With far less than half of their normal corn yield, the Ulrich brothers are relying in part on government-subsidized crop insurance to keep their farm afloat.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR
Kansas farmer Luke Ulrich pilots his combine through the last eight rows of this year's ragged crop, which produced far less than half the normal yield.
Credit Frank Morris / KCUR
The dairy Eric Neill and his wife operate in Freeman, Mo., nearly went under this summer, crushed by high feed prices from drought-scarce grains. The farm was saved by restorative rains brought by Hurricane Isaac.
After one of the driest summers on record, recent rains have helped in some parts of the country. But overall, the drought has still intensified. The latest tracking classifies more than a fifth of the contiguous United States in "extreme or exceptional" drought, the worst ratings.
In some parts of the Lower Midwest, water-starved crops have collapsed, but the farmers have not. Farmers across the country are surviving, and many are even thriving. This year, despite the dismal season, farmers stand to make exceptionally good money, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The idea that milk may diminish the potential heart-health benefits of tea has been a topic of some debate. Lots of us can't imagine black tea without a little dairy to cut the bitterness. But, according to this research going back to 2007, we might want to at least consider trying, say, a nice cup of green tea sans sugar or cream.
American Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Miami International Airport this month. Reports indicate that American Airlines has canceled somewhere between 2 and 5 percent of flights in recent days, reportedly blaming a surge in pilot sick days and maintenance write-ups by pilots.
Pat Henneberry is an airline's dream customer. She flies all week, every week, and buying an $800 ticket so that she can have full flexibility is standard operating procedure. She's an American Airlines platinum customer. But she is fed up with the endless delays and cancellations.
NASA says it has found proof that water shaped the rocks on the left, in a photograph taken by the Mars rover Curiosity (left). For comparison, the agency released an image of rocks from the Earth (right).
<strong>Pathfinder, 1997: </strong>The first mission to land a rover on Mars, Pathfinder touched down in Ares Vallis, an ancient flood plain in the planet's northern hemisphere. Among the 2.3 billion bits of data sent back by the lander and its rover, Sojourner, were 15 chemical analyses of rocks and soil, which suggested Mars had once had liquid water and a thicker atmosphere.
<strong>Spirit, 2010:</strong> When NASA's Spirit rover got stuck in Martian sand, it proved to be a lucky break: The spinning wheel churned up soil that provided evidence of rocks formed in the presence of water.
<strong>Opportunity, 2004: </strong>Opportunity discovered tiny mineral spheres — nicknamed blueberries — poking out of rocks that were likely formed by water. Researchers using Opportunity's science instruments identified them as concretions rich in the mineral hematite, deposited by water saturating the bedrock.
<strong>Curiosity 2012:</strong> A wider view of the outcrop of a former streambed shows bedrock that scientists believe was likely exposed by meteorites striking the surface of Mars.
<strong>Curiosity, 2012:</strong> NASA says that water shaped the rocks on the left, in a photograph taken by the Mars rover Curiosity. For comparison, the agency released an image of rocks from the Earth (right).
NASA's Curiosity rover has found definitive proof that water once ran across the surface of Mars, the agency announced today. NASA scientists say new photos from the rover show rocks that were smoothed and rounded by water. The rocks are in a large canyon and nearby channels that were cut by flowing water, making up an alluvial fan.
"You had water transporting these gravels to the downslope of the fan," NASA researchers say. The gravel then formed into a conglomerate rock, which was in turn likely covered before being exposed again.
A battle is under way in Iowa over whether a state Supreme Court justice can keep his job.
Critics have launched an all-out campaign to throw him off the bench because of his ruling three years ago clearing the way for same-sex marriage. The judge's supporters are fighting back, but they may need to get over their reluctance to mix politics and the judiciary.
One topic you don't hear much about from Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is climate change. Like so much else, it's become politically divisive, with polls showing Republicans far less likely to believe in it or support policies to address it.
But two new groups aim to work from within, using conservative arguments to win over skeptics.
New York, New York, it's a wonderful town! And Mark Helprin's new near-epic novel makes it all the more marvelous. It's got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.
It's been more than a month since the government began accepting requests for its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the Obama administration's policy for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Hundreds of thousands of people are eligible for the program. So far, only 82,000 have applied.
Carlos Martinez is one of the 29 people who have actually gotten deferrals. It means that he won't be deported, and that he can get a work permit. Martinez applied for the deferred action program the first day.
When the economic crisis erupted in Greece and the bottom fell out of the domestic wine market, the Kir-Yianni vineyard outside picturesque Naoussa decided to adapt. Like other wineries in Greece, it has increasingly tapped the export market, successfully marketing and selling wine in Europe, the United States and even China.
"If you ask me, this crisis has been good for us," says Stellios Boutaris, the son of the company's founder. "It's going to make us stronger."
<em>The Avengers</em> has brought in more money than any other movie this year — upwards of $600,000,000 domestically. Based on characters in Marvel comics, <em>The Avengers</em> was released on DVD on Tuesday.
Credit Walt Disney
Stinkers like <em>Catwoman</em> have left disappointed DC fans caterwauling in disgust.
The Avengers has brought in more money than any other movie this year — more than $600 million domestically. And it's only going to make more, especially with the DVD release this week.
The Avengers features characters from Marvel Comics, but the No. 2 movie of the year was based on a character from rival DC Comics — Batman. It's just the latest skirmish in a long, long, long-running battle between Marvel fans and DC fans.
China, Japan and Taiwan all claim the Senkaku-Diaoyu islands as sovereign territory. On Tuesday, coast guard vessels from Japan and Taiwan dueled with water cannons after dozens of Taiwanese boats escorted by patrol ships sailed into waters around the islands.
Credit Yomiuri Shimbun / AFP/Getty Images
Tokyo Gov. Shintaro Ishihara, seen here at a 2009 news conference, is blamed by some for touching off the worst foreign policy crisis between China and Japan in decades.
Japanese politicians are prone to vague pronouncements and a lot of bowing. But not Tokyo's flamboyant, ultraconservative governor, Shintaro Ishihara.
Ishihara, now in his fourth term, thrives on outrageous statements and sensational headlines, and is a central figure in the dispute between China and Japan over uninhabited islands in the East China Sea.
The islands, known as the Senkaku in Japan, and Diaoyu in China, have become the worst foreign policy crisis to embroil the two Asian superpowers in decades, stoked by nationalist feelings on both sides.
Scientists have discovered that a mouse found in Africa can lose large patches of skin and then grow it back without scarring, perhaps as a way of escaping the clutches of a predator.
The finding challenges the conventional view that mammals have an extremely limited ability to replace injured body parts. There are lizards that can regrow lost tails, salamanders that can replace amputated legs, and fish that can generate new fins, but humans and other mammals generally patch up wounds with scar tissue.
Badgers have been blamed for spreading disease among cattle in Britain. But a campaign to cull the badgers has been met with opposition from prominent figures like Queen guitarist Brian May, who joined this rally in Bristol earlier this month.
Credit Matt Cardy / Getty Images
British badgers have been exposing cows to bovine tuberculosis, scientists say.