Before 2006, scientists referred to colony collapse disorder as autumn collapse or spring dwindle, it was normal for a hive or two to die. But as bees have started disappearing en masse, there’s been more and more research into what’s really happening. This hour on Focus, we’ll talk with entomologist May Berenbaum about new findings that help scientists understand why bee colonies worldwide are collapsing.
The US Agriculture Department said yesterday that the honey bee population declined by more than 30 percent last winter, continuing a decrease in honey bee numbers that began in 2005. That’s a problem as more than 20 billion dollars worth of annual harvests rely on bees for pollination. No one really knows exactly why bees are disappearing, although many speculate it’s due to what scientists are calling colony collapse disorder. Researchers have pointed to pesticides, stress and microbial organisms as possible causes but conclusive answers have so far been elusive.
This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with May Berenbaum, Professor of Entomology at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign about colony collapse disorder, what it is, and what might be causing it. According to new research, high fructose corn syrup could also play a role. We’ll also hear from David Burns, a Master Beekeeper and owner of Long Lane Honey Bee Farms in Fairmount.
Are you a bee keeper? Are you a concerned farmer or gardener? We want to hear your story. Post in the comments section below!
If you could have a voice in writing regulations for something you strongly oppose, would you? Or would you walk away on principle? Today on Focus, we talked about controversial legislation that would regulate the hydraulic fracturing industry in Illinois.
Controversial legislation to regulate the fracking industry in Illinois written by both energy officials and environmental group leaders is being considered at the statehouse. Policy makers in other Midwest states that have yet to regulate their own fracking industries say that the way the legislation was written could serve as a model, both for its strict regulatory standards and for the voices that had a say in writing the regulations. This hour on Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Allen Grosboll, Co-Legislative Director for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Representative for Illinois 11th District Ann Williams who is Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill, and Tom Wolf, Executive Director of the Energy Council at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce, part of the GROW-Iliinois, a group that has been working in support of fracking in Illinois.
Amanda Vinicky, Statehouse Bureau Chief for Illinois Public Radio, also joins us with the latest news about the bill.
What makes you happy? Can you quantify it? If you could have a voice in writing regulations for something you strongly oppose, would you? Or would you walk away on principle? Find out more about what’s coming up on Focus.
Next week on Focus, we'll talk with one of the pioneers in the reserach of happiness about how he got the pscyhological science community to take him seriously, how computers could soon change the way we talk about prescription side effects and how environmental groups came together to work with energy companies to write state regualtions for hyrdraulic fracturing.
Do you drink tequila? Eat chocolate? Thank a bat. This hour on Focus, we talked about these notorious flying mammals, the role they play in our eco-system and why white nose syndrome is so scary.
Bats are notorious in popular culture, but they play a vital role in our eco-system. Of the more than 1,000 species that exist worldwide, 13 can be found in Illinois, and six of those species are now being threatened by white nose syndrome, a poorly understood disease that's responsible for mass die offs of hundreds of thousands of bats nationwide. During this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talks with Ed Heske, a mammalian ecologist with the Illinois Natural History Survey, a part of the Prairie Research Institute at the University of Illinois, about bats, why they’re important and why white nose syndrome is so scary, especially for farmers.
Have you been scouring catalogs looking for the perfect plants to get started in your garden this spring? This hour on Focus, we talked with Sherrie Snyder, a master naturalist and the President of Illinois Prairie Wild Ones, about the benefits of incorporating native plants in your yard and garden. Sandy Mason, UI extension horticulture expert, also joins the show.
During this episode of Focus, we talk about the benefits of planting native plants and wildflowers in your yard and garden. Sherrie Snyder, a master naturalist and the President of Illinois Prairie Wild Ones, a non-profit that promotes the use of native plants in landscaping, joins us to talk about how wildflowers don’t have to look wild and how native plants don’t have to look unkempt. We’ll talk about what native plants draw what kinds of native wildlife and find out the best flowers to plant if you want butterflies and birds in your yard.
We are fascinated with exotic life forms; legends of monsters like the Kraken and Nessie liter our folklore. But why? Today on Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with David Toomey, the author of the new book Weird Life.
During this episode of Focus, host Jim Meadows talked with author David Toomey about his new book, “Weird Life: The Search for Life that is Very, Very Different From Our Own.” He tells us about organisms that live off acid rather than water, those that reproduce without DNA and thrive in temperatures and pressures so extreme that they really shouldn’t be alive in the first place. Meadows also talked with Toomey about our fascination with exotic life forms here on Earth and why we’re so fascinated with the possibility of the discovery of life in the rest of the universe.
What’s your favorite exotic animal? We want to hear from you! Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter or post in the comments section below.
Have you ever pet a cockroach? If you’ve been longing to, you’ll get that chance this weekend at the Insect Fear Film Festival. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talked with UIUC entomologist May Berenbaum about this year’s festival, cockroaches in all their glory, and flying insect swarms as UFO’s. Find the podcast here.
The Truth… about insects, is out there. At least that’s May Berenbaum’s position on the matter. This hour on Focus, host Craig Cohen talks with Berenbaum, University of Illinois Professor of Entomology, about this year’s Insect Fear Film Festival. We’ll ask her about this year's X-Files theme, and the character from Season 3 of the X-Files who is named for her. Bambi Berenbaum, an entomologist who appears the episode “War of the Coprophages,” is named for May. We interviewed Chris Carter Tuesday, February 19 on Focus and asked him about it. Find the podcast here.
Cohen also talks with Berenbaum about conspiracy theories surrounding UFO’s and her upcoming article in American Entomologist about how UFO’s are most likely insect swarms. Then, we'll discuss what’s in the future for cyborg insects, robotic bugs equipped with transmitters, cameras and recording devices.
Do you have questions about insects… real or robotic? Join our conversation! Connect with the show on Facebook and Twitter or post in the comments section below.
Ed Kieser joins us to answer your questions on the first day of winter.
Guest: Ed Kieser, Meteorologist, American Electric Power, Columbus, OH; Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Journalism at the University of Illinois
It's been one of the the warmest years on record, but that doesn't mean the Midwestern winter won't bring it's own challenges. On the first Monday of meteorological winter, we'll talk with former WILL meteorologist Ed Kieser about how to prepare for and what to expect from winter weather. We'll also offer you an opportunity to win a prize suitable for stocking stuffing in our Focus Winter Weather Preparedness quiz!
There are many reasons to purchase goods or services from one company over another: price, quality, and convenience. But sometimes, the decision is a moral one; we seek out businesses we believe support or represent our world view – or avoid those that defy it. (The debate earlier this summer over Chick-Fil-A was a demonstration of both).
At the heart of such decisions is whether we deem a company to be socially responsible. But how do you really know? How can you be sure that a reputation is accurate and deserved? And what if the truth is mixed – what if a company leads on one ethical precept, but falls short on another?
Journalist Fran Hawthorne has contemplated these questions, and set out to uncover whether some of the most beloved, trusted companies who have built up a socially responsible reputation really live up to the hype. In the book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love, Hawthorne takes us behind the scenes of companies with powerful brand loyalty, companies like Tom’s of Maine, Starbucks, and Apple. Along the way, Hawthorne finds out why these companies have earned seemingly unflagging devotion from socially conscious consumers. And she calls out the companies and consumers alike with a provocative question: Is it really about being socially conscious, or just looking like you are?
This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, September 04, 2012, 10 am
Andrew Revkin, Senior Fellow at Pace University and Dot Earth blogger for The New York Times
Host: Craig Cohen
After two centuries of explosive growth, the planet's population is widely seen as cresting within the next couple of generations. A best guess for the peak remains roughly 9 billion people. There are even signs that resource-sapping activities will hit a peak as well. Will we overheat or innovate, conserve or despoil, crash or round the curve with a few scrapes? Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger for the New York Times, explores ways to shape and share ideas that can foster progress on a finite planet.
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