About Shelley Schlender

Shelley Schlender has written 128 articles so far, you can find them below.

Aerogel as Clear as Glass//New Science Standards for Colorado Schools

credit - CU-Boulder

credit – CU-Boulder

Aerogel as Clear As Glass:  (Starts 4:00)   Most aerogels “windows” are kind of foggy looking.  A CU-Boulder science team has created something better.  It’s a liquid made from recycled plant material, a liquid that hardens into a  gel that’s almost as light as air, almost as clear as glass, yet it can insulate against temperature changes.  This “gel” is flexible enough, you can wear it like a glove. And they’ve made it from a rather environmentally friendly source — it’s cellulose, created by microbes “digesting” the beer mash that gets left over after  making beer. 

erin_furtak-webNew Science Standards for Colorado Public Schools (Starts 13:30):  CU Boulder Education Research expert Erin Furtak explains new, more hands-on and interactive way to learn science.  These will soon be part of Colorado Public Schools.  The new science standards will be the first update of Colorado Science Education Standards in well over a decade.  In addition to teachers using these standards, parents can, too.

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


Junk Raft//The Green Reaper

Junk RaftJunk Raft (starts 6:20) Marcus Eriksen discusses what can and cannot be done about the “plastic smog” of microscopic debris permeating the world’s ocean, from the state-sized floating islands of plastic in the Pacific, to the microscopic debris that sinks all the way down the the deepest parts of the Pacific, OR gets eaten and into the food chain.  Eriksen is author of the book Junk Raft, recounting his adventures when he sailed the Pacific from L.A. to Hawaii on a raft made of garbage to bring attention to the issue.

Green Burial imageThe Green Reaper (starts 19:10) Elizabeth Fournier, a mortician from Oregon, is known to some as “The Green Reaper.” She offers and advocates for natural burial services for those who want to extend their environmental ethos from life on into death.

Host/Producer/Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer:  Beth Bennett


Michael Pollan: How to Change Your Mind (with psychedelics)

How to Change Your Mind PollanMichael Pollan: How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence.  We speak with New York Times Bestselling science writer Michael Pollan about his new book that features LSD and magic mushrooms. Pollan will give a book talk in Denver this Thursday — at the Trinity Methodist Church.  On Friday, Pollan’s Boulder Booktalk will be at Boulder’s First Congregational Church.

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

Listen to the show:


Chasing New Horizons // GoldLab Symposium

Alan Stern David GrinspoonChasing New Horizons  (starts 1:00) brings the reader Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto to  hear the details and meet the personalities behind building, launching, and flying this audacious mission.  How on Earth’s Joel Parker (also an astrophysicist on the New Horizons mission) speaks with authors and fellow scientists Alan Stern and David Grinspoon. (Booktalks at Boulder Bookstore and Tattered Cover). You can also listen to the full extended interview.

Larry GoldGoldLab Symposium (starts 13:00) This year’s symposium theme is Complexity:  The Intersections Between Health and Policy. Boulder Entrepreneur and symposium founder Larry Gold speaks with How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender about this year’s annual symposium that explores the frontiers of science and health with an eye toward ideas that will inspire even the greatest world expert, with an ear toward being understandable to anyone in the room.

Host/Producer/Engineer:  Shelley Schlender
Add’l Contributions/Executive Producer: Joel Parker


The Moral Arc – Extended Interview with Michael Shermer

The Moral Arc Book CoverShelley Schlender talks with renowned skeptic Michael Shermer about his new book, The Moral Arc:  How Science and Reason lead humanity toward truth, justice and freedom.  This is an extended version of the interview.  (27 minutes)


MDMA for PTSD – Extended Interview with Karen, PTSD Survivor

Karen - MDMA for PTSD Study Participant

Karen – MDMA for PTSD Study Participant

This is an exended interview with a survivor of treatment resistant post traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.  Karen says she is cured of her PTSD now, thanks to a treatment that includes lots of psychotherapy, plus three times when she took a dose of the psychoactive chemical, MDMA.  MDMA is classed as a federally illegal drug.  However the FDA has approved the drug for use in clinical trials of an intense psychotherapy protocol that includes MDMA.  Now here’s Karen’s story.


MDMA for PTSD – Extended Interview with Marcella Ot’Alora – Principal Investigator

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Principal Investigator for Boulder MDMA for PTSD study, Psychotherapist Marcella Ot’Alora

This is an extended interview with Marcella Ot’alora.  Ot’alora is a Boulder psychotherapist, and the principal investigator for the Boulder branch of the FDA approved, nationwide studies of using MDMA in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD.  MDMA is classed as a federally illegal drug.  However the FDA has approved the drug for use in clinical trials of an intense psychotherapy protocol that includes MDMA.  Now here’s more detail, from Marcella Ot’alora.


MDMA for PTSD – Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

Boulder Psychiatrist Will Vanderveer

In the years ahead, doctors across the U.S. might be prescribing a currently illegal drug as therapy for the hard-to-treat condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  The new “medicine” would be MDMA, an ingredient in the party drug ecstasy.  The treatment is showing success for many of the study participants (go here for an extended interview with a study participant named Karen).  The lead funder of these FDA approved studies is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS (go here for more about MAPS, plus how to enroll or learn about the studies). 

The Principal Investigator for the Boulder studies is psychotherapist Marcella Ot’Alora (go here for an extended interview with Ot’Alora.)  On Ot’Alora’s team is Boulder psychiatrist Will Vanderveer  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender shares this in-depth interview with psychiatrist Will Vanderveer.  

Host: Alejandro Soto
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Contributors: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran


Fragrance Free – Roger the Barber // Shelly Miller

Roger the Fragrance Free Barber (photo c Shelley Schlender)

Roger the Barber (c Shelley Schlender)

Roger the Fragrance Free Barber (Starts 3:25)   Artificial fragrances in shampoos, colognes, lotions. deodorant, laundry detergent and more nearly led Roger the Barber, to give up his profession, due to his chemical sensitivities.  Then he opened his own, fragrance free, shop.  He caters to clients who prefer a fragrance free environment . . . and educates people about what fragrance free means.


CU Professor Shelly Miller (cc Shelley Schlender)

CU Professor Shelly Miller (c Shelley Schlender)

Shelly Miller – Clean Indoor Air – (Starts 10:35)  CU Boulder Professor Shelly Miller warns that ingredients in common consumer products sometimes add hazardous chemicals to indoor air.  Miller discusses CU Boulder’s Fragrant Free Initiative and the six classes of chemicals that can be hazardous, whether they’re fragrant or odorless, including fire retardants in clothes and furniture.

Host/Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer:Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Listen to the show:


Healthy . . . But Missing Gut Microbes

Toby Hammer says initially, he, too, was surprised about the missing microbes.

Toby Hammer says initially, he was surprised about the missing microbes.

Healthy . . . But Missing Gut Microbes (Starts 3:25) Practically everyone on the planet now knows that animals have microbes in their guts. This is a new field of exploration, and top researchers emphasize that we need to learn much more before making any blanket statements about the total effect of the gut microbiome.  Nevertheless, it’s become politically correct to advocate specific diets to eat, for the sake of healthy gut microbes, and to assume that all animals “need” gut microbes. That’s one reason the research from CU-Boulder evolutionary biologist Toby Hammer is so fascinating.  Hammer has discovered a number of animals that probably don’t need microbes in their guts – ranging from some insects to some animals as large as, well, a panda bear.  It all began with Hammer’s research into caterpillars . . . 

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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