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 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.

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

NASA/Bill Ingalls

Rick Mastracchio completed his fourth successful trip into space yesterday. He launched aboard a Russian Soyuz rocket, and was carrying some special cargo -- geocaching tags from the Waterbury Police Activity League and the 2014 Winter Olympic torch.

National Cancer Institute

Students at the Yale School of Medicine spent time last week delivering bad news to patients. Their task was grim: one student told a woman she had breast cancer while another broke the news to a professional athlete that he blew out his knee and would never play football again.

Except there was one catch. The patients were actors, responding in real time to medical students as part of a "bad news" seminar aimed at teaching the skills of patient-centered interviewing

Lara Maltz Rozza

Hartford broke ground on a new skate park this week. Skaters have dubbed it "Heaven" and say it will be a space for skaters, bikers, and artists.

The park is located just above the I-84 tunnel a few blocks from the XL Center. For years it's been an informal hangout spot for skaters and artists. And now, Hartford is ready to formalize "Heaven" as the city's first official skate park.

Flickr Creative Commons, jerry mercier

If you're driving through Connecticut, you've probably noticed a lot of colors on your commute. Fall foliage has been on full display these last few weeks, with reds, oranges, and yellows covering trees all over New England. You may even have spent your weekend raking leaves up. But have you ever stopped to consider why leaves change color? Or how they fall off trees? 

Flickr Creative Commons, rfranklinaz

Update 2:37 pm: The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) informed Access Health CT that the outage has been addressed and the system is again operating normally.

1:14 pm: The federal data hub that verifies information for Connecticut residents seeking health care coverage crashed for the second time this week. That meant state customers who were enrolling for health coverage couldn't complete the process. 

Demolition has begun at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 students and six adults last December. Bricks will be pulverized, steel melted down and a new school built at the same location.

Allison Hornak attended Sandy Hook Elementary School as a kid. After college, she returned home to Newtown, Conn., and opened an art gallery that's within walking distance of where the mass killing took place.

Hornak says she has a lot of fond memories of Sandy Hook — like a teacher who let her chew gum in class, and the pathways through the school.

Flickr Creative Commons, angeloangelo

The electrical grid has been described as the glass jaw of American industry. According to some reports, we’re just one solar flare or cyber-attack away from massive, cascading power failures. This has happened before. In 2012, a cascading power failure in India plunged around 680 million into darkness. And in 2011, some Connecticut residents found themselves without power for more than a week thanks to a freak October snowstorm. We’ll chat with energy experts about how to strengthen the electrical grid.

Chion Wolf

It's hard to believe that each one of us throws away over seven pounds of trash every day, adding up to about 102 tons over a lifetime. In part, that's because we're used to having our garbage whisked away while we sleep, waking to an empty barrel and a license to buy some more.

Chion Wolf

A popular video this week was a highlight reel of Stephen Colbert being unable to stay in character as a pompous, self-pleased right wing blowhard. Instead, Colbert is swept up in the hilarity of the material. One of his adorable tricks is to hide the lower half of his face behind something, allowing us to see only his laughing eyes.

Warner Bros.

Watching the movie "Captain Phillips" -- in which Tom Hanks plays a commercial freighter captain kidnapped by Somali pirates -- I had a sense of deja vu. Movies like this are becoming a type. They're about the interaction between the U.S. and people who don't like us. In "Zero Dark 30" and "Captain Phillips," a crack Seal team shows up, so much better equipped and trained than our adversaries that the whole thing feels like an overmatch.

Library of Congress

It's become a cliché to say everything has a story, but in baseball, you could make the argument that everything really does. Even the baseball itself is a story -- one of geography and symbolism -- an almost holy relic of American culture. Sportswriter Steve Rushin tells the story of these objects in his latest book, The 34-Ton Bat.

Flickr Creative Commons, AndrewBrownNWA

Consumer activism is older than the nation. The colonists’ rejection of British imports started a tradition of voting with your knife, fork, teacup and credit card. But it’s complicated! Whole Foods isn’t perfect. And maybe you should reward Wal-Mart for at least trying to improve.

Flickr Creative Commons, janie.hernandez55

At the heart of a new Frontline documentary is a simple question - does playing football expose you to life-threatening brain damage?

It's a question putting America's most popular sport on notice - raising concerns for moms, players' wives, and all of us who love football. Today we talk with Jim Gilmore, producer for Frontline's new documentary "A League of Denial: The NFL's Concussion Crisis."

Michael Childers

Fear of Flying sold 18 million copies worldwide and helped tip feminism into a new focus on fulfilled sexuality. But it also introduced a meme so pervasive that the book's author, Erica Jong, worried the phrase "zipless f--k" would appear on her tombstone.

Jong recenly defined the phrase on NPR's Weekend Edition:

Chion Wolf

As Slate embarks on a quixotic search for the "most beautiful woman in the world," The Nose will examine how feminine beauty plays a role in American politics. Earlier this week, a U.S. Representative from Indiana dissed a CNN anchor saying, "You're beautiful, but you have to be honest."

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