Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm meeeelting!

Since climate change was on the minds of many around the world this week, on the December 16th show we heard a Nature Stories podcast about the effects of warming on the arctic. One of the most dramatic effects can be seen in the satellite images above. These photos show the reduction of sea ice during winter months from the years 1979 to 2007. Continuous sea ice is important habitat for many of the mammals living in the arctic, such as polar bears, seals, and foxes. We also briefly talked about some of the major goals of the UN Conference on Climate Change that took place Dec 7-18th in Copenhagen.

In the news...

For the sound quiz, we heard vocalizations of critters of the arctic such as the arctic fox, harp seal, and caribou.

As for music, we heard from the artists: Robyn, Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Damien Jurado, Weezer, The Pixies, and The Who.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Farm animal conservation? Why I never...

In the December 9th show, we covered a random smattering of things, including the conservation of our farming heritage. We listened to a podcast from the Nature Conservancy series Nature Stories entitled "Philosophy of Pig". In this story, we heard from a woman who was laid off from her environmental policy job. Instead of finding a similar job, she decided to raise an endangered breed of swine called the Large Black Pig. She has found happiness in the more hands-on career switch and feels she is still working in the conservation field.

We also learned about the  Christmas Bird Count, organized by the Audubon Society each December. This event offers a chance for citizens to help with a bird survey effort that has been going on for over 100 years. Each year, recreational and professional ornithologists gather all over the Americas to count bird communities, compile the data, and share the information. To get involved, contact your local Audubon Society to find trip leaders. If you live in Northwest Arkansas, visit our regional Audubon's homepage.

Here are some news stories from the week:
No sound quiz this week, but we did learn how to identify different wood warblers by their song. We also heard from musical artists such as: Elbow, Talking Heads, The Books, The Soft Machine, Feist, The Violent Femmes, Miles Davis, Reeltime Travelers, and Andrew Bird.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nature and the Apocalypse

On the December 2nd show, I discussed several authors' takes on what life would be like for humans and nature after the apocalypse. First we talked about the new film "The Road" based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. In this story, a father and son make a journey through a post-apocalyptic world in which the sun is obscured by ash and plants and most animals have perished. Humans are pushed to their limits and have turned to cannibalism. It is a story of what humans will do to survive, both physically and emotionally.

We also heard some passages from the Kurt Vonnegut book "Galapagos". In this tale, the human population experiences a severe bottleneck event in which only a handful of fertile humans are left to continue the species after a disease renders most humans infertile. This motley crew of humans is shipwrecked on an island in the Galapagos archipelago. The story is told millions of years later from the viewpoint of ghost that inhabited the ship on which they traveled. At this point, humans have evolved to be coastal creatures that use their flippers and teeth to procure food from the ocean. As with most Vonnegut books, readers will laugh at the silliness of the characters, yet be uncomfortable with how much they can identify with their problems. For another laugh, we also heard from the comedian George Carlin who had some strong opinions on human arrogance exhibited when we try to "save the planet".

Finally, we heard an interview from the NY Times with author Alan Weisman who wrote "The World Without Us". In this book, Weisman explores how nature would take back the earth if the human population suddenly disappeared one day.

As for the news...
Music for this episode included: DJ Shadow, Doc Watson, Cat Stevens, M. Ward, Radiohead, Grandaddy, Islands, Mirah, and more.