Health, Science, Environment

Conference
11:26 am
Wed April 25, 2012

UMSL hosts conference on 'consilience'

Renowned ecologist Edward O. Wilson will give the keynote address at UMSL's Consilience Conference.
(Jerry Bauer)

The University of Missouri-Saint Louis is hosting a conference on “consilience.”

UMSL evolutionary ecologist Patty Parker says consilience is the idea that certain universal concepts hold true across disciplines, from biology to the social sciences to the humanities.

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Environment - Energy - Coal
4:23 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Environmental proposals defeated at Ameren shareholder meeting

These bottles were on display on a table outside of Powell Hall, where Ameren held its shareholder meeting this morning. They contain creek water from Labadie, Missouri, which supporters of the environmental shareholder proposals say may contain coal ash.
(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

Three Ameren shareholder proposals were voted down today at the company’s annual shareholder meeting in St. Louis.

The proposals sought to have Ameren identify and address environmental problems related to its coal-fired power plants.

Sister Barbara Jennings coordinates the Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment, a faith-based advocacy group that seeks to influence the policies of corporations.

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Science - Burying beetles
12:45 pm
Tue April 24, 2012

Saint Louis Zoo gets approval to reintroduce American burying beetle

The American burying beetle.
(via Saint Louis Zoo)

The American burying beetle is coming back – more than three decades since it was last spotted in Missouri.

The Saint Louis Zoo and the US Fish and Wildlife Service announced on Tuesday that they have gotten approval to reintroduce the beetle at the Wah'Kon-Tah Prairie in southwest Missouri. Up to 150 breeding pairs will be placed in underground with dead animals for food - the process starts in June.

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Plant Conservation
5:00 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Missouri Botanical Garden to help build online global plant database

The new online World Flora database will include information on all known land plants. This Robiquetia cerina orchid was on display at the Missouri Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Show.
(Missouri Botanical Garden)

The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced plans to help build an online database of the world’s plants.

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the New York Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden will compile information on as many as 400,000 land plant species, with the goal of having all the data available online by 2020.

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Doe Run - Lead
2:39 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Mo. Atty. Gen. Koster reaches settlement with Doe Run for lead cleanup

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a consent decree to address environmental violations at Doe Run’s Sweetwater Mine and Mill in Reynolds County.

Here's a map detailing the approximate location of the mine near Ellington, Mo.:

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Hellbender Song
2:16 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Endangered hellbender salamander inspires song

Adult Ozark hellbenders can reach up to two feet in length.
(Jeff Briggler, Missouri Department of Conservation)

You may remember our story about the St. Louis Zoo successfully breeding an endangered giant salamander. Now the hellbender is being honored in song:

The St. Louis band FIRE DOG is offering its hellbender song as a free download on Sunday in honor of Earth Day.

In the meantime, here are the lyrics:

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East St. Louis / North Alcoa
3:18 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Cleanup of North Alcoa site in East St. Louis subject of public meeting Tues. night

Aerial view shows the North Alcoa site in East St. Louis. The inner boundary line indicates Operable Unit 1, the target of EPA's proposed cleanup plan. The three residue disposal ponds are marked with the dotted lines.
(via EPA.gov)

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public meeting tonight in East St. Louis. 

The agency will to explain its proposed plan to clean up the North Alcoa site. The property is bounded on the north by Lake Drive, on the east by the Alton and Southern railroad, on the south by Missouri Avenue and on the west by 29th Street.

EPA's remedial project manager for the 400-acre site, Dion Novak, says the area is contaminated with waste products produced over 100 years ago by a former alumina refinery.

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Big River
12:50 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

EPA to test for lead contamination near Big River

A map from the Environmental Protection Agency showing the location of the Southwest Jefferson County Mining site. An investigation by the EPA is looking into lead contamination resulting from mining at the site long ago.
(via EPA.gov)

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to test 256 Jefferson County residential properties amid concerns that lead in the Big River is contaminating soil.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that testing is expected to be completed by midsummer. Recent studies and samples indicated widespread lead contamination in the flood plain that extends from Leadwood in St. Francois County to the confluence with the Meramec River near Eureka.

Roxana, Illinois - Pollution
11:46 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Second suit filed over contamination from Roxana, Ill. oil refinery

A view of the Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill.
(Art Chimes)

A second lawsuit has been filed over contamination from the Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill.

In the suit, Roxana property owners allege that carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene, released from the refinery have contaminated their properties.

The property owners are seeking compensation for the alleged damage.

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Science - Baseball
6:24 am
Fri April 13, 2012

The science of baseball: a conversation

A diagram showing the forces involved in the common curveball.
(via Wikimedia Commons)

Today is the Cardinals' home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

For St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra, baseball season means it’s time to talk about the science behind America’s national pastime.

And Washington University aerospace engineer David Peters was happy to join in.

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