Science and Technology

The Patient Care Tower Expansion at University Hospital was finished in March of 2013.  The eight-story, $190 million building earned the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The morning I met Elaine Rich, she was sitting at the kitchen table of her small town home in suburban Maryland trying to estimate refugee flows in Syria.

It wasn't the only question she was considering; there were others:

Will North Korea launch a new multistage missile before May 10, 2014?

Will Russian armed forces enter Kharkiv, Ukraine, by May 10? Rich's answers to these questions would eventually be evaluated by the intelligence community, but she didn't feel much pressure because this wasn't her full-time gig.

Gary Grigsby / KBIA News

You've probably read the headlines about the drought in California.  It got me to thinking about what many of us probably take for granted, our water supply.

Scientists have spotted a new dwarf planet at the edge of our solar system. It's a kind of pink ice ball that's way out there, far beyond Pluto.

Astronomers used to think this region of space was a no man's land. But the new findings suggest that it holds many small worlds — and there are even hints of an unseen planet bigger than Earth.

The internet age has brought to us the ability to get large amounts of information, from across the globe, delivered to our fingertips within seconds. This access provides us with a powerful amount of interconnectedness, and information (not to mention entertainment!). But how should this access and interconnectedness be distributed? Should it be available to everyone equally, or should big companies - like Netflix and Amazon - be restricted because of the amount of data they are streaming? What does all of this mean for the economy, democracy and those of us just trying to stream movies at home?

Internet connection
Sean MacEntee/Flickr Creative Commons

Intersection on Monday will focus on the issue of Internet (or "net") neutrality — a tussle at the crossroads of law and technology that could end up affecting Americans' wallets.

To prepare you for the show, we've pulled together a short explanation of the topic, including a timeline of key dates.

What is net neutrality?

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

 

Unmanned aerial vehicles aren’t just for spies or for the battlefield. Farmers all over the country think drones can give them a leg up, too.

Bridgit Bowden / KBIA

TV’s Bill Nye the science guy spoke at the University of Missouri Columbia last week as a part of the Life Sciences and Society Symposium.

Jesse Auditorium was packed on Saturday morning with people ready to learn about science. Tickets to the event were free, but ran out within 30 minutes of the box office opening. That’s more than 1700 tickets.

Jack Schultz is the director of MU’s Bond Life Sciences Center, and oversaw the event. He said  they weren’t initially expecting such a huge turnout.

Meredith Turk / KBIA

Deep in the heart of the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri a battles rages over the use of a National Park, The Ozark National Scenic Riverways. This National Park is visited by millions each year and was the first federally protected river system, established in 1964.

Carole Mitchell / Flickr

In Ste. Genevieve County, Mo., about 100 residents gathered for a town hall meeting in 2013 to discuss a new frac sand mine in their backyard. Officials from the county, state and mining company attended to answer questions residents might have.

Neighbors peppered the panel with questions: How will the mine’s sand dust be regulated? How will you prevent it from getting into our lungs? How will the traffic and explosions affect my health, my property and the ecosystem? Concerns about breathing in the microscopic sand particles, which could lead to silicosis in the lungs, abounded.

Jane Hardy, who lives about 1000 feet from the mine, said she wasn’t satisfied with the answers.

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.

Local biotech startup receives $200,000 investment

Mar 13, 2014
Amylovesyah / Flickr

Local biotech startup Animal Health Specialties has announced it is receiving an investment of more than $200,000 from Columbia-based investment group Centennial Investors.

MU welcomes author Rebecca Skloot

Mar 11, 2014
rebecca skloot
Melody Myers / KBIA

The University of Missouri welcomed Rebecca Skloot on Monday night at Jesse Auditorium as part of the university’s Decoding Science: Life Sciences and Society Symposium. Skloot spoke about her book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, and the lessons learned from doing research and writing the book.

New research out of Washington University has found that giving women free birth control does not increase risky sexual behavior.

The analysis included 7,751 St. Louis-area women between the ages of 14 and 45.

It was part of an even larger effort called the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, whose goal is to promote the use of long-term contraceptive methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) or implants.

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.

pills
images_of_money / flickr

Missouri has a backlog of about 22,000 parents and children waiting to learn whether they will be covered by Medicaid.

City council approves upgrades to 43-year-old turbine

Mar 5, 2014

The Columbia City Council voted Monday for improvements on Boiler 8 at the Municipal Power Plant. Boiler 8 is a natural gas-operating turbine and has been operating since 1970.

Bert van Dijk / flickr

In Missouri, certain businesses, schools, churches and government agencies are required by law to properly manage electronic waste or e-waste.

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.

Columbia bus
Columbia Transit

The City of Columbia discussed a new public transportation plan Friday in a meeting with Boone County, the Columbia School Board and the Chamber of Commerce.

Civic groups donate computers to families

Feb 21, 2014
computer keyboard
Remko van Dokkum / Flickr

For the 11th year, the Voluntary Action Center and the Downtown Optimist Club worked with the City of Columbia on a program called "Homes for Computers." This program gives used computers to low income Columbia families.

Rick McKernan, a member of the Downtown Optimist Club, described how families had to meet certain criteria as decided by The Voluntary Action Center before receiving the computers. The family has to have a child in the local school system, it can’t have a computer already, and must have financial need.

Jacob McCleland / KRCU

The debate over hydraulic fracturing is heating up again in rural Johnson County, Illinois.
David Stonner / Missouri Department of Conservation

In 2011, the Department of Conservation started reintroducing elk into the state of Missouri.  The elk were brought in from Kentucky and released onto land designated as the Elk Relocation Zone.  Part of this “zone” is conservation land in the Missouri Ozarks called Peck Ranch. 

Right now, there’s a herd of more than a hundred elk roaming around in the Missouri Ozarks.  But, you might not know it just by looking around.  You see, they’re actually kind of hard to find in the woods.

Safety app allows students more freedom

Feb 17, 2014

Students concerned for their safety have a new option when it comes to walking home at night.

Rachel Gleason / KBIA

National Black AIDS day was celebrated on the University of Missouri campus Friday with Free HIV testing. 

Gary Grigsby / KBIA NEWS

Before the early settlers arrived in the Missouri Ozarks fire naturally moved through the area every few years or so creating more open space.

A new online map could make it easier for people to find out details about scores of hazardous waste sites throughout Missouri.

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