The 2011 baseball playoffs have begun, but fans are still reeling from perhaps the single most exciting end to baseball's regular season since Babe Ruth ate 30 hot dogs. Host Scott Simon talks with NPR's Tom Goldman about this week's playoff action and more.
There's something missing this year from the fall scenery in the Northeast, especially in upstate New York. The state is normally a top pumpkin producer, but about a third of its crop was destroyed in the recent tropical storms.
Marie Cusick, of NPR member station WMHT in Albany, takes us to one farm that was spared.
MARIE CUSICK: There's no shortage of pumpkins at the Black Horse Farms roadside stand in Athens, New York. But some customers still aren't taking any chances.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
"Homeland" premieres tomorrow night on Showtime. It's a psychological espionage thriller that centers on a CIA officer, played by Claire Danes, who hears about a conspiracy when she gets a tip from a terrorist who is about to be executed by the Iraqi government.
(SOUNDBITE OF TV SERIES, "HOMELAND")
CLAIRE DANES: (as Carrie Anderson) You said you were an important man. You said you had information about an attack on Abu Nasir.
SCOTT SIMON, host: Times are tough in Europe these days. But if you crave comfort food in Denmark to lift your mood, it'll cost you. Starting today, shoppers in Denmark will pay extra kroner, according to the saturated fat levels of certain foods. Not just potato chips, ice cream, sweet rolls and candy bars, but famously clean, creamy Danish butter.
Next week, the Chicago Bears, who won the 1985 Super Bowl, will finally be received at the White House — now that a Bears fan lives there. Their original visit was canceled when the Challenger Space Shuttle exploded in January 1986.
In times of drought, the Twin Oaks Aquifer Storage and Recovery Facility pumps water up from underground and sends it back to San Antonio for use. The facility uses water from the Edwards Aquifer and the Carrizo Aquifer.
Credit Sea World San Antonio
At Sea World in San Antonio, water that splashes out from Shamu's 5-million-gallon tank is captured then prepared for reuse through an on-site filtration system.
Gliding along in a flat-bottom boat on the San Antonio River thorough the heart of downtown San Antonio is a beautiful and authentic Texas experience.
There's one thing a boat tour guide is not going to mention, however. Texas is in the middle of a historic drought, and the river that tourists are cruising along with ducks, big bass, catfish and perch is actually treated sewage water.
Losing weight in America is big business. Americans spend $61 billion a year on everything from diet pills and exercise videos to meal plans, health club memberships and medical treatment. One of the fastest growing and lucrative segments of the weight-loss market is surgery.
This December, along with the holidays, voters in Iowa and New Hampshire can also look forward to lots of visits from presidential candidates. The primary calendar now looks like it will start early in January—first with the Iowa caucuses, followed closely by New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina and then, by month's end, Florida.
On Friday, officials in the Sunshine State announced they were scheduling their presidential primary on Jan. 31 — breaking party rules and forcing four other states to move up even earlier to maintain their places in the batting order.
The Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, known as SOFIA, is a modified Boeing 747 airplane that houses a NASA telescope.
Credit Melissa Forsyth / NPR
Scientist David Neufeld is searching for evidence of a small molecule called mercapto in interstellar gas. Here, he's inside the SOFIA, a modified 747, while it was parked at Andrews Air Force Base on Sept. 23.
Credit Melissa Forsyth / NPR
A hatch near the tail of the plane opens to let SOFIA's telescope peer out. The plane-mounted telescope flies above most of the moisture in the Earth's atmosphere, allowing for clearer images than can be captured from ground-based telescopes.
Credit Courtesy of David Neufeld
The spike marked in red on this graph from data from a recent SOFIA flight is just what researcher David Neufeld was looking for. It indicates the presence of mercapto radicals, a sulfur-hydrogen molecule, in interstellar gas.
Astronomers are lining up to use a powerful new NASA telescope called SOFIA. The telescope has unique capabilities for studying things like how stars form and what's in the atmospheres of planets.
But unlike most of the space agency's telescopes, SOFIA isn't in space — it flies around mounted in a Boeing 747 jet with a large door cut on the side so the telescope can see out. Putting a telescope in space makes sense: There's no pesky atmosphere to make stars twinkle. But why put one on a plane?
Today marks 35 years since Congress first passed what's come to be known as the Hyde Amendment, which bans most federal abortion funding.
While the actual language of the rider to the annual funding bill for the Department of Health and Human Services has changed considerably over the years, since 2003 it has allowed federal Medicaid funds to pay for abortions in cases of rape, incest, or if the life of the woman is endangered by the pregnancy.
For years scientists have been faced with a mystery about the planet Mercury. Its iron core is much bigger than that of most other planets. More than half of Mercury's mass comes from its core. In comparison, about 32 percent of Earth's mass comes from its core.
Scientists theorized that was because Mercury is so close to the sun that its rocky surface simply melted away.
A new study, which was released along with a series of other papers about Mercury in this week's issue of Science, disputes those theories.
A Hellfire missile fired from an American drone killed Anwar al-Awlaki on Friday, ending a two-year hunt for a radical cleric who had called on his followers to attack the U.S. any way they could.
Some details of the strike are sketchy. U.S. officials and the Yemeni Defense Ministry both confirmed that a drone had fired on a convoy of cars that was carrying Awlaki in northern Yemen. They said it was a joint operation, but it is unclear what role the Yemeni military played in the attack.
With all the recent turmoil in the Middle East, one piece of news that has been overlooked is the revelation that the Obama administration approved the sale of 55 deep earth penetrator bombs to Israel in 2009.
The two-year-old transaction was recently reported by Newsweek. No U.S. officials have talked openly about why the bunker busters were provided to Israel but speculation falls most heavily on a single target.
Originally published on Fri September 30, 2011 4:03 pm
A new analysis of 2010 census data by the Williams Institute shows how same-sex couples are distributed across the nation. Liberal enclaves are well-represented, of course. But so are some surprising pockets of the heartland and the South.
Abdel Hakim Belhaj (center left), a prominent militia commander, walks with Transitional National Council Chairman Mustafa Abdel Jalil in Tripoli on Sept. 10. The battle to oust Moammar Gadhafi produced a number of leaders who will have to work together to form a new government.
Libya's victorious militias are still fighting the last forces loyal to ousted strongman Moammar Gadhafi, but as the military endgame draws closer, some are worrying about the political battles that are just beginning.
The question is an old one for revolutionaries: How to go from a military triumph to a civilian government?
In Libya, the problem is magnified because the fighting is still going on and the military consists of various regional militias that don't answer to a single commander.
The main ring of the Tevatron, seen in a time exposure. For a quarter century, the particle accelerator at a lab outside Chicago was the most powerful machine of its kind in the world.
Credit Reidar Hahn / Fermilab
Tiny particles of atoms, protons and antiprotons were sped up to nearly the speed of light and smashed together. The underground tunnel, above, was four miles around. Scientists sifted through the subatomic rubble for clues about hidden particles.
Alabama and Arizona have some of the toughest immigration laws in the country. Behind both states' laws, and many others, is Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer and the Kansas secretary of state.
Kobach has helped several other states shape immigration legislation, and he says there's more to come in 2012.
Many national stories have called the 45-year-old conservative a "movie star," handsome and loaded with charisma. He looked the part greeting some 60 guests during a recent address to the Pachyderm Club in Topeka, Kan.
Ryan Witmer (left) and Jhonmar Castillo wait with other couples to exchange vows in a civil union ceremony June 2 in Chicago's Millennium Park. New data from the U.S. census may reveal as much about changing attitudes as about changing numbers.
As bans on gay marriage and civil unions spread across the majority of America in the past decade, new U.S. Census figures reveal a starkly different trend: The number of same-sex partnerships skyrocketed even in the most prohibitive states.
Some 646,464 gay couples said they lived together in last year's census, an increase of 80 percent from 2000, according to revised figures released this week. Same-sex couples make up just 1 percent of all married and unmarried couples in the U.S., but as a group they nonetheless made large gains in every state.
Today, we've read nothing but bad economic news. The worst of which came from the Economic Cycle Research Institute, an independent forecasting group.
Lakshman Achuthan, the managing director of ECRI, was on CNBC this morning and he had the hosts cringing. After Achutan said "a vicious circle has started," and that "we're not going to escape" a double-dip recession, one of the anchors said, "A drink?"
Long before U.S. officials said he was one of the world's most-wanted terrorists, Anwar al-Awlaki was a Muslim cleric who U.S. media outlets would turn to during discussions about the post-Sept. 11 world.
The decision by Florida's Republican officials to move the state's presidential primary into January from March will have a range of effects, some foreseeable, some not.
By advancing its primary date to Jan. 31, Florida makes it virtually certain the four traditional early states — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada — will now move their caucuses and primaries to earlier in January to maintain their status as the earliest contests.