apples, daredevils and haunted farms

• Mother Nature knows a thing or two about fruit, but when it comes to apples, her knowledge is off the charts. The latest of MNN's pop science guides focuses on the incredible apple — one of Earth's most iconic foods. (How do you like them apples?)


• When Phillippe Petit (above) took his famous walk in the sky in 1974, the public went wild. As Felix Baumgartner prepares to make his supersonic leap, we round up the most memorable daredevil moments.


• When the sun goes down, a bucolic farm can transform into a field of screams. Matt Hickman explores the frightening world of farms that do double-duty as Halloween attractions.


• This story is frightening, too — but in a much more serious way. The Department of Transportation is pushing through new pet-tracking rules for airlines because so many animals have died in their care.


numbers illustration• If you're a numbers geek (or should we call it enthusiast?) you'll enjoy this breakdown of odd numerical facts about 10/11/12.


• And while we're on interesting-but-nerdish topics, this one might appeal: By translating environmental data into musical chords and scales, scientists have discovered that ocean water is brimming with "microbial" jazz.


Are greeting cards an endangered species? Blogger Starre Vartan says the prospects aren't good, but there's a bright side to every story. 


• Speaking of positives, here's one more bright side to the season: Plenty of fresh excuses to cook! We've rounded up five pumpkin recipes to make the most of fall.


• Our blogger explains why she's addicted to spinning, and why it's unlike any other exercise.


• And to wrap up our weekly offbeat summary, this one wins the crown for most odd: The drought has launched a new kind of crime in New Mexico: grass thefts. Seriously.


Plus: Check out this week's best images, including a much bigger version of the lovelorn stag below.

lovelorn stag in London