Environment

WAMC News
8:35 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Proposed Pipeline Expansion Prompts Indian Point Analysis

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 2:25 pm

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has put out for public comment a draft environmental impact statement concerning a proposed pipeline expansion project in the Northeast. The expansion includes property belonging to the Indian Point Nuclear power plant.

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Extinction
2:23 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct

Martha (right), an extinct passenger pigeon, at the Smithsonian's Natural history Museum in Washington. The passenger pigeon was once the world's most plentiful bird. Sept. 1 is the centenary of the bird's extinction.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 2:56 pm

The Cincinnati Zoo held a commemorative event; the London Zoo stopped the clock outside its bird house at noon. The object of their memorials: Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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Brownfields
8:17 am
Mon September 1, 2014

State Announces $27 Million in Redevelopment Money

Included in the grants and loans is money for several housing development projects in the state.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / kylewbrown

The state has announced a total of $27 million in grants and loans for 20 environmental remediation and redevelopment projects in Connecticut.

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Where We Live
7:00 am
Mon September 1, 2014

The Modern Age of Science; Connecticut Bull Osborndale Ivanhoe

Horia Varlan Creative Commons

Back in March, a team of Harvard scientists claimed to have found the first direct evidence of gravity waves from the Big Bang. Within a matter of hours, their story had made its way around the Internet, spreading across blogs, news sites, and social media.

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Energy
11:27 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Federal Regulators Rap Faulty Water Pump at Millstone

The Millstone Power Plant in Waterford.
Credit Northeast Utilities

Federal regulators say they could impose more inspections and greater oversight of Connecticut's nuclear power plant due to repeated problems with a critical water pump. 

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Science
4:12 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Night Of The Cemetery Bats

Big brown bats like this one are relatively common in urban areas, sometimes roosting in buildings. Contrary to popular belief, bats rarely carry rabies and are not rodents. They belong to the order Chiroptera, which means "hand-wing."
Courtesy of Robert Marquis

Originally published on Thu August 28, 2014 7:28 pm

I've visited St. Louis' Bellefontaine cemetery before, but never at night.

It's really dark. The looming trees are black against the sky, where a half-moon is just barely visible behind some clouds.

I can see eerie lights and strange, shadowy figures moving among the gravestones.

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Juno the Whale
2:25 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Watch: Charismatic Beluga in Mystic Entertains Kids, Highlights Research

Juno, a 12-year-old beluga at Mystic Aquarium, is drawing attention to the aquarium's field research.
Mystic Aquarium

A new viral video depicting a juvenile beluga whale playing peek-a-boo with a child is drawing attention to Mystic Aquarium's arctic animals.

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UConn Research
4:01 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

What's the Best Way to Manage a Pesticide-Free Athletic Field?

Julie Campbell and Jason Henderson stand in front of 24 managed grass plots. They're comparing how grass responds to different organic and non-organic treatments.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Researchers at UConn are investigating the feasibility of managing grade school athletic fields without pesticides. It's science that could one day inform state law. 

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California
8:30 pm
Sun August 24, 2014

State Of Emergency Declared After Quake Rocks Northern Calif.

A photo provided by Lyall Davenport shows damage to a building in Napa, Calif., early Sunday.
Lyall Davenport AP

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 7:50 am

Updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown has made an emergency declaration after a strong 6.0-magnitude earthquake rocked northern California, causing dozens of injuries, damaged buildings and power outages. The quake struck at 3:20 a.m. PT, the U.S. Geological Survey says.

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Eruption
12:17 pm
Sat August 23, 2014

Iceland Ups Aviation Warning As Volcano Rumbles

A warning sign blocks the road to Bardarbunga volcano, some 12 miles away, in the northwest region of Iceland's Vatnajokull glacier, on Tuesday.
Reuters/Landov

Iceland today raised an aviation alert level to reflect growing concern over underground rumblings at its Bardarbunga volcano in the central part of the island nation.

A sub-glacial eruption caused Icelandic authorities to raise the aviation alert level to red, indicating "significant emission of ash into the atmosphere," The Associated Press reports.

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Extraterrestrial Smog
12:18 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Scientists Searching For Alien Air Pollution

In this artist's conception, the atmosphere of an Earthlike planet displays a brownish haze — the result of widespread pollution.
Christine Pulliam Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm

Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds — and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.

"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.

The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.

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Litchfield
12:14 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

State Sells Historic Litchfield County Jail

The former Litchfield County jail, built in 1812, is at 7 North Street in Litchfield. It's one of the oldest penal facilities in Connecticut.
LitchfieldBZ YouTube

The state of Connecticut has sold the historic former Litchfield County jail to a real estate investor for $130,000. 

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Huge Piles of Compost
10:11 am
Fri August 22, 2014

Citizen Science Project at Trinity College Taps Trained Eyes of Veterans

A coyote checks out a compost pile in this infrared shot from Smedley's remote camera.
Scott Smedley Trinity College

Researchers at Trinity College are snapping pictures of animals at compost piles as part of an ongoing biology project. They've been getting lots of pictures, and they're now hoping a new group can help analyze them: veterans. 

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WAMC News
8:28 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Knowledge Corridor Rail Line Purchased By The State

Gov. Deval Patrick steps off a train in Greenfield to announce an agreement in principle to purchase a refurbished north-south rail line from Pan Am Southern

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 6:11 pm

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield.  The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.

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Crowdfunding Science
11:21 am
Tue August 19, 2014

To Stem Budget Cuts, UConn and Yale Scientists Turn to Crowdfunding

Andrea Suria, left, and Sarah McAnulty, are crowdfunding a project to continue their graduate work on the Hawaiian bobtail squid at the University of Connecticut.
Sarah McAnulty squidscientistas

For young scientists, finding money to support basic research can be difficult. Federal research budgets are shrinking, and grant applications can be a time sink, removing researchers from their lab or their graduate work.

Some young scientists are now forgoing traditional funding mechanisms, and turning to the power of the crowd.

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Dark Connecticut History
7:00 am
Tue August 19, 2014

Elephant Slaughter, African Slavery And America's Pianos

Louis E. Pratt, master ivory cutter for Pratt, Read & Co., shows off eight ivory tusks, April 1, 1955.
Courtesy of Deep River Historical Society

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 7:35 am

The illegal trade in ivory from African elephants has tripled in the past 15 years, to the extent that biologists fear for the creatures' future existence.

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Energy
10:25 am
Mon August 18, 2014

New London Sub Base Links Navy, Energy to Aid Research

Credit Sean Phillips / U.S. Navy

The sub base in New London is hosting a meeting between the Navy and energy industry to exchange information about renewable energy, a mini-electric grid, and industry research. 

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Earthquake
9:54 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Expert Says There's Nothing Shocking About Deep River Earthquake

UConn geophysics professor Vernon Cormier said seismic activity in and around Deep River has been reported since colonial times. Here he demonstrates how the sway of buildings in an earthquake is like an upside-down pendulum motion.
University of Connecticut

Residents of Deep River were awakened by an earthquake this week. The 2.7 magnitude earthquake was recorded at about 3:09 am Thursday morning. Residents said they heard a loud boom, and their houses briefly shook. No injuries or damage were reported.

According to the U.S. Geological survey, the earthquake's epicenter was located in the southwest section of Deep River, in an part of the state known for frequent seismic activity.

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Air Quality
9:25 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Can More Money Solve Connecticut's Outdoor Wood Furnance Problem?

DEEP has allocated $345,000 for the removal or replacement of older, less-efficient outdoor wood burning furnaces.
Credit University of New Hampshire

Residents using outdoor wood burning furnaces to heat their homes and businesses could now be eligible for state money. A new program offers cash for the removal or replacement of old heating units.

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Deep River
8:05 am
Thu August 14, 2014

Good Morning! Small Earthquake Hits Connecticut

Tomislav Zivkovic/iStock Thinkstock

Some residents in southern Connecticut say they were awoken by their homes shaking, and the U.S. Geological Survey confirmed a minor earthquake.

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Weather
8:53 am
Wed August 13, 2014

Heavy Rain Causing Flooding in Connecticut

Heavy rain is moving through Connecticut on Wednesday.
Credit NOAA

Streets are flooded in parts of Connecticut and nearly 1,700 power outages are reported as heavy rain moves across southern New England. 

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Meteors
7:49 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

The Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks Overnight

A Perseid meteor streaks across the sky over the Lovell Radio Telescope in Holmes Chapel, U.K., on Aug. 13, 2013.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 12:53 am

The annual Perseid meteor shower will streak the sky Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning. The best time to watch is between 3 and 4 a.m., for all time zones across the world, NASA says.

"This year, light from a nearly full moon will make the meteors harder to see, but NASA says you can still expect around 30 to 40 per hour," reports NPR's Geoff Brumfiel.

Brumfiel spoke with Rhiannon Blaauw of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office for shower-watching tips:

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New Hampshire
11:29 am
Tue August 12, 2014

NOAA Study: Cod Stocks Have Reached Historic Low

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 4:14 pm

A study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration or NOAA finds that Atlantic Cod cod stocks have reached the lowest level ever.

Russ Brown, with the NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, says after researchers observed declining cod stocks in 2011, counts during the last fishing season showed cod populations continue to slide. 

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Herpetology
8:38 am
Tue August 12, 2014

An Atlas to Track Connecticut Critters That Slither, Hop, and Crawl

Spotted salamanders are common throughout Connecticut in deciduous forest.
Dennis Quinn Connecticut Herpetology

If you’ve found yourself out hiking Connecticut’s trails this summer, you may have encountered a snake or two. Would you be able to tell the difference, though, between a non-poisonous water snake and a poisonous northern Copperhead?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Living Small and Smart: The Tiny House Movement

Credit Tammy Strobel / Flickr Creative Commons

I live in a small house on a street of big houses. And when I say big, some of the houses on my street are 7,000 and 8,000 square feet. A big house signifies an important person, right? The governor lives in a mansion. The Archbishop of Hartford lives down the street from him in a house that's even bigger.

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Severe Weather
2:55 pm
Fri August 8, 2014

Tropical Storm Iselle Makes Landfall On Hawaii

Anne Kllingshirn, of Kailua, Hawaii walks with her daughter Emma, 1, as storm clouds float overhead during the sunrise hours on Kailua Beach, in Kailua, Hawaii, Thursday morning Aug. 7, 2014. (Luci Pemoni/AP)

The National Weather Service says the eye of Tropical Storm Iselle has made landfall on Hawaii’s Big Island.

It is the first hurricane or tropical storm to hit the state in 22 years, and another hurricane is following in its path. Hurricane Julio, a Category 3 storm, is about 1,000 miles behind in the Pacific.

Iselle’s eye swept onto shore about 5 miles east of Pahala with winds at 60 mph at 2:30 a.m. Hawaii Standard Time.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Where Does All Our Trash Go?

Credit Vuilnis bij Essent Milieu / Wikimedia Commons

Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?

Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think. 

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Connecticut River
11:24 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Water Testing in Northern States to Keep Long Island Sound Healthy

The Connecticut River seen from Mount Sugarloaf State Reservation in Massachusetts.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

A first-of-its-kind, large-scale, one day water-testing event took place Wednesday along the Connecticut River and its major tributaries. 

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Severe Weather
9:29 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Iselle Downgraded To Tropical Storm As It Spins Toward Hawaii

The forecast path of Hurricane Iselle as of Thursday afternoon, local time in Hawaii.
NOAA

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 5:12 am

This post was updated at 5:06 a.m. ET Friday:

The National Weather Service has downgraded Hurricane Iselle to a tropical storm. Residents are still warned to take precautions. Strong winds have already knocked out power to parts of Hawaii's Big Island.

This post was updated at 8:45 p.m. ET.

At the moment, Hawaii is forecast to receive a direct hit from a hurricane for the first time in 22 years.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Live From Litchfield's White Memorial Conservation Center

The boardwalk at White Memorial.
claumoho Creative Commons

For 50 years, the White Memorial Conservation Center in Litchfield has provided a hands-on look at the natural diversity of northwestern Connecticut. With workshops, educational programs -- even its own Nature Museum -- the center has been teaching visitors about the various species and habitats found on the surrounding land. 

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