It appears as just a speck on the horizon, a slightly darker shape against a vista of Arctic ice. Soon enough, the ship's bridge makes the announcement: "Polar bear, starboard."
Crew and passengers onboard the CCGS Louis S. St.-Laurent, Canada's largest icebreaker, head to the open deck, binoculars and cameras ready, and watch as the bear lumbers from one ice floe to another, quickly dipping into the inky blue water and effortlessly pulling himself back up again.
One area in the U.S. economy that is booming, despite the sluggish recovery, is technology. Facebook and Groupon are expected to go public in the coming year, and tens of billions of dollars of venture capital continue to pour into the tech industry every year to support new companies.
But one of the first challenges new companies face is coming up with a name, which can be a difficult task.
Many newly diagnosed Alzheimer's patients go through the stressful phase of realizing they are losing their memory while still having enough insight to know that, over time, they will no longer be able to care for themselves.
So a team of researchers from Chicago — a city known for improvisational theater — is testing a new idea of whether unscripted theater games can affect the well-being of these patients.
If you think unemployment is bad where you live, take a look at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Tribal officials there say more than 70 percent of the working-age population is without a job. And within one of the nation's toughest local economies, a reservation-based business is struggling to grow.
If being invested in a wildly unpredictable stock market freaks you out right now, you're definitely not alone.
In fact, there's an index to measure that nervousness, and even trade on it. It's called the Volatility Index, or VIX, but it also goes by another name: the fear gauge. And during times like these, the VIX draws lots of attention.
The NFL got back to the playing field this past week for its first preseason games since the players and owners agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement. But the scene at NFL training camps is a bit different this year.
New rules now limit the amount of full-contact practice that players can participate in. Gone are the grueling summer two-a-days.
For comic book fans, writer Grant Morrison is something like a god. He's worked for both DC and Marvel comics, writing stories for Superman, Batman and other heroes. In his new book, Supergods, he discusses what comic books can tell us about being human.
Growing up in Glasgow, Scotland, Morrison says his love of American comic books was regarded as slightly suspect.
Tim Pawlenty's out, Rick Perry's in, and Ron Paul's up, but not as high as Iowa straw poll winner Michele Bachman. And where the heck is Mitt Romney? NPR political editor Ron Elving reveals all to guest host David Greene.
Of World War II's many fronts, the one you've probably never heard about was the theater of war in the Arctic. Combat there centered around a crucial supply route that stretched from North America to the tiny Russian city of Murmansk, across the border from the northern tip of Norway.
"It was not the easiest route," U.S. Naval historian Tim Francis tells NPR's David Greene. And it might have been impossible if it weren't for help from some of Santa's friends.