Around the Nation
10:01 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Drought Puts Texas Ranchers, And Cattle, At Risk

A severe drought has caused shortages of grass, hay and water in most of Texas, forcing ranchers to thin their herds or risk losing their cattle to the drought. Cattle use a tree for shade in late July, as temperatures rose above 100 degrees near Canadian, Texas.
Scott Olson Getty Images

In the cattle town of Emory in East Texas, the worst drought in state history is threatening a way of life. Scorching temperatures and no rain have forced many ranchers to sell off their stock.

Normally before being brought to market, cattle are penned in a rancher's best pasture to be fattened. The heavier the cow, the more the buyer pays.

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Science
10:01 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Big-Box Stores' Hurricane Prep Starts Early

A convoy of Walmart trucks waited to enter New Orleans on Sept. 1, 2005, after the city was battered by Hurricane Katrina. Government agencies said the massive storm taught them that big-box retailers need to be an integral part of hurricane preparation and relief efforts.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Forecasters don't expect Hurricane Irene to make landfall until Saturday. But for nearly a week now, big-box retailers like Walmart and Home Depot have been getting ready.

They've deployed hundreds of trucks carrying everything from plywood to Pop-Tarts to stores in the storm's path. It's all possible because these retailers have turned hurricane preparation into a science — one that government emergency agencies have begun to embrace.

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Technology
10:01 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Patent Wars Could Dull Tech's Cutting Edge

Some call it an international patent arms race: Tech companies like Apple, Samsung, Nokia and Google are launching lawsuits over competing patent claims related to smartphones and tablets.

As NPR's Laura Sydell tells Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne, companies are mounting takeovers aimed at gaining control of thousands of patents.

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Hole in the Wall
5:13 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Firefighters keep eye on Hole in the Wall

Among the forest fires burning across the state, officials are keeping a close watch on what is called the Hole in the Wall fire that is burning near Clark in northern Wyoming.

While the fire has expanded and is burning in both Wyoming and Montana, spokeswoman Jeni Lawver says it does not currently present any threats in Wyoming.

"Our fire activity is minimal, our fire management officers are seeing what they expected and things are going pretty well today."

Fire officials are keeping an eye on a nearby subdivision in Montana.

Clean Coal symposium
4:58 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Researcher seek to make coal innovations viable

 Researchers studying so-called "clean coal" technology unveiled some of their findings today during the first annual clean coal technology symposium in Laramie.

The research is part of an overall legislative effort to get more research on the topic.

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The Two-Way
4:38 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Arizona Sues Federal Government Over Voting Rights Act

Arizona is once again challenging the authority of the federal government. This time the state's attorney general is suing the feds to get out from under the Voting Rights Act, which requires Arizona to get prior approval before changing election rules and maps.

NPR's Carrie Johnson filed this report:

Tom Horne, the top elected lawyer in Arizona, says the landmark 1965 voting rights law is out of date and forces the state to bend to the whim of the federal Justice Department.

Arizona says the law is unconstitutional.

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The Two-Way
3:41 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene: Why One Couple Isn't Heeding Evacuation Orders

Cars pass a mandatory evacuation sign on Hatteras Island in the North Carolina.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Hurricane Irene is forecast to hit North Carolina hard. The National Hurricane Center says it will be a major Category 3 hurricane as it makes landfall, so state officials have ordered evacuations of the Outer Banks, the barrier islands exposed off the Carolina's Atlantic coast.

As always, there are those who stay put. All Things Considered host Melissa Block spoke to a husband and wife who live in Ocracoke, N.C. and they're planning on weathering the storm at home.

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Environment
3:16 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

'Polarbeargate' Scientist To Head Back To Work

Two polar bears spar on the shoreline of the Hudson Bay in November 2007.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

The polar bear scientist who has spent more than a month suspended from his government job has now been told that he should report back to work on Friday — although NPR has learned that his job is changing and he will no longer manage federal contracts.

"Chuck is planning to go to work. He just doesn't know what the work is going to be," says attorney Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which is providing legal representation for wildlife biologist Charles Monnett.

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Around the Nation
2:54 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

New Deportation Rules Give Boost To Gay Rights

Anthony Makk (right) and husband Bradford Wells at their San Francisco home on Aug. 8. Though legally married in 2004, Makk faces deportation back to his native Australia.
Noah Berger San Francisco Chronicle via Polaris Images

Thousands of same-sex married couples now have hopes of staying together in the U.S. thanks to a change in deportation policy. The government says it will now prioritize deportations, giving lower priority to those with families in the U.S.

And the Obama administration has included same-sex couples in its definition of family.

Left In Legal Limbo

Bradford Wells, 55, a longtime resident of San Francisco, has good days and bad days.

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Shots - Health Blog
2:43 pm
Thu August 25, 2011

Why The Cardiologist Cares About Your Antidepressant

iStockphoto.com

The Food and Drug Administration is telling doctors and patients not to use high doses of the popular antidepressant Celexa anymore because they can raise the risk for potentially harmful changes in heart rhythms.

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