Environment

Aurora Borealis
9:42 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Stunning And Amazing: Northern Lights Wow U.K.

People view the Northern Lights over Bamburgh Castle Beach Thursday in Northumberland, England. A powerful solar flare caused the aurora borealis to be visible farther south than usual.
Josh Maidwell Barcroft Media/Landov

Originally published on Fri February 28, 2014 6:15 pm

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Agriculture
1:10 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Why Farmers Can Prevent Global Warming Just As Well As Vegetarians

Cattle graze at a Brazilian Agricultural Research experimental farm in Planaltina in Goias state. To reduce emissions from deforestation, the Brazilian government is experimenting with grazing on integrated forest and pasture lands.
Evaristo Sa AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 27, 2014 11:31 am

We Americans are heavy consumers of meat, and we're increasingly reminded that eating less of it will shrink our carbon footprint. Growing the crops to feed all those animals releases lots of greenhouse gases.

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Chemicals
8:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Is Connecticut's Pesticide Ban on School Grounds Too Restrictive?

Legislators are considering adding an exception to Connecticut's 2010 ban on pesticide use at schools.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / Valley_Photographs

Legislators are considering a change to a statewide ban of pesticide use on school grounds. It's the first of several proposed challenges to a law that's been in effect since 2010.

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Transportation
11:24 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Metro-North Conductor Apologizes to Passengers With a Letter on Seats

Credit Susan Sermoneta / Creative Commons

In an unusual move, a Metro-North conductor left a note on passengers' seats Monday morning apologizing for an express train on Friday that never came.

Michael Shaw said he put 500 copies of his written apology on seats after telling passengers at the New Haven, West Haven, Milford, and Stratford stations to wait for an express train that was later canceled. In his note, he said he was "shocked and furious."

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Courts
3:28 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Industry Challenges EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules In High Court

Not all energy producers find fault with the EPA's rules. Calpine, which helped build the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif., says the permitting regulations aren't overly cumbersome.
JAKUB MOSUR AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:35 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

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Antarctica
5:12 pm
Sun February 23, 2014

Explorers' Aim For Perilous Polar Trek: 'Get Home In One Piece'

Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere trek from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back, breaking the record for the longest polar journey on foot.
The Scott Expedition

Originally published on Sun February 23, 2014 7:00 pm

In 1911, explorer and British Royal Navy officer Robert Falcon Scott had big plans. He intended to be the first to reach the South Pole, that holy grail of exploration, and claim the distinction for the British Empire.

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Farming Data
7:25 am
Sun February 23, 2014

Connecticut Farm Numbers Increase, Bucking National Trend

Connecticut saw its number of farms jump over five years from 4,916 to 5,977, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The number of farms in Connecticut is growing. That's according to a new census report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

In 2012, nearly 6,000 farms were operating in Connecticut -- that's up from about 4,900 just five years ago.

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Climate Change
10:09 am
Sat February 22, 2014

Forget The Local Cold: Worldwide, It Was Another Hot January

A chart showing average temperatures around the world for January 2014.
National Climate Data Center NOAA

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 5:07 pm

January will go down in the weather history books as the fourth-warmest on record.

That's right.

No matter how brutal the winter was in North America, especially the Eastern half, it was balanced by warm temperatures elsewhere on the planet.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climate Data Center says that last month marks the 38th consecutive January and the 347th consecutive month (almost 29 years) that global temperatures have been above the average for the 20th century.

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WAMC News
3:16 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

U.S. Agriculture Census Shows More Farms In New England

Originally published on Fri February 21, 2014 12:47 pm

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued its preliminary 2012 census of U.S. agriculture. Taken every five years, the census released Thursday indicates that there are more farms in New England.

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Absconding With Clams
2:53 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Long Island Shellfish Thieves Targeted by Legislators

Shucked oysters. A new proposed law would target thieves of all shellfish, not just oysters.
Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Oyster theft isn't new. "It's probably been a problem since colonial days," said George Krivda with the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, "but now is when we're dealing with it." 

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The Colin McEnroe Show
12:52 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

A Conversation With Ingrid Newkirk, Co-Founder of PETA

Ingrid Newkirk, Co-Founder of PETA.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

The debate over animal rights is as old as Voltaire, as old as Aristotle. But as you'll hear today, it turned some kind of modern corner in 1975 with the publication of "Animal Liberation: Towards an End to Man's Inhumanity to Animals" by the Australian philosopher, Peter Singer.

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Energy
10:52 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Nebraska To Appeal Ruling That Blocks Keystone Pipeline In State

TransCanada President and CEO Russ Girling comments on the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline route through Nebraska during a January 2013 news conference in Calgary, Alberta.
Todd Korol Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 11:43 am

The company in charge of the Keystone XL extension said Thursday that it is considering its next move now that a Nebraska judge has struck down a law that allowed the pipeline to be routed through that state.

"We are disappointed and disagree with the decision of the Nebraska district court and will now analyze the judgment and decide what next steps may be taken," TransCanada Corp. said in a statement. "Nebraska's attorney general has filed an appeal."

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Transportation
9:49 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Hartford-New Britain Busway is on Track, But Lacks a Marketing Budget

James Redeker of the DOT spoke about the busway during a state transportation committee meeting on Wednesday.
Credit CT-N

Connecticut transportation officials told state legislators on Wednesday that a multi-million-dollar bus corridor being built between Hartford and New Britain is on budget and on time.

But DOT Commissioner James Redeker also found himself fielding skeptical questions from members of the Transportation Committee as he pitched Connecticut's first bus-based mass transit project. 

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WAMC News
2:47 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

NTSB Issues Safety Recommendations To Metro-North

Originally published on Wed February 19, 2014 7:36 am

A federal agency has issued safety recommendations following December’s fatal Metro-North commuter train derailment in the Bronx. The recommendations come in the form of a letter to Metro-North’s president.

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Transportation
11:48 am
Wed February 19, 2014

Fairfield Rail Commuter Event Draws Complaints About Metro-North

Over 100 people attended a Metro-North commuter speakout in Fairfield on Tuesday night.
Credit @CTRailCommuters

Over 100 people attended a forum in Fairfield on Tuesday night intended for Metro-North commuters to talk about problems plaguing the rail service. Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker attended the event at the Pequot Library and took questions.

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Transportation
4:27 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Why Hartford's I-84 Viaduct Is a Futureless Freeway

I-84 Viaduct
Credit I-84 Hartford Project

Hartford's Aetna Viaduct is among the top ten urban highways that deserve to be torn down, according to a new study by Congress for the New Urbanism. The yearly report, "Freeways without Futures" lists the elevated stretch of I-84 (in no particular order of futureless-ness) with such highways as I-10 in New Orleans, I-81 in Syracuse, and I-70 in St. Louis.

The criteria for being a futureless freeway?

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Space
11:49 am
Tue February 18, 2014

A Big Asteroid Just Flew By, And Guess What? More Are Coming

NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 3:18 pm

An asteroid that's about the size of three football fields flew past Earth on Monday, coming within 2.1 million miles. That was near enough to generate headlines such as this, from Reuters: "Earth marks close encounter with enormous asteroid."

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Tree Science
11:42 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Can Science Develop Stronger Trees in Connecticut?

Scientists at UConn are researching how to build more wind-resistant trees in the roadside forests near power lines. It's part of a quest to stave off large-scale power outages in the wake of storms.
Chion Wolf / WNPR

As United Illuminating continues revisions on its ambitious tree-cutting plan, a group of scientists at UConn is studying why trees fail, and how they can be made stronger.

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Sandy Recovery
10:22 am
Tue February 18, 2014

State Seeks Input on Sandy Recovery Spending

Cosey Beach in East Haven during Sandy.
Credit Jan Ellen Spiegel

The state is seeking public comment on its latest plan for recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Connecticut is due for a second round of disaster funding from the federal government as it distributes aid to the communities worst affected.

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Michigan
7:33 am
Tue February 18, 2014

Battling Blight: Detroit Maps Entire City To Find Bad Buildings

A map of Detroit is spread on a table; on laptops, workers see the same map, overlaid with a grid of the city and blue dots representing surveyors in the field.
Dawn Uhl-Zifilippo

Originally published on Tue February 18, 2014 11:39 am

Inside one in a series of abandoned homes along a blighted block of Detroit's Brightmoor neighborhood, filmmaker Tom McPhee walks through the remnants of a life — broken furniture, scattered knickknacks and a flooded basement.

"This is fresh water that's coming into the basement here," McPhee points out. "All of that plumbing has been ripped away 'cause someone found a value in it, so they don't care that it's running. This is all over the city."

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Climate Change
10:12 am
Sun February 16, 2014

Warming Arctic May Be Causing Jet Stream To Lose Its Way

The jet stream that circles Earth's north pole travels west to east. But when the jet stream interacts with a Rossby wave, as shown here, the winds can wander far north and south, bringing frigid air to normally mild southern states.
NASA/GSFC

Originally published on Sun February 16, 2014 12:17 pm

Mark Twain once said: "If you don't like the weather in New England now, just wait a few minutes."

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Woes on Earth
8:16 am
Sat February 15, 2014

For The South, Add Earthquake To Snow, Ice And Power Outages

Multiple crews work to restore power after a winter storm on Thursday that brought down lines in Fairburn, Ga. Friday night's small quake was the latest event to rattle nerves in the region.
John Amis AP

The Deep South has been shaken up this winter in more ways than one: First, there was the unusual ice and snow and the ensuing power outages. And now, an earthquake.

The late-night 4.1 temblor, with an epicenter about 150 miles northwest of Charleston, was not strong enough to do any damage, but it did rattle folks in both South Carolina and Georgia.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck at 10:23 p.m. ET Friday night.

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Science 101
6:41 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

1 In 4 Americans Thinks The Sun Goes Around The Earth, Survey Says

A view of Venus, black dot at top center, passing in front of the sun during a transit in 2012. A quarter of Americans questioned failed to answer correctly the most basic questions on astronomy.
AP

A quarter of Americans surveyed could not correctly answer that the Earth revolves around the sun and not the other way around, according to a report out Friday from the National Science Foundation.

The survey of 2,200 people in the United States was conducted by the NSF in 2012 and released on Friday at an annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Chicago.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

The Art of the Oyster

Humans have been consuming oysters for thousands of years.
Credit EEPaul / Creative Commons

Oysters have been part of the human diet for thousands of years. It’s no wonder then that many of us know them as a favored menu item. But these beloved bivalves have a history that extends far beyond the dinner plate. 

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Foul Weather
7:07 am
Wed February 12, 2014

'Crippling' And 'Paralyzing': Southern Storm Is Wicked

Not a good day for a drive: A Georgia Department of Transportation sign warned motorists in Norcross Wednesday morning, and few were on the roads.
John Amis AP

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 7:24 pm

(Click here to jump to a quick look at the latest news about the storm.)

As a wicked storm of ice and snow spreads over parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Carolinas and heads toward the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, the National Weather Service is again warning that it's getting ugly out there.

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Foul Weather
10:28 am
Tue February 11, 2014

'Mind-Boggling,' Historic Ice Storm Headed For Deep South

This car was navigating a snowy road early Tuesday in Fort Payne, Ala. The wicked winter weather there is spreading across the Deep South.
Hal Yeager AP

Originally published on Tue February 11, 2014 8:50 pm

This is not our language. It comes from the forecasters at the National Weather Service, who we have to hope do not say things such as this unless they really mean it:

"Mind-boggling if not historical" ice accumulations are expected Wednesday and Thursday across a wide swath of the Deep South that includes Atlanta, other parts of Georgia, Columbia, S.C., and up to Raleigh/Durham, N.C. The forecasters are warning of a half-inch to an inch of ice.

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Transportation
10:02 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Governor Dannel Malloy Weighs In On Metro-North

Governor Dannel Malloy appearing on Where We Live.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

With an increasing number of angry rail commuters, and calls by some state legislators for federal intervention, Governor Dannel Malloy opened the door on Monday to the possibility of putting the operation of Metro-North’s New Haven line out for bid.

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Make It MIRA
7:37 am
Tue February 11, 2014

Bill Proposes Radical Overhaul of CRRA

A new bill written by Governor Dannel Malloy's office proposes overhauling CRRA and changing its name.
Credit Heather Brandon / WNPR

A new bill is proposing a major overhaul to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, which handles waste for more than 50 towns.

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Euthanasia Controversy
11:06 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Copenhagen Zoo Euthanizes Giraffe Despite Online Protest

Copenhagen Zoo's giraffe Marius was put down Sunday by zoo authorities who said it was their duty to avoid inbreeding.
Keld Navntoft EPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 7:47 am

Marius, a healthy 2-year-old male giraffe living at the Copenhagen Zoo, has been euthanized; his body was cut up and fed to lions.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon February 10, 2014

A Look at Connecticut's State Parks and Forests

Kent Falls State Park in Kent, CT.
Credit write99 / Creative Commons

From the glistening Hammonasset shoreline to the winding paths of the Blue-Blazed trails, Connecticut is home to 139 of the most beloved parks and forests in our region.

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