Heather Liljengren, a field taxonomist with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, examines the seed pods of the Virginia spiderwort at Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. Liljengren collects seeds from across the region for a seed bank of native plants.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Seeds are coaxed out of dormancy in the nursery at the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island. The center considers its seed bank the "Library of Congress" for the region's native plants.
Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York's beaches.
When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That's because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.
Against a backdrop that evoked the Cold War, President Obama renewed his push to reduce the world's nuclear stockpiles on Wednesday. Obama delivered an address outside the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. He also meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Anna Rodriguez tends the grave of her son, Nick. She learned shortly after Nick's death that, because his death was a suicide, his name would not be included on a local memorial to fallen soldiers. She has since found a memorial garden in York, Pa., that will add Nick's name to its memorial wall this summer.
Credit Courtesy of Anna Rodriguez
Lance Cpl. Nicholas Rodriguez joined the Marines at the age of 21. He "wanted to go and help the world in some way," says his stepfather, Michael Geiger.
Last year, more U.S. service members took their own lives than died in combat. And despite the drawdown of troops from Afghanistan, the pullout in Iraq, and hundreds of new programs designed to help troubled servicemen and women, the number of suicides continues to rise.
This artist rendering shows Supreme Court Justices (from left) Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Anthony Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Samuel Alito and Elena Kagan in 2012.
The National Hurricane Center has issued coastal warnings in the Gulf of Mexico regarding Tropical Storm Barry. The second named storm of the 2013 hurricane season, Barry is currently in the southwest corner of the gulf; it is expected to make landfall in Mexico Thursday morning.
The center says an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft determined Wednesday that the storm, formerly called Tropical Depression Two, had strengthened. Barry is currently about 75 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico.
I visited Toy Fair in New York City hunting for ideas for our summer series about kids' culture. One of the big takeaways was the increasing popularity of construction games such as Legos. Sales shot up nearly 20 percent last year. Now, it seems, every major toy manufacturer is scrambling to add new games geared toward kids building things.
Ever heard of the World Food Prize? It's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture," but it has struggled to get people's attention. Prize winners tend to be agricultural insiders, and many are scientists. Last year's laureate, for instance, was Daniel Hillel, a pioneer of water-saving "micro-irrigation."
The revelations about secret National Security Agency programs, leaked by Edward Snowden earlier this month, have stirred great controversy, but this type of surveillance is not entirely new, according to journalist Shane Harris.
In his 2010 book, The Watchers: The Rise of America's Surveillance State, Harris traced the evolution of these surveillance programs in the U.S.
It won't be quite like Bruce Willis in Armageddon, but maybe you'll feel just as much a hero.
The White House and NASA are seeking the public's help in hunting for asteroids that could someday smash into Earth. They're also looking for a perfect space rock to capture so that astronauts could go there and study it.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update.
The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.
Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today: