Ice in the Arctic Ocean is at a record-setting low this summer - covering less of the sea, and melting at a more rapid rate than ever. Although climate change skeptics rail about Al Gore’s stranded polar bears, the melting of Arctic ice is - scientifically - really real...
Over 30 years, the area it covers has dropped by about half. It’s also not as thick as it used to be, which means it melts more rapidly.
It flows from the upper reaches of New Hampshire through the heart of New England...and winds its way through our state - twisting, turning, sometimes flooding, and eventually emptying into Long Island Sound.
The 410-mile-long Connecticut River was recently designated America’s first National Blueway.
There’s talk of Hartford to New York in half an hour. New York to Boston in 90 minutes. Tunnels under the Long Island Sound zipping trains across the region. It’s exciting stuff. But here in Connecticut, many are saying, ‘wait a minute. First thing’s first.’
“We don’t have money today to run the railroad that we operate – or try to operate – today," says Jim Cameron.
This is a strange time in the life of corn. The 2012 US corn crop is getting smaller by the hour because of the terrible heat and drought in the Midwest. It's difficult to know what that means, because from a certain perspective, this country produces way too much corn.
This month, more than a dozen homeless veterans will finally have a place to call their own thanks to the American Legion. A local Post in a small Connecticut town has been working for a decade on a unique project to create not transitional, but permanent supportive housing in their rural community.
First of all, it's our official state fish. Second, it's linked to a peculiar fishing culture that barely exists any more. If you've driven down along the lower Connecticut River, you've probably seen those sad shacks and wondered about them. And the Windsor Shad Derby is still a giant event as is the selection of a Shad Derby Queen.
A vacant 26-story office tower in downtown Hartford may get a new life. A Fairfield developer has plans before the city to turn the old Bank of America building into nearly 300 apartments. The project is in the early stages, and the city says there's no public or private financing committed to it yet. But it's worth noting the ambition -- the building at 777 Main Street has nothing happening inside of it, and developer Bruce Becker has an idea: He wants to build 286 apartments and a bunch of retail space near Hartford's State House Square.
After a series of bad storms, Governor Dannel Malloy declared a “War on Trees!” Or, at least, that’s what it seemed like at the time. The governor was reacting to the hundreds of thousands of power outages caused by downed trees after a tropical storm and a freakish October snowstorm.
In his defense of more aggressive tree-cutting he coined this signature phrase: “Trees grow, ladies and gentlemen of the state of Connecticut, they grow.”
Home values continue to fall, and yet housing is becoming increasingly difficult to afford. As WNPR’s Neena Satija reports, a new study from the Center for Housing Policy shows the situation is particularly dire in Connecticut.
In 2010, nearly a quarter of all working households suffered from what’s called a “severe housing cost burden.” That means more than 50 percent of households' income goes toward housing. The problem is worst for people who are renting. Megan Bolton is a senior research analyst at the National Low-Income Housing Coalition.
There was a time when nobody studied dust. In fact, two kinds of nobody studied two kinds of dust. Astronomers were annoyed by interstellar dust because it got in the way of what they were looking at. It took a long time for them to realize the dust itself was worth looking at.
Same goes for earthbound particulate dust. Dust might creep into a sample on a slide if somebody got sloppy. And that was a problem. Only recently did scientists start looking at the dust itself and even cataloging it in, off all things, a dust library.
Having a “high metabolism” is seen as a positive for humans...what about cities?
The idea of “urban metabolism” comes from a new book by Austin Troy, associate professor at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. He’s the author of The Very Hungry City: Urban Energy Efficiency and the Economic Fate of Cities
We tell ourselves that Connecticut weathered huge storms last year, and that's both true and not true. Irene, for example, never struck Connecticut as a hurricane. Any kind of hurricane. Irene's sustained winds reached about 50 mph.
The big story of 2011 was the weather: epic snowstorms, dangerous ice storms, a deadly tornado, a tropical storm...
And that was all before a freakish October Nor’Easter that snapped leaf-laden trees, downing power lines and - for a week - took us back to a kind of pre-Colonial Connecticut. Today, where we live, meteorologist Ryan Hanrahan helps us take a look back at an unpredictable year - and we’ll find out if climate change foretells an “apocalyptic” 2012.
Mark Demers is a Fairfield University Professor who just got a grant to study “chaos theory.” Could the gentle flap of a butterfly wing in China set off a tornado in Texas? He’ll study the evolution of systems that change over time and attempt to understand their stability and predictability.
We’ve been hearing for years that Connecticut has an aging electricity infrastructure - along with some of the highest electric rates in the country.
So, there’s a problem - how to upgrade without sending costs through the roof? It’s a problem that the state has been able to kick down the road for years - but now consecutive, massive storms have brought these questions into the fore.
First Tropical Storm Irene knocked out power to around three-quarters of a million customers...then a few months later, a freakish October snowstorm did even more damage.
"You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity."
So said Ralph Waldo Emerson who saw, even in the 19th century, the way civilization puts artificial spaces in the natural order of things. Nature is wild. Wild animals are savage. The livestock business is brutal. Pigs are sentient. All of these things are true, but we prefer to have them orbit around, flung as far into space as possible.
Jewett City, a community of 2.5 square miles in southeastern Connecticut, has its own power company, owned by the town. There are seven non-profit companies like this in the state. They're small, which means they can coordinate closely with other branches of government. Heck, they can coordinate with branches on trees.