WNPR

Patrick Skahill

Reporter

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science with an emphasis on health care and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009 and won a PRNDI award in 2011. 

He writes about science for The Beaker. 

Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He worked for two years as a print reporter at Stonebridge Press in Massachusetts where he covered crime and education and has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. 

A graduate of Villanova University, Patrick holds a bachelor's degree in history with a concentration in Arab & Islamic Studies and a minor in Classical Studies. He holds a master's degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago. He knows way too much about Seinfeld and is a devoted fan of comedian Hannibal Burress.

He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@wnpr.org.

Wikimedia Commons

If you seek parallels between J.D. Salinger and Thomas Pynchon they're easy to find. Both were literary geniuses. Both were publicity-shunning recluses. Both men were psychosexually arrested by God knows what primal wound.

Salinger seemed able to bond only with very young women and girls. Pynchon had a pattern -- somehow linked to inability to form normal alliances --  of hijacking the wives and partners of his friends.

Chion Wolf

We have in the works, for next week, a show about J.D. Salinger, the American writer most at odds with his own greatness. 

Little did we suspect that Dave Chappelle, the comedian most at odds with his own greatness, would come to Hartford and have peculiar and very contrary experience with the audience here and create a national stir by his refusal to perform for them.

Flickr Creative Commons, Photos-By-Richard

I'll be the first to admit it: I've said, 'disco sucks.' The music is cheesy, the outfits tacky, and, before last week, when you'd say 'disco,' my mind immediately leapt to the lovable joke that is Disco Stu, a Simpsons character perpetually living in 1976.

But that's what I thought before researching today's Colin McEnroe Show. For starters, disco's influence on music was huge. Groups like Chic, Kool & The Gang, and MFSB employed sweeping orchestral instrumentation, protest lyrics, and heavy bass grooves - things that would all later carry over to rap, funk, and modern electronic dance music. 

Flickr Creative Commons, kodomut

Through the lens of time, the anti-disco backlash looks a little ugly. What was disco, really? It started as an underground dance movement propelled by blacks, gays, and Puerto Ricans. It was a liberating and hedonistic music of the oppressed, and people from those groups gathered and mixed in the early downtown clubs.

Flickr Creative Commons, mr bolonga

Eels are hailed as monster-seducers by New Zealand's Maori and are the only fish that spawn in the middle of the ocean, but spend their lives in freshwater. Chad Johnson uses them to get the ladies. They've inspired Internet memes. And in Maine, where eels sell for upwards of $2,000 per pound, this misunderstood fish is providing a modern gold rush for struggling fisherman.

The New Middle Age

Aug 21, 2013

They were gutted by the economy, saddled with existential angst, and on today's Colin McEnroe Show, a few Generation Xers tweeted us about what it's like to live in a world inherited from the Baby Boomers. Our idea to dedicate a whole show to Generation X started with a great article. (Wasn't Matt Dillon's hair delightful?)

While you probably never give a second thought to the clippings scattered about when you get a haircut, Philip Musica turned this trash into cash. Millions of dollars of cash. 

Earlier this week, former World Time Trial Champion Emma Pooley (who won a silver medal in 2008) explained why the women's Tour de France failed on the BBC Radio 4 show, Woman's Hour.

"There used to be the 'Tour de France Feminin' in the 1980s that was two weeks long, with proper mountain stages, but it eventually fizzled out because of a lack of sponsorship," said Ms. Pooley.

Chion Wolf

Every 17 years, the east coast plays host to one of nature's biggest -- and loudest -- parties. The guests are millions of periodical cicadas, red-eyed bugs who burrow their way out of the ground to mate, and sometimes, they do it with a light switch.

USA Hockey

HOST: Bravado and broken bones are commonplace in sled hockey. That's a version of ice hockey played primarily by the disabled. And the competition can be fierce. Patrick Skahill of member station WNPR reports from Newington, Connecticut, where amateur teams are hitting the ice hard for fun.

Relax sports broadcasters, robots aren't coming for your job. At least not yet.

"The human aspect is important," said Greg Lee, a recent Ph.D. graduate in computer science from the University of Alberta. Dr. Lee recounted how, while watching baseball on TV, he stumbled upon Vin Scully, the Hall of Fame sportscaster now in his 59th season as the voice of the L.A. Dodgers.

Before Alie Garry could enroll at Tunxis Community College, in Farmington, Conn., the 18-year old Simsbury resident had to take a required standardized test called, ominously, the “Accuplacer.” It told her what she might not have wanted to hear - that she needed remedial classes in math and English. But now, three years later, she is grateful for the Accuplacer.

Flickr Creative Commons, Jay Erickson

Three former prisoners at Niantic's York Correctional Institution are staging a play mixing Dante’s Inferno with real life prison stories. WNPR’s Patrick Skahill has more.

When Lynda Gardner was sent to jail for larceny in 2005, she didn't think she'd be reciting lines from Dante's Inferno.  She just thought she was in hell.

"I woke up in York and decided for the first six months I was going to kill myself," Gardner said. " I felt dead."

Patrick Skahill

So, what do you need to get into pigeon racing? Well, first - you have to have a lot of pigeons. In Bill Desmarais' case, 300 in his backyard. Then you tag the birds, load them onto a truck and ship them hundreds of miles away - where they get released all at once.

The bird that flies home fastest, wins.

Bill Desmaris explains, "We call it racing, they call it flying home."

Chion Wolf

Former Yale professor Dan Esty says he is growing into his new role as state environment and energy commissioner, despite a series of controversies over his prior ties to business. WNPR's Patrick Skahill has more.

For years, Dan Esty was a teacher. But as head of the DEEP, Esty says he's once again a student.

"I get that I'm in a different realm now. And I've got to learn to play in that domain and understand that the scrutiny that is there is much greater than I'm used to."

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