Jonathan Cohn is a senior editor at The New Republic.
Did investors dump stocks on Monday because they'd lost faith in America's ability to pay its bills? Because they thought the federal government would cut spending further, slowing down the economy? Because they were adjusting to the latest news from Europe? The list of experts qualified to address those questions is long. And it does not include me.
Half-way through what was scheduled to be a 60 hour swim, 61-year-old Diana Nyad had to abandon what she called her "Xtreme Dream" — a 103 mile swim from Cuba to Florida.
"It's over. She lasted 29 hours in an heroic attempt," said Elaine Lafferty, one of Nyad's crew members, on Twitter.
On the same Twitter account, her team said that earlier in the evening Nyad was in the water, "surrounded by dolphins and a beautiful Caribbean sunset." But, they explained, a strong wind "blew her 15mph off course."
Prime Minister David Cameron cut his vacation short and parliament was recalled as riots went into their third night in England. Last night, for the first time, the mayhem spread outside of London to Birmingham and Liverpool. The BBC reports that 450 people have been arrested.
Let's go back to the beginning — all the way to Adam and Eve, and to the question: Did they exist, and did all of humanity descend from that single pair?
According to the Bible (Genesis 2:7), this is how humanity began: "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." God then called the man Adam, and later created Eve from Adam's rib.
A worker installs a solar panel on the roof of a house in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife in March 2011. The country's solar sector intends to double its contribution to the national grid by 2020, after an earlier government attempt at boosting the industry failed.
The streets of Madrid are sizzling in the summer. The sun bears down on everything — including the solar panels dotting houses, offices and even parking meters. Solar energy makes sense in Spain, and it's attracted people like Juan Casanovas.
Casanovas says he first became interested in the solar industry in 2003 "because it's a democratic way to generate electricity." He says people can become self-sufficient in energy.
The Taliban attack that claimed the lives of nearly two dozen members of the elite and secretive unit called SEAL Team 6 places a huge burden on the Special Forces community.
Officials say with a roughly 10 percent loss, they may have to rotate SEALs in before their downtime is complete, or pull SEALs from staff and training positions. Longer term, it will mean juggling the new SEAL Team 6 members with veterans.
In San Francisco, gulls sit atop the large baseball glove behind the bleachers in left-center field during a game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants. The gulls are known for arriving right at the end of games to pick up food scraps.
The aggressive California gull is putting a San Francisco Bay restoration project at risk. For more than a century, the bay has been home to industrial salt-harvesting ponds. Now, thousands of acres of those ponds are being restored for shorebirds and wildlife.
But that's creating an opportunity for the problematic gull.
Gulls In The Outfield
You can see them at work on a visit to AT&T Park. In the bottom of the 9th inning, the San Diego Padres are up, 5-3, over the hometown Giants.
After the downgrade of Treasury Bonds by Standard & Poor's, consumers might be less likely to buy a home, car or other big ticket item if they believe the economy is going south.
But even as the market suffers through fits and falls, people are visiting car dealers. On a recent day, Jack Myers was trading in his gigantic, black 2002 Chevy pickup at a dealership in southeast Michigan.
"Well this [truck] is eating gas," Myers said, "and we [want] something more economical. We're purchasing a hybrid."