Under the Microscope

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

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

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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. 

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.

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.

Jacob McCleland / Harvest Public Media

 

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

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.

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.

Crowd packs field hearing on 'Blueways' designation

Aug 1, 2013
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.” 
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.

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.
Alan Cleaver / flickr

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. 


Abbie Fentress Swanson / Harvest Public Media

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

Fried Dough / Flickr

On this week's show, we'll take a closer look at smoking bans in Missouri.

Health care reform put on hold as lawmakers wrap up session

May 16, 2013
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.

Laura King

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

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.

Tony Webster / Flickr

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

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

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

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.

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.

Laura King

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

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.

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.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we’ll hear about changes in the ethanol industry and talk to the recipient of a prestigious science fellowship.

Telling stories about science

Dec 7, 2012
Lee Jian Chung / KBIA

The University of Missouri has awarded $25,000 to a group of scientists, journalists and other communicators on campus who want to make their research more accessible to the wider public. To do this, some graduate student researchers are looking to the art of storytelling to help describe their work.

Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

On this week's show, we’ll learn about the U.S. Department of Agriculture's ag census , and hear about the importance of getting a flu shot.

The science of food

Nov 22, 2012
Vanderbilt University / Flickr

This week, families across the country will gather around the table to celebrate the Thanksgiving Holiday.

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