December 29, 2006

Year End Fire Watch

“Be careful with fire!” is the call heard throughout Tokyo neighborhoods on the last two evenings of the year.

December 28, 2006

Hawaiian New Year’s – Share

As the last day of the year approaches, one Pulse of the Planet listener remembers New Year’s as a time of Japanese traditions, Portuguese soup and Chinese firecrackers.

December 27, 2006


An ancient Anglo-Saxon tradition called “Wassail” lives on in Pennsylvania, where a group of friends celebrate this week by drinking to the health of apple trees.

December 26, 2006

Mosses of Cape Horn – Research on the Edge

Researchers brave the wild conditions of Tierra del Fuego to learn more about mosses.

December 25, 2006

Christmas Bonfires – Tradition

Along the banks of the Mississippi River, a line of Bonfires lights the way for Papa Noel.

December 22, 2006

Icing on Aircraft Wings: Seeing into the Storm

Researchers hope to help pilots avoid icing conditions by helping them ‘see’ into the clouds.

December 21, 2006

Ice: Sounds of Ice

Listen to some of the unexpected sounds of winter.

December 20, 2006

Roma – Nomadic

Roma, or “gypsies” are not aimless wanderers, as centuries old belief has portrayed them.

December 19, 2006

Icing on Aircraft Wings: Flying into Ice

To learn more about icing conditions, researchers fly straight to the source.

December 18, 2006

Science Diary: Frontiers of the Brain – Listening In

Science Diarist John Beggs gives us a peek (and a listen) into our brains.

December 15, 2006

South Asian Vultures – Keeping Them Alive

Governments, farmers and environmental groups are working together to preserve South Asia’s most important predators.

December 14, 2006

Science Diary: Frontiers of the Brain – Replicating Data

A new model shows promise in helping Science Diarist John Beggs understand data collected from neurons.

December 13, 2006


In Lindsborg, Kansas, folks still mark this time of year with traditions their ancestors brought from Sweden.

December 12, 2006

Science Diary: Frontiers of the Brain – The Wave

How does a crowd of sports enthusiasts function like a brain? Stay tuned.

December 11, 2006

Star Lore – Pyramids

For the pharaohs of ancient Egypt, the pyramids may have been their “stairway to heaven”.

December 8, 2006

South Asian Vultures – Near Extinction

Over the past ten years, the vultures of India, Nepal and Pakistan have been disappearing. Until recently, no one knew why.

December 7, 2006

Starlore: Monuments

music Around 5,000 years ago, people in Southern England built a monument that was designed to align with the rising sun at the time of the summer solstice. Although Stonehenge is now widely known, it’s not the only structure of this kind. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Edwin Krupp is the director of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles. “It has been argued that some prehistoric monuments were built with the sky in mind. Stonehenge is of course one of the most famous of these monuments that’s brought up. We can go even earlier, to New Grange in Ireland where we find these chambered passage tombs where they’re oriented to the winter solstice sunrise. And in fact it’s contrived to have a little window up above the door that allows that light of that rising sun to penetrate into the very depths of this chamber. It couldn’t do it otherwise. If it came in the front door it hit the floor. But they built this window up above to allow that beam of light to go to the back of that cave like structure – all artificial. And we ask ourselves, ‘well, what was going on here?’ Well, it’s not an observatory, it’s a story. And we don’t even know the details of the story. Is this death? Is this life? Is this rebirth? Yeah, it’s probably all those things. It’s the winter sun, the dying sun. But it’s the dying sun reborn at winter solstice, revivifying the earth with this sunlight in this cold dark internal body of mother earth, where, in fact, we have the womb of life that emerges each spring. That’s very likely the tale, in its broad outline. I’m sure it was much more colorful, much more interesting, much more detailed for those people that actually built the place.” In future programs we’ll hear about another set of sky-oriented structures — the pyramids of Giza. Please visit our website at Pulse of the Planet is presented by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner. music

December 6, 2006

Icing on Aircraft Wings: What is it?

By learning how ice forms, researchers hope to better prevent dangerous aircraft icing.

December 5, 2006

Ice: Freezing Lakes

The unusual way that water freezes allows fish and other aquatic life to survive the winter months.

December 4, 2006

Ice: Comets

To find the source of life on earth, some say we should look to the skies.

December 1, 2006


A strong tasting fish has maintained its stature in the heritage of Scandinavian culture.