One Last Strike is Tony La Russa's memoir of the 2011 major league baseball season and, in passing, a memoir of his very successful career as a big league manager. Last season, La Russa led the St. Louis Cardinals out of nowhere to win the National League wildcard slot, and then, improbably, advanced to the League Championship Series and the World Series. The Cards won the title in what was one of the great World Series of all time.
Families in a predominantly Latino youth soccer league gather for matches in Aurora. Hispanics make up nearly a third of the city's population, according to the 2010 Census.
Credit Megan Verlee for NPR
With its many Latino, African and Asian businesses, Colfax Avenue in Aurora, Colo., is a central artery for the city's most diverse neighborhoods. Inexpensive housing and convenient public transportation to jobs in Denver have attracted a highly diverse population to this city.
Credit Megan Verlee for NPR
Aurora police officer Tim Jeffrey explains common procedures to a group of Bhutanese refugees. The police department organized the outreach event to help newcomers feel more at home.
Aurora, Colo., became a familiar name this summer, in the wake of a mass shooting at a local movie theater.
But there's much more to this Denver suburb than the recent tragedy. Just ask Ethiopian immigrant Fekade Balcha. Balcha's apartment, on Aurora's north side, sits in a dense neighborhood of squat brick apartment buildings and tiny homes.
"You see, in our apartment, there are Russians, Mexicans, Africans," Balcha says. "From Ethiopia, Somalia, Nigeria, and something like that."
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).
Pathfinder, 1997: 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.
Spirit, 2010: 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.
Opportunity, 2004: 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.
Curiosity 2012: 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.
Curiosity, 2012: 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.
Originally published on Wed September 26, 2012 6:27 pm
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.