Under the Microscope

Thursdays at 4:45 p.m.

KBIA's weekly look at science, technology, and health in Missouri and beyond. Find us on iTunes

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MU's School of Veterinary Medicine is in the research phase with bacteria and molecules that could change the treatment of cancer. 

Amylovesyah / Flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, we are looking into cancer research and a new hunting technology. 

dishfunctional / Flickr

You may need a camo case for your smart phone now. Last week, the Missouri Department of Conservation released a hunting app. It lets hunters report their yield right from their phone. 

Missouri Department of Natural Resources

  On this week's Under the Microscope, Missouri is one of ten states at risk for sinkholes. 

cigarette
Sudipto_Sarkar / flickr

On this week's Under the Microscope, Springfield schools implement local foods in kids lunches and research from Washington University is shedding light on schizophrenia.

Michael Cote / flickr

A respiratory illness is sending hundreds of kids to hospitals in ten states, including Missouri.  

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Local food is no longer just a novelty. Farmers markets are growing nationwide and farms that sell directly to consumers brought in $1.3 billion in 2012, up eight percent from just five years earlier.

Jessica Naudziunas / Harvest Public Media

  Welcome to Under the Microscope, KBIA's weekly at stories in science, health and technology. I'm Maureen Lewis-Stump

KBIA

  Columbia's sewer system is aging and deteriorating. The city council took steps to address the problem, but not without controversy. 

ambulance
Creative Commons / Flickr

  On this week's Under the Microscope, we take a look at Smart 911, an emergency service allowing 911 operators to obtain vital information for callers, and Missouri's plans to make old railways into trails. 

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Late summer in the Midwest is tomato season. And whether you’re shopping at the grocery store, a discount chain or your local farmer’s market, you’ll find the price varies for a plump, juicy tomato. 

Abbie Fentress Swanson/Harvest Public Media

The Environmental Protection Agency released a proposed rule in June to cut carbon emissions by thirty percent by 2030. Since the announcement, a question has come up. How will the rule impact coal-fired power plants and coal-related industries?

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently announced $3.9 million in funding toward developing a vaccine for a disease crushing hog farms.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

For a long time, Texas was the center of cattle country. But drought is re-shaping the beef map and raising the price of steak. Ranchers are moving their herds from California to Colorado and from Texas to Nebraska by the thousands. They’re seeking refuge from dry weather and, as Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, cattle producers in the Midwest are making the most of it.

tractor on farmland
(tpsdav/pixabay)

Coming up we’ll take a look and how big data and agriculture are finding themselves intertwined with questions about privacy.

KBIA

Honeybee colonies have been dying off at alarming rates in recent years. In the Midwest, some people wonder if planting row after row of corn and soybeans may be part of the problem. Researchers in Iowa are trying to find out. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports on one factor that may contribute to the grim situation for pollinators in the corn belt.

Nearly 130,000 homes were permitted to be built in Missouri last year, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.  KBIA’s Morgan Dzakowic reports one unique house under construction in Columbia stands out among its neighbors.

Kristofor Husted / KBIA

Farmers can expect more challenges, thanks to climate change. That’s according to a recent report released by the White House.

Iowa State University professor Gene Takle co-authored the chapter on agriculture in the 2014 National Climate Assessment. He says expected changes in humidity, precipitation and temperature may produce more extreme weather events.

“We need to be thinking forward as to the kinds of adaptation strategies that we need to adopt while at the same time we are looking for measures to mitigate the underlying cause of climate change,” Takle says.

Staff / Missouri Department of Conservation

The White House released a new climate change report Tuesday. It predicts threats to agriculture including severe weather, more pests and greater demands for water and energy. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports.

Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

    

Water experts in the Midwest are worried about Asian carp. They say the invasive fish are taking over U.S. waterways -- the Mississippi River and its tributaries like the Illinois and Missouri Rivers, where they out compete native fish.

But as Jacob McCleland reports for Harvest Public Media, river watchers at their wits end have found new hope. And it lies on dinner tables in China.

Monarch butterflies are in trouble. The latest estimates show their numbers have dropped dramatically at their wintering grounds in Mexico.

Marissane Lewis-Stump / KBIA

When we think of plants, intelligence is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. But maybe plants are more than a decorative feature to our dining room table.

KBIA’s Marissanne Lewis-Thompson checked in with a monthly science conversation series in Columbia. This month’s topic: the secret lives of plants.

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

 

For years in most states, Medicaid eligibility had been limited to disabled adults, seniors needing long-term care and very low-income parents with their children.

Then along came the Affordable Care Act. It was designed to grow health insurance coverage across the board. One of its tenets was to expand Medicaid coverage beyond the extremely poor and disabled to include all adults earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty levels.

But in 2012, the Supreme Court gave states the chance to opt out Medicaid expansion.

Illinois is one of 25 states that went ahead with expanding the program. Neighboring Missouri did not.

We looked into the impacts of those differing decisions. Here’s what we found out.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

The University of Missouri invited Gerald Friedman, a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, to speak to students and local Columbia residents earlier last week.  The lecture was hosted by the MU Truman School of Public Affairs as the Monroe-Paine annual lecture event.  Friedman’s lecture focused on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the future possibility of a single payer healthcare system.

Peter Gray / Harvest Public Media

For nearly a year now, hog farmers have been battling a virus. It’s deadly to newly born piglets and farmers are scrambling to protect their herds. With fewer pigs comes less pork. Harvest Public Media’s Amy Mayer reports.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

Most climate models paint a bleak picture for the Great Plains a century from now. Scientists say it’ll be warmer, and the air will be more rich with carbon dioxide. To what degree is still unclear. But even small fluctuations in climate throw farmland ecosystems out of whack. A new study shows certain invasive plant species will not only be able to withstand climate change, but thrive. Harvest Public Media’s Luke Runyon has more.

Shibu Jose is the director of the Center for Agroforestry at the University of Missouri Columbia.

Jesse Moss, The Overnighters

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes

The fracking boom in much of the U.S. has opened up a new path for people searching for work, of course, but also for redemption and reinvention.  In the film “The Overnighters,” filmmaker Jesse Moss travels to Williston, N.D., to tell the story of Lutheran Pastor Jay Reinke and the workers he houses in his church and home. Reinke invites newcomers to sleep in extra rooms at the church and to sleep in their cars in the parking lot while they look for jobs and more permanent housing. Some of the men even live in the pastor’s home with his family.

Particle Fever

This story is part of True/False Conversations, a series of in-depth interviews with the filmmakers of this year’s True/False Festival.  Find the rest of them here or download the podcast on iTunes.

On March 14, 2013, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland tentatively confirmed the existence of the Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the “God particle.” Its discovery was the culmination of nearly 30 years of work. The film "Particle Fever" captures the tension and drama in a group of dedicated scientists on the brink of a once in a lifetime discovery.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

Many people struggle to protect their data online, whether it’s what to share on Facebook or how to react to targeted google ads. Farmers are worried about some of the same issues. 

They’re using precision information from their fields to prescribe exact doses of everything from seeds to water to fertilizer. That farm data could help drive new levels of productivity. But as Harvest Public Media’s Grant Gerlock reports, farmers also have to decide just how much they want to share.

Amy mayer / Harvest Public Media

This week, we'll track a virus that's spreading through hog farms, and hear a flock of migrating trumpeter swans.

Carol Ward / University of Missouri

Our hand, the one we use to scroll down this page, is a feature that helps distinguishes us as a species. Carol Ward, professor at the MU Department of Pathology and Anatomical Sciences, puts it this way:

“What we can do with our hands, the way we manipulate objects and use tools and technology, shape all of who we are as a species and how we adapt to the world.”

execution gurney
California Department of Corrections / Wikimedia Commons

Missouri has put two people to death since last November, with another execution scheduled for late January. St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon's Chris McDaniel and Véronique LaCapra have been looking into the state's secretive and controversial lethal injection process. They've discovered the state may be ignoring its own laws in carrying out the death penalty.

 

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