Best of the week, 12/13-12/17
Holy fracking Batman, this week on the Innovation Trail it was all about the controversial technique for extracting natural gas.
WSKG's Emma Jacobs was first up, taking a stab at answering an "ask a trail guide question:" How much does New York stand to make if and when horizontal hydraulic fracturing begins in the state? Turns out there's no simple answer when you take infrastructure costs into account. Emma also did a Q&A with Cornell researcher Susan Christopherson, who's been conducting the first study of drilling economic impact in New York. Have a question you think our trail guides should get answered? Ask it!
Doing the math on what fracking will cost, economically and environmentally, is a big part of what the Department of Environmental Conservation is doing as it crafts regulations for the practice. They've got more time to do that now, thanks to a moratorium put in place by an executive order from Governor David Paterson over the weekend. New York Public Radio's Karen DeWitt reports that Paterson vetoed a legislature moratorium and built his own to "avoid a showdown" with the natural gas industry.
The showdown isn't limited to the Southern Tier, where the majority of natural gas deposits are. WNED's Daniel Robison reported this week that the fight over fracking is spilling over to Buffalo, where opponents are concerned about water quality - and some gas firms are looking to cash in on a boom.
In non-fracking news, WXXI's Zack Seward took a look at how New York's counties fared over the last decade. Census data shows that cities across the Innovation Trail are facing a variety of challenges like declining household incomes.
Finally, in man-versus-machine news, WMHT's Dan Bazile pointed us to the story of Watson. Not Sherlock Holmes' beleaguered assistant, but a computer that's going head-to-head with several Jeopardy! champions in February. Want to bone up for when the machines take over, and humans have to defend their species by winning game shows? Check out the Jeopardy! archive.