Hundreds of protestors rallied, this week, in Albany, New York. They are trying to put pressure on New York's Democratic governor Andrew Cuomo. They want him to reject a plan to expand natural gas drilling. Specifically, Cuomo's expected to decide in the coming days whether to allow more aggressive hydraulic fracturing to reach gas deposits that are locked deep underground. As North Country Public Radio's Brian Mann reports, people on both sides are mounting eleventh-hour campaigns to try and sway the governor.
Originally published on Fri August 31, 2012 9:42 am
Babies are lovely but altogether helpless creatures.
Wouldn't it be better if tiny humans were born able to walk, like horses, or generally were readier for the rigors of the world, like, say, chimps?
Among primates, human have the least developed brains at birth, at least when compared to adult human brains. If humans were born as far along on cognitive and neurological scales as rough and ready chimps are, though, human pregnancy would have to last at least twice as long. Eighteen months in the womb, anyone?
Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 1:26 pm
By Adam Frank
Thermodynamics — the branch of physics dealing with heat and its relation to other forms of energy — is profound stuff.
Rooted in the engineering realities of engines and air conditioners, it also rises above these day-to-day realities to embrace heady, universal principles in complexity, order, chaos and organization. Thermodynamics touches everything that really matters in human life, including — most famously — the nature of time. It is profound and slippery.
If you're a student, you may have harbored the fantasy of learning lessons while you sleep. Who wouldn't want to stick on a pair of headphones, grab some shut-eye with a lesson about, say, Chinese history playing in his ears — and wake up with newly acquired knowledge of the Ming Dynasty?
Sadly, it doesn't work. The history lesson either keeps you from going to sleep, or it doesn't — in which case you don't learn it.
Mike and Nancy Leighton's problems began on May 19, just as Mike was settling in to watch the Preakness Stakes. A neighbor in Leroy Township, Pa., called Mike and told him to check the water well located just outside his front door.
"I said, 'I'll be down in 15 minutes.' I wanted to see the race," Leighton said. But as the horses were racing, Leighton's well was overflowing. Typically, there's between 80 to 100 feet of head space between the top of the well and its water supply. But when Leighton went outside, the water was bubbling over the top.
About 10,000 people live in Wapakoneta, Ohio — half that in the 1960s. In 1969, the town wanted to honor the most famous Wapakonetan (so far), the first man to step on the moon, Neil Armstrong. So they had a parade. Here's the front page of the paper that day.
It seems like another era. It feels like another age.
It was the DayGlo world of variety TV: Dean Martin, the Smothers Brothers. It was billowing smoke of riots on campus and in the ghettos. Looking back at images of beehive hairstyles and hippy bellbottom pants it all seems so clearly like our past, something tinged with the sepia colors of old Polaroids — something we left behind.
The droughts that have parched big regions of the country are killing forests.
In the arid Southwest, the body count is especially high. Besides trying to keep wildfires from burning up these desiccated forests, there's not much anyone can do. In fact, scientists are only now figuring out how drought affects trees.
Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 8:51 am
I loved the TV show TheSix-Million Dollar man growing up. For me, Steve Austin (played by Lee Majors) wasn't less cool because he had bionic implants that enabled him to perform superhuman feats. He was more cool.