When Nikki Perez was in her 20s, she had a job as a lab tech at a hospital in Sacramento, Calif. She said everything was going well until one day, when something changed.
"I worked in a very sterile environment, and so part of the procedure was to wash your hands," she said. "I found myself washing my hands more and more, to the point where they were raw, and sometimes they would bleed."
(This report is part of the Morning Edition series "2 Languages, Many Voices: Latinos In The U.S.," looking at the ways Latinos are changing — and being changed — by the U.S.)
One place the Hispanic population is growing is in the overwhelmingly white state of Iowa. The latest census figures show the Hispanic population, while only 5 percent of the state, has almost doubled since 2000.
And one small town — West Liberty — is the first in Iowa to have a majority Hispanic population.
As the global economy teeters, one market is still reaching stratospheric highs: Chinese art.
A Hong Kong auction of fine Chinese paintings earlier this month raised $94.8 million, three times pre-sale estimates. In fact, China is now the world's biggest art market, according to the art information agency Artprice.
Yet all is not what it seems in the murky world of Chinese art auctions, including a painting that sold last year for more than $11 million, but appears not to be what was advertised.
In this economy, the decision to add even one person to the payroll is a huge leap of faith for a small company. One marketing firm in Tacoma, Wash., has done the math — down to the additional cups of coffee they'd need to make for a new employee — and is ready to hire.
It's been nearly two weeks since President Obama urged a crowd of supporters in Denver to turn up the heat on lawmakers in Washington to pass his $447 billion jobs bill. So far on Capitol Hill, it's gone nowhere.
That could change Tuesday when the Senate holds a vote on taking up the legislation. But fierce Republican opposition both to the bill and how it's paid for leaves slim prospects of it going any further.
Drugstore and supermarket pharmacies across the country have launched a marketing blitz to attract flu shot customers, touting the convenience of stopping at a local drugstore and often offering drop-in vaccinations anytime the pharmacy is open — sometimes even 24 hours a day.
"If you decided at 4 o'clock in the morning you wanted to go out and had nothing better to do than get a flu shot, you could walk right in and you could get a flu shot," says Scott Gershman, pharmacy manager at a Walgreens drugstore in Springfield, Va.
It's dawn and 40 degrees out. The air tastes of dust. Elias Neftali is behind the wheel of a truck, driving us through a long valley encircled by red-rock mountains. As a farmhand in the northwest desert of Namibia, Neftali used to shoot wild animals trying to eat his livestock.
Now he protects wild animals. And that can be scary.
"Oh my god, yep," he says. He tells me about a night he was sleeping in a bungalow out in the bush with some other wildlife guards.
We all know what happens when individuals stop paying their bills: angry letters, pestering phone calls and possibly getting property repossessed. In the end, there's you might declare bankruptcy and start again. That's how it works for a person up to his eyeballs in debt, but how does it work for an entire country?
Harvard economist Ken Rogoff says that it's not unusual for countries to go into default. In fact, he says it's happened hundreds of times.
Orlando "Zeus" Brown, an offensive lineman for the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens, was found dead late last month in his Baltimore apartment. The cause: diabetic ketoacidosis, common among those with diabetes.
Brown was 6 feet 7 inches tall and 360 pounds when he played in the NFL. That may sound like a lot for a football player, but it's not uncommon among today's offensive and defensive lineman, who rarely weigh less than 300 pounds.
When a loved one dies and is cremated, family members face a tough decision on what do with the ashes. Some want the final resting place to be spectacular — spread in the Grand Canyon, launched into space, sprinkled in Times Square; others just keep Aunt Jane's remains in an urn at home.
"The ashes get put on the mantel, stay there for a couple of years, and then a couple of years later, they get put in the attic," says Thad Holmes. "A few years later, the house gets sold and, 'Oh gosh, we forgot the ashes!'"