Solar Storm Could Play Havoc With Modern Technology; How to Raise a Billion Dollars; The Hottest Pepper in the World: Today on Here and Now

by Laura Ellis on March 8, 2012

1:06pm: The largest solar storm in five years is battering the earth today with particles traveling at four million miles per hour, and the potential to shake the planet’s magnetic field, disrupt utility grids & satellite networks, and make GPS less accurate. The storm could also trigger communication problems and additional radiation around the north and south poles, a risk that has caused airlines to reroute some flights. The event started with massive solar flares earlier this week and grew as it raced outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble and astronomers warn that more storms could be on the way. Kelly Beatty, senior contributing editor with Sky and Telescope magazine, joins us to explain what exactly is going on up there.

1:12pm: The U.S. has a unique and outstanding tradition of philanthropy; there were over 1.3 million charities and foundations in the U.S. in 2010, but over 300,000 of those groups were in danger of losing their status due to administrative and financial problems, and the country’s top 400 charities have been struggling through the economic downturn. Howard Stevenson has a new primer on fundraising based on his long experience as a donor and his involvement in raising over a billion dollars for a number of non-profits. He says successful fundraisers need to think like entrepreneurs, because non-profits and new businesses share a key problem: both have missions that exceed their resources. Stevenson joins us this hour to let us in on what else he’s learned about fundraising.

1:40pm: Danise Coon knows her chile peppers. She’s with the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University. According to that august body of experts, the hottest pepper around is the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion. It’s about the size of a golf ball and packs quite a punch—so much of a punch that while Coon and her students were harvesting them, the peppers burned through their protective gloves.

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