After the recent Colorado massacre, we ALL want to reduce violence, but we’re divided about how to do it. Sociologists think that "greening" vacant lots may be associated with reductions in certain gun crimes (and it’s certainly easier than trying to get gun laws passed!)

Results of a recent study show that residents living near greened vacant lots feel safer than those near non-greened sites. Additionally, incidents of police-reported crimes may be reduced after greening.
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Tree rings can tell you a lot: The Japanese have discovered that, in the late eighth century, the earth was hit by a mysterious blast of cosmic rays (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show). They discovered this by looking at cedar trees.

An analysis of two ancient trees found a surge in carbon-14, an isotope that arrives from space, which was deposited in cedar tree rings only in 774 and 775 AD. What happened?
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Plant trees! – One of the most important things we can do to save our cities from global warming in the future is to plant more trees now.

Researcher Brian Stone says, “Across the US as a whole, approximately 50% of the warming that has occurred since 1950 is due to land use changes (usually in the form of clearing forest for crops or cities) rather than to the emission of greenhouse gases. Most large US cities, including Atlanta, are warming at more than twice the rate of the planet as a whole, a rate that is mostly attributable to land use change. As a result, emissions reduction programs like the cap and trade program under consideration by the US Congress may not sufficiently slow climate change in large cities where most people live.”
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Most of us have never heard of about tree power, but it turns out that it’s there, hiding in the shadows, in small but measurable quantities. A group of researchers tested this by using their local trees to run an electronic circuit. Will forests someday replace windfarms?

Researcher Babak Parviz says, “As far as we know this is the first peer-reviewed paper of someone powering something entirely by sticking electrodes into a tree.”

An earlier study found that plants generate a voltage of up to 200 millivolts when one electrode is placed in a plant and the other in the surrounding soil.
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