U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifying on Capitol Hill this month about how the U.S. economy still needs the assistance of the Fed. At the end of March, however, the agency plans to stop purchasing mortgage-backed securities. hide caption

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Developer Leroy Troyer wants to bring attractions like the Subtropical Swimming Paradise of Elveden Forest in Suffolk, England (above), to Elkhart, Ind. Courtesy of Center Parcs hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Center Parcs

Konarka uses this blue chamber to test solar panels. It re-creates light conditions at noon at the equator. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Songwriter Jonathan Downing and his wife, Tiffany Sewell, bought a house that still needs some work in Boston's Jamaica Plain neighborhood. The combination of record low interest rates, lower prices, and a tax credit for first-time homebuyers is creating incentives for some people to take the plunge into homeownership. Chris Arnold/NPR hide caption

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Bruce Marks (left), CEO of the nonprofit organization Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America, talks to homeowners waiting to meet with bank representatives at a NACA event in Los Angeles in September. Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images