Science Friday for Friday, September 20, 2013

Why Climate Change Ups the Odds of Fires, Floods

Colorado's record-breaking flood was caused, in part, by a blocking pattern parked over western North America. That same pattern also led to extreme drought in the West, worsening California's Rim Fire. Rutgers atmospheric scientist Jennifer Francis talks about possible connections between climate change and severe events like these.

Can Mass Transit Solve City Sprawl?

Commuters in Los Angeles spend some 60 hours a year stuck in traffic. But that could change, some experts say, as the city ramps up its mass transit. Guest host John Dankosky talks with a panel of city planners about how to add mass transit to L.A. and other urban areas — and get people to ride it.

These Smartphone Apps Track Every Step of Your Day

"Quantified self" apps know where you are, how you got there (by foot, bike, or train), who you're with — even how well you slept last night. Ellis Hamburger, a reporter at The Verge, reviews a handful of apps that track your daily movements, such as "Human" and "Moves."

Science Fairs 2.0

The science fair is a nearly century-old right of passage for students. What role does the traditional science fair play in the digital age? How can these competitions be reworked to include broader participation and encourage students, and teachers, to explore hands-on learning?

Birding the Fall Migration

September is peak season for the fall bird migration. Hummingbirds have already made the trip south while songbirds have been slow to move this year. Naturalist and author Kenn Kaufman shares tips on spotting different species and making your yard bird-friendly.

A Chronicle of a Whale's Life, Captured in Earwax

Tree rings can tell a story about the environmental conditions a tree faced over its lifetime. Similarly, plugs of blue whale earwax can provide information on the mammal's heath, chronicling pesticide exposure, stress levels, sexual maturity, and more. Sascha Usenko and Stephen Trumble of Baylor University explain how.
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