Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Test Hiatus No More

NYSK has been on hiatus for 3 weeks because I have been taking comprehensive exams for my doctoral program. The written portion is now over and I have just the oral exam left. As you can see by the posts below, I have been playing catch-up today and hopefully will be back regularly, even through the holidays.

Close the loop!

Humans are trashy... it's a natural fact. In the November 4th show, we learned about some human events that should probably have their own landfill! What are humans doing to deal with all the trash we generate? We could just throw it all away, or we could take three easy steps: Recycle, Reduce, Reuse... and close the loop! You can reduce and reuse by making smart decisions when it comes to purchasing. For example, avoid products with excessive packaging (reduce) and use cloth shopping bags (reuse).

Unfortunately for recycling, the success of this effort is partially determined by the facilities and services available to citizens. The city of Fayetteville, AR (home to KXUA) has had great success with its curbside recycling program, and we talked about some of the guidelines for what exactly can be placed in the green bins. The University of Arkansas campus has an active recycling program that is now sometimes extended to cover big events, such as football games (see Recycling with the Razorbacks).

As for the news, we heard about:
No sound quiz this week, but we heard from the likes of Modest Mouse, Sonic Youth, The Cramps, G. Love, Grandaddy, The Faint, Bloc Party, Trinity Roots, and more.

In nature, there are scarier things than ghosts!

In the October 28th show, we learned about bark and wood boring insects such as the European Elm Bark Beetle (Scolytus multistriatus), which is nonnative to the United States. This beetle is a vector for Dutch Elm Disease (DED), caused by a fungus which is transported via the water carrying vessels (i.e. xylem) of elm trees. In response, the tree plugs up its own xylem, thus stopping the movement of the fungus, but unfortunately also blocking movement of water and nutrients. An infected tree eventually loses its leaves prematurely and experiences branch dieback. Elms are commonly planted in urban areas because of their beautiful shape, so the effects of DED are quite visible. Treatment only prolongs the life of the tree at best, so research is currently underway to develop DED-resistant elms.

There are many stories of invasive insects in the U.S. that are changing our forests. For more information on such insects, visit the Forest Pests website. One thing you can do to help prevent the spread of damaging insects, particularly those that bore into wood, is to only burn firewood in areas where it originated, i.e. don't move firewood.

We also learned about the history of pumpkin carving and heard about some recent tidbits from nature:
For the sound quiz, we heard from some traditionally scary beasts such as vampire bats, screech owls, ravens, wolves, and mountain lions. Music featured included David Bowie, Aphex Twin, Mogwai, Blur, Starlight Mints, Devendra Banhart, Liz Phair, Yo La Tengo, and more!