The July heat wave shimmering across the United States is generating everything from prime-time news coverage to contests for describing just how hot it really is. More than a third of the US is experiencing heat indexes of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the National Weather Service. Six US cities set all-time record highs last month, with the hottest new record coming from Childress, Texas. The temp? 117 degrees. Savanna, Ga., meanwhile, experienced temps of 90-plus degrees for 56 days straight (May 20 to July 14). But what may be a record-setting summer in America is relatively routine in other parts of the world, where many people experience months of weather like this – and not necessarily with Western comforts like air conditioning. Some are almost as hot as America’s Death Valley, which averages 115 degrees in July. Yet their inhabitants manage to survive, albeit through sweat if not tears. Perhaps the fortitude of their global brethren will bring a breeze of hope to Americans. Here are five places with more extreme weather than the US is currently experiencing.
As America blasts its ACs and put its fans on overdrive to try to cope with the heat wave, it will use a lot of energy – which costs a lot of money. More than 40 percent of a typical home’s utility bill goes toward cooling costs. But it’s possible to keep energy costs down and still stay cool – even during a heat wave. “You can save money by saving energy,” says US Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Here are four tips.
Charles “Buddy” Roemer is trying to stage a comeback. After nearly two decades out of office, the four-term congressman and one-time Louisiana governor declared his candidacy for president on Thursday in New Hampshire. An old-fashioned, charismatic Southern pol, the thrice-married, twice-divorced candidate may be hamstrung by his negligible name recognition, constituency, and funds.
On July 9, the Republic of South Sudan became the world’s newest country. But it is also one of its poorest, joining the ranks of the most underdeveloped nations on earth. Yet with the rich oil deposits within its new borders, South Sudan may be able to overcome the daunting obstacles it faces – if it comes to peaceful terms with its northern neighbor, Sudan. Here are five frequently asked questions answered:
The scramble on Capitol Hill to come up with a solution to the nation’s debt crisis produced a surprise announcement from the White House Wednesday: Contrary to previous statements, President Obama would support a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney added an important caveat, however. The president would only sign the short-term deal if it was a means to buy time to finalize a longer-term deal without running afoul of the Aug. 2 deadline. Suddenly, Washington is awash in prospects for short term deals. Here are five:
What’s the best way to enjoy the summer: A cookout in the backyard? A trip to the beach? These are nice, but look no further than reading a non-fiction adventure book. It’s by far the best way to immerse yourself in another world. Check out this list to see some of the best titles in this excellent genre.
In some respects, it’s not a good idea to draw conclusions from the record-setting performance of “Harry Potter” this weekend, which took $169 million at the North American box office and $476 million globally. “ ‘Harry Potter’ is a franchise that does not come along often,” says Paul Dergarabedian, Hollywood.com box office analyst. “It took more than a decade to develop, and it reaches across wide segments of the moviegoing public.” Still, a few important trends are emerging from the eye-popping weekend. Here are three:
“Carmageddon” is upon us! The 53-hour shutdown of a 10-mile segment of the 405 freeway, Los Angeles’s busiest traffic corridor, began at 7 p.m., Friday evening. For months, bulb-lit billboards have warned the city of severe traffic delays, while newspapers and TV stations ask whether apocalyptic congestion will keep 500,000 travelers from getting where they need to go for nearly three days. How are Los Angelenos coping? Here are five ways:
Harry Potter fans just know they love the record-breaking series of books. But everyone from academics to mythologists, classicists to historians, and literary critics to, well, geeks have a special “template” they perceive at the heart of the tale. From positing Albus Dumbledore as the infamous Richard III to taking us aloft the scaly back of St. George’s dragon, here are five of our top takes on what’s going on behind the scenes in the Harry Potter narratives.
How many ways are there to resolve the debt ceiling crisis? Negotiators meeting at the White House seem to hit one impasse after another, and frustration on both sides is mounting as an Aug. 2 deadline looms to avoid default on America’s debt obligations. Still, at least five options for handling the matter have been discussed in recent days and months. Other possible solutions may well emerge, but here’s the state of play on the options to date.
It hasn’t happened yet in the lower 48, Alaska, or Hawaii, but it’s bound to happen soon: major style guides lowercasing the word “Internet.” And on that day when the style desks of The New York Times and the Associated Press finally issue a press release about the need to start lowercasing Internet in all news articles, headlines, and blogs, we will know that America has finally woken up to web-based reality. We don’t capitalize words like Radio or Television or Motion Pictures anymore, do we? Once, of course, we did. Now, we know better. However, regarding the Internet, we are still behind the curve, behind the British, lost in capitalization land. The Guardian and the BBC websites got it right, long ago. We need to play catch up. Now. Here are four reasons to lowercase “Internet”:
Who thought that reading could be this much fun? Yes, this activity is still timeless, but e-readers (tablet-like devices used for reading electronic versions of books and periodicals) are taking the personal technology world by storm. Many e-readers have been put up for sale, but four companies have emerged to dominate this field. Keep reading to find out who comes out on top!
If angry messages on Twitter are any guide – and, honestly, when aren't they? – Netflix customers are acutely cheesed off at the company's decision to split its DVD and instant-streaming services. Up until now, you could have unlimited streaming plus one DVD out at a time for $10 a month. Under the new plan, the same package will cost you $16 a month. All said, it's still a pretty good deal. Remember what you used to pay for rentals at the video store? And if you're the type who only streams videos on Netflix, you can now get it for two bucks less. But let's suppose that Netflix has pushed you too far this time, driving you into the arms of a competitor. Which one should you choose? Here are five options.
Slowing down because of rising heat is the expected response in any summer heat wave. But in a week like this one, where high temperatures fanned across the country, sizzling toward 100 degrees F. from Texas to Boston, some things also go up. Here are four things to expect to rise along with our desire to stay indoors and beat the heat.
Getting married? Congratulations! Your future spouse will be your business partner as well as your life partner. Your credit, good name, and financial future will be tied to this person, who may not hold the same beliefs about money that you do. Talking about money is difficult for anyone, and it may seem like a romance-killer. But it is a good test of your relationship. An honest discussion about finances before the wedding can help avoid one of the biggest causes of stress after the wedding. Here are six ways to help you confide in each other and create a financial plan:
Former presidents, politicians, and the family of former first lady Betty Ford gathered today in Palm Springs, Calif., to celebrate her life. Mrs. Ford, who died Friday, is remembered for her honest demeanor and dedication to equal rights. Since her husband's presidency, Betty Ford has passed the mantle of first lady to six other women. Here are the contributions each made: