Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.
Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.
Among those on Mitt Romney's list of potential running mates, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan has youth and experience, he's a conservative from a swing state, and he has big ideas and the policy chops to back them up.
But the chairman of the House Budget Committee would not be the safest of choices.
Back in February, when the Republican primary was still in full swing and the party's right wing was conspicuously unhappy with the idea of Romney, tax hawk Grover Norquist spoke to the Conservative Political Action Conference.
I'm standing next to a ridge, looking at the Syrian town of Salaqin. Just up on the ridge you can see the silhouettes of a mosque and couple of water towers. It looks like a very small, inconsequential town, but because it's on the Syrian-Turkish border it's very important to the rebels.
What the Syrian rebels are trying to do right now is carve out a kind of safe zone, a buffer zone where they can gather, assemble and plan attacks against the Syrian regime's army, and also a place where they can move weapons and money into Syria.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev., on Tuesday. It's a sort of launching pad for a foreign trip that will take Romney to three countries over the next week: the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland.
Romney, a man with a lot of domestic policy experience, is now trying to demonstrate his proficiency with international affairs.
Two American women cyclists from Idaho will race at this summer's Olympics. And their events couldn't be more different: Kristin Armstrong races the clock, wearing an aerodynamic teardrop helmet in the time trial.
Meanwhile, mountain biker Georgia Gould combines speed with technical prowess to navigate rocky descents and dirt trails.
As occurs after seemingly every mass killing that involves firearms, the shootings in a suburban Denver movie theater last week have renewed calls for tougher gun control laws.
Just as predictably, those calls have led to pushback by gun-rights advocates who accuse those calling for stricter legislation of trying to exploit the tragedy to restrict Americans' Second Amendment rights.
Worth noting is that neither of the two major-party candidates running for the White House has engaged in any current gun control debate.
Ride and her crewmates rocketed into space aboard Challenger at 7:33 a.m. Eastern Time on June 18, 1983. Ride later described the launch as "exhilarating, terrifying and overwhelming all at the same time."
Some of NASA's first female astronaut candidates take a break from training in Florida in 1978. From left: Sally Ride, Judith Resnik, Anna Fisher, Kathryn Sullivan and Rhea Seddon
Ride floats near Challenger's hatch.
Ride inside the control room during a simulation of a shuttle flight in 1981.
Astronaut Sally K. Ride, STS-7 mission specialist, communicates with ground controllers from the mid-deck of the earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Challenger in June 1983.
In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space. She blasted off aboard Challenger, culminating a long journey that started in 1977 when the Ph.D. candidate answered an ad seeking astronauts for NASA missions.
In the days since the movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., there's been little discussion of the laws that allowed the gunman to acquire his arsenal.
Authorities say suspect James Holmes, who was arrested at the scene of the shooting that killed 12 people and wounded dozens more, was armed with a modified assault rifle, two pistols, a shotgun and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, told CNN this weekend that the guns are not the problem.
Congress created a monster when it decided that the entire government will face across-the-board cuts in January, unless an agreement on deficit reduction is reached.
The deadline for the automatic spending cuts — called sequestration — is now approaching, and the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry say those cuts would be horrible.
The Pentagon, perhaps the world's premier planning agency, views the threat of a 10 percent budget cut like an invasion from Mars. It's too awful, too scary and, as Pentagon press secretary George Little puts it, too "absurd."
Olympic reporting veterans like myself (London is Games No. 8) noticed something extraordinary this weekend at the first London 2012 news conference called by International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge.
The "something" sat there on the podium, directly in front of Rogge: an aquamarine bottle of Powerade, a Coca-Cola product. And next to Rogge, in front of IOC spokesman Mark Adams, was a carefully positioned bottle of caramel-colored Coke. Dozens of photographers and TV cameras were capturing the event; it seemed impossible to miss the OIympic sponsor's products.
In the Main Press Center, where thousands of journalists are gathered to cover the London 2012 games, the call went out Monday: Let the drinking begin!
It was all part of a welcome party for journalists covering the Summer Olympics. First, cute kids from a nearby elementary school serenaded the group. The next thing you knew, London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe was talking about cheap booze.
The meeting features speeches from U.S. Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former first lady Laura Bush, health ministers from many countries around the world, Bill Gates, NIH scientists Anthony Fauci and Francis Collins and hundreds more.
NCAA President Mark Emmert answers questions about the sanctions against Penn State's football team during a news conference in Indianapolis, Monday, July 23, 2012. The NCAA slammed Penn State with an unprecedented series of penalties in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.
Kobe Bryant (left) drives against Manu Ginobili of Argentina during an exhibition game between USA and Argentina in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday. The U.S. team faces another test Tuesday, against world No. 2 Spain.
The U.S. Olympic basketball team narrowly beat Argentina late Sunday, 86-80, as the two teams prepare for the start of the London Games Friday. The tight score came despite a fast start for the U.S. squad, who were dressed in throwback uniforms inspired by the 1992 Dream Team.
The Americans raced to a 31-16 lead early on, but they were only 4 points ahead late in the game, and pulled away thanks to three-pointers by Kevin Durant and Chris Paul — who posted a photo of his uniform on Instagram.
<a href="http://www.npr.org/books/authors/138210458/gillian-flynn?ps=books_bestsellers">Gillian Flynn</a> is the author of<em> Dark Places, Sharp Objects,</em> and <em>Gone Girl</em>. She lives in Chicago with her husband and son.
At age 13, I survived almost entirely on green apple Jolly Ranchers and Flowers in the Attic, and to this day I can't look at the book without my mouth watering. My much loved copy must have come from a supermarket (it was impossible to go to a supermarket in the '80s to, say, secretly stock up on green apple Jolly Ranchers, without a V.C. Andrews book lurking by checkout).
Think about it — when you order something online, you avoid long lines, there are infinite options at your fingertips, and no one can see your face. So it comes as little surprise, then, when people order food online, they might go a little overboard.
Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is greeted after his election in June. Just weeks later, many Pakistanis expect the nation's Supreme Court may soon attempt to force Ashraf from his position, as it did his predecessor.
An ongoing political crisis has left Pakistan's government paralyzed and near collapse, as the country's Supreme Court attempts to revive corruption charges against the president in an apparent effort to force his resignation.
Accusations of corruption have always clouded the reputation of President Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Some time ago, the government of Switzerland opened an investigation into Zardari's financial dealings, but the case was closed with no action taken.
HIV patient Darnell Hollie, 47, talks to her doctor Monica Gandhi (right) at San Francisco General Hospital. Her path from drug addict to model patient was "a lot of work, but if you want it, it's there for you," Hollie says.
In a theme playing out all over the country, Justice Department officials are proposing new ways to put the brakes on massive prison expenditures that have been eating up a bigger portion of their flat-lined annual budget.
The British probe into Rupert Murdoch's tabloid operations has extended into an investigation of information obtained from stolen cellphones. The New York Times reports that a senior police officer testified that an investigation found payoffs were given to public officials and that medical and banking records were obtained illegally.
Headlines today about one of the latest statements from the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad have tended to focus on the news that a spokesman says the government would never use chemical or biological weapons against its own people.
The stories take two angles: One, that this confirms Syria has such weapons; two, that it's good the regime says it won't use them on civilians.
Of course, the regime has also pledged to abide by a ceasefire brokered by former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and in the ensuing weeks the bloodshed in Syria has continued.
Britain's Abdul Buhari competes in the discus at the European Athletics Championships last month. With the Olympics coinciding with Ramadan, Buhari and many other Muslim athletes are postponing their fasting until after their events.
Hundreds of Muslim athletes are participating in the London Olympics, which officially begin Friday. But along with travel and other logistics, they're also adjusting to Ramadan, the holy month that requires them to fast.
There's enough DNA in the human body to stretch from the sun to Pluto and back. But don't confuse DNA with your genes, says writer Sam Kean.
"They are sort of conflated in most people's minds today but they really are distinct things," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross. "Genes are like the story and DNA is the language that the story is written in."
As a child, astronomer Jill Tarter would walk along the beaches of western Florida with her father and look up at the stars.
"I assumed, at that time, that along some beach on some planet, there would be a small creature walking with its dad and they would see our sun in their sky, and they might wonder whether anyone was there," she tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "But I never thought about it professionally until graduate school."
The NCAA laid out severe penalties against Penn State University today - in light of a child rape scandal. The school's football team has been banned from post-season play, docked scholarships, fined heavily, and stripped of past victories. Michel Martin discusses the penalties with Sports Illustrated's Pablo Torre.