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Black Friday sales seem to start earlier and earlier every year. But what makes us want to rush to the stores or online to snap up the best bargains?

Those wall-to-wall TV ads — and the holiday season itself — are tapping into a very primitive part of our brains.

"There is more of a sport to Black Friday shopping, and people expect some deal, but they aren't likely to get the best deal on a particular item because the best deal may have already happened six months ago," says Sucharita Mulpuru, a retail analyst with Forrester Research.

Update at 5:50 p.m. ET

OPEC oil ministers have agreed to keep production levels steady, virtually ensuring continued low prices at the gas pump and lower costs for jet fuel that could translate into cheaper air-ticket prices.

Reuters reports: "Benchmark Brent futures settled at $72.58 a barrel, down $5.17, after hitting a four-year low of $71.25 earlier in the session. The contract was on track for its biggest monthly fall since 2008. U.S. crude was last down $4.64 at $69.05 a barrel."

The Ferguson Public Library is just a block away from the center of demonstrations at the Ferguson Police Department. As we've reported, when violent protests this week led to the burning of more than a dozen businesses and the uncertainty caused schools to close, the library stayed open.

Carlo Allegri/Reuters

Michael Hearst can't stand flying. 

After all, how can anyone enjoy it? There are travel restrictions, the TSA and delayed flights — and that's before thinking about plane crashes or hijackings or even just catching a cold from the guy next to you who can't stop sneezing.

Those are the things that go through Hearst's head every time he boards an airliner that "seems like it shouldn't be able to fly 30,000 feet above the ground."

The weather is still wreaking havoc for Americans still traveling today in planes, trains and automobiles, but for the most part, the situation has improved dramatically as people crisscross the country making their way to Thanksgiving gatherings with family and friends.

AAA estimates that 46 million Americans will travel more than 50 miles to attend Thanksgiving festivities — the most in seven years.

British mystery and crime novelist P.D. James, whose best-known works featured poet and Scotland Yard detective Adam Dalgliesh as a protagonist, has died at age 94, her publisher says.

Phyllis Dorothy James, a baroness and award-winning writer of such books as Shroud for a Nightingale, The Black Tower and The Murder Room, was born in Oxford began writing in her late 30s and published her first novel, Cover Her Face, in 1962.

Your Adult Siblings May Be The Secret To A Long, Happy Life

Nov 27, 2014

Somehow we're squeezing 16 people into our apartment for Thanksgiving this year, with relatives ranging in age from my 30-year-old nephew to my 90-year-old mother. I love them all, but in a way the one I know best is the middle-aged man across the table whose blue eyes look just like mine: my younger brother Paul.

Many Americans will be sitting down Thursday to a wonderfully meaty, broad-breasted white turkey that grew to maturity in a remarkably short period: just 136 days, on average.

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Updated With Final Scores:

The Detroit Lions won handily over the Chicago Bears 34-17. Detroit is now 8-4 for the season.

The Philadelphia Eagles routed the Dallas Cowboys 33-10. The Eagles are now 9-3 and lead the NFC East by one game over the Cowboys.

The Seattle Seahawks beat the San Francisco 49ers 19-3. Seattle is one game ahead of San Francisco for second place in the NFC West.

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And now this - Thanksgiving in space. This year, two American astronauts will be celebrating the holiday aboard the International Space Station. As NPR's Geoff Brumfiel reports, Thanksgiving in orbit has its pros and cons.

This past week, we called for stories about your first Thanksgiving in the United States. Who'd you spend it with? Where were you coming from? What'd you eat? What'd you think of it? we wondered.

And many of the stories we heard from you were about food: You had issues roasting the turkey properly. Your mom found, um, a creative solution to making your bird golden-brown. You ate a lot of different alternative Thanksgiving meals. Your stories were goofy and weird, but most of them made us smile. Here are some of them:

Leticia Ortiz

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