Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:14 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Protesters take part in a street play during a protest against growing cases of sexual abuse in New Delhi on May 5. The protesters urged police to protect women from abusers and stop blaming victims for attacks.
Morning Edition commentator Sandip Roy is back home in India after spending years in the U.S. He finds some Indians are standing up to a very old problem they call "eve teasing."
I lost touch with that peculiar Indian euphemism "eve teasing" in the years I was away from India.
It sounds coy, like a Bollywood hero romancing the pretty girl as she walks down the street, and it can mean that. But it can also mean what happened to a teenager a few weeks ago in the northeastern city of Guwahati.
Linda Wendt is the owner of a restaurant on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. Republican Mitt Romney "has done what I've done, so I can relate to him," she says. "He knows what business goes through and what it takes to run a business."
As the presidential election nears, Morning Edition is visiting swing counties in swing states for our series First and Main. We're listening to voters where they live — to understand what's shaping their thinking this election year.
This summer's drought has hit more than half the states in the country. Crops are suffering, but farmers might not be. Most farmers have crop insurance.
U.S. taxpayers spend about $7 billion a year on crop insurance. It's our largest farm subsidy.
And this subsidy goes in part to farmers — who will tell you themselves they aren't so sure about the whole idea. "I have an aversion to it," says Jim Traub, a corn and bean farmer in Fairbury, Illinois. "But you're not going to turn it down."
Florida National Guardsmen keep people in line at a food distribution center in Florida City, Fla., on Aug. 27, 1992. Many residents of the Dade County farming community lost their homes to Hurricane Andrew.
Florida National Guardsman Sgt. Jim Urbanik of Tampa holds out his gun to keep people in line as they wait for food at a distribution center in Florida City. Many residents of the south Dade County farming community lost their homes.
Members of the Florida National Guard subdue a man outside the Cutler Ridge shoe store. The unidentified man, carrying a firearm, was wrestled to the ground after guard members thought he was looting the store.
A resident of Homestead, Fla., asks for help on Aug. 26, 1992, two days after the area was ravaged by Hurricane Andrew. The sign on the roof reads, "Help please! The block needs H20, can food, ice, gas, building supplies." Homestead was one of the hardest hit areas.
On the subway, in doctor's waiting rooms and during college lectures, millions of Japanese can be found glued to their smartphones. But they're not texting or making phone calls — they're playing video games.
In the U.S., video games are usually played on computers and consoles, like the PlayStation or Wii, but in Japan, gaming has migrated to smartphones.
With an ice coffee in one hand and an iPhone in the other, grad student Yoshiro Hinoki is fixated on slaying tiny cartoon monsters.
Swetnam leaves his laboratory for the evening. Fires in the Southwest have been getting bigger and bigger over the past two decades. The Wallow fire in Arizona, Swetnam says, was "a tornado of fire." "It burned more than 40,000 acres in the first eight hours," he says.
A tree's rings are marked on graph paper. Experts use this technique, called skeleton plotting, to help them cross-date tree-ring samples. This sample evinces no fire scars in the latest years of the tree's life.
University of Arizona professor Tom Swetnam examines a tree sample at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research in Tucson, Ariz. Swetnam's research focuses on understanding how forest fires are influenced by climate change.
Tree-ring samples are collected from every corner of the world and meticulously studied and stored in Swetnam's lab. The thick, dark rings on these samples are fire scars. Last year, more than 74,000 wildfires burned over 8.7 million acres in the U.S.