Last week, Lisa-ann Gershwin, Director of the Australian Marine Stinger Advisory Services and author of Stung!, called us all the way from Tasmania to talk about jellyfish. She explained that the recent surge in the global jellyfish population is more than just a pain in the neck (or side, or leg...) for beach swimmers. As it turns out jellies also pose a serious threat to our global infrastructure.
"There have been some amazing things that jellyfish have been getting up to -- behaving very, very badly," she says.
So we weren't all that surprised to see that jellyfish are making headlines again. The New York Times reported today that, "in an episode that evokes B-grade sci-fi movie plots from the 1950s," a bloom of moon jellyfish in the Baltic Sea brought down a nuclear reactor in southeastern Sweden.
The cooling system intake pipes at the Oskarshamn nuclear power plant became clogged by the otherwise innocuous animal, forcing a shut down. The plant's operator said a similar incident occurred in 2005.
The pipes have been unclogged... for now, but engineers are concerned a new jellyfish bloom could be lurking just around the corner. Cue Jaws music.
On Monday, Mother Jones reporter Kate Sheppard was on The Leonard Lopate Show to talk about how coastal communities along the East Coast – including New York City - are adapting to rising sea levels and the ongoing threat of repeated floods. In her article “Under Water,” Sheppard wrote that, although Hurricane Sandy might have been a “100-year flood,” city officials have been repeatedly warned that global warming and rising water levels leave New York increasingly susceptible to major amounts of flooding.
Dr. Brett Singer, Staff Scientist and Principal Investigator in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, was recently on the Leonard Lopate Show to talk about indoor air pollution caused by cooking. According to the Berkeley Lab's study, the long term health effects of indoor pollutants is on par with that of car accidents and infectious disease, and the pollution we create in our kitchens can be a large part of that problem. Dr. Singer shared a few tips about cooking safely.
Since its inception, American Prairie Reserve has raised $60 million from well-known, ultra-rich donors in an effort to create a national park in Montana that would be about the size of the state of Connecticut, exceeding Yellowstone by a million acres. Pete Geddes is one of the managing directors of the American Prairie Reserve. He joins The Takeaway to discuss the group's efforts and how this privately-backed nature sanctuary would function.
In 1918 Irving Berlin composed a show tune called "God Bless America." But he never would have imagined that his work would eventually become a nationally known patriotic anthem. Sheryl Kaskowitz tells the story of its evolution and deep history in the new book, "God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song." She explains the song's unexpected journey that led it to become a staple of American culture.
Last Tuesday, Senator Wendy Davis filibustered her way to the national stage after spending nearly 11 hours speaking in order to block Senate Bill 5 from passing in the Texas legislature. But the very next day, Texas Governor Rick Perry announced he wasn’t giving up the fight just yet. Instead, the Governor called a special legislative session to take up the bill. Erica Greider is the senior editor at Texas Monthly.
It may be hard to believe, but just one month ago, the United States was a very different place to live. There were historic Supreme Court decisions out on affirmative action, voting rights and same-sex marriage, but there were also other decisions issued that some may have missed. Contributing their thoughts are Ron Christie, Republican political strategist, Farai Chideya, distinguished writer in residence at New York University’s Journalism Institute, and Jeffrey Rosen, professor of law at George Washington University, and President of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.
In his most recent New Yorker article, George Packer describes Silicon Valley's biggest blind spot: namely, that its wealth and its youthful demographics has given way to a distinct political and social worldview that mimics libertarianism. But however insulated the culture of Silicon Valley, the fast-paced greed of twenty-something, rich, white males, is not necessarily its only legacy. Hamish McKenzie says Silicon Valley can and does change the world for the better by inventing products that have the power to enrich our lives.
Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with close to 20 million people living within its borders. For its residents, it is also an incredibly polluted place to live.But as the population, and the pollution, grow, we ask: Will Mexico City, and all major global cities, survive the centuries? In recent years, there has been a push to make Mexico City a greener and more sustainable place to live.
Facebook issued a statement Tuesday saying it had failed to effectively remove misogynistic images and language from its pages. The announcement is in response to a campaign led by feminist advocacy groups to crack down on Facebook user content that glorifies violence against women. But is this an absolute victory? Lindy West, staff writer at Jezebel.com, and Nancy Willard, Director for the Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use speak about it.
There was no prom for the high school seniors of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. The prom, along with other normal high school end-of-the-year activities in these schools were cancelled in response to the protests known as the Children's Crusade in early May that year. But today, fifty years later, members of the class of 1963 are reuniting in Birmingham for the prom they never had.
Jennifer Tolbert, director of State Health Reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation, responds to listener questions and concerns about the Affordable Care Act.
The Intensive Care Unit of a hospital is a place most of us hope we’ll never get to know. But for some families, these places can suddenly become all too familiar. Other people, like James Kelly, spend most of their time inside this environment. As a critical care RN in the ICU at Lovelace Women’s Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he’s seen both critical illness and the way doctors, nurses, patients, and their families navigate their way through these circumstances.
According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, roughly half of American adults do not feel they have enough information to understand how the Affordable Care Act will affect their lives. As this major, complex system begins to take effect, we analyze what it's looking like on the ground - in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and state legislatures around the country. What do these changes look like, and where are the seams starting to show?
Last week, 44 year old Kenneth Bae became the sixth American detained in North Korea since 2009. His sentence is the most severe punishment to date. He faces 15 years of hard labor for committing “hostile acts” against the North Korean government. Now, the U.S. is faced with a diplomacy choice. With tensions between the U.S. and North Korea already high, what should be the course of action this time?
As a sophomore in high school, Bruce Holbert used to sleep in the room where his father stored several rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition. This proximity to guns led to a familiarity with them. He accepted them into his life as a part of being a man. But all that changed, when he accidentally killed his friend with a service revolver, and he realized that even though he was comfortable around guns, he didn't know how to use them safely.
This week a large team of “medical reinforcements” including Navy nurses, corpsmen, and specialists, were deployed to Guantanamo Bay as a response to the ongoing inmate hunger strike. With about 100 inmates refusing food in protest, the use of force-feeding tubes is now widespread, due to a military directive that aims to keep patients alive, regardless of if they want to be fed or not, or live or not. Carlos Warner is a federal public defender who represents 11 Guantanamo detainees.
Anne Price, Program Director for Closing the Racial Wealth Gap Initiative evaluates a proposal made yesterday on our program by Darrick Hamilton for baby bonds as a policy intervention to help alleviate growing income inequality in the US.
The explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas killed at least 14 and left some 200 people injured. But those casualties are not just of plant employees and first responders, they are also of ordinary civilians. We might not all live near fertilizer plants, but explosive chemicals can be found in storage sites and cargo carriers throughout the country. If there are industrial dangers lurking in our own neighborhoods, how are we kept safe from them?
With “varying degrees of confidence,” the White House announced Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad has employed the use of chemical weapons in Syria. P.J Crowley is the former Department of State spokesperson and current fellow at George Washington University Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication. He offers insights on what this may mean for U.S. foreign policy toward Syria.