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Flowers, bugs and bees: Stephen Buchmann wanted to study them all when he was a kid.

"I never grew out of my bug-and-dinosaur phase," he tells NPR's Arun Rath. "You know, since about the third grade, I decided I wanted to chase insects, especially bees."

These days, he's living that dream. As a pollination ecologist, he's now taking a particular interest in how flowers attract insects. In his new book, The Reason for Flowers, he looks at more than just the biology of flowers — he dives into the ways they've laid down roots in human history and culture, too.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ARUN RATH, HOST:

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

More than 1,600 acres of old growth rain forest have burned in Washington's Olympic National Park. It's the largest fire but not the first to burn in the rain forests of the park. Ashley Ahearn from member station KUOW reports.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Will Our Demand For Food Threaten Our Supply of Water?

Jul 17, 2015

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Finite.

About Jon Foley's TED Talk

Ecologist Jon Foley says agriculture is the "most powerful force unleashed on this planet since the end of the ice age." He says we're using too much of it to irrigate, and we have to rethink how we farm.

About Jon Foley

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Finite.

About Rob Hopkins' TED Talk

Community organizer Rob Hopkins argues that individuals, towns and communities have a large role to play in lowering our dependence on fossil fuels.

About Rob Hopkins

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Finite.

About Mark Plotkin's TED Talk

The isolated tribes of the Amazon are getting dispersed or dying out. Ethnobotanist Mark Plotkin describes what we'll lose if their culture and collective wisdom vanish with them.

About Mark Plotkin

Lightning strikes have killed at least 20 people in the U.S. so far this year, according to the National Weather Service. That's higher than the average for recent years, the service says.

Most people who are injured or killed by lightning, it turns out, are not struck directly — instead, the bolt lands nearby.

That's what happened to Steve Marshburn in 1969. He was working inside a bank and says lightning somehow made its way through an ungrounded speaker at the drive-through window to the stool where he was sitting.

For the past quarter-century, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been gathering data from more than 400 scientists around the world on climate trends.

The report on 2014 from these international researchers? On average, it was the hottest year ever — in the ocean, as well as on land.

It's easy to think we're being virtuous when we fill up the blue recycling bin and put it on the curb. But it's clear we have embraced some magical thinking when it comes to what can be recycled.

Morning Edition asked its social media followers to share what puzzles them the most about the recycling process. Then, NPR's Dianna Douglas visited a waste management plant in Elkridge, Md., to get the answers from Michael Taylor, director of recycling operations for the plant.

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