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Environment & Energy

Essential Pittsburgh: Tapping into the Contents of Our Drinking Water

Ricky Romero

Kyle Bibby, a University of Pittsburgh professor of civil and environmental engineering  has been studying the microorganisms in Pittsburgh's drinking water. He's received some help in this endeavor from students at the Pittsburgh Gifted Center and the Carnegie Science Center. Professor Bibby explains what we may, or may not want to know about the microbes in our tap water.

"We like to think of water as "sterile," but really nothing is sterile, in the sense that microorganisms exist everywhere. Understanding what's there is essential to understanding why it's safe. It's also just very scientifically interesting." - Professor Kyle Bibby

Also in this hour, the once in a lifetime date Super Pi Day arrives, host Guy Raz of the TED Radio Hour stops by, and the New Girl gives a guide to traveling the States with the luck of the Irish.

What's in Your Water? (starts at 1:00)

University of Pittsburgh Professor Kyle Bibby says that Pittsburghers don't need to break the bank to get their hands on safe water. 

"Pittsburgh has fantastic quality drinking water," he says. "If you talk about how you prefer to drink bottled water, there's probably no need. You'd be just as safe drinking the tap fact, most bottled water is just tap water that's been bottled in some city where they can purchase it cheaply."

Super Pi Day (starts at 15:05)

For the last several years, the popularity of so called “pi day,” March 14th or 3-point-14 has been growing in the U.S., Saturday will mark what many are calling “super Pi day” where we can add the next two digits of the mathematical super number. 90.5 WESA’s Mark Nootbaar interviews University of Pittsburgh Math Professor Bard Ermentrout about both kinds of Pi(e) and the future of math.

TED Radio Hour (starts at 28:00)

As you know if you're a regular listener, each TED Radio Hour episode is based on a collection of some of the most renowned TED talks. The show critically examines a shared human experience; how we love, why our brains like sin, why and with whom we share secrets, and more. TED Radio Hour host Guy Raz talks about how it all comes together.

A Bit of Ireland in the U.S. (starts at 40:55)

Beginning this weekend you’ll see a lot of wearin’ of the green as St. Patrick’s Day celebrations get underway. If you can’t make it to the Emerald Isle contributor Elaine Labalme, knows where you can enjoy a bit of Ireland here in the States.

To leave a question or comment before or after the show dial 412-256-8783. More Essential Pittsburgh segments can be heard here