Alvanon is the largest maker of mannequin body forms in the world. The Manhattan-based company uses a device called AlvaScan to create these forms — which are then used to create clothing sizes. "We are so diverse that in any given size, there are probably four or six different body types that are represented," says the company's president, Ed Gribbin. Courtesy of Alvanon hide caption

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Ed Gribbin, head of Alvanon, says spandex is a "democratic" fiber because it morphs to the body as opposed to limiting it. Marisa Penaloza/NPR hide caption

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Spandex Stretches To Meet U.S. Waistlines
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Dorothy McClendon in Gulfport, Miss., hopes the state's latest housing program to help low-income residents will provide assistance so she can repair her moldy house. Marisa Penaloza/NPR hide caption

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'Left Out': Post-Katrina Housing Battle Continues
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Gov. Luis Fortuno speaks at the annual meeting of the National Governors Association in July about the pipeline he wants to build in Puerto Rico. Michael Dwyer/AP hide caption

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Puerto Rican Governor Faces Opposition To Pipeline
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Ultrasound scan of twins at 4 months. Getty Images hide caption

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Taming The Twin Trend From Fertility Treatments
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Jorge Luis Angulo was just 11 years old when the Juconi Foundation found him on the streets of Guayaquil, Ecuador. Now, at 17, he hopes to attend a university, but his relationship with his mother remains deeply troubled. Larry Abramson/NPR hide caption

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Ecuador's Hurting Families Find Hope With JUCONI
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Fifty-year-old Segunda Ayobi, with her extended family. Ayobi, who lives in a slum in Guayaquil, Ecuador, enrolled her son Mario in a shelter when he began to miss school, to keep him away from drugs and trouble. Larry Abramson/NPR hide caption

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Parents And Priests Struggle With Street Kids
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Maribel Olmedo sits in her house, surrounded by some of her children, including Hamilton (from left), 16, Jonathan, 12, Pierina, 2, and Jose, 1. The family struggles to make ends meet, but Olmedo says she is grateful her children are alive. Larry Abramson/NPR hide caption

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Members of the Vietnamese community listen in Kenner, La., as independent claims administrator Ken Feinberg and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu conduct a town hall meeting for residents economically affected by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Gerald Herbert/AP hide caption

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Southeast Asian Immigrants Flounder After Gulf Spill
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Aaron Hofer, 27, of Bayou La Batre, Ala., has been largely out of work since the BP oil spill. The Iraq veteran and fourth-generation shrimper says if it wasn't for his children, he probably would have already committed suicide. Debbie Elliott/NPR hide caption

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BP Spill Psychological Scars Similar To Exxon Valdez
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Homemaker Lena Hofer, 25, recently went to the community center in Bayou La Batre, Ala., for free food and household goods -- and was reluctantly turned away by volunteers when Feed the Children ran out of supplies. "It's really hard when they send you away after you [ask for food], especially when you need it like I do," she says. "I'm about to cry." Marisa Penaloza/NPR hide caption

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BP Oil Well Capped, But Trauma Still Flowing
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Despite the rubble and lack of permanent housing in post-quake Haiti, one positive sign is the vast number of children who have been able to return to school. Marisa Penaloza/NPR hide caption

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Haitians Press On Amid Slow Pace Of Quake Recovery
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A guard stands outside a prototype "transitional" housing model at the resettlement camp in Corail-Cesselesse, outside Port-au-Prince. World Vision along with several other aid agencies has developed these small dwellings, intended to house families of up to five people. Marisa Penaloza/NPR hide caption

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Huge Sums Raised, Much Unspent, After Haiti Quake
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