MarilynJane / Creative Commons

"Map of Life" has a simple premise: tell the app where you're located and it will tell you what kind of wildlife is there. 

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

Mystic Aquarium

Three beluga whales have been spotted off Rhode Island's coast in Narragansett Bay, a bizarre diversion for a species generally found much farther north. 

A transformer fire Saturday at the Indian Point nuclear power plant resulted in an oil spill into the Hudson River. There is differing information at this early stage about just how much material -- and what type -- seeped into the river. Meanwhile, investigations into both the fire and spill continue.

Nicholas A. Tonelli / Creative Commons

This year's cold winter killed off a high percentage of insects that target Connecticut's hemlock trees. That's good news for forests and for landowners in the state.

A transformer fire Saturday triggered the automatic shutdown of Unit 3 at the Indian Point nuclear power plant. A spokesman for plant owner Entergy says the fire was put out by both a sprinkler system and on-site personnel.

Famed British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough has been lending his calming voice to nature documentaries ever since TV was in black and white.

Warm weather has finally arrived in the Northeast. And along a wild stretch of New York state's Hudson River in the Adirondack Mountains, a section has been opened to paddlers for the first time in decades.

New landmark conservation deals in New York state have protected vast swaths of wilderness. Those deals have also opened waterways that had been closed to the public for more than a century.

A 110-pound silver ingot thought to be from the treasure of Capt. William Kidd — the notorious 17th century Scottish pirate who was ultimately hanged for his misdeeds — has been brought up from the shallows off Madagascar's eastern coast.

The discovery was made by the American underwater explorer Barry Clifford near the island of Sainte Marie, which itself lies just off Madagascar.

Saying state officials and residents simply haven't done enough to curb water use, California regulators unanimously approved unprecedented water restrictions on Tuesday.

The AP reports:

Selbe / Creative Commons

Connecticut environmental officials said the destructive southern pine beetle has been detected at four sites in Hartford, Litchfield, and New Haven counties.

Officials said Connecticut's native white pine is not at risk, but pitch pine and other hard pines are. 

qmnonic / Creative Commons

Connecticut has begun the first mattress recycling program in the country, which means a $9.00 charge will now be added to any new mattress purchase in the state. 

When a major earthquake pummeled Kobe, Japan, in 1995, more than 6,000 people were killed, many buried as their traditional wooden homes collapsed under the weight of heavy, unstable tile roofs.

The quake's power was extraordinary and demonstrated Japan wasn't as prepared as it thought it was. Still, it was no match for Japanese resilience.

Courtesy of Joshua Engelhardt

The remnants of an old depression-era work camp deep in the woods of Madison, Connecticut are being unearthed and preserved by several local groups.

Updated at noon ET.

Nepal's devastating earthquake that hit Saturday is now blamed for at least 4,000 deaths. Reconstruction is estimated to cost billions. International aid efforts are underway, but aftershocks are rattling survivors' nerves and making the recovery even more challenging.

Rescue crews and aid groups are working to reach survivors — but their efforts are being hampered by the stricken areas' remote locations. Roads that are drivable are clogged with traffic.

Updated at 11:10 p.m. ET

The desperate search for survivors continues Sunday in Nepal. Strong aftershocks woke thousands of Nepalese who were forced to spend the cold night outdoors.

NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team

The Hubble Space telescope shot into orbit 25 years ago on Friday. I spoke with a Connecticut engineer who worked on the project, which forever changed humanity's view of its place in the cosmos. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Five of New England's governors met in Hartford on Thursday to speak about energy issues facing the region. At the top of the agenda was the price of electricity.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Five out of six New England governors will meet in Hartford on Thursday for a closed-door energy roundtable. Together, they’ll work on developing a cooperative strategy to address some of the region’s biggest energy challenges. 

Ceyda Durmaz

In celebration of Earth Day, the New Haven - León Sister City Project is displaying nine colorful banners throughout the city. 

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy announced on Wednesday the creation of a state council to set goals related to Connecticut's efforts to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Doug Wertman/flickr creative commons

We're itching to be surrounded by gorgeous summer flowers in pots, window boxes and in the garden. That's why we're thrilled to feature the incomparable White Flower Farm of Litchfield, Conn., and an online distributor, to discuss what's new and beautiful. 

Captain Kimo / Creative Commons

Greenhouse gas emissions have risen slightly from last year, according to a new analysis from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but the emissions are still down nine percent since 2005.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Fishermen can be pretty clever with where they hide their illegally-captured fish.

"We've had people hide them in secret compartments in boats. We've had them hide them in vehicles, rocks, all kinds of places to prevent us from finding them," said Cpt. Ryan Healy of the state environmental conservation police.

Greg Breese/USFWS / Creative Commons

Each year, the red knot shorebird flies thousands of miles from the southernmost tip of South America, to the Arctic, and back. Along the way, it feasts on horseshoe crab eggs, which provide fat and fuel for the long journey ahead. 

Adriana Arango / Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station

Asian Longhorned Beetles, Emerald Ash Borers, Hemlock Woolly Adelgids: all these bugs pose threats to trees in Connecticut. Now, you can add another bug to that list: the southern pine beetle.

In space, all they have is instant.

"For an instant coffee, it's an excellent instant coffee," says Vickie Kloeris, who manages the space station's food supply for NASA. Astronauts are allotted up to three freeze-dried cups (pouches, actually) a day, and Kloeris says it's "extremely popular."

But, she adds, "Can it compete with brewed espresso? No."

Wikimedia Commons

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke at Yale University on Tuesday and said he likes how social media is causing a change in the way big-business producers like McDonald's create their food.

Laura Hubers
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

When you think about plants, you probably picture individual trees or your favorite type of flower, but you probably don't think of them in a bigger way: as habitat.

Hyland House

Definitively dating an old house can be tricky. Today, we have things like photographs and land records, but how would you figure out a house's age without that kind of stuff?