Environment

Sustainability
1:53 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Tracking International Progress for a More Sustainable Future

United Nations Secretariat and General Assembly
Credit Jeffrey Zeldman / Creative Commons

Next week, the United Nations’ Open Working Group will convene in New York to continue negotiating a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs -- focused on  issues such as gender equality, health, education, poverty, climate change, and biodiversity  -- are intended to drive social, economic, and environmental development on an international scale. They will also serve as a continuation of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which expire in 2015.

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Newfoundland
2:25 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

A Whale Of A Problem: Town Faces Threat Of Exploding Carcass

A blue whale carcass washed up last week in Trout River, Newfoundland, Canada.
Don Bradshaw Courtesy of Don Bradshaw/NTV News

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 10:04 am

People of the small Canadian town of Trout River, Newfoundland, have a big problem that just might blow up in their faces: what to do with a giant blue whale carcass that washed up on the beach and that some say threatens to spontaneously combust.

The 80-foot-long whale appeared on the beach in the town of about 600 people a week ago. Since then, the mass of rotting blubber has become bloated with combustible methane gas and, to put it delicately, is "emitting a powerful stench."

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Rivers
1:48 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Gets Flushed Into Rivers as More Rain Hits the Northeast?

The color of rivers is one indicator of the amount of dissolved organic matter.
Nicholas A. Tonelli Creative Commons

Connecticut and the Northeast region have gotten a lot more rain over the years. A report from the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration found a 67 percent increase since 1958, more than any other part of the country.

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Fracking Waste
12:12 pm
Mon April 28, 2014

What Connecticut Stands to Gain (and Lose) From Fracking

Water tanks preparing for a fracking job.
Joshua Doubek Creative Commons

Connecticut lawmakers are considering a ban of waste from “fracking,” the controversial method of obtaining natural gas cheaply. This comes less than a year after the state approved a major expansion of its natural gas infrastructure to capitalize on production in nearby states. Now, some are wondering whether Connecticut can avoid the environmental risks of the fracking boom.

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Severe Weather
6:35 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Killer Tornadoes Rip Through Arkansas, Oklahoma

Travel trailers and motor homes were piled on top of each other at Mayflower RV in Mayflower, Ark., on Sunday after tornadoes carved through the central and southern U.S.
Danny Johnston AP

Originally published on Mon April 28, 2014 1:55 pm

This post was updated at 1:53 p.m. ET

Emergency officials were searching Monday for survivors after tornadoes tore through parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma overnight, killing at least 14 people and leveling entire neighborhoods.

"We don't have a count on injuries or missing. We're trying to get a handle on the missing part," Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said at a news conference Monday. "Just looking at the damage, this may be one of the strongest we have seen."

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Supersymmetry
10:31 am
Sat April 26, 2014

Are Physicists Ready To Give Up The Chase For SUSY?

The Large Hadron Collider's ATLAS detector under construction in 2005. ATLAS is one of the tools physicists are using to try and understand how the universe works.
Maximilien Brice CERN

Originally published on Sat April 26, 2014 9:58 am

Is physics in crisis? An article in the May issue of Scientific American by physicists Joseph Lykken, from Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, and Maria Spiropulu, from the California Institute of Technology, lay bare an issue that is keeping a growing number of physicists up at night.

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Agriculture
12:27 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Got My Goat? Vermont Farms Put Fresh Meat On Refugee Tables

Theoneste Rwayitare, a Rwandan refugee who resettled in Vermont last year, pours powdered milk into a bucket for milking at the Vermont Goat Collaborative's Pine Island Farm.
Angela Evancie for NPR

Originally published on Fri May 2, 2014 11:47 am

It's easy to find goat milk and goat cheese in Vermont. Goat meat, not so much.

That's frustrating for the refugees, immigrants and others who've settled in the state who are accustomed to eating fresh goat meat. Though it's not so common in the U.S., it's a mainstay in many African, Asian and Caribbean diets.

But there's a movement afoot to meet the demand for goat meat throughout New England.

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Mystery Hybrid
10:39 am
Fri April 25, 2014

DNA Results: Controversial "Wolfdogs" in Connecticut Have No Wolf Ancestors

A Czechoslovakian wolfdog, a relatively new breed of dog from Eastern Europe. It is a cross between a German Shepherd and a Eurasian wolf.
Sonja Pauen Creative Commons

Connecticut environmental officials said DNA tests on samples from seven animals in North Stonington showed that they are domestic dogs with no recent wolf ancestors.

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Vermont
1:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

A customer shops for produce at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in April 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. More than a dozen food cooperatives supported the bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:46 pm

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted he will sign a bill state lawmakers passed Wednesday mandating that foods with GMOs be labeled as having been produced with "genetic engineering." The bill would also make it illegal for foods with GMOs to be labeled "all natural" or "natural."

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Rick In Space
12:25 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Completes Successful Spacewalk

Mastraccio will make repairs to the exterior of the International Space Station with Steve Swanson at 9:20 am ET.
NASA

Waterbury native Rick Mastracchio completed a short spacewalk to replace a failed computer outside of the International Space Station on Wednesday. The airlock was re-pressurized starting at 11:32 am ET, signifying the excursion's end time.

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South Carolina
4:30 am
Wed April 23, 2014

Race To Unearth Civil War-Era Artifacts Before Developer Digs In

Archaeologist Chester DePratter stands by the site of Camp Asylum, a Civil War-era prison, in Columbia, S.C. The site will soon be cleared to make room for a mixed-use development.
Susanne Schafer AP

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 9:52 am

About a dozen archaeologists in downtown Columbia, S.C., are focused on a 165-acre sliver of land that was a prisoner of war camp during the Civil War. Last summer, the property was sold, and the group is trying to recover artifacts before a developer builds condos and shops there.

"We're out here to salvage what we can in advance of that development," says Chester DePratter, a University of South Carolina archaeologist. Time is running out: DePratter and his team have a permit to excavate until April 30.

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Connecticut Legislature
3:03 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Legislative Committee Approves Wind Power Siting Regulations

'|'||'| '|'[]||{ Creative Commons

New wind energy projects can now move forward in Connecticut. Tuesday's announcement ends a three-year moratorium on wind turbines. 

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Quadrennial Review!
10:59 am
Tue April 22, 2014

U.S. Secretary of Energy Visits Hartford

Ernest Moniz is the U.S. Secretary of Energy. He visited Hartford Monday.
Credit Department of Energy

America's top energy official just came to Hartford. He was seeking input on New England's energy problems.

Ernest Moniz is working to craft the holy grail of U.S. energy policy. He's doing it, he said, by "bringing together colleagues across the government to look at energy in the context of our economic aspirations, our environmental concerns, and our security concerns."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Bringing Manufacturing Jobs Back to Connecticut

John Dankosky speaks with (from left) Chris Murphy, Kris Lorch, and Sonny Morneault.
Lydia Brown WNPR

This hour, we kick off our year-long Made in Connecticut series with a conversation about keeping jobs in and bringing jobs back to Connecticut. Last week, Senator Chris Murphy joined us, along with WNPR’s Harriet Jones, and some folks from the local manufacturing industry, to take an in-depth look at the present and future of manufacturing in our state.

Can our state be home to a boom of reshored jobs? How can we keep the skilled manufacturing jobs we already have?

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Nuclear Power
8:57 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Millstone Nuclear Plant Gets Approval to Use Warmer Sea Water

Millstone nuclear power plant in Waterford.
Northeast Utilities

Federal regulators have granted permission to Connecticut's nuclear power plant to use warmer sea water for cooling at one of its two stations in Waterford. 

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Whales
2:18 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Japan Says It Will Temporarily Scale Back Whale Hunt

Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi speaks in Tokyo on Friday. He says Japan will cut back on the number of whales it kills this year, but resume previous levels in 2015.
Kyodo/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Japan says it will kill fewer whales when its seasonal Pacific hunt begins next week and will only observe whales in the Antarctic, after a U.N. court ordered it to stop taking the marine mammals from the Southern Ocean.

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Elevated Highways
1:11 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Survey Says: What's Your Springfield Commute?

Memorial Bridge in Springfield provides local access to I-91.
Heather Brandon WNPR

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is asking the public for input on daily routes, parking locations, and commute timing in anticipation of the reconstruction of an elevated highway through Springfield.

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WAMC News
9:58 am
Fri April 18, 2014

MassDOT Surveys Commuters In Planning I-91 Project

The elevated highway in Springfield, MA known as the I-91 viaduct will be rebuilt beginning in November. The project is expected to take 3 years to finish

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 6:52 pm

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation as part of the planning for a major highway project in western Massachusetts is surveying commuters.

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Avalanche
8:56 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Tragedy Atop The World: Everest Avalanche Kills At Least 12

The sun shines on the peak of Mount Everest in this October 2011 photo. On Friday, an avalanche killed at least 12 Sherpas on the mountain.
Kevin Frayer AP

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 12:58 pm

At least 12 Sherpa guides died Friday on Nepal's side of Mount Everest when an avalanche buried them on the world's tallest mountain.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu April 17, 2014

Gambling on the Environment

Earth from 200 miles above ground.
Credit NASA

Biologist Paul Ehrlich became famous in the 1970s with his book The Population Bomb, which outlined a doomsday scenario in which the world’s supply of food and resources couldn't keep up with overpopulation.

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Solar Power
4:08 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Man Reaches For The Sun For A Solution To Pakistan's Gas Crisis

Pakistani motorists wait in line at a refueling station in the outskirts of Islamabad on Jan. 20, 2013. Waits of up to four hours have become a way of life since Pakistan decided to switch to compressed natural gas about a decade ago.
Farooq Naeem AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 10:46 am

Spring has crept up to the foothills of the Himalayas and, in Islamabad, Pakistan's purpose-built capital, the air is full of the scent of roses and the yelling of birds.

Yet, even in this most stately of South Asian cities, it is impossible to escape the realities of an unstable nation that has yet to figure out how to meet some of the basic needs of its 200 million or so citizens.

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Wildlife
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Death Of Popular Hawk Highlights Concerns Over Rat Poison

A red-tailed hawk eats a mouse in Cambridge, Mass. (hbp_pix/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:03 am

The death of a beloved red-tailed hawk in Cambridge, Mass., has drawn attention to the issue of how rat poison is affecting wildlife.

Veterinarians say the hawk likely died from eating a rodent that consumed rat poison. Local birdwatchers had followed the exploits of the hawk and her mate, which they named Ruby and Buzz, for years.

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Infrastructure
10:49 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Malloy Announces Major Connecticut Transportation Projects

The William H. Putnam Memorial Bridge over the Connecticut River.
Denimadept Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Tuesday several major transportation projects across the state that are set to begin this spring.

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O Mycelium!
8:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Connecticut's Growing Role in Mushroom Cultivation

Logs drilled, plugged with mushroom spawn, and coated with wax.
Patrick Skahill WNPR

Last month, Governor Dannel Malloy announced more than $880,327 in state grants for dozens of Connecticut farms. Among the recipients is a farmer in Higganum looking to fill 1,000 logs with many more mushrooms.

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Dinosaurs
3:43 am
Wed April 16, 2014

A T. Rex Treks To Washington For A Shot At Fame

Pat Leiggi (right) of the Museum of the Rockies prepares to move a leg bone of the T. rex at the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.
Maggie Starbard NPR

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 4:33 pm

This week, scientists at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History will start unpacking some rare and precious cargo. It's something the Smithsonian has never had before — a nearly complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus rex.

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Krulwich Wonders...
11:47 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Can It Be? Parrots Name Their Children, And Those Names, Like Ours, Stick For Life

LabofOrnithology YouTube

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 10:56 am

I'm walking down a street. I see a friend. The friend doesn't see me, so I yell, "Hi, Ralph!" Ralph turns. This is what we humans do — we all have names. We learn each other's. If the guy I spotted is indeed Ralph (not always a safe assumption in my case, but that's another story), I quickly connect.

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Energy
8:50 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Judiciary Committee Approves Ban on Fracking Waste Disposal

A fracking waste container.
Tar Sands Blockade Creative Commons

A bill that would ban the storage or disposal of waste from fracking in Connecticut is moving through the General Assembly. 

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Lunar Eclipse
6:44 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 9:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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Transportation
2:04 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Dutch Test Glow-In-The-Dark Road Of The Future

Glowing Lines are tested earlier this month on a highway near Oss in the Netherlands. The road markings absorb light during the day and emit the green glow at night.
Remko De Waal EPA/Landov

There's a half-kilometer stretch of road in the Netherlands that looks a bit like something out of the movie Tron, thanks to new luminescent markings that glow green in the dark.

The photoluminescent paint, a sort of amped-up version of what is found on many wristwatches, charges up during daylight hours and then emits the green hue at night along the short test patch of N329 highway in Oss, according to Dutch companies Studio Roosegaarde and Heijmans, a road construction firm.

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Blood Moon
11:20 am
Mon April 14, 2014

There's A 'Blood Moon' Eclipse Tonight, But Will You Be Able To See It?

This combination of 10 separate images shows the moon during a total lunar eclipse in 2011 from the Spanish Canary Island of Tenerife.
Desiree Martin AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 4:30 pm

It's looking like clouds will obscure Monday night's lunar eclipse for nearly all of the U.S. East Coast, but much of the West and Midwest should be able to see it.

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