Monthly Archives: March 2014

Patrick Hruby on Sports Welfare

PatrickHrubyRoseBowlDid you know that almost all NFL teams are profitable before a single ticket is sold? And did you know that for most of these teams it’s public dollars that have made this level of profitability possible? A few weeks ago on Sea Change Radio we discussed some of the environmental advances being championed in the sports industry.

This week, host Alex Wise speaks with Patrick Hruby, a writer and podcaster for Sports on Earth. He offers a complementary (if contrasting) perspective to our earlier discussion by highlighting what he terms “sports welfare.” Hruby talks about how common government subsidies are in the sports industry, and the opportunity cost felt by environmental causes when public coffers are drained in order to bankroll some of the wealthiest enterprises in America.

Abrahm Lustgarten Exposes Chesapeake Energy

AbrahmLustgartenNaturalGasImagine how you’d feel if instead of paying you the usual $5,000 a month, your employer suddenly whittled your paycheck down to $500 a month – in order to pay for your boss’s new private jet. Well, that’s pretty much how thousands of landowners who leased their land to natural gas giant, Chesapeake Energy feel right about now.

When we think of the downside of the natural gas boom in this country, we usually think of the potential of environmental harm. But as residents in places like Pennsylvania and West Virginia are discovering, financial hazards lay in the weeds as well. This week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, award-winning journalist, Abrahm Lustgarten, of Pro Publica, discusses his recent investigation that has exposed alleged mass-scale financial wrongdoing by Chesapeake Energy, one of the nation’s biggest oil and gas companies. Lustgarten will explain how sometimes when you make a deal with the devil, you get burned.

Little By Little: Nanoparticle Technology

HeatherMillarnanopHere’s a little exercise: take a pen and a blank piece of paper and write down everything you know about nano-technology. If you do this, you may find your essay to be pretty brief. You could take comfort to know you’re not alone in your ignorance of nano-technology. But perhaps you should not be feeling so comforted. In a 2013 Orion Magazine article, “Pandora’s Boxes,” this week’s guest on Sea Change Radio, journalist Heather Millar, points out that nanoparticles are ubiquitous.

They are used in everyday products: making hair dryers hotter, toothpaste whiter, sunscreen more transparent, and clothing more stain-resistant. They are also, of course, in the food we eat as additives, pesticides and other hidden ingredients. But what exactly are nanoparticles? Are they harmful or beneficial? Are you wearing some right now? Millar shows us that while there are not adequate answers to many of these questions, they need to be asked. Still, at the end of her discussion with host Alex Wise, you may remain unsure about whether to be afraid of nanoparticle technology or not. In the words of Marie Curie: “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

Origami Electronics

ASUorigamiAdvertisers love to talk about the art of engineering. But this week’s guests on Sea Change Radio truly are fusing their high-tech research with art. By incorporating the principles of origami, the traditional Japanese art form of paper folding, with their work in the emerging field of paper battery technology, this Arizona State research team has come up with some exciting new ways to store energy.

These researchers believe that “origami electronics” may be an important new template for the production of things like stretchable electronics or even highly foldable and more efficient solar cells. Listen now as these three academics tell us how simple paper cranes may be the key to solving complex, real-world problems.