Environment

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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WAMC News
9:38 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

PVTA Announces Extensive Service Changes

PVTA buses in downtown Springfield, MA

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 4:51 pm

A state-financed expansion of public transportation in western Massachusetts is being launched this month.

    The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will introduce seven new bus routes, including a much demanded cross-town bus in Springfield, and a new route between Amherst and Holyoke.   There will be more hours, mostly on the weekend, on 14 routes and buses will run more frequently on 15 routes.   PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes said ridership was up 2 percent last year.

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Space
4:45 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

In Quest To Harpoon A Comet, A Spacecraft Stalks Its Prey

The Rosetta spacecraft took this image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 4 August 2014 from a distance of just 145 miles.
ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Originally published on Wed August 6, 2014 9:47 am

Tomorrow morning, a European space probe will arrive at a comet with a tongue-twister of a name: Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

Getting there has been proven even trickier than pronouncing it.

The Rosetta spacecraft began its journey way back in March of 2004.

First it swung past Earth to gather speed. Then it catapulted out to Mars, for a boost from that planet's gravity field. Then in 2007, it came back to Earth for another push — then back out to an asteroid, and back to Earth.

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Firefighting
10:28 am
Tue August 5, 2014

Connecticut Crews Head to California to Help Fight Wildfires

The U.S. Army battled a wildfire over Yosemite National Park last summer.
U.S. Army

A 20-person crew of firefighters from Connecticut is heading to California to help fight wildfires in the northern part of the state.

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Rhode Island
1:30 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

State Officials Hold Ceremonial Signing Of Climate Change Bill

The ceremonial signing of the "A Resilient Rhode Island Act" took place in North Kingstown, one of many places state officials consider vulnerable to damages caused by climate change.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 1:06 pm

State officials hosted a ceremonial signing this afternoon in North Kingstown Town Beach for Rhode Island’s first comprehensive climate change bill. Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed the bill into law last month.

The governor noted Wickford Cove experienced a little tsunami last year. He said that’s just one reason why the General Assembly passed this bill into law: to better prepare the state for future extreme weather events.

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Ocean Life
1:29 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Deep Sea Octopus Brooded Over Eggs Longer Than Any Animal, Says URI Researcher

Researchers estimated that this octopus brooded over 160 eggs.
© 2007 MBARI

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 11:09 am

Researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and the University of Rhode Island published surprising findings of a deep sea octopus that guarded her eggs for 4-½ years. This is the longest brooding period ever recorded by any animal on the planet.

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Critter Documentation
12:02 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Snapping Turtle Outfitted With Crittercam Being Released in Old Lyme

Mystic Aquarium

Researchers from Mystic Aquarium are set to release a snapping turtle into the wild that will be outfitted with a Crittercam. The release is scheduled for Monday afternoon at Rogers Lake in Old Lyme. 

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Vision Quest
8:57 am
Mon August 4, 2014

How Do You Give an Eye Exam to a Fossil?

The fossil of Acutiramus cummingsi was remarkably well preserved, allowing scientists to gauge the vision of a creature that lived hundreds of millions of years ago.
Yale University

How do you give an eye exam to a creature that's been extinct for hundreds of millions of years? First, you need a fossil -- a really well-preserved fossil.

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Severe Weather
12:29 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

Tropical Storm Bertha Takes Aim At The Caribbean

A satellite view of Tropical Storm Bertha.
National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Bertha is moving northwest, taking aim at Puerto Rico and expected to skirt the Dominican Republic's coast.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Puerto Rico, St. Lucia, Dominica, Martinique, and the U.S. and British Virgin Islands, while the Dominican Republic has issued a tropical storm watch.

Luckily, forecasters with the Hurricane Center say upper level winds are not favorable for further strengthening, so maximum sustained winds should remain at about 50 mph.

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To The Birdhouse!
10:05 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Rounding Up the Birds of Connecticut

Derek Hayn took this photo of a black-crowned night heron at Centerbrook Architects, where he keeps his camera handy. "We often joke about setting up a 24 hour Dam Cam to capture the abundant wildlife," he said.
Derek Hayn DerekHayn.com

Birds have a special place in our culture. No, not just the BirdNote moments heard on WNPR. We’ve got Bald Eagles on our money. Sports teams have names like the Orioles, Blue Jays, Hawks, and Cardinals. People who especially love birds go out of their way to feed and house these wild animals.

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Beach Restoration
12:59 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Rhode Island To Identify Offshore Sand Sources For Beach Replenishment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers trucked in 90,000 cubic yards of upland sand sources, a relative small amount compared to future needs, to restore the beach from Superstorm Sandy damages.
Ambar Espinoza RIPR

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 9:26 am

The U.S. Bureau of Energy Management has awarded Rhode Island $200,000 to identify offshore sand and gravel resources for replenishing beaches. This is part of a federal effort to help coastal communities recover from Superstorm Sandy and prepare for future major storms.

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Shape of the Moon
11:58 am
Thu July 31, 2014

Scientists Say The Moon Is Hiding A Lumpy Middle

The full moon rises above the castle of Somoskoujfalu, northeast of Budapest, Hungary, earlier this month.
Peter Komka AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 2:48 pm

What shape is the moon? When it's full, we'd all agree that it looks perfectly round. But careful measurements by a team of scientists have shown that's not the case.

Like many an Earth-bound observer, it turns out that our nearest neighbor in space is hiding a slight bulge around the waist. It's less like a ball and more like a squashed sphere, with a lump on one side.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu July 31, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Beetle Invasion
11:30 am
Tue July 29, 2014

As Emerald Ash Borer Infestation Spreads, Scientists Turn to Wasps

This is the time of year when you might see adult emerald ash borer beetles.
USDAgov Flickr Creative Commons

The Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive insect first detected in the state in 2012, has now spread to 39 Connecticut towns. That's up from just five towns two years ago. The most recent addition? Bridgeport.

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