Science & Technology

Science & Technology

Natural Gas Fuels Study

Sep 1, 2015

A Deschutes County truck is being used in a natural gas refueling study. The truck will be plugged in to a residential gas line to refuel every night.

The technology was developed by the OSU Cascade campus in Bend. The Deschutes County truck has a bi-fuel system allowing it to use natural gas and gasoline. Chris Doty is Deschutes County Public Works Director.

EWEB - The Next 100 Years!

Jun 15, 2015

Recorded on: June 12th, 2015

Air Date: June 15th, 2015

Delivery of utility services like electricity and water could take new directions especially for publicly owned utilities like Oregon’s largest publicly owned utility, Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB), a ratepayer-owned utility sometimes called one of the best in the nation.

EWEB is preparing to work on the next Integrated Electric Resource Plan (IERP) continuing community engagement to design a resilient energy future.

Doctor Tony Biglan Talks About The Nurture Effect

May 12, 2015

Tony Biglan is a senior scientist at Oregon Research Institute.  His new book is called "The Nurture Effect – How the Science of Human Behavior can Improve Our Lives and Our World".  Doctor Biglan speaks with KLCC's Tripp Sommer.

Dr. Tony Biglan gives a presentation based on his book, "The Nurture Effect", Wednesday (5/13/15) at 7:00 at Oregon Research Institute, 1776 Millrace Drive in Eugene.

USGS

Eugene Water and Electric Board is suing the firm that designed and engineered a roll-gate lifting system on the Leaburg Dam. Two of the three gates have failed.

space.com

Tariq Malik, managing editor of Space.com, writes and is a media spokesperson on new advancements in space science and space flight.

Malik will present Thursday evening at the Science Factory's gala at the Eugene Hilton.

Why The Nuclear Energy World Is Thinking Small

Mar 23, 2015
Jes Burns / Earthfix

In the world of nuclear power, one technology is generating debate: factory-produced reactors that are no bigger than a house. A bill to help bring smaller reactors to Washington is working its way through the state Legislature.  At the same time, work is underway in Oregon to bring these small-scale reactors to market.

There’s only one place in the country right now that is developing a new kind of nuclear power plant.

It’s happening in an office building on a sprawling corporate campus just outside Corvallis, Oregon.

A pilot program will test whether Oregon should offer iPads at no cost to assist residents who have vision, hearing, speech, mobility or cognition issues. The iPads will improve phone communication, but will have no download capability and only limited internet access. The program is funded with a nine cent monthly surcharge on retail telephone bills.  Friday is the new deadline to join the pilot project. For more information, email puc.rspf@state.or.us , or call 800-848-4442.

Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area

Yaquina Head Lighthouse re-opened last weekend to tours after being closed for 3 months. The 1872 lighthouse in Newport has been repainted.

Robot Milkers Bring New Future to Washington Dairy Farmers

Jan 2, 2015
Sarah Eden Wallace

Washington dairy farmers are beginning to use new technology that is transforming how time is spent on the farm. It's also helping provide much needed support for the next generation of small family farms.

Alan Mesman’s family has been farming for six generations near La Conner. So he knows first hand how hard dairying can be.

“Usually between 5:30 and 6 we start. In the summertime, I mean, you can be going from 5 in the morning til 10 at night.”

www.oregonlive.com

Oregon State University needs help cataloging tens of millions of plankton photos. The university is offering 175 thousand dollars for computer algorithms that will sort the photos.

The National Data Science bowl was announced on Monday. The competition was initiated to seek the classification of plankton data gathered from a Florida expedition last summer.

Jessica Luo, a PhD student based at the Hatfield Marine Science center in Newport says the plankton photos are used to study the predator and prey relationships between larval fish.

People text donations, they text votes to reality shows, now they can text a power outage. In time for winter weather, the Eugene Water and Electric Board has launched a new reporting service.

EWEB spokesman Joe Harwood says when their system was overloaded in February’s snowstorm, they started working on a solution. During that storm they also had to educate some younger customers who didn’t know they had to tell EWEB when their power was out:

www.nnmrec.oregonstate.edu

Oregon State University's Marine Renewable Energy program has been awarded new federal funding. The additional cash will help them get closer to connecting wave power to the grid.

Oregon State and the University of Washington were selected in 2008 to form one of three centers to research wave and tidal energy.

Belinda Batten is a Director for the program. She says for two years, they've had an offshore test site north of Yaquina Head, where they've been studying the size and force of waves. The new funding will help them move forward:

Oregon State University

Researchers at Oregon State University have found trace levels of radiation from Fukushima in albacore tuna caught off the Oregon coast. Results of the study are being published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was destroyed by the earthquake that hit Japan in 2011. Radiation has made its way into the Pacific Ocean, raising concerns about exposure to Cesium-134 and 137.

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.

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.

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.  

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.

Boosting Biofuel Crops With Super Forecasts

Feb 3, 2014
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."

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.

Ducks Get Back To Business, Beavers Struggle On The Road

Nov 17, 2013

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.

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.

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

Oct 15, 2013
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."

EWEB Approves Voluntary Smart Meters

Oct 2, 2013

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.”

U.S. Department of Energy

Fifty years ago Thursday, President John F. Kennedy stepped off a Marine helicopter into the dry heat of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington. He was there to see the massive new N Reactor. The reactor was the first to produce both plutonium and power in the U.S. As Correspondent Anna King reports, the visit also was part of Kennedy’s efforts to de-escalate the Cold War.

Hanford worker Bill McCullough remembers Sept. 26, 1963 clearly when President Kennedy came to visit.
Bill McCullough: “It was a very hot day, and we hit bumper to bumper traffic.”

Home Canning Hobby Leads To Near Fatal Medical Mystery

Sep 26, 2013
Austin Jenkins

Home canning is regaining popularity as part of the local food movement. If done right, families can enjoy home grown fruits, vegetables and even meat all through the winter. But if done wrong it can be devastating, if not deadly. A lawyer for the state of Washington recently learned that lesson the hard way.

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