Smart Talk

Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

Listen to Smart Talk live online from 9-10 a.m. weekdays and at 7 p.m. (Repeat of 9 a.m. program)

Host: Scott LaMar

Saving the Bees / Surfing the Gravity Waves/ Domestic violence film

Written by Radio Smart Talk | Oct 19, 2017 8:00 PM


On the Friday October20th, 2017 edition of WITF's Smart Talk:

In the early 2000s, scientists began to record steep declines in the bee populations of North America and Europe.  Worker bees were disappearing from colonies in alarming numbers, leaving behind the queens and the larvae.  Populations have been in a steady annual decline of nearly 20% since the 1990s - some regions have seen losses as high as 90%.  Apiarists call this 'colony collapse disorder,' or CCD.

This is having a grave impact on the agricultural industry.  Honey bees are used to pollinate crops - not just flowers but fruits, vegetables, nuts and herbs.  A large percentage of Pennsylvania's crop varieties rely on bees for pollination.

CCD was addressed in September by the Pennsylvania Pollinator Protection Plan (P4) - a program that addresses the issue of declining pollinator populations and provides suggestions for bolstering the bee population.

Smart Talk discuss the causes for CCD, the impact on state agriculture and proposals to bring back the bee population with Karen Roccasecca, Pennsylvania's State Apiarist and Royal Draper of Draper's Super Bee Apiaries in Millerton.

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Karen Roccasecca, Pennsylvania's State Apiarist

Also, the detection of a neutron star collision was announced last week; the gravitational waves produced by the event were recorded by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory, or LIGO.  LIGO is a pair hyper-sensitive laser arrays used to detect the gravitational waves first proposed by Albert Einstein as a product of his Theory of General Relativity. 


The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana

In 2015, it first detected the collision of two black holes 2 billion light years away.  Since then, there have been five other recordings of gravitational waves.  These observations allow us to study the origins of the universe in a manner never recorded before and bring us closer to the elusive proof of Einstein's theory.

On Friday, Smart Talk discusses the LIGO discoveries with Dr. Chad Hanna, Assistant Professor of Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State's Eberly College of Science.  Hanna is a "gravitational-wave astrophysicist who focuses on detecting gravitational waves emitted by compact binary neutron stars or black holes" who uses LIGO data to detect gravitational waves.

Finally, Pennsylvania Victim Advocate Jennifer Storm joins us to discuss the film Finding Jenn's Voice.  It's an important documentary that focuses on Jennifer Snyder, a 27-year-old Allentown woman who was murdered by her boyfriend when she became pregnant with his child.  The film shows that homicide is the leading cause of death for pregnant women. 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Smart Talk will devote another program to the issue next week.


on bee decline -

- Only when our land grant university stops promoting herbicides and pesticides and when you can find native plants at a garden center, will anything change for the health of our pollinators. 

Every county extension office has a Master Gardener program.  They can tell you how to construct a PSU certified Pollinator Garden.                             - Cynthia, Juniata County

- Are Honey Bees native to North America? I've heard they were brought here from Europe way back when. Were they ever an invasive species?   - Mike

When these companies that have multiple hives and used trucks to move them around the country to pollinate different crops a different time of the year how does that not stress out the colony to simply die off?   - Paul

- I am curious if your guests know if the neonicitinoid ban in the EU has had any effect on bee health in Europe. I believe the ban is in its third year.    - Debra

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