Severe drought has parched huge swaths of the United States this year, the first time since the mid 1950s that drought has affected so much of the nation.
With so much scorched land, the center of the country could be described as a tinderbox; in recent months, severe wildfires have raged across several states. And in at least 10 Western states, including Wyoming, many fires are fought by teams of prison inmates.
Last year, consumers spent $17 billion on video games. That sounds like a lot, but it was nearly $1.5 billion lower than the previous year. One reason: there haven't been any new game consoles out to excite buyers.
Only Nintendo's Wii U might be on shelves for the holiday season.
The console makers are having a hard time figuring out how to improve on what they've got.
Try asking a gamer like Ryan Block what would entice him to drop a few hundred bucks on a new console.
This summer's drought is not helping the wildfire situation, and the drought is also deeply harming the nation's agricultural economy. Parched lands extend from California to Indiana, and from Texas to South Dakota, impacting everyone from farmers and ranchers to barge operators and commodity traders.
As NPR's David Schaper reports, some farmers are getting close to calling it quits.
DAVID SCHAPER, BYLINE: Looking over his small, 100-acre farm near South Union, Kentucky, Rich Vernon doesn't like what he sees.