The polar bear researcher who was suspended from his government job last month has received a new letter from investigators that lays out actions he took that are described as being “highly inappropriate” under the rules that apply to managing federal contracts.
According to the letter, wildlife biologist Charles Monnett told investigators that he assisted a scientist in preparing that scientist’s proposal for a government contract. Monnett then served as chairman of a committee that reviewed that proposal.
A lawyer with a group that is assisting Monnett says that what he did was standard practice at Monnett’s office, that no other groups were competing for that sole-source contract, and that this letter “confirms our view that they are really on a witch hunt, trying to get Dr. Monnett.”
Monnett works for an agency of the Department of the Interior and, in 2006, published his observations of apparently drowned polar bears in the Arctic. The dead polar bears became a powerful symbol of the danger of climate change and melting ice, and were featured in Al Gore’s movie An Inconvenient Truth.
In 2000, photographer Simone Lueck tagged along with a friend on a two-week trip to Cuba. “The first thing I noticed in Havana,” she writes, “was that the city was dark at night. There were no streetlights, porch lights or living-room lamps. It was pitch black except for the faint colorful glow spilling out of open doors everywhere, and it came from the TVs.”
With a 35mm camera and some film, she floated from living room to living room, capturing that pervasive glow and the people in front of it. A recent book deal allowed her to revisit those homes in Havana in 2010. She shares a few words withThe Picture Show about that experience.
Rick Perry says he does not believe in global warming. The newest Republican presidential candidate also says he would not have signed the debt-ceiling compromise brokered by Republicans and Democrats.
The Texas governor made the comments as he launched a two-day New Hampshire campaign tour. He was speaking at a packed breakfast event with business leaders Wednesday.
Perry said global warming is based on scientists manipulating data. He said he wouldn’t devote federal resources to battling the environmental concern.
The Republican also said the debt-ceiling compromise, which helped avoid a national default, sent the wrong message by spending money the nation doesn’t have.
Murmansk, Russia, is the largest city above the Arctic Circle. If Russia follows through with plans to explore for oil and natural gas offshore in the Arctic Ocean, the city and its port could see significant economic benefits.
The Arctic may be the world’s next geopolitical battleground. Temperatures there are rising faster than anywhere else in the world, and the melting ice will have profound consequences for the roof of the world, opening strategic waterways to shipping, reducing the ice cap on Greenland, and spurring a rush to claim rights to the wealth of natural resources that lie beneath. NPR examines what’s at stake, who stands to win and lose, and how this could alter the global dynamic.
The classic movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid ends with Butch dying in a Bolivian shootout. But Brent Ashworth, a rare books dealer in Utah, recently found a manuscript, which he says might have been written by Butch Cassidy — who did not die in Bolivia, but went on to live a quiet life in Washington state.
For most of history, Greenland has been one of the most remote and inhospitable places on the planet. You would be hard-pressed to find someone who could say exactly where it is, who runs the place and who lives there. But with the Arctic ice retreating, some of the world’s largest energy and mining companies are now eager to explore for oil, gas and rare earth minerals. As part of our series on the Arctic this week, NPR’s Phil Reeves visited Greenland and talked to the people about the prospects of change. You can hear his reports on Morning Edition. Here are some of his observations during his recent stay in Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.
OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
Possible return of uranium mining to southwestern Colorado is supported by some and despised by others. In economically depressed areas, many would welcome the jobs. But in exclusive ski resort towns like Telluride, there’s strong opposition. The controversy surrounds an effort by the Department of Energy to lease its uranium reserves to mining companies. Uranium is key to generating nuclear power. The DOE recently passed through Telluride, on a tour of Western Slope towns, gathering public input. Host Ryan Warner discusses the latest developments with the editor of the Telluride Daily Planet, Matthew Beaudin.
The town of Uravan, in southwestern Colorado, was wiped off the face of the earth. It was once a thriving company town where miners dug up ore used to make the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in World War II. Mining continued after the war, but concerns about radioactivity grew as significant numbers of uranium miners from Colorado and other states developed lung cancer. Those sick workers, and others exposed to radiation during the Cold War, have received more than $1 billion in compensation. Officials decided Uravan was so toxic that it had to be permanently erased. The job took nearly 20 years and more than $100 million. But now, just a few miles away, there’s a plan to open the country’s first uranium mill in decades. Peter Hessler wrote about Uravan and the debate over a new mill in the Sept. 13, 2010 issue of The New Yorker magazine. A few weeks before the article appeared, Hessler dropped in on a gathering of former residents.
A petition drive is under way in Colorado to name a mountain peak in honor of the late singer John Denver. But it is meeting resistance from some residents, including an interview with a friend Lou Dawson.
David Warren Brubeck was born Dec. 6, 1920, in Concord, Calif. His father was a cattle rancher and his mother taught piano. His two older brothers, Henry and Howard, studied to become musicians, but Dave had no intentions of following them, although he took lessons from his mother. He could not read sheet music, but played well enough that this deficiency went mostly unnoticed. Later, as a student at the College of the Pacific, he initially studied veterinary science and was nearly expelled when one of his professors discovered that he couldn’t read music. The college agreed to let Brubeck graduate only after he promised never to teach piano.
After graduating in 1942, Brubeck was drafted into the Army and served for nearly four years. He was spared from service in the Battle of the Bulge when he volunteered to play piano at a Red Cross show. In early 1944, he met alto player Paul Desmond, who would become a critical partner in Brubeck’s career.
He returned to college after completing his service, attending Mills College and studying under composer Darius Milhaud. Around this time, he also did two lessons with Arnold Schoenberg at UCLA, in an attempt to explore the depths of twelve-tone theory. Their meeting went sour, as Brubeck could not reconcile Schoenberg’s stance against improvisation.
While scientists take delight in studying the future people, Americans all over the country are upset that hordes of them are arriving to take their jobs for less pay.
A meteor streaks past stars in the night sky over Stonehenge in Salisbury Plain, southern England, on August 12, 2010. The Perseid meteor shower is sparked every August when the Earth passes through a stream of space debris left by comet Swift-Tuttle. The camera’s long exposure turned all the stars into streaks, but the meteor cuts across them.
One of the best meteor showers of the year, the Perseid meteor shower, peaks Friday night.
- Perseid meteor shower: Tips for watching the biggest shower of the year
- Perseid meteor shower: Best times to see the ‘shooting stars’
- Perseid meteor shower puts on a spectacular show
While light from a nearly full moon will likely reduce the number of “shooting stars” you might see, head out after midnight to watch anyway.
And bring along your FM radio. What you can’t see, you just might be able to hear, as beyond-the-horizon FM radio signals bounce off the streaks of hot, ionized gas the meteors leave in their wakes. Some of those signals come as a single ping. Others last long enough to pick out a snippet of a song or a station ID.
The Perseid shower is one of the most widely viewed meteor showers of the year. The meteors are bits of debris that comet 109P/Swift-Tuttle casts off when it approaches the sun, warms, and begins shedding its dust and gas. The shower gets its name from the constellation Perseus, which appears to be the point in the sky from which the shower originates.
Stephen Colbert’s latest attempt at campaign mischief-making involves encouraging Iowans to write in a false name during the weekend’s presidential straw poll, but one television station in Des Moines isn’t playing along.
Colbert, who formed a “super PAC” this year and won approval from the Federal Election Commission to begin taking contributions, is encouraging Iowans to vote for “Rick Parry” during Saturday’s test vote for Republican presidential candidates.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, with an “e,” signaled his intention to join the GOP presidential scrum on Thursday but is not on the straw poll ballot. Voters are able to write in candidates, however.
The comic, who portrays a mock political talk host on his Comedy Central show, produced two television commercials through his PAC, laden with images of corn and farms, asking for the “Parry” vote. “That’s ‘Parry’ with an ‘a’ for America, an ‘a’ for Iowa,” one ad says.
Author Ken Kesey poses in 1997 with his bus, “Further”, a descendant of the vehicle that carried Kesey and the Merry Pranksters on the 1964 trip immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book,The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test. Kesey, who died in 2001, is the subject of the new documentary Magic Trip.
The new documentary Magic Trip: Ken Kesey’s Search for a Kool Place gathers never before seen footage shot during the Merry Pranskters’ LSD-fueled bus trip across America in 1964. Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, was the ring leader. The bus was driven by Neal Cassady, who was the inspiration for the main character in the Jack Kerouac novel On the Road.
On Friday’s Fresh Air, we’ll hear interviews with Tom Wolfe, who chronicled the bus trip in his best seller The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test; with Robert Stone, who met the bus and hung out with Kesey, Cassady and the Pranksters when they arrived in New York; and with Kesey.
Our colleagues at public radio’s Northwest News Network (N3) first reported a DNA mismatch between the new suspect in the 1971 D.B. Cooper skyjacking and evidence from the hijacked plane.
The failed DNA test was disclosed Friday by Marla Cooper, the woman who claims that her late uncle, Lynn Doyle (L.D.) Cooper, was the famous skyjacker.
Marla Cooper told N3′s Tom Banse that the FBI compared DNA from her uncle’s daughter to DNA taken from a necktie D.B. Cooper wore during the skyjacking.
Watch the opening scenes of George Lucas’s 1973 classic American Graffiti, and you will catch glimpses of my hometown, San Rafael, California, as it flits past the windshields of the classic cars that serve as the real set of this movie. As the film opens, Steve, played by Ron Howard, and Curt, played by Richard Dreyfuss, are whiling away their last night home before leaving for college back east. Curt is plagued by doubts, and Steve has to speak a little courage to him. “We’re finally getting out of this turkey town and now you want to crawl back into your cell, right? You just can’t stay 16 forever! You’ve got to get that into your head!”
This movie, most movies, portrays this as the courageous choice: get out of town. But as we are reminded in the film’s final scene, leaving your hometown doesn’t change everything. John Milner, the racer, tells Curt, “You probably think you’re a big shot, going off like this. But you’re still a punk.”
That is one undeniable fact I’m reminded of when I go home — no matter how far away you roam, your first step on home territory turns you back into that sniveling punk you were in high school.
“I love to farm and shoot guys and wreck cars. I’m a redneck and proud of it. I like milk and German engineering and causing mayhem with my siblings.” Lee Dougherty-A recently arrested Georgia bank robber & stripper who worked at Club Cheaters in Cocoa Beach, Fla.
A wildlife biologist was flying over the Arctic on a routine whale survey when his team spotted dead polar bears in the water. The researcher’s report on the observations raised public alarm about the threat of climate change, he’s now under an official investigation. Above, a polar bear walks on the frozen tundra on the edge of Hudson Bay on Nov. 14, 2007.
A wildlife biologist is continuing to face questions about an influential paper he wrote on apparently drowned polar bears, with government investigators reportedly asking whether he improperly steered a research contract to another scientist as a reward for reviewing that paper.
“They seem to be suggesting that there is some sort of conspiracy that involves global warming and back scratching that appears to be frankly just nuts,” says Jeff Ruch, a lawyer with Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Ruch’s group is providing legal representation to Charles Monnett, a wildlife biologist with an agency of the Department of the Interior. Monnett was flying over the Arctic in 2004, doing a routine survey of whales, when his team spotted an unusual sight — dead polar bears floating in the water.
Monnett’s report on what he observed raised public alarm about the threat of climate change and melting ice, and the sighting of dead bears was cited by Al Gore in his movie An Inconvenient Truth. The dead bears became a potent symbol of the perils that the bears face as the sea ice retreats.
But now Monett is under an official investigation by the Department of Interior’s Office of Inspector General.
Senor Tim Lane with his avalanche dog & saddle pal, “Winnie” at the Pimenton Mine twenty or so air miles from Portillo Chile. Lane was a snow researcher and field hand with the INSTAAR program on Red Mountain Pass in the old days. Aconcagua in the background sets above Portillo.
“Winnie” modeling her Chilean flag vest.
don Frank reported new snow (and some good turning) that recently covered the rocks in Portillo with a 115cm storm followed by soaring temps and wet slides. The snowpack has been nearly 50% of average leading into August (Feb. in N. America).