Granite Geek

Conversations about science, tech and nature with David Brooks, reporter for The Concord Monitor and blogger at granitegeek.org.

Bruce Lyndes / Plymouth State University

Last month, Fred Prince, a biology professor at Plymouth State University, found and confirmed the first woolly mammoth tooth on land in New Hampshire.

So the question is, what took so long - especially given that such teeth have already been found in Vermont and Maine?

Ale Viyie via Flickr Creative Commons

The rewards card is everywhere these days. It usually works like this: the more consumers buy, the more incentives and discounts stores hand out.

Tristan Martin via Flickr CC

Once again New Hampshire is playing host to a competition full of pulse-pounding intensity, where every move can pave the way to victory, or shatter championship dreams.

We're talking not about last weekend’s NASCAR race but the United States Girls Junior Closed Championship, which gets underway this week at UNH Manchester.

And by the way, those who geek out over competitive chess see just as much high drama on the board as stock car fans find on the speedway.

quadrocopter via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/thIHv

Unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as drones, have been keeping government officials busy lately. They’re wrestling with a range of questions on whether any potential uses of drone technology may pose any problems. Recently the National Park Service has issued a ban on drones in national park areas.

For decades now, scientists and volunteers in the Northeast have been trying to bring back the American chestnut tree, which a century ago comprised about 25 percent of New England’s forests.

Blight nearly wiped out the American chestnut, and it did so quickly. Restoring the tree is taking a little more time, in part because the blight is still out there.

They are one of the least-enjoyed elements of the warm weather landscape in New Hampshire.

Ticks.

They bite. They carry Lyme disease and other nasty illnesses – and they’re pretty creepy looking as well.

Granite Geek: Stand In The Place Where You Work

May 27, 2014

The workplace is changing a lot these days – for example, the coworker who used to sit next to you in the office may now telecommute, and work from home part of the week.

Or, the person who used to sit next to you may now stand next to you. Standing desks are a growing part of the office, and that now includes the offices of the Nashua Telegraph.

Robert Bell via Flickr CC

Gardeners are gearing up for this year's growing season, and many New Hampshire gardeners are hoping to grow their vegetables organically this year.

But that term, "organic," doesn't mean that same thing to every gardener.

Distant Hill Gardens via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/wyw4U

Crowdsourcing is all the rage on the web these days – people coming together to contribute money or knowledge to projects or initiatives they care about.

Flkr Creative Commons / Plug in America

It’s race season again at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway. No, NASCAR hasn’t come early. It’s time for the Formula Hybrid Competition, which started out as a small-scale event but now attracts engineering students - and car industry officials - from around the world.

Flickr Creative Commons / Brave Sir Robin

When you think of the places that have shaped technology the most, you might think of the garage where Apple’s Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak put together their first personal computers. You might think of the buildings at Harvard where Mark Zuckerberg started building a social website then known as “The Facebook.” Or you might think of the facilities in Washington state where Microsoft made billions selling its Windows operating system.

Intel Free Press via Flickr/CC - https://flic.kr/p/bA3eBS

A growing number of Americans are doing their jobs outside the usual confines of the office. And that includes doctors – the multi-billion dollar telemedicine industry is opening up new avenues for patients and for providers in New Hampshire.

Massive open online courses are one of the big ideas these days in higher education – free college level courses in which anyone with enough time and a decent Internet connection can participate.

And as people have taken part in MOOCs, as they’re called, we’ve learned a lot about what works – and what doesn’t – when it comes to this style of learning.

Why Bitcoin Fascinates New Hampshire Geeks

Mar 18, 2014
antanacoins via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/uKtNw

Describing the virtual currency Bitcoin can be challenging. Sometimes the more questions you ask, the more complicated it sounds.

Public health officials have a problem. They want more parents to get their kids vaccinated, because there's been a resurgence of dangerous diseases as vaccination rates have dropped.

Public Service of New Hampshire is an energy utility – but it’s about to try an experiment in psychology, which it hopes might prompt consumers to use less electricity.

It's known as "nudging," and to explain how it works we turn to David Brooks, who writes the weekly GraniteGeek science column for the Nashua Telegraph and GraniteGeek.org.

Solar In New Hampshire: Big And Small At The Same Time

Jan 28, 2014
Tai Viinikka, courtesy Flickr

We’ve been talking about energy a lot lately in New Hampshire – debates over wind farms, jet-fueled turbines generating power during peak demand, and, of course, Northern Pass.

There’s one energy project that hasn’t gotten much attention lately – a project in Peterborough that would create the largest solar power array in the state.

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