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Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest
2:51 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Why Forest-Killing Megafires Are The New Normal

Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
David Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 9:46 am

Second of a five-part series

Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.

One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.

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The Two-Way
2:48 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Good Intention, Heartbreak: The Botched Restoration Of A 19th Century Fresco

A combination of three documents provided by the Centre de Estudios Borjanos.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 9:32 pm

Cecilia Giménez, 81, thought she was doing a good thing. A 19th century fresco by painter Elias Garcia Martinez had slowly been battered by time. The masterpiece portrait of Jesus had faded. His tunic was splashed by bare wall and half his face had gone missing.

Giménez, a member of the church where the fresco is located, took it upon herself to restore it to its former glory. Except, well, her artistic skills weren't up to the task.

The pictures tell the story, so we'll just show you.

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World Cafe
2:42 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Van Hunt On World Cafe

Van Hunt.
Hannah Mattix

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 4:27 pm

Van Hunt is something like a cross between Thelonious Monk and Prince: throaty and suave yet artistic, bold and a little weird. His inventive style speaks to his strong will, a trait that propelled the college dropout to move from his home in Ohio to the music hub of Atlanta.

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Asia
2:34 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

With A Girl Jailed, Pakistan Law Again Under Scrutiny

Christians pray for Rimsha on the roof of their priest's compound. Hundreds of the girl's Christian neighbors have fled their homes, fearing attacks by Muslims.
Lauren Frayer for NPR

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 5:47 pm

Until last week, Pakistani Christians and Muslims on the outskirts of Islamabad lived side-by-side in peace — and in the tight quarters that come with extreme poverty.

Then an Islamic cleric heard a rumor: A Christian girl named Rimsha Masih may have set fire to pages of Quranic verse.

The girl's priest, Father Boota, says a Muslim neighbor claims to have witnessed it.

"He was the one who raised the alarm, and then there was a shopkeeper — he also started shouting, and he also started making calls, 'Get the Christians! Wage a jihad against them!' " the priest says.

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The Salt
2:23 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

So, Who Sent Those Sick Cows To The Slaughterhouse?

A security guard opens the gate at the Central Valley Meat Co., the California slaughterhouse recently shut down by federal regulators after they received a graphic video of cows being mistreated.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Mon October 15, 2012 11:00 am

Federal regulators and fast-food companies reacted with unprecedented speed this week to the release of an undercover video that animal-rights activists shot inside a California slaughterhouse. The video — which, we'll warn you, is pretty graphic — shows employees of Central Valley Meat Co. using electric prods repeatedly on cattle that appeared unable to get to their feet.

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Participation Nation
2:03 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Group Gardening In San Antonio, Texas

Angela Hartsell, community gardener.
Courtesy of Jason Winn

My significant other, Angela Hartsell, is the Community Gardens Program Manager of Green Spaces Alliance Of South Texas. She builds public and private coalitions to help communities and their gardens in San Antonio. So far her efforts have helped create 33 gardens.

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It's All Politics
1:50 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Will Tropical Storm Isaac Blow The GOP Convention Off Course?

Republican National Committee officials unveiled the stage inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum this week ahead of the Republican National Convention, which may or may not begin Monday.
Tim Boyles Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:05 pm

Hurricanes and politics don't mix. That's why next week's gathering in Tampa, Fla., might be the second-consecutive Republican National Convention to be delayed by a storm.

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The Two-Way
1:26 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Drought's Still Deep In Nation's Midsection

The week of Aug. 21.
National Drought Mitigation Center

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 3:04 pm

Though there were "a few notable improvements" in places such as Indiana, where beneficial rains fell, the deep drought that has dug in across much of the nation's midsection continued in the past week, according to the statisticians at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

Their maps from the past three weeks tell the story.

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The Two-Way
12:55 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

One Poll Finds Zero Percent Of Blacks Support Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses the NAACP annual convention in Houston, Texas in July.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Over at The Washington Post, Jonathan Capehart writes that few poll numbers "make me gasp."

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13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:48 pm
Thu August 23, 2012

Famous Gorilla Ivan Dies At Age 50: An Animal Obituary

Ivan chews on his finger at Zoo Atlanta in 1996.
John Bazemore AP

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 2:11 pm

I've written before in this space about how an animal obituary may help mark a life of significance. Here is my obituary for Ivan the gorilla.

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