Aired: October 15, 2016

Where Humans and Animals Meet

  • Sonic Nets (15 min.)

    With: John Swaddle (College of William and Mary)

    A new solution is being tested against threat of birds getting stuck in airplane engines or picking a field clean of a farmer’s crop. John Swaddle says the “sonic net” is like an audio scarecrow and doesn’t disturb humans or harm the birds.  Swaddle was named Outstanding Faculty of 2016 by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

  • Looking Through the Macronaut (13 min.)

    With: Brook S. Kennedy (Virginia Tech)

    In the 1940s, a Swiss chemist took a close look at the burrs in his hunting dog’s fur and noticed the hook and loop phenomenon. That led to the development of Velcro, and now Brook S. Kennedy uses the same method of nature-inspired design in Macronaut, a smart phone-compatible magnifying lens he designed to help us zoom in on the wonders of natural phenomena all around.

  • Wildlife in Botswana (15 min.)

    With: Kathleen Alexander (Virginia Tech)

    If you’re poor in Botswana, lions and elephants aren’t cool wildlife—they’re threats to your crops, your herds, and your family. But protecting a robust wildlife population is high priority for a country whose wealthy and middle classes rely on tourism. Kathleen Alexander is working in Botswana to bridge the gap between conserving wildlife and helping impoverished communities.

  • Sex, Mosquitos, and Zika (9 min.)

    With: Zhijan Tu (Virginia Tech)

    Could creating an imbalance between the sexes in a mosquito population help solve the Zika problem? Zhijan Tu says it might be possible to slow the spread of Zika and other viruses like Dengue and Chikungunya by making female mosquitos scarce.

  • Keeping Birds Out of Trouble

    The film Sully was released last month. It’s about the US Airways flight 1549 that had to make an emergency landing on the Hudson River after running into a flock of geese. It turns out that birds cause frequent problems for airlines, as well as farmers, businesses, you name it. One Virginia researcher has come up with what he believes is a humane and effective solution for keeping birds out of trouble. Allison Quantz has more.


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