Science & Technology

Leaburg Dam
12:43 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

High Pricetag To Fix Old McKenzie Dam

The Leaburg Dam on the McKenzie River.
Credit USGS

The Eugene Water and Electric Board hopes to start repairing Leaburg Dam as soon as May. The cost to fix the 83-year-old structure on the McKenzie River is projected to be $2.8 million. That's about twice the previous estimate.

The motor in one of the dam's three roll gates failed in 2012. The gate has been in the down position ever since.  The roll-gates regulate how much water flows through the dam, which generates power for about 10-thousand homes. Joe Harwood is spokesman for EWEB. He says it's not surprising the first cost estimate of $1.2 million was off.

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Science & Technology
8:33 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

OSU Develops Wristband That Detects Pollutants

OSU developed silicone wristbands that can detect an individual's exposure to environmental toxins.
Credit Steve O'Connell

Everyday people are exposed to chemicals and pollutants. Researchers at Oregon State University in Corvallis have developed a silicone wristband that can detect these compounds. The new accessory can help scientists understand the link between exposure to toxins and disease. The wristband looks similar to the ubiquitous colorful rubber wristbands that often promote causes or charities, such as breast cancer. Kim Anderson is a professor in the OSU Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

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Winter Weather
12:42 am
Thu February 27, 2014

Why Some Trees Weathered The Ice Storm Better Than Others

Ice coats tree during early-February winter storm.
Credit Cameron Yee

Fallen trees from the recent ice storm in the South Willamette Valley can still be seen littering parks and yards.  After the storm, it became obvious that certain kinds of trees were damaged more than others.  KLCC wondered why.

Alby Thoumsin is an arborist with Eugene’s Sperry Tree Care.  He says Oregon white oaks, silver maples and sweet gums were hit the hardest during the ice storm.  The reason has to do with the silhouette of the trees.  Vase-shaped trees sustained more damage than those shaped like cones.  

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Science & Technology
5:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Oregon State Scientists Discover Fourteen New Pollution Compounds

Professor of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Staci Simonich in her office at Oregon State University
Credit Jes Burns

The South Willamette Valley consistently ranks high nationally for levels of air pollution.  According to the American Lung Association, Eugene-Springfield was the 14th worse in the country for “short-term particle pollution” in 2013.  

Air pollution is a complex mixture of chemicals and particulate matter –so complex, scientists still don’t know exactly what’s in the air we breathe.  But now they’re one step closer.

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biofuels
7:47 am
Mon February 3, 2014

Boosting Biofuel Crops With Super Forecasts

U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists outside of Pendleton, Oregon are using high-tech cameras, sensors, aircraft and satellites to more accurately predict crop yields and increase the cost-effectiveness of biofuels. Dan Long holds the small aircraft equipped with cameras, while John Sulik holds the controls.
Credit Anna King

Northwest farmers are trying to get into the business of biofuels. They know the jets of the future may run on oil from crops like canola seeds. But that’s far from commercially viable. One of the challenges is getting the most out of the crops that can be turned into biofuels. Now, agricultural researchers are studying how drone-like aircraft and even satellites can help make more accurate forecasts than ever.

John Sulik plugs in the batteries to his remote-control helicopter. It’s about the size of a car tire.

Anna King: "That’s it? It look’s like a daddy long legs."

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Science & Technology
12:24 am
Tue January 21, 2014

Product Design "Duck Tank" Competition Celebrates Interdisciplinary Collaboration

A member of Team Iris presents for the "Duck Tank" panel.
Credit Jes Burns

University of Oregon student-entrepreneurs walked away with a cash prize after competing in the inaugural Colligan User Interface Design Challenge. The aim of the so-called "Duck Tank" was to give students real-world experience conceptualizing a product and pitching it to investors. 

Fans of reality TV may be familiar with ABC's "Shark Tank."  In the show, entrepreneurs pitch a business idea before a panel of venture capitalists who either fund or reject the pitch.

"Duck Tank" is a bit less cut-throat.

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Oregon Football
9:34 am
Sun November 17, 2013

Ducks Get Back To Business, Beavers Struggle On The Road

The University of Oregon Ducks looked much-improved Saturday, while the Oregon State Beavers faced a tough road opponent in Arizona. 

The Ducks rebounded from last week's loss to Stanford with a 44-21 victory over the University of Utah Utes. Quarterback Marcus Mariota went into the game with questions about the health of his left knee, but threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns at Autzen Stadium.

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Zero-Emission Vehicles
4:56 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

Oregon Governor Joins Initiative To Put More Zero-Emission Vehicles On The Road

A Nissan Leaf charging.
Credit Photo courtesy of electriccarsport.com

This (last) week, governors from eight states including Oregon’s John Kitzhaber joined an initiative to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025.

The governors met in Sacramento, to sign a joint memorandum to purchase more electronic vehicles, or E-V’s, increase infrastructure, and offer financial incentives. U.S. electric car sales more than tripled in 2012. Oregon’s Chief E-V Officer, Ashley Horvat says the state has more fast chargers than any other who has them, and that’s helping E-V sales.

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technology education
6:30 am
Tue October 15, 2013

A Woman's Quest To Prove Coding Is More Than Nerdy

Tools for Computer Science Camp
Lucy Ohlsen

It’s a no-brainer that you have to be able to use a computer to get most jobs today. Public schools in Eugene encourage students to use technology as an educational tool. Kiki Prottsman is a local woman who hopes to inspire young people to become more than just users.

These middle schoolers are at math and computer science camp.

 “It's fun, but sometimes you miss a friends sleepover or a birthday party or something. But you make up to it. Like, your friends won't be there in the future but your education will be."

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Science & Technology
7:32 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

EWEB Approves Voluntary Smart Meters

Smart meter.

After a crowded public hearing, the Eugene Water and Electric Board voted to install smart meters only for customers who request it. A number of people spoke in opposition to the wireless meters citing health concerns. EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says there is no risk.

Harwood: “I’m frankly speechless. I don’t know how to respond to people that think that radio waves are going to somehow cause a health effect. It’s patently ridiculous.”

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