Exploring your DNA // Cellular Innards Revealed

Genomic exploration by Carl Zimmer

Genomic exploration by Carl Zimmer

This week on How on Earth we speak with 2 notables. NY Times columnist Carl Zimmer describes his exploration of his genome sequence, yes all 3 billion bases! See the series he has produced detailing this journey at https://www.statnews.com/feature/game-of-genomes/season-one/. Then, local cell biologist Gia Voeltz studies how the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is formed. It is a large continuous structure in the cell, with many different functions and an elaborate shape. The ER was long thought to be the site of synthesis of proteins and other large biologically important molecules. Work in the Voeltz lab has expanded its role considerably. Visit her website to see beautiful moving pictures of ER in action: http://www.voeltzlab.org/#!research-projects/c10g1
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Toward Sustainable Agriculture

Corn fields in Illinois

Corn fields in Illinois

Sustainable Agriculture (starts 3:06): We couldn’t feed the planet without nitrogen, a vital nutrient for crops. But most soils don’t produce enough of it to feed anywhere near our 7 billion-plus humans on the planet. So, for nearly a century we’ve been applying synthetic fertilizer—mainly nitrogen and phosphorus — to grow crops for animals and people. But we have overindulged, creating vast amounts of waste, in the form of nitrogen pollution of waterways and the atmosphere. State and federal regulations have pressured growers to dramatically reduce fertilizer runoff from their fields. But it’s not been enough. Another approach – call it the carrot versus the stick – is also taking hold. Major food retailers, wholesalers, and producers, such as Walmart, United Suppliers and Unilever are transforming their whole supply chains, making food production less carbon- and nitrogen-intensive. Suzy Friedman, a sustainable agriculture expert with the Environmental Defense Fund, discusses with host Susan Moran how programs such as SUSTAIN help large food companies shrink their environmental footprint.

Hosts: Natalia Bayona, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Tim Russo
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Quantum Dot Antibiotics//Shrinking Ozone Hole

Quantum Dot Antibiotics (c Shelley Schlender)

Quantum Dot Antibiotics (c Shelley Schlender)

Quantum Dot Antibiotics (starts 1:00) This programmable antibiotic might keep pace with quickly evolving superbugs.  Unlike most drugs – it’s not derived from biological sources.  It’s a tiny version of the semiconductors in everything from TVs to iphones to solar panels.  This “antibiotic” is made of nanoparticles, known as quantum dots.  CU Biofrontiers scientists Prashant Nagpal and Anushree Chatterjee explain their new invention.

South Pole ozonesonde (balloon) launch. c NOAA

South Pole ozonesonde (balloon) launch. c noaa

Shrinking Ozone Hole – (starts 15:24) The ozone hole is finally growing smaller – we’ll find out why and how long it will take to completely “heal” the ozone hole from Birgit Hassler, a researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), a partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Susan Moran
Producer:Shelley Schlender
Engineer:Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Play
Share

Pollinators Matter // Denver BioLabs

Butterfly girl

Photo credit: Butterfly Pavilion

Pollinators Matter (starts at 4:43): Now that backyard gardens are in full bloom it’s a good time to think about pollinators. Honeybees, butterflies, beetles and other pollinators depend on many flowering plants for nectar. And we depend on these pollinators for many foods we love in our diet, from almonds to apples to blueberries. Some of these pollinators, especially honeybees and monarch butterflies, are facing severe threats, here in Colorado as well as globally. Among the culprits are habitat destruction and insecticides called neonicotinoids.  The Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster is not only a popular destination for kids and adults who want to walk among butterflies, and tough tarantulas. It is also conducting research on pollinators and their habitat. Mary Ann Colley, vice president of science and conservation at the Pavilion, discusses with host Susan Moran some pollinator-focused research and educational campaigns. Info on Butterfly Pavilion’s citizen science efforts–Colorado Butterfly Monitoring Network and Urban Prairies Project–are on the Pavilion’s website. Related citizen science projects: The Bees’ Needs and Xerces Society. For more info on pollinators go to the National Wildlife Federation and USDA Agriculture Research Service.

IMG_6213

Denver Biolabs Co-founder RJ Duran shows how synthetic biology is used to make bacteria glow. Photo credit: Denver Biolabs

The New Biology (starts at 16:48): Denver Biolabs is the first community do-it-yourself bio-lab in Colorado. It focuses on making synthetic biology–where biology meets engineering–accessible to everyone. Biolabs is a community resource, giving students, researchers, entrepreneurs and others access to a community lab space. It also offers training in building bio-tools, learning lab fundamentals and experimenting with molecular gastronomy. Biolabs also develops technologies related to bioinformatics, biomimicry, bio-hacking and bio-printing. Dr. Heather Underwood is the co-founder and executive director of Denver Biolabs, which she discusses with host Leslie Dodson. For info on similar labs that have inspired Denver Biolabs, go to: Berkeley Biolabs, BioCurious, and Counter Culture Labs.

Hosts: Leslie Dodson, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

Play
Share

Soccermatics//Pledge Drive Show

soccermaticsDavid Sumpter’s new book is Soccermatics–Mathematical Adventures in the Beautiful Game.  It’s about how the mathematical patterns of how to win at soccer — and much much more — like how a math algorithm of how a slime mold seeks out food can help engineers design an efficient subway system.  The math that helps a soccer team win can also help a business team succeed.  . . . and in this special summer pledge drive show, it’s also a chance to hear about KGNU Community Radio and how you can make a difference by making it happen.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender & Maeve Conran
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

Play
Share

Carbon Farming//Light Pollution

carbon farming solution terraced_land-e1458146923356-680x490

Front Cover of The Carbon Farming Solution

The Carbon Farming Solution – (Starts 2:13) Carbon Sequestration is the act of removing carbon from the air and putting it . . . somewhere else.  Kendra Krueger talks with author Eric Tunesmeier about his book, The Carbon Farming Solution, with surprising information such as how driving to a remote organic farm stand can cause more carbon pollution than getting groceries at a close-to-home supermarket.  However, done correctly, including thinking through how to get food to people who need it, Tunesmeier says carbon farming could sequester hundreds of billions of metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere . . .  with plants.

Artificial Light at Night

Artificial Light at Night

Light Pollution –  (Starts 17:36) Over one third of all the people on earth live with such extensive light pollution, they can’t even see the Milky Way at night.  That’s according to an updated world “light pollution” atlas.  Shelley Schlender talks with NOAA scientist Chris Elveidge about NOAA’s “Earth at Night” maps and “The new world atlas of artificial night sky brightness and the artificial Sky.”

Hosts: Kendra Krueger & Shelley Schlender
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

Play
Share

Diatoms: Ecology and Aesthetics

An example of the 'glass house'

An example of the ‘glass house’

Beth interviews Dr Sarah Spaulding, of the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research here in Boulder. Sarah studies microscopic single celled algae, creatures that photosynthesize but aren’t plants. She discusses their ecological roles in numerous ecosystems as well as challenges in identifying them and her long term goals in studying these elusive but ubiquitous creatures. See more at https://westerndiatoms.colorado.edu/
Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender
Listen to the show:

Play
Share

Cell Phones & Cancer//Narcotics Prolong Chronic Pain

Mybroadband Radiation Brain Cellphone - courtesy WikiCell Phones & Cancer  (Starts 1:00) A $25 million study reports cell phone radiation boosted brain cancer in rats . . . and rats exposed to radiation lived longer.  Frank Barnes, CU-Boulder Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, explains these paradoxical findings and implications for people.  (Related stories — 2011 Cell Phone Radiation and 2014 An Electric Silent Spring)

chronic pain - courtesy wiki

chronic pain – courtesy wiki

Narcotics Prolong Chronic Pain (Starts 11:35)   CU-Boulder neuroscientist Peter Grace explains his team’s new findings about how and why morphine can prolong chronic pain.   Rats with induced nerve pain received morphine for 5 days; their pain lasted nearly three months — twice as long as the nerve pain for rats that got no morphine.  This is one of the first studies to test long-term effects of treating chronic pain with opioid painkillers.  (Related story: KGNU call-in show on the opioid addiction epidemic)

Host/Producer/Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

Play
Share

Our Microbes, Ourselves: Soil Bacteria Treat Stress Disorders

Photo credit: Susan Moran

Photo credit: Susan Moran

Microbes and Stress Resilience (starts 5:13) If you’re worried that some dirt still clings to your skin under your fingernails after planting or weeding in the garden, fear not. In fact, the more you feel and even breathe its fumes, the better, research suggests. As part of our series called “Our Microbes, Ourselves,” we explore today a newly published study that adds to a growing body of research into the benefits of certain soil and gut microbes on our mental and physical health. Dr. Christopher Lowry, an associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, discusses with host Susan Moran the study, which he led. It shows that a common soil bacterium called M. vaccae can boost the immune system to help fight stress and inflammation. The research, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted on mice, but the health implications for humans are far-reaching.

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

Listen to the show:

Play
Share

GoldLab Symposium: Standing Together—Health Care for Our Common Good

GoldLab Symposium Graphic

2016 Illustration for Gold Lab Symposium

((Starts 00:00)) Today we speak with Larry Gold, founder of the GoldLab Symposium that brings scientists and thinkers from around the world to share their perspectives about health and healthcare.  The theme of this year’s symposium is: Standing Together—Health Care for Our Common Good

Host / Producer / Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender

Play
Share
Page 1 of 321234567»102030...Last »

Support KGNU


How On Earth is produced by a small group of volunteers at the studios of KGNU, an independent community radio station in the Boulder-Denver metro area. KGNU is supported by the generosity and efforts of community members like you. Visit kgnu.org to learn more.

Podcast

Subscribe via iTunes
 
How On Earth episodes can be downloaded as podcasts via iTunes, or streamed to a mobile device via Stitcher or Science360 Radio.
 
Listen on Stitcher
 
Listen on Science360 Radio
 
For more info about podcasting, and more subscription options, visit our Podcast page.