Back in 1990, the first national Sun Race attracted teams of solar car designers/builders/drivers in vehicles lugging 300+ pounds of lead acid batteries.
Cross-country solar racing today is lighter, smarter, and still attractive to college teams from across the U.S.
Gail Lueck was a student on a solar car team in 2001. She now coordinates the American Solar Challenge Formula Sun Grand Prix - and talks with Earthworms about this luminous and influential event. Two teams in the KDHX listening area join this conversation too. Jackson Walker represents the Ra 9 solar car team from Principia College in Elsah Illinois. John Schoeberle represents the Solar Miner car team from Missouri S & T University in Rolla Missouri. Today's Earthworms guests talk with us from qualifying events at Pittsburg International Raceway. This conversation illuminates experiences that are bringing solar cars into the mainstream. What a trip for all participants!
YOU can see the cars and meet the racers on Monday August 1 in St. Louis! This Checkpoint Rally is hosted by the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and Grant's Farm - part of an historic partnership this year with the National Park Service. During the 1,975 mile American Solar Challenge run, from July 30-August 6, racing teams will stop at 9 National Park Service sites in 7 states, celebrating the NPS Centennial.
Good luck to our KDHX area Solar Racing teams!
Special THANKS to Lauren Koske, Earthworms summer intern engineer.
Music: Cadillac Desert, by William Tyler performed at KDHX July 2013.
This is Mosquito Season. Those pesky bugs buzz out in force after every rain - especially in super-hot weather. The City of St. Louis Health Department wants you to know how we ALL can control mosquitos:
Fight the Bite with the Four D's
Earthworms guests are the Mosquito Team from the City of St. Louis Health Dept. Jeanine Arrighi, Health Services Manager, and professional interns Sydney Gosik and Bindi Patel are making the rounds of community events and public gatherings to educate all ages about mosquito breeding habits, and they ways we all can take control of the bug-breeding that can lead to serious diseases like Zika and West Nile Virus.
Our local government health officials are working with state and federal agencies to update information about mosquito-transmitted diseases, as well as tracking mosquito species of concern. Yes, they can run fogging trucks too, but this expensive control option - which only kills adult mosquitos the spray contacts, along with butterflies, bees and other beneficial insects - is now seen as a backup to "Four-D" type controls of biting and breeding situations.
Music: Dark Matter - performed live at KDHX by Mad Titans, March 2010
Earthworms engineer is Lauren Koske, KDHX digital media intern.
Jeff Suchland once raised cattle on his rolling land near Missouri's Cuivre River. Cows were good, but he wanted to work "more gently with the ground." Enter the Alpaca (Vicugna pacos), a small herding relative of camels, native to South America's Andes mountains. Exit the cows. Jeff's enterprise is now Alpacas of Troy.
Unlike their load-bearing larger cousins, llamas, alpacas are bred to produce fiber. The "blankets" of alpaca hair Jeff shears each spring yield exquisitely fine, warm, soft fiber prized by spinners and knitters. If you have to shun wool's scratchy feeling, prepare your skin for pleasure when you feel Alpaca.
Raising alpacas is an artisan kind of farming, that Jeff Suchland believes is a growth niche. He enthusiastically teaches that his can be a viable livelihood for others too, especially when raising the animals gets combined with milling, those first processes of working with alpaca fiber.
Jeff is a passionate advocate for fiber farming with alpacas. He offers farm tours (by reservation), gives workshops in shearing, dying and more - and sells his farm's fiber goods at Farmers Markets, area-wide. Earthworms met Alpacas of Troy a the Maplewood Farmers Market, hosted each Wednesday at the Schlafly Bottleworks.
The title of one of Jeff's workshops sums up his views: Raising Alpacas for Happiness: Harmonizing Management and Preparing to Profit.
Music: Big Piney Blues performed live at KDHX by Brian Curran, December 2015
Related Earthworms Conversations: Farmer Girl Meats with Leslie Moore - June 2015