Under the Microscope

Thursdays at 5:20pm, Fridays at 8:21am

KBIA's weekly look at science, technology, and health in Missouri and beyond.

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Under the Microscope
5:45 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Rural residents divided over wind energy lines

In O’Brien County, Iowa, Jay Hofland has agreed to sell part of his land to an energy company for a conver station that would mark the beginning of a high voltage transmission traversing the state.
Credit Durrie Bouscaren for Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear about efforts to construct wind turbines across the Midwest, and learn why Columbia's "Big Tree" is getting some much needed TLC.

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Politics
4:39 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Execution Drug Sources No Longer Public After Mo. Rule Change

A picture of propofol, a drug Mo. was planning to use for lethal injection. Under the state's new rule, showing who made or supplied the drug would be illegal.
Veronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:05 pm

Two weeks ago, Gov. Jay Nixon instructed the Missouri Department of Corrections to come up with a new procedure for carrying out lethal injections.

On Tuesday, the department announced that it had chosen a new execution drug: pentobarbital. But the state also made a change that will end up making it harder, if not impossible, to know where the drugs come from.

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Under the Microscope
7:24 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Why Gov. Nixon halted an execution over propofol concerns

Credit Veronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, Governor Jay Nixon postponed the execution of an inmate that was set for later this month. That execution was going to be carried out using propofol, a common anesthetic that has never been used in a lethal injection before. So why the change in plans?

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Science, Health and Technology
8:38 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Will Marshall be the next Mo. city to go smoke free?

Credit Fried Dough / flickr

Citizens of Marshall, Mo., are discussing a possible ordinance restricting smoking in businesses and public areas.

At a Tuesday, Oct. 15 meeting, Breathe Easy Marshall, an organization of citizens, business owners and healthcare professionals, presented facts about secondhand smoke and findings from Missouri communities with smoke-free ordinances already in effect.  The panel discussed the potential effects of a smoke-free policy on general health and local businesses.

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Science, Health and Technology
4:00 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Missouri's hunger rates on the rise, atlas provides comprehensive data on the problem

Credit Marcus Mo / Flickr

The 2013 edition of the Missouri Hunger Atlas is a 145-page-strong document and, according to one of its main creators, has more than you'd ever want to know about the extent of food insecurity in the Show-Me State. Missouri is in the top ten of states with highest number of food-insecure residents in the nation.

Before the atlas, no one really kept a centralized collection of the different aspects of Missouri’s food insecurity problem. 

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Under the Microscope
4:41 pm
Thu September 19, 2013

Selling the Affordable Care Act to rural areas

Bob Bernt and his wife, Kristine, have gone without health insurance for the last 20 years, and don’t plan on buying coverage to meet the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's episode, we'll hear why some rural residents are reluctant to sign up for insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

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Under the Microscope
10:34 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Pork checkoff funds research, can't please all producers

John Mabry, an animal science professor at Iowa State University, has a grant from the National Pork Board to study nutrition in Berkshire hogs.
Credit Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear about a program that funds pork research, and revisit a story about food hubs.

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Under the Microscope
5:27 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Controlling feral hog populations

A trapped feral hog huffs and puffs inside a corral near Piedmont, Mo. Conservation agents had been baiting this site for one week to lure the pig into the trap.
Credit Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

 

On this week's episode, we'll hear about efforts to control feral hog populations.

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Under the Microscope
5:28 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Managing school gardens and battling invasive pests

Don Proffitt, Pottersville, holds a tall thistle he removed from his farm.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

This week on Under the Microscope we'll talk about school gardens, and hear how some farmers are managing an invasive thistle species.

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Under the Microscope
7:05 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Exploiting the soybean; Ozarks watershed gets 'Blueways' designation

The theatre in the West Plains Civic Center was the site of the Congressional Hearing on the Blueways Designation for the White River Watershed, which has since been rescinded by the federal government.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

On this week's show, we'll discover some lesser known uses of soybeans, and hear about a decision to redesignate a the White River Watershed in the Ozarks.

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Science, Health and Technology
6:57 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Crowd packs field hearing on 'Blueways' designation

The theatre in the West Plains Civic Center was the site of the Congressional Hearing on the Blueways Designation for the White River Watershed, which has since been rescinded by the federal government.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

The term “Blueways” has some Ozarks residents seeing red.  At least, that was the case at a Congressional field hearing Monday in West Plains over the “National Blueways Program.” 
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Science, Health and Technology
5:47 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Scientists make gains in soybean science, hospitals use medicinal leeches

Credit m_schipp22 / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll hear about a recent breakthrough in soybean science, and learn about the use of medicinal leeches in one Missouri hospital.

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Under the Microscope
5:06 pm
Thu July 18, 2013

Agricultural groups concerned about toxic grass; food hubs try to grow local farms

Rancher Roger Zimmershied poses with some of his cattle on his ranch just south of Sweet Springs, Mo. Zimmershied recently switched from Kentucky 31 tall fescue to MaxQ tall fescue in two of his pastures.
Credit Jake Godin for Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll hear why a popular grass for feeding cattle may be doing more harm than good, and learn about the popularity of food hubs.
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Under the Microscope
11:59 am
Mon July 15, 2013

Insurance industry 'whistleblower' talks health care reform

Credit Alan Cleaver / flickr

Listen to KBIA's Harum Helmy chat with insurance industry 'whistleblower' Wendell Potter on Under the Microscope.

For about two decades, Wendell Potter spun carefully crafted public relations messages for Humana and Cigna, the insurance companies where he worked. He recalls convincing consumers that high-deductible insurance plans would be good for everyone; telling them that by paying more, they’d have more skin in the game of their own health.

“I frankly just got so disillusioned and, ultimately, disgusted with what I was doing,” Potter said.

He said through his own research, he knew high-deductible plans were not the best insurance coverage for those with middle-class income.

“The median household income in this country is just barely $50,000,” Potter said. “A family that’s earning $50,000, if they’re in a plan with a high deductible, they face bankruptcy or foreclosure [if something happens]. I’ve talked to a lot of people who have lost their homes and have to declare bankruptcy because they have been in these kinds of plans. They think they have adequate coverage and they don’t.”

In 2008, Potter left the insurance industry and became a consumer advocate. He testified in Congress against high-deductible plans. In 2010, he published a book detailing the ways public-relations practices of the insurance industry affect American health care. 

Now, Potter writes columns and travels around the country to debunk what he calls are “myths” about the Affordable Care Act. The law imposes stricter rules on insurance companies. They can no longer refuse coverage for consumers who have a pre-existing condition, for example. Companies also have to spend at least 80 percent of every dollar of a consumer's premium for patient care and quality improvements, not profits or administrative costs. 

On a recent visit to Columbia, Potter sat down with KBIA's Harum Helmy to chat about health care reform and the insurance industry's response to it. 

Listen to a longer version of the interview.

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Science, Health and Technology
5:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Scientists check for effects of ag runoff; can a CSA ever be too big?

One of the U.S. Geological Survey teams collecting water samples and checking cages for fish eggs in Missouri this summer: biologist Diana Papoulias, chemist Dave Alvarez, hydrologist Peter Van Metre, biologist Diane Nicks and toxicologist Don Tillitt.
Credit Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we'll discuss ag runoff and community supported agriculture.

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Under the Microscope
2:01 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

Missouri's smoking bans spread to smaller towns

Credit Fried Dough / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll take a closer look at smoking bans in Missouri.
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Science, Health and Technology
5:30 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Health care reform put on hold as lawmakers wrap up session

Anita Sutherland, seated, is one of hundreds of thousands of Missourians who would receive government health care if Missouri lawmakers opted into the federal Medicaid expansion plan.
Credit Jennifer Davidson / KSMU

Rain is drizzling on the roughly 40 people standing in line outside the Good Samaritan Care Clinic in rural Mountain View, Missouri. Some have been standing for hours. At 5:30 pm, the clinic doors swing open, and the patients flood into a clean, bare bones waiting room.

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Under the Microscope
5:21 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Regret may not always be a bad thing, researcher says

Laura King is a professor in the University of Missouri Department of Psychological Sciences.
Credit Laura King

On this week's show, we'll discuss why regret might not always be a bad thing

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Under the Microscope
5:45 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Addressing death through a greeting card

Photo of Regina Holliday and her husband prior to 2009. Frederick Allen Holliday II died in June of 2009.
Photo courtesy of Regina Holliday

When Regina Holliday’s husband, Frederick Allen Holliday II, went to the hospital in 2009, he was already at the end stages of kidney cancer.

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Under the Microscope
5:03 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

How accurate are shows such as 'CSI'?

Credit Tony Webster / Flickr

There’s a certain allure to crime scene forensics. What else could explain the immense popularity of the CSI television franchise.

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Under the Microscope
5:45 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Is sensitivity to chemicals a medical illness?

Debbie Lose-Kelly, a born again Christian, stands outside of Concord Baptist Church in Jefferson City on October 28, 2012.
Lukas Udstuen KBIA

Debbie Lose-Kelly says she spends her entire life in avoidance of the everyday chemicals like fragrances, shampoos or laundry detergents. She lives with severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity — an illness that most in the medical community aren’t convinced is an actual disease.

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Under the Microscope
6:10 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

On revised fuel standards and the benefits of pet ownership

Spencer Thomas Flickr

This week, we'll hear about efforts to increase the amount of ethanol added to gasoline, and learn about out the potential benefits of owning a dog.

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Science, Health and Technology
9:35 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Healthcare overhaul could change the way farmers access insurance

Marilyn Andersen, who raises angora goats and llamas for wool near Story City, Iowa, is one of many farmers and ranchers entering the individual health insurance marketplace.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

This week, we'll examine the Affordable Care Act's impact on farmers, and hear how one enzyme manufacturer was able to grow its business.

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Science, Health and Technology
1:33 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

"Computer Chess" to show at 2013 True/False Film Festival

Computer Chess LLC

Andrew Bujalski is a longtime filmmaker. This year, the True False Film Festival includes Bujalski’s latest film – Computer Chess. It’s a fictional movie set 30 years ago. It focuses on Chess Software Programmers competing in a weeknd tournament.

Bujalski is best known for creating the “mumblecore” genre with his 2002 film “Funny Ha Ha.”

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Under the Microscope
6:58 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

The science behind genetically modified seeds

Researchers at DuPont Pioneer’s facility near Des Moines, Iowa, test these varieties of corn.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

This week, we’ll hear from Harvest Public Media’s Science of the Seed Series.

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Under the Microscope
7:48 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Winter wheat farmers face pressure; new ballooning record set in Antarctica

An aerial view of farmland affected by the drought in northeastern Colorado in July 2012. Green circles show irrigated crops next to yellowed, dryland wheat fields.
Lance Cheung USDA

This week, we'll hear how some winter wheat farmers are faring in the new year, and talk to a researcher that helped set a new ballooning record in Antarctica.

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Under the Microscope
4:50 pm
Thu January 17, 2013

Limited progress on animal lab site in Kansas

The site for the proposed federal National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
Laura Siegler Harvest Public Media

In Manhattan, Kan., the site of National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility is still just a huge hole in the ground nearly a year after the initial ground-breaking.

But there has been some progress. In December, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, which will operate the huge animal disease lab if it is ever completed, got title to the land when the city of Manhattan officially deeded over the 47-acre site. It’s a move that supporters hope will breathe new life into the beleaguered lab.

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Under the Microscope
6:02 pm
Thu January 3, 2013

Regret may not always be a bad thing, researcher says

Laura King is a professor in the University of Missouri Department of Psychological Sciences
Laura King

On this week's show, we'll discuss why regret might not always be a bad thing.

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Under the Microscope
5:59 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Safety scrutiny turns to grain

Pellets are cooled and dried in a grain hopper until they’re ready for shipping or storing.
Amy Mayer Harvest Public Media

On this week's show we’ll hear about new food safety regulations and how they could impact grain producers, and learn about a study that looked at online avatars and personal health.

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Under the Microscope
5:50 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Problematic US horsemeat shows up in Europe

Silky Shark, a racehorse that earned over $100,000 during his racing career.
Courtesy Ken Terpenning

On this week’s show, we’ll hear about problematic US horsemeat showing up in Europe, and hear from one researcher about ways to convince people to lead a healthier lifestyle.

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