About Joel Parker


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Joel Parker has written 66 articles so far, you can find them below.


Grad School Science

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What is graduate school and how does it differ from the undergraduate experience?  What drives people to go through another 4…5…6…or more years of school? Today’s show features some people who might be able to tell us about the grad school experience in the sciences.  We have three grad students from the University of Colorado at Boulder:
* Joe Villanueva in the Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology department.
* Annie Miller, in the Integrative Physiology department.
* Marcus Piquette, in the Astrophysical and Planetary Science department.
Each of them works in a lab with an advisor and is doing projects that will eventually lead to a thesis and getting a PhD, and they talk about what they do and what grad school is like.

Host: Joel Parker
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Susan Moran

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Evolution of the Human-Horse Bond

9780374224400In today’s show we offer the following feature:
The Horse (starts at 6:25)  Next to our connection with dogs and cats, perhaps the deepest bond humans have developed over time is with horses.  In fact, hands down, the horse has done more for us than either of those furry pets. That is, horses lie at the very foundation of our human civilization. Modern humans evolved with the horse.  A new book explores the deep history of this deep bond, and the far deeper history of the horse itself and its evolutionary biology over millennia. Ever wonder why  horses have such big teeth—unlike other hoofed mammals?  The book, which spans the globe as well as the horse’s anatomy, is called The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion.   Its author, journalist Wendy Williams joins host Susan Moran to talk about these beautiful creatures. Williams will speak on Nov. 16 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

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

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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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