Science Meets Fashion

August 14th, 2014

The Pulse of the Planet blog has moved to Facebook but we’re re-posting our latest message for any hard-core Pulse fans.  Hope that you’ll respond to this art-science challenge.
Jim did an ear-opening interview with Linsey Marr, a professor of Environmental Engineering at Virginia Tech. She’s been sampling the air in public places like waiting rooms and airplanes. The influenza virus is alive and well – and in the air we breath in these closed environments. What to do? Wear a hospital-type mask is one solution. Common practice in many countries, including Japan. Our society isn’t used to folks wearing hospital or dust masks in public. Patently uncool.
But what if designers like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hillfinger created DESIGNER AIR MASKS? What do you think? Could you come up with a design for one? Describe your mask in a response to this post (on our FB page), or send a photo of your design to We may post it on Facebook and send you a Pulse of the Planet CD.

Comfort Food

January 9th, 2014

What’s your favorite comfort food?  Mashed potatoes? Mom’s apple pie?  Tell us your favorite comfort food story on our Facebook Page and if we select it, we’ll send you one of our Pulse of the Planet CD’s. And you might end up hearing your story on a future program!



August 30th, 2013

Here’s a link to video showing Bill Hopkins finding a Hellbender – the world’s largest salamander, midstream, as if by magic.  Bill is an Associate Professor of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.

More on Bill’s work coming up in October’s Pulse of the Planet radio programs.  In the meantime, check out our Facebook page for updates.

Jim Metzner

Down in the Mine

April 19th, 2013

Blue Sheppard, Owner, Stewart Mine

Spent an afternoon recently at the Stewart Mine in Pala, CA, where Tourmaline, Lithium and other gems and minerals are mined. A quirky factoid for you – the active ingredient in Pepto Bismol is a form of clay – one of the lesser treasures found in the mine!  It’s all part of a new series of programs about geoscience coming soon on Pulse of the Planet.

Song Carrier

February 7th, 2013

I met John Dancing Crow on a recent trip to Floyd, Virginia.  He’s a Song Carrier.  Many Native American songs may not be recorded and can only be performed in special conditions. It’s the role of the Song Carrier to learn, remember and pass the songs on to keep them alive.  He’s a living example of an oral tradition in action. Crow is of Cherokee ancestry, and carries the songs of many tribes.  This story is of how he became Song Carrier, and was able to fulfill his teacher’s last wish. Crow’s Story

Beginning of the World

December 26th, 2012

We can’t help being attuned to events associated with our birthdays.  Mine is December 21, a date shared with Frank Zappa, Jane Fonda and Joseph Stalin.  The pilgrims allegedly landed on Plymouth Rock on this day – the winter solstice, the shortest day and longest night of the year. December 21st, 2012,  was touted, with a nod and a wink – as being the End of You-Know-What, followed quickly by assurances from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution and other bastions of science, that it really wasn’t.  The ancient Mayans thought big, in terms of cycles of time, and this date marked the transition point between the end of a 5,125 year period – and the beginning of a new one.  It’s this last part that has somehow been missing from most media accounts – the beginning.  You could make a strong case for all phenomena being cyclical – passing through stages of development: a beginning, a middle and an end, followed by a new cycle.  Octaves, spirals, lifetimes, all symbolize or exemplify this apparent law of life.  In the ecology of a forest, new growth feeds upon the residue of the old.  In the world of art, new forms of music and visual arts appear, have their moment in the sun, and fall out of fashion.  We rarely see past the bloom of the moment – our generation – let alone think on the scale that the Mayans are inviting us think of – thousands of generations into the future. What would it mean to ride that wave, to take that sort of pulse of the planet?  What have we learned or retained from those who lived over 5,000 years ago?  Great architecture, myth? What sort of legacy can we leave that is worth preserving?  What are the questions we need to be asking as we face the prospect of a new beginning of the world?