Mexico village uses fireflies to lure tourists, and thus avoid logging

This week I wrote about the appeal of fireflies in my Monitor column – and talked about it with Peter Biello of NHPR – so I was delighted to see a story in the Guardian about how a rural cooperative in Mexico is using them as a lure to tourists, which makes them enough money that they … Read more Mexico village uses fireflies to lure tourists, and thus avoid logging

Internet trolls get worse, not better, when they lose anonymity

Like many people, I’ve long thought that getting rid of anonymity is a way to improve online discourse. If people know that it’s actually me who is responding to somebody then I’m less likely to call them a dunderhead, or so the thinking goes. The thinking, alas, may be wrong. A study published last month in the journal … Read more Internet trolls get worse, not better, when they lose anonymity

Blockchain isn’t going to show up in Vermont government any time soon

There’s a great bit of tech nostalgia in the Burlington Free-Press’s story today about why Vermont agencies haven’t started using blockchain for government documents, as is allowed under a unique state law: As recently as this year, the Secretary of State’s office was still cataloging business records on FoxPro, a database management system that traces its digital … Read more Blockchain isn’t going to show up in Vermont government any time soon

Are firefly populations crashing? We don’t know – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry

I’ve heard a lot of news reports in the past few months that say firefly populations are crashing, like honeybees are, so I figured I’d check into it for my Monitor column. The answer, according to Tufts University biology professor Sarah Lewis (she’s literally written the book about fireflies: Silent Sparks) is that we don’t have … Read more Are firefly populations crashing? We don’t know – but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry

Certainty about NH mountain lions shows why humans are always arguing

There’s an interesting quote in a Concord Monitor story today about people who are sure they have seen mountain lions in New Hampshire, from a woman responding to New Hampshire Fish & Game’s desire for actual evidence before they agree that animals which haven’t been actually seen within hundreds of miles of New Hampshire have … Read more Certainty about NH mountain lions shows why humans are always arguing

Can you raise livestock in the woods? UNH is experimenting

By UNH News Service: Seeing cows graze in a forest may be an uncommon site in New England but at the Organic Dairy Research Farm at the University of New Hampshire, heifers soon will be dining among the trees. Researchers with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station have launched a silvopasture project at the farm to … Read more Can you raise livestock in the woods? UNH is experimenting

Walmart is selling oddball-looking potatoes and apples – hooray!

When NH Public Radio’s Peter Biello asked me, in our weekly chat, whether I thought stores would start selling “ugly fruit” – produce that doesn’t look perfect – I said not a chance.  We were talking about my Monitor column, which discussed the huge amount of food waste caused by unrealistic consumer expectations, and I ended on … Read more Walmart is selling oddball-looking potatoes and apples – hooray!

Vermont (with its perpetual sunshine?) is No. 7 in per-person solar power

Ten  states – Nevada, Hawaii, California, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Vermont, New Mexico, Massachusetts and Colorado – accounted for 88 percent of U.S. solar capacity at the end of 2015 (but only 26 percent of the country’s population), according to a new report spotted via Solar Industry news. The weirdo on that list is Vermont, … Read more Vermont (with its perpetual sunshine?) is No. 7 in per-person solar power

Boston firm tries to improve crops via … well, the plant version of probiotics

Genetic modification to improve crop yields is a good idea, but it’s far from the only good idea in that field. A Boston area firm called Indigo Agriculture just got $100 million in funding for its efforts to improve yields in sort of the same way people try to improve health by changing their guy … Read more Boston firm tries to improve crops via … well, the plant version of probiotics

The only downtown-wide steam heat system in NH is closing

Concord Steam, which burns wood chips to provide steam heat for 96 buildings in downtown Concord, including much of the state government office complex, has been struggling with financial and technical issues for years – and today it threw in the towel. If the state PUC approves the plan, Liberty Utilities will buy Concord Steam … Read more The only downtown-wide steam heat system in NH is closing