I've been hearing strange wind stories all my life. The best ones are both wildly improbable but still true, like how the Empire State Building gets hit by wafts of barley flying in on jet streams from Iowa, or how tons of sand from the Saharan desert rain down every year onto Brazilian rainforests. You never know what the wind will bring. The wind decides.
Election Day 2012 is just around the corner, and many Americans will be casting their ballots on electronic voting machines. But how reliable are these devices? Michael Alvarez, professor of political science at Caltech, discusses the technologies at your polling station.
Although it was written in 1882, Henrik Ibsen's play An Enemy of the People still resonates today. Richard Thomas and Boyd Gaines, the stars of a new production of the play, join Ira Flatow to talk about the play's themes of power and truth, and the role of whistle-blowers.
The fury of the great storm Sandy shocked a lot of people, like John Miksad, vice president of the New York electric utility Consolidated Edison. "We hit 14-foot tides — that was the biggest surprise," he told a press conference this week. "The water just kept rising and rising and rising."
That rising water flooded streets, buildings and parts of the city's underground electricity grid. Hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lost power. But it might have been worse if the power lines had not been underground.
Residents of Moonachie and Little Ferry, N.J., are beginning to clear the damage after their communities were inundated by floodwaters. The flooding occurred when a system of levees and berms was unable to control the storm surge pushed ashore by Superstorm Sandy.
Geologist Jeffrey Mount of the University of California, Davis, isn't surprised. "There really are only two kinds of levees," he says, "those that have failed, and those that will fail."
Originally published on Thu November 1, 2012 5:48 pm
Like millions of others, I've been heartsick this week at the loss of life and destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy, especially along the Jersey Shore near where I grew up. Among the few bright spots have been the selfless acts of rescuers.