Live transmissions from the golden time


Growing Energy…

Sunflower power? Maybe, maybe not…

Here’s a story I did for NPR’s Weekend Edition about a green energy start-up in southwest Colorado…The goal was to produce bio-diesel from sunflower seeds. But it didn’t work out exactly as planned….

Listen to the story:



Teen cries true blood

art.cries.blood.wateAmazing, but (supposedly) true article about this blessed/cursed boy here. I wonder what made him cry. And whether he’s afriad or delighted when tears start to flow.

This little girl is amazing

Working By candlelight…

…and headlamp, and…..the cerulean glow of laptop screens. More on these mysterious scientists, here.

working by candlelight2

“I looked up…”

Cliff dwelling, Comb Ridge, Utah…

Backed into an overhung cleft in the rock face, capped with flat stone lids, when the world below was ravaged by terror and violence….a sneaky combination of hand and foot maneuvers (a ladder pecked into the sandstone) brought us up the last stretch, and through a portal into the past.

cliff dwelling

Yesterday’s Neon…

The world’s most famous neon sign:

welcome neon

Listen to the story:


The neon boneyard in Las Vegas (a graveyard for forgotten signs…)

neon boneyard 1

Art is…

Here’s a little kangaroo dance in front of a (dubious) bit of graffiti a friend and I came across in Melbourne. I was moved to rage in front of the mess of words, partially in ecstasy, partially in revolt. I’m not sure if I agree with the message, but it pokes at me every time I read the words.

(Another friend calls this photo the “jumping screensaver guy”. Try it on your desktop today!)

art is

Australia’s Wet Tropics

By headlamp, candle, and laptop monitor, field biologists process transect samples, in Australia’s wet tropics–the last shreds of rain forest (and rain forest creatures) on the Australian continent.

working by candlelight2

The species that live in this mountainous area along the northwest coast, are endemic, which means they exist nowhere else in the world: flamboyant tropical birds, lizards, frogs, possums–even a kangaroo that lives in trees.

Rising global temperatures, if they get too high, will likely drive many of these species to extinction.

I visited northeast Australia as part of an hour-long documentary on global climate change and evolution I produced for a series called the DNA Files. Listen here: [audio:]

And meet the leaf-tail gecko, whose color and texture allows it to blend in to tree trunks. Even its eyes are camouflaged…

leaf-tail 7

Las Vegas Storm Drains

Sucked into the Las Vegas Storm Drains by rogueradio

Of all the stories I’ve done, this one has had, by far, the longest tail….most radio stories disappear into the ether almost immediately. After this one aired in December of ’08 on NPR, and the blogosphere grabbed it (most notably the good people at boingboing) it sparked a huge amount of media attention on the Vegas tunnels. Since then, dozens of journalists and camera crews have paraded through the ‘homes’ of tunnel dwellers.

The story kind of changed Matt O’Brien’s life too. Matt wrote the book Beneath the Neon, and introduced me to the people living under the strip. In the story, I mused that Matt should become the official guide to the tunnels, in a city that capitalizes on every possible way to separate tourists from their money. Well…he has become the official go-to guy, at least for journalists, TV crews and documentary producers. I’m not sure I should say “you’re welcome, Matt”, or “I’m sorry, Matt”. Probably both….

Recently, a BBC Radio 4 program called Americana ran the story, and then, just a few days ago, the Beeb published a text version, online. I didn’t know when the online print story would run, exactly, but Matt sure let me know. He called today, to say his phone is (again) ringing off the hook.