If you vote, you might very well be confused about what the rules will be when you go to cast your ballot this fall. There's been a flood of new laws on things such as voter identification and early voting, and many of them are now being challenged in court.
Some cases could drag on until Nov. 6, Election Day, and beyond. The outcomes will affect voters, and maybe even the results.
Severe drought has parched huge swaths of the United States this year, the first time since the mid 1950s that drought has affected so much of the nation.
With so much scorched land, the center of the country could be described as a tinderbox; in recent months, severe wildfires have raged across several states. And in at least 10 Western states, including Wyoming, many fires are fought by teams of prison inmates.
Craig Allen, left, a research ecologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, survey a plateau ravaged during last year's Las Conchas fire in New Mexico. The megafire burned over 150,000 acres of forest.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
Jorge Castro looks onto the Cerro Picacho and the St. Peter's Dome trail, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico. Last year's Las Conchas fire was the third in a string of blazes that devastated the area.
Credit David Gilkey / NPR
University of Arizona professor Tom Swetnam examines tree samples at the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research in Tucson, Ariz. Swetnam says forests are burning hotter because they are overgrown.
Last year, consumers spent $17 billion on video games. That sounds like a lot, but it was nearly $1.5 billion lower than the previous year. One reason: there haven't been any new game consoles out to excite buyers.
Only Nintendo's Wii U might be on shelves for the holiday season.
The console makers are having a hard time figuring out how to improve on what they've got.
Try asking a gamer like Ryan Block what would entice him to drop a few hundred bucks on a new console.
Bain is the private equity firm founded by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Now what the documents tell us, is up for debate. And it's worth noting that NPR has not independently verified their authenticity.
Freshmen chatter anxiously as they stream out of their dorms for orientation at the University of Colorado in Boulder this week. There's a buzz and energy around campus that you might expect this time of year.
But Deb Coffin, vice chancellor for student affairs, says one thing is different: "It is legal now to bring your concealed carry weapon with you, as long as you're a permit holder and keep it concealed."
Mitt Romney outlined an energy plan Thursday that would guide his Republican presidency. It focuses heavily on expanding the supply of fossil fuels. The presumptive nominee said the U.S., Mexico and Canada together could reach energy independence by 2020.
But the plan makes no mention of climate change and would end subsidies for cleaner sources of energy, such as wind and solar.
An aerial view of Homestead, Fla., taken on Sept. 7, 1992, two weeks after Hurricane Andrew's 165-mile-per-hour winds took out nearly every building in the city.
Homestead restaurant owner Cesar Berrones says the city's character has changed. Before Andrew, it was more like a small town, and now, "it's all new people," he says. "It's good for business, it's grown, but the old friends have gone. It's different."
Twenty years ago, Homestead, Fla., was in the eye of what was then the worst storm to hit the United States.
Fifteen people died directly from Hurricane Andrew and a few dozen more died from injuries later. Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. Andrew's 165-mile-per-hour winds took out nearly every building in Homestead, leaving tens of thousands homeless. Families spent hours in lines to get water and ice.
National Guard troops handed out bags of ice but limited how much each family could get.