Science Pub | The Skin You’re In

The Skin You’re In
Better Understanding the Body’s Largest Organ

Guy German, PhD
November 10 at 7pm ET 

Learn about the complex chemical and biological structures that protect our skin from cosmetics, sunlight, bacteria, and a host of environmental hazards. See how biomimicry helps scientists design products that alleviate pesky skin issues. Explore amazing breakthroughs like “DNA sunscreens” that boost protection the longer we’re in the sun. 

Dr. German is Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Binghamton University. His research focuses on understanding “soft matter” for use in biomedical applications. His team studies how skin protects us while allowing essential compounds in.

Science Pub Returns This Fall

Science Pub returns this fall from the comfort of your home, please join us for these exciting virtual experiences. The Science of Sex: Beyond Binary
Exploring Gender Through an Anthropological Lens
Speaker: Aviva Friedman
Sept 15 at 7pm

Biological sex is often thought of as a binary: male/female. Though many of us realize that gender identity can be quite expansive, we sometimes get lost in the weeds of what’s “based in biology.” This talk will explore the biological components that make up physical sex and examine how they relate to gender identity across cultures. Aviva Friedman is Community Educator at Family Planning of South Central New York.

Science Pub BING presents Ticks in our Town: What every Northeasterner Needs to Know

Here is the recorded Science Pub from June 9th
Ticks in our Town: What every Northeasterner Needs to Know


Join Dr. Amanda Roome, Bassett Research Institute, for a conversation and Q &A on ticks and how to prepare for summer. 

Everyone’s ready to get outside –– especially this year. If the spread of tick-borne disease has you worried, you’re not alone. But before you miss the beauty of the great Northeast in spring, let’s turn to science to explore:

Tick-borne diseases in our area
Seasonal hazards of exposure
Risk factors of Lyme disease
How to work safely outdoors
The role that deer and opossums play

Enjoy this science pub from the comfort of your home. RSVP HERE. 

Guest Speaker:

Dr. Amanda Roome is a Research Scientist at the Bassett Research Institute in Cooperstown, NY.  She has performed extensive field and laboratory research on tick-borne diseases in New York State since 2012, and has recently begun expanding her research throughout the Northeast.  Her research explores the risk of exposure to Lyme and other tick-borne pathogens, risk factors associated with Lyme infection, quality of life changes resulting from acute or chronic Lyme infection, and the occupational hazards of tick-borne disease exposure in forestry workers.

Getting Lost in “The Great Pause” Online Discussion

Getting Lost in “The Great Pause” Online Discussion

This event took place on Thursday April 30 at 7pm. Watch a recording of the event below.

We’re experiencing the coronavirus outbreak as one, yet we all have different coping styles. Are you focused on logistics? Struggling to stay motivated in a strangely isolated world? Are you unable to concentrate? Or confused about your sudden jumble of new roles?

The Gene: An Intimate History

Join WSKG for an online screening  April 9th at 7 pm 


Scientific genetics, little more than a century old, holds at once the promise of eradicating disease and the threat of altering the very essence of what it means to be human. “The Gene: An Intimate History” traces the dizzying evolution of this new science as researchers race to identify treatments for genetic diseases, such as cancer and sickle cell anemia, and to perfect tools for rewriting DNA. Guest Speakers:

Chris Durrance

Dr. Maria Garcia-Garcia
Cornell University Associate Professor Molecular Biology and Genetics

Dr. Cedric Feschotte
Cornell University Professor Molecular Biology & Genetics

“The Gene: An Intimate History” brings vividly to life the story of today’s revolution in medical science through present-day tales of patients and doctors at the forefront of the search for genetic treatments, interwoven with a compelling history of the discoveries that made this possible and the ethical challenges raised by the ability to edit DNA with precision.  
The series uses science, social history and personal stories to weave together a historical biography of the human genome while also exploring the stunning breakthroughs in understanding the impact genes play on heredity, disease and behavior. From the story of the remarkable achievements of the earliest gene hunters and the bitterly fought race to read the entire human genome, to the unparalleled ethical challenges of gene editing, the documentary is a journey through key genetics discoveries that are some of the greatest achievements in the history of science.

What is hiding in the Chenango River and how can you assist scientists in finding out?

By Science Intern, Ethan Campbell

The Chenango River is home to a number of macroinvertebrates, in this case: juvenile insect species. These species hatch in the water column and live the early stages of their lives in said aquatic ecosystems. For some of these species, the majority of their existence is spent as juveniles in the water. The Missouri Department of Conservation states that Dobsonflies may live as juveniles in the water column for 2-3 years, while only living as adults for weeks. In our brief sample, we found nymphs of caddisflies, stoneflies, mayflies, and dobsonflies. According to Dr. Julian Shepherd Professor at Binghamton University, these species serve as the basis of many food chains.

Science Communication Storytelling Class at Cornell University

Communicating science to the public is a skillset many scientists require, but few are professionally trained in. There is a disconnect between learning science and being an effective communicator of it. Through a collaboration with Cornell University, TST BOCES, Engaged Cornell and WSKG, a new science communication class was born focused on storytelling and relating content to the general public. This unique partnership has led to Cornell University being the first collegiate student reporting lab for the PBS NewsHour. Through mentorship and skill building, students learn the art of how to storyboard, film, interview and edit, creating their own science stories. 

‘Two E-Birds with one Stone: an app helps Birders & Scientists’




What does it take to create, design and make a robot that competes with other bots?

WSKG Science Intern Highlight: Ethan Campbell

WSKG welcomes Ethan Campbell, a Binghamton University student, into the education/science department for the fall of 2019. He will be learning science communication and the role of public media in our community. Below is an excerpt from Mr. Campbell. I am currently a senior at Binghamton University, double majoring in economics and environmental studies. With my education, I hope to work on fighting climate change and environmental degradation.

How Are You Celebrating National Pollinator Week?

What do bees, butterflies, flies and hummingbirds all have in common? If you answered that they are all pollinators – you are correct and we are celebrating them during the week of June 23-27th , National Pollinator Week. Pollinators contribute substantially to the New York State’s environment and economy. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pollinators provide approximately $344 million worth of pollination services to New York and add $29 billion in value to crop production nationally each year. New York’s ability to produce crops such as apples, grapes, cherries, onions, pumpkins, and cauliflower relies heavily on the presence of pollinators, according to the New York State Department of Conservation.

SciGirls Strategies Live Stream

Wednesday June 12pm 2pm ET

The SciGirls approach is rooted in research about how to engage girls in STEM. A quarter of a century of studies have converged on a set of common strategies that work, and they have become the framework for SciGirls. SciGirls conducted a literature review, funded by the National Science Foundation, to update the strategies with the latest gender equitable and culturally responsive research. Be among the first to learn the latest tips on how to engage girls in STEM. Register here: SciGirls Strategies Live Stream

Webinar from PBS Learning Media on Teaching Climate Impacts and Sustainability

Teaching about Climate Impacts and Sustainability
Drought Stories and Solutions

New Digital Resources on PBS LearningMedia – Grades 9-12

Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:00:00 PM EDT

Webinar Objectives:

Learn about the new collection of free digital resources, Climate Change Impacts and Solutions: Drought on PBS LearningMedia™
Hear from an expert in climate education and a classroom science teacher
Leave with new ideas and NGSS-aligned resources to engage your students in the real-world impacts of climate change

Today’s students need to understand how their world is changing due to climate change, as well as the impacts that those changes could have on their local community. The resources and instructional experience that we will address in this webinar help shift the classroom conversation about climate change to focus on solutions that communities are developing right now to build resilience in the face of drought, one of many climate change impacts. We will take a tour of the resources; which include news videos of communities facing serious water shortages, climate data from NOAA and NASA, and everyday solutions. You will leave with ideas and strategies for incorporating materials into your classroom instruction and hear from a teacher about his experience with the resources. The collection, Climate Change Impacts and Solutions: Drought helps students learn about impacts of drought through news videos of communities facing serious water shortages, analyzing drought data and models, and doing research on and evaluating potential solutions.

Science Communication Workshop Aims to Engage STEM Researchers Across New York

By: Jason Chang and Andy Sanchez

In just over a decade, the United States went from laughing at Stephen Colbert’s “truthiness” to fighting over Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative facts.” Scientific evidence is a necessary resource in this contentious environment, but to utilize that resource, scientists need to build effective communication skills. ComSciCon-Cornell helps scientists do exactly that, bringing together graduate and postdoctoral researchers from across the Central and Western New York region to learn about and engage in scientific communication. This past July, a team of six Cornell University graduate students and postdoctoral fellows organized ComSciCon-Cornell 2018 for 40 STEM researchers. The two-day event explored modern digital communication, with special focus on storytelling, socially sensitive topics, and public engagement.

Southern Tier Scholastic Science Fair

The Southern Tier Scholastic Science Fair is coming to SUNY Broome on Saturday March 23, 2019. Are you in 5th-12th grades and have an idea to enter? There are over $2000 in prizes that will be awarded. Registration opens in February 2019. Those that register before March 12th will receive an official STSSF T-Shirt.

Why do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

This time of year the trees seem to come alive bursting with colors of orange, reds and copper, but why does this happen? Our friends from EarthSky share how this process works each year. Throughout the spring and summer, the deep green color of chlorophyll, which helps plants absorb life-giving sunlight, hides any other colors present in the leaves of trees. The vivid yellows and oranges of fall leaves are there, but hidden. In the fall, trees break down the green pigments and nutrients stored in their leaves.

Southern Tier Science Conference

Join us after school for a FREE Science conference providing teachers with opportunities to learn and present exemplar lessons, content, teaching techniques and use of technology in the classroom. Network with colleagues from across the region, enter raffles and learn more about professional science organizations like STANYS (Science Teachers Association of NYS). October 4th
4:30pm – 7:30pm (includes dinner)
Chenango Valley High School
221 Chenango Bridge Rd. Binghamton, NY

Teachers will be presenting on a variety of topics including:
– Innovative instructional strategies
– New Science standards
– Use of technology in the Science classroom
– Science content

Registration & coffee 4:30-4:45
Group 1 4:50-5:50
Dinner 5:50-6:30
Group 2 6:30-7:30

Raffles from BioCorp, Breakout EDU, Pocket Lab, and more! Register HERE. 

This conference is being co-sponsored by BT BOCES, FOSS, Southern Section STANYS, NYS Master Teacher Program and WSKG.

Lending an Ear to STEM

The absence of images in podcasts seems to be a source of their creative potential. Without visuals, listeners are required to fill the gaps-and when these listeners are children, the results can be powerful. Studies have found that children between the ages of 7-13 respond more creatively to radio stories than to stories shown on television. Audio stories prompted kids to draw more novel pictures, think up more unique questions, and solve problems in a more imaginative way than did TV tales. Here are just a few STEM related podcasts for kids:

Wow in the World: NPR’s first show for kids discusses the latest news in science and technology in a way that’s enjoyable for kids and informative for grown-ups. Brains On: Each episode of this science podcast is co-hosted by a different kid, tackling their questions with interviews, fun segments, and the occasional musical number.

E-Styles LED Bracelet Workshop

Parent/child workshop:
Hey families, are you gearing up for the LUMA festival in Binghamton? Work alongside your child as they explore STEAM concepts making their very own LED light up bracelet. This workshop is appropriate for students 11 years old and up. 
Use conductive thread, felt, and LEDs to create soft circuits with e-textiles. Your child will learn about simple circuits, e-textiles and how LEDs work. Workshop will take place in the Uncorked Creations lofts located at 205 State Street, Binghamton.

Yellow-Spotted Salamander Migration

Yellow-Spotted Salamander photo: Nancy Coddington

When the spring temperatures begin to rise and the snow recedes, the first warm rainy night of spring brings a chorus of spring peepers, wood frogs and mole salamanders. The spring migration happens sometime between mid March and April when evening temperatures rise above 40ºF as the amphibians move from the upland wooded areas to vernal pools and ponds to find suitable mates. Spotted salamanders are usually a secretive critter living under rocks, in seeps or underground in small damp burrows, so this is the night to be able to see them in large numbers.

This migration of yellow-spotted salamanders, Ambystoma maculatum, is a right of passage for some Binghamton University students. Devin DiGiacopo is a third year Phd student in Jessica Hua’s lab at Binghamton University and is researching how road salt affects spotted salamanders.

A Geneticist’s Growing Season

What does a maize geneticist do? Explore the growing season of maize, and how scientists study the plant’s genetic diversity and connect it to the phenotypes they observe. Maize needs lots of sun and warm weather to grow. Seeds are usually planted in spring, in marked rows to identify each plant by its pedigree and genotype. In the mid-summer, when the plants are ready, scientists begin crossing the varieties of maize.

Maize Genetics

There is a tremendous amount of genetic diversity in maize. Much of the maize you have seen may look the same, but across the world there are tens of thousands of  varieties of maize that are different colors, sizes, have different growing times, nutritional content, etc. Scientists at Cornell University are studying the diversity of maize, trying to connect two things: phenotype and genotype. A phenotype is any physical attribute that can be measured (also known as a “trait”). It can be something you can see like how tall the plant is, what color the kernels are, or when the plant flowers.

Maize: Feeding the World

Maize—or “corn”—has a history dating back to the beginning of agriculture, and today is used for everything from livestock feed and human consumption, to the production of starch, sweeteners, corn oil, beverage and industrial alcohol, fuel ethanol, and plastics. Maize is grown on every continent save Antarctica, and is the most widely grown grain in the world. Maize is also one of the most genetically diverse crops, allowing for selection from an incredible array of grain qualities and environmental adaptations. Maize is an excellent example of domestication—evolution in action—and researchers compare current varieties of maize with its wild ancestor, teosinte, to illustrate this principle. Maize was first domesticated from teosinte approximately 9,000-10,000 years ago.

Nature’s Miniature Miracles

Nature’s Miniature Miracles airs on WSKG TV on November 22, 2017 at 8pm


Great things come in small packages, and animals are no exception to the rule. From a tiny sengi, the “cheetah” of the shrew world, to a hummingbird who travels thousands of miles north each year, from a small shark that walks on land, to an army of baby turtles instinctively racing to the safety of the open ocean. We will travel across the world, through the vast savannah to the rocky plateau, and down to the depths of the seas, to shine a light on these tiny survivors of the animal kingdom. It is a great big world out there, but for these animals, size does not matter.

Beyond A Year in Space

Beyond A Year in Space airs on WSKG TV November 15, 2017 at 8pm

Beyond A Year in Space introduces viewers to the next generation of astronauts training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space. A Year in Space follows astronaut Scott Kelly’s 12-month mission on the International Space Station, from launch to landing, as NASA charts the effects of long-duration spaceflight by comparing him to his identical twin on Earth, astronaut Mark Kelly. Beyond A Year in Space introduces viewers to the next generation of astronauts training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space.
Part One
The first installment of A Year in Space, which tracks Scott Kelly’s mission from training and launch, through his 12 months aboard the International Space Station, right up through his descent and landing is scheduled to air on PBS on March 2, timed within a day of Scott’s planned return to Earth. Despite the technological “comforts” of the ISS, a year in space – the longest space mission in American history – has been described as the epitome of extreme, with extraordinarily high physical stakes.

Spooky Science on PBS Learning Media

Check out this spooky science collection on PBS Learning Media, bringing media into your classroom. Halloween dates back thousands of years to the Celtic people of ancient Europe, who recognized October 31 as the last day of autumn and had festivals to celebrate. This was the time that the regular world and spirit world were thought to be closest, so people wore masks and costumes to fend off roaming ghosts. Over time, the holiday evolved into a secular and community-based event known for activities like trick-or-treating and bobbing for apples that we love today. Halloween is a time to celebrate superstition and changing seasons, and this collection aims to do just that.

Science Friday | A Haunted House Turned Scientists’ Lab

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm


As the sociologist-in-residence at Pittsburgh’s ScareHouse, Margee Kerr has observed hundreds of Halloween thrill-seekers in scary situations. Her takeaway? For many people, a good scare can be an enjoyable, empowering experience. Kerr and neuroscientist Greg Siegle recently set up shop at ScareHouse to discover why. Listen to this segment of Science Friday here.

Secrets of the Forbidden City

NOVA | Secrets of the Forbidden City airs on WSKG TV October 18, 2017 at 9pm

The Forbidden City is the world’s biggest and most extravagant palace complex ever built. For five centuries, it was the power center of imperial China and survived wars, revolution, fires, and earthquakes. How did the Ming Emperor’s workforce construct its sprawling array of nearly 1,000 buildings and dozens of temples in a little over a decade? How were stupendous 250-ton marble blocks moved across many miles to reach the site? And how did fantastically intricate woodwork, all fastened without nails or glue, enable the palaces to survive hundreds of earthquakes, including recent ones that obliterated nearby modern structures? To find answers, NOVA joins a team of master craftsmen who build a scale model of a typical palace in a seismic lab, then subject it to simulated earthquakes to shake out the secrets of how the Forbidden City has withstood centuries of violent tremors.

Science Friday #NeatRock Challenge

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4pm

Are you a secret geology groupie? Do you have a rock collection on your window sill, in your garden or under your bed?  We won’t judge you, we have one too. We love rocks! WSKG has such an affinity for them, our Director of Science has a collection on her desk, in her house, and is known to ask her friends to add them to their suitcases when traveling due to her’s being overweight and full of ……wait for it…. rocks.

Ghosts of Stonehenge

NOVA | Ghosts of Stonehenge airs on WSKG TV October 11, 2017 at 9pm

Was Stonehenge an ancient cathedral? Or perhaps a Stone Age observatory? Over the last decade, fresh answers have come from an ambitious program of research, including the first scientific study of human remains buried at the site 5,000 years ago. Remnants of huge feasts at the site have come to light, and revelers traveled from across the British Isles to raise the stones and celebrate the winter solstice. Yet Stonehenge’s place as a centerpiece of an ancient culture did not last. NOVA reveals intimate details of the Stonehenge people and why their power began to fade soon after they raised the mighty stones.

Fox Tales

Nature | Fox Tales airs on WSKG TV October 11, 2017 at 8pm

Most people assume they need to head to more remote areas, like state and national parks, to see a Red fox, but according to several experts, many individuals need to look no further than their own neighborhoods. These adaptable and intelligent canids can make their home along the cliffs of Newfoundland and the Arctic tundra. Over the last century, they have also been slowly populating urban centers. According to Wildlife Specialist Dr. David Drake of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, “There’s not a lot of urban Red fox research going on in North America…But I would be very, very surprised if there are not Red fox in most, if not, all North American cities.”

The program follows scientists in Madison and Bristol, England, tracking the movement of Red foxes into cities; follows a Red fox family raising young pups along the Newfoundland coast; accompanies a biologist to the Arctic studying the movement of Red fox heading to a new habitat; and presents rare footage and behavior of newborns inside the den chronicling their attempts to become the dominant pup. Motion-sensitive, infrared cameras capture the never-before broadcast behavior of newborn pups and their mother in a natal den during the first weeks after birth. Animal Behaviorist Dr. Sandra Alvarez-Betancourt of the University of Bristol, who has analyzed thousands of hours of fox behavior underground, explains that as soon as Red fox pups can walk, they start fighting to establish their social hierarchy.

Smell That? It’s Forensic Entomology At The Body Farm

Science Friday airs weekly on WSQX Fridays 2-4pm

by Jennifer O’Brien, on September 29, 2017

Science Friday offers educational resources for your science classroom.   The following is sample of a lesson plan for 6-12th grade students. Find more information here. 

WARNING Graphic Content: The videos and images below contain graphic documentation of  real life, rotting human and animal corpses that may be disturbing to a younger audience. A forensic scientist enters a crime scene and sees some flies, maggots, and a few beetles on and around a dead body. She immediately begins collecting them.

Naledi: One Little Elephant

Naure | Naledi: One Little Elephant airs on WSKG TV October 4, 2017 at 8pm

Kiti, a gentle elephant in Botswana, was in her 661st day of pregnancy, a normal gestation period, when she finally gave birth to a baby girl. For nearly two weeks, the staff of Abu Camp, a halfway house for orphaned and former zoo and circus elephants, had been passing the time by coming up with a list of possible names for Kiti’s offspring. Perhaps because the calf was born at night, they called her Naledi, which means star in the local language. Naledi was an instant hit with the Abu Camp caretakers including elephant manager Wellington (“Wellie”) Jana who compared her arrival to getting a new daughter in the family. Wildlife biologist and Botswana native Dr. Mike Chase, who is also tasked with looking after Naledi’s herd, hopes she will have the option to be reunited with her extended family.

Climate Conversations: A Series for Middle & High School Educators

Climate Conversations will offer educators tools and resources to teach climate change concepts. PBS LearningMedia is hosting a 3-part virtual professional development series focused around climate change. This series of virtual PD will introduce educators to high-quality, media-based climate change educational materials and allow educators to engage in conversation with scientists, film producers, and other educators. One portion of the series will focus specifically on using the tools in PBS LearningMedia to build a lesson or unit using the materials introduced during the other two events. You must register for each part of the series separately.

What is a Fogbow?

Fogbows are rainbows’ cousins – made in much the same process – but with the small water droplets inside a fog instead of larger raindrops.

Irma Turns Caribbean Islands Brown

The British and U.S. Virgin Islands, before and after Hurricane Irma (The white spots are clouds.) Image via NASA Earth Observatory. By Kathryn Hansen/NASA Earth Observatory

Hurricane Irma churned across the Atlantic Ocean in September 2017, battering several Caribbean islands before moving on to the Florida Keys and the U.S. mainland. As the clouds cleared over places like the Virgin Islands, the destruction became obvious even from space. These natural-color images, captured by the Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite, show some of Irma’s effect on the British and U.S. Virgin Islands. The views were acquired on August 25 and September 10, 2017, before and after the storm passed.

Death Dive to Saturn

NOVA Death Dive to Saturn airs on WSKG TV on September 13, 2017 at  9pm

Almost everything we know about Saturn comes from Cassini, the NASA mission that launched in 1997. As the mission approaches its final days in 2017, the spacecraft will attempt one last set of daring maneuvers—diving between the innermost ring and the top of Saturn’s atmosphere. Join NASA engineers for the tense and triumphant moments as they find out if their gambit has paid off, and discover the wonders that Cassini has revealed over the years.

How Antibiotics Beefed Up The Chicken Industry

Modern Chicken Farm. photo: shutterstock

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4pm. Before the 1940s, chicken was rarely seen on the dinner table. “Birds for eating were byproducts of egg production of ‘spent’ hens,” writes journalist Maryn McKenna in her book Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats. McKenna traces how the use of antibiotics not only turned poultry into everyday meals, but how it has contributed to the current antibiotic resistance crisis.

Hurricane Irma Blasts Past Puerto Rico With 180-MPH Winds; Risk Rises For Florida

An aerial photograph released by the Dutch Department of Defense shows the damage of Hurricane Irma in Philipsburg, on the Dutch portion of the Caribbean island of Sint Maarten. Photo: Gerben Van Es/AFP/Getty Images

By Bill Chappell

Hurricane Irma is bringing death and destruction to the Caribbean and raising alarm in Florida, where the chance of a direct impact continues to rise. The storm is blamed for at least 10 deaths; thousands of people are being told to get out of its way. Irma brought strong winds and flooding to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands last night. Its dangerous eye passed north of Puerto Rico’s main island — possibly sparing the area from the worst of the 185-mph winds that wreaked horrible destruction in Saint Martin, Anguilla, and Barbuda on Wednesday.

'American Space Ninja' Back On Earth After Record-Breaking Flight

Astronaut Peggy Whitson smiles after landing in Kazakhstan, wrapping up a record 665 days in space for an American. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky/AP

By Amy Held/NPR
Imagine more than 600 days in space; that’s 21 months cruising the cosmos, or close to two years without flush toilets or pizza. On Saturday, Astronaut Peggy Whitson touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT alongside a fellow American and a Russian in their Soyuz capsule, wrapping up a record-breaking mission. Whitson spent 288 days — more than nine months — on this latest mission aboard the International Space Station. But over the course of her career, she has been away from earth for three long-duration missions, an accumulation of 665 days — longer than any American ever and more time than any woman worldwide.

‘American Space Ninja’ Back On Earth After Record-Breaking Flight

Astronaut Peggy Whitson smiles after landing in Kazakhstan, wrapping up a record 665 days in space for an American. Photo: Sergei Ilnitsky/AP

By Amy Held/NPR
Imagine more than 600 days in space; that’s 21 months cruising the cosmos, or close to two years without flush toilets or pizza. On Saturday, Astronaut Peggy Whitson touched down in Kazakhstan at 9:21 p.m. EDT alongside a fellow American and a Russian in their Soyuz capsule, wrapping up a record-breaking mission. Whitson spent 288 days — more than nine months — on this latest mission aboard the International Space Station. But over the course of her career, she has been away from earth for three long-duration missions, an accumulation of 665 days — longer than any American ever and more time than any woman worldwide.

September's Full Moon Just Around The Corner

Harvest Moon with Century Saguaro (over 100 years old) against the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona, via Randall Kayfes. By EarthSky: 

The moon turns precisely full on September 6 at 3:03 a.m. EDT, 2:03 a.m. CDT, 1:03 a.m. MDT and 12:03 PDT. That’s why we say the full moon falls on the night of September 5, for the Americas. Is this September full moon the Harvest Moon? Not precisely, but it’ll act like one.

September’s Full Moon Just Around The Corner

Harvest Moon with Century Saguaro (over 100 years old) against the Santa Catalina Mountains of southern Arizona, via Randall Kayfes. By EarthSky: 

The moon turns precisely full on September 6 at 3:03 a.m. EDT, 2:03 a.m. CDT, 1:03 a.m. MDT and 12:03 PDT. That’s why we say the full moon falls on the night of September 5, for the Americas. Is this September full moon the Harvest Moon? Not precisely, but it’ll act like one.

How Mosquitoes Use Six Needles to Suck Your Blood | Deep Look

The common house mosquito in California (Culex pipiens) can transmit West Nile virus by biting infected birds, then biting humans. (Josh Cassidy/KQED)

Seen up close, the anatomy of a mosquito bite is terrifying. The most dangerous animal in the world uses six needle-like mouthparts to saw into our skin, tap a blood vessel and sometimes leave a dangerous parting gift.

Scientists have discovered that the mosquito’s mouth, called a proboscis isn’t just one tiny spear. It’s a sophisticated system of thin needles, each of which pierces the skin, finds blood vessels and makes it easy for mosquitoes to suck blood out of them. Male mosquitoes don’t bite us, but when a female mosquito pierces the skin, a flexible lip-like sheath called the labium scrolls up and stays outside as she pushes in six needle-like parts that scientists refer to as stylets.

Earth's Natural Wonders | Extreme Wonders

Earth’s Natural Wonders airs on WSKG-TV on August 30, 2017 at 8pm


Visit extreme locales — from the highest mountain to the greatest canyon — and learn how these places test their inhabitants to the limit. On Mount Everest, a Sherpa has to rope a route across the notorious Khumbu Icefall in time for the hundreds of foreign mountaineers who will arrive for climbing season. In the Grand Canyon, conservationists desperately try to ensure the survival of one of America’s few surviving condor chicks. And, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, farmers fight pitched battles with elephants in the dead of night.

The “Earth’s Natural Wonders” series tells the stories of some of our planet’s most spectacular places and how they have shaped the lives of those who live there.

Not A Total Eclipse, But New York Had A Special Day Nonetheless

Ampersand Mountain Summit. photo credits: Nancy Coddington 

​New Yorkers who stayed in-state didn’t see the total eclipse of the sun on Monday. But that didn’t stop people from enjoying the moment. People gathered from all over the state to watch the solar eclipse happen in a variety of places. As Director of Science at WSKG, I had a personal interest in watching the eclipse from a unique vantage point.

Colleges Have Increased Women Computer Science Majors: What Can Google Learn?

Harvey Mudd College students Ellen Seidel and Christine Chen work on a summer research project in computer science. Photo: Harvey Mudd College

By Laura Sydell, NPR

A Google engineer who got fired over a controversial memo that criticized the company’s diversity policies said that there might be biological reasons there are fewer women engineers. But top computer science schools have proven that a few cultural changes can increase the number of women in the field. In 2006, only about 10 percent of computer science majors at Harvey Mudd College were women. That’s pretty low since Harvey Mudd is a school for students who are interested in science, math and technology.

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to … Interactive Biodegradable Funerary Urns?

The Bios Urn mixes cremains with soil and seedlings. It automatically waters and cares for the memorial sapling, sending updates to a smartphone app. Bios Urn

By Glenn McDonald, NPR

Earlier this summer, a modest little startup in Barcelona, Spain, unveiled its newest product — a biodegradable, Internet-connected funeral urn that turns the ashes of departed loved ones into an indoor tree. Just mix the cremains with soil and seedlings, and the digital-age urn will automatically water and care for your memorial sapling, sending constant updates to an app on your smartphone. At first glance, the concept seems gimmicky — evidently, we’re running out of ideas for smart appliances. But the Bios Incubesystem can also be seen as the latest example of a gradual transformation in modern culture.

Why Do Fireflies Light Up?

Photo via Fiona M. Donnelly in Smiths Falls, Ontario. Story by EarthSky. Fireflies are sometimes called lightning bugs. Many a child has spent a summer evening chasing them. And maybe you’ve wondered – how and why are these insects able to light up?

NASA Needs Your Help During the August eclipse

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured a solar eclipse. photo courtesy: NASA


On August 21, a shadow will fall across North America. Towns along the eclipse path of totality are eagerly making plans to accommodate the thousands of visitors expected to trek out for the celestial marvel. NASA scientists are searching for people who are making plans to watch the eclipse, either at home or traveling.   All of North America will experience at least a partial eclipse,  this is where you can become a NASA citizen scientist.

Rare | Creatures of the Photo Ark

Rare Creatures of the Photo Ark airs on WSKG-TV on August 1, 2017 at 9pm

In his 25 years as a National Geographic photographer, Joel Sartore has learned to never ignore the smaller creatures in our midst. Joel gets us up close with colorful and charismatic insects with faces and features usually found in sci-fi flicks, because “they help make the world go ‘round.”

Joel also goes in search of larger animals. In the Czech Republic and in one of the series’ most poignant moments, Joel boards the rarest rhinoceros in the world onto the Photo Ark. Nabiré is one of only five of northern white rhinos left on the planet and it may be too late for her kind. Joel’s got one more hike-he’d-rather-not-hike in him, this time in New Zealand where he tags along on a Rowi kiwi egg rescue.

RARE|Creatures of the Photo Ark

RARE Creatures of the Photo Ark airs on WSKG July 18, 2017 at 9pm. Joel started the Photo Ark in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska, over a decade ago. Since then, he has visited over 40 countries and completed portraits of more than 6,500 species in his quest to create a photo archive of global biodiversity, which will feature portraits of an estimated 12,000 species of birds, fish, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates living in the world’s zoos and wildlife sanctuaries. As part of Joel’s deeper collaboration with National Geographic, the project is now called the National Geographic Photo Ark. No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect.

Chasing Coral, and Climate Solutions, in New Documentary

Side by side comparison of a coral reef, before and after bleaching. Credit: Chasing Coral

Science Friday: Coral bleaching occurs when warmer-than-normal waters stress corals and cause them to expel the colorful algae that live symbiotically in their cells. A bleached coral is still alive, but is likely to die if the stress lasts too long. An estimated 30 percent of the world’s monitored reef formations have already perished as the climate has heated up. [This hybrid coral withstands climate change better than its relatives.]

As reefs around the world have suffered bleaching events—including several that are still affecting large portions of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef—one group of filmmakers worked for nearly three years to document the devastation in real time and share it with the public.

New York DEC Awards Grants to Restore Chesapeake Bay Watershed

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today awarded three grants totaling nearly $1 million for programs in New York’s portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEC’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program administers the grants. “Riparian buffers are critical to New York’s continued effort to reduce nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York, along with six other jurisdictions, are working together to restore the Chesapeake Bay,” said DEC Commissioner Seggos. “Riparian buffers have the added benefit of reducing flood impacts, creating wildlife habitat, and providing shade to streams. These land acquisitions and conservation easements will permanently protect these riparian areas and help improve and sustain water quality and habitat.”

What Causes Frogs to Have More Than Four Legs?

Frogs across the United States are showing up with something very odd- extra legs.  Scientists have been studying these frogs to find out what is causing this strange phenomenon.  They have identified the parasite (Ribeiroia ondatrae) infection linked to amphibian malformations in the western United States:

Science Behind Kids and Marshmallows

German and Cameroonian kids were part of an experiment based on the classic “marshmallow test”: Put a single treat before a child but tell the child if he or she waits, say, 10 minutes, a second treat will be given.  

by Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR 

In the the 1960s, a Stanford psychologist ran an experiment to study children’s self-control. It’s called the marshmallow test. And it’s super simple. Kids ages 3 to 5 choose a treat — an Oreo cookie, a pretzel stick or a marshmallow.

Big Pacific | Voracious

Big Pacific airs on WSKG TV Wednesday July 5, 2017 at 8pm

During this episode of Big Pacific explore how animals survive, thrive or become someone else’s meal.  There is plenty of food in the Pacific Ocean, but it is the challenge of finding that food that drives all life in the Pacific. In the voracious Pacific we meet a destructive army of mouths, a killer with a hundred mouths and the biggest mouth in the ocean.The Pacific Ocean covers one third of the Earth’s surface. It is larger than all Earth’s land combined, holds half of our world’s water, and hides the deepest place on our planet. It is a place where huge and iconic, rare and dazzling creatures live – and where creatures yet to be discovered lurk.

Polar Bear Witness on Science Friday

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm

by Luke Groskin, Emily Driscoll,

For USGS wildlife biologist Karyn Rode, tracking and tranquilizing polar bears from a helicopter are just the first thrilling steps in her research. After acquiring various samples from sleeping bears, Dr. Rode’s unique understanding of what they eat and how quickly they metabolize nutrients allows her to determine the condition of each bear. Working with a team of scientists from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for nearly a decade, Dr. Rode’s monitoring of polar bear health has helped reveal how well populations are adapting to the rapidly warming Arctic.

Great Yellowstone Thaw

View at a vivid grand canyon of the Yellowstone and Yellowstone River. Credit: Filip Fuxa/Shutterstock


Great Yellowstone Thaw airs on WSKG-TV on Wednesday June 28, 2017 at 9pm

Greater Yellowstone is a unique place. Nestling high up in the Rocky Mountains in North West America, this ecosystem is one of the world’s greatest wildernesses. But it’s a place of extremes, and the wildlife must deal with one of the toughest springs on Earth. To understand how, this series is following a number of iconic wildlife families – including wolves, grizzlies, Great Gray Owls and beavers.

What is the Critical Zone?

The Critical Zone supports terrestrial life on Earth. It is the region above and below the Earth surface, extending from the tops of the trees down through the subsurface to the bottom of the groundwater. It is a living, breathing, constantly evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact. These complex interactions regulate the natural habitat and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources, including our food production and water quality. Critical Zone scientists work to discover how this living skin is structured, evolves, and provides essential functions that sustain life. The national Critical Zone Observatory Network is made up of nine environmental observatories each located in a different climatic and geologic setting.

Chesapeake Bay’s ‘Dead Zone’ Expected to be Bigger Than Average This Summer

Scientists predict the Chesapeake Bay will have a larger than average ‘dead zone’ this summer, where oxygen levels in the water are so low fish and crabs will leave the area, if they can. Photo: Bay Journal

According to the Bay Journal, a year after experiencing its best water quality in decades, the Chesapeake Bay is expected to have a larger than average “dead zone” this summer, where fish, crabs and shellfish will struggle to breathe. Researchers with the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the University of Michigan are forecasting that the volume of oxygen-starved water in the Bay will grow to 1.9 cubic miles, enough to nearly fill 3.2 million Olympic-sized swimming pools. A “dead zone” is a popular term for water that’s low in oxygen, or hypoxic. Fish often leave such areas; if they’re trapped — or immobile, like shellfish — they can suffocate.

Greenland's Thinning Ice

According to NASA, the ice sheets in Greenland are reducing at an alarming rate. With temperatures around the world climbing, melt waters from the continental ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are raising sea levels. Those ice sheets are melting from both above and below. Much of the ice lost from ice sheets comes from a process called calving where ice erodes, breaks off, and flows rapidly into the ocean. A large volume of ice is also lost from ice sheets melting on their surfaces.

To determine to what extent Greenland’s glaciers are being melted from underneath, NASA recently began a 5-year airborne and ship-based mission called Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG).

Why Sharks Attack

NOVA Why Sharks Attacks airs on WSKG-TV on June 14, 2017 at 9pm

In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia, resulting in five deaths in ten months. At the same time, great white sharks have begun appearing in growing numbers off the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not far from the waters where Steven Spielberg filmed the ultimate shark fright film, Jaws. What’s behind the mysterious arrival of this apex predator in an area where they’ve rarely been seen for hundreds of years? Are deadly encounters with tourists inevitable? To separate fact from fear, NOVA teams up with leading shark experts in Australia and the United States to discover the science behind the great white’s hunting instincts.

June's Full Moon will Appear Smaller

At right, the April 2007 smallest full moon of the year. At left, the October 2007 supermoon, or largest full moon of the year. Image via Wikimedia Commons. According to Earth & Sky, this June full moon will be the smallest full moon of 2017. Like all June full moons, it’ll ride low in the sky from the Northern Hemisphere and high in the sky from the Southern Hemisphere.

How Involved is Science with Forensics?

photo credit: Missouri Department of Public Safety

Science Friday airs on WSQX weekly Fridays from 2-4pm

In 2009, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine published a harsh critique of forensic science: Many of the techniques long relied upon, such as matching bite marks or hair samples, or even crime scene fingerprints, to suspected criminals, are actually unreliable and lack any basis in scientific research. In 2015, the FBI admitted that its analyses of hair samples tilted unfairly in favor of the prosecution in 95 percent of reviewed cases. The end of April saw the expiration of the multidisciplinary National Commission on Forensic Science, created by President Obama to establish standards and bring rigor to forensic science. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said that the Department of Justice will conduct an internal review on how to move forward on reforming forensic science, and will perhaps lean more heavily on law enforcement than did Obama’s commission, which included independent scientists, lab directors, attorneys, and more. [Forensic entomologists hunt down insects to help catch criminals.]

One of those independent scientists, West Virginia University forensic chemistry professor Suzanne Bell, joins Ira to explain the impact of losing the commission, the ongoing lack of consistent scientific rigor in forensics investigations, and how to improve forensic science.

Pennsylvania Students Seek to Make the Hellbender State Amphibian

The hellbender is North America’s largest amphibian. (Dave Harp)

According to the Bay Journal,  the Eastern Hellbender won’t win any beauty contests. It’s picked up such unflattering nicknames as “snot otter” and “old lasagna sides.”

But because the rarely seen giant salamander can only live in the most pristine of streams, a small group of Pennsylvania high school students thinks Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis should be named the official state amphibian, as a sort of clean water mascot. By calling attention to the existence — and decline —of hellbenders, the students hope to foster awareness in Pennsylvania of the need to restore the health of its rivers and streams.

“We want hellbenders to become a household name,” said River Sferlazza, 16, a member of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Student Leadership Council in Pennsylvania. “If it’s the state amphibian, hellbenders will become harder for people to forget.”

The student leadership council is an experiential learning program for young advocates for clean water in the Bay watershed.

Delicious Science | Food on the Brain

Delicious Science airs on Wednesday May 17, 2017 at 10pm

Food – Delicious Science is the scientific story of the food on your plate. Michael Mosley and James Wong present a celebration of the physics, chemistry and biology that lies hidden inside every bite. Together they travel the world and take over the UK’s leading food lab as they deconstruct our favorite meals, taking us inside the food, right down to the molecular level. In this first episode, Michael and James explore the effect of “Food on the Brain.” The brain is one of the greediest organs in the body in terms of the energy it needs to run. The way it influences our diet is, in the main, by generating the cravings we all experience.

Plants Behaving Badly | Sex & Lies

Plants Behaving Badly airs on WSKG TV May 10, 2017 at 10pm

Join us as we conclude Plants Behaving Badly with in depth look at orchids, whose exotic flowers are shaped to attract pollinators. Many use sex as a lure, impersonating a female bee or wasp. Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species” shook the scientific world and far beyond. Yet it was his next book, devoted entirely to orchids, which filled in gaps and firmed up his revolutionary ideas. Orchids have an ethereal beauty, whether growing hundreds of feet up in a misty rainforest or along the verges of busy suburban roads.

Enter the 'Funky Nests in Funky Places' Photography Contest

photo by: Donna Santarossa Windsor, ON, Canada, Morning Dove 

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, located in Ithaca NY, announces the launch of their annual ‘Funky Nests in Funky Places’ contest. This popular contest focuses on the quirky places birds sometimes build their nests. Participants have found nests on tiny skyscraper ledges, in barbecue grills, traffic lights, wind chimes, flower pots, an old motorcycle helmet, or just about anywhere. Go outside this spring and check out store signs, streetlights, balconies, traffic lights, gutters, downspouts, rooftops, stadium lights, light fixtures, grills, utility poles, potted plants and more! You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find, and be sure to share your discoveries. The contest is geared towards the general public, they are not looking for professional photographers,  just looking for interesting stories. They  hope that people of all ages will participate, and will accept diverse types of entries like poems or videos.

Bring Science Friday Into Your Classroom

Science Friday Spoonfuls are doses of current science, technology, and engineering stories ready for the classroom. Each Spoonful contains a short piece of media (article, video, radio interview), a transcript (for video and radio), student questions, and activity suggestions for extending student exploration into the science behind the story. Introduce your students to the circadian rhythm of microbes, the astronomer who pinned down the elusive Planet Nine, or even the researchers who created a 3D-printed glove that can give you different fingerprints! With brand new stories each week, you can find one that aligns to a concept you’re getting ready to teach or you can simply use them to bring more STEM news into the classroom. How do I find Spoonfuls?

Plants Behaving Badly | Murder & Mayhem

photo: Intermediate sundew; in cultivation. Terra Mater/Parthenon Entertainment/Steve Nicholls


Plants Behaving Badly airs on WSKG TV May 3, 2017 at 10pm

Two groups of plants exhibit such intriguing behavior that a century and a half ago they attracted the attention of Charles Darwin. These same plants, the orchids and the carnivorous plants, still fascinate scientists today. In two one-hour films, “Plants Behaving Badly” reveals a world of deceit and treachery worthy of any fictional thriller. Charles Darwin was fascinated by the extraordinary behavior of carnivorous plants, and we now know that he barely knew the half of it. Recently scientists have shown that many more plants are carnivorous than we ever thought.

Wild Weather

Wild Weather airs on WSKG-TV April 26, 2017 at 10pm

The best way to truly understand weather is to get inside it. Wild Weather introduces a global group of experts who risk their lives to demonstrate the power of wind, water and temperature, taking these simple “ingredients” and transforming them into something spectacular and powerful for everyone to understand.

The Fish On My Plate

FRONTLINE The Fish On My Plate airs on WSKG TV Tuesday April 25, 2017 at 10pm

“What fish should I eat that’s good for me and good for the planet?” Bestselling author and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg (“Four Fish”; “American Catch”) sets out to answer that question in “The Fish on My Plate,” a 90-minute FRONTLINE special. As part of his quest to investigate the health of the ocean — and his own — Greenberg spends a year eating seafood at breakfast, lunch and dinner. With people worldwide consuming more seafood than ever, Greenberg also explores questions of sustainability and overfishing, traveling to Norway, where modern fish farming was invented; Peru to witness the world’s largest wild fishery; Alaska, where 200 million salmon can be caught each year; and Connecticut to visit a sustainable ocean farming pioneer who is trying to transform the fishing industry.

Holocaust Escape Tunnel

NOVA Holocaust Escape Tunnel airs on WSKG-TV April 19, 2017 at 9pm

For centuries, the Lithuanian city of Vilna was one of the most important Jewish centers in the world, earning the title “Jerusalem of the North” until World War II, when the Nazis murdered about 95% of its Jewish population and reduced its synagogues and cultural institutions to ruins. The Soviets finished the job, paving over the remnants of Vilna’s famous Great Synagogue so thoroughly that few today know it ever existed. Now, an international team of archaeologists is trying to rediscover this forgotten world, excavating the remains of its Great Synagogue and searching for proof of one of Vilna’s greatest secrets: a lost escape tunnel dug by Jewish prisoners inside a horrific Nazi execution site.

March for Science

On April 22, 2017, people from across the country will walk showing their support for science. The main walk will take place on Saturday in Washington, D.C.

The March for Science is the first step of a global movement to defend the vital role science plays in our health, safety, economies, and governments, according to march the organizers. Wan to join them? Find out where the local marches are taking place in Binghamton, Corning, Ithaca, and Schoharie areas on the March for Science website. The March for Science is a celebration of science.

Science Friday is on the Hunt for Desert Bees

Wild bee burrowing into a barrel cactus bloom. Photo by Christopher Intagliata. by Christopher Intagliata, on April 4, 2017

During our recent Science Friday segment about springtime wildflower blooms, UC Riverside bee biologist Hollis Woodard talked about the wild desert bees that profit from this year’s abundant flowers. While she was on, she shared some awesome bee lore: like the fact that deserts are actually bee biodiversity hotspots; that the majority of bees are solitary and live underground; and that one desert-dwelling bee, Centris rhodopus, has a really weird diet: it collects oil from the fuschia flowers of the Krameria bicolor bush to feed its larvae. That unusual relationship between the Centris bees and Krameria was first characterized in the 1970s by a couple of bee science giants, the husband-and-wife team of Jack Neff and Beryl Simpson.

Viva Puerto Rico

El Yunque National Forest, La Mina Falls. Photo: Nancy Coddington 

Nature Viva Puerto Rico airs on WSKG-TV April 12, 2017 at 8pm

Viva Peurto Rico follows the work of three conservationists and the ways in which each is trying to restore populations of the island’s most endangered species: the Puerto Rican Amazon parrot, Leatherback turtle, and manatee. There are important conservation efforts underway in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico to protect its endangered native wildlife from extinction on land and sea. Once home to ancient rainforests that covered the Caribbean island when Columbus first landed in 1493, centuries of development have impacted Puerto Rico’s rich natural resources. By 1900, only five percent of its rainforests remained, causing a major loss of habitat.

In The Dark Woods Of New England, Shedding Light On A Public Health Crisis

Ixodes scapularis, a blacklegged tick known to spread lyme disease in the northeastern regions of the United States. Photo by Macroscopic Solutions/flickr/CC BY-NC 2.0


Tune in for Science Friday today between 2-4pm to hear how scientists are racing the clock to learn more about the bacterium carried by the blacklegged tick. If you live in some of the more bucolic areas of New England or the upper Midwest you probably know that the price of living so close to nature is ticks carrying Lyme Disease. States like New York, Connecticut, Minnesota, Massachusetts are ground zero for a Lyme Disease epidemic that has been in full swing for several decades now. And despite the fact that tick borne disease is so familiar to people who live in these areas, most of us don’t know as much as we think we do about the nature of Lyme Disease.

The Crowd & The Cloud | Even Big Data Starts Small

The Crowd & The Cloud, Even Big Data Starts Small airs on WSKG-TV April 5, 2017 at 11pm

Are you interested in birds, fish, the oceans or streams in your community? Are you concerned about fracking, air quality, extreme weather, asthma, Alzheimer’s disease, Zika or other epidemics? Now you can do more than read about these issues. You can be part of the solution. Smartphones, computers and mobile technology are enabling regular citizens to become part of a 21st century way of doing science.

Leonardo, The Man Who Saved Science

Leonardo, The Man Who Saved Science airs on WSKG-TV Wednesday April 5, 2017 at 10pm. Leonardo da Vinci is well known for his inventions as well as his art. But new evidence shows that many of his ideas were realized long before he sketched them out in his notebooks — some even 1,700 years before. Was Leonardo a copycat? Leonardo da Vinci is, of course, best known as one of the world’s greatest artists.

Jane Goodall Celebrates her 83rd Birthday

Jane Goodall with a young chimpanzee. Photo source:

From the Writers Almanac

Today is the birthday of Dr. Jane Goodall (books by this author) (1934), famed British primatologist who revealed the previously unknown social behaviors of chimpanzees by living for years among them. Goodall was born in London to a businessman father and novelist mother, who noted her love of animals from a very young age. One day when they could not find her, Jane’s parents frantically called the police to report their daughter missing. A few hours later, they discovered that she had been staked out in the family’s backyard chicken coop to watch a hen lay an egg.

Climate Change Skeptic Group Seeks to Influence 200,000 Teachers

The Heartland Institute says it will send the book “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming” to every public school science teacher in the nation. (Brenna Verre, FRONTLINE)

by Katie Worth, FRONTLINE/Columbia Journalism School Fellowships

Twenty-five thousand science teachers opened their mailboxes this month and found a package from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that rejects the scientific consensus on climate change. It contained the organization’s book “Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming,” as well as a DVD rejecting the human role in climate change and arguing instead that rising temperatures have been caused primarily by natural phenomena. The material will be sent to an additional 25,000 teachers every two weeks until every public-school science teacher in the nation has a copy, Heartland president and CEO Joseph Bast said in an interview last week. If so, the campaign would reach more than 200,000 K-12 science teachers.

Use PBS Learning Media in Your Classroom to Discuss Seafood Sustainbility

Check out this PBS Learning Media resource discussing seafood sustainability. Did you know that the decisions we make when ordering seafood can impact the health of the ocean? Asking the right questions can help us make more sustainable choices. This video is part of a larger unit within the California Academy of Sciences’ Flipside Science series: Healthy Oceans

Ezra, Beloved Red-Tail At Cornell, Is Dead

Photo by Karel & BOGette. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Red-tail Hawk we have to come love named Ezra has died. As some of you may know, Ezra has not been seen on the Cornell Hawks cam or on the Cornell campus for the past several days, and worries have been mounting. We are extremely sad to have to share the news with you that we learned this evening that Ezra has died. On Saturday, March 18, the Janet L. Swanson Wildlife Health Center received an injured Red-tailed Hawk who we now know was Ezra, and who had been found near the A. D. White House on campus.

Want To Eat Green For St. Patrick's Day? Do It The Irish Way — With Seaweed

Sea algae at low tide along the Irish coast. Seaweed was long a part of Irish cuisine. Nutrient-rich, it helped some survive the Great Famine. Irish cooks reviving the practice say it’s not just good for you – it’s a zap of flavor from the sea.   AdventurePicture/Getty Images/iStockphoto

By Deena Prichep, NPR 

Speak of the Emerald Isle, and you picture verdant rolling hillsides.

The Story of Cats | Asia to Africa

The Story of Cats: Asia to Africa airs on WSKG-TV Wednesday March 15, 2017 at 9:30pm


Cats are among the most feared and revered creatures on the planet.  Their power, strength, and enigmatic nature have fascinated us for centuries.  They’ve dominated human culture since the dawn of civilization.  Go from the rainforests, to the savannah, to the mountain peaks all the way into the comfort of our homes.  Get an in-depth look at this unique species and the evolutionary tricks and adaptations that truly make a cat, a cat. n the first episode of The Story of Cats, we discover how the first cats arose in the forests of Asia, how they spread across the continent, and later came to conquer Africa.  We reveal how they evolved flexible limbs to climb, giant bodies to survive in the cold, and super senses to catch prey.  Ultimately we discover how becoming social made the lion, king of the savannah.  Also featured in this episode are other larger cats such as the clouded, snow and African leopards, the Bengal and Siberian tigers, and the cheetah.  However, the introductions of smaller and lesser-known species like the serval, the caracal, and the fishing, Pallas’s and sand cats are just as fascinating.

Tech Savvy Cortland-Ithaca

Did you know that women make up 48% of the US labor force, but only 29% of employees in STEM fields? Join the Cortland and Ithaca chapters of the American Association University of Women for  “Tech Savvy”, a day full of hands on workshops and challenges include Spinning a Web Page, Brain Hacking, Building Bridges, Googling with Paper Airplanes. “Savvy Skills” workshops cover important topics such as Technical Communication, Safety Online, and Public Speaking. Adult sessions help parents and advisors learn more about STEM education and careers, college planning, and financial aid. A STEM Fair with activities for girls and adults will be a new feature!

Students from Rochester are Rocketing their Experiments Into Space

PBS Newshour reports that students from 21 schools across the U.S. and Canada competed for the chance to have their science experiments sent to the International Space Station. One of the student teams selected, from East High School in Rochester, New York, designed an experiment on the process of photosynthesis. Special correspondent Sasha-Ann Simons from PBS station WXXI reports. JOHN YANG: Students from Rochester, New York’s East High School have been busy this year writing a detailed proposal for a science experiment that is out of this world. As Sasha-Ann Simons from PBS station WXXI reports, the project was chosen to be conducted on the International Space Station.

Polar Bear – Spy on the Ice

Polar Bear Spy on the Ice airs on WSKG-TV March 8, 2017 at 8pm

Icebergcam, Blizzardcam and Snowballcam are a new generation of covert devices on a mission to explore the Arctic islands of Svalbard in Norway. Backed up by Snowcam and Driftcam, these state-of-the-art camouflaged cameras reveal the extraordinary curiosity and intelligence of the polar bear. The cameras are just a breath away when two sets of cubs emerge from winter maternity dens. They also capture the moment when the sea ice breaks away from the island in the spring. As one set of mother and cubs journey across the drifting ice in search of seals, the other is marooned on the island with very little food.

Helping Tug Hill Plateau Forest Cope With Climate Change

by Ellen Abbott
SYRACUSE (WRVO) – The Nature Conservancy is hoping to create a climate resilient forest on the Tug Hill Plateau. The Tug Hill Plateau is the third-largest forest landscape in the New York state — a critical link between the Adirondacks and the Allegheny and Appalachian mountains. Its headwaters pour clean water into Lake Ontario, and the area is home to a variety of wildlife, ranging from black bears to forest birds. But selective cutting has weakened some parts of the forest, according to Nature Conservancy Central And Western New York director Jim Howe. And he says, add to that climate change, and these forests are very vulnerable.

Spy In the Wild | Bad Behavior

Spy In the Wild Bad Behavior airs on WSKG-TV on February 22 at 8 p.m.


Spy Creatures infiltrate the underground world of animal mischief, crime, and retribution. Spy Monkey is caught between crossfires as real monkeys fight over beach bar alcohol. Spy Egret is also a waterhole victim when elephants throw mud everywhere.

The Origami Revolution

NOVA The Origami Revolution airs on WSKG TV February 15, 2017 at 9pm


The tradition of folding two-dimensional paper into three-dimensional shapes is now at the heart of a scientific revolution. Engineers are discovering how, by adopting the principles of origami, they are able to reshape the world around us… and even within us. The rules of folding are at the heart of many natural phenomena, from how leaves blossom to how beetles fly. But now, origami is being adopted in designing new drugs, micro-robots, even future space missions! With this burgeoning field of origami-inspired design, the question is: can the mathematics of origami be boiled down to one elegant algorithm – a fail-proof guidebook to make any object out of a flat surface, just by folding?

Engaging Youth in Science around the Southern Tier

Are you looking to engage your student in science enrichment programs but not sure where to turn? Here are a few taking place in the next few months:

Invention Convention: Binghamton Imaginink in connection with the Central New York Patent Law Association (CNYPLA) is conducting an invention education program open to all students in grades K-8 in both public and private schools. This program is intended to teach children how to invent and to increase awareness and appreciation of the importance of invention in the United States. To participate in this program, the student is invited to invent a new idea for a device or a new method for doing something. The student is asked to think of a problem they have encountered, or know of, and to come up with an idea for a device or method to solve the problem.

Did You Miss 'Spy In the Wild'?

Spy in the Wild is a mini-series airing on WSKG-TV on February 15,  2017 at 8pm

Spy Creatures explore the rarely seen emotions of animals, revealing if they are as strong and complex as our own. Join the “spycams” as they are accepted into a wild dog pack, witness elephant love, and are mourned by a troop of monkeys. Episode 1 | Love

In the most innovative production Nature has ever presented, this five-part series employs more than 30 animatronic spy cameras disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. These “spycams” reveal animals as having emotions and behavior similar to humans: specifically, a capacity to love, grieve, deceive, and invent. Among the featured Spy Creatures are: Spy Orangutan, Spy Croc Hatchling, Spy Meerkat, Spy Egret, Spy Tortoise, Spy Prairie Dog, Spy Macaw, Spy Sloth, Spy Cobra, Spy Bushbaby, Spy Squirrel, Spy Adelie, and Spy Baby Hippo.

Ultimate Cruise Ship

NOVA Ultimate Cruise Ship airs on WSKG-TV February 8, 2017 at 9pm

Weighing 54,000 gross tons and stretching over two football fields, the Seven Seas Explorer is no ordinary boat. Join pioneering shipbuilders as they endeavor to build the ultimate commercial cruise ship. Decorated with the finest gold, marble, and crystal, it is designed to offer guests the roomiest accommodations of any cruise ship. But building such opulence is no easy feat; NOVA follows a pioneering team of ship builders as they embark on what is advertised to be a milestone in engineering.

Search for the Super Battery

Search for the Super Battery airs on WSKG-TV on February 1, 2017 at 9pm

We live in an age when technological innovation is soaring. But for all the satisfying speed with which our gadgets improve, many of them share a frustrating weakness: the batteries remain finicky, bulky, expensive, toxic and maddeningly short-lived. But the quest is on for a “super battery,” and the stakes in this hunt are much higher than the phone in your pocket. With climate change looming, electric cars and renewable energy sources like wind and solar power could hold keys to a greener future if we can engineer the perfect battery. David Pogue explores the hidden world of energy storage, from the power (and danger) of the lithium-ion batteries we use today, to the bold innovations that could one day charge our world. What does the future of batteries mean for our gadgets, our lives and our planet? Might the lowly battery be the breakthrough technology that changes everything?

The Race Underground

American Experience The Race Underground airs on WSKG-TV January 31, 2017 at 9pm


In the late 19th century, as America’s teeming cities grew increasingly congested, the time had come to replace the nostalgic horse-drawn trolleys with a faster, cleaner, safer, and more efficient form of transportation. Ultimately, it was Boston — a city of so many firsts — that overcame a litany of engineering challenges, the greed-driven interests of businessmen, and the great fears of its citizenry to construct America’s first subway. Based in part on Doug Most’s acclaimed non-fiction book of the same name, The Race Underground tells the dramatic story of an invention that changed the lives of millions.

Spy in the Wild, A NATURE Miniseries| Love

Spy In the Wild, A Nature Miniseries | Love airs on WSKG-TV February 1, 2017 at 8pm


In the most innovative production Nature has ever presented, this five-part series employs more than 30 animatronic spy cameras disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. These “spycams” reveal animals as having emotions and behavior similar to humans: specifically, a capacity to love, grieve, deceive, and invent. Among the featured Spy Creatures are: Spy Orangutan, Spy Croc Hatchling, Spy Meerkat, Spy Egret, Spy Tortoise, Spy Prairie Dog, Spy Macaw, Spy Sloth, Spy Cobra, Spy Bushbaby, Spy Squirrel, Spy Adelie, and Spy Baby Hippo. These robotic, uncanny look-alikes infiltrate the natural world to film surprising behavior among wildlife from around the globe. Spy Creatures explore the rarely seen emotions of animals, revealing if they are as strong and complex as our own.

American Experience Tells the Story of Environmentalist Rachel Carson

American Experience | Rachel Carson airs on WSKG-TV January 24, 2017 at 8pm

Featuring the voice of Mary-Louise Parker as the influential writer and scientist, Rachel Carson is an intimate portrait of the woman whose groundbreaking books revolutionized our relationship to the natural world. When Silent Spring was published in September 1962 it became an instant bestseller and would go on to spark dramatic changes in the way the government regulated pesticides. Drawn from Carson’s own writings, letters and recent scholarship, the film illuminates both the public and private life of the soft-spoken, shy scientist who launched the modern environmental movement.

Alzheimer's : Every Minute Counts

Alzheimer’s : Every Minute Counts airs on WSKG-TV January 25, 2017 at 10pm

Many know the unique tragedy of this disease, but few know that Alzheimer’s is one of the most critical public health crises facing America. This powerful documentary illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered for this currently incurable disease. There are now over five million Americans with Alzheimer’s disease. Because of the growing number of aging baby boomers, and the fact that the onset of Alzheimer’s is primarily age-related, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s is projected to rise by 55% by 2030, and by 2050 the Alzheimer’s Association estimates the total number could explode to nearly 14 million. This “tsunami” of Alzheimer’s will not only be a profound human tragedy, but an overwhelming economic one as well.

The Nuclear Option

NOVA The Nuclear Option airs on WSKG TV January 11, 2017 at 9pm

Five years after the earthquake and tsunami that triggered the unprecedented trio of meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, scientists and engineers are struggling to control an ongoing crisis. What’s next for Fukushima? What’s next for Japan? And what’s next for a world that seems determined to jettison one of our most important carbon-free sources of energy? Despite the catastrophe—and the ongoing risks associated with nuclear—a new generation of nuclear power seems poised to emerge the ashes of Fukushima.

First Peoples | Africa and Asia

First Peoples Africa and Asia airs on WSKG TV January 11, 2017  beginning at 10pm

Around 200,000 years ago, a new species, Homo sapiens, appeared on the African landscape. While scientists have imagined eastern Africa as a real-life Garden of Eden, the latest research suggests humans evolved in many places across the continent at the same time. DNA from a 19th-century African-American slave is forcing geneticists to re-think the origins of our species. The theory is that our ancestors met, mated and hybridized with other human types in Africa — creating ever greater diversity within our species.

Snowbound Animals of Winter

Nature Snowbound Animals of Winter airs on WSKG TV January 11, 2017 at 8pm

The coldest and snowiest places on earth pose a challenge to anyone visiting such locations as the Arctic Circle or Antarctica, but what about the year-round animal population? How do they cope for many months with life in these frozen wonderlands where temperatures can plummet to as low as minus 50 degrees? Gordon Buchanan, a wildlife cameraman used to filming in frigid lands around the globe, explains how creatures like the wolf, Arctic fox, bison, reindeer, lynx, weasel, polar bear, penguin, Weddell seal, and woolly bear caterpillar adapt to their surroundings or employ clever tactics to survive.

Independent Lens | Containment

Independent Lens | Containment airs on WSKG TV January 9, 2017 at 10pm

How can we contain some of the deadliest, most long-lasting substances ever produced? Toxic remnants from the Cold War remain in millions of gallons of highly radioactive sludge, thousands of acres of radioactive land, tens of thousands of unused hot buildings, and some slowly spreading deltas of contaminated groundwater. Governments around the world, desperate to protect future generations, have begun imagining society 10,000 years from now in order to create warning monuments that will speak across time to mark waste repositories. Containment moves from a nuclear weapon facility in South Carolina where toxic swamps have led to radioactive animals, to a deep underground burial site in New Mexico, to Fukushima, Japan, where a triple meltdown occurred after the cooling systems at the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant were interrupted, leaving that city a ghost town. The film is part graphic novel and part observational essay mixed with sci-fi that is more science than fiction, weaving between an uneasy present and an imaginative, troubled distant future, exploring the struggle to keep waste confined over millennia.

SciGirls Workshop for Educators

Learn how to engage your students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through PBS Kids SciGirls! SciGirls is a PBS Kids television series out to change how tweens think about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM! In each episode, join bright, curious real girls in putting STEM to work. Then check out the website to play games, watch episodes, share projects, and connect with other SciGirls in a totally safe social networking environment! SciGirls Trainings integrate inquiry-based STEM instruction with a commitment to gender equity.

First Peoples | Americas

First Peoples Americas airs on WSKG TV on January 4, 2017 at 11pm. FIRST PEOPLES tells the story of how early Homo sapiens moved around the globe and became the dominant human species. Each episode of the five-part series focuses on a different continent and meets the earliest Homo sapiens on that continent – the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. Where did they come from? How did they get there?

Secrets of the Sky Tombs

NOVA Secrets of the Sky Tombs airs on WSKG-TV January 4, 2017 at 9pm. A team of scientists and explorers probe high altitude caves in the Tibetan Himalayas looking for clues to how humans found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted their bodies to survive.  Along the way they discover evidence of ritual burials, thousands of years old: skeletons, mummies, and evidence of practices designed to ward off ancient vampires and even zombies. The towering Himalayas were among the last places on Earth that humanity settled. Scaling sheer cliff sides, a team of daring scientists hunts for clues to how ancient people found their way into this forbidding landscape and adapted to survive the high altitude.

How Do All Those Bubbles Get Inside Champagne?

Science Friday shares how to celebrate this coming weekend. This New Year’s Eve, raise a glass—but instead of drinking your champagne, try watching it instead. You’ll see delicate trails of bubbles floating upward through the wine. We tracked down bubbleologists Dick Zare and Charles Bamforth to explain what these bubbles are made of, how they form, and how the fizz in champagne stacks up against beer foam. (Spoiler alert: Bamforth says he’ll be ringing in the New Year with an IPA.)

Bubbles form in your drink due to imperfections in the drinking container.

SciGirls Workshop for Educators Working with 4-8th Graders

Learn how to engage your students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through PBS Kids SciGirls! SciGirls is a PBS Kids television series out to change how tweens think about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM! In each episode, join bright, curious real girls in putting STEM to work. Then check out the website to play games, watch episodes, share projects, and connect with other SciGirls in a totally safe social networking environment! SciGirls Trainings integrate inquiry-based STEM instruction with a commitment to gender equity.

Happy Winter Solstice

According to EarthSky, the 2016 December solstice arrives on December 21, at 10:44 UTC. That’s 4:44 a.m. CST for the Central time zone in North America. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the December solstice ushers in our shortest period of daylight and longest period of darkness for the year. And yet – if we consider the length of the day in another light – the longest days of the year come each year in December for the entire globe. When we say the longest days of the year come each year around the December solstice for the entire globe, we’re talking about day not as a period of daylight – but as the interval from one solar noon – or midday – to the next.

Ursid Meteor Showers Peak Later This Week

According to EarthSky, the annual Ursid meteor shower always peaks near the time of the December solstice, so, in 2016, look for some possible activity over the next several nights. The forecast calls for December 21-22 to be the peak night. Normally a sparse shower, you might see about five meteors per hour. This shower favors the more northerly latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere. All meteors in annual showers have radiant points on our sky’s dome, and the showers take their names from the constellations in which the radiant points lie.

Could You Power Your Home With A Bike?

NPR’s Skunk Bear Blog received a great question from a listener. The answer brought them to the upstate New York. An NPR listener (with what may be the best Twitter handle ever — Booky McReaderpants) inquired whether a home can be powered by bicycle-powered generator.

It’s an interesting issue about energy and the modern world. And the short answer comes from just running the numbers.

John Glenn, First American To Orbit The Earth, Dies At 95

A 1959 NASA promotional photo shows John Glenn in his spacesuit. Fred Jones/NASA/AP

by Russel Lewis

The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn’t stop his pioneering ways. Glenn made history a second time in 1998, when he flew aboard the shuttle Discovery to become the oldest person to fly in space.

Fishery Reductions Worry Anglers

photo: Julia Botero/WRVO News  

Story by: Veronica Volk

Every year, the Salmon River Fish Hatchery in Altmar, raises millions of fish to be stocked in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. The hatchery raises several species of fish, but their pride and joy is the chinook salmon. Each fall, employees harvest millions of eggs, fertilize them, incubate them, and raise the fish until they’re ready to be released into the wild. This time of year, Les Resseguie and his team are overseeing millions of chinook eggs — each about the size of a pea — incubating in big trays in the hatchery’s basement. “You can start to see their eyes, you can start to see the major blood vessels, and you’ll actually see them wiggling around a little bit in there,” Resseguie says.

SciGirls Educator Workshop at WSKG Studios in January

Learn how to engage your students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through PBS Kids SciGirls! SciGirls is a PBS Kids television series out to change how tweens think about science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM! In each episode, join bright, curious real girls in putting STEM to work. Then check out the website to play games, watch episodes, share projects, and connect with other SciGirls in a totally safe social networking environment! SciGirls Trainings integrate inquiry-based STEM instruction with a commitment to gender equity.

The Best Science Books of 2016

Image from Kameron Hurley. Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm. Time travel, microbes, black holes, and polar bears. There’s something for everyone on this year’s list of best science books. Maria Popova, founder of Brain Pickings, andScientific American editor Lee Billings join Ira to weigh in with their top picks.

Can Science Resurrect The American Chestnut?

by Ellen Abbott

(WRVO) Genetically modified food is something that’s discussed a lot. But scientists in Syracuse are trying to take that technology one step further, and create the first genetically modified wild forest tree. And with that, rest hopes that the American chestnut tree could make a comeback with a scientific nudge. Chestnut trees once dominated swaths of the Eastern seaboard. That was more than a century ago, before an Asian fungus decimated a population known for delivering chestnuts to holiday revelers, and wood that doesn’t rot to builders.

'First Peoples Americas' screening at Cinemapolis

Join WSKG Science on Tuesday, November 29th at the Cinemapolis in Ithaca for a special screening of First Peoples. The PBS documentary follows the first Homo sapiens as they traveled across the continents. This screening is in partnership with the Tioga County Public Library Ithaca Explores Human Origins exhibition and Cinemapolis. The screening is free of charge, no need for reservations. When: November 29th 7 p.m.

Where: Cinemapolis   120 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850

‘First Peoples Americas’ screening at Cinemapolis

Join WSKG Science on Tuesday, November 29th at the Cinemapolis in Ithaca for a special screening of First Peoples. The PBS documentary follows the first Homo sapiens as they traveled across the continents. This screening is in partnership with the Tioga County Public Library Ithaca Explores Human Origins exhibition and Cinemapolis. The screening is free of charge, no need for reservations. When: November 29th 7 p.m.

Where: Cinemapolis   120 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850

First Peoples | Americas Screening at Cinemapolis

Join WSKG Science on Tuesday, November 29th at the Cinemapolis in Ithaca for a special screening of First Peoples. The PBS documentary follows the first Homo sapiens as they traveled across the continents. This screening is in partnership with the Tioga County Public Library Ithaca Explores Human Origins exhibition and Cinemapolis. The screening is free of charge, no need for reservations. When: November 29th 7 p.m.

Where: Cinemapolis   120 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850

First Peoples | Americas Screening at Cinemapolis

Join WSKG Science on Tuesday, November 29th at the Cinemapolis in Ithaca for a special screening of First Peoples. The PBS documentary follows the first Homo sapiens as they traveled across the continents. This screening is in partnership with the Tioga County Public Library Ithaca Explores Human Origins exhibition and Cinemapolis. The screening is free of charge, no need for reservations. When: November 29th 7 p.m.

Where: Cinemapolis   120 E Green St, Ithaca, NY 14850

What’s The Carbon Footprint Of A Typical Thanksgiving?

Mike Berners-Lee may not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he’s never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. But as one of the world’s leading researchers on the carbon footprint of—well—everything (he even wrote a book subtitled “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”), he’s plenty familiar with the impacts of the foods that star in the traditional Thanksgiving Day spread. Read the full story here. 


What Causes the Common Cold?

Design by Daniel Peterschmidt

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4 p.m.

The common cold is an unwelcome yet familiar visitor this time of year. But how much do we really know about it? The term “common cold” is actually a catch-all for several different families of viruses that give us cold-like symptoms. The most common type is a small RNA virus called a rhinovirus, made up of just 10 genes. Researchers think it most likely originated as an enterovirus, a virus most commonly found in the low pH environment of the human gut, that mutated and developed an affinity for the comfy moist confines of the nose and throat. So what about the elusive “cure” for the common cold?

Leap Into the World of Jumping Spiders on Science Friday

A jumping spider. Credit: Gil Menda and the Hoy lab

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays 2-4 p.m.

Encountering a jumping spider might give some people a start, but researchers are interested in these agile arthropods, especially their ability to plan and execute complex behaviors. Scientists are studying how jumping spiders coordinate their eight eyes to track fast-moving prey, and how these earless animals can pick up noises from across a room. Arachnologist Paul Shamble discusses the sensory systems of jumping spiders and how scientists go about measuring the small creatures’ neural activity. And ecologist Eric Olson discusses why these predators might enjoy a vegetarian snack now and again.

Secrets of the Dead | Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

Secrets of the Dead | Graveyard of the Giant Beasts airs on WSKG-TV on November 2, 2016 at 10pm. Graveyard of the Giant Beasts opens a window onto a previously unknown period of the earth’s history to reveal a world teeming with creatures seemingly familiar to us, but colossal in size.  Sixty-five million years ago, a giant meteor hit the earth causing a global catastrophe that destroyed an estimated three quarters of the plants and animal species on the planet, including the mighty dinosaurs. Little was known about the survivors who lived in this post-apocalyptic world until a mining operation in Cerrejon, Northern Colombia — excavating coal cut from deep within the earth’s crust — exposed an important layer in the earth’s geological history laid down more than 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. In 2003, when paleontologist professor Jonathan Bloch, University of Florida, first heard that this important layer had been exposed, he and his research team rushed to Columbia.

Secrets of the Dead | Graveyard of the Giant Beasts

Secrets of the Dead | Graveyard of the Giant Beasts airs on WSKG-TV on November 2, 2016 at 10pm. Graveyard of the Giant Beasts opens a window onto a previously unknown period of the earth’s history to reveal a world teeming with creatures seemingly familiar to us, but colossal in size.  Sixty-five million years ago, a giant meteor hit the earth causing a global catastrophe that destroyed an estimated three quarters of the plants and animal species on the planet, including the mighty dinosaurs. Little was known about the survivors who lived in this post-apocalyptic world until a mining operation in Cerrejon, Northern Colombia — excavating coal cut from deep within the earth’s crust — exposed an important layer in the earth’s geological history laid down more than 10 million years after the extinction of the dinosaurs. In 2003, when paleontologist professor Jonathan Bloch, University of Florida, first heard that this important layer had been exposed, he and his research team rushed to Columbia.

Secrets of the Dead | After Stonehenge

Secrets of the Dead After Stonehenge airs on WSKG-TV on October 26, 2016 at 10 p.m.

Three thousand years ago, the Egyptians were building the pyramids, but little is known about what was going on in Europe during this same time. Scholars have long believed that nothing nearly as advanced was happening in Britain. Could a new discovery prove historians wrong? On the edge of Must Farm Quarry in an area southeast of Britain known as the Fens, archaeologists are uncovering the charred remains of a 3,000-year-old English settlement. Follow a team of archeologists, scientists, historians and specialists, as they shed new light on the ancient history of the western world.

Secrets of the Dead | After Stonehenge

Secrets of the Dead After Stonehenge airs on WSKG-TV on October 26, 2016 at 10 p.m.

Three thousand years ago, the Egyptians were building the pyramids, but little is known about what was going on in Europe during this same time. Scholars have long believed that nothing nearly as advanced was happening in Britain. Could a new discovery prove historians wrong? On the edge of Must Farm Quarry in an area southeast of Britain known as the Fens, archaeologists are uncovering the charred remains of a 3,000-year-old English settlement. Follow a team of archeologists, scientists, historians and specialists, as they shed new light on the ancient history of the western world.

Giraffes, Africa's Gentle Giants

Nature Giraffes, Africa’s Gentle Giants airs on WSKG-TV October 26, 2016 at 8 p.m.

Everyone loves giraffes, but what do we really know about them? Dr Julian Fennessy starts to reveal their secrets – the most important being that they are disappearing. In an urgent and daring mission, with a determined Ugandan team, he plans to round up 20 of the world’s rarest giraffe to take across and beyond the mighty Nile River. The stakes are high, but if they succeed the reward will be a brighter future for an animal we have somehow overlooked.


Giraffes, Africa’s Gentle Giants

Nature Giraffes, Africa’s Gentle Giants airs on WSKG-TV October 26, 2016 at 8 p.m.

Everyone loves giraffes, but what do we really know about them? Dr Julian Fennessy starts to reveal their secrets – the most important being that they are disappearing. In an urgent and daring mission, with a determined Ugandan team, he plans to round up 20 of the world’s rarest giraffe to take across and beyond the mighty Nile River. The stakes are high, but if they succeed the reward will be a brighter future for an animal we have somehow overlooked.


Tesla | American Experience

Tesla | American Experience airs on WSKG TV on October 18, 2016 at 9 p.m.

Meet Nikola Tesla, the genius engineer and tireless inventor whose technology revolutionized the electrical age of the 20th century. Although eclipsed in fame by Edison and Marconi, it was Tesla’s vision that paved the way for today’s wireless world. His fertile but undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius but also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator. Written and Produced by David Grubin.

Tesla | American Experience

Tesla | American Experience airs on WSKG TV on October 18, 2016 at 9 p.m.

Meet Nikola Tesla, the genius engineer and tireless inventor whose technology revolutionized the electrical age of the 20th century. Although eclipsed in fame by Edison and Marconi, it was Tesla’s vision that paved the way for today’s wireless world. His fertile but undisciplined imagination was the source of his genius but also his downfall, as the image of Tesla as a “mad scientist” came to overshadow his reputation as a brilliant innovator. Written and Produced by David Grubin.

Explore the World of Chemistry with NOVA: Hunting the Elements

Looking for resources for your class?  Where do nature’s building blocks, called the elements, come from? Elements are the hidden ingredients of everything in our world, from the carbon in our bodies to the metals in our smartphone. To unlock their secrets, NOVA’s Hunting the Elements spins viewers through the world of weird, extreme chemistry: the strongest acids, the deadliest poisons, and the universe’s most abundant- and rarest- elements. This collection will allow you and your students to explore this fascinating chemical landscape and take a tour across the periodic table.

Great Human Odyssey

Great Human Odyssey airs on WSKG TV October 5, 2016 at 9 p.m.

Our ancient human ancestors once lived only in Africa, then spread rapidly to every corner of the planet. How did we acquire the skills, technology and talent to thrive in every environment on earth? How did our prehistoric forebears cross the Sahara on foot, survive frigid ice ages, and sail to remote Pacific islands? “Great Human Odyssey” is a spectacular global journey following their footsteps out of Africa along a trail of fresh scientific clues. With unique glimpses of today’s Kalahari hunters, Siberian reindeer herders, and Polynesian navigators, we discover amazing skills that hint at how our ancestors survived and prospered long ago.

Forces of Nature | Motion

Forces of Nature | Motion airs on WSKG TV October 5, 2016 at 8 p.m.


Forces of Nature illustrates how we experience Earth’s natural forces, including shape, elements, color and motion in each of its four episodes. Although we can’t immediately feel the motion of Earth’s fundamental forces, we witness the consequences, such as tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest or the intense and ruinous power of hurricanes. The forces of nature have kept Earth on the move since it was formed billions of years ago. Though we can’t feel the motion, we experience the consequences – from tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest to the ruinous power of hurricanes.

Forces of Nature | Motion

Forces of Nature | Motion airs on WSKG TV October 5, 2016 at 8 p.m.


Forces of Nature illustrates how we experience Earth’s natural forces, including shape, elements, color and motion in each of its four episodes. Although we can’t immediately feel the motion of Earth’s fundamental forces, we witness the consequences, such as tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest or the intense and ruinous power of hurricanes. The forces of nature have kept Earth on the move since it was formed billions of years ago. Though we can’t feel the motion, we experience the consequences – from tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest to the ruinous power of hurricanes.

Teacher Resource Day at Museum of the Earth

Museum of the Earth, located in Trumansburg NY is holding their annual  Teacher Resource Day on October 1st, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Teachers and educators will be treated to free fossils, resources, specimens and publications for use at their schools and in their classrooms.

Guest speakers include Dr. Justin Richardson, Critical Zone Observatory Network Post-Doctoral Fellow and Nancy Coddington, WSKG Public Media Director of Science of Content, Services & Programming. If you are a teacher/educator, sign up today at:


Nature's Wonderland | India

Living Root Bridge, Meghalaya, photo by Ben Southwell. Nature’s Wonderland | India airs on WSKG-TV on September 28, 2016 at 10 p.m.

How does a country with a population of more than a billion people still have room for such a huge range of wildlife? Wildlife expert Liz Bonnin has had a passion for India from the moment she first set foot there. Actor Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”) grew up there, and she understands the deep bond between Indians and their natural world. Mountaineer Jon Gupta has climbed throughout the Himalayas, and he’s summitted Everest, but he’s never climbed in India.

Forces of Nature | Color

Maasai cattle herder, Parapakuni, surveying the grasslands of the Serengeti plains in Tanzania. photo: Alex Ranken

Forces of Nature | Color airs on WSKG-TV on September 28, 2016 at 8 p.m.

 Forces of Nature illustrates how we experience Earth’s natural forces, including shape, elements, color and motion in each of its four episodes. Although we can’t immediately feel the motion of Earth’s fundamental forces, we witness the consequences, such as tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest or the intense and ruinous power of hurricanes. Earth is painted in stunning colors. By understanding how these colors are created and the energy they carry, we can learn the secret language of the planet.

September Equinox Arrives

Equinoxes and solstices, via NASA Earth Observatory. According to EarthSky, the September equinox arrived on September 22, 2016 at 10:21 a.m. EDT.   At the equinox, days and nights are approximately equal in length. For us in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is rising later now, and nightfall comes sooner. We’re enjoying the cooler days of autumn.

Forces of Nature | Elements

Forces of Nature | Elements airs on WSKG TV September 21, 2016 at 8pm. The forces of nature make Earth a restless planet, but they also turned our ball of rock into a home for life. How did our planet’s ingredients, the chemical elements, come together and take that first crucial step from barren rock to a living world? 

School of the Future

NOVA School of the Future airs on WSKG TV September 14, 2016 at 9pm. In a new age of information, rapid innovation, and globalization, how can we prepare our children to compete? Once the envy of the world, American schools are now in trouble. How can the latest research help us fix education in America? Can the science of learning—including new insights from neuroscientists, psychologists, and educators—reveal how kids’ brains work and tell us which techniques are most likely to engage and inspire growing minds?

Forces of Nature | Shape

Forces of Nature : Shape airs on WSKG TV September 14, 2016 at 8pm

Forces of Nature illustrates how we experience Earth’s natural forces, including shape, elements, color and motion in each of its four episodes. Although we can’t immediately feel the motion of Earth’s fundamental forces, we witness the consequences, such as tidal bores surging through the Amazon rainforest or the intense and ruinous power of hurricanes. We can’t directly see the forces that govern Earth, but we can see their shadows in the shapes of nature that surround us. If we understand why these shapes exist, we can understand the rules that bind the entire universe.

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Bees

Photo by Odilon Dimier/Getty Images

According to PBS Newshour, Beekeepers all over the world have reported significant colony losses in the last ten years. Those may be caused by the interconnected effects of pesticides, parasites, landscape changes and a warmer climate. But the good news is that the phenomenon has shined a spotlight on one of the nation’s most ubiquitous workers, reinvigorated local beekeeping and sparked a bustling local honey movement. Here are some unforgettable takeaways:

1. Forgive us, but honey is bee vomitus

Bees need pollen mostly for the protein, and nectar mostly for the carbohydrates.

15 Years of Terror

NOVA 15 Years of Terror airs on WSKG TV September 7, 2016 at 9pm. On September 11, 2001, an unimaginable horror unfolded that devastated a nation and the world. Fifteen years later, we are still gripped by terror, but it has transformed. The attacks have been coming fast and furious—to Boston, Paris, Brussels, San Bernardino, Orlando, Nice—but they are no longer commanded by a central entity. This is terrorism in the age of the Internet: crowd-sourced violence. In this special report, NOVA traces the evolution of terror strategies from the World Trade Center to today. How have radical organizations grown to make use of modern propaganda and social media tools in order to cultivate an army of self-radicalized killers?

Scientists are Digging up the Dirt for Clues to Disappearing Nitrogen in the Chesapeake Bay

Thomas Fisher of UMCES enters data from a stream logger into his computer at his makeshift office near South Forge Branch, one of the Choptank’s tributaries. The logger measures water depth and temperature. (Dave Harp)

by Rona Kobell 
Rona Kobell is a staff writer for the Bay Journal. Her work has won numerous awards and in 2008, she was selected as a Knight-Wallace fellow at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying the use of economic incentives in environmental policy. Call it the case of the missing nitrogen.

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, scientists have wondered what happens to the nitrogen that farmers apply to fields over the past several decades.

The Axolotl: A Cut Above the Rest

A pensive axolotl. Image by Christian Baker. Science Friday airs on WSQX every Friday from 2-4pm. by Christian Baker, Science Friday
The axolotl is a Mexican salamander with an incredible ability: Cut its leg off, and the limb will grow right back! How it does this and why humans can’t is still a bit of a mystery.

A Family Adopts a Rhino and a Seal Finds an Unlikely Savor on 'My Wild Affair'

The Rhino Who Joined the Family airs at 8pm and The Seal Who Came Home airs at 9pm on WSKG TV August 31, 2016. Hear extraordinary stories of the bonds between humans and their animal companions, including an orphaned baby elephant, an orangutan raised as a human child, a rhinoceros raised in suburbia and a harbor seal that entered the human world but remained wild at heart. The Rhino Who Joined The Family (airs at 8pm August 31, 2016)
Rescued from flooding caused by the damming of the Zambezi River, Rupert, an orphaned black rhinoceros, was brought up in the suburban family home of wildlife vet Dr. John Condy. Rupert captured the hearts of the vet’s four young children before his eventual release into the wild. Fifty years later, the children are searching for clues to their childhood friend’s fate.

The Pros and Cons of Potential Development in National Parks

Yellowstone Canyon, from Shutterstock

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays between 2-4pm. With the National Park Service turning one hundred this week, discussions continue on how to make the parks financially lucrative.  More than 300 million tourists visited the national parks in 2015, a five percent increase from the previous year. Of those visitors, more than five million flocked to Grand Canyon National Park alone. With a surge in hikers and bikers come more parking lots and developments.

My Wild Affair

My Wild Affair airs on WSKG TV August 24, 2016 at 8pm. Tune in to hear the story of ‘The Elephant Who Found A Mom’ showcasing the intense bond between Aisha, a baby elephant orphan, and her human foster parent is detailed. The story of Aisha, the baby elephant orphan, and Daphne Sheldrick, the woman who became her human foster parent. Their intense bond reaches a crisis point when Daphne leaves Aisha with a babysitter for a few days to attend her daughter’s wedding. Aisha believes she has lost Daphne for good and refuses to eat, leading to her death. Heartbroken, Daphne uses the lessons learned from Aisha’s short life to help her save more than 150 orphans over the next 40 years.

DEC is Seeking Help Monitoring an Invasive Species

Asian Longhorned Beetle Photograph credit: Kenneth R. Law, USDA APHIS PPQ,

The Asian Longhorned Beetle showed up on New York City around 1996, likely hitching a ride in cargo containers. This pest is most destructive in its larval stage, according to the New York State DEC. This pest was collected on maple and horse chestnut trees by the New York City Parks and Recreation Department at Green Point in northern Brooklyn. It was initially identified by E. Richard Hoebeke of Cornell University. The Longhorned beetle is a pest found in China, Japan and Korea. This was the first detection of this pest in the United States.

WSKG Science Scavenger Hunt

WSKG Science has been busy making their way around New York and Pennsylvania finding the coolest places and spaces where science is happening. Each week on Instagram, a new location will be revealed and it is up to you to figure out where WSKG Science has been. We will use the hashtag #WSKGScavengerHunt.  Follow us on Instagram at @WSKGScience to keep up with all the latest science discoveries in public media.

EPA Science Advisory Board Sharpens Criticism of Fracking Report

EPA science panel calls on the agency to produce more evidence for its assertion that fracking by gas rigs like this one does not have a widespread effect on drinking water. photo by JOE ULRICH/ WITF

By John Hurdle, State Impact Pennsylvania 

A scientific advisory panel on Thursday stepped up its criticism of the Environmental Protection Agency’s controversial report on fracking, calling on the agency to provide evidence for its landmark conclusion that fracking for oil and gas has had “no widespread, systemic impacts” on drinking water.  


Read the rest of the story here. 

Perseid Meteor Shower Tonight Peaks Tonight

Early Perseid meteor by Ken Christison. Perseid Meteor Shower is visible in the night sky August 10-12, 2016. The annual Perseid meteor shower should be very visible in the night sky this week, with the peak expected tonight a bit after midnight into the early morning as well as tomorrow night. And by a very fortunate coincidence, there will be little or no moon light to make the meteors hard to see. The best viewing hours should be between 11 p.m. and dawn, when the constellation Perseus is above the horizon.

Would You Eat a Plate Full of Worms?

image by Lisa Brown 

by Alison Baitz, NPR Goats and Soda 

In southern Venezuela, the Ye’kuana people gather them from the mud around streams or dig them up from the floor of the highland forest. They’re gutted and boiled and eaten — or smoked and sold at prices three times that of other smoked meats. What is this lucrative, forageable fare? Earthworms.

“These edible worms are as much a part of the food supply as chicken is [in the U.S.],” says Darna Dufour, a professor of anthropology at the University of Colorado – Boulder and a colleague of Maurizio Guido Paoletti, a professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Padova in Italy. He’s the co-author of a paper on the “Nutrient content of earthworms consumed by Ye’Kuana Amerindians.”

Is a Healthier English Bulldog Possible?

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm. Tune into Science Friday to learn how this loveable, wrinkly, squishy-faced English bulldog is the fourth most popular purebreed in the United States. It’s also a breed notorious for health problems, from breathing difficulties to overheating, to skin infections. While the median age is about 8.4 years, many live only 6 or fewer — and most puppies are born by c-section because of problems with the mother’s body structure. In 2009, stirred by controversy over these health problems, the United Kingdom’s Kennel Club made some revisions to the breed standards in the name of healthier dogs.

Spillover – Zika, Ebola & Beyond

PREDICT partners feed macaque monkeys on the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh to gather samples of feces. photo: Courtesy of Tangled Bank Studios, LLC

Spillover- Zika, Ebola & Beyond airs on WSKG TV August 3, 2016 at 10pm. Investigate the rise of spillover viruses like Zika, Ebola and Nipah that can make the leap from animals to humans. Find out how human behaviors spread diseases and what science can do to anticipate and prevent epidemics around the world. Throughout the last few decades, diseases that spill over from animals to humans have been on the rise.

Shipwreck Discovered Off Coast Of Lake Ontario

A schooner found in Lake Ontario. photo by: Jim Kennard 

(WXXI) A schooner that sank off the shores of New York in Lake Ontario almost a century and a half ago has been discovered. Underwater explorer Jim Kennard says he and his colleagues Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens were canvassing miles of lake bottom with a remote control video camera when it happened. “All of a sudden you see something and the adrenaline kicks in.” What they found was a mid-nineteenth century Canadian schooner called the Royal Albert.

Apollo 11 Heritage Site

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays at 2p.m.


by Brandon Echter

On July 20th in 1969, Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon. And some day, you might be able to visit that historic site yourself. Recently on Science Friday, we talked with space archaeologist Beth O’Leary and aerospace engineer Ann Darrin about preserving humanity’s history in space. Although space tourism is still a ways off, NASA is already taking steps to preserve significant sites on the moon. In 2011 the agency issued recommendations for protecting the first and last landing sites on the moon, essentially creating a no-landing zone within two kilometers of where Apollos 11 and 17 were located.

Dinosaur Train to Visit The Discovery Center

Join us on Tuesday, July 26, 2016 from 11am-1pm at The Discovery Center of the Southern Tier for some fun Dinosaur Train activities and screening.  We will be discussing pollination and when flowers first showed up on the Earth.  Dinosaur Train screening will take place at 12pm in the Ahearn Theater. See you there! When: Tuesday July 26, 2016  11am-1pm
What: Hands on Dinosaur Train Activities & Screening
Where: Discover Center of the Southern Tier, 60 Morgan Road Binghamton New York
Who: Families

For more information call the Discovery Center  607-773-8661

New Radio Programming on WSQX highlighting our Climate

Climate Connections comes to WSQX, weekdays at 4:59pm, beginning on Monday July 11, 2016. Climate Connections is hosted by Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, with original reporting from a national network of environmental reporters and researchers. A ninety second climate story will be highlighted each weekday begging July 11th. The program examines how climate change is already impacting our lives and values as well as “solution stories” about what diverse people and organizations are doing to reduce carbon pollution and increase resilience to climate impacts. The series “connects the dots” between climate change and energy, extreme weather, public health, food and water, jobs and the economy, national security, the creative arts, and religious and moral values, among other themes. Weekdays, 4:59pm | WSQX RADIO

NASA’s Juno Spacecraft Enters into Jupiter's Orbit

NASA’s Juno spacecraft appears as a faint streak in this ground-based telescope image, captured during the mission’s Earth flyby encounter. The image was taken by Greg Roberts, near Cape Town, South Africa at on Oct. 9, 2013 at 19:18 UTC. According to NASA, after an almost five year journey to Jupiter, spacecraft Juno has successfully made it into Jupiter’s orbit. The goal of this mission is to learn much more about this mysterious super planet.

Anatomy of Fireworks

Fireworks have changed a great deal in the 1,000 years since they were first developed in China. The primary chemical component in nearly all fireworks is “black powder.” The recipe for black powder, a mixture of 75 percent saltpeter (potassium nitrate), 15 percent charcoal, and 10 percent sulfur, originated in China about 1,000 years ago with a slightly different proportion of ingredients. Black powder has been used in loud and fiery displays ever since–first to ward off evil spirits, and later to entertain and celebrate. Today’s fireworks rely on black powder for two critical functions. Gas released when the powder combusts first propels the firework skyward and later blasts its contents outward into the elaborate patterns that spectators come to see.

Supernature Wild Flyers and how they are 'Defying Gravity'

A flying Paradise tree snake in Tenom, Borneo. photo: Jack Socha/BBC


Supernature Wild Flyers Defying Gravity airs on WSKG TV June 29, 2016 at 8pm. Explore the basic principles of flight to see how animals become airborne. From leapers to gliders, each creature has special techniques, but all must overcome the force of gravity. The sky is one of the world’s most challenging places to live, but across the planet an extraordinary range of animals do something we can only dream of – take to the air.

Should Organs Be Sold?

POINT TAKEN airs on WSKG TV Tuesday June 28th, 2016 at 11pm

Everyday over 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list? @Point Taken’s next debate asks if organs should be sold. Tell us what you think.


Join the conversation online using by using the hashtag #PointTakenPBS 

Each week, POINT TAKEN debates a topic Americans care about. We deliver smart, interesting guests who can disagree without being disagreeable.

Eight (or More) Reasons to be Amazed by the Octopus

Illustration by Eric Nyquist

This excerpt is from Science Friday’s annual Cephalopod Week, a celebration of octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and more.  Science Friday has been sharing cephalopod facts, photos, film, activities, and more. Video producer Luke Groskin takes us inside the lab of psychologist Frank Grasso for a look at how an octopus might see and experience the world around itself. And biologist Carrie Albertin explores the genome of one octopus species, and talks about some of the ways those genes account for the weird and wonderful abilities of this eight-limbed creature.

The Great Polar Bear Feast

 A polar bear eats at the Bone Pile, with the town of Kaktovic in the background. photo: Andrew Brown/Renegade Pictures


The Great Polar Bear Feast airs on WSKG TV June 22, 2016 at 8pm. The Great Polar Bear Feast is the astonishing story of an annual natural phenomenon that occurs in early September on the north slope of the Arctic. Every year, up to 80 polar bears gather on the frozen shores of Barter Island, near the village of Kaktovik, to feast on the hunter-harvested bowhead whale remains. This extraordinary gathering is highly unusual because polar bears are known as solitary predators, rarely if ever moving in a group.

Learning about the Summer Solstice

What is the summer solstice and how can I share this with my child? The summer solstice will take place June 20, 2016 at approximately 6:34pm EDT, in the Southern Tier of New York. This marks the longest length of daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Check out this video from PBS Learning Media and share with your K-5th grade child explaining how the earth revolves around the sun on it’s axis, creating the seasons and solstice.

Get ready for 'National Week of Making'

Celebrate the 2016 National Week of Making and share great #Maker activities from WGBH Kids programs Design Squad Global, Plum Landing, and PEEP and the Big Wide World! Join us for a Twitter chat encouraging your kids to become Makers. #GrowMakers Twitter chat takes place on Tuesday June 21 at 12pm.  Tune and see what all the fuss is all about. 

“Makers and builders and doers — of all ages and backgrounds — have pushed our country
forward, developing creative solutions to important challenges and proving that ordinary
Americans are capable of achieving the extraordinary when they have access to the resources they           need.” – President Obama

Connect with organizations during the chat by using these twitter handles:@Designsquad
@SWEtalk @TheConnectory @ngcproject @WSKG @nancycoddington 


Best of Big Blue Live

photo courtesy of Monterey Bay Whale Watch. 

Best of Big Blue Live airs on WSKG TV June 15, 2016 at 8pm. Join scientists, animal behaviorists and other experts in Monterey Bay, California, to view its once endangered, now thriving, ecosystem, where nature’s most charismatic marine creatures gather to feed on an abundance of food.  

The event showcases marine life along America’s West Coast. It documents the extraordinary rejuvenation of the once endangered and now thriving ecosystem of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California. Some of the world’s most charismatic marine creatures – humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, dolphins, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks, shearwaters, and brown pelicans – convene in this once-a-year confluence.

National Parks: America's Best Idea | The Last Refuge (1890-1915)

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir, Grizzly Giant Tree, Yosemite National Park, 1903

National Parks: America’s Best Idea | The Last Refuge airs on WSKG-TV channel 46.2 on June 13, 2016 at 7pm. A lack of congressional protection for the parks sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt.

By the end of the 19th century, widespread industrialization has left many Americans worried about whether the country – once a vast wilderness – will have any pristine land left. At the same time, poachers in the parks are rampant, and visitors think nothing of littering or carving their names near iconic sites like Old Faithful. Congress has yet to establish clear judicial authority or appropriations for the protection of the parks. This sparks a conservation movement by organizations such as the Sierra Club, led by John Muir; the Audubon Society, led by George Bird Grinnell; and the Boone and Crockett Club, led by Theodore Roosevelt. The movement fails, however, to stop San Francisco from building the Hetch Hetchy dam at Yosemite, flooding Muir’s “mountain temple” and leaving him broken-hearted before he dies


Tilgham Tales: Building Boats, Lives & Memories on the Chesapeake Bay

Photo circa 1948: Oyster Tonger (A. Aubrey Bodine/Baltimore Sun) 

Tilgham Tales: Building Boats, Lives and Memories airs on WSKG TV at 8pm on June 8, 2016. Tilghman Island may be a long way from the rest of the world, but its remarkable residents, past and present, have forged a history and legacy that reaches far beyond its shores. Independent, innovative, and idiosyncratic, they fuse intuition, experience, and sheer determination to achieve whatever they set out to accomplish. Whether in building race winning log canoes, or overcoming taboos about women working on the water, their can-do attitude never wavers.

Sea Lamprey Invade the Great Lakes

By Angelica Morrison


(WBFO) The sharp scent of chemicals bites the air as Jason Krebill wades in a creek and pulls out two slippery, slimy, parasitic creatures. He was holding dead adult sea lampreys one in each hand. They were about two feet long, with suction-cupped mouths, lined with nearly a dozen rows of sharp teeth. Like a vampire, the sea lamprey latches onto its prey and sucks the blood and nutrients out of fish in all five of the Great Lakes. Krebill, a biological science technician with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is a part of a team whose job it is to control the invasive species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is contracted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to apply lampricide to the creeks and tributaries throughout the Great Lakes Corridor.

Antibiotic Resistance, Bumble Bees and DIY Summer Projects, Today on Science Friday

Bumblebee showing the array of hairs on its body. Image courtesy of Gregory Sutton, Dom Clarke, Erica Morley, and Daniel Robert

Science Friday airs every Friday on WSQX at 2pm. On this episode of Science Friday, doctors are reviving ideas from the pre-antibiotic age to fight drug-resistant bacteria. And a look at how bumblebees know where to buzz. Last week, the U.S. Army announced the arrival of a new enemy on American soil.

Bumblebees' Little Hairs Can Sense Flowers' Electric Fields

Scientists say bumblebees can sense flowers’ electric fields through the bees’ fuzzy hairs. photo by: Jens Meyer/AP

By Nell GreenfieldBoyce


Flowers generate weak electric fields, and a new study shows that bumblebees can actually sense those electric fields using the tiny hairs on their fuzzy little bodies. “The bumblebees can feel that hair bend and use that feeling to tell the difference between flowers,” says Gregory Sutton, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom. People used to think that perceiving natural electric fields was something that animals only did in water. Sharks and eels can do it, for example.

A Tale of Two Glassworkers and Their Marine Marvels, on Display at Corning Museum of Glass

This common octopus (Octopus vulgaris) is from Cornell’s extensive collection of glass marine models fashioned by Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka. Photo by Gary Hodges

by Julie Leibach, on May 13, 2016

According to Science Friday, Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka are perhaps best known for crafting a collection of glass flowers for Harvard. But together they made their mark fashioning thousands of marine invertebrate models. The specimen is one of thousands of meticulously detailed marine invertebrate models fashioned between 1863 and 1890 by a father-son glassworking duo, for the primary purpose of research and education. Collectively, their work depicts more than 700 different species—including various anemones, squids, and sea stars—found in waters around the globe.

Genius by Stephen Hawking explores 'Why are We Here' and 'Where Did the Universe Come From'?

Paul, Marcia and Alejandro wearing their ice hockey kit after Demo 4. The volunteers have just taken part in a demonstration looking at the expanding universe. They have worked with an ice hockey team, leaf blowers and balloons to figure this challenge out. Genius by Stephen Hawking ‘Why are We Here’ and ‘Where Did the Universe Come From’ airs on WSKG TV May 25, 2016 beginning at 9pm.

Episode 3: “Why Are We Here?”
Premieres Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 9:00 pm
Join Stephen Hawking as he sets three ordinary people a truly mind-bending challenge: Can they work out why they exist at all?

Secrets of the Dead Teotihuacan's Lost Kings

Secrets of the Dead Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings airs on WSKG TV  May 24, 2016 at 9pm. Follow a team of scientists exploring royal tombs beneath the ancient Mexican city of Teotihuacan. After decades of research, these imperial burial chambers may reveal clues about the long-lost Teotihuacan culture and its mysterious people.

Two thousand years ago, Teotihuacán was one of the largest cities in the world, a thriving metropolis not far from what is today Mexico City. But just a few hundred years later, it was completely abandoned, its former citizens long gone, leaving little trace of their culture.

Will Wasps help to slow down the Emerald Ash Borer?

SUNY ESF graduate student Mike Jones is studying parasitic wasp as predators of the emerald ash borer. Photo credit: Ellen Abbott, WRVO


By Ellen Abbott. (WRVO) Scientists are going to war against an invasive insect that’s decimating the ash tree population in central New York, by using one of its natural predators. While these tiny wasps may not stop the current infestation in its tracks, they may help deal with these kinds of things in the future. SUNY ESF graduate student Mike Jones spends a lot of time scraping the bark off of dead ash trees.

'Genius by Stephen Hawking' Questions the Ideas of Time Travel and if We are Alone.

Genius by Stephen Hawking ‘Can We Time Travel’ airs on WSKG TV on May 18, 2016 at 9pm. Genius by Stephen Hawking is a series where he challenges the ordinary with the extraordinary.  In each of  the six episodes, renowned scientist Stephen Hawking presents three ordinary people with a series of physical and mental challenges to show them how to think like a genius. Episode 1: “Can We Travel In Time?”
Premieres Wednesday, May 18, 2016, 9:00pm. Join Stephen Hawking as he challenges three ordinary people to determine if time travel is possible.

Cleopatra's Lost Tomb

Secrets of the Dead Cleopatra’s Lost Tomb airs on WSKG TV May 17, 2016 at 9pm. In the annals of world history, few names are as recognizable as Cleopatra, queen of ancient Egypt. Cleopatra VII was a member of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the last pharaoh of Egypt. For centuries, archeologists have been searching for her tomb. But there have been very few clues about the remains of this powerful ruler.

Bombing Hitler's Supergun

NOVA Bombing Hitler’s Supergun airs on WSKG TV May 11, 2016 at 9pm. Spring 1943. World War II is slowly beginning to turn in favor of the Allied forces. But, growing desperate, Hitler hatches plans for a diabolical weapon: a bank of “superguns” housed in a massive underground complex in Nazi-occupied northern France. Together the guns would be able to pump 300 heavy high explosive shells into downtown London every hour—a target 100 miles away.

Nature's Perfect Partners

Nature’s Perfect Partners airs on WSKG TV on May 11, 2016 at 8pm. It won’t come as any surprise that survival is the number one goal in the animal kingdom. But to ensure success on a continual basis, many creatures have opted to form alliances rather than go it alone. There are all kinds of partnerships to fulfill different needs, but as this film explains, these relationships are not only between animals of the same species. What is really astonishing is that completely unrelated species also form unlikely collaborations to succeed in the wild.

The National Parks, America's Best Idea

National Parks America’s Best Idea rebroadcasts on WSKG TV April 25-30, 2016 at 9pm.  

Take a historic look behind the development of America’s National Parks with Ken Burns’ six-part film series “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.” Relive the epic scenery as Ken Burns takes you on a chronological journey through the inspiration and development behind America’s most beloved preserved lands. Filmed over more than six years at some of nature’s most spectacular locales – from Acadia to Yosemite, Yellowstone to the Grand Canyon, the Everglades of Florida to the Gates of the Arctic in Alaska -this program is a story of people: people from every conceivable background – rich and poor; famous and unknown; soldiers and scientists; natives and newcomers; people who were willing to devote themselves to saving the land they loved. View more National Parks: America’s Best Idea on the WSKG video page. The narrative traces the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and follows its evolution for nearly 150 years.

Operation Lighthouse Rescue

 Gay Head Lighthouse approaches new footing. Photo credit:  Joby Lubman

NOVA Operation Lighthouse Rescue airs on WSKG-TV May 4, 2016 at 9pm. On the picturesque bluffs at the very tip of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, disaster looms. The historic Gay Head Lighthouse is soon to become the next victim of the persistent erosion of the island’s cliffs. Built in 1856 and weighing more than 400 tons, the structure soars 175 feet above the sea. But over the years, storms and the raging ocean have eroded the headland away.

Global Big Day

Prairie Warbler by Greg Gard

Global Big Day is a single day uniting birdwatchers worldwide across political boundaries and language barriers, all brought together by the shared passion for birds. Global Big Day takes place on May 14, 2016, is easy to participate in and helps scientists learn about bird populations and migration patterns. Submit Your Data to eBird on May 14
It’s that simple. If you submit your birds to eBird they count. Learn how to take part.

Microplastic pollution in the Chesapeake Bay poses risks, report finds

Plastic debris like this breaks down in the environment into smaller and smaller bits. (Dave Harp)

By Leslie Middleton
Leslie Middleton writes about water quality, public access, and the special places of the Chesapeake Bay region from her home in Charlottesville, Virginia. According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, tiny bits of “microplastics” that wash into the Bay may endanger aquatic life in the estuary and its tributaries, but more research is needed to better understand the threat, according to a report from scientists and policy makers released Monday. Although federal legislation was approved in December that addresses a portion of the issue, the report from the Chesapeake Bay Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee said the law did not eliminate the need to find new ways to reduce microplastic pollution and recommended additional legislation to address the issue, which is of growing concern for waterways around the globe. Microplastics – pieces of synthetic polymers smaller than 5 millimeters – are found in water bodies everywhere, with more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating at or near the ocean surface, according to a recent estimate.

Explore the Intricate Life of a Tree using PBS Learning Media

PBS Learning Media is a wealth of digital resources for educators to bring 21st century skills into the classroom. Help students appreciate the critical role trees play in sustaining life on Earth with this interactive from the National Arbor Day Foundation. Did you know that a tree’s rings can provide a record of the environmental factors that affected its growth and life cycle? The trunk of a tree functions as both a supporting structure and a pathway, transporting food down from the leaves through photosynthesis and conducting water and minerals up from the roots. View Interactive

In this interactive activity adapted from the National Arbor Day Foundation, explore the intricate life of a tree.

How are You Celebrating Earth Day?

Earth Day was established in 1970 to give a voice to an emerging consciousness, channeling human energy toward environmental issues. It is a day to reflect to on how you can make a difference in creating a more sustainable world. Here are some PBS KIDS and PBS programs highlighting Earth Day activities:

Plum Landing game: A series of globetrotting ecosystem puzzles inspired by “escape room” adventure games. Plum Landing Nature Changer Game: Play as 30 different animals and customize game mechanics like speed, the number of predators, and goals for a nearly infinite amount of combinations! PSB KIDS Explore the Outdoors

Check out these PBS Earth Day specials. Frontline Heat covers a far-reaching investigation into America’s energy landscape and what can be done to save our planet – and what it will take.

Wild Ways

NOVA Wild Ways airs on WSKG TV  April 20, 2016 at 9pm. Four-lane highways may be a necessity to our modern society, but they can be a death traps for millions of animals that try to cross them. Around the world, wildlife need to roam for breeding, foraging, and to carry out their traditional migrations–but they are often blocked by ranches, farms, roads, and other human-made obstacles. While national parks and preserves offer some protection to wildlife, even the magnificent Serengeti and Yellowstone parks are too small to sustain healthy populations over generations. But now comes new hope for wildlife through an approach called “connectivity conservation.” Some of the world’s most beloved species–lions, bears, antelope and elephants–can be preserved by linking the world’s wildlife refuges with tunnels, overpasses, and protected land corridors.

Thin Ice, The Inside Story of Climate Science

Thin Ice The Inside Story of Climate Science airs on WSKG TV April 20, 2016 at 10pm.  

The Thin Ice project began over a cup of coffee at a climate change and governance conference in Wellington in 2006. Peter Barrett (Victoria University) suggested to Simon Lamb (then at Oxford University) that he make a film about the science of climate change with his friend David Sington (DOX Productions)

The idea was to let people see an insider’s view of the astonishing range of human activity and scientific work needed to understand the world’s changing climate. Viewers would then be able to decide individually and collectively how to deal with the issue. Simon and David talked to researchers on four continents as they explained their work measuring changes in the atmosphere, oceans and ice sheets.

That Emoji You’re Sending Is Open to Interpretation

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm.  

A new study finds that emoji, the tiny graphic images increasingly used in text communications, can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Researchers at the University of Minnesota found that, due to differences in graphic design, certain characters could convey a slightly negative emotion when rendered on one mobile phone platform but a slightly positive emotion when viewed on another platform. And the problem is not just a matter of translating from Apple-ese to Android-ese. Even within one phone system, different users could interpret a single character in a range of ways.

Maryland Could be the First State to Pass Restrictions on Pesticide Implicated in Bee Declines

Steve McDaniel shows a screen of his bees at McDaniel Honey Farm in Manchester, MD. In 2012, he lost about 60 percent of his bees. (Rona Kobell)

By Timothy Wheeler 
Timothy B. Wheeler is managing editor and project writer for the Bay Journal. He has more than two decades of experience covering the environment for The Baltimore Sun and other media outlets.  

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal, Maryland consumers would be barred from using pesticides implicated in honeybee die-offs under legislation passed in Annapolis Thursday.

India's Wandering Lions

Nature India’s Wandering Lions airs on WSKG TV April 13, 2016.  

As India’s population booms, her legendary wildlife has been squeezed almost out of existence. But the commitment of the Indian people to preserve their wildlife is surprising – leading even to bringing back what has been lost. Against a backdrop of teak forest, farmland and villages, this film explores the extraordinary story of Asia’s last lions and their recovery from near extinction. From a mere 20 individuals a century ago, they now number over 400.

Register now for 'Tech Savvy: A Pathway to a STEM Career' Event

Join the Cortland and Tompkins Counties AAUW chapters for an exciting day of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities for girls in grades 6-9th & their parents. Girls will participate in a  live chat with K. Lindsay Hunter, one of the underground astronauts who excavated Homo naledi.  Keynote address will be by Kathryn J. Boor, Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. WSKG Science will be interviewing girls on their future STEM careers and sharing SciGirls resources for families. Parents and guardians are encouraged to attend the Tech Savvy one-day program for adults.

Animal Reunions

Nature Animal Reunions airs on WSKG TV on March 30, 2016 at 8pm.  

What happens when people are reunited with the wild animals with which they forged a deep bond years ago? Will these gorillas, elephants, cheetahs and chimpanzees still recognize their human caregivers and how will they react? That is the premise of this program which also raises the question whether wild creatures can really experience emotions like joy, devotion, and love. It’s a debate that many animal lovers are convinced is true and the scientific community is beginning to accept.

Girls Explore STEM Careers during 'Tech Savvy' Event in April

Tech Savvy, a program of AAUW, introduces girls in sixth through ninth grades to many types of careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and teaches “savvy skills” such as negotiation, computer coding and public speaking. This hands on day will be filled with experiments, mentorship opportunities and making new friends interested in science. Girls will participate in a  live chat with K. Lindsay Hunter, one of the underground astronauts who excavated Homo naledi.  Keynote address will be by Kathryn J. Boor, Dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. WSKG Science will be interviewing girls on their future STEM careers and sharing SciGirls resources for families.

Meet The Paleobiologist Who Inspired the Science in ‘Jurassic Park’

An elephant mosquito from Poinar’s collection. Photo by George Poinar, Jr.
Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2-4pm.  

If you’ve watched the original Jurassic Park movie, you’ll remember this scene of a cartoon character—“Mr. DNA”—explaining how the film’s scientists were able to extract dinosaur blood from an ancient mosquito, isolate dinosaur DNA, and in turn, create new, living dinos.

Michael Crichton, author of the book that inspired the movie, got the idea from the work of paleobiologist George Poinar, Jr. In 1982, when he was a professor of invertebrate pathology (within the Department of Entomology) at UC Berkeley, Poinar and his electron-microscopist wife published a study describing their discovery that amber could preserve intracellular structures, such as nuclei and mitochondria, in an organism trapped inside (in this case, a type of fly). That work led to a lifelong obsession with amber, in which Poinar would find, among other specimens, the oldest known bee, the first known bat fly fossil, and the most complete flower from the Cretaceous Period.

Dinosaurs and the Comparative Anatomy of Mass Extinctions

Mark your calendars for an exciting lecture at SUNY Cortland on March 24, 2016 at 7pm. SUNY Cortland welcomes Dr. Paul E. Olsen, an international authority on dinosaurs, for an innovative talk on mass extinctions.Dr. Olsen’s lecture will focus on the patterns of extinction and survival of dinosaurs and other animals across the three largest biologic crises in the history of life (the end-Permian, end-Triassic, and end-Cretaceous mass extinction events). Dr. Olsen is the Storke Memorial Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and member National Academy of Sciences. When: March 24, 2016  at 7pm. Where: SUNY Cortland Campus Bowers Hall rm.

Snow Monkeys

Nature Snow Monkeys airs on WSKG TV March 23, 2016 at 8pm.  

In the frigid valleys of Japan’s Shiga Highlands, a troop of snow monkeys make their way and raise their families in a complex society of rank and privilege where each knows their place. Their leader is still new to the job and something of a solitary grouch. But one little monkey, innocently unaware of his own lowly social rank, reaches out to this lonely leader, forming a bond with him that manages over time to warm his less than sunny disposition. It is a rare and remarkable gesture that alters both their lives.

SeaWorld Announces End to Killer Whale Breeding

PBS Newshour Extra, Teacher Resources 7-12gr. SeaWorld will end its orca whale breeding program following growing controversy and protests over the animals’ captivity in recent years. In the announcement, made with the Humane Society, SeaWorld said the orcas currently residing within their facilities will remain in their care, but that the parks’ famous theatrical shows involving the animals will phase out as they cease breeding. Criticism by animal rights activists and the wider public grew after an orca drowned a SeaWorld trainer in 2010. The 2013 documentary “Blackfish” brought even more attention to the subject by examining the psychological effects of captivity on orcas.

DARPA ‘Improv’ Challenge, a Tiny T-Rex, and Plastic Homes for Sea Life

Lt. Samantha Ratanarat loads soil samples onto the LEM after completing an extra-vehicular mission. Photo by Josh White
Science Friday airs on WSQX March 18, 2016 from 2-4pm.  

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, is turning to the crowd to hack toasters, vacuums, and other off-the-shelf products to figure out how these technologies might be used against the military. Science writer Maggie Koerth-Baker brings us this story and other science picks from the week. Plus, how floating plastic waste can provide a home — and a transportation system — for sea life.

Journey through the 'The National Park to Park Highway' on Paving the Way

Paving the Way, The National Park-to-Park Highway, airs on WSKG-TV on March 16, 2016 at 9pm

On the clear, cloudless morning of August 26th, 1920, in the city of Denver, Colorado, twelve American motorists set out on a 5,000 mile, 76-day pilgrimage to all twelve National Parks. This Park-to-Park Highway was the longest motor route to date—and its roads were not even paved. Paving the Way, The National Park-to-Park Highway begins with a brief history of the automobile, from its status as a rich man’s toy to its remarkable affordability with the invention of Henry Ford’s assembly line. Once the average American is able to travel, civic movements such as “See America First” begin to promote tourism within the National Parks, shifting from the railroad to the automobile. The decimation of World War I and the flu pandemic of 1918 hindered this movement, but by 1920, the American public was ready to get out and explore the West.

The Private Life of Deer

Nature The Private Life of Deer airs on WSKG TV on March 16, 2016 at 8pm.  

Whitetailed deer seem to be always around us, whether they’re grazing alongside our roadways, feasting on plants in our backyards or darting into the woods, though these “neighbors” do like to protect their privacy. While other species may be negatively impacted by human development, it is just the opposite for the whitetails. “We as humans have created pretty much the perfect habitat for deer,” explains Dr. Jay Boulanger, who coordinates Cornell University’s Deer Research and Management Program. “These are areas that have a wide diversity of plants that deer can eat, versus, say, a rural forest.”

Road salt putting human, aquatic lives on a collision course

A worker for the Department of Public Works in Cambridge, MD, scoops salt to put on the road. (photo:Dave Harp )


By Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991.  

According to the Bay Journal, a couple days before January’s “snowzilla” storm buried much of the region under 2 feet of snow, District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser apologized for the city’s “inadequate response” to less than an inch of snow that left motorists variously sliding though icy streets or stranded in backups. “We should have been out earlier with more resources,” she said.

Chesapeake Bay by Air

Chesapeake Bay By Air can be seen on WSKG TV March 9, 2016 at 10pm.  

Shot in the air from two to two thousand feet, Chesapeake Bay by Air’s unique perspective of the Chesapeake Bay marries gentle verse, prose and music with stunningly dramatic images of the Chesapeake in a way that, until now, only migrating Canada Geese could truly appreciate. Chesapeake Bay by Air’s meandering aerial journey transports viewers to many of the Chesapeake Bay’s countless stunning locations — from a purple-orange dawn over the Susquehanna River to the mystery of the carved marsh of Blackwater Wildlife Refuge. From the tranquil fishing village of Smith Island to the belching smokestacks of Sparrow’s Point, from ancient Calvert Cliffs to bustling small-city Annapolis and metropolis Baltimore, from the mighty steel spans of the Chesapeake Bay Bridges and then to historic Point Lookout, Chesapeake by Air brings the bay into razor-sharp perspective, from well above the din. Other points of interest include Smith Island, the last water-bound home to Chesapeake watermen; Crisfield, Maryland’s seafood capitol; St.

Lethal Seas

NOVA Lethal Seas airs on WSKG TV March 9, 2016 at 9pm. A deadly recipe is brewing that threatens the survival of countless creatures throughout Earth’s oceans. For years, we’ve known that the oceans absorb about a quarter of the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. But with high carbon emissions worldwide, this silent killer is entering our seas at a staggering rate, raising the ocean’s acidity. It’s eating away at the skeletons and shells of marine creatures that are the foundation of the web of life.

Wild France

Nature Wild France airs on WSKG TV March 9, 2016 at 8pm.  

When organizing a classic trip to France, most itineraries highlight the nation’s renowned food and wines, great art and architecture and celebrated culture of all kinds. But there’s another side to this popular destination that is not as visible, its wild side. Deep in the French countryside, it is possible for the adventurous to spot brown bears, wild boar, griffon vultures or wolves. These are among the creatures getting the chance and space to regain their old hunting grounds in France’s many mountains, valleys and forests.

One Very Long Migratory Route for a Dragonfly

The body and wings of the dragonfly Pantala flavescens have evolved in a way that lets the insect glide extraordinary distances on weather currents. Credit: Greg Lasley

A dragonfly barely an inch and a half long appears to be animal world’s most prolific long distance traveler – flying thousands of miles over oceans as it migrates from continent to continent – according to newly published research in the journal PLOS ONE. Biologists at Rutgers University found that populations of this dragonfly  in locations as far apart as Texas, eastern Canada, Japan, Korea, India, and South America, have genetic profiles so similar that there is only one likely explanation. Apparently, these insects are traveling extraordinarily long distances, and they are breeding with each other, creating a common worldwide gene pool that would be impossible if they did not intermingle. “This is the first time anyone has looked at genes to see how far these insects have traveled,” said Jessica Ware, senior author of the study.

Could Genetically Engineered Insects Squash Mosquito-Borne Diseases?

Transgenic female mosquitoes expressing a fluorescent protein (glowing blue) and nontransgenic mosquitoes (no color). Image courtesy of A.A. James

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2:00-4:00pm. For nearly two decades, scientists have discussed the prospect of genetically engineering mosquitoes as a means to control malaria. Last year, two teams of researchers demonstrated that it’s now technologically feasible. One team, at Imperial College London, engineered a “selfish gene” into mosquitoes, which spread through more than 90 percent of offspring and crippled egg production.

A Year in Space

A Year in Space airs on WSKG TV March 2, 2016 at 8pm. Follow astronaut Scott Kelly’s record-breaking 12-month mission on the International Space Station, from launch to landing, as NASA charts the effects of long-duration spaceflight by comparing him to his identical twin on Earth, astronaut Mark Kelly. Check out PBS Learning Media resources on living in space.

Space Men

American Experience Space Men airs on WSKG TV March 1, 2016 at 9pm. In the 1950s and early ’60s, a small band of high-altitude pioneers exposed themselves to the extreme forces of the space age long before NASA’s acclaimed Mercury 7 would make headlines. Though largely forgotten today, balloonists were the first to venture into the frozen near-vacuum on the edge of our world, exploring the very limits of human physiology and human ingenuity in this lethal realm.

'Science Friday' Seeking Educators for Collaborations

For 25 years, Science Friday has been producing award-winning multimedia for web, radio, YouTube, and social media. By reaching millions of people and working with a growing network of scientists and innovators—including Nobel laureates, MacArthur geniuses, Pulitzer Prize winners, and world-famous explorers—we aim to promote a greater understanding of science and technology in the general public. We need your help! 

Educators like you are our allies in communicating the value of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to the general public. We think that by working together, we can combine powerful media and innovative education practices to inspire students to pursue careers in discovery and innovation. The Science Friday Initiative is conducting a nationwide search for creative, highly motivated, and dedicated STEM educators to participate in the collaborative development of new multimedia-driven education resources.

Human Face of Big Data

Human Face of Big Data airs on WSKG TV February 24, 2016 at 10pm.  

With the rapid emergence of digital devices, an unstoppable, invisible force is changing human lives in incredible ways. Every two days the human race is now generating as much data as was generated from the dawn of humanity through the year 2003. The massive gathering and analyzing of data in real time is allowing us to address some of humanity’s biggest challenges—pollution, world hunger, and illness—but as Edward Snowden and the release of National Security Administration documents have shown, the accessibility of all this data comes at a steep price. The Human Face of Big Data captures the promise and peril of this extraordinary knowledge revolution.

Rise of the Robots

NOVA Rise of the Robots airs on WSKG TV February 24, 2016 at 9pm. Machines are everywhere. They run our factory assembly lines and make our coffee. But humanoid robots—machines with human-like capabilities—have long been the stuff of science fiction. Until now.

Snow Chick

Nature Snow Chick airs on WSKG TV February 24, 2016 at 8pm.  

During two months of blizzards and frigid temperatures dipping to -80 degrees, each male Emperor penguin who breeds in Antarctica must nurture and protect a single egg that harbors his offspring. But once the eggs hatch by midwinter, these dads are ready to move on to their next stage of parenting. Snow Chick imagines the story of the youngest and last chick of the colony to emerge from his shell and the challenges he encounters growing up in the world’s most extreme nursery. The program follows the ups and downs of what this littlest chick experiences during the first six months of childhood starting from birth through a chick’s journey to the sea.

To See or Not to See

Photo by Two Cups Studio/Flickr/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Two Cups Studio/Flickr
Radio Lab ‘To See or Not to See’ airs on WSKG Radio February 23, 2016 at 7:00pm.  

Should the last moments of life be captured, seen, and shared? This hour, we ask that question from three very different perspectives: through a window and across a street; face to face in a hospital room; and in the green glow of a night-vision-goggled camera lens half a world away. Hear more Radio Lab Stories.

Behold, the Gargantuan Stick Insect

An adult female “Ctenomorpha gargantua” from the first captive-reared generation, measuring 56.5 cm in total length. Photo by Museum Victoria

By Chau Tu 

Chau Tu is Science Friday’s story producer/reporter. She delves into the inner reaches of the curious mind to pitch, write, and edit the stories you want to read on SciFri’s website. She likes exploring the mystery of the brain and about what lies beyond Earth. She really hates transcribing, but she’s pretty good at it.

Forecasting Financial Crises, Thawing Water Bears, and the Pros of a Big Deductible

“Milnesium tardigradum” on the move. Image via “PLOS ONE“

Science Friday airs on WSQX Fridays from 2:00-4:00pm. On this episode of Science Friday here how a group of economists is taking a page from nature’s book, hoping its organizing principles can guide them in building better models that forecast financial meltdowns. Plus, researchers revived tardigrades—also known as water bears—from a 30-year deep freeze. Amy Nordrum, a science writer for International Business Times, discusses these and other selected short stories in science.

Raising the Dinosaur Giant

Nature Raising the Dinosaur Giant aired on WSKG TV February 17, 2016. Have scientists discovered the biggest animal to have ever walked the planet? Deep in a South American desert, a giant is being awakened after 101 million years of sleep. Paleontologists have discovered a giant femur – the largest dinosaur bone that has ever been unearthed. Another 200 bones from the same species have also been discovered.

Iceman Reborn

NOVA Iceman Reborn airs on WSKG TV February 17, 2016 at 9pm. He was stalked, attacked and left to die alone. Murdered more than 5,000 years ago, Otzi the Iceman is Europe’s oldest known natural mummy. Miraculously preserved in glacial ice, his remarkably intact remains continue to provide scientists, historians, and archeologists with groundbreaking discoveries about a crucial time in human history. But in order to protect him from contamination, this extraordinary body has been locked away, out of reach, in a frozen crypt – until now.

How LIGO Detected Gravitational Waves

A visualization of two black holes merging based on general relativity’s predictions. _______________________________________________________________________

By Kate Becker

Kate Becker is a Boston-based science writer who was previously senior researcher for NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW. _______________________________________________________________________

For 13 years, the scientists of LIGO—the most ambitious, and expensive, project in the history of the National Science Foundation—had been waiting. LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, has been twenty-five years and more than half a billion dollars in the making. It involves 900 scientists and engineers, including many whose entire careers have been spent designing, building, and preparing to analyze data streaming in to LIGO.

Moose: Life of a Twig Eater

Nature Moose: Life of a Twig Eater airs on WSKG TV on February 10, 2016 at 8pm. There is a growing problem in North America affecting moose, the largest species of the deer family. Whether they make their home in the Canadian Rockies or in Minnesota, moose populations are declining at a rapid rate. One reason is that many of the newborn calves are not surviving their first year. In order to find out why, one intrepid cameraman spends a year documenting the life of a moose calf and its mother to understand what it takes to survive.

Memory Hackers

NOVA ‘Memory Hackers’ airs on WSKG TV on February 10, 2016 at 9:00pm. Memory is the glue that binds our mental lives. Without it we’d be prisoners of the present, unable to use the lessons of the past to change our future. But how does it work? For the first time, using cutting edge research, neuroscientists are exploring the precise molecular mechanisms of memory.

Creatures of Light

 (biofluorescent seahorse photo: David Gruber) 
NOVA’s Creatures of Light airs February 3, 2016 at 9pm on WSKG-TV. In the dark depths of the oceans, nearly 90% of all species shine from within. Whether it’s to scare off predators, fish for prey, or lure a mate, the language of light is everywhere in the ocean depths, and scientists are finally starting to decode it. NOVA and National Geographic take a dazzling dive to this hidden undersea world where most creatures flash, sparkle, shimmer, or simply glow. Join deep sea scientists who investigate these stunning displays and discover surprising ways to harness nature’s light—from tracking cancer cells to detecting pollution, lighting up cities, and even illuminating the inner workings of our brains.

Roots of Schizophrenia, Zebra Stripes, and Wind Chill

Plucking a sample from the Antarctic ice. The meteorites ANSMET finds may have fallen into the Antarctic snow thousands (if not millions) of years ago. The region’s katabatic winds scour away layers of ice, exposing these space rocks. Photo by Nina Lanza
Science Friday airs on WSQX January 29, 2016 from 2-4pm. In this episode, we venture to Antarctica in search of space rocks.

Himalayan Megaquake

(Destruction in Kathmandu photograph: Nathan Harrison)
NOVA Himalayan Megaquake will air on WSKG TV January 27, 2016 at 9pm. On April 25, 2015 a devastating earthquake rocked Nepal. As it ripped across the Himalayas, it wiped out villages and left thousands dead. Featuring harrowing stories of the Nepalese people who lived near the epicenter and of survivors trapped on Everest, NOVA tells the story of this crippling disaster. Through dramatic eyewitness footage, expert interviews, and stunning graphics, NOVA reveals the anatomy of this megaquake while scientists race to answer urgent questions—Is another big one just around the corner?

Natural Born Hustlers | Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks

Nature Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks airs on WSKG TV January 27, 2016 at 8pm. This three part series concludes with Sex, Lies & Dirty Tricks, which explores sneaky mating techniques. For example, a lusty low-ranking male in a mob of red kangaroos considers possible plan A and plan B options when only the alpha male has the right to mate with the females in the group. A male marsh harrier’s solution to avoid conflict with a dominant resident male during breeding season is to grow feathers that make him look like female. He fools the resident male, but is able to woo a real female and settle down to raise a family.


(Illustration by Chance Bone)

You know the drill – all it takes is one sperm, one egg, and blammo – you got yourself a baby. Right? Well, in this episode, conception takes on a new form – it’s the sperm and the egg, plus: two wombs, four countries, and money. Lots of money. At first, this is the story of an Israeli couple, two guys, who go to another continent to get themselves a baby – three, in fact – by hiring surrogates to carry the children for them.

Look for El Niño Surprises During the Great Backyard Bird Count

Orange highlights the above-normal warmth of equatorial surface waters in the Pacific that are driving the current El Niño. Image courtesy of NOAA. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology,  the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded, participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), may be in for a few surprises. The 19th annual GBBC is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns. “The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first.

PCB Contamination, Space Flowers, and Python Removal

The six most distant known objects in the solar system with orbits exclusively beyond Neptune (magenta) all mysteriously line up in a single direction. Also, when viewed in three dimensions, they all tilt nearly identically away from the plane of the solar system. Batygin and Brown show that a planet with 10 times the mass of Earth in a distant eccentric orbit anti-aligned with the other six objects (orange) is required to maintain this configuration. The diagram was created using WorldWide Telescope. Image by Caltech/R.

Bee a Detective and Discover the Culprit Behind Declining Bee Populations

photo: Nancy Coddington

Did you know that about a third of the U.S. diet comes from foods that involve pollination by honey bees? Since bees provide vital benefits to people, including crop pollination, and products such as honey and beeswax, the loss of bee colonies through colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a serious concern. In this lesson plan from The Nature Conservancy, students learn about the features of a honeybee colony and the potential causes of CCD. The activity puts students at the cutting edge of scientific research because to date, CCD has not been reliably attributed to any single cause. By the end of the lesson, students should understand that in nature, simple cause/effect relationships may not explain all of our observations.

Mystery Beneath the Ice

NOVA Mystery Beneath the Ice airs on WSKG TV at 9pm. The population of krill has crashed since the 1970s for reasons that continue to baffle the experts. These delicate, transparent, shrimp-like creatures are crucial to the Antarctic ecosystem and, maybe, to the future of all our oceans. Could the krill’s life cycle be driven by an internal body clock that responds to the waxing and waning of the Antarctic ice pack? As climate change alters the timing of the ice pack, their life cycle is disrupted—or so the theory goes.

Natural Born Hustlers | The Hunger Hustle

Nature The Hunger Hustle airs on WSKG TV January 20, 2016 at 8pm. In part two of this series, discover the duplicitous ways in which animals try to secure their next meal is the subject of the second episode, The Hunger Hustle. Singled out is the devious drongo, a South African bird. In winter, he has to rely on grubs and insects that live underground, but other animals are far better equipped to dig them up, so the drongo devises a con. He serves as lookout while vulnerable social weaver birds are on the ground digging up food.

When It Comes to Supplements, What’s Really in the Bottle?

Frontline’s Supplements and Safety will air Tuesday January 19th on WSKG at 9pm. It’s estimated that half of all Americans take a health supplement every day, from fish oil to multivitamins to diet pills. The more than $30 billion vitamins and supplements industry says these products can make consumers healthier. But Supplements and Safety, a FRONTLINE investigation in collaboration with The New York Times that premieres tonight, raises tough questions about how vitamins and supplements are marketed and regulated, and examines how it’s often hard to know what’s really in the bottles you’re buying. In short, unlike with medical drugs, companies making vitamins and supplements do not have to prove that their products are safe and effective before putting them on the market — unless they’re introducing a new ingredient that’s never been marketed before.

Swindlers, baby microbiomes, Martian concrete, and a bright idea for a light bulb

Hieronymus Bosch’s “The Conjurer.” A magician performs the classic “cups and balls” routine, the basis for the infamous shell game. (Notice the gentleman being pickpocketed!) ViaWikimedia
Tune into Science Friday January 15, 2016 from 2-4pm on WSQX. The grifter, the con artist, the flimflammer—the confidence man (or woman) goes by many names. But what the best of them have in common, according to The Confidence Game author Maria Konnikova, is an uncanny knack for understanding human psychology. From the “put-up” (identifying the victim, or “mark”) to the “blow-off and fix” (when a victim has been thoroughly fleeced and is convinced not to squeal), the master grifter’s techniques string us along, playing on our unconscious biases every step of the way.

Natural Born Hustlers | Staying Alive

The Malaysian Dead Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus)
Nature, Natural Born Hustlers airs Wednesday, January 13, 20 & 27, 2016 at 8 p.m. on WSKG-TV. When it comes to the most important goals in the animal kingdom, learning how to survive and raising the next generation are right at the top of the list. This may seem clear cut, but the lengths to which some animals go to achieve these objectives can often be downright devious. To illustrate the point, we see a shady squirrel, double-crossing cuttlefish, a conniving orchid mantis and a deceitful bird called a drongo use mimicry, disguise, and trickery to get what they want. Throughout the episodes, scientists studying animal con artists pull back the curtain on their deceptions, using their latest research to demonstrate how each of them hustles their mark.

Life's Rocky Start

Calcite (Cumbria England), from the collections of the Mineralogical & Geological Museum at Harvard University. photo: Rob Tinworth 
NOVA Life’s Rocky Start aired on WSKG TV on January 13 at 9pm. Watch the full episode now:

Four and a half billion years ago, the young Earth was a place of meteorite impacts, volcanic eruptions, and lightning flashing through a thin atmosphere. Then, in a process that has puzzled scientists for decades, life emerged. How did it happen?

Viewing the Road Ahead for Self-Driving Cars

Oiling diagram for the Franklin car. Science Friday airs on WSQX January 8, 2016 from 2-4pm. This week, General Motors announced that it would pour $500 million into the ride-sharing service Lyft, with an aim of eventually producing a fleet of self-driving cars. And the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas was filled with autonomous vehicle tech tidbits from companies such as Toyota and Nvidia. But what might a future in which all cars can drive themselves do to our cities, towns, and society?

Study of sick bass in Susquehanna cites endocrine disrupters

The number of young bass that survive to become adults has plummeted in about 100 miles of the Lower Susquehanna, as well as parts of the Juniata, over the last decade. (Karl Blankenship)


By Karl Blankenship

Karl Blankenship is editor of the Bay Journal and Executive Director of Chesapeake Media Service. He has served as editor of the Bay Journal since its inception in 1991.  

According to the Chesapeake Bay Journal,  a recent study indicates the smallmouth bass population in the Susquehanna River are suffering a population collapse possibly connected to hormone-altering compounds and herbicides, weakening their immune systems.

The multi-year study, which involved dozens of scientists from multiple state and federal agencies as well as universities, said that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds and herbicides, along with infections from parasites and pathogens, were the “most likely” reasons that few young smallmouth bass in the river have survived to become adults since 2005. Several studies have found evidence of endocrine disrupters, which interfere with the hormone system in animals and fish, around the Bay watershed.

Secret Tunnel Warefare

NOVA Secret Tunnel Warefare airs January 6, 2016 on WSKG-TV. 100 years ago in the winter of 1916, Allied forces devised a plan to break the World War I trench warfare stalemate: one million pounds of explosives hidden in secret tunnels under the German lines. On June 7, the explosives were simultaneously triggered at the Battle of Messines in Belgium – probably the single biggest non-nuclear explosion of all time, heard clearly 150 miles away in London. 10,000 Germans were killed instantly. Now, archaeologists are revealing the extraordinary scale and risks of the Allied tunneling operations in the biggest excavation ever undertaken on the Western Front. NOVA follows bomb disposal experts as they clear topsoil packed with shrapnel and unexploded shells and probe one tunnel system connected to what is probably the world’s largest unexploded bomb – a mine consisting of 22 tons of explosives that was discovered and flooded by German engineers before the attack.

In the Defense of Food

In the Defense of Food airs on WSKG TV December 30th at 9pm. Join New York Times best-selling author Michael Pollan on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Busting myths and misconceptions, the two-hour film In Defense of Food reveals how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and at the same time reduce our risks of falling victim to diet related diseases.”Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Animal Misfits

A kakapo, the world’s heaviest and only flightless parrot. Photo credit: ©Shane McInnes

Nature’s Animal Misfits airs on WSKG TV December 30th at 8pm. Alongside the fastest, strongest, smartest animals are nature’s misfits, odd, bizarre and unlikely creatures that at first glance seem ill-equipped for survival. Left at the starting line in the race for life, these are the apparent losers in the story of evolution, yet somehow they manage to cling to life and in some cases even thrive. There is great diversity in the animal world, but it seems those species known for their speed, intelligence and strength are often singled out and celebrated, while creatures who may look or act differently are overlooked.

Why Everybody Lies (Yes, Even You)

Photo from the new film, “(Dis)Honesty,” which is also the logo for the Dishonesty Project. (The Dishonesty Project)

On Point ‘Why Everybody Lies’ broadcasts December 29th at 11am on WSQX. “Lying liars lie.  That’s clear.  But does everyone else lie too? Are we all liars? A new documentary called ‘(Dis)Honesty – The Truth About Lies’ rounds up the research and lays out what we know.

Can You Build A Warp Drive (In A Garage)?

Looking for something exciting to do with the family before the new year? Need to impress the in-laws? Why not try your hand at building a warp drive? David Pares is doing just that, he is building a warp drive, in his garage. Using parts from Radio Shack and Home Depot.

'Time Scanners' journey to Jerusalem

Time Scanners, Jerusalem airs on WSKG TV December 23rd at 10pm. In this  episode of  Time Scanners,  the team sets out to explore the epic building legacy of Jerusalem. From the vast walls of the Temple Mount, to the incredible man-made mountain of Herodium, they plan to use cutting edge 21st century technology to analyze constructions made at the time of Christ. Given unique access to scan the iconic Wailing Wall, and travelling deep into the dangerous West Bank, the team treks across Jerusalem and beyond on the trail of King Herod’s remarkable building ambitions, discovering new revelations about just how good his ancient builders were and answering long held mysteries about Herod’s magnificent structures.

Building the Great Cathedrals

NOVA Building the Great Cathedrals airs on WSKG TV December 23rd at 9pm. Take a dazzling architectural journey inside those majestic marvels of Gothic architecture, the great cathedrals of Chartres, Beauvais and other European cities. Carved from 100 million pounds of stone, some cathedrals now teeter on the brink of catastrophic collapse. To save them, a team of engineers, architects, art historians, and computer scientists searches the naves, bays, and bell-towers for clues. NOVA investigates the architectural secrets that the cathedral builders used to erect their towering, glass-filled walls and reveals the hidden formulas drawn from the Bible that drove medieval builders ever upward.

Encouraging girls to become scientists? It’s not rocket science

From PBSNEWSHOUR. Women in the U.S. receive less than 20 percent of Bachelor’s degrees in computer science, engineering and physics. Eileen Pollack, one of the first two women to receive an undergraduate degree in physics at Yale, offers a solution to getting more women into science. TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now time for a NewsHour essay. Women in the U.S. earn just over 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees in all fields, yet they receive less than 20 percent of degrees conferred in computer science, engineering and physics.

Looking for a Lightsaber for that Special Someone in Your Life?

Our friends from Science Friday share this DIY Labersaber inspired post. Part of becoming a true fighter in the Star Wars universe—be it a Jedi or a Sith Lord—is constructing a lightsaber that is distinctly yours. In anticipation of the new Star Wars film, Science Friday looked into one DIY approach, and got some best practice tips from its designer. The project is a quick lesson in building electronics, and provides the opportunity to be creative with your end product. “It’s kind of the iconic science fiction weapon,” says Vince Estacio, a machinist and hobbyist based in Austin, Texas, of the lightsaber.

'Time Scanners' explores the Colosseum

With cutting-edge technology that can “read” buildings, ruins and landscapes from ancient worlds, this series reveals physical and forensic history, allowing viewers to reach out and touch the past, gain a brand new perspective on these iconic engineering creations, and, for the first time, discover the hidden keys to their construction. Leading the team on these ground-breaking missions is one of the world’s finest structural engineers and a master of the modern building world, Steve Burrows, who has created iconic structures like the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing. The team of experts travel to Rome on a quest to uncover some of the engineering world’s oldest mysteries of the Colosseum. Using cutting-edge 3D laser-scanning technology, the team want to answer three questions: How did the Romans produce some of the most impressive gladiatorial games ever seen in Europe? How did the Colosseum’s mysterious roof really work? How does the mighty Colosseum perform in state of the art computer testing against the sports stadia of the 21st century?

Catch Up On the Historic Climate Agreement Reached In Paris

Adoption of the Paris Agreement on December 12, 2015. (Photo: UNFCCC, Flickr CC BY 2.0)

After working arduously for two weeks, COP21 delegates have adopted the ambitious Paris Agreement. Secretary of State John Kerry, White House Science Advisor John Holdren and Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo weigh in on the importance of these climate commitments and of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the earlier target of 2 degrees. Host Steve Curwood speaks with World Resources Institute Global Climate Director Jennifer Morgan about the contents of the final Paris Agreement. Download or stream this episode of “Living on Earth”.

New Normal?

                                                                   photo: (Koshyk/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)
Evolution results from the ability of organisms to change. But how do you tell the difference between a sea change and a ripple in the water? Is a peacenik baboon, a man in a dress, or a cuddly fox a sign of things to come? Or just a flukey outlier from the norm? And is there ever really a norm?

What does the landmark climate change accord mean for the U.S.?

Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York Michael Levi joins Hari Sreenivasan to discuss the climate change summit deal reached in Paris. TRANSCRIPT
HARI SREENIVASAN, PBS NEWSHOUR WEEKEND ANCHOR: Earlier this evening from the White House, President Obama said the deal is a turning point that provides the architecture to save planet from the worst consequences of climate change. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No nation, not even one as powerful as ours, can solve this challenge alone. And no country, no matter how small, can sit on the sidelines. Even if all of initial targets set in Paris are met, we’ll only be part of the way there when it comes to reducing carbon from the atmosphere.

The State of Nuclear Power, Climate Refugees, and Bad News for Bananas

Some of this year’s picks. Photo by Brandon Echter
This episode of Science Friday will air on December 11, 2015 on WSQX from 2-4pm. Freelance journalist and author Maggie Koerth-Baker returns to Science Friday to discuss the state of nuclear power around the world—a topic she tackles at length in a recent New York Times article. Countries like Japan and Germany are looking to phase out nuclear energy, and even the United States, which largely embraces it, hasn’t opened a nuclear reactor since 1996. Koerth-Baker also shares other short subjects in science this week, including a story about how the first climate refugees in the continental United States may hail from an island in the Chesapeake Bay.

How Did the Invention of the Light Bulb, Refrigeration and Cell Phones Change the World?

Steven Johnson explains how innovator Frederic Tudor’s method of moving and storing ice blocks from cool to warm states engendered the ice trade.  

How We Got to Now airs on WSKG TV on December 9, 2015 from 9pm to 12am. How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered. It’s a journey that takes Steven to meet penguins in the middle of the desert, deep down into the sewers of San Francisco and to the frozen wastes of the Arctic to fish with the Inuit. “Light” – December 9, 2015 at 9pm
Steven Johnson relates the story of people who take us out of the dark and into the light.

Will Paris Talks Lead to a Better, Binding Climate Agreement?

Streams and rivers that form on top of the Greenland ice sheet during spring and summer are the main agent transporting melt runoff from the ice sheet to the ocean. Photo taken July 19, 2015. Credit: NASA/Goddard/Maria-José Viñas
Tune into Science Friday Friday December 4th 2-4pm on WSQX. The 21st United Nations Climate Conference started this week in Paris with nearly 200 countries working to create a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions. Journalist Lisa Friedman, from E&E’s ClimateWire, and Steven Cohen, the executive director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, discuss how the challenge of balancing economic growth and climate goals for India and developing nations will affect negotiations, and what role technology plays in reducing emissions.

How We Got to Now

How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson is a six part documentary series that reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered. Best-selling author and host Steven Johnson explains his new 6-part series and what he hopes viewers take away from it. How We Got To Now with Steven Johnson reveals the story behind the remarkable ideas that made modern life possible; the unsung heroes that brought them into the world – and the unexpected and bizarre consequences each of these innovations has triggered. It’s a journey that takes Steven to meet penguins in the middle of the desert, deep down into the sewers of San Francisco and to the frozen wastes of the Arctic to fish with the Inuit. These stories unfold in six episodes:

“Clean” –Dirty water has killed more humans than all the wars of history combined, but in the last 150 years, a series of radical ideas, extraordinary innovations and unsung heroes have changed our world.

Inside Einstein's Mind

NOVA’s ‘Inside Einstein’s Mind airs on WSKG TV November 25 at 9p.m.

Einstein’s theory of General Relativity transformed our understanding of nature’s laws and the entire history of the cosmos, reaching back to the origin of time itself. On November 25th, 1915, Einstein published his greatest work: general relativity. The theory transformed our understanding of nature’s laws and the entire history of the cosmos, reaching back to the origin of time itself. Now, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Einstein’s achievement, NOVA tells the inside story of Einstein’s masterpiece. The story begins with the intuitive thought experiments that set Einstein off on his quest and traces the revolution in cosmology that is still playing out in today’s labs and observatories.

Finding Your Words

Photo by: (ManojVasanth/flickr)
Radio Lab airs November 24th on WSKG Radio at 1pm & 7pm
In this episode of Radio Lab, we meet a woman who taught a 27-year-old man the first words of his life, hear a firsthand account of what it feels like to have the language center of your brain wiped out by a stroke, and retrace the birth of a brand new language 30 years ago. Words have the power to shape the way we think and feel. In this stunning video, filmmakersWill Hoffman and Daniel Mercadante bandy visual wordplay into a moving exploration of language set to an original score by Keith Kenniff.

'Hot' for Turkey

Science Friday is sharing Thanksgiving science tidbits with us all week long. Gobble Gobble! With its fanned plumage and bold strut, a male wild turkey’s display conjures images of Americana and festive feasts. But this bird’s grandstanding isn’t intended for human eyes—it’s for female turkeys who actually use it to discern a male’s genetic prowess. How exactly she parses performances to pick a suitor can be a fairly complex enterprise, but thanks to the research of Richard Buchholz of the University of Mississippi, we have some clues as to what a female turkey finds “hot” in a male.

Antibiotic Awareness, Bee Blunders, and Barbie Becomes a ‘Chatty Cathy’

At a magnification of 6,836x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph depicts a number of gram-negative “Escherichia coli” bacteria of the strain O157:H7. Image by Janice Haney Carr/Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention
Listen to Science Friday November 20th 2-4pm on WSQX. Algorithms aren’t impartial—they often have bias baked in. In this episode, a look at how we can ensure that machines scan our resumes and loan applications with a fair eye. Plus, the hard science in a bottle of hard cider, and the design challenge in improving hard-to-read transit maps.

Making North America | Human

Watch NOVA: Making North America Human on WSKG TV on November 18 at 9 p.m.
In the third and final hour of Making North America, NOVA explores the intimate connections between landscape, the colonizing of the continent, and the emergence of our industrial world. From prehistoric tools to today’s oil and gas boom, North America’s hidden riches have been key to our prosperity. As a result, human activity has transformed the continent on a scale that rivals the geological forces that gave birth to it billions of years before. Even as we shape the continent to our needs, geologic processes inexorably continue and raise risks of catastrophe to human civilization. Watch Making North America Origins here.

Discover 'Living Wonders' and how life shapes us on 'Earth's Naturals Wonders'

A honey hunter in a boat in Sundarbans, Bangladesh. © BBC

Watch Earth’s Natural Wonders: Living Wonders on November 18 at 8:00 p.m. on WSKG TV. Witness wonders created by the force that makes our planet unique — life itself. In the Amazon Rainforest, two 9-year old boys must prepare themselves for a terrifying rite of passage involving the insect with the most painful sting on Earth: the bullet ant. In Borneo, a father must provide for his family by climbing to the roof of a vast cave to collect birds’ nests. And, in Bangladesh’s Sundarbans, the largest mangrove forest in the world, a father and son must brave killer bees and man-eating tigers to find honey.

Celebrate National Take A Hike Day!

Celebrate National Take a Hike Day with PBS Kids Plum Landing! You don’t need to be a hiker to get outdoors and explore with your family, and there’s no need to make a special trip to find nature: you’ll find it right out your front door, from the red-tailed hawks patrolling the city to the dandelions poking through cracks in the sidewalk. Step outdoors, look around, ask a few questions, and let your child take the lead! Walk and Talk
Take a stroll and talk about the plants and animals that call your neighborhood home. Where do the squirrels find food?


Ron, Owen and Cornelia Suskind (Photo Credit: Ron Suskind)

Tune in to RadioLab Tuesday, November 17 on WSKG Radio at 1:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Two stories of humans DIY-ing answers to seemingly unsolvable problems. First, a homemade brain-stimulator that may unlock hidden potential. In the last couple years, tDCS has been all over the news. Researchers claim that juicing the brain with just 2 milliamps (think 9-volt battery) can help with everything from learning languages, to quitting smoking, to overcoming depression. Sally Adee, an editor at New Scientist, was at a conference for DARPA – The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – when she heard about a way to speed up learning with something called trans-cranial direct current stimulation (tDCS). A couple years later, Sally found herself wielding an M4 assault rifle, picking off enemy combatants with a battery wired to her temple.

Get Your Tech On!

We live – and learn – in a high tech world, and as such, education must continually evolve. Hear about some of those new models of 21st century learning from experts in the education field in this video from PBS LearningMedia. The video features Chris Rush from New Classrooms, who discusses the value in integrating games into the educational space. We also hear from Teresa Napoli from School of One, who shares thoughts on personalized instruction for students, who in this day and age learn at different rates and by different methods. Plus, Rebecca Rufo-Tepper from the Institute of Play shares her vision for how to use games and digital media in meaningful and purposeful ways in the classroom.

THE BRAIN with David Eagleman: Do I Need You?

Airing Wednesday November 11th at 10 p.m. on WSKG TV. In ‘Why Do I Need You?’ Dr. David Eagleman explores how the human brain relies on other brains to thrive and survive. This neural interdependence begins at birth. Dr. David Eagleman invites a group of babies to a puppet show to showcase their ability to discern who is trustworthy, and who isn’t. As we grow up it becomes important for us to be able to understand, and decode, the intentions of others.

Making North America | Life

Tonight at 9p.m. on WSKG TV-  NOVA Making North America | Life, tells the intertwined story of life and the landscape in North America. Host Kirk Johnson travels to the North Dakota Badlands and the southern Utah desert to answer the riddle of why so many dinosaurs flourished there, and to see traces of the asteroid that wiped them out. With the dinosaurs gone, mammals flourished and the ancient forests became home to some of the earliest primates. Kirk unravels the mystery of why they too disappeared, leaving North America mostly primate-free until the arrival of humans millions of years later. How did life emerge on our primeval continent? Why was North America home to so many iconic dinosaurs like T. rex? And how did a huge sea filled with giant marine reptiles end up covering Kansas?

'Wonders of Water' explores the power of water on 'Earth's Natural Wonders'

Victoria Falls, Zambia © BBC
Watch Earth’s Natural Wonders: Wonders of Water on November 11 at 8:00 p.m. on WSKG TV. In this episode of Earth’s Natural Wonders, explore wonders created by the awesome and unpredictable power of water. Above Victoria Falls in Zambia, a fisherman and his brothers brave crocodiles, elephants and the risk of being swept to their deaths, in order to reach fishing pools at the edge of the Falls. In Europe’s secret water world of the Camargue, a young man duels with a savage bull in a centuries-old contest of man-versus-nature. And, among the world’s richest ocean reefs, a guardian must hunt down an elusive manta ray among ferocious currents to help save the species.

Wearable Superpowers for Earth and Beyond

Tune into Science Friday on WSQX from 2-4pm on Friday, November 6 to hear about wearable technology. It goes way beyond smartwatches—think slim, skin-tight spacesuits and seams that prod you about your posture. We took a look at those concepts during our Science of Superpowers event in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Plus, we present the first in a series on traumatic brain injury. Wearable Superpowers for Earth and Beyond Technologists Lucy Dunne and Brad Holschuh talk about ultrasonic gloves that “see” through smoke, a real-life Back to the Future jacket, and more wearable innovations.

THE BRAIN with David Eagleman: How Do I Decide?

Wednesday, November 4 at 10:00 p.m. on WSKG TV
Learn how the brain navigates the tens of thousands of conscious decisions we make every day and the many more unconscious decisions we make about everything from whom we find attractive to what we perceive. The human brain is the most complex object we’ve discovered in the universe, and every day much of its neural circuitry is taken up with the tens of thousands of decisions we need to make. ‘How do I decide?’ is a journey through the unseen world of decisions, and how they get made. We start with a simple one: choosing a flavor of frozen yogurt, and learn that every decision we make is born of a ‘winner takes all’ competition between rival neural networks. As David furrows his brow and ponders the choice before him – mint verses lemon –  inside his brain, two rival networks are fighting it out.

Making North America | Origins

Mighty, elemental forces molded North America – fiery eruptions, titanic floods, the grinding of great ice sheets, and massive impacts from space all shaped our homeland. This epic three-part series unfolds in a forgotten world that existed long before our own. z
Hosted by renowned paleontologist Kirk Johnson, Making North America is a spectacular road trip through a tumultuous deep past explores three fundamental questions: How was the continent built? How did life evolve here? And how has the continent shaped us?

Earth's Natural Wonders | Extreme Wonders

An ice fall doctor crossing a crevasse on a ladder at Khumbu Ice Fall, Everest. © BBC
Visit extreme locales — from the highest mountain to the greatest canyon — and learn how these places test their inhabitants to the limit. On Mount Everest, a Sherpa has to rope a route across the notorious Khumbu Icefall in time for the hundreds of foreign mountaineers who will arrive for climbing season. In the Grand Canyon, conservationists desperately try to ensure the survival of one of America’s few surviving condor chicks. And, on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, farmers fight pitched battles with elephants in the dead of night. About the Program

The Earth’s Natural Wonders series tells the stories of some of our planet’s most spectacular places and how they have shaped the lives of those who live there.

Musical Language

Learning to play piano (Victor Bezrukov/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

Radio Lab today on WSKG Radio 1 pm and 7pm. What is music? Why does it move us? How does the brain process sound, and why are some people better at it than others? We re-imagine the disastrous debut of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring in 1913 through the lens of modern neurology, and we meet a composer who uses computers to capture the musical DNA of dead composers in order to create new work.

Vanishing Cod, Climate Change And Our Warming Oceans

A cod that will be auctioned off is held by Codie Small at the Portland Fish Exchange, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015, in Portland, Maine. Portland’s Gulf of Maine Research Institute is announcing a major breakthrough in climate and fisheries science. A study published in the journal Science indicates cod, which have collapsed off of New England, are declining because of warming oceans. (AP)
Tune in today at 11am on WSQX for On Point.

"Science of Clouds," free webinar from SciGirls

Badlands National Park, SD Photo by Shaina Niehans, NPS
Get your girls involved in citizen science with a free webinar from SciGirls focused on cloud science. The webinar will take place  November 3rd, at 12 pm. Visit to register. Sarah Crecelius from the NASA Langley Research Center will present S’COOL (Students’ Cloud Observations Online): The S’COOL Project involves participants ages 5-20+ in real science, making and reporting ground truth observations of clouds to assist in the validation of NASA’s CERES satellite. Ralph Bouquet from Nova Labs will also be joining us to discuss Cloud Lab.

Gift of the Mummy

A CT scan of the mummy Henut-Wedjebu, an Egyptian noblewoman who lived during 1300 BC. The specks around her head might be beads that were part of a headdress. Henut-Wedjebu and two younger male mummies are on display at the St. Louis Art Museum. She and one of the others are on loan from the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University.

Forgotten Plaque

By the dawn of the 19th century, the deadliest killer in human history, tuberculosis, had killed one in seven of all the people who had ever lived. The disease struck America with a vengeance, ravaging communities and touching the lives of almost every family. The battle against the deadly bacteria had a profound and lasting impact on the country. It shaped medical and scientific pursuits, social habits, economic development, western expansion, and government policy. Yet both the disease and its impact are poorly understood: in the words of one writer, tuberculosis is our “forgotten plague.” During most of the 19th century, consumption, as tuberculosis was then called, was believed to be hereditary.

NOVA Making North America Screenings

Join us for a special sneak peak of NOVA: Making North America, a bold and sweeping biography of the continent, hosted by Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Two screenings will take place, please choose to attend one. October 22nd at SUNY Cortland 7pm

Expert Panel features SUNY Cortland Scientists:
Biologist and SUNY Cortland President Dr. Erik Bitterbaum
SUNY Cortland Geologists; Dr David Barclay, Dr. Robert Darling,
Dr. Gayle Gleason,Dr. Li Jin, & Dr Christopher McRoberts.                                                                           or attend
October 23rd at WSKG Studios 6:30pm
Expert Panel features Scientists from the Paleontological Research Institute and more to come. WSKG Studios event will begin with a short reception.


Today on Radio Lab, you come up with a great idea. You devise a plan. You control for every imaginable variable. And once everything’s in place, the train hops your carefully laid tracks. In this episode, one psychologist’s zeal to safeguard national security may have created a terrorist, while one community’s efforts to protect an endangered bird had deadly consequences.

Ancient sequoia trees suffering in California drought

According to PBS News Hour, California’s four-year drought has killed millions of trees in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and has scientists worrying about the region’s giant sequoias. The famous thousand-year-old trees require more water than any other species on Earth, but warm conditions during the past two winters have reduced the snowpack that provides their main source of water. Sequoias pull water from the soil all the way up to the tops of the trees, according to University of California, Berkeley researcher Wendy Baxter. Examining how much tension the water is under as it travels upwards and into each leaf tells researchers the level of stress each tree is experiencing. The greater the pressure required to push the water out, the more stressed the tree becomes.

Sexual Harassment Allegations, Doggie Dementia, and Cuban Internet

Today on Science Friday, Exoplanet astronomer Geoff Marcy, who was accused of sexual harassment by four former undergraduate students, resigned from the University of California, Berkeley this week. BuzzFeed News Science Reporter Azeen Ghorayshi, who broke the story, takes us through the developments. She also discusses a new test for dementia in dogs, as well as other selected short subjects in science from this week. Plus, Cuba’s government has opened up three dozen wifi hotspots on the island. The new hotspots could enhance information exchange and communication for Cubans, but they could also increase government surveillance.

Pesticides, Herbicides and Childhood Cancers

Children are exposed to a wide range of chemicals around the home, everything from cleaning agents to pest control sprays. Many of these chemicals are ingested and residues are often found on clothes and skin. (Photo: CC0, public domain)

Pesticides and herbicides control pests and weeds, but new analysis suggests they also pose a significant threat to the health of young children. Host Steve Curwood and the study’s senior author, Chensheng Lu of the Harvard School of Public Health, report that exposures can increase children’s risk for leukemia, lymphoma and brain tumors. Download or stream the show.

THE BRAIN with David Eagleman: What is Reality?

Credit: Courtesy of Blink Films

Tonight, on the first of six episodes, discover how the brain constructs multi-sensory reality within the silence and darkness of the skull. Neuroscientist David Eagleman explores the human brain in an epic series that reveals the ultimate story of us, why we feel and think the things we do. This ambitious project blends science with innovative visual effects and compelling personal stories, and addresses some big questions. By understanding the human brain, we can come close to understanding humanity. The series, hosted by Dr. David Eagleman, neuroscientist, New York Times best-selling author and a Guggenheim Fellow, will reveal the human story by blending scientific truth with innovative visual effects and compelling personal stories.

Soul of the Elephant

Elephants (Loxondonta Africana) charging in Botswana. Beverly Joubert/© Wildlife Films

Nature takes an intimate look into the lives of one of the world’s most intelligent and sensitive animals through the uniquely personal lens of extraordinary cinematic storytellers. Despite living in the wild in Botswana for 30 years, filming, researching and exploring the world they have come to know so well, award-winning filmmakers and conservationists Dereck and Beverly Joubert say they are often still surprised by what they come across on their journeys. Such was the case when the couple were exploring the backwaters of the bush one day and stumbled upon the skulls of two large bull elephants with their ivory tusks intact. To the Jouberts, this is always cause for celebration because it means the giants died of natural causes and not, for example, from poaching, snares or bullets.

Who Am I?

The “mind” and “self” were formerly the domain of philosophers and priests. But in this hour of Radiolab, neurologists lead the charge on profound questions like “How does the brain make me?” We stare into the mirror with Dr. Julian Keenan, reflect on the illusion of selfhood with British neurologist Paul Broks, and contemplate the evolution of consciousness with Dr. V. S. Ramachandran. Also: the story of woman who one day woke up as a completely different person. photo credit: Neon brain (dierk schaefer/flickr/CC-BY-2.0)

Paul Broks
Dr. Julian Keenan
 Hannah Palin
Dr. V.S. Ramachandran
Dr. Robert Sapolsky

Pluto’s Haze, a Michigan Mammoth, and Antioxidants and Skin Cancer

Pluto’s haze layer shows its blue color in this picture taken by the New Horizons Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). Image by NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI
On today’s Science Friday, It’s blue skies ahead for NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. Washington Post reporter Rachel Feltman explains what scientists are learning from new pictures of Pluto, including the first color images of the dwarf planet’s azure atmospheric hazes. She also discusses how blue whales subsist on shrimp and the shocking discovery of a woolly mammoth skeleton in Michigan as part of our weekly roundup of selected short subjects in science. Plus, a new study in Science Translational Medicine finds that—contrary to popular belief—antioxidants might not be beneficial when it comes to the treatment of skin cancer.

E.O. Wilson – Of Ants and Men

At age 78, E.O. Wilson is still going through his “little savage” phase of boyhood exploration of the natural world. In “E.O. Wilson- Of Ants and Men” PBS profiles this soft-spoken Southerner and Harvard professor, who is an acclaimed advocate for ants, biological diversity, and the controversial extension of Darwinian ideas to human society. E.O. Wilson – Of Ants and Men is a two-hour film about the life and extraordinary scientific odyssey of one of America’s greatest living thinkers, E.O Wilson. It is an exciting journey of ideas, but also an endearing portrait of a remarkable man; often dubbed “a Darwin for the modern day.” Starting with his unusual childhood in Alabama, it chronicles the lifelong love for the natural world that led him to Harvard and the studies that would establish him as the world’s foremost authority on ants. But that was just the beginning.

Gorongosa Park | New Blood & Hidden Worlds

During episode three of Gorongosa Park- Rebirth of Paradise, Bob and the lion team find one of the female cubs with a life-threatening wound and face a race against time to save her. Lions aren’t the only ones who need help. During the war, most of the big grazers were killed for their meat. With less than 20 zebra and 100 eland, the park needs to make a tough choice to save them. A massive relocation mission is launched to bring them back.

Looking Back

This week on Radio Lab,  we peer into evolution with a surprisingly intimate look at the life and death of two individuals we all call ancestors. Plus! The history of everything, including you.  

The desire to trace our way back to the very beginning has lead to unprecedented discoveries. Today, three stories that give us a surprisingly intimate peek into the life, and death, of those who came before.

NOVA Making North America Screenings

Join us for a special sneak peak of NOVA: Making North America, a bold and sweeping biography of the continent, hosted by Kirk Johnson, Director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. Two screenings will take place, please choose to attend one. October 22nd at SUNY Cortland 7pm

Expert Panel features SUNY Cortland Scientists:
Biologist and SUNY Cortland President Dr. Erik Bitterbaum
SUNY Cortland Geologists; Dr David Barclay, Dr. Robert Darling,
Dr. Gayle Gleason,Dr. Li Jin, & Dr Christopher McRoberts. or attend
October 23rd at WSKG Studios 6:30pm
Expert Panel features Scientists from Binghamton University, Dr. H.Richard Naslund
SUNY Broome Dr. Bruce Oldfield, Jason Smith and the Paleontological Research Institute. WSKG Studios event will begin with a short reception.

Louisiana’s Swamp Defenders

Dean Wilson. (Photo: Emmett FitzGerald)

Once, cypress swamps covered hundreds of thousands of acres across the American South. Logging, oil and gas extraction and swamp drainage transformed the landscape. But over recent years, Dean Wilson has worked to protect the remaining cypress swamps of Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin from illegal loggers and oil prospectors. Recently, the European biomass industry has set up shop in the state, and conservationists are concerned for the future.

Virus Fishing, Mantis Shrimp Boxing, and Carbon Cutting Bryozoans

(A peacock mantis shrimp. Photo by Jens Petersen/Wikimedia)
In this week’s Science Friday news roundup, Ed Yong, science writer for The Atlantic, talks about a new blood test that can fish out millions of human viruses at once, which, he writes, “should take a lot of the (educated) guesswork out of viral diagnosis.” Plus, mantis shrimp are heavy hitters, and gauge the strength of their foes in a fairly straightforward way—by punching each other, repeatedly. Then, a group of Antarctic bryozoans—or “moss animals”—seem to be flourishing as climate change contributes to sea ice melt. A new study inCurrent Biology found that the filter feeders, which chow down on phytoplankton, for example, are helping sequester carbon—effectively removing some carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Douglas Main, a staff writer for Newsweek, talks about the good and the bad of these carbon-cutting bryozoans having a field day in the warming waters.

Arctic Ghost Ship

NOVA presents an exclusive breakthrough in the greatest unsolved mystery in Arctic exploration. In 1845, British explorer Sir John Franklin set off to chart the elusive Northwest Passage, commanding 128 men in two robust and well-stocked Royal Navy ships, the Erebus and Terror. They were never heard from again. Eventually, searchers found tantalising clues to their fate: a hastily written note left on an island, exhumed bodies suggesting lead poisoning, discarded human bones with marks of cannibalism and Inuit legends of ghost ships. But no trace of the ships was ever found.

Nature's Miracle Orphans: Second Chances

Tonight on Nature, growing up in the wild is hard enough on young animals when they have parents to rely on for protection and guidance, but what happens when they lose their parents? How do they survive? Over the past few years, great strides have been made in understanding how to rescue and rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. But as the documentary shows, success often comes down to the efforts of individuals at animal rescue centers around the world who devote their lives to saving these vulnerable creatures, getting them back on their feet and, hopefully, releasing them back into the wild. Nature’s Miracle Orphans tells their stories as it follows the different stages of care needed to get koalas, wallabies, sloths, kangaroos and fruit bats through infancy, childhood and on the road to independence where they can look after themselves.

Gorongosa Park Rebirth of Paradise

First established as a hunting reserve in 1920, Gorongosa became a national park in July 1960 under Portuguese colonial rule. It quickly became a premiere destination not only for international tourists, mainly from Portugal, but also for celebrities including John Wayne, Joan Crawford and Gregory Peck. But, two years after Mozambique gained independence from Portugal in 1975, the country was engulfed by a civil war. By the time the war ended in 1992, a million people were dead and several million more were maimed, traumatized and displaced. The web of life within Gorongosa’s park was likewise left in tatters.


Radio Lab explores animals, specifically animals and people coming together. In a cruel trick of evolution, humans can stand just three feet from a ferocious animal and still be perfectly safe. This hour, Radiolab goes to the zoo. What’s with our need to get close to “wildness”? We examine where we stand in this paradox–starting with the Romans, and ending in the wilds of Belize, staring into the eyes of a wild jaguar.

Code Like a Girl puts more girls in the game

  PBS Newshour Extra

Alexa Cafe and Code Like a Girl teach girls the basics of game design and encourage interest in technology so they can create games and help to diversify the heavily male-dominated gaming industry. Even though many girls love playing video and computer games, the subject matter and design of popular games almost always aim for the interests of a male audience. Part of that lies in who makes the games. Women made up only 11 percent of computer game designers in 2013, and just three percent of programmers. “We’re trying to create that environment to say, hey, you could be the world’s best coder,” said Code Like a Girl instructor Claudia Ortiz.

Scientists Say They've Discovered A New Species of Humans

Homo naledi’s hands were curved more than modern humans’, indicating that they were good climbers. (Photo: Peter Schmid, CC BY)

According to Living on Earth, two years ago, paleoanthropologists climbed deep into South Africa’s Rising Star Cave system and found hundreds of skeletons of what scientists now believe is a new hominin species, called Homo naledi. Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb follows one of the spelunking scientists down into the cave’s entrance and hears about the fortuitous find by some of the excavation’s lead researchers, as well as the question of whether or not this species deliberately buried its dead.  
Marina Elliot (left) and Steven Tucker (third from left), the caver who actually found the fossils originally. (Photo: Bobby Bascomb)

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Arctic Mosquito Swarms, Our Shrinking Moon, and a ‘Dislike’ Button

It’s our favorite day of the week- Science Friday!! Climate change is shrinking habitat ranges and causing population declines in species worldwide, but one group is thriving in the warmer temperatures: Arctic mosquitoes. Washington Post reporter Rachel Feltman discusses why these insects are booming, and shares other science stories making headlines this week. Plus, at a Q&A at Facebook headquarters this week, Mark Zuckerberg announced that the social network is working on something akin to the “dislike” button that some users have long desired. Slate senior technology writer Will Oremus explores the good and bad of Facebook’s move beyond the thumbs-up.

An evening with a new ancestor: paleo-artist John Gurche's insights into the discovery of 'Homo naledi'

Join the Paleontological Research Institution and WSKG for an evening with a new ancestor: paleo-artist John Gurche’s, insights into the discovery of Homo naledi.  John will share his journey on creating what he believes Homo naledi looked like.  Homo naledi is part of a hominid discovery that took place this past spring in South Africa.  
The reception style event will also feature regional wine and food samples from Experience the Fingerlakes, and will take place on September 24th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Museum of the Earth, located at 1259 Trumansburg Rd. Ithaca, NY. More information and tickets are available at or by phone at 607-273-6623.

Dawn of Humanity

NOVA and National Geographic present exclusive access to a unique discovery of ancient remains. Located in an almost inaccessible chamber deep in a South African cave, the site required recruiting a special team of experts slender enough to wriggle down a vertical, pitch-dark, seven-inch-wide passage. Most fossil discoveries of human relatives consist of just a handful of bones. But down in this hidden chamber, the team uncovered an unprecedented trove—so far, over 1,500 bones—with the potential to rewrite the story of our origins. They may help fill in a crucial gap in the fossil record and tell us how Homo, the first member of the human family, emerged from ape-like ancestors like the famous Lucy.

Meet 'Homo Naledi,' Another Long-Lost Relative

(A composite skeleton of H. naledi is surrounded by some of the hundreds of other fossil elements recovered from the Dinaledi Chamber in the Rising Star cave in South Africa. The expedition team was led by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Lee Berger of the University of the Witwatersrand. The find was announced by the University of the Witwatersrand, the National Geographic Society and the South African National Research Foundation and published in the journal eLife. Photo by Robert Clark/National Geographic; Source: Lee Berger, Wits, photographed at Evolutionary Studies Institute.)


Science  Friday shares how Homo naledi was discovered. Deep in a South African cave, in the so-called “dark zone” where no light penetrates, paleoanthropologists have made an extraordinary find: more than 1,500 bones, from at least 15 hominin individuals.

Write Your Name in Binary Code

01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00100001

Those ones and zeros might not look like anything to you, but in binary code the numbers are actually saying “Hello!” Science Friday’s Ariel Zych shares how you can write your own name using binary code. Any code that uses just two symbols to represent information is considered binary code. Different versions of binary code have been around for centuries, and have been used in a variety of contexts. For example, Braille uses raised and unraised bumps to convey information to the blind, Morse code uses long and short signals to transmit information, and the example above uses sets of 0s and 1s to represent letters. Perhaps the most common use for binary nowadays is in computers: binary code is the way that most computers and computerized devices ultimately send, receive, and store information.

Testing Ocean DNA, Americans Pass a Science Quiz, and Polar Bear Diets

Tune into Science Friday today on WSQX from 2-4pm and learn how in California, monitoring marine protected areas can get expensive. Current efforts—which include underwater surveys conducted by scuba diving volunteers—have already cost the state $16 million, and in some places, there’s no funding left. But testing DNA in water samples could provide an effective alternative to more costly methods. KQED’s science and environment reporter, Lauren Sommer, discusses this story and other science news from the week. Plus, when it comes to their diet, polar bears aren’t so finicky.

Wolverine: Chasing the Phantom

This episode of NATURE takes viewers into the secretive world of the largest and least known member of the weasel family, revealing it to be one of the most efficient and resourceful carnivores on Earth. Wolverines are among the most elusive creatures on the planet. They seek out the toughest terrain – the most rugged, remote and fiercely raw – and they’ve always been scarce to begin with. So they’re hard to find. They weigh only about 30 pounds, but they have a ton of attitude and a reputation to match.

American Football

Today on Radio Lab, we tackle football. It’s the most popular sport in the US, shining a sometimes harsh light on so much of what we have been, what we are, and what we hope to be. Savage, creative, brutal and balletic, whether you love it or loathe it … it’s a touchstone of the American identity. Along with conflicted parents and players and coaches who aren’t sure if the game will survive, we take a deep dive into the surprising history of how the game came to be. At the end of the 19th century, football is a nascent and nasty sport. The sons of the most powerful men in the country are literally knocking themselves out to win these gladiatorial battles.

Arctic Climate Change, Pot Pesticides, and Student Data

Tune into  Science Friday for a discussion on climate change, take a peek at how some teachers spent their summer and learn how pesticides are affecting the marijuana industry.  At a global conference to discuss priorities in the Arctic, President Obama said that climate change was “a challenge that will define the contours of this century more dramatically than any other.” How does this sentiment hold up in light of the recent decision to open up the Arctic to drilling? Science journalist Brooke Borel, of Popular Science and the blog Our Modern Plagues, discusses this and other science stories in the news this week. Plus, learning apps are beginning to find their way into the classroom. But with the introduction of any new technology comes the collection of big data.

Finale – Big Blue Live

Tune into WSKG TV tonight at 8pm for the finale of Big Blue Live, a three part series documenting the migration of species returning to Monterey Bay. Big Blue Live celebrates a wildlife success story and marine animal phenomenon: humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks and more all convene in Monterey Bay once a year.  

Episode 1
Follow migrating whales, sharks and various birds as they join sea otters, sea lions and other species that live full-time in Monterey Bay. Watch reports from Monterey Aquarium and NOAA research vessels and get facts about humpback whale anatomy.  

Episode 2
Dive into the hidden world of Monterey’s sea lions and hear about the bay’s rejuvenation through sea otters’ return. Join a scientist who’s trying to help solve the mystery of shark migration and study the anatomy of white sharks and elephant seals.


Radio Lab shares how scientists took about 300 years to lay out the Periodic Table into neat rows and columns. In one hour, we’re going to mess it all up.  This episode, we enlist journalists, poets, musicians, and even a physicist to help us tell stories of matter that matters. You’ll never look at that chart the same way again. Special thanks to Emotive Fruition for organizing poetry performances and to the mighty Sylvan Esso for composing ‘Jaime’s Song’, both inspired by this episode. Thanks also to Sam Kean, Chris Howk and Brian Fields. 

Photo Credit: Jamie York

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Big Blue Live

Big Blue Live celebrates a wildlife success story and marine animal phenomenon: humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks and more all convene in Monterey Bay once a year. Big Blue Live is a live television and online event celebrating some of the world’s most amazing marine creatures converging off California’s coast. Set in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the bay has experienced an environmental rebirth. This wildlife success story attracts humpback whales, blue whales, sea lions, dolphins, elephant seals, sea otters, great white sharks, shearwaters, and much more for a once-a-year marine animal phenomenon. A presentation of PBS and the BBC, Big Blue Live will bring together scientists, filmmakers and photographers, animal behaviorists, and other experts over the course of three spectacular nights. The program will be anchored live from a hub at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and from a national marine sanctuary research vessel. Viewers can watch one of nature’s great “reality shows” delivered through state-of-the-art filming technologies and live reports from air, sea, and below the waves.

Urban Ecosystems, Turing Nanopatterns, and Serving Sizes

According to Science Friday, the amount of green space can affect the distribution of wildlife in urban areas, but what role do socioeconomic features play in determining the ecology of cities? Researchers from Urban Wildlife Institute in Chicago mapped out how coyotes, raccoons, and opossums were affected by the “concrete jungle.” Brandon Keim, a freelance science reporter, discusses this story and other science news from the week. Plus, think back to the last time you were snacking on a bag of chips. Did you turn the bag over—after many mouthfuls of salty, crunchy goodness—to the Nutrition Facts label, only to find that it contained more than one serving size? Twenty years after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) introduced the Nutrition Facts label, it now plans to update serving sizes in accordance with the amount of food people are really eating these days.

The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements

‘The Mystery of Matter: Search for the Elements’ is an exciting series about one of the great adventures in the history of science: the long and continuing quest to understand what the world is made of. Three episodes tell the story of seven of history’s most important scientists as they seek to identify, understand and organize the basic building blocks of matter. These episodes show us not only what these scientific explorers discovered but also how, using actors to reveal the creative process through the scientists’ own words and conveying their landmark discoveries through re-enactments shot with working replicas of their original lab equipment. Knitting these strands together is host Michael Emerson, a two-time Emmy Award-winning actor. Meet Joseph Priestley and Antoine Lavoisier, whose discovery of oxygen led to the modern science of chemistry, and Humphry Davy, who made electricity a powerful new tool in the search for elements.

El Niño Vs. the Blob, Yeast Painkillers, and a Butter Bummer

Conditions are currently warming up in the Pacific, and the NOAA Climate Prediction Center expects a greater than 90 percent chance that El Niño will continue through the winter and most likely into the spring. This image shows the July 13-19, 2015 sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average. Image by NOAA

This week’s news roundup takes us to San Francisco, where Ira is joined by KQED science and environment reporter Lauren Sommer. As California’s historic drought continues, many Californians have pinned their hopes on a larger-than-usual El Niño to dump much-needed water on the West. But as Sommer explains, there’s a new climate player in town that could muck up that plan: the Blob–scientists’ name for a mass of warm water in the North Pacific—which could divert those long-sought winter storms around the thirsty state.

The Incredible Journey of the Butterflies

Orange-and-black wings fill the sky as NOVA charts one of nature’s most remarkable phenomena: the epic migration of monarch butterflies across North America. To capture a butterfly’s point of view, NOVA’s filmmakers used a helicopter, ultralight, and hot-air balloon for aerial views along the transcontinental route. This wondrous annual migration, which scientists are just beginning to fathom, is an endangered phenomenon that could dwindle to insignificance if the giant firs that the butterflies cling to during the winter disappear. Learn more & get involved:

Monarch Watch
Learn how to create “waystations” for monarch butterflies, read about the life cycle of the monarch, and more at this website from the University of Kansas. Journey North: Monarch Butterfly Migration
Join others and help track the monarch population as the butterflies migrate across North America each year.

EPA Says It Released 3 Million Gallons Of Contaminated Water Into River

(Contaminated wastewater is seen at the entrance to the Gold King Mine in San Juan County, Colo., in this picture released by the Environmental Protection Agency. The photo was taken Wednesday; the plume of contaminated water has continued to work its way downstream. Reuters /Landov)

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado. The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply. From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:
 “The EPA now estimates 3 million gallons of wastewater spilled from the mine into the Animas River.

Talk Like a Firefly

Science Friday: If you’re lucky enough to live where fireflies flash at night, then you have surely seen their magical illuminations on warm summer evenings. But did you know that by observing fireflies while they are flashing, you can learn to communicate with them? If you haven’t already, watch the Science Friday Video “In a Flash: Firefly Communication” for a little background on how fireflies use light to communicate:

By watching and comparing fireflies all across the country, scientists have been able to map out the unique flash patterns of male and female fireflies of different species. Dr. John E. Lloyd, an entomologist at the University of Florida, featured in the video above, was one of the first to do this extensively for North American species of firefly in the genus Photinus. Check out these family friendly activities from Science Friday. 


Life on the Reef | Episode Three

Tonight on Life on the Reef,  human and animal residents of the reef prepare as a category 5 cyclone brings destruction to the North Queensland coast. But as cyclone season finally gives way to calm seas, the reef begins to recover and thrive. From the mangroves to the coral cays, reef fish populations flourish, and mysterious dwarf minke whales arrive to enjoy the warm tropical waters. Tune into WSKG TV on August 5th at 8 pm for the third episode of Life on the Reef. About the Program

Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on Earth.

Nuclear Meltdown Disaster

Tonight on NOVA, take a look into the Nuclear Meltdown Disaster that has forever changed  Japan.  Four years ago, a devastating earthquake and tsunami triggered a disastrous meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. But at the same time, just seven miles away, the heroic efforts of plant operators under the leadership of Naohiro Masuda saved a second plant, Fukushima Daini. Now Masuda faces the daunting challenge of cleaning up Daiichi, where a witches’ brew of radioactive groundwater leaks into the Pacific every day and three melted cores remain steaming hot and lethally unapproachable. With unprecedented access, NOVA reveals the little-known story of how Masuda and his team averted disaster at Daini and how workers are struggling to clean up the mess at Daiichi.

Life on the Reef | Episode One

Tonight on Life on the Reef, tourists flock to the reef to enjoy the perfect weather, and the humpback whales are here to give birth. Fire destroys a luxury yacht, and a critical rescue is launched. On the most protected island in Australia, 20,000 green sea turtles return to the biggest reptilian breeding colony on Earth. Tune in Wednesday July 22 at 8pm on WSKG for the first episode of Life on the Reef. 


About the Program
Australia’s Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest living structure and one of the richest and most complex natural ecosystems on Earth. To some, this place is full of mystery and hardship, an alien world full of bizarre, beautiful and deadly creatures.

Chasing Pluto

After nine years and 3 billion miles, PBS NOVA will finally get a close look at Pluto, but only if the New Horizons spacecraft can survive the final, treacherous leg of its journey through a dangerous field of debris. If it does, New Horizons is poised to make dramatic new discoveries, not just about Pluto, but about the vast realm of icy bodies lurking beyond Neptune, relics of the earliest days of the solar system’s formation. Back on Earth, the planetary scientists who have spent decades working on this mission anxiously await a signal from their spacecraft. If all goes well, we’ll see Pluto’s mysterious surface in unprecedented detail and learn new secrets about other alien worlds at the far limits of our solar system. Tune into the latest posts from NASA’s New Horizons control room. 


Learn more about NOVA’s Chasing Pluto.

Are We Killing the Colorado River?

“Killing the Colorado,” a joint reporting project by ProPublica and Matter, set out to tell the truth about the American West’s water crisis. As serious as the drought is, the investigation found that mismanagement of that region’s surprisingly ample supply has led to today’s emergency. Among the causes are the planting of the thirstiest crops; arcane and outdated water rights laws; the unchecked urban development in unsustainable desert environments; and the misplaced confidence in human ingenuity to engineer our way out of a crisis — with dams and canals, tunnels and pipelines.  See images that tell a bleak future. 


Listen in as Renee Montagne talks to Propublica’s Abrahm Lustgarten about the Colorado River’s falling water levels, and how flawed water policies and mismanagement are to blame — in addition to the drought.

Skunk Bear | How to Make Lava

How does one in upstate New York study lava you might ask? Visit Syracuse Univeristy of course, where researchers are creating magma in a giant cauldron. Lava is powerful — it’s constantly building and rebuilding our world. NPR Skunk Bear’s Adam Cole took a trip from  Washington, DC to witness lava creation at Syracuse University first hand.  

Visit NPR’s Skunk Bear Tumblr.

Operation Wild | Episode Two

Tune in July 8th at 8pm on WSKG TV for episode 2, of Operation Wild, we join a team in South Africa that is trying to help a rhino who was attacked by poachers for her horn. Thandi was nursed back to health by rhino vet Dr Will Fowlds, and he’s joined by a human plastic surgeon who is planning to heal the wound on her face with a world first — a rhino skin graft. Deep in Borneo rainforest, Dr. Birute Galdikass looks after ill and injured orangutans before releasing them into the wild. Orangutan Rosemary has been brought back from the rainforest with her 7-year-old daughter Rodney, because her cataracts make her virtually blind. They will only be released if specialist microsurgery helps Rosemary see again.

Kart Kingdom Live Game Event

Join WSKG Public Media at the Broome County Public Library on Tuesday July 28th for a fun afternoon playing a PBS KIDS Kart Kingdom Live Game! Four teams will challenge each other using engineering skills to outwit their competitors in the game ‘Water Works’. Teams will work together, design, communicate and travel through the Water Works game during this hour long event. Space is limited, register here, choose a specific start time. It is important to arrive at your registered time so we can accommodate all participants.

Passion for Pixels

SciGirls has a passion for pixels. When you look at a photo of a planet in space, did you know that you’re really looking at a set of numbers? Remote-sensing satellites take pictures and gather data that is transmitted to the ground as digital signals, or sets of numbers. Then computer software converts the numbers into color images. Have your students play with data transmission using this SciGirls activity as you guide them through encoding messages into digital signals they send each other.

What makes cheese….so stinky?

What lives in cheese? What makes cheese so delicious? It’s the bacteria, fungi, mites, and maggots living in it, of course! Check out Gross Science’s Anna Rothschild as she explores the stink, behind the yum, of cheese.  



Looking to Get Your Girls Engaged in Science?

Are you a Teacher, Scout or 4-H leader? Or a parent looking for ways to engage your tween girls in STEM activities? First, what is STEM? Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, we can even incorporate the Arts and make it STEAM, which is how the world works in real life. Most things we use or see everyday fall into the STEAM category.

Animal Homes

Animals, like humans, need a place they can call home to provide a safe and stable place to raise a family, but they go about building it in entirely different ways. Whether it is a bird’s nest, bear den, beaver lodge or spider web, these are homes of great complexity, constructed from a wide range of natural as well as man-made materials. This three-part series investigates just how animals build their remarkable homes around the globe and the intriguing behaviors and social interactions that take place in and around them. Hosting the series is ecologist Chris Morgan (Siberian Tiger Quest, Bears of the Last Frontier), who serves as guide and real estate agent. He evaluates and deconstructs animal abodes, their materials, location, neighborhood and aesthetics.

The Sagebrush Sea

It’s been called The Big Empty – an immense sea of sagebrush that once stretched 500,000 square miles across North America, exasperating thousands of westward-bound travelers as an endless place through which they had to pass to reach their destinations. Yet it’s far from empty, as those who look closely will discover. In this ecosystem anchored by the sage, eagles and antelope, badgers and lizards, rabbits, wrens, owls, prairie dogs, songbirds, hawks and migrating birds of all description make their homes. The Sagebrush Sea tracks the Greater Sage-Grouse and other wildlife through the seasons as they struggle to survive in this rugged and changing landscape. In early spring, male sage grouse move to open spaces, gathering in clearings known as leks to establish mating rights.

In Your Skin, a Catalog of Sun-Induced Mutations

Science Friday examines what happens to your skin once out in the sunshine. “Normal” human skin cells can contain a surprisingly large number of sun-induced mutations in their DNA, a new study has found. Philip Jones, a cancer researcher at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in the U.K., and colleagues took samples of cells from eyelid skin discarded during plastic surgery procedures. By sequencing the DNA in those skin samples, they were able to develop a picture of the types of mutations that can accumulate in skin cells over time. They found that over a quarter of normal, sun-exposed skin cells carry at least one “driver mutation” that can give that cell a reproductive advantage.

Plankton Goes Viral

In just one gulp of seawater, there are roughly 200 million viruses. But before canceling your seaside vacation, consider this: These viruses have their sights set on the ocean’s microorganisms, such as plankton. Scientists got an unprecedented look at the viruses swirling around the upper ocean as a result of the Tara Oceans expedition. From 2009 to 2013, scientists sampled 26 sites across the world’s oceans. Jennifer Brum and Matthew Sullivan, from the University of Arizona, are among the researchers studying these samples to catalog and understand the viruses that influence the ocean’s—and by extension, the world’s—ecosystem.

Living With The Rise and Fall of King Coal

Coal was a vital industry in Appalachia for a century, but its environmental effects and economics have undermined its power, leaving many once employed by the industry floundering. In a special team report from West Virginia Public Radio, the Allegheny Front, and High Plains News produced by Clay Scott, we explore the past and future for coal mining areas and the people that live there.  
Stream or Download Living with the Rise and Fall of King Coal 



The Great Transition to Renewables

In his new book The Great Transition, renowned environmental thinker Lester Brown describes the transition from a fossil fuel economy powered by oil and coal, to a renewable economy based on solar and wind. Brown tells host Steve Curwood that renewable technologies are already cheaper than fossil fuels in many places, and the great energy transition may be complete much sooner than you think. Stream or download The Great Transition to Renewables


CURWOOD: It’s Living on Earth. I’m Steve Curwood. If you saw Lester Brown in his characteristic uniform of impeccably pressed suit atop running shoes, you might not guess he has a couple of dozen honorary degrees for his environmental analyses.


From medicine to the movies, the horrifying to the holy, and history to the present day — we’re kinda obsessed with blood. This hour, we consider the power and magic of the red liquid that runs through our veins. Season 12 Episode 1


 Timeline on Pop culture. 

Guests include: Scott Carney, Edward Dolnick, Gilbert Gaul, Inger Hägglund Tornberg, Joseph Lovett, Laurel Reuter, Charles Rouault, James Shapiro, Douglas Starr, Christien Tinsely, Peter Tomasulo, Saul Villeda and Amy Wagers

Want more blood? Check out Radio Lab’s blood episode & extras. 

Eat Well. Play Hard. Binghamton!

The Eat Well. Play Hard. Binghamton! program is part of the Healthy Lifestyles Coalition, a group of community organizations focused on combatting childhood obesity through outreach efforts focused on the North Side of Binghamton, NY.  Learn how this program is having an impact on North Side residents.

Tour Through New York State

In this video, the teacher takes students on a virtual tour of NYS while incorporating music and movement. The tour includes important landmarks and sightseeing hot spots throughout NYS while incorporating history and physical activity!


View Tour Through New York State lesson plan on NY PBS Learning Media 

Kids in Motion is supported by the Conrad and Virginia Klee Foundation.

Assembly Required

The event is huge, the clock is ticking and we are awaiting the final shots… but the playing field consists of robots, remote controls, plus moon rocks and Mars Rovers? Meet area students who put science FIRST. “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology” is an organization founded by Dean Kamen. Dean is working to make science and technology available to every kid in the world.