Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Episode 93 (December 19, 2011): "Pack of Neurons," by Bob Gramann

Click to listen to episode (2:39).

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

PLEASE NOTE: No episodes of Virginia Water Radio will be posted for the weeks of 12/26/11 and 1/2/12.  Best wishes for the holidays!


TRANSCRIPT


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 19, 2011.

This week, we feature a musical selection that reminds us of how a water-based environment is vital not only around us but also inside of us.  Have a listen for about 45 seconds.

MUSIC.

You’ve been listening to part of “Pack of Neurons,” by Bob Gramann on his 2008 CD, “Mostly Live.”  The song is a light-hearted look at the fundamental role of neurons, or nerve cells, in transmitting the electrical impulses that control humans’ mental and physical processes.  Those nerve impulses are transmitted between neurons by changes in the concentration of electrically-charged atoms of sodium and potassium.  Water is vital as the solvent for those charged atoms, known as ions.  And not just in neurons, but in all biological cells, a water-based solution is the medium in which biochemical substances exist and react.  In the words of famous chemist Linus Pauling, “One of the most striking properties of water is its ability to dissolve many substances...and solutions are very important kinds of matter—important for industry and for life.”  Thanks to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week’s music.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES 
Acknowledgments: “Pack of Neurons” and “Mostly Live” are copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  Bob Gramann’s Web site is http://www.bobgramann.com/.  According to Mr. Gramann, the title of “Pack of Neurons” was inspired by the use of this phrase in the opening chapter of The Astonishing Hypothesis, a 1994 book by Francis H.C. Crick on human consciousness.  Dr. Crick shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine with James Watson and Maurice Wilkins for their discoveries of the structure of the DNA molecule and how that structure allows DNA to transfer genetic information (http://www.nobelprize.org/educational/medicine/dna_double_helix/readmore.html, 12/20/11).

Sources:  Information on the importance of water as a solvent in living things was taken from General Chemistry by Linus Pauling (New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1970), p.447.  A basic, animated introduction to how neurons work is available from the Children’s Hospital Boston Web site at http://www.childrenshospital.org/research/_neuron/index.html, 12/20/11.  A more detailed explanation (but still very readable and also with animations) is available from the University of Bristol (England) Web site, “Brain Basics: The Fundamentals of Neuroscience,” online at http://www.bris.ac.uk/synaptic/basics/basics-0.html, 12/20/11.

Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.


Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at http://virginiawaterevents.wordpress.com/.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Episode 92 (December 12, 2011): Whale Sounds

Click to listen to episode (2:19).

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.


TRANSCRIPT 


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 12, 2011.

This week we feature more mystery sounds.  Have a listen for about for about 25 seconds and see if you can guess what kind of mammal is making the swishing sounds and then the strange cries.  And here’s a hint: take a deep breath, sing a song, and think big!

SOUNDS.

If you guessed whales, you’re right!  The first sounds were the spouting that occurs when resurfacing whales breathe through their blowhole, which is a nostril on top of their head.  The second sounds were a Humpback Whale breeding song.  As many as 15 species of whales—including six species on the federal Endangered Species List—are believed to pass by Virginia’s coast at least occasionally.  For example, sightings of migrating Fin and Humpback whales—both of which are endangered—are the hoped-for prize of wildlife-watching cruises that run out of Virginia Beach from December to March.  Accidental ship strikes, entanglement in fishing gear, reduction of prey, and habitat disturbances are some of the main threats to the endangered whale species that pass by Virginia.  Thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and to the National Park Service for making this week’s sounds available for public use.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES: 
Acknowledgments: The whales recording was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sound Clips Web site at http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm (available for public use).  The Humpback Whale vocalization is a National Park Service recording made available for public use on the “Community Audio” page of the Internet Archive Web site, at http://www.archive.org/details/HumpbackWhalesSongsSoundsVocalizations (12/13/11).  Some of this week’s sounds and information were previously included in Virginia Water Radio Episode 21 (week of June 14, 2010). 

Sources: Information on whale species found in waters off Virginia’s coast was taken from The Marine Mammals of Virginia (with notes on identification and natural history), by Robert A. Blaylock, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 1985; online at http://nsgd.gso.uri.edu/vsgcp/vsgcpe85001.pdf.  Information on federally endangered whale species was taken from the National Marine Fisheries Service Web site at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/species/mammals/cetaceans/ (12/12/11) and from A Guide to Endangered and Threatened Species in Virginia, by Karen Terwilliger and John Tate (Blacksburg, Va.: McDonald and Woodward, 1995).  Information about whale watching trips off Virginia Beach is available from the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center Web site.

 
Recent Virginia Water News
For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.


Water Meetings and Other Events
For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at http://virginiawaterevents.wordpress.com/. The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Episode 91 (12-5-11): Virginia Marine Resources Commission

Click to listen to episode (2:28).

Please see below (after the transcript and show notes) for links to news and upcoming events.

TRANSCRIPT 


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 5, 2011. 

This week we feature a variety of sound and voice to introduce the scope of one of Virginia’s oldest natural-resource agencies.  Have a listen for about 30 seconds.

SOUND.

Streambeds, tidal waters, shellfish, finfish, wetlands, docks, piers, marinas, and other coastal and inland aspects of water resources fall under the regulatory and management responsibilities of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, which you heard in an excerpt from its October 25, 2011, meeting.  As stated by the Commission’s Web site, “The Code of Virginia vests ownership of ‘all the beds of the bays, rivers, creeks, and shores of the sea in the Commonwealth to be used as a common by all the people of Virginia,’ and directs the Marine Resources Commission to manage those natural resources as a public trust.”  The modern Commission was organized in 1968, but its origin dates to Virginia’s creation in 1875 of an Oyster Police Navy and a Fish Commission.  The Commission’s three main areas of work now are fisheries management, habitat management, and law enforcement by the Virginia Marine Police, the successor to the Oyster Navy.  The eight-member citizens’ board that oversees the Commission’s work meets monthly in Newport News.

For other water sounds and music, and for more Virginia water information, visit our Web site at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  From the Virginia Water Resources Research Center in Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

SHOW NOTES
Acknowledgments: Audio of the October 25, 2011, meeting of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission was taken from the Commission’s Web site at http://www.mrc.state.va.us/calendar.shtm (accessed 12/5/11).  The shorebirds recording was taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sound Clips Web site at http://www.fws.gov/video/sound.htm (available for public use).  Other sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio.

Sources: Information on the Virginia Marine Resources Commission's history and activities was taken from the Commission’s home page at http://www.mrc.state.va.us/.  Click the following for information on the Commission’s three main program areas: Fisheries Management, Habitat Management, and Law Enforcement (Virginia Marine Police). 


Recent Virginia Water News
            For news relevant to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Virginia Water Central News Grouper, available online at http://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/.


Water Meetings and Other Events
            For events related to Virginia's water resources, please visit the Quick Guide to Virginia Water–related Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events, online at http://virginiawaterevents.wordpress.com/.  The site includes a list of Virginia government policy and regulatory meetings occurring in the coming week.