About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 80 articles so far, you can find them below.


A Tale of Two Missions: OSIRIS-REx and New Horizons

OSIRIS-REx (starts at 1:00) IBennuNorthPolePassDec4n today’s first feature, we hear about OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first mission to do a sample return from an asteroid.  Our guest is Dr. Vicky Hamilton, a Staff Scientist at the Southwest Reserarch Institute’s Boulder office, and a member of that mission.  She talks about the scientific goals of OSIRIS-REx, and how it plans to obtain and return a sample of the asteroid Bennu.

 

New Horizons (starts at 14:05) Year-of-KBO-artworkOur second spacey feature is about a mission that you might describe as exploring “beyond the beyond”. The piano-sized, nuclear-powered New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto over 3 years ago, and now has its sights set on an even more distant target named Ultima Thule. To talk about that, we have another local scientist from Southwest Research Institute, Dr. Cathy Olkin, Institute Scientist and also a New Horizons mission Deputy Project Scientist.  We hear about the flyby events that will take place on New Year’s Eve.

 

Host, Producer, and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Titan Talk with Sarah Hörst

Headlines: Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA.  Coffee and Parkinson’s disease. Sending your name and a message to the New Horizons spacecraft.  Winds on Mars.  Water on Asteroids.

16278_PIA20016Feature: Titan (starts at 8:55) The solar system has so many different worlds that come in all shapes and sizes and histories, from boiling hot Mercury and Venus to icy Pluto and the Kuiper belt.  Such extreme alien worlds are exciting, but perhaps the places that catch our imaginations the most are the ones that are more familar – perhaps with the hope of humans one day visiting there and even living there.  So we think of places that have atmospheres and have – or once had – liquid water. But then there are those places that live in what you might call “the uncanny valley” between familiar and alien, and perhaps Saturn’s moon Titan fits into that category, with an atmosphere (but not one that you would want to breathe) and lakes (but not ones you would want to swim in).

Our guest today is Titan researcher  Dr. Sarah Hörst, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where she also is a member of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. She is a Co-Investigator in the proposed Dragonfly mission to Titan.  You can also follow her on Twitter as @PlanetDr.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits, Gretchen Wettstein
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributor: Beth Bennett

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National Assessment on Climate Change

coverClimate Change (starts at 6:30)  Volume II of the fourth National Assessment on Climate Change was released on the day after Thanksgiving. The findings are stark. It is already too late to prevent major long term effects of climate change.  The scientific community has now turned to predicting and quantifying those effects and how human civilization can respond to mitigate what might be catastrophic results. Today we talk with one of the co-authors of the chapter on Transportation,  Professor Paul Chinowksy, of the CU Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering.  He elaborates on the findings of the report and his frustration at the lack of a serious response by the federal government.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Nature and Health

Photo: Jennifer Miller

Photo: Jennifer Miller

Nature Rx (start time: 9:33): Nature is good for your health. Sounds obvious, but what does science tell us? A walk in the woods can help to calm your nervous system and spark novel ideas, and spending time in nature can reduce symptoms of PTSD or ADHD.  Little is actually known about how nature offers healing effects. How much nature is enough, and to do what, exactly? How enduring are the effects?  “Nature” isn’t only limited to places like Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park.  Nature abounds in some cities, as well.  City parks, tree-lined neighborhoods, your own garden — these are slices of nature that can improve your physical and mental well-being.  Researchers are measuring the effect of living near trees, for instance, on cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.  Today’s show is the first in a series we’ll offer on the connections between nature and human health. It’s called “Nature Rx.” 

Our three guests today are working in the nexus between environmental conservation and human health, to make cities part of the solution: Dr. Ted Smith, director of the Center of Healthy Air, Water and Soil, at the University of Louisville’s Envirome Institute; Christopher Hawkins, Urban Conservation Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy; Janette Heung, principal and owner of JWG Global, a management consulting and research think tank in Colorado focusing on environmental conservation and public health. Read more in the Colorado Outdoor Rx report and the UN Environment Programme report on air pollution.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Dogs for Diabetics

Dogs4Diabetics Founder Mark RueffenachtDogs have an incredible sense of smell – it’s so good, people can train dogs to sniff our everything from illegal drugs and explosives to lost people and even computer “thumbnail” drives, that maybe someone is trying to sneak into a high security building so they can sneak out information.  So how about dogs sniffing for something life-saving, such as a dangerous drop in blood sugars for an insulin-injecting diabetic? For a healthy person, the amount of sugar in the entire bloodstream at anytime is roughly 1 teaspoon. One teaspoon of sugar in around 5 liters of blood. That’s it.  For most people, the body’s own insulin production keeps blood sugars in a relatively healthy range, with the pancreas adjusting insulin levels in miniscule amounts to keep blood sugars in balance. For a diabetic who injects insulin, the injection itself can end up putting too much or too little insulin into the body, and this is especially dangerous when it forces blood sugar levels to go far lower than they normally would.  Modern technology is reducing the risk, somewhat, through continuous blood glucose monitoring devices. But even these have a lag time, and since sometimes a diabetics blood sugar levels can change dramatically in just 30 minutes, there’s still risk. But now, there are new “blood sugar monitors”. They don’t require batteries. They’re very friendly, they have incredible noses, and they even come equipped with wagging tails.  In today’s edition of How on Earth, we talk about “Dogs for Diabetics”.

For more information, visit these links:
https://dogs4diabetics.com
https://www.virtahealth.com/team
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BoulderDiabetes
https://www.meetup.com/Boulder-Low-Carb-Diabetes-Meetup

Host, Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker
Contributions by: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Science of Psychedelics

How to Change Your Mind PollanWe present another part of our interview with Michael Pollan about his book “How to Change Your Mind:  What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence”.  It is an investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs, and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.  Books like “How to Change our Mind” are starting to “alter the state” of awareness about modalities that are outside the conventional box of standard medical treatments for mental health problems.  And there are other ways this wave of new awareness is heading into our communities.

will-bio-photoWe also talk with Boulder Psychiatrist Dr. Will Van Derveer, who leads the Integrative Psychiatry Institute.  They will hold a professional conference this October 19-21 in Boulder. Their goal is to educate more health practitioners about how body imbalances, such as gut challenges and mold infections, along with undiagnosed trauma often underlie much of what leads people to seek psychiatric health.  One of the modalities that will be discussed at this professional conference is psychedelics.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Joel Parker
Producer / Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Chasing New Horizons – full extended interview

51m+Ih4C2FL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Here we provide the full interview by How on Earth’s Joel Parker of planetary scientists Dr. Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute) and Dr. David Grinspoon (Planetary Science Institute), about their new book: “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto“. Their book describes the the story of Pluto and NASA’s New Horizons mission, bringing the reader backstage to hear the details and meet the personalities behind building, launching, and flying this audacious mission.

Excerpts of this interview were first broadcast on KGNU on May 15th and May 22nd.

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2018 Graduation Special (part 2)

diploma-and-graduation-hatWith graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is the second of a two-part annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who will receive their Ph.D. in a STEM-related field.  They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.

bio_HyunJooOhHyunJoo Oh – CU Boulder, ATLAS Institute
Topic: Computational Design Tools and Techniques for Paper Mechatronics

 

 

Nathan ParrishNathan Parrish – CU Boulder, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Topic: Low Thrust Optimization in Cislunar and Translunar Space

 

Diana Perry Diana Perry – Stockholm University, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences
Topic: Swedish Seagrass Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: Coastal Connectivity and Global Change Sensitivity

 

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker

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2018 Graduation Special (part 1)

diploma-and-graduation-hatWith graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is the first of a two-part annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who will receive their Ph.D. in a STEM-related field.  They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.

Head Shot at Down HouseOliver Paine – CU Boulder, Department of Anthropology
Topic:
 Exploring C4 Plant Foods: The Nutritional and Mechanical Properties of African Savanna Vegetation

 

Diba Mani - Informal HeadshotDiba Mani – CU Boulder, Department of Integrative Physiology
Topic: Adjustments in Motor Unit Activity and Mobility Induced by Electrical Nerve Stimulation in Young and Older Adults

 

JN_headshotJohn Nardini – CU Boulder, Department of Applied Mathematics
Topic: 
Partial Differential Equation Models of Collective Migration during Wound Healing

 

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker

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Enlightenment Now

Book coverYou may be among many who wistfully harken back to the “golden days” of the past. For some people the past does look rosier, or perhaps the present looks grim, but, according to Steven Pinker, a Harvard University cognitive psychologist, that “golden age” of the past is a reflection of faulty memory.

We — most people in the world, anyway — are actually far better off than we were decades and surely centuries ago. That’s based on many metrics of progress, including literacy, safety, gender equality, lower poverty, and many more. Pinker presents in his new book an abundance of data as evidence of such progress. This progress, he argues, is rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment some 250 years ago.

Pinker’s book is called “Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress.” Last week we played a couple of segments of an interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran and KGNU journalist Joel Edelstein conducted with Dr. Pinker. In today’s feature, we play that interview in full.

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

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