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Science and Technology

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Mack Linebaugh / WPLN

Nashville entrepreneur Marcus Whitney knows what opportunity looks like. He has helped build several successful tech companies — including Emma and Moontoast — and now he invests in other people's startups. He talked to reporter Emily Siner during WPLN's live series Movers & Thinkers about discovering the next big idea — and how he's changed that discovery process over the years.  

Emily Siner / WPLN

A retired Tennessee couple is midway through an unusual quest: to spot 100 species of birds in every single county in the state, all 95 of them.

I spent a hot summer morning with Ron Hoff and Dollyann Myers — once described as the "power couple of international bird-watching" — to try to help them see some more.

You can listen to our conversation below, but I encourage you to scroll down further as well to hear Hoff in action. 

Oak Ridge National Laboratory

As the University of Tennessee tries to raise its reputation nationwide, one of the key areas it’s focusing on is scientific research — and specifically, growing its relationship with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Metro GIS / City of Nashville

The future plan for 200 acres of wild land in West Nashville will be decided Thursday afternoon. The Metro Planning Commission hearing may determine whether current development plans — 864 housing units — are appropriate for the Bellevue property.

But conservationists want to protect this parcel, which is located on the corner of Highway 70 and Old Hickory Boulevard. The land contains 300-year-old trees, streams, undulating hills, sharp slopes and caves filled with sensitive species, they say. 

AT&T announced Monday it's offering gigabit-speed internet to more Nashville residences, and it's focusing on luxury apartment buildings. 

The company has expanded to a couple dozen properties in Middle Tennessee, including Pine Street Flats in the Gulch and the Lofts at Taylor Place in Germantown. These are buildings where 500-square-foot studio apartments start at $1,200 to $1,400 a month, and that offer amenities like free gyms and dog parks.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Google Fiber will be providing free home Internet service to some residents in Nashville's public housing, as part of a White House initiative to get low-income Americans connected to high-speed internet.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Terry Jo Bichell is cut off in the middle of her sentence by a loud shout.

"That's Louie, giving his two cents worth," she says with a smile. "Even though he can't talk, he can make himself heard, let me tell you."

Bichell and her family live in a laidback farmhouse in Brentwood, where she's a doting mother to her 16-year-old son Louie. He's tall and friendly, and he loves dessert. His gestures are often clumsy. She does her best to interpret them.

Emily Siner / WPLN

Researchers at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory are trying to figure out how to dry clothes faster without heat. It’s part of the lab's ongoing project to create more efficient home appliances.

Lily William / WPLN

There's an effort underway to demolish old dams in order to allow creeks and streams to flow more freely. Tuesday morning a team led by *Cumberland River Compact took down a four-foot tall barrier of stone and mortar that stretched across Seven Mile Creek near Brentwood.

Courtesy of Google

 

Google Fiber’s announcement last week that it’s finally starting to install high-speed Internet service stirred up a little buzz. The tech giant has a Nashville fan base that can’t wait to get ahold of its fiber-optic option. As Google enters the scene, Internet providers are battling for the best reputation in the new gigabit market.

12 South resident Michael Harrington is ready to join the “Fiberhood.”

 

“I think it’s fantastic, it’s the greatest thing," he says.

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