WNPR

Environment

Carl M / Creative Commons

Fall foliage season is right around the corner. But will the summer's lack of rain impact the colors we see on trees? 

Marc van der Chijs / Creative Commons

When town officials, planners, and business advocates from across the northeast talk about self-driving cars, one theme emerges: uncertainty.

Get ready, America.

The White House wants you to know that the era of self-driving cars is closer than you might expect. And the federal government is preparing to roll out the rules of the road that officials say are needed to make sure automated vehicles are safe, accessible and efficient. And if done properly, they say the new vehicles will save time, money and lives.

They also say they want to avoid a "patchwork" of regulations that differ from state to state.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Walk a few hundred yards into the woods in Durham, Connecticut, and you'll see something that looks like it's out of "Mad Max" -- large trucks, with big wheels, and giant robotic arms, grabbing trees and slicing them down. 

Ken & Nyetta / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

NOAA

President Barack Obama has signed an order protecting a section of underwater mountains and canyons off New England's coast. It's the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Laura Nolte flickr.com/photos/laura_nolte / Creative Commons

Japanese anemones, or wind flowers, are actually native to China, but were frequently cultivated in Japanese gardens when European explorers first saw them in the 17th century. 

Liz West / Flickr Creative Commons

Colin has a "pet" raccoon that visits his porch. The raccoon will press her tiny paw up against the outstretched palm of Colin's significant other, which rests on the indoor side of the glass. Eventually, the raccoon gets a bit of food because "she" is too cute to resist. The pleased raccoon now visits on a regular basis. Colin fears this cannot end well.

During the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

The floods that hit Louisiana last month were caused by rainfall that was unlike anything seen there in centuries. Most of the southern part of the state was drenched with up to 2 or 3 inches in an hour. A total of 31 inches fell just northeast of Baton Rouge in about three days; 20 parishes were declared federal disaster areas.

Climate scientists and flood managers suspect there could more like that to come — in Louisiana and in other parts of the country.

From anthrax outbreaks in thawing permafrost to rice farms flooded with salty water, climate change seems to play a bigger and bigger role in global health each year.

Fourteen self-driving Ford Fusions idle in front of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

On each vehicle, dozens of stationary and spinning cameras collect 1.4 million distance measurements per second, guiding the car on its journey.

Beginning Wednesday, the cars will be deployed on Pittsburgh's streets in a striking experiment by Uber to introduce self-driving technology to its passengers.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Rail commuters on the New Haven Line might have a little more space to stretch their legs with the addition of 60 new M-8 train cars, Governor Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday. On ten of those cars, passengers will have the option to buy a drink at a built-in bar.

A more than 160-year-old Arctic mystery has come to resolution: The HMS Terror, a vessel from a doomed Royal Navy exploration to chart an unnavigated portion of the Northwest Passage, has been found, Aleta Brooke, operations manager for the Arctic Research Foundation said.

The Guardian, which first reported the story, said the vessel is in "perfect condition." The paper reports:

Shever & Kimmrs / Creative Commons

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Rhode Island and Connecticut both had their warmest summers on record this year. As climate change continues to progress, a panel of scientists is arguing there's an urgent need to improve the way we forecast the impact of climate change. 

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

This fruit's botanical name means “food of the gods.” While most of us are familiar with the Asian versions we find in grocery stores in fall, there is a hardier American type too. The fruits ripen around the first frost into sweet, custardy orbs with a hint of clove. It can even be made into beer. What's this fruit? It's the persimmon.

Connecticut DEEP

State environmental police will now carry naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioid overdoses.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

New federal rules that make it easier for companies to fly drones could mean big benefits for lots of businesses: news organizations, movie makers looking to get that perfect shot, and one group of workers you might not expect: insurance adjusters. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

About a year and a half into operation, the state’s first bus rapid transit system CTfastrak has served its four millionth ride, state officials announced last Tuesday.

Spirou42 / Creative Commons

This native fall blooming perennial flower was supposedly was named after the goddess Astraea, who cried for the dead on Earth killed in wars. 

Tropical Storm Hermine, in the Gulf of Mexico, is growing stronger as it approaches the Florida coast, the National Hurricane Center says.

The storm, which has been moving very slowly, is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall north of Tampa likely early Friday. It's then predicted to pass overland toward the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, weakening as it goes.

Your Dilapidated Barn Is Super Trendy. Just Ask HGTV

Sep 1, 2016

Larry Gerdes is having his barn taken down and disassembled in Malta Bend, Mo. It's about the size of a three-car garage but stands much taller in a clearing surrounded by 6-foot stalks of corn.

The barn's exterior is graying, part of its roof is missing, and there's a gaping hole looking out from the hayloft. It's about 100 years old, and it's not really useful.

"It's deteriorated and it would cost a lot of money to repair it," Gerdes says. "And it doesn't fit into modern farming. Unless you got two cows to let them loaf inside, nothing fits, and it's just obsolete."

When you praise a dog, it's listening not just to the words you say but also how you say them.

That might not be huge news to dog owners. But now scientists have explored this phenomenon by using an imaging machine to peek inside the brains of 13 dogs as they listened to their trainer's voice.

When people hear the word drought, they likely think of California. But there's also an extreme drought in parts of New England. The Northeast is experiencing the worst drought in more than a decade.

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