Endocrine Disruptors in Drinking Water

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Dr. Alan Vajda (CU Denver) and Dr. David Norris (CU Boulder) dissecting fish from Boulder Creek to evaluate effects of wastewater effluent exposure.
Photo courtesy Alan Vajda

Endocrine Disruptors and Drinking Water (start time: 3:12) Today we continue our series called “The Ocean is Us,” which explores our  vital connection to the oceans. Alan Vajda, an environmental endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Denver, talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about a rare  success story: why fish in Boulder Creek are acting and looking more sexually normal. We also explore broader water-quality issues in Colorado and beyond, and the implications for human health. For more information on studies conducted by CU and USGS scientists on endocrine disruptors related to Boulder Creek, South Platte River and elsewhere, visit BASIN. Check our website for the previous interview in the “The Ocean is Us” series, on Teens4Oceans. And check out KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.

Producer: Susan Moran
Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Astronomy Through the Ages

640px-Tycho-Brahe-Mural-Quadrant

Tycho Brahe’s observatory at Uranienborg (Wikimedia Commons)

Astronomy Through the Ages (starts at 4:10): If I ask you to close your eyes and imagine an astronomer, what do you see? Maybe you think of a lone figure hunched all night over the eyepiece of a telescope in a big, domed observatory. Maybe you think of Jodie Foster, as Ellie Arroway in the movie Contact, wearing headphones to listen in on cosmic radio waves at Arecibo.

My mind always wanders back to a woodcut of Tycho Brahe’s 16th-century observatory, filled with intricate equipment for making naked-eye observations of the night sky.

But do any of these ingenious images actually resemble the life of an astronomer today? And how are new technologies and “big data” changing the way we study stars today and in years to come?

To discuss those questions, we’re joined in our Boulder studio by Dr. John Bally, a professor of astronomy at the University of Colorado, and Dr. Seth Hornstein, director of the Sommers-Bausch Observatory on the CU campus.

Producer: Ted Burnham
Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions: Jane Palmer
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Teens4Oceans: marine science education

high school students measuring a juvenile green sea turtle off of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands

high school students measuring a juvenile green sea turtle off of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands
Photo courtesy of Mikki McComb-Kobza

Teens4Oceans (starts at 9:15): Today, we’re kicking off a series of interviews on the show called The Ocean Is Us. We’ll explore how all of us living in land-locked Colorado are connected to the ocean — whether it’s through our watershed that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, or the fish we buy at the grocery store, or the carbon dioxide we emit that acidifies the oceans. Teens4Oceans is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado that is inspiring teenagers nationwide to become passionate ocean lovers and scientists through experiential learning — doing real marine research in the field.

How On Earth’s Susan Moran interviews Mikki McComb-Kobza, a marine biologist and executive director of Teens4Oceans, and Shelby Austin, who recently graduated from Ralston Valley High School in Arvada. For more information on our inland connection to the ocean and you can get involved, visit Colorado Ocean Coalition. And check out KGNUs year-long series, called Connecting the Drops, on Colorado water issues, at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org.

Hosts: Susan Moran and Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Caffeine and Athletics

caffeinatedCaffeine and Athletics (starts at 4:35): Chances are you’ve already had a cup of coffee this morning or, if you are like me, it was a cup of tea. Or maybe, if you are truly hedonistic, you started the day with a bar of chocolate. Either way, if any of these options are part of your daily routine you’d be one of the 90 percent of people in this country that regularly consumes caffeine, America’s drug of choice.

In this week’s show we talk to Murray Carpenter, author of the book Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us. Although he covers the history and culture of caffeine in his book, he is specifically going to be talking about the science of caffeine and how this powerful drug affects our cognition and physical health. In particular, for all you runners, cyclists and swimmers out there – there maybe a few of you in Boulder – he’s going to discuss how the right dose of caffeine can help an athlete’s performance. Apparently, for you runners who can run a 40-minute 10K without caffeine, ingesting the drug can help knock 72 seconds off your time. That would put you at least 100 places higher in the Bolder Boulder.

Hosts: Jane Palmer and Ted Burnham
Producers: Jane Palmer and Ted Burnham
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Hope On Earth

Hope_On_Earth_coverHope On Earth (starts 7:08): Few people have thought as critically and deeply about the state of Earth and our role on it than Paul Ehrlich. Over the course of several decades, the Stanford University biologist and ecologist has written many books, including 1968’s controversial The Population Bomb, in which he predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s due to overpopulation and limited resources.

He has just come out with a new book, which he co-wrote with Michael Charles Tobias, an ecologist, filmmaker, book author and animal rights advocate. The book is called Hope On Earth: A Conversation. And indeed, it is a conversation between Ehrlich and Tobias. In fact, their conversation –many of them — took place here in a research outpost just outside of Crested Butte.

Both men join us by phone to discuss the book and the most pressing environmental issues of the day that it explores.

Producer: Ted Burnham
Co-Hosts:
Ted Burnham, Susan Moran
Engineer:
Ted Burnham
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Wireless Dawn or Electronic Silent Spring?

Mybroadband Radiation Brain Cellphone - courtesy Wiki

Brain Radiation from a Cellphone courtesy wiki/my broadband

(1:00) Cell Phone Radiation – Headphones please?  Chris Farnsworth uses a microwave meter to measure cell phone radiation, to urges people to at least use headphones with a mobile phone.

(7:50) CU Engineering Emeritus Professor Frank Barnes talks with  Katie Singer, author of An Electronic Silent Spring.  We also offer an extended interview.

Producer, Engineer, Host: Shelley Schlender

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Wireless Technology – Extended Version of Interview with Frank Barnes and Katie Singer

CU-Boulder Electrical Engineering Emeritus Professor Frank Barnes is the past president of the BioElectroMagnetics Society.  He recently chaired a National Research Council panel on research priorities related to the potential health effects of exposure to radio frequency energy from the use of wireless technology, such as cell phones.  As a scientist, Frank Barnes recently talked with a citizen activist, Katie Singer, about her new book, An Electronic Silent Spring.   This is an extended version of the interview we broadcast on June 3rd 2014.  – Shelley Schlender

 

 

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Massive Stars

Em-Flagstone-2-XL-200x300Massive stars (start time 6:45)  Dr. Emily Levesque is an astronomer who studies big stars, distant stars,  exploding stars, and truly weird stars called Thorne–Żytkow objects. All of these topics relate to massive stars – stars that are more than eight time more massive than our Sun.  Dr. Levesque is a postdoctoral Hubble fellowship and Einstein fellowship researcher at the University of Colorado at Boulder. She received a physics degree from MIT, and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Hawaii, which resulted in the Astronomical Society of the Pacific awarding her the Robert J. Trumpler award for outstanding PhD thesis, and this year she was awarded the Annie Jump Cannon award by the American Astronomical Society for her work studying gamma-ray bursts. Dr. Levesque, is here in the studio with us today to talk about her favorite weird astrophysical phenomena and the life of an observational astronomer.

Producer, Engineer, Host: Joel Parker

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Colorado’s Science Fair Stars // Rosetta Comet Mission

Colorado’s Science Fair Stars (starts at 3:18)

Students celebrate their countries of origin at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Credit: Intel Brasil (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Students celebrate their countries of origin at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Credit: Intel Brasil (CC)

As the end of the school year approaches for high school students, it’s a good time to celebrate the achievements and passion of students in Colorado who have excelled in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM). Two of them — Hope Weinstein, a senior at Fairview High in Boulder, and Michael Brady, a senior at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village — were finalists at a renowned global competition last week. It’s the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is a program of Society for Science & the Public.
Hope and Michael talk with co-host Susan Moran about their research and their message to other students.

Rosetta Comet Mission (starts at 15:16)

Artist’s impression of the Rosetta orbiter deploying the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

Artist’s impression of the Rosetta orbiter deploying the Philae lander to comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko. Credit: ESA–C. Carreau/ATG medialab

When he’s not busy volunteering with How On Earth, Joel Parker is an astronomer with the Southwest Research Institute — and that’s the hat he has on today as our in-studio guest. He joins us to talk about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which will tag along with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it swings nearer to the sun later this summer.

Joel is the Deputy Lead Investigator for ALICE, the ultraviolet spectrometer aboard the spacecraft. He’s also the featured presenter at Cafe Scientifique tomorrow night. So think of this conversation as a preview of what you might hear if you join him tomorrow at Brooklyn’s down in Denver. Joel will give a very informal talk starting at 6:30 pm, and will try to answer all your tough questions about comets, Rosetta, or anything else. CafeSci is free and open to the public.

Producer: Ted Burnham
Co-Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham

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Gold Lab // National Climate Assessment

For our May 13th show we offer two features:
REVISED_GLS 2014 artwork_borderGold Lab Symposium (starts at 3:42): Biotech entrepreneur Larry Gold, a CU Boulder professor at the BioFrontiers Institute, talks with How On Earth’s Shelley Schlender about the annual Gold Lab Symposium, which will be held in Boulder May 16th and 17th.  This year’s theme is Embracing the Reptile Within: Head, Heart and Healthcare.  The event will focus on research and educational approaches that can potentially help improve the U.S. healthcare system.

NCA_2014U.S. Climate Change Report (starts at 11:50) The National Climate Assessment, a sobering new report on the science and impacts of climate change in the U.S., makes it starkly clear that human-induced climate change is already affecting all parts of the country. It is making water more scarce in some regions while bringing torrential rains elsewhere. It is making heat waves more common and severe, and it’s causing more severe and destructive wildfires. How On Earth co-host Susan Moran talks with two guests: Kristen Averyt, PhD, is a lead author of a chapter on Energy, Water and Land. She is associate director for Science at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU Boulder.  Dan Glick is a journalist who helped edit the report. His company, The Story Group, also produced a series of videos that highlight the report’s key findings and how climate change is affecting many people’s lives and livelihoods.

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

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