I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. Coming up, Aristotle and Dante are the names of two important philosophers from history, but they're also the names of the principle characters in an award-winning new young adult novel about two Mexican-American boys and their journey of self-discovery. We'll hear from the author of "Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe." That is just ahead.
Carnegie Lake, Australia, 1999 Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
Richat Structure, Mauritania, 2001
The 31-mile-wide bull's-eye in the western Sahara is a landmark for astronauts. The structure formed when a volcanic dome hardened and gradually eroded, exposing the onion-like layers of rock. Desert sands appear white and pale yellow at the corners; less sandy, rocky areas are green; and volcanic rocks are blue.
Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa, 2000
The large stretch of semiarid, sandy savanna covers part of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. The desert has vast areas covered by red sand without any permanent surface water. The red dot near the Nossob River in the center of this image represents a farm made possible by a center-pivot irrigation system.
Bombetoka Bay, Madagascar, 2000
Islands and sandbars have formed where the Betsiboka River flows into the Mozambique Channel. The past few decades have seen a dramatic increase in the amount of sediment moved by the river and deposited in the estuary. Dense vegetation is deep green, and water is sapphire, tinged with pink where sediment is particularly thick.
Great Salt Desert, Iran, 2003
A mix of salt marshes, mud flats, wadis, steppes and desert plateaus color the landscape of Iran's Great Salt Desert, Dasht-e Kavir. The region covers an area of more than 29,000 square miles. Dramatic daily temperature swings and violent storms are the norm, and extreme heat leaves the marshes and mud grounds with crusts of salt.
Carnegie Lake, Australia, 1999
Carnegie Lake in Western Australia fills with water only during periods of significant rainfall. In dry years, it is reduced to a muddy marsh. Flooded areas appear dark blue or black, vegetation appears in shades of dark and light green, and sands, soils and minerals appear in a variety of colors.
Ice Waves, Greenland, 2001
The undulating swirls shown here along the eastern coast of Greenland are slurries of sea ice, newly calved icebergs, and older weathered bergs. During the summer melting season, the southward-flowing East Greenland Current twirls these mixtures into stunning shapes. The exposed rock of mountain peaks are tinted red.
Lena River Delta, Russia, 2000
The Delta extends 62 miles into the Laptev Sea and Arctic Ocean, and includes a protected wilderness area and wildlife refuge. The delta is frozen tundra for about seven months of the year, and spring transforms it into a lush wetland. Vegetation appears as shades of green, sandy areas as shades of red, and water as purples and blues.
Nazca Lines, Peru, 2000
The ancient geoglyphs, located in southern Peru, are estimated to be created by the Nazca culture between 400 and 650 A.D. The Nazca Lines were made by removing reddish iron-oxide pebbles that cover the surface of the desert. When the gravel is removed, the lines contrast with the light color underneath.
Meandering Mississippi, U.S., 2003
Graceful swirls and whorls of the Mississippi River encircle fields and pastures on the border between Arkansas and Mississippi. The Mississippi is the largest river system in North America and forms the second largest watershed in the world.
Garden City, Kan., U.S., 2000
Garden City, Kan., has a semi-arid steppe climate with hot, dry summers and cold, dry winters. Center-pivot irrigation systems created the circular patterns. The red circles indicate irrigated crops of healthy vegetation, and the light-colored circles denote harvested crops.
Mayn River, Russia, 2000
The Mayn River is a tributary of the larger Anadyr River, which flows through the far northeastern corner of Siberia. While these rivers are frozen for about eight to nine months in a year, they are home to chum and sockeye salmon during the summer months.
Von Kármán Vortices, Southern Pacific Ocean, 1999
Swirling clouds line up in a formation known as a von Kármán street. They appear when wind-driven clouds encounter an obstacle, in this instance Alexander Selkirk Island in the southern Pacific Ocean.
Terkezi Oasis, Chad, 2000
A series of rocky outcroppings emerge from the sand in the Sahara Desert near the Terkezi Oasis. Stretching across the immense desert are vast plains of sand and gravel; seas of sand dunes; and barren, rocky mountains. Only 10,000 years ago, grasses covered the region, and mammals such as lions and elephants roamed the land.
Himalayas, Central Asia, 2001
The soaring, snow-capped peaks and ridges of the eastern Himalaya Mountains create an irregular patchwork between major rivers in Tibet and southwestern China. Covered by snow and glaciers, the mountains here rise to altitudes of more than 16,000 feet. Vegetation at lower elevations is colored red.
Phytoplankton Bloom, Baltic Sea, 2005 Massive congregations of greenish phytoplankton swirl in the dark water around Gotland, a Swedish island in the Baltic Sea. Phytoplankton are microscopic marine plants that form the first link in nearly all ocean food chains. Blooms of phytoplankton, occur when deep currents bring nutrients up to sunlit surface waters.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:04 pm
Satellites are powerful tools. They beam our TV signals, phone calls and data around the planet. They help us spy, they track storms, they power the GPS signals in our cars and on our phones. But they also send back striking, totally disarming images of planet Earth.
This set of images is all about showing off the "beauty of the Earth," says Lawrence Friedl, the director of NASA's Applied Sciences Program and the editor of a project called Earth as Art. "We want people to look at these images and say, 'How did nature do that?' "
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:33 pm
Two reports on troubles with lithium ion batteries aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner:
In Japan, where a battery on an All Nippon Airlines 787 overheated and began smoking on Jan. 16, forcing the plane to make an emergency landing, the Transport Ministry released a report Wednesday saying it found that the battery in question had been improperly wired.
We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:50 p.m. ET.
Saying that "I've never been more clear in my life" about what he was doing, a tearful Jesse Jackson Jr. on Wednesday pleaded guilty to using about $750,000 in campaign funds collected for his congressional races to buy himself presents that included a Rolex watch worth more than $43,000.
The former congressman, a Democrat from Chicago, appeared in a Washington, D.C., courtroom. When he's sentenced in June, he could get a prison term of nearly five years.
"It sounded like thunder, but it felt like an earthquake," Tracey Truitt, a lawyer who was working in a nearby building, tells the Kansas City Star about an explosion Tuesday evening that leveled a restaurant in the city's Country Club Plaza.
At least 16 people were injured and as of early this morning one person remained missing, the Star says.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. An exhibit in a Vienna Museum titled "Nude Men From 1800 to the Present Day" drew a group of 60 present-day men who stripped down to view it. It was a special after-hours tour; they viewed the exhibition in nothing but socks and shoes. The tour guide was dressed. One of the men who viewed the art in his birthday suit first saw it while clothed. He said it's perfect to see naked men as a naked man. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Italy is trying to keep pollsters from influencing the outcome of an approaching election. Pollsters still do surveys for private clients, but are banned from publishing results. Some websites have found coded ways to report surveys. A gambling site reports polls disguised as fake horse racing results, with horses named after political parties. Another site offers fake cardinals supposedly contending to be pope.
It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 12:41 pm
A neighbor has told investigators that he heard "gunshots ... a female screaming two-three times, then more gunshots" coming from the South African home of Oscar Pistorius in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, a police officer testified Wednesday at a bail hearing for the Olympic and Paralympic athlete.
The witness has also told investigators about "non-stop talking" and sounds "like fighting" coming from Pistorius's home between the hours of 2 a.m. and 3 a.m.
Originally published on Wed February 20, 2013 9:18 am
As writers churn out novels about zombies and the apocalypse — books that portray our shared anxieties about the early 21st century — Laura Kasischke's first collection of stories, If a Stranger Approaches You, describes a world haunted, not by the undead, but by the phantoms of unemployment, increased airport security and missed credit card payments. The signature confluence between realism and the uncanny found in much of Kasischke's writing, both as poet and novelist, makes this book an important addition to her own body of work and to the contemporary literature of end times.