If you vote, you might very well be confused about what the rules will be when you go to cast your ballot this fall. There's been a flood of new laws on things such as voter identification and early voting, and many of them are now being challenged in court.
Some cases could drag on until Nov. 6, Election Day, and beyond. The outcomes will affect voters, and maybe even the results.
Severe drought has parched huge swaths of the United States this year, the first time since the mid 1950s that drought has affected so much of the nation.
With so much scorched land, the center of the country could be described as a tinderbox; in recent months, severe wildfires have raged across several states. And in at least 10 Western states, including Wyoming, many fires are fought by teams of prison inmates.
Last year, consumers spent $17 billion on video games. That sounds like a lot, but it was nearly $1.5 billion lower than the previous year. One reason: there haven't been any new game consoles out to excite buyers.
Only Nintendo's Wii U might be on shelves for the holiday season.
The console makers are having a hard time figuring out how to improve on what they've got.
Try asking a gamer like Ryan Block what would entice him to drop a few hundred bucks on a new console.
This summer's drought is not helping the wildfire situation, and the drought is also deeply harming the nation's agricultural economy. Parched lands extend from California to Indiana, and from Texas to South Dakota, impacting everyone from farmers and ranchers to barge operators and commodity traders.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, some farmers are getting close to calling it quits.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Looking over his small, 100-acre farm near South Union, Kentucky, Rich Vernon doesn't like what he sees.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:14 am
A federal judge has tossed out the conviction of a man running a Texas Hold 'Em game in a Staten Island, New York, warehouse. The judge says federal gambling law should not apply to poker because it's more a game of skill.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.
STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:
And I'm Steve Inskeep.
Talks with Iran on its controversial nuclear program are set to intensify in the coming days. Tomorrow in Vienna, authorities from the International Atomic Energy Agency meet again with Iranian representatives. They'll discuss some past suspicious nuclear activities. Next week, other talks involving the United States, Europe, Russia and China are set to resume.
Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 6:58 am
Egypt's first democratically elected president is under fire for trying to silence his critics. In the last two weeks, a satellite TV channel was pulled off the air, two journalists were referred to criminal court for defamation and a state newspaper was accused of censoring columns critical of President Mohammed Morsi.
Roger Angel, an astronomer at the University of Arizona, stands in front of his new project: a solar tracker. Angel wants to use the device to harness Arizona's abundant sunlight and turn it into usable energy.
Credit Gary Williams/Stringer / Getty Images North America
Angel uses this rotating furnace at the Steward Observatory Mirror Lab on the University of Arizona campus to make his giant mirrors. The process, called "spin casting," helps form the molten glass into the parabolic shape needed for focusing light.
Credit Joe McNally / Getty Images
Roger Angel's mirror technology is now used in many large telescopes around the world, including this one, the Large Binocular Telescope at the Mount Graham International Observatory in Arizona. Its twin mirrors can produce images 10 times sharper than the Hubble Space Telescope.
Credit Jason Millstein for NPR
Angel does a final inspection on one of his mirrors. The weight of telescope mirrors made the traditional way limits their size. Angel realized he could produce a bigger mirror by creating a mold with a honeycomb pattern, making the mirror lighter.
Angel is working to put another mirror-based concept into action, this time to fight climate change. The solar tracker, seen here, makes electricity by focusing sunlight on photovoltaic cells.
Credit University of Arizona
An illustration of Angel's 2006 idea to reduce the effects of global warming by reflecting the sun's light with massive glass shields in space. It's a last-resort sort of idea, Angel admits.
You may not be familiar with the name Roger Angel, but if there were ever a scientist with a creative streak a mile wide, it would be he.
Angel is an astronomer. He's famous for developing an entirely new way of making really large, incredibly precise telescope mirrors. But his creativity doesn't stop there. He's now turned his attention to solar power, hoping to use the tricks he learned from capturing distant light from stars to do a more cost-efficient job of capturing light from the Sun.