author Douglas Brinkley explores how Roosevelt as an “ethical hunter” became a compelling role model as an environmental and conservation activist.
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