Environment

Environment
5:03 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Thinner Arctic Ice Sparks Massive Algae Bloom

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:02 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Scientists on an expedition off the coast of Alaska found something they had long thought was impossible. Beneath two, three, even four feet of ice in the frozen Chukchi Sea, they found algae. Not just a little but a bloom that ran at least 60 miles wide. The team just published its findings in the journal Science.

Here to tell us why it's a big deal is the man who led the expedition, Kevin Arrigo, professor of environmental earth systems science at Stanford University. Professor Arrigo, thanks for talking with us.

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Author Interviews
12:10 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Under The 'Nuclear Shadow' Of Colorado's Rocky Flats

cover detail: Full Body Burden

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 3:40 pm

Kristen Iversen spent years in Europe looking for things to write about before realizing that biggest story she'd ever cover was in the backyard where she grew up. Iversen spent her childhood in Colorado close to the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons factory, playing in fields and swimming in lakes and streams that it now appears were contaminated with plutonium. Later, as a single mother, Iversen worked at the plant but knew little of its environmental and health risks until she saw a feature about it on Nightline.

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Around the Nation
4:51 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

A Damned Dam On The Penobscot River

Next week, the Great Works Dam on the Penobscot River in Maine will be removed.
John Clarke Russ Bangor Daily News

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 7:41 pm

Like most members of the Penobscot Nation, Scott Phillips grew up near the Penobscot River and learned to paddle and fish as a young boy. He took to it like a duck to water. He became a competitive racer and eventually opened his own business selling canoes, kayaks and other outdoor gear.

Next week, the first of two dams on the river will be removed, altering the way it's used recreationally. The change could also be a boon to Phillip's business.

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Around the Nation
4:45 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Disastrous S.D. Flood Caused National Wake Up Call

The 1972 flood in Rapid City, S.D., killed 238 people and destroyed more than 1,300 homes. The city responded by establishing a no-build zone in the flood plain. Other cities across the country adopted similar policies after the disaster.
Courtesy of Minnelusa Historical Association, Journey Museum

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 9:57 pm

Survivors say the wall of water was like a tsunami that destroyed nearly everything in its path as it roared through a Black Hills canyon and into town. The flash flood that hit Rapid City, S.D., on June 9, 1972, was one of the worst floods in U.S. history. It killed 238 people and damaged or washed away more than 1,300 homes.

On Saturday, the city will read the names of those who died and reflect on how the flood changed the way the city and others towns across the country built themselves.

'It Was Hell'

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Science
3:17 pm
Fri June 8, 2012

Is Japanese Dock A Noah's Ark Or A Trojan Horse?

Among the creatures that survived the trans-Pacific trek aboard the Japanese dock was this sea star, which was found inside the float.
Jessica Miller flickr

Originally published on Fri June 8, 2012 6:59 pm

A bizarre event has drawn scientists to a beach in Oregon — a floating concrete dock from Japan has washed ashore. It had been ripped from its moorings by last year's tsunami and floated across the Pacific.

The dock is encrusted with mussels, barnacles and other marine life from Asia. Scientists are amazed these organisms survived the 14-month voyage, but they're also worried some of these organisms could become pests in U.S. waters.

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Around the Nation
2:41 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

Giant Tankers Battle Wildfires From The Sky

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 4:05 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. We're still weeks away from the hottest and driest part of the year, and fire season is already well underway: Colorado, Nevada, Utah, California, Arizona, New Mexico. In a few minutes, we'll talk with a meteorologist who tries to forecast fire conditions, and we'll focus on the pilots who swoop through smoke and turbulence to drop retardant on wildfires. Two of them died in the crash of an elderly plane in Utah on Sunday.

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Environment
11:59 am
Tue June 5, 2012

Do Plastic Bags Bans Help The Environment?

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 2:40 pm

Transcript

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Coming up, during his long and varied career, Oscar winner Morgan Freeman has played everyone from soldiers to servants, from cowboys to criminals - not to mention the almighty. In a moment, he'll tell us what music he plays for inspiration. That's our feature we call In Your Ear, and it's just ahead.

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Shots - Health Blog
11:34 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Beset With Bedbugs? Don't Bother With Bug Bombs

Bedbugs on display at the National Bed Bug Summit held in Washington in early 2011.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 11:46 am

Bedbug infestations can be maddening. So readily available bug bombs that fill the house with a pesticide fog are understandably tempting. But research shows they're not likely to work.

Writing in the Journal of Economic Entomology, researchers from Ohio State University say they tested three popular bug bomb products on five different populations of bedbugs, collected "in the wild" from homes around Ohio. All three products failed miserably.

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The Salt
11:16 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Small-Scale Slaughterhouses Aim To Put The 'Local' Back In Local Meat

This cow may have been raised for food on a farm near you, but it may not necessarily have been processed nearby
suzettesuzette Flickr.com

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 3:07 pm

It's hard to go a day without hearing people brag about how they eat local. In-the-know consumers wax poetic about their local farmers' markets, and some even make pilgrimages to meet their rancher, visit cows grazing and see pigs playing happily in the mud.

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Science
1:29 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Lightning Bug Of A Different Color

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

And now for our Video Pick of the Week. Flora's still here and positioned perfectly to take us on a safari.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: We're still on safari.

FLATOW: We're still on safari.

LICHTMAN: The safari continues, this time to slightly larger organisms. See if you can see with your naked eye, and maybe in your own backyard. These guys are glow-in-the-dark - I have you already, don't I?

FLATOW: Yeah.

LICHTMAN: Millipedes - which, I didn't know - let me - can I tell you the story of how this came about?

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NPR Story
12:39 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

The Many Lifestyles Of Muck-Dwelling Microbes

Originally published on Fri June 1, 2012 1:26 pm

Scientists at the University of Leeds are exploring ways to use magnetic bacteria to build biocomputers of the future. Meanwhile, another group of researchers, reporting in Science, write that they have unearthed deep-sea microbe that live off nutrients from the dinosaur age.

Architecture
3:17 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Forget Big-Box Stores. How About A Big-Box House?

The architecture firm HyBrid, which specializes in designing buildings from recycled shipping containers, created this solar-powered house for Sunset Magazine.
Amy Eastwood

Originally published on Wed May 30, 2012 5:17 am

When it comes to architecture, sustainability and affordability can mean many things: Salvaged wood becomes new flooring, old newspapers are shredded into insulation.

But a few architects are taking green building one step further: creating entire homes and businesses out of discarded shipping containers — an approach some have dubbed "cargotecture."

Approximately a quarter-million shipping containers pass through Oregon's Port of Portland each year. These are big boxes — 40 feet long and weighing thousands of pounds.

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The Salt
7:34 am
Sat May 26, 2012

Soft-Shell Lobsters So Soon? It's A Mystery In Maine

Lobster boats in Maine have been pulling up soft-shell lobsters strangely early in the season.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Sat May 26, 2012 10:52 am

April and May are fairly quiet times for Maine lobstermen and women, with the height of the summer season still a couple of months away. This year, strange things are happening on the ocean floor. Many of the lobsters have prematurely shed their hard shells, and lobstermen are hauling large numbers of soft-shelled lobsters much earlier than usual.

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The Salt
11:59 am
Fri May 25, 2012

Stand Back When Snapping Turtles Crop Up In The Garden

The best thing to do when this gal shows up in your garden is to let her be
T. Susan Chang

Originally published on Fri May 25, 2012 5:09 pm

Late spring in a New England vegetable garden is usually a time for the last asparagus, the crisp lettuce and arugula, the first pea shoots, and the first sprouting of warm-weather crops like peppers and zucchini. What you don't expect to see planted in your beds are snapping turtles. But that's just what turned up in mine twice this week.

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Education
2:44 am
Thu May 24, 2012

National Geography Bee: Test Your World Knowledge

The 10 finalists of the 2012 National Geographic Bee are competing for prizes including a $25,000 scholarship and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.
Rebecca Hale National Geographic

Originally published on Thu May 24, 2012 12:40 pm

The final round of the 2012 National Geographic Bee takes place Thursday, with students between the fourth and eighth grades testing their knowledge of countries, canals and lava lakes. Of the 54 contestants who came to the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., for the bee, only 10 remain.

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Asia
3:21 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Mongolia's Dilemma: Who Gets The Water?

Amin-Erdene Galkhuu pumps well water to her family's Bactrian camels in Mongolia's South Gobi region. Herders and mining firms both need water in this arid area.
John Poole NPR

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:47 am

Mongolia, the land of Genghis Khan and nomadic herders, is in the midst of a remarkable transition. Rich in coal, gold and copper, this country of fewer than 3 million people in Central Asia is riding a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. The rapid changes simultaneously excite and unnerve many Mongolians, who hope mining can help pull many out of poverty, but worry it will ravage the environment and further erode the nation's distinctive, nomadic identity.

Second of four parts

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