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'Leaf Wonder' In A World Of Changing Forests

Nov 15, 2017

In Autumn, the receptors in our primate eyes revel in the red and gold of trees.

Our ability to perceive red color is an oddity, one shared by our cousins the Old World monkeys and apes, but not by most other mammals. Evolution endowed our ancestors with an extra type of light-sensing cone cell that helped them see fruit and edible young foliage against a background of mature dark green leaves.

Think "renewable energy" and the wind and sun come to mind, but someday it may be possible to add ocean energy to that list.

At MedStar Washington Hospital Center, doctors and nurses are moving as many patients as they can from intravenous medications to the same drugs in pill form.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ELISE HU, HOST:

Juan Flores and his family live in Galena Park, Texas, which is bordered on three sides by pipeline terminals, oil refineries, fertilizer plants and rail yards.

Flores has lived in the town of about 11,000 people just east of downtown Houston since he was 4 years old. For a while, he even served on the City Council.

Copyright 2017 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

You scroll through your friend's Instagram feed and see the most beautiful setting, and think: "I want to go there." And so you do.

According to travel photographer Brent Knepper, you are part of the problem.

In The Outline's article "Instagram is Loving Nature to Death," Knepper says that thanks to the photo sharing app, some of the best-kept secrets of the natural world are drawing big crowds and literally altering the landscape.

When President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, he said he represented "Pittsburgh, not Paris."

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto disagreed. He traveled to Germany this week as part of an unofficial delegation of more than 100 Americans, American officials and business owners who say they are still committed to climate talks taking place in Bonn. One element of Pittsburgh's climate strategy has been encouraging innovation in a technology known as microgrids.

This last week brought big news in the struggle over climate change and climate science.

The city of Toledo and nearby communities have earned the dubious distinction of being the first to report outbreaks of human illness due to algae toxins in municipal drinking water, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In China's coal country, Shanxi Province, the black stuff is a more than just a source of income — it is a source of identity. Lumps of it are for sale at the national coal museum, in elegant, satin-lined gift boxes. The rest of the coal museum is faded and out of date, much like the city of Taiyuan, where it is located, about 300 miles southwest of Beijing.

A toxic smog that is blanketing the Indian capital, forcing some of its schools to close and bringing traffic to a halt, has doctors in New Delhi urging the government to declare a public emergency and order the population to leave.

Hurricane Harvey was the worst flood in Houston's history. Scientists and citizens are still piecing together why it was so bad, but it's becoming clear that a lot of the damage comes down to how people have built America's fourth-largest city.

You can see the problem from your car. Houston is a sprawling web of strip malls and 10-lane freeways.

Fishermen up and down the New England Coast say it has been decades since they've been able to catch so many Atlantic bluefin tuna so fast. Once severely depleted, populations of the prized sushi fish appear to be rebounding.

Now the industry, and some scientists, say that the international commission that regulates the fish can allow a much bigger catch. But some environmental groups disagree.

Editor's note: The Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria as a "biopesticide" in 20 states and the District of Columbia. The bacteria keep mosquitoes from spreading diseases like dengue and Zika. Back in 2012, NPR's Joe Palca wrote about scientist Scott O'Neill's 20 years of struggle to make the idea of Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes work. Here is his story.

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