Health, Science, Environment

Elk reintroduction
12:04 pm
Thu May 5, 2011

Elk officially back in Missouri

Conservation Commissioner Chip McGeehan helps unload Missouri’s first elk from the truck that brought them from Kentucky to their new home at Peck Ranch Conservation Area.
(Missouri Department of Conservation/Jim Low)

For the first time since the Civil War, elk are back on Missouri soil.

The 34 elk spent three months in quarantine in Kentucky before arriving today in southeast Missouri. They'll be housed temporarily at the Peck Ranch Conservation Area, which is part of the elk restoration zone.

The elk's arrival was delayed from April 30 so conservation officials could complete all the necessary health tests.

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Energy
6:27 pm
Tue May 3, 2011

Biomass energy conference in St. Louis this week

A biomass gasifier in Sri Lanka. Gasifiers are used to convert biomass into usable energy.
(via Flickr/shehal)

Representatives of the biomass energy industry have gathered in St. Louis this week.

They're here to discuss technologies for turning everything from crop residues to municipal trash into liquid fuels, heat, and electricity.

Tim Portz is the program director for BBI international, the company organizing the International Biomass Conference & Expo.

He says it's not going to be easy for the biomass industry to gain a foothold in the marketplace of already established U.S. energy producers.

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Elk Reintroduction
2:48 pm
Fri April 29, 2011

Elk reintroduction: a different kind of Missouri comeback

You can also see photos of the elk and find out more about the reintroduction above. And, for more information about  the elk restoration efforts prior to their arrival in Missouri, see the video below the story text.

Starting tomorrow*, elk will be back in Missouri. They haven’t been here since the mid-1800s, when hunting and habitat loss drove eastern elk to extinction.

States from Arkansas to Pennsylvania have since reestablished their elk populations. And now Missouri is trying to do the same.

But not everyone is happy about the state’s elk reintroduction plans.

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Robotics
6:35 am
Tue April 26, 2011

Student-made robots take over Chaifetz Arena. Next stop? The Edward Jones Dome!

Peter Prombo Cates (left) and Chirag Doshi, students at Gateway Institute of Technology in St. Louis, carry their team’s robot off the playing field.
(VĂ©ronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

This week in St. Louis, close to 9,000 high school students from five countries will compete in the FIRST Robotics Championship.

Teams of student-built, remote-control robots will take to the field at the Edward Jones Dome. Organizers hope the competition will draw more than 20,000 spectators and generate at least $18 million in local spending.

VĂ©ronique LaCapra was at the St. Louis Regional event in March and has this inside look at the competition.

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Gates Foundation grant
3:48 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Danforth Center gets grant for African nutrition

A cassava root. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center has received $8.3 million fron the Gates Foundation to research ways to increase nutrition in the root, which is the main carbohydrate for a quarter of a billion people.
(via Flickr/Intenational Center for Tropical Agriculture)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has given the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur $8.3 million to increase the nutritional value of a staple crop in Africa.

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St. Louis Zoo
4:34 pm
Mon April 11, 2011

Elephant at St. Louis Zoo tests positive for tuberculosis

Donna, the 40-year-old Asian elephant at the St. Louis Zoo, has tested positive for tuberculosis.
(St. Louis Zoo)

A 40-year old Asian elephant at the St. Louis Zoo named "Donna" has tested positive for tuberculosis, but is expected to be just fine.

Donna the Elephant came to the St. Louis zoo as a 3-year old juvenile in 1971.

All elephants get complete medical evaluation each year including blood collection, vaccinations and trunk cultures to look for tuberculosis.

Randy Junge, the Zoo's Director of Animal Health said the 40-year-old pachyderm will live off-display for the next year, but won't be quarantined.

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Brain Health
3:00 pm
Wed April 6, 2011

Exposure to welding fumes may lead to impaired brain function

Brain scans from a control subject (left), a welder (center), and a subject with idiopathic Parkinson's disease (right), in a study by researchers at Washington University comparing brains of apparently healthy welders to those of Parkinson's patients.
(via Neurology ®)

Workers exposed to the metal manganese in welding fumes may be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s-like symptoms, including loss of motor control and tremors.

That’s the finding of researchers at Washington University School of Medicine, who compared brain scans of apparently healthy welders to those of Parkinson’s patients.

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Illinois & Japan Radiation
11:53 am
Thu March 31, 2011

Officials: no reason for concern in Ill. over radiation from Japan

View Locations of found radiation from Japan in IL in a larger map

The map above depicts the locations highlighted in the following story where trace amounts of radiation from Japan have been found in Illinois - Will County and Springfield, Ill.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Sean Crawford used in this report.

Trace amounts of radiation from Japan have shown up in Illinois. But state officials say there's no reason for concern.

Minute levels of radioactive materials have been detected in both northern and central Illinois.  The state's Emergency Management Agency says radioactive iodine was found in grass clippings in Will County and in an air sample collected at a lab in Springfield.

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Carter Carburetor Superfund Site
5:05 pm
Wed March 30, 2011

EPA a step closer to cleaning up Carter Carburetor Superfund site in St. Louis

View Larger Map

The above map depicts Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls Club (right), across the street from the Carter Carburetor Superfund site, a former gasoline and diesel carburetor manufacturing plant which closed in 1984.

The Environmental Protection Agency is a step closer to cleaning up a contaminated industrial property on the city's north side.

In a memorandum signed today, the EPA spells out the steps it will take to clean up the Carter Carburetor Superfund site.

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Tablet Discovery
7:45 am
Wed March 30, 2011

UMSL archeologists discover continental Europe's earliest-known written record

This is the back of the 2x3 inch tablet that was discovered in Iklaina, Greece.
(Christian Mundigler)

Archeologists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis have discovered continental Europe’s earliest known written record.

The clay tablet fragment dates back to between 1490 and 1390 BC – at least 100 years before any other known writings from mainland Europe.

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