Environment

Science
5:06 am
Thu March 20, 2014

The 500-Pound 'Chicken From Hell' Likely Ate Whatever It Wanted

Courtesy of Bob Walters

Originally published on Thu March 20, 2014 4:07 pm

For the past decade, dinosaur scientists have been puzzling over a set of fossil bones they variously describe as weird and bizarre. Now they've figured out what animal they belonged to: a bird-like creature they're calling "the chicken from hell."

There are two reasons for the name.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Global Warming: Attitudes Toward Our Changing World

This January was the fourth-warmest on record.
Credit NASA Goddard Photo and Video / Creative Commons

A recent Gallup poll found that, when it comes to climate change, Americans just aren't that worried. Less than 36% of those surveyed recognized global warming as an immediate threat, while most placed economic, federal spending, and healthcare issues above the need for environmental action. 

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Wildlife
5:43 am
Tue March 18, 2014

For Connecticut Deer, Sunday May No Longer Be a Day of Rest

A new proposal is floating the idea of bow hunting on Sundays.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jonnnnnn

The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection hasn't done a statewide estimate for about five years, but at last count, there were around 120,000 deer in Connecticut, with the largest concentrations in Fairfield County.

DEEP officials said the numbers are getting out of control, and voiced their support for a legislative proposal that would expand deer hunting in Connecticut. 

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Tremors
3:07 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

It's Hard Being Live On Air During an Earthquake

KTLA anchors Megan Henderson and Chris Schauble react to an earthquake Monday morning while on air.
Credit YouTube.com

An earthquake in Southern California Monday morning rattled the usual calm demeanor of the live, on-air anchors at KTLA-TV. Fortunately, it doesn't look as though there's been much damage, and the anchors knew what to do: get under the desk. 

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Tree Trimming
2:10 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Despite PURA Request, Utilities Want to Keep Trimming

A resident holds up a "Trees Please" sign during a public hearing on "enhanced tree-trimming" earlier this month.
Credit Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Last week, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority called for a "voluntary suspension" of so-called "enhanced tree-trimming" around the state. United Illuminating and CL&P quickly filed formal responses and -- surprise -- they both want to keep trimming.

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Astrophysics
1:16 pm
Mon March 17, 2014

Scientists Announce A Big-Bang Breakthrough

This image released Monday by Harvard-led researchers represents the gravitational waves in the Cosmic Microwave Background in the microsecond after the Big Bang.
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Originally published on Mon March 17, 2014 4:19 pm

This post was update at 4:00 p.m. ET.

Researchers say they've discovered that gravitational waves rippled through the fabric of space-time in the first sliver of a second after the Big Bang — the first direct evidence for a mysterious, ultrarapid expansion at the dawn of the universe. If confirmed, it would represent one of the most profound insights in decades to emerge from the field of cosmology.

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Chemicals and Kids
4:37 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

A Call for Pesticide-Free Town Greens

A new bill could extend the state's pesticide ban to public parks, playgrounds, and town greens.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jetsandzeppelins

Connecticut lawmakers are once again eyeing restrictions on pesticides. A new proposal would ban their use at public parks and town greens.

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Metro-North
11:33 am
Fri March 14, 2014

"Operation Deep Dive" Concludes Metro-North Has a "Poor Safety Culture"

The Federal Railroad Administration says Metro-North "emphasizes on-time performance to the detriment of safe operations."
Credit PhillipC / Creative Commons

The Federal Railroad Administration has issued a series of recommendations to improve what they describe as the "poor safety culture" at Metro-North.

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Way Under Our Feet
7:22 am
Fri March 14, 2014

Rare Diamond Points To Mass Quantities Of Water In Earth's Mantle

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 5:53 pm

Impurities found in a pea-sized diamond that came from the (very) deep have bolstered evidence for a vast "wet zone" in the Earth's mantle, scientists publishing in the latest issue of Nature say.

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Container Ships
3:37 am
Thu March 13, 2014

Hitching A Ride On The World's Biggest Cargo Ship

NPR's Jackie Northam on the Maersk McKinney Moller, a new container megaship that can carry about double what many other big cargo ships can carry. It's 20 stories high and four football fields long.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 10:17 am

I started my journey at the famed Gdansk Shipyard, home of Poland's solidarity movement in the 1980s. It was nearly midnight when I arrived and saw for the first time the Maersk McKinney Moller, the world's largest container ship.

I simply wasn't prepared for just how massive it is. The whole ship really can't be taken in, even standing at a distance, so I gave my neck a good stretch by scanning this behemoth end to end, and up and down.

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Tree Trimming
4:30 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

For Tree-Trimming Opponents, a Victory, at Least for Now

A well-loved tree in Hamden, Conn.
Credit Contributed Photo

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority is calling for a suspension of "enhanced tree trimming" around the state. It's a decision following months of public outcry.

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Spring Forward
2:47 pm
Wed March 12, 2014

Hate Daylight Saving Time? Blame the Man From Filene's Basement

If you think about why you fiddle with your clock twice a year, there are probably two things that spring to mind: farmers and energy savings. Neither are the reasons why we have Daylight Saving Time, so I called Michael Downing, the author of Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Saving Time, and asked him why these myths persist.

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San Francisco
10:23 am
Wed March 12, 2014

VIDEO: San Francisco's Biggest Fire In Years

Flames leap from the roof of the under-construction apartment building that caught fire Tuesday in San Francisco.
Terry Schmitt UPI/Landov

Originally published on Wed March 12, 2014 11:08 am

A "quick-moving, monstrous blaze" on Tuesday destroyed a nine-story apartment building that was under construction in San Francisco's Mission Bay neighborhood.

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Marine Life
2:53 pm
Tue March 11, 2014

Mystic Aquarium Beluga Whale Dies at 33

Naku, a beluga whale at Mystic Aquarium who died Saturday night.
Credit Tracy M. Brown / Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium staff and visitors are mourning the loss of a 33-year-old female beluga whale that died after a prolonged respiratory illness. 

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Wildlife
3:36 am
Tue March 11, 2014

Trapping And Tracking The Mysterious Snowy Owl

Meredith Rizzo/NPR

Originally published on Tue April 29, 2014 7:04 pm

This is Hungerford, a large female snowy owl. Last summer she was just a hatchling — a gray ball of fuzz in the middle of the Arctic tundra. In the fall, newly equipped with adult plumage, she flew thousands of miles south until she reached the coast of Maryland. And this winter, she became an important part of an unprecedented research project.

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Resilient Bugs
3:23 pm
Mon March 10, 2014

Invasive Bugs in Connecticut May Be Adapting to Extreme Winters

A live hemlock woolly adelgid in the spring. This winter's extreme cold has reduced population numbers statewide, but there is evidence that bugs in the northwest corner of the state are becoming more cold-weather resistant.
Credit Carole Cheah / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Scientists say this winter's extreme cold is having a limited impact on the state's invasive bugs, and it may even be making one insect stronger. It's called the hemlock woolly adelgid, and it was first identified in Connecticut in 1985.

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International Fracking
3:17 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Seeking Energy Independence, Europe Faces Heated Fracking Debate

Many countries in the European Union are drawn to the benefits of fracking: cheap energy and energy independence. But many Europeans, including these protesters standing outside EU headquarters in Brussels, object to the practice on environmental grounds.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Fri March 7, 2014 11:39 am

While watching the turmoil in Ukraine unfold, you may feel as though it has little to do with the United States, but the conflict is stirring a contentious debate in Europe over a topic familiar to many Americans: fracking.

Much of the continent depends on Russian natural gas that flows through pipelines in Ukraine. European countries are asking themselves whether to follow the U.S. example and drill for shale gas.

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Cities
7:01 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Growing An Urban Neighborhood, One Store At A Time

Communications store owner Donny Seto (right) says other business owners shouldn't be so hesitant to set up in the Congress Heights neighborhood of Washington, D.C.
Leah Binkovitz NPR

Originally published on Thu March 6, 2014 11:30 am

Across the country, communities stranded in food and retail deserts are asking how they can enjoy the bounty afforded to other urban centers. One Washington, D.C., community thinks it might have an answer.

Just a 10-minute drive south of the U.S. Capitol, across the Anacostia River, sits Congress Heights. The Southeast D.C. neighborhood is less than 2 miles long and home to more than 8,000 people, many in single-family houses. But if you're looking for a sit-down meal, options are scarce.

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Space
9:47 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Don't Worry, They Say, 100-Foot Asteroid Will Miss Us Today

A NASA artist's illustration depicts an asteroid belt around a star that the space agency says is "the same age and size as our Sun."
NASA/JPL-Caltech

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:56 am

Don't say you weren't warned.

But also don't worry, the experts say.

As we wrote last month when an asteroid measuring about 900 feet long passed near enough to Earth to generate headlines about a "close encounter," more rocks are always headed our way.

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Winter Weather
5:29 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Severe Weather Socks The Economy, But Full Impact Is Unclear

It's too cold to eat out.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 6:31 pm

The economy often absorbs the impact of snowstorms, such as this week's storm, without much trouble, but this winter the weather is doing more damage than usual.

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Transportation
12:31 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

New Management, New Plan for Metro-North

Credit Connor Harris / Creative Commons

Metro-North's new president, Joseph Giulietti, sent a letter to Connecticut's Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, outlining intended operational  improvements.

The plan follows a terrible year for the railroad in 2013, including a derailment and collision in Bridgeport that injured 76 people and a derailment in The Bronx, New York, in which four people were killed.

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Natural Gas
6:23 am
Tue March 4, 2014

A Fracking Conundrum in Connecticut: What to Do With All That Waste

A well head after fracking equipment has been taken off location.
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As America witnesses a record boom in gas production, Connecticut lawmakers are once again trying to figure out what to do with fracking waste.

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Transportation
11:03 pm
Sat March 1, 2014

3 Cities With Freeways Going Nowhere

An artist's sketch of the revamped I-10/Claiborne Overpass in New Orleans.
CNU

Originally published on Sun March 2, 2014 9:00 am

When I was growing up in Memphis in the 1960s, the Feds — and state and local officials — unveiled plans to build a short stretch of Interstate 40 to connect East Memphis with downtown.

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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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