And now we turn to the Mississippi River. The drought has brought parts of the Mississippi to near record low water levels. Those shallow conditions pose difficulties for barge traffic on the river and we turn now to Mark Mestemacher who is co-owner of Ceres Barge Line. It's based in East St. Louis. Welcome to the program.
MARK MESTEMACHER: Thank you.
SIEGEL: And how low is the river in East St. Louis?
Tsutomu Yamaguchi was late for work. It was August 1945, and he'd just finished designing a 5,000-ton tanker for his company, Mitsubishi. He was heading to the office to finish up, clear out and head home, and that's when he saw the plane, high up in the sky over Hiroshima. He watched it drop a silvery speck into the air, and instinctively, says science writer Sam Kean, "he dove to the ground and covered his eyes and plugged his ears with his thumbs."
This was no ordinary bomb. The earth below shook, Yamaguchi was thrown up in the air, then smashed down and lost consciousness.
This next story takes on some new scientific research involving wily rodents, rodents that run around through the rainforest stealing mercilessly from one another. That doesn't sound very nice, but they're actually providing a service for the forest that may once have been provided by wooly mammoths.
NPR's Richard Harris could not resist telling a story with such an intriguing cast of characters.
While you're enjoying your coffee this morning, half a dozen scientists are already at work. They're not sitting at desks, however, but a few miles off the Florida Keys, 60 feet down on the ocean bottom.
In 2008, just a few days before the Democratic presidential primary between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Pennsylvania, a large group of Pennsylvania voters got a very unusual phone call.
It was one of those get-out-the-vote reminder calls that people get every election cycle, but in addition to the bland exhortations about the importance of the election, potential voters were asked a series of carefully constructed questions:
High-tech gadgets, like smartphones, keep us connected at all hours and are making it more difficult to get a good night's sleep. But several new smartphone apps claim to help users sleep better. New York Times health and fitness reporter Anahad O'Connor explains the science behind apps.