<p>Special forces troops in Belize march through jungle looking for any sign of marijuana or drug smugglers. Drug traffickers have become increasingly active in Belize and other small nations in Central America. </p>
A couple of decades ago, Colombian drug cartels dominated smuggling operations into the United States. In recent years, the Mexican cartels have taken over.
But Mexico's brutal drug war over the past five years is now pushing some of the drug trade into the smaller, weaker nations of Central America. And the traffickers are increasingly active in the region's least-populated and most vulnerable country, Belize.
<p>A worker stands next to an array of Sharp solar cell modules at a power plant south of Tokyo in August. Sharp was one of 1,400 solar panel manufacturers in attendance at the Solar Power International conference, where industry optimism was high.</p>
Solar power's image has taken a hit lately with the bankruptcy of Solyndra. The California solar panel manufacturer received more than half a billion dollars in Energy Department loan guarantees before going belly up.
But the industry is still optimistic — that much was apparent at the Solar Power International conference held in Dallas in mid-October. Walking into the big hall of the Dallas Convention Center, it was impossible not to be impressed by the huge array of black solar panels hanging from the ceiling.
<p>This undated photo provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration shows the last B53 nuclear bomb. It was dismantled this past week, just outside Amarillo, Texas. It's a milestone in efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons.</p>
Credit National Nuclear Security Administration / AP
This past week, the U.S. dismantled the last of its largest nuclear bombs, the B53.
This was a Dr. Strangelove bomb, conjuring up images of armageddon and apocalypse. At the same time, one of the smallest warheads was also removed from the nuclear arsenal.
These are steps the U.S. is taking apart from its arms control agreements with Russia. And thousands more American nuclear weapons are slated for destruction in a process that could take a decade or more.
<p>A disputed plaque in San Francisco's Mission District features Laguna Dolores. The most recent version of a map of the city's underground waterways removes the lagoon, as it was considered geographically impossible.</p>
Two creek geologists — people who study underground waterways — recently found themselves in the basement of a porn studio in San Francisco. Janet Sowers and Christopher Richard steered clear of the actors who were filming for Kink.com, an online fetish pornography studio that happened to have a stream running through its basement.
It was almost two years ago now that Justin Timberlake, while filming The Social Network, cemented his place in the NPR collective heart by being photographed wearing our logo across his chest like a tattoo, only fabric, and temporary, and less painful. (Back then, by the way, that shirt wasn't in our shop. Now, you can have one! It's with our "best-sellers," even now.)
Originally published on Fri October 28, 2011 5:39 pm
Yes, it's still October, but the Northeast could be in for quite a snowstorm this weekend. It'll be a "quick, one-day event," says the Weather Channel, but it could dump up to 15 inches in Harrisburg, Pa.; 10 inches in Hartford, Conn.; 12 inches in Concord, N.H.