Originally published on Sun August 5, 2012 11:43 am
The stock market rallied on Friday's jobs report, with the Dow Jones industrial average jumping more than 200 points. But what do the numbers mean for the political stocks of President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney? That's harder to measure.
Scorched pastures are spreading across central Illinois and the rest of the Midwest. Technology and techniques developed from previous droughts like the Dust Bowl are helping to save some of today's crops, but there's no substitute for water.
Credit David Schaper / NPR
Charles Hildenbrand surveys the family's corn crop outside Thawville, Ill. He doesn't remember much from the Dust Bowl days, but says technology has saved what little corn the farm does have this year.
A gigantic dust cloud engulfs a ranch in Boise City, Okla., in 1935.
This summer's drought continues to wilt and bake crops from Ohio to the Great Plains and beyond. Under a baking, late-afternoon sun just outside of the tiny east-central Illinois town of Thawville, John Hildenbrand walks down his dusty, gravel driveway toward one of his corn fields.
"You can see on the outer edge, these are a lot better-looking ears on the outside rows. Of course, it's not near as hot as it is inside the field," he says.
The Uptown Vocal Jazz Quartet has been serenading audiences in its native Washington, D.C., across the country and even as far as France for more than two decades. But its members are finding ways to bring something new to their performances. Bandleader and co-founder Ginny Carr says she wrote the words and music to all 10 songs on the quartet's new album, Hustlin' for a Gig — a relative rarity in a jazz world defined by time-tested standards.
Many of our commenters look to America's rich history of immigration in order to form their opinion of the 'English-Only' debate. Interestingly enough, this approach facilitated conclusions on both sides of the issue.
"John G" believes that, "Society, not law, determines the specific language used."
Pharmacist Kristy Hennessee administers a vaccination against whooping cough in Pasadena, Calif., in 2010. Vaccinations are the most powerful weapon for slowing the epidemic, but there are growing concerns that the current vaccine doesn't last as long as expected.
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 9:29 pm
Whooping cough is getting a foothold once again in the U.S., and it seems to be getting stronger. More than 20,000 cases have been reported so far this year, compared with only about 8,500 last year, and Washington State has already declared a whooping cough epidemic.
It's nearly time to set The Torch to "dim" for the night, but we must note something historic that happened today: Wojdan Shaherkani competed for Saudi Arabia in the Olympics, becoming the first woman ever to do so.
Shaherkani wasn't a threat to win her match against Puerto Rico's Melissa Mojica. After all, Shaherkani is only 16, and her highest level of achievement in judo is a blue belt. Their match only lasted 1 minute and 22 seconds.
Former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman has been sentenced to 78 months in prison.
It means Siegelman is headed back to prison after he was freed to appeal his case. The AP gives us some background:
"Siegelman, 66, and former HealthSouth chief Richard Scrushy were convicted in 2006. They arranged $500,000 in contributions to Siegelman's campaign for a state lottery in exchange for the governor appointing Scrushy to an important hospital regulatory board.
Jeremy Renner stars in The Bourne Legacy, the latest in a franchise previously fronted by Matt Damon. But when an actor departs a Hollywood cash cow, it can be less a death knell than a chance for rejuvenation.
Credit Mary Cybulski / Universal Pictures
Now Jeremy Renner takes over the franchise (though not as Jason Bourne) with The Bourne Legacy, which opens on Aug. 10.
Credit AFP / AFP/Getty Images
Richard Harris' tenure as Professor Dumbledore in the Harry Potter series was cut short by his death in 2002.
Credit MGM/United Artists / The Kobal Collection
Daniel Craig has played Bond since 2006's Casino Royale. Six actors have played the licensed-to-kill agent on the big screen.
Credit Jasin Boland / AP
Matt Damon played Jason Bourne three times, starting in 2002 with The Bourne Identity and ending in 2007 with The Bourne Ultimatum.
Sean Connery, seen here in Tokyo filming 1966's You Only Live Twice, was the first actor to play James Bond in 1962's Dr. No.
The Bourne Legacy, which opens in theaters this week, is the fourth thriller in the series, and the first without either Jason Bourne or the star playing him, Matt Damon. They're suddenly not necessary, even though the series is named for Bourne? Why am I not surprised?
Marilyn Monroe, a global symbol of beauty, glamour and sex, died on Aug. 5, 1962. Fifty years later, she's still in style — and making more money than ever. Monroe's come-hither expression is emblazoned on posters, T-shirts and refrigerator magnets. She's become a multimillion-dollar brand, but that may never have happened if not for the will she left behind, a document that reveals a much quieter — and more complicated — side to her legacy.
The British sprint team of Philip Hindes (front), Jason Kenny and Sir Chris Hoy won a gold medal Thursday, but remarks by Hindes caused concerns about athletes' ethics to resurface. The IOC says it will not investigate.
If one thing is clear at these London Games, it's that not doing one's best is not only uncool — it's not allowed. Witness the badminton-to-worstminton scandal that erupted earlier this week, when players turned the tournament structure into a "farce" by attempting to lose in order to manipulate their seeds in the next round.
Let's face it, for many Americans, watching the Olympic events they want to watch, when they want to watch them, without knowing the results or having to endure NBC commentary is, well, as hard as competing in the events themselves. NBC has defended its tape-delayed primetime showings in part by pointing to its digital streaming of live events.
Here's a way the candidates would like to be able to raise money - donations via text message. It's something nonprofits already do. The American Red Cross, for example, raised $32 million from texts after the earthquake in Haiti. But, for political campaigns, it's not a reality, not yet. In June, the FEC ruled that campaigns can collect donations from text messages, but wireless carriers still aren't onboard.
August is here and, for many, that means vacation and a last minute scramble for a good book to pass the quiet hours. Well, take heart. Our reviewer Alan Cheuse has reached deep into his pile of new books and found two spy thrillers, perfect, he says, for brisk summer reading.
Doug Quaid (Colin Farrell) visits Rekall, a company that implants memories in its customers, in an attempt to explain a series of recurring dreams. Farrell plays the role originally portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1990 film of the same name.
Credit Michael Gibson / Columbia Pictures
Lori (Kate Beckinsale) and Vilos (Bryan Cranston) are two enemies that come to light after Quaid visits Rekall.
Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:03 pm
Set in a high-tech yet shabby future, the remake of Total Recall is a fully realized piece of production design. But its script, credited to six authors, is more like a preliminary sketch.
Directed by Underworld franchise veteran Len Wiseman, the movie retains some elements of Paul Verhoeven's friskier (and more graphically violent) 1990 original. Yet it also makes lots of changes, notably by downplaying the brain-bending aspects of the scenario in favor of thought-free action. (Also, it never leaves a devastated Earth for Mars.)
Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 5:08 pm
In one of the last showcase days for swimming at the 2012 Summer Olympics, American athletes Michael Phelps and Missy Franklin hit the pool at London's aquatic center Friday. Each of them were on a mission to end their individual event schedules with gold medals.
Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:10 am
Scientists are starting to discover that the standard way of measuring calories, established more than 100 years ago, may not be terribly accurate when it comes to higher fat, high-fiber foods like nuts. But when it comes to almonds, the count may be off by a whole lot.
Food scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently published a new study that finds almonds have about 20 percent fewer calories than previously documented.