Environment

Springfield
6:27 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Mayor Blocks Appeal Against Biomass Plant

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:26 pm

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts won’t authorize an appeal to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.

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Warehouse Fire
2:56 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Bridgeport Fire Leads to Environmental Damage

No serious injuries have been reported in the fire at a Bridgeport industrial building.
Titus YouTube

A fishing ban has been imposed on all commercial and recreational fishing from Norwalk to Milford until the environmental impact of a massive overnight fire in Bridgeport can be evaluated. The fire has also forced evacuation of residents and cut electrical power.

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Space Weather
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Solar Flare Could Trigger Auroras Tonight For Northern U.S.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captures Wednesday's solar flare eruption.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Earth is in the line of fire of a powerful solar flare that has already begun hitting us, but most of the energy from the Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, will skirt safely by, scientists say, with major disruptions to the electric grid, satellites and communications unlikely.

But if you're lucky — and far enough north — you might see a nice display of aurora borealis.

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Killer Whales
6:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 11, 2014 8:56 pm

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Response, Relief, and Rebuilding in the Wake of Disaster

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Wavian Creative Commons

September 11, 2001 changed a lot about America, including many changes that, by now, you barely notice. So did the Hurricanes and tropical storms --Katrina, Irene, and Sandy -- all of which reshaped how and where we live.

The shooting spree that left 26 dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school was the most focused of tragedies, but we’re still adapting and coming to terms with what that disaster means to us.

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Asia
5:55 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nepal Struggles To Help Villages Washed Away In Floods

Families carry their belongings while moving to higher ground in the Bardia region of Nepal during the flooding on Aug. 15.
Bhabuk Yogi AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:26 am

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

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LOBSTAH
10:37 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Connecticut Lobstermen See End to Catches in Long Island Sound

Lobster traps in Mystic.
Richard Taylor Creative Commons

Fishermen in Long Island Sound won't be allowed to catch lobster for the next three months because of a fishing ban aimed at increasing population numbers.

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Wildlife
10:14 am
Tue September 9, 2014

More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

A Baltimore oriole perches near apple blossoms in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:33 am

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Bringing Space Closer to Home

View of the International Space Station from Space Shuttle Discovery.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Creative Commons

This hour, the final frontier comes closer to home. Waterbury native Richard Mastracchio is a NASA astronaut who just returned from six months on the International . He’s done nine space walks - leaving the space station, usually to do maintenance. He’ll talk about his experiences and his amazing twitter feed, full of photos from space.

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WAMC News
10:21 am
Mon September 8, 2014

City Councilors To Meet On Biomass Permit Appeal

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 12:26 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts will hold a special meeting on whether to continue the fight over a wood-burning power plant.

Facing a Sept. 15th deadline to file an appeal to the court ruling that restored the building permit for the controversial plant, city council meeting notices have been posted for both Sept. 10 and 11.   City Councilor Tim Allen opposes the biomass plant, but is uncertain if he’ll vote to appeal last month’s decision by the Massachusetts Land Court.

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Blue Whales
10:12 am
Sun September 7, 2014

U.S. Pacific Blue Whales Seen Rebounding Close To Historic Levels

Off the coast of Southern California, a crowd watches a blue whale rise to the surface earlier this summer. A new study says the population of blue whales off the West Coast is close to historic levels.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:16 pm

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Diverse, Durable, and Edible: Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants in the world.
Héctor García Creative Commons

Bamboo is a lot of things: fast growing, durable, edible, and attractive. Coming up, we take a look at this increasingly popular wood with bamboo experts and enthusiasts. What makes bamboo special?

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Giant Tracts of Panel
8:20 am
Fri September 5, 2014

A Hartford Eyesore Turned Solar Oasis

The solar array is on top of 10 million tons of capped-off waste in Hartford's north end.
Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority

A new solar array in Hartford is the first solar-energy project to be built atop a closed landfill in the state. At peak capacity, it's expected to power about 1,000 homes per day.

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WAMC News
3:00 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Councilors Weigh Court Challenge To Proposed Biomass Plant

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 1:31 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that reinstated the building permit for a wood-burning power plant.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said he will poll the council members to determine if they want to hold a special meeting to vote on whether to appeal last months’ ruling by the Massachusetts Land Court.  Fenton said councilors met privately with an attorney this week to discuss the pros and cons of a possible appeal.

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Climate Change
3:30 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Old Ship Logs Reveal Adventure, Tragedy And Hints About Climate

Logbook for the Jeannette, a ship that became trapped in ice, dated Sept. 5, 1879.
Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:36 am

What can yesterday's weather tell us about how the climate is changing today? That's what an army of volunteers looking at old ships' logs is trying to answer through the Old Weather project.

One of those volunteers — or citizen scientists, as the project calls them — is Kathy Wendolkowski of Gaithersburg, Md.

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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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Where We Live
9:00 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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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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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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