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Climate Change Music, Industrial Animal Husbandry, Grief Book. Feb 3, 2023, Part 2

Science Friday
Science Friday

How Grief Rewires The Brain

Being a human can be a wonderful thing. We’re social creatures, craving strong bonds with family and friends. Those relationships can be the most rewarding parts of life.

But having strong relationships also means the possibility of experiencing loss. Grief is one of the hardest things people go through in life. Those who have lost a loved one know the feeling of overwhelming sadness and heartache that seems to well up from the very depths of the body.

To understand why we feel the way we do when we grieve, the logical place to turn is to the source of our emotions: the brain. A new book explores the neuroscience behind this profound human experience.

Ira speaks to Mary-Frances O’Connor, author of The Grieving Brain: The Surprising Science of How We Learn from Love and Loss, a neuroscientist, about adjusting to life after loss.

Midwest Aims To Add Large Indoor Animal Farms, Despite Concerns

Legislation and programs in states like Missouri and Nebraska are paving the way to welcome large livestock operations by limiting local control over the facilities. Some rural residents worry about the potential pollution and decreased quality of life that will bring.
In Cooper County, Missouri, CAFOs are a controversial topic.

Susan Williams asked to meet in a small local library to talk about it, hoping that there wouldn’t be anyone around. Even in this quiet atmosphere, she’s nervous about people overhearing the conversation.

“I just don’t want the whole town to hear me,” she said.

Concentrated animal feed operations, commonly called CAFOs, are large animal facilities that hold thousands of head of livestock. Iowa leads the Midwest in the number of CAFOs with about 4,000 of them. However, in recent years, laws and programs have paved the way for CAFOs to operate in other Midwestern states, including Missouri and Nebraska.

That’s worrying residents like Williams, a retired elementary school principal and a farmland owner from Clarksburg, Missouri. Back in 2018, a large hog operation called Tipton East planned on moving in less than a mile away from her house. The size of the operation, about 8,000 hogs, concerned her, especially since she grew up with a small hog farm.

“Just the smell and the waste that you had was tremendous with that,” she said. “And I couldn’t imagine what it would be like with that many hogs.”

Read the rest on sciencefriday.com

Blending The Sounds Of Climate Change With Appalachian Music

Daniel Bachman is an acclaimed musician, known for his unique blend of Appalachian-inspired folk music and meditative drones. But, for his latest album, titled Almanac Behind, he wanted to try something a little different.

Bachman lives in central Virginia, which has recently experienced multiple extreme weather events influenced by climate change. Unusually heavy snow in January 2022 caused power outages and trapped drivers in their cars on highways. Later in the year, intense rainfall led to downed power lines and flooding. And wildfires are becoming increasingly common in the Appalachian region.

“I had the idea to document everything that we experienced through the end of this recording process,” he said. With the help of family and friends, Bachman gathered field recordings of these sounds of climate change, and weaved them together with the banjo and guitar.

“It did feel like I was working collaboratively with non-human partners,” he said. “It makes me feel better to work with these forces, instead of trying to constantly push them away.”

Bachman also talks about his work as an independent scholar, and how the traditions of Appalachian folklore influenced his view of the album as a climatological historical document.

Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on sciencefriday.com.

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