There are jack o' lanterns, and then there is the pumpkin that comes in cans.
But farmer David Heisler says the world of pumpkins has much, much more to offer.
Heisler grows 38 varieties of pumpkins and winter squash on his farm in Comus, Md., about 50 miles north of Washington, D.C. His farm stand is a riot of pattern and color — red, orange, pink, white, green, yellow, even blue. Though pumpkins originated in the Americas, they're grown and prized around the world: "every continent except Antarctica," says Heisler.
"The final decisions on Solyndra were mine, and I made them with the best interest of the taxpayer in mind," Energy Secretary Steven Chu plans to tell Congress today, as a House committee digs into the controversial $528 million in federal loans made to the now-bankrupt solar energy company.
The agency also said that the "4-week moving average" of claims — a way of gauging the trend over a slightly longer period of time — was "396,750, a decrease of 4,000 from the previous week's revised average of 400,750."
Supercommittee member, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., third from left, holds his hand out at a hearing Oct. 26. From left are, Supercommittee Co-Chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., Baucus, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass.
As the congressional "supercommittee" runs out of time to reach a deficit-cutting deal, the word "sequestration" is being spoken more and more in Washington.
Depending upon the speaker's political views, the word can be spit out as a curse word, or intoned as a blessing. But love it or hate it, "sequestration" may turn out to be a word that dramatically changes the world's most powerful military, and reshapes domestic programs for public health, education, the environment and much more.
As the sun rose on Zuccotti Park, a crowd began to gather. Amid the falling leaves and the the occasional shouts for a "mic check," the park was flooded by TV camera lights and the constant hum of two helicopters flying high above the buildings.
It's a cold day in New York and the Occupy Wall Street movement is hoping for a strong showing to mark their second anniversary, but by 6:30 a.m., the crowd was thin, perhaps 100 people.
Robert Segal, 47, said he was not going to march today, but he was here to "support community building."
College graduates face one of the bleakest job markets on record. Reporter Sayre Quevedo of TurnstyleNews.com met an aspiring accountant who emailed resumes for six months and then tried on something more daring.
Sao Paulo, Brazil, is an economic engine in a booming country. It's also a huge mess, with traffic jams that go for miles, crumbling infrastructure and shoddy airports. Urban planners say it needs a major makeover, including razing the Minhocao, an elevated highway known as the "Big Worm."
Neide Batochio loves to sew on her old Singer, strategically placed at a desk in front of her window. She says that way she can see the Minhocao, which twists and turns feet from bedroom windows for 2.2 miles through the center of the city. She says the sound's not so bad.
Renee Montagne talks to Rwandan refugee Clemantine Wamariya about her recent appointment to the board of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Wamariya survived the Rwandan genocide and is now a student at Yale.
Life as a kid on a farm can seem idyllic. The work, though, can be dangerous. Kids who do farm work are six times more likely to be killed than those doing other jobs.
The Department of Labor now wants new regulations that would bar children under the age of 16 from doing the most dangerous farm jobs. As Harvest Public Media's Peggy Lowe reports, that's angered many who depend on such labor, and see it as a right of passage.
Voters in the Congo head to the polls at the end of this month. The campaigning has been beset by violence which threatens to undermine an electoral process in a giant nation that's at the heart of Africa. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.
OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Campaigning took a stormy turn when veteran Congolese opposition politician and presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi sent a bombshell. He proclaimed himself president and ordered his supporters to stage jailbreaks to free their detained colleagues.
The Environmental Protection Agency says the Asarco copper smelter in Hayden, Arizona, has been continuously emitting illegal amounts of lead, arsenic and eight other dangerous toxins, for the last six years. The agency's finding means Asarco could face millions of dollars in fines and could be forced to install expensive pollution controls. The EPA disclosed the action last week to NPR and the Center for Public Integrity, which were jointly investigating toxic air pollution in the town.
Late at night on Wednesday, protesters at Zuccotti Park in New York were outnumbered by police. But every now and then a new protester would come into the park and just stare at the space like they were looking at it for the first time.
Jo Robbin, 29, was one of them. One of the first things she did as soon as she made it past the security check point was pull up her sleeves to show the red markings the plastic ties had left her.
Scientists say they are beginning to understand why brain injuries are so common in very premature infants — and they are coming up with strategies to prevent or repair these injuries.
The advances could eventually help reduce the number of premature babies who develop cerebral palsy, epilepsy or behavioral disorders such as ADHD, researchers told the Society for Neuroscience meeting in Washington, D.C., this week.
After a long job search, Alice Eastman, a once highly paid professional, now works at Target. "I've climbed to pretty much the top of the one ladder, and now I'm starting at the bottom rung of a different ladder. It's a job. It's not a career," she says.
Alice Eastman, a single mother living in Wheaton, Ill., is one of many Americans who, after losing her job, tried to make ends meet on unemployment while she hunted for a job in her field. Then after a long, fruitless search, she took a lower-paying job in retail.
Eastman had a pretty good job making $75,000 a year at the park district in the Chicago suburb of Bolingbrook, heading up its Department of Natural Resources.
Ross Perot, shown on a video screen, addresses the Reform Party's national convention in July 1999 in Dearborn, Mich. The billionaire founder of the Reform Party, Perot ran for president as a third-party candidate in both 1992 and 1996.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was once written off as a footnote in the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. But, for the moment, polls now show him among the leaders.
Gingrich may have found his voice, in part, by turning the tables on the political press. Republicans have been doing this for decades — quite explicitly at least since Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew in 1968.
In Gingrich's case, it was a strategy masquerading as a tactic — one that he adopted over the summer at a time of desperation.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama hold a joint news conference in Australia on Wednesday. The U.S. is sending some 250 U.S. Marines to the country next year, a number that will later grow to 2,500.
President Obama traveled early Thursday to the Australian city of Darwin, a base for past U.S.-Australian military cooperation. Now it will be one of several military bases from which the U.S. operates as it seeks to reassert itself in Asia.
Some 250 U.S. Marines will arrive in northern Australia next year, a number that will later expand to about 2,500. U.S. jets and warships will also train with the Australians.
Abraham Denmark, a China specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, sees the new focus on Asia as a natural evolution of U.S. interests.
Herman Cain followed a path well-worn by other presidential candidates in Miami to the Versailles Restaurant in Little Havana on Wednesday. While there, he had a cup of Cuban coffee, sampled a croquette and, playing to the largely Cuban-American crowd called out, "Freedom for Cuba!"
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich's surge to the top tier of the GOP presidential field has been sudden.
That's put him squarely in the media spotlight — Gingrich has been buffeted for the past several days over his consulting work for the mortgage giant Freddie Mac. But it's also highlighted the challenge he faces in early-voting states like New Hampshire, where he lacks a traditional campaign structure.
Patients in California may find a shuttered glass door the next time they seek out emergency care, as hospitals across the state close emergency rooms.
California hospitals that serve large numbers of blacks and Medicaid patients, who often rely on ERs the most, run a higher risk of closing the emergency deparment, according to an analysis just published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine.
They were four guys out of Athens, Ga., with a three-letter name — and one hell of an impact on rock. R.E.M. was Michael Stipe singing lead, Mike Mills on bass and harmonies, Peter Buck on guitar and Bill Berry on drums, until Berry left the band in 1997.
"We never expected the thing to last any longer than a couple of years to begin with," Stipe says. "And then when it did, and we were making records and people were interested in it, the band started getting bigger and bigger and bigger."