The Two-Way
7:26 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Drought In U.S. Now Worst Since 1956; Food Prices To Spike, Economy To Suffer

On Monday, a weed was growing through the dry earth at Marion Kujawa's pond, which he normally uses to water the cattle on his farm in Ashley, Ill.
Scott Olson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 5:16 pm

With about 55 percent of the continental U.S. suffering from "moderate to extreme drought" conditions the nation is withering under conditions that haven't been this bad since 1956, according to a new report from National Climatic Data Center.

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Heller McAlpin is a New York-based critic who reviews books regularly for NPR.org, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, The San Francisco Chronicle and other publications.

Book Reviews
7:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

A 'Thumb' On The Pulse Of What Makes Us Human

The discovery in early July of a subatomic particle that may be the Higgs boson — also known as the God particle — puts physicists one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe around us. Sam Kean's dynamic, brainy new book, The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code, tells a story that's no less profound: how geneticists strive to unlock the secrets of the universe within us.

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Critics' Lists: Summer 2012
7:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Laughing Matters: Five Funny Books With Substance

Harriet Russell

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 8:56 am

It's great to laugh, but so much of what is labeled "entertainment" is, well, toothless. I'm a carnivore where my humor is concerned — I want it to have meat and bite. The following books will give you plenty to chew on if you like a bit of nourishment along with your kicks.

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Poetry
6:33 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Press-Play Poetry: 'Summer Song'

George Clerk / Michiel de Boer iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 10:57 am

Some poetry is meant to be heard as well as read. Press-Play Poetry is an occasional series that celebrates the power of the voice to bring lines on a page to life.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Elizabeth Blair is a Senior Producer on the Arts Desk of NPR News.

On a daily basis, she produces, edits and reports arts and cultural segments that air on NPR News magazines including Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Her recent stories explored the rise of public humiliation in popular culture, consumers' changing media habits and the intersection of the arts and education.

Jim Zarroli is a business reporter for NPR News, based at NPR's New York bureau.

He covers economics and business news including fiscal policy, the Federal Reserve, the job market and taxes

Over the years, he's reported on recessions and booms, crashes and rallies, and a long string of tax dodgers, insider traders and Ponzi schemers. He's been heavily involved in the coverage of the European debt crisis and the bank bailouts in the United States.

Shots - Health Blog
3:05 am
Tue July 17, 2012

Deciding On Truvada: Who Should Take New HIV Prevention Pill?

Kevin Kirk (left) and James Callahan have been together for more than five years. Recently they sat down and talked about whether Kevin, who is HIV-negative, might want to start taking Truvada.
Richard Knox NPR

Originally published on Sat July 28, 2012 11:05 am

There's something new to prevent HIV infections.

The Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a once-a-day pill that can drastically lower a person's risk of getting the virus that causes AIDS.

It's called Truvada — the first HIV prevention pill.

It's not cheap — around $13,000 a year — and it's not clear what insurers will pay for it. And there's worry that people taking the pill might relax safe-sex precautions.

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Law
3:03 am
Tue July 17, 2012

At An Air Force Base, Allegations Of Sexual Assault

In this June 22 image made from video, female airmen march during graduation at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. A widening sex scandal has rocked Lackland, one of the nation's busiest military training centers. A dozen instructors are being investigated for allegations ranging from abuse to rape.
John L. Mone AP

Originally published on Tue July 17, 2012 3:05 pm

Opening statements will be made Tuesday in the trial of a former Air Force instructor accused of rape and sexual assault of the young trainees in his care.

Staff Sgt. Luis Walker faces 28 charges and could be sentenced to life in prison. A total of 12 Air Force instructors are under investigation for allegedly abusing recruits at Lackland Air Force Base, the main Air Force training center.

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