During the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 28, 2011, singer Beyonce Knowles rubbed her stomach in the middle of the performance to reveal her baby bump. "Baby bump" is one of the words on Lake Superior State University's list of banished words this year. Jemal Countess/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Filipino youths bring in the New Year with sparklers at a public park in Manila. Romeo Gacad /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Romeo Gacad /AFP/Getty Images

U.S.

A Quick Look At The Year Ahead

As the new year gets under way, we take a quick temperature check on some key areas to see what the prognosis might be. The topics: politics — domestic and global — and economics.

Listen Loading… 11:00
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/144553568/144552171" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Spider-Man on set filming The Amazing Spider-Man in New York City in May 2011 Greg Allen / Rex Features/AP hide caption

toggle caption Greg Allen / Rex Features/AP

Another way to see 2012. iStockphoto.com hide caption

toggle caption iStockphoto.com

The Two-Way

New Year? How About A New Calendar?

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have devised a different way to count our days — with a leap week every few years to keep the calendar on track.

Listen Loading…
  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/144545799/144546038" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

German Chancellor Angela Merkel addresses journalists at EU headquarters in Brussels in December. It's possible that European leaders will come up with ways to manage the region's debt crisis in the new year, but the worst case scenarios are dire. John Thys/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Thys/AFP/Getty Images

Rustic and local are some of the words describing menus in 2012, Weekend Edition food commentator Bonny Wolf says. iStockphoto.com hide caption

toggle caption iStockphoto.com

Edna Kash-kash, a Native American from Oregon, sits in front of a tepee circa 1900. In Eastern Oregon, a tribal celebration of first foods offers a connection to ancestors. Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images) hide caption

toggle caption Lee Moorhouse/Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor