About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 44 articles so far, you can find them below.


Habitat Exchanges // More Frequent Wildfires

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photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Habitat Exchanges (starts at 3:00):  The greater sage grouse is ruffling feathers all the way to Washington.  September 30th is the deadline for the US Fish & Wildlife Service to determine whether to list the grouse under the Endangered Species Act. More than a third of the sage grouse’s shrinking range is on private land. Which is why many ranchers, oil and gas developers and other landowners have been scrambling to keep the grouse from getting listed. Listing would mean tighter restrictions on land use. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is one of several environmental organizations that are trying to help come up with ways to preserve the sage grouse and its habitat without cramping the livelihood of ranchers and other land owners. One of the newest voluntary tools is what is called a habitat exchange, a marketplace with buyers and sellers of conservation credits.  How On Earth’s Susan Moran talks with Eric Holst, associate vice president of EDF’s working lands program, about these exchanges.

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photo credit: Brian Harvey

More Frequent Wildfires (starts at 15:30):  This summer, fires have raged across much of the Northwestern U.S. The towering blazes, many of which are nowhere near being contained, have already charred more than two million acres of land. It’s a story that’s becoming increasingly common. Big fires like these are erupting more often than they did just decades ago, scientists say, and many place the blame on climate change.  On today’s show, Brian Harvey, a forest ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies the causes and consequences of extreme fires, talks with us about why wildfires have grown more frequent in recent years — and what that means for the recovery of the nation’s forests.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Joel Parker
Headline Contributors: Joel Parker, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Historical Analysis of Agriculture and Greenhouse Gases

Adler_Cowk1223-19-e1438626342444When it comes to reducing greenhouses gases, every little bit helps, and that includes managing the greenhouse gases produced by how we grow our food.  Raising livestock and growing crops both generate greenhouse gases, and to gauge their impact, a new study takes the long range view.  The results were published in a paper: “Measuring and mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas production in the U.S. Great Plains, 1870-2000” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  It analyzes 100 years of agricultural production, and it takes this look at farming close to home – it focuses on the bread basket of the United States – the Great Plains, which includes eastern Colorado.  Here to tell us more are scientists Myron Guttman (University of Colorado) and Bill Parton (Colorado State University)

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Kendra Krueger
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Beth Bennett, Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker

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Are Ketones the Key?

Steve-Phinney-Portrait_Ketones (start time 6:40) A growing body of scientific research demonstrates health benefits for many people with a diet that’s lower in carbohydrates, and higher in fats.  In fact, some of this research indicates great therapeutic benefits,.  One reason why may be that, when carbohydrate consumption is low enough, the body enters a state of “nutritional ketosis,” where it transforms fats into a molecule called, beta-hydroxy-butyrate, or  “ketones”.  In the absence of sugar and carbs, the body can use ketones as its primary fuel.

One of the scientists who has pioneered research into nutritional ketosis is Dr. Steve Phinney, and one of the populations who he believes gets special benefits from a ketone-producing diet is endurance athletes.  For 30 years, Phinney has studied nutritional ketosis and athletic performance — including performance among bicycle racers, the winners of 100-mile ultra-marathons, and recently, a two-person rowing team that was among the top finishers in a rowing race that went from California to the Hawaiian Islands – rowing the whole way on a very low-carb, high fat, ketone-producing diet.

Hosts, Producer, & Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett

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Polar Bears // Climate Scientists

Climate Scientists (starts at 1:00): Climate scientists (scientists in general)  tend to steer clear of speaking out as activists about concerns that are politically volatile.  But that’s changing. Many climate scientists are stepping out of their research comfort zone to offer personal stories of why they care and what we all can do about the crisis.  A group of scientists launched a video campaign last week. It’s called More Than Scientists.  We speak with Dr. Josh Lawler (University of Washington), who one of the founders of the campaign.

StevenAmstrupPolar Bears (starts at 6:30):  It is well known that, right now, life for polar bears looks bleak.  Warming temperatures mean the season for sea ice cover in the Arctic has become shorter and shorter. As sea ice provides a home and hunting ground for polar bears, both the number of bears and their health has suffered.  There is even talk of them becoming extinct.  But is this something that we should worry about in Colorado and other non-arctic regions around the world? We don’t have bears, right now we don’t have ice, and we have plenty of other concerns.  Dr. Steven Amstrup, the Chief scientist for Polar Bears International, joins us on How on Earth to explain why we should care.  He thinks that polar bears are the sentinels of global health and that they provide advance warning of some of the challenges coming to all species. That includes us humans. But he thinks if we act soon, we can save both the bears and ourselves. 

Dr. Amstrup also will be giving a talk in the Old Main auditorium on the CU Boulder campus on Friday, April 3rd at 4:00 pm.  His talk is titled: “Why Should We Care About Polar Bears?”  More details about the talk can be found at:
http://cires.colorado.edu/news/events/events/dr-steve-amstrup/?eID=163

Hosts: Jane Palmer and Joel Parker
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Kendra Krueger

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Ancestors in Our Genome

9780199978038We speak with Eugene Harris, Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Geology at Queensborough Community College – part of  the City University of New York – about his new book,  Ancestors in Our Genome. In this feature, we discussed the methods used by molecular anthropologists to determine human evolution from our primate ancestors and several fascinating examples of the application of these techniques, including a discussion of the rise of lactose digestion in northern Europeans.

Hosts: Joel Parker and Beth Bennett
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Kendra Krueger

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Himalayan Glacial Lakes

dec20Himalayan Glacial Lakes (starts at 5:20) Some scientists conduct their experiments in a laboratory — think clean white walls, artificial lighting, A.C. and a convenient coffee pot not far away. Not so for Ulyana Horodyskyj, a graduate student at the University of Colorado. For the last few years she’s been looking at glaciers and the lakes on top of them in Nepal. Last year she spent a year looking at how pollution affects glaciers high in the Himalayan Mountains. She hoped to set up the ultimate high-altitude laboratory on the oxygen-thin slopes of Mount Everest, but a fatal accident intervened. On this edition of How on Earth, she talks about her latest research, Himalayan glaciers and what it is like to do science at the top of the world.

Hosts: Jane Palmer, Joel Parker
Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producers: Jane Palmer, Kendra Krueger
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Gulp

Gulp-cover-350Gulp [starts at 4:25] Bestselling author, Mary Roach has been billed as American’s funniest science writer.  In “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal” she takes readers on a journey through the alimentary canal, extolling the marvels of spit on the beginning end, then moving on to the man who had a hole in his stomach that allowed a doctor to observe his digestion.  And . . . on.  Roach even interviews a prison inmate about “rectal smuggling” (including cell phones).  So get ready – here’s Shelley Schlender’s conversation with Mary Roach, author of “Gulp”.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Beth Bennett
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producers: Jane Palmer and Kendra Krueger

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Do Fathers Matter?

fathers1Do Fathers Matter? (start times: 9:55 and 20:58) Today’s How on Earth show is part of the KGNU fall membership pledge drive. During this show we preview an upcoming feature of the book: “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked” by science journalist Paul Raeburn.  It may seem obvious that fathers matter. And of course, they do. But just how they are affected by parenthood, and how they in turn affect their kids, is not so obvious, as Raeburn shows.  He looks at the latest research in anthropology, animal behavior, neuroscience and genetics to uncover many surprises.

Hosts: Joel Parker,  Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger, Shelley Schlender
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producers: Jane Palmer and Kendra Krueger

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The Ocean Is Us #3 : Marine Sanctuaries

marine_sanctuaries_mapMarine Sanctuaries (starts at 5:18) This is the third feature interview In the Ocean Is Us series, which explores how we in land-locked Colorado are connected to the oceans, why they matter so much to us all, and what’s at stake.  Today we discuss marine sanctuaries: the conservation science behind establishing them, and their ecological and economic benefits.  In June, President Obama announced his intention to make a vast area of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. If the plans go through, they could create the marine sanctuary. It would double the swath of ocean that is fully protected globally.  Our guests today are devoted to marine conservation. Billy Causey works in the The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is Regional Director of the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region.  Vicki Nichols Goldstein is founder of the Colorado Ocean Coalition, a nonprofit based in Boulder dedicated to connecting people living inland to ocean conservation efforts. Formerly she directed the marine advocacy organization Save Our Shores.

For more info on how you can get involved in nominating new sites for marine sanctuaries, visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.   All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

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

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Greenback Cutthroat Trout // Migraines

serverGreenback Cuttthroat Trout (starts at 6:06)  Colorado has always been a state of nature lovers, which is why, in the era of our great great grandfathers, citizens even designated an official state fish. It’s the Greenback Cutthroat Trout that thrived in the mountain streams above Boulder and Denver. Colorado wildlife officials had long assumed that Greenback Cuttthroat Trout still live in our mountain streams. The problem is, they were wrong. Through a complex set of Sherlock Holmes investigations begun in recent years, scientists at CU-Boulder figured out a “fish switch” decades ago, meant Greenback Cutthroat Trout were missing from our streams, and possibly extinct. Since then, we have much better news about the fish that “almost” got away.  In this feature, How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender, speaks with CU-Boulder biologist, Jessica Metcalf. (To access photos of greenback cutthroat trout go to http://photography.colorado.edu/res/sites/news/ and type “cutthroat” in the search box.)

mmmMigraines (starts at 14:28) One of the most painful conditions to suffer through is a migraine headache.  Sometimes, these headaches begin with strange visual auras or loss of vision; sometimes they’re accompanied by nausea.  Most of all, they’re a head-splitting pain.  Interestingly, these headaches are rare among the world’s few remaining hunter-gatherer populations.  In contrast, they’re common in modern western life.  Roughly 10% of Americans have suffered from a migraine headache.  One of the people who used to suffer from them frequently is a medical doctor with advanced degrees in neurology.  He’s Doctor Josh Turknett.  Dr. Turknett used to get 60 migraines a year – on average, that’s over one a week.  As a board certified neurologist, Turknett treated the migraines of his clients, and his own migraines, in typical medical ways – urging people to drink enough water, get enough sleep, avoid too much stress, try to figure out triggers, such as maybe foods or smells, and to take strong medications when the headaches got unbearable.  For Turknett, his whole life changed dramatically when he made a basic lifestyle change that he believes many neurologists and migraine sufferers overlook.  In his own case, his change meant that the number of migraines he suffers these days has gone from around 60 headaches a year, down to only two or three. While his approach is controversial, Turknett believes it could help many, perhaps most, migraine sufferers.  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender caught up with Turknett this weekend at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Berkeley, California, where Turknett was a speaker.  Up next, here’s Neurologist and former big time migraine sufferer, Josh Turknett.

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer & Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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