Science and Technology

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.

Every winter, hundreds of trumpeter swans migrate from their breeding grounds in Wisconsin to the Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, just across the Mississippi River from Alton.

This year there are about 900 of them, a record for our area.

On a recent cold, blustery St. Louis morning, I got up well before dawn to drive the 20 miles north to the sanctuary and record this audio postcard.

Gary Grigsby / KBIA News

The Washington D.C based Citizens Climate Lobby says if you want to take action on climate change one simple step you can take is to contact your members of Congress and ask them to support the Climate Change Act.

St. Louis Public Radio

The Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge is scheduled to open early next month.

The new bridge will carry Interstate 70 over the Mississippi River. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the four-lane, cable-stayed bridge and associated highway projects are being funded with a combination of Missouri, Illinois and federal money.

New data are adding to concerns that exposure to radioactive waste in Coldwater Creek could be causing cancers and other health problems.

Nuclear waste generated by the Mallinckrodt Company was dumped in North St. Louis County after World War II, contaminating the creek and surrounding areas.

Fantail Media / Flickr

Ameren Missouri has begun cleaning up a Superfund site in downtown Columbia that is contaminated by tars from a former manufactured-gas plant.

The utility plans to remove about 36,000 tons of dirt from the site and truck it to the Jefferson City landfill. Work is expected to be completed by the end of July.

The manufactured-gas plant was located at the site from 1875 to 1932. The company used the site for its headquarters after coal gasification ended.

Courtesy of Missouri Department of Natural Resources

Update 11.21 a.m. 1/15/14: MDC reports the wolf was shot by the landowner while hunting. The department says wolves can be mistaken for coyotes sometimes, though coyotes rarely grow to more than 30 pounds. Coyotes may be taken by hunting with the right permit.

A report says Truman Memorial Veterans' Hospital failed to provide a safe environment for a 78-year-old man beaten to death last year at the Columbia facility.

The report for the Veterans Affairs Heartland Network was included in materials released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by The Columbia Daily Tribune.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants more air monitoring at the Bridgeton Landfill, where an underground fire has been smoldering for more than three years.

Attorney General Koster asked the St. Louis County Circuit Court on Thursday to order the landfill's owner to collect more data on carbon monoxide emissions.

ToastyKen / Flickr

Human settlement on Mars is a long way away, but two St. Louis-area residents are on the short list to be among the first settlers of the Red Planet.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 29-year-old Maggie Duckworth of Bridgeton and 26-year-old Tim Gowan of University City are among the 1,058 initial candidates chosen from a pool of 200,000 who applied for a one-way trip to Mars as part of the privately funded Mars One mission.

Sam Lin / KBIA

The Columbia City Council voted Monday night to increase the city’s renewable energy mandate. By 2018, Columbia Water and Light will now need to get 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources – up from 10 percent as spelled out in the renewable energy mandate passed by Columbia voters in 2004. The future goals were also increased to 25 percent by 2023 and 30 percent by 2029. The previous goal for 2023 was 15 percent and there was no goal set for 2029.

First Ward Councilmember Fred Schmidt was one of the councilmembers that voted to pass the change 5-2.

“The energy future and the environmental future calls for this – for doing something and I believe this is the right step. We don’t know what the future is going to hold, so we shoot for a multiplicity of sources,” Schmidt said.

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