A forest near Trieste, Italy, is largely dead owing to drought stress during the summer of 2012.
Credit Herve Cochard / Nature
An air embolism in a narrow water-transporting cell in a leaf of a walnut tree, captured using light microscopy. Drought stress increases the likelihood of embolism, reduces photosynthesis and may eventually lead to plant death.
Scientists who study forests say they've discovered something disturbing about the way prolonged drought affects trees.
It has to do with the way trees drink. They don't do it the way we do — they suck water up from the ground all the way to their leaves, through a bundle of channels in a part of the trunk called the xylem. The bundles are like blood vessels.
When drought dries out the soil, a tree has to suck harder. And that can actually be dangerous, because sucking harder increases the risk of drawing air bubbles into the tree's plumbing.
President Obama, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (center) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie visit the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's World Trade Center site for a briefing on construction progress in June. The Republican Christie and Democrat Cuomo will have to find consensus on the plan for rebuilding after Superstorm Sandy, together and with a divided Congress.
There have been a number of books about great Jewish athletes, starring legendary baseball players like Sandy Koufax or Hank Greenberg, the "Hebrew Hammer." But a new book doesn't focus only on Jewish players — it looks at the myriad ways Jews have contributed to the American athletic landscape. Jewish Jocks: An Unorthodox Hall of Fame is a collection of essays compiled and edited by Franklin Foer and Marc Tracy of The New Republic magazine.
Foer and Tracy join NPR's Linda Wertheimer to discuss the rise of Jews in big-league sports.
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. In Sweden, Anna Erickson got a letter accepting her into the local preschool. It had gone out to everyone in town born in '07. Great, except for one detail: Anna was born in 1907. So the 105-year-old won't be showing up to class. In New York, the elegant Waldorf-Astoria experienced a blast from the past this week when a man returned one of the hotel's silver-trimmed teapots, pilfered back in the 1930s. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Kingston, Ontario held its annual Santa Claus parade this past weekend. But Virginia, we are sad to report a Grinch was in attendance. As the Christmas-themed floats cruised down the street, a man began shouting, claiming that Santa Claus does not exist. Apparently, he had gotten into the Christmas spirits instead of the Christmas spirit. He was arrested for public intoxication. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
In this image provided by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi (right), Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal meets with Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo on Sunday. Morsi has won praise for brokering the cease-fire agreement between Hamas and Israel.
The cease-fire between Hamas and Israel has been a political boost for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi. The Islamist leader spent hours in meetings and on the phone with world leaders, including President Obama, and got results: a cessation of violence that puts Egypt back on the international map. But Morsi faces a test Thursday night, when negotiations on the details begin.
As we charge into the holiday gift buying season, gadgets are usually near the top of many people's wish lists. Our regular technology commentator Rich Jaroslovsky of Bloomberg News tells us about his gadget picks for 2012.
Rich, thanks for joining us.
RICH JAROSLOVSKY: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: First, Rich, let's look at the camera. It's an amazing little machine. It doesn't even vaguely look like a camera. It looks like it must be expensive and do lots of clever tricks?
This Thanksgiving, as hearty aromas fill the house, take a moment to savor a different kind of nourishment — poetry about food.
The Hungry Ear, a new collection, celebrates the pleasures and the sorrows of food with poems from Pablo Neruda, Sylvia Plath and dozens more. Poet Kevin Young cooked up — or edited — this readable feast. He tells NPR's Renee Montagne that, much like the best meals, the best poems are made from scratch.
Gray Thursday may become the new Black Friday. Many big retailers have moved up the beginning of their shopping season, traditionally the Friday after Thanksgiving, to Thursday evening.
Brick-and-mortar retailers are feeling pressure from online retailers, which have given consumers an earlier shopping option.
"In the past, online retailers have had Thanksgiving Day all to themselves," says Marshal Cohen, retail analyst with the NPD Group. "And what that means is by the time Black Friday comes around, a lot of consumers have already spent a bunch of money."
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to announce a debt ceiling deal in July 2011. That deal laid the foundation for the across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect on New Year's Day, 2013.
New Year's Day typically inspires hope and new beginnings. But this next one may be cause for trepidation. Tax cuts for all income levels expire on Jan. 1, 2013, and most federal programs will face a 10 percent haircut — because Congress failed to agree on a deficit-reduction plan.
Let's turn now to the urgent diplomatic efforts underway. Secretary of State Clinton is now in Cairo, meeting with Egyptian leaders in efforts to reach a ceasefire. NPR's Leila Fadel joins us from Cairo to discuss the latest.
LEILA FADEL, BYLINE: Good morning.
MONTAGNE: So what do you know about what's happening on the diplomatic front today there in Cairo?
Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne. As the story goes, pardoning a turkey dates back to Lincoln, when his young son Tad begged his father to let the White House Thanksgiving meal live. Today, President Obama pardons two turkeys - Cobbler and Gobbler. Ahead of their big moment, the birds have been staying at the swanky W hotel, nibbling on organic meals prepared by the hotel's chef. And once pardoned, the turkeys will retire to Mount Vernon. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer with a Thanksgiving dessert that goes way past pumpkin pie a la mode. An Arizona ice cream shop is creating an entire Thanksgiving dinner in ice cream form. Scooptacular is offering sweet potato ice cream, also cranberry. And for the adventurous, corn and even turkey by the scoop. Can you get hot fudge with that? Would you want hot fudge with that? It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
In Washington, lawmakers are trying to work out a deal to keep the economy from going over the fiscal cliff. Many economists predict those automatic tax hikes combined with deep spending cuts set to go into effect on New Year's Day would throw the economy back into recession.
A group of top CEOs has been urging lawmakers to reach a deal to keep that from happening. Mark Bertolini is one of them. He's CEO of the health insurer Aetna and he said tax increases are as important as spending cuts. We called him to talk more.
NPR's business news starts with a costly misstep by HP.
The California-based technology giant is writing down an $8.8 billion loss. CEO Meg Whitman says much of that comes from new revelations about Autonomy, a software company HP bought last year. She says the company lied about the state of its finances. HP plans to sue, and has asked authorities in both the U.S. and the U.K. to investigate. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.
Afghan officials welcomed the release of Taliban prisoners by Pakistan in an attempt to jump-start a shaky peace process with the militant group. But many Afghans are wondering about the timing and the motive. They say mistrust born of decades of duplicity won't vanish with a few declarations or small gestures.
Secretary-General of the Afghan High Peace Council Mohammad Stanekzai was part of the delegation that recently traveled to Pakistan to discuss how the countries can cooperate and bring the Taliban to the negotiating table.
There has been a small but potentially important breakthrough in the faltering Afghan peace process. In what is considered a good-faith gesture, Pakistan last week released at least nine Afghan Taliban prisoners. The move is seen as part of an emerging new strategy by Pakistan as it eyes the looming drawdown of U.S. and Western troops in Afghanistan.
Uncle Sam wants you to email your doctor. A federal law passed in 2009 says that physicians have to start offering their patients online communication, or Medicare will start docking how much it pays them in the future.
Some patients hope that having online access to their doctors will mean they can cut down on how often they have to go to the doctor's office. But fresh research suggests that patients with online access actually schedule more office visits.
Like many other brick-and-mortar retailers, Wal-Mart is trying to attract shoppers increasingly accustomed to online shopping. In one experiment, it's offering same-day delivery in four select markets.
With the holiday shopping season shifting into high gear, retailers are doing everything they can to win consumer dollars. Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, is trying out one new strategy this season: same-day delivery. In a few select markets, it's joining online retail giant Amazon and eBay's "Now" service in offering super-quick delivery, straight to your door.
Originally published on Mon November 26, 2012 11:45 am
A few months ago, I let you in on a little secret about Greek yogurt. Not all of this extra-thick, protein-rich yogurt is made the old-style way, by straining liquid out of it it. Some companies are creating that rich taste by adding thickeners, such as powdered protein and starch.
Good morning. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Leading with a great pair of legs helps to make it as a model. And apparently, being a 72-year-old granddad doesn't hurt. Liu Xianping advised his granddaughter on her fashion business and thoughts on mix and match, then he modeled the look. The photos went viral. Sales skyrocketed. Here's how to get the look. Pile on the layers and lace and his signature thigh-high red stockings. It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.
And now for today's business bottom line. Last summer's drought has brought bad news this fall - low crop yields, especially of corn; plus higher prices, and a prediction from the Department of Agriculture that corn exports will be at a 40-year low. The U.S. still is the world's biggest supplier of corn. But this year, American exporters won't be quite as dominant as usual, in the global corn market. From Missouri, Abbie Fentress Swanson reports on the impact this is having.
In New York, the city is expected to begin demolishing some of the houses that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Inspectors have fanned out across the boroughs to places hard hit by the storm to decide which houses are safe to return to and which are not. Some of the most-damaged neighborhoods are along the coastal stretches of Staten Island. NPR's Jeff Brady began his story on the streets of the Midland Beach neighborhood.
For more on the politics within the Palestinian territories, we turn now to NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Gaza. He reports that the current conflict has helped unite Palestine's various factions and strengthened Hamas' domestic political position.
ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: A video on the Internet shows a concealed metal trapdoor in the ground opening automatically. On the underside of the door are missile tubes and the flag of the Islamic Jihad movement.
And today's last word in business: 'Tis the season for shopping days with names.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
It's not just Black Friday anymore. With stores opening earlier and earlier, Black Friday is fast becoming Black Thursday. You might still go out and bargain hunt on Friday, but be warned, there's no rest for you on Saturday. There's now Small Business Saturday, when shoppers are encouraged to buy from local stores.
This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
And I'm Linda Wertheimer in for Steve Inskeep.
After attending the annual summit of Southeast Asian leaders, President Obama is winging his way home this morning. And tomorrow, he'll issue the traditional Thanksgiving turkey pardon. Then after the holiday it's back to budget talks with congressional leaders deciding what else might be spared, and what government programs or tax breaks might feel the knife.