Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Icy Rivers Create Headache for Commerce

With Pittsburgh being plunged into arctic temperatures for much of February, the rivers have seen more ice than usual. Pittsburgh’s ports and waterways are among the largest inland ports in the country – so the slowdowns caused by the ice are cause some ripple effects. Locks on the Monongahela and Ohio Rivers are still operating – though the ice is slowing traffic. “At least one of the two [locks] is open at all of our facilities,” said Dan Jones with the Pittsburgh District, U.S. Army Corps...
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Better Energy Storage Gives Renewables a Boost

Feb 27, 2015
Tara Holsopple / The Allegheny Front

Ted Wiley doesn’t look like your typical company vice president. He’s young, and wearing a casual blue sweater. At Aquion Energy’s small warehouse near the river in Pittsburgh, Wiley puts on clear safety glasses, and leads me down a ramp and into a room that houses the rotary dial press.

"It’s a 10-ton press and we use it to press the powders that we make one of the electrodes in our battery with," Wiley explains.

The machine isn’t really high tech. Similar models press powder into aspirin. This one spits out  black pellets which Wiley describes as, "kind of like one of the sides of an Oreo cookie."

Ty Wright / Associated Press

A+ Schools, a non-profit that advocates for accountability in Pittsburgh Public Schools had a research firm conduct a poll in late January in which residents were asked targeted questions about what changes they would like to see to schools.

405 individuals were surveyed. 79 percent of them agreed with a statement that its possible for Pittsburgh to be known as a city whose public schools have high standards, great teaching and give all students, regardless of race or background, an opportunity for a great education.

PennDOT

Some Pennsylvanians will be receiving new driver’s licenses after PennDOT officials learned Wednesday a vendor error led to security flaws in more than 100,000 cards.

According to PennDOT, the laminate supplied by Morpho Trust USA and its subcontractor OpSec, did not include the correct hidden security image. Viewed under an ultraviolet black light, proper licenses show a row of keystones with the letters “PA.” The defective cards read “AP” instead.

Clean hands go a long way toward preventing the spread of many illnesses, including Ebola. But finding the right hand-wash to impede deadly germs is tricky.

The Canadian National Railway Co. is hoping to finish cleaning up and repairing a line nearly in Butler County two days after 27 cars carrying iron ore derailed.

The cars, which were part of a 71-car freight train, derailed about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in Center Township, Pennsylvania. The accident scene, near Route 308, is about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh.

Railroad spokesman Patrick Waldron said the railroad hoped to reopen the tracks Friday afternoon, provided the cars and spilled cargo could be removed and the tracks repaired by that time.

Mark Abramowitz / Opera Theater of Pittsburgh

In an attempt to both re-brand what opera can offer and what it can teach, the Opera Theater of Pittsburgh is developing an opera it has dubbed an, Eco-Opera.

“This whole notion that opera, sometimes is branded as an elitist art form, and very often the subject matter, and the medium, look back into old European works and there’s a strong sense of visiting a sort of musical theatrical museum when you go to the opera. That’s not the way we want it to be,” said the company’s artistic and general director, Jonathan Eaton.

    

Fish fries abound in Pittsburgh this time of year, and this week's Social Club is dripping with tasty fried batter. (What's the plural for "fish fry" anyway?  "Frys" or "fries"? We'll defer to The Pittsburgh Catholic newspaper and go with "fries.") 

Church basements are the place to be on a Friday night for the next six weeks, but the Pub Chip Shop of Pipers Pub serves up the good stuff all year long.

Scientists have learned a lot about our distant ancestors from DNA that's thousands of years old. Like the fact that we've inherited some Neanderthal DNA, so apparently our ancestors mated with them. Now there's new research from DNA that moves on from paleo-mating to paleo-eating.

About 10,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers in the Near East figured out how to grow cereal crops like wheat. The farming culture spread, and wherever it went, people traded in their spears for plows.

That's the conventional view. Apparently, it was more complicated than that.

Josh Staiger / Flickr

In a recent opinion piece for the Tribune Review, pop culture correspondent Joe Wos questions whether we’re seeing the death of the art museumRobin Nicholson, Director of The Frick, Jo Ellen Parker, President of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and Joe Wos talk about the future of art museums.

“You know they just had museum selfie day, you know where people came in and used art as backdrops to selfies and I think that’s the risk you run. Yes you want to embrace the technology but you don’t want to devalue the experience completely,” says Wos.

Robin rebuts by saying, “I love museum selfie day. I think that it is an amazing opportunity for an individual to engage in an individual work of art that they might never look at in the same detail again.”

Jo Ellen offers a final insight, “I don’t think technology threatens the extinction of our museums. I think it will support their evolution.”  

A new Pittsburgh start-up is trying to position itself as Netflix for art. CEO Ashwin Muthiah says the  concept behind their company Easely is to make art accessible. Muthiah said the idea for Easely was inspired by an art crawl in Philadelphia last year. He stopped by the station to talk about the new company.

 

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