English bursts with consonants. We have words that string one after another, like angst, diphthong and catchphrase. But other languages keep more vowels and open sounds. And that variability might be because they evolved in different habitats.

A region of southeastern Brazil is struggling to cope with a devastating flood, after two dams broke outside an iron ore mine and sent mineral waste and thick red mud over a large valley.

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Brazil isn't lying to the world about how bad deforestation is in the Amazon. But it is, according to the very people employed by the government to protect the rain forest, "misleading" the international community.

According to the government figures, the rate of deforestation is down dramatically over the past decade. And there's a general consensus this is true. But critics say the numbers don't tell the whole story because so much of the Amazon has already been damaged or destroyed. And the country is still losing about 2,000 square miles of jungle each year.

New York's attorney general would like to know: Did Exxon Mobil lie to you about the risks of climate change and to investors about how those risks might reduce profits?

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman's office confirms that a New York Times story is correct in reporting that an investigation has been launched into Exxon Mobil. That story said Schneiderman issued a subpoena on Wednesday, seeking financial records, emails and other documents.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.



It's getting harder to see the stars in North Dakota's Theodore Roosevelt National Park, and it's due to flares, drilling rigs and all the lights from the Bakken oilfield.

Since 2010, scientists with the National Park Service have measured a 500 percent increase in the amount of anthropogenic light there — no other national park in America has seen such a rapid increase in light pollution.

Kent Friesen is standing in a dark field in the North Dakota Badlands, peering into a huge telescope.

S Bence

Any day now, workers will begin dismantling two historic Eschweiler buildings on the former Milwaukee County Grounds in Wauwatosa. 

They call it the "burning season" in the Amazon, and when we arrive in Brazil's western state of Rondonia, it's on fire.

A thick, acrid smoke permeates everything, making it difficult to see. Fire, people say in Rondonia, is part of the culture of the state: The ash from the burned trees is the only way to make the land fertile, argue some. Others say fires are also started to simply clear land for cattle. Or to make space to build a house. Fire allows people to eke out a living off the land in the rain forest.

Episode 661: The Less Deadly Catch

Nov 4, 2015

Halibut fishermen in Alaska used to defy storms, exhaustion and good judgment. That's because they could only fish in these handful of 24-hour periods. It was called the derby, and the derby made fishing the deadliest job in America.

Today on the show, the economic fix that made fishing safer. And why a lot of people hate it.

On the show we introduce you to David Fry, the owner of the Realist halibut boat.

Note: This episode contains explicit language.