Environment

Sharing the Road?
5:54 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Londoners Urged To Cycle, But Commute Can Be Treacherous

Cyclists negotiate rush hour traffic in central London on Nov. 15. Fourteen London cyclists have died so far this year, all in accidents involving heavy goods vehicles.
Oli Scarff Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 7:30 pm

London's colorful mayor, Boris Johnson, has made it a priority to get more of his constituents on two wheels. But a series of deaths on the city's roads have shaken cyclists and noncyclists alike.

The number of Londoners cycling to work has more than doubled in the past decade. On some roads, cyclists now make up more than half the rush hour traffic.

And for years, Johnson has been among them. Many think the London mayor has his eye on Prime Minister David Cameron's job.

Read more
Technology
12:55 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Landlines, It Turns Out, Aren't Vanishing Everywhere

A Cambodian gambler talks on 18 cellphones at once at a boxing match in Phnom Penh in 2010. There are nearly 132 cellphones for every 100 Cambodians, but the country has also seen a surge in the number of landlines.
Tang Chhin Sothy AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 7:03 am

On All Things Considered, NPR's Martin Kaste reported Monday on U.S. landline infrastructure. One fact stood out: 96 percent of homes had landlines in 1998, and that number is down to 71 percent today.

Read more
Drillin' Holes
11:30 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

Geothermal Projects Expand Across Connecticut

Workers drill a hole into the ground in advance of installing geothermal piping. Geothermal technology uses ambient ground temperatures to heat and cool buildings.
Patrick Skahill / WNPR

The town of Tolland said two of its schools will switch to geothermal technology in the coming months. According to the Connecticut Geothermal Association, that project will join a list of nearly 60 active projects in Connecticut.

One of those projects is in South Windham, at Horizons, a camp for developmentally disabled children and adults. I met up with Guy Wanegar, President of the Connecticut Geothermal Association, as a crew dug a hole for geothermal piping outside a new dining hall. The ground was muddy, and gallons of water spewed up as the drill worked its way vertically through hundreds of feet of dirt and bedrock.

Read more
Resilience
5:05 pm
Mon November 18, 2013

How And Where Should We Rebuild After Natural Disasters?

The wreckage in Tacloban, Philippines, on Nov. 16 was overwhelming, after Typhoon Haiyan plowed through.
David P. Gilkey NPR

Originally published on Mon November 18, 2013 6:27 pm

The physical damage from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines is catastrophic. Hundreds of thousands of people are now homeless.

Soon, though, people will start to rebuild, as they have after similar natural disasters.

How they do it, and where, is increasingly important in places like the Philippines. The island nation lies in a sort of "typhoon alley," and with climate change and rising sea levels, there are more storms in store.

Read more
What About That Little Bag of Crackers?
5:22 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

That Clam In Your Chowder Might Be Hundreds Of Years Old

Mike Cardew MCT/Landov

Originally published on Sat November 16, 2013 5:25 pm

First we heard on Morning Edition that a clam scientists had opened up turned out to have been 507 years old.

That led us to stories with headlines like this: "Scientists accidentally kill world's oldest animal at age 507."

Read more
Polarity Fields
5:36 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Sun's Magnetic Field Poised to Flip

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare in the early hours of Nov. 10, 2013. The northern hemisphere has already changed polarity. Scientists say the southern could flip in the coming days.
Solar Dynamics Observatory / NASA

It started several months ago -- sunspots flickered, more and more solar flares arched out into space, and a ripple of changing current made its way past Pluto to the outer reaches of our solar system.

The sun was flipping its magnetic polarity -- an event that happens every 11 years. 

Read more
Springfield
12:42 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Springfield Sees Renewed Potential for Downtown Market-Rate Housing

Springfield, Massachusetts may see a casino downtown as well as new housing.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

A renewed effort is underway to examine the potential for market-rate housing in downtown Springfield. On Thursday, the city along with Laurie Volk of Zimmerman/Volk Associates released a study showing strong promise for the success of housing in the area where a casino development may take place.

Read more
The Final Frontier
2:10 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Connecticut as Seen From the International Space Station

Astronaut Rick Mastracchio tweeted this photo from the International Space Station earlier today. CLICK ON THE NEXT PHOTO FOR LANDMARKS!
Rick Mastracchio NASA

Last week, NASA astronaut and Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio blasted off into space and boarded the International Space Station. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted a photo of his home state from the ISS. He said the station's altitude is around 400 km, and the view is magnificent.

Read more
13.7: Cosmos And Culture
12:17 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Science Doesn't Want To Take God Away From You

Can science inspire the same level of passion as religion?
Mauricio Lima AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed November 13, 2013 2:01 pm

I was once invited to give a live interview on a radio station in Brasília, the capital of Brazil. The interview took place at rush hour in the city's very busy bus terminal, where poor workers come in from rural areas to perform all sorts of jobs in town, from cleaning the streets to working in factories and private homes.

The experience would mark me for the rest of my life and set a new professional goal that I had not anticipated early in my career: to bring science to the largest number of people possible.

Read more
Pull The Plug
3:11 pm
Tue November 12, 2013

Drill Simulates Crippling Blow to Power Grid

Connecticut Light and Power will participate in a two-day drill simulating attacks on the power grid. The exercise is being staged by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and will include hundreds of utilities from across North America.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, angeloangelo

As concerns over the security of America's electrical infrastructure continue to grow, Connecticut Light & Power and the United Illuminating Company said they will both take part in a multi-national security exercise this week. The drill will be run by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (also known as NERC) and will include Homeland Security, FBI officials, and hundreds of utilities. 

Read more
Buggin'
7:00 am
Tue November 12, 2013

New Species of 17-Year Cicada Discovered in Connecticut

A new species of 17-year cicada, dubbed "magicicada septendecula" was discovered in North Branford this summer.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

A new species of 17-year cicada has been discovered in Connecticut. According to a report in The Hartford Courant, credit for the discovery goes to Chris Maier of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

The bug, dubbed magicicada septendecula, was found in North Branford. It's smaller than Connecticut's other 17-year cicada species, magicicada septendecim, which gained fame this summer for its emergence (or lack of emergence) around the state.

Read more
Environment
1:35 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

Faith Drives Discussion of Environment in Day-Long Summit

Participants in a "Climate Stewardship Summit" wave flags during an interfaith worship service at Asylum Hill Congregational Church in Hartford.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

What can religion say about climate change? It turns out a lot. Take for example, the Old Testament story of Noah and the flood. You remember how it goes: people behaving badly, Noah building an ark, God sending a flood, and, eventually, a Rainbow covenant formed between God and man. Except, said Terri Eickel, the covenant was larger than that. 

Read more
Space
12:09 pm
Mon November 11, 2013

'Ferrari Of Space' Crashes And Burns In Earth's Atmosphere

An artist's rendition of the GOCE satellite shows the craft in its orbit around Earth. After four years of studying oceans and gravity fields, GOCE re-entered the atmosphere over the Southern Atlantic Ocean Sunday night.
ESA /AOES Medialab

Originally published on Mon November 11, 2013 3:41 pm

More than a ton of advanced electronics, including an ion engine and sensors that help detect variations in gravity, crashed into Earth's atmosphere Sunday night, when the European GOCE satellite ended its four-year mission. Most of the 2,425-pound craft disintegrated when it re-entered the atmosphere over the South Atlantic Ocean; about 25 percent did not.

Read more
Philippines
7:11 am
Mon November 11, 2013

'Absolute Bedlam' In The Philippines After Typhoon Haiyan

From the air, some of the devastation in the Philippines city of Tacloban.
Ted Aljibe AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 12, 2013 6:17 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': From Manila, Lynette Lim of Save the Children talks about the typhoon

(Click here for related updates.)

The news from the Philippines, where it's feared that last week's powerful Typhoon Haiyan killed more than 10,000 people, isn't getting better as hundreds of thousands of people struggle to survive and authorities struggle to get help to them.

Read more
Space
1:17 pm
Sat November 9, 2013

WATCH: Olympic Torch Makes Its First Space Walk

Video streamed by NASA showed Oleg Kotov and Sergei Ryazanskiy carrying the unlit Olympic torch, bobbing weightlessly at the end of a tether in a darkness dotted by stars.
AP

Originally published on Sat November 9, 2013 3:24 pm

Read more
Severe Weather
10:20 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Strongest Cyclone Ever? Typhoon Haiyan Slams Philippines

From space, Typhoon Haiyan was almost beautiful. On the ground, it wasn't so pretty.
EUMETSAT

Originally published on Fri November 8, 2013 9:08 pm

(Click here for our latest update.)

Meteorologists weren't holding back Friday after watching in amazement as Typhoon Haiyan roared over the Philippines with pounding rain and top sustained winds approaching 200 mph as it neared the coast.

Read more
Connecticut Law Pending
11:41 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

Cars in Tacoma, Wash., promote a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:58 pm

Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an insurmountable lead with 54 percent of votes.

The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering.

Read more
You're Welcome, New York
9:40 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Is Connecticut Born and Raised

The 2007 Rockefeller Center Christmas tree also came from Shelton, Conn.
Credit Luke Redmond / Creative Commons

If you visit Rockefeller Center this holiday season, you can look up in awe at a New York transplant from Connecticut. The iconic Christmas tree will be cut down in Shelton later today, and shipped to New York City by tractor-trailer, according to the Associated Press. 

Read more
Transportation
11:39 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Hearings Begin on Metro-North Accident

Credit National Transportation Safety Board

The National Transportation Safety Board began an investigative hearing today on two Metro-North Railroad accidents in Connecticut earlier year. On May 17 in Bridgeport, an east-bound train derailed, and was struck by a west-bound train, injuring 73 passengers, two engineers and a conductor. Later in the month, a track foreman was struck and killed by a train in West Haven.

Read more
Wildlife
4:56 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Thanks To Parasites, Moose Are Looking More Like Ghosts

A large bull moose is inspected by a hunter at a weigh station in Maine.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Tue November 5, 2013 6:48 pm

The news for moose is not good across the country's northern tier and in some parts of Canada. A recent and rapid decline of moose populations in many states may be linked to climate change, and to the parasites that benefit from it.

In Minnesota, moose populations have dropped from a high of more than 12,000 two decades ago to fewer than 3,000 now. Moose in some parts of Manitoba have declined by 50 percent and more.

Read more
Downtown 720
11:55 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Hartford Breaks Ground on City's First Skate Park

"Heaven," Hartford's first skate park, is located just blocks from the XL Center.
Lara Maltz Rozza

Hartford broke ground on a new skate park this week. Skaters have dubbed it "Heaven" and say it will be a space for skaters, bikers, and artists.

The park is located just above the I-84 tunnel a few blocks from the XL Center. For years it's been an informal hangout spot for skaters and artists. And now, Hartford is ready to formalize "Heaven" as the city's first official skate park.

Read more
Nice Carotenoids, Bro
7:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Why Do Leaves Change Color and Fall Off Trees?

New England's red and yellow leaves are a great opportunity to talk about carotenoids, anthocyanins, and the chemistry in your backyard.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons, jerry mercier

If you're driving through Connecticut, you've probably noticed a lot of colors on your commute. Fall foliage has been on full display these last few weeks, with reds, oranges, and yellows covering trees all over New England. You may even have spent your weekend raking leaves up. But have you ever stopped to consider why leaves change color? Or how they fall off trees? 

Read more
Where We Live
12:00 am
Tue November 5, 2013

Solving Social Problems Using Public-Interest Design

Butaro Hospital in Rwanda was designed by Michael Murphy, former Harvard architecture student, and now CEO of MASS Design Group
Credit massdesigngroup.org

“Social” or “public-interest” design is working in high-risk neighborhoods all over the country, proving that thoughtful, community-involved design ideas really can address a community’s critical issues and needs. Architect Bryan Bell says, “Never before have so many of the world’s problems been as accessible to design solutions.” He founded Design Corps, where he trains architects to use their skills to address social problems. 

Read more
Celestial Treat
4:40 pm
Sun November 3, 2013

PHOTO: A Partial Solar Eclipse As Seen In New York

A partial Solar eclipse is seen just after sunrise over the Queens borough of New York across the East River on Sunday in New York.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty Images

If you were on the East Coast and got up very early this morning, you may have gotten a celestial treat.

As the Capital Weather Gang explained, this eclipse was a hybrid event, appearing as a total eclipse or annular eclipse in some places on Earth. The Weather Gang explains:

Read more
WAMC News
10:46 am
Thu October 31, 2013

U.S. Forest Service Studies Springfield Reforestation Effort

An aerial photo with graphics shows the locations and types of new trees that were planted in Riverfront Park as part of a program to reforest Springfield following the June 1,2011 tornado

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 3:57 pm

In the two years since a tornado tore through Springfield, Massachusetts a volunteer effort has spearheaded the planting of thousands of new trees.  The work is being done as the U.S. Forest Service conducts a study on the environmental impacts from the loss of the urban tree canopy.

More than 4,400 new trees have been planted in Springfield in the last two years in an effort to restore, largely for later generations, the shade trees that lined streets and filled public parks prior to the June 1, 2011 tornado.

Read more
Coastal Resilience
10:24 am
Wed October 30, 2013

What We've Learned From Superstorm Sandy

Sandy slammed into Connecticut this week in 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

This week marks one year since Superstorm Sandy slammed into the northeast, causing deaths, destroying homes and businesses, and reshaping Connecticut’s shoreline. The storm also caused leaders to rethink our response to major environmental events.

Read more
Sandy Recovery
8:14 am
Wed October 30, 2013

New Shoreline Fund Targets Homes in the Flood Zone

Flooding in Branford on October 29, 2012.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel / WNPR

The state will establish a loan fund for shoreline residents who want to raise their homes out of the flood zone. Thousands of shoreline homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed by flooding just one year ago, during Superstorm Sandy. And for many, that was a second time around, after Tropical Storm Irene the year before. 

Read more
Transportation
5:25 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

Hearing on Metro-North Outage

On Monday, a congressional field hearing was held in Bridgeport to discuss ways to improve Metro-North railroad service after a power failure impacted thousands of commuters last month. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal organized the hearing. He said inadequate management and insufficient funding in infrastructure led to the the breakdown in service September 25.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
3:54 pm
Tue October 29, 2013

A Scrutinization of Salt

Credit DaGoaty, Flickr Creative Commons

Salt! It's the only rock we eat!

That gets us into some touchy territory. Some say that salt is a major factor for high blood pressure, and some say that it's more complicated than that. We can't NOT eat salt, but in the grand scheme of things, are we eating more now than ever, or way less?

Read more
Transportation
2:55 am
Tue October 29, 2013

Reverse Commutes Now Often A Daily Slog, Too

Reverse commuters, include Kathy LeVeque (in the foreground), wait for an approaching outbound Metra commuter train at the Mayfair neighborhood stop on Chicago's northwest side.
David Schaper NPR

Originally published on Wed October 30, 2013 7:49 am

It is still as dark as night as Jim Rix steps out of his red brick Chicago bungalow and gets into his car, parked on the street. It's 6 a.m., and the 53-year-old engineer is getting an early start on his 35-mile commute out to Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago's southwest suburbs.

"Depending upon weather and time of day, it can take 45 minutes to two hours to get to and from work," Rix says.

Read more

Pages