500 Women Scientists//Tracking Methane Leaks with Google Street View Cars

500 Women Scientists Lead Organizers Jane Zelikova and Kelly Ramirez

Jane Zelikova and Kelly Ramirez

500 Women Scientists (starts 3:01) Ecologist Jane Zelikova explains how an acquaintance while at CU-Boulder led to an open letter she co-authored with Kelly Ramirez about science . . . and this ultimately launched an advocacy group.  Over 19,000 women scientists have joined 500 Women Scientists.  They have on line and also local community face-to-face discussions, and they plan to be part of Earth Day’s March for Science.

google streetview carTracking Methane Leaks with Google Street View Cars (starts 10:00) Colorado State University biologist Joe Von Fischer is on a mission to reduce pollution from leaking natural gas lines and their potent greenhouse gas, methane.  Partnering with the non-profit Environmental Defense Fund  and Google Earth Outreach, his team uses Google Street View cars for a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive inventory of urban methane leaks to display on Methane Leak Maps.  A New Jersey utility plans nearly $1 billion of leaky gas line upgrades guided in part by this CSU data.

Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional contributions: Alejandro Soto & Susan Moran
Executive Producer:Susan Moran

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New Adventures in Astronomy with Gerrit Verschuur

Gerrit-VerschuurToday’s How on Earth show is a special edition in conjunction with the Conference on World Affairs panel entitled: “New Adventures in Astronomy”. Our guest is Gerrit Verschuur, a radio astronomer who has worked at Jodrell Bank radio observatory in the United Kingdom, National Radio Astronomy Observatory in West Virginia, and Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.  Dr. Verschuur also was a faculty member at the University of Colorado, Boulder and was the first director of the Fiske Planetarium.  His work has ranged from measuring the interstellar magnetic field, to the search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, to measuring the small-scale structure in the cosmic microwave background.  He has published numerous books including “The Invisible Universe: The Story of Radio Astronomy” and “Impact! The Threat of Comets and Asteroids.”

Host / Producer / Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer:Susan Moran

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Long Now Foundation in Colorado // Wild Boulder Citizen Science

The Long Now Foundation in Colorado (start time 5:02): People often measure “success” as fifteen minutes of fame, or a blockbuster financial quarter. This focus on short term results doesn’t always build the skills needed to solve long-term problems, such as reducing disease outbreaks or maintaining species diversity. So some visionaries have created a playfully serious way to think ahead, and those “ways” include projects here in Colorado. Shelley Schlender tells us about the Long Now Foundation who are developing programs to foster long term responsibility and long term thinking.

Wild Boulder program. Photo Copyright Wild Boulder.

Wild Boulder program. Photo Copyright Wild Boulder.


Wild Boulder
 (start time 10:t28): Boulder is launching a new citizen science project. The project, called Wild Boulder, will allow people in Boulder to use their smartphones to record wildlife observations, including photos, and share this information with local land managers and open space experts. To find out how this program works, and how it will benefit the community, we spoke with Dave Sutherland and Melanie Hill. Dave Sutherland is an Interpretive Naturalist with theCity of Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parksprogram. Melanie Hill is Director of Communications for the WILD Foundation, which works to protect wilderness while balancing the needs of human communities.

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Hosts: Shelley Schlender and Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional contributions: Beth Bennett and Susan Moran
Executive Producer:Susan Moran

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Health Impacts of Oil/Gas Drilling

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo. Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

A well site next to Silver Creek elementary school in Thorton, Colo.
Photo credit: Ted Wood/The Story Group

Drilling’s Health Impacts (start time: 7:50): A pressing question on the minds of many Colorado residents, health experts, and others amidst a surge of oil and gas activity is this: Does living near an oil and gas well harm your health? A scientist at the forefront of exploring such questions is Dr. Lisa McKenzie, a professor of environmental epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz. She is the lead author on a recently published study that examines the potential impact of nearby oil and gas drilling on childhood cancer rates. The study’s important findings were challenged by the state Health Department, whose recent assessment concludes that nearby oil and gas operations poses minimal risk to residents. Dr. McKenzie  talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about her study, and the complex science of risk, correlation and causation.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Your Baby’s Microbiome

Your Baby's Microbiome book coverYour Baby’s Microbiome (start time 6:13): This week on How on Earth Beth Bennett interviews Toni Harmon, author of Your Baby’s Microbiome, a look into the role the maternal micro biome plays before and after birth. For a newborn, the biological defenses to diseases and the environment come from the mother. Harmon talks about how the birth process and interactions between the newborn and the mother help build up the immunities that a young child requires.

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Additional contributions: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Nature Fix 2//Case Against Sugar

Case-Against-Sugar-BookThe Nature Fix.  (starts 1:50)  In this spring pledge drive show, we revisit the science show interview about the benefits of getting out in nature.

The Case Against Sugar. (starts 9:40) Best-selling science writer Gary Taubes discusses his new book, which explains what happens when industry funds science . . . and controls the strings to science.  It’s a not so sweet story with some bitter truths.  Taube’s new book shares some cloak and dagger moments, such as when a researcher in the Denver Metro area uncovered a load of documents from the mid-20th century about tooth decay.  The documents showed how the sugar and processed food industry funded dental studies – – and worked with national dental associations to  publish research that determined that sugar does not cause cavities.  Additionally, Taubes’s new book includes well-documented reasons he argues that it’s sugar consumption, not salt, that leads to high blood pressure.  And Taubes contends that sugar consumption, not eating fat, leads to obesity and diabetes. 

Hosts: Shelley Schlender and Susan Moran
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Eclipse 2017

NSO eclipse announcementEclipse 2017 (start time 5:56): This summer America will experience its first total solar eclipse in almost 30 years. How on Earth’s Alejandro Soto speaks with Dr. Claire Raftery from the National Solar Observatory (NSO) about the upcoming eclipse. Dr. Raftery talks about the science and history of eclipses, the best ways to view the eclipse in August, and how to safely look at an eclipse. Fortunateley, viewing the eclipse only requires a few simple steps and some inexpensive tools, so anyone can experience this exciting event — as long as they can drive to a place in the path of the eclipse. Dr. Raftery also talks about the NSO’s webseries about the eclipse and our Sun. Finally,  there is the opportunity to participate in solar science research by taking part in the Citizen Cate program, a citizen science project that uses telescopes scattered along the path of the eclipse to collaboratively monitor the entire eclipse event.

Hosts: Alejandro Soto and Joel Parker
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional contributionsBeth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Of Wasps and Figs

511tQZJac7L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Today’s feature has How on Earth’s Beth Bennett talking with Dr. Mike Shanahan, a biologist who has a degree in rainforest ecology.  He has lived in a national park in Borneo, bred endangered penguins, and investigated illegal bear farms.  His writing has appeared in The Economist, Nature, and The Ecologist, and he also was the illustrator for the book: Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals.  His interests delve into what people think about nature and our place in it.  Beth had a chance to talk with Dr. Shanahan about his new book: Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees.

Host: Joel Parker
Producer, Engineer, Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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The Nature Fix

NatureFix_2 with frame.jpgYour Brain on Nature (start time: 5:49): You may think it’s a no-brainer: that nature is good for your mental and physical health. After all, a walk in the woods or even an urban park brightens your outlook on life, at least for a little while. Turns out, the notion that being outside in nature boosts our mood, and even our creativity, has historical roots at least as deep as Aristotle.  A new book by  journalist Florence Williams explores the history of our biophilia, and particularly emerging neuroscience that reveals just how our bodies and minds are affected by getting out in the natural world. The book is called The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative (Norton, 2017). The book stemmed from an article Williams wrote in National Geographic. A former Boulder resident, Williams will return to Boulder to give a talk about her book on Tuesday, February 28th, at the Boulder Book Store, at 7:30 p.m. She’ll also speak in Denver, on Wednesday, March 1st, at Tattered Cover Book Store, at 7:00 p.m.

Hosts: Maeve Conran, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Beth Bennett, Joel Parker, Shelley Schlender

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Citizen Science

Citizen ScienceCitizen Science (start time: 5:32): For those who would love to track birds and other creatures or to test drinking water quality in their community, for instance, but think it would require a degree in science to contribute to important scientific discoveries, our guest today aims to set the record straight. Dr. Caren Cooper is an associate professor of Forestry and Environmental Resources at North Carolina State University. An ornithologist, she studies bird ecology, conservation and management through the use of citizen science. She wrote a recently published book called Citizen Science: How Ordinary People are Changing the Face of Discovery. It highlights many examples of inspiring and important citizen science projects, including a meteorological-forecasting program and some others here in Colorado. Dr. Cooper is also director of research partnerships at SciStarter.com, which connects interested volunteers to a diverse range of research projects that they can work on. Additional citizen science programs can be found at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon Society’s Rockies chapter.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional contributionsBeth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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