A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Credit Herve Cochard / Nature
An air embolism in a narrow water-transporting cell in a leaf of a walnut tree, captured using light microscopy. Drought stress increases the likelihood of embolism, reduces photosynthesis and may eventually lead to plant death.
Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.
It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.
When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.
There have been a number of books about great Jewish athletes, starring legendary baseball players like Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer." But a new book doesn't focus only on Jewish players — it looks at the myriad ways Jews have contributed to the American athletic landscape. Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame is a collection of essays compiled and edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy of The New Republic magazine.
Foer and Tracy join NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the rise of Jews in big-league sports.
A diamond prospector filters earth from a river in Koidu, the capital of diamond-rich Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone. Koidu suffered some of the worst ravages of Sierra Leone's war in the 1990s as rebels forced citizens to mine at gunpoint. Ten years after the conflict, diamonds remain a contentious issue.
Credit Issouf Sanogo / AFP/Getty Images
Small-scale artisanal mining has sustained this area since diamonds were discovered in 1930, but it is hard work and the pay is low.
Sierra Leone's "blood diamonds" helped fuel atrocities in the impoverished West African nation in the 1990s. The war has now been over for a decade, and the country's most valuable resource is no longer known as the product of a conflict. But it remains a contentious issue.
Maurice Geddie of Brooklyn's Red Hook neighborhood picks up a free turkey donated by a local grocery store. He's hoping his wife will be willing to cook it, though she's been stuck cooking for storm victims at shelters for weeks.
It's been almost a month since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the Northeast, and for many people, it means the first Thanksgiving outside of their destroyed homes or without the friends or family they usually visit.
In New York City, Thanksgiving has been mass-produced in shelters, churches and community centers where thousands upon thousands of storm victims can find free meals.
Many of them are sharing their first post-storm Thanksgiving with people who are hungry year-round.
At least two people are dead and dozens injured in a 100-vehicle pileup on Interstate 10 in southeast Texas that's being blamed on early morning fog on Thanksgiving Day.
KFDM TV reports that the dead included a man and a woman in a Chevy Suburban that was crushed by a tractor trailer. State troopers told the TV station that between 80 and 120 people were hurt; they were taken to hospitals in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Winnie. The crash occurred southwest of Beaumont, 80 miles east of Houston.
World maps help us make sense of the world around us, and our place in it.
While mapmakers may portray their world maps as accurate, scientific and neutral, every single one describes the world from a certain worldview and culture. From ancient Babylonia to the Renaissance, cartographers have been driven by politics, religion, emotion and math.
Scottish comedian and actor Billy Connolly has been performing for over 50 years now. His TV credits include the sitcom "Head of the Class." He co-starred with Judi Dench in the movie "Mrs. Brown." New projects include Dustin Hoffmann's directorial debut, "Quartet," with, among others, Maggie Smith. And he plays a dwarf king in "The Hobbit." But what he does, as he puts it, is standup comedy.
It's a tradition for many of us to gather with family and friends on Thanksgiving. The menu and the festivities are often the same: A look at the big parade in New York City on TV, maybe a game of touch football. But some friends may not be able to make it to dinner: the loved ones serving in the military overseas, a family member who's passed away since this time last year, or maybe someone who has to work today. Host Neal Conan takes calls from listeners who want to share stories about who's not at their Thanksgiving table this year.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. For the fifth year now, the oral history project StoryCorps has put special attention on the day after Thanksgiving, the day often called Black Friday, StoryCorps transforms into the National Day of Listening.
Hinkley, Calif., may soon become a ghost town as residents move away from contaminated water.
Credit Gloria Hillard for NPR
Theresa Schoffstall's home — which is located just outside the boundary of the contaminated area and does not qualify for a buyout from PG&E — has been on the market for a year. Concerns for her family's health have her contemplating just walking away from the home she and her husband built 12 years ago.
Neat rows of grapevines run down the slopes of the Cotes de Beaune, all the way to the gravel driveway at Chateau de Corton Andre. The castle's traditional Burgundy black-and-yellow-tiled roof glistens in the autumn sun.