About Shelley Schlender


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Shelley Schlender has written 108 articles so far, you can find them below.


How Native Americans Came to Be – Extended Version – Beringia

Alaska Shrub/Willow Tundra

Alaska Shrub/Willow Tundra

I’m Shelley Schlender for How on Earth.  Here’s an extended version of an interview about how Native Americans came to be.  It’s about a CU-Boulder study that appeared in Science Magazine in February 2014, and promptly made headlines around the world.  The study involves top-notch detective work that shows how, almost 30,000 years ago, a major Ice Age trapped Asian explorers on a land bridge between Asia and Alaska for 10 THOUSAND years.  Back then, the “Beringia” (bare-IN-gee-ah) land bridge was 30 miles long and 600 miles wide. Glaciers had buried Northern America, but Beringia was just warm enough, the trapped explorers survived and thrived.  They stayed in that pit stop for so many thousands of years, it gave time for the inevitable mutations that can happen in DNA to be concentrated and become distributed throughout the entire Beringian community, which probably included a few thousand people.  When the glaciers finally receded around 15,000 years ago, that DNA signature was with the small band of “Beringians” who then began settling in the Americas.  Their settlements were successful.  Their numbers grew over time to become the millions of people today who still carry “Beringia” in their DNA. Today, we call that distinct, Beringian DNA proof that someone’s ancestors were “Native Americans.”

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Rosetta Wakes Up // Jelly Sandwich Earth // Hospital Acquired Infections // Microbes Reduce Autism in Mice

Outsourcing Pollution (01:08) What’s sent to China comes back to the good old U S of A.

Arctic Frontiers (02:03) How on Earth’s  Susan Moran flies to Norway Conference

RosettaWake Up, Rosetta!   (3:00) As project manager for the Rosetta Alice UV Spectrometer, How on Earth’s  Joel Parker shares tense moments, waiting for  Rosetta to wake up.

PB&JSandwichJelly Sandwich Earth  (5:40) CU-Boulder’s Peter Molnar wins the world’s most prestigious prize for Geoscience -He speaks with How on Earth’s Jim Pullen

healthcare-associated-infectionsHospital Acquired Infections (8:00)   When Americans go to the hospital, they don’t expect to leave with a brand new illness.  But one out of every 20  receives a hidden time bomb during these visits — it’s a healthcare associated infection.   How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender visits Longmont United Hospital to see how ICU staff reduce infection risks.   If you want to compare how your hospital or clinic compares with the nation, and other Colorado hospitals, when it comes to infections, here are Colorado’s Latest Infection Rate Reports 

Brain4-1Gut Microbe Reverses Autism in Mice (15:22) A recent study  and a commentary in Cell indicate that feeding mice a beneficial bacteria  reduces their autistic symptoms.  CU Biofrontiers Institute scientists Dorota Porazinska and Sophie Weiss discuss the implications with Shelley Schlender.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Jim Pullen
Additional contributions:  Ted Burnham, Kendra Krueger, Susan Moran, Jane Palmer,  Joel Parker

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Fireproofing Mountain Homes // Winter Solstice

Fireproofing Mountain Homes (starts at 3:20) We discuss a new study from the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Missoula, Montana.  It warns that  thinning forests may help prevent property damage from the “typical” wildfires, fire suppression can’t stand up against the 3% of fires that burn super-hot and spread super fast.  What’s more, the Missoula study warns that superhot wildfires are just the ones that burn the most homes.  The researchers conclude that the main responsibility for preventing home destruction from wildfires, lies with homeowners rather than public land managers.  They say that homeowners should do more to design homes that stand up to a super wildfire.  To find out ways to to that, we talk with Disaster Safety Senior Scientist Steve Quarles, who is with an insurance industry funded fire prevention think tank.  Quarles says that small changes in home building can reduce the chance that tiny, glowing embers blowing in the wind, will get in under the eaves and turn into a raging fire that burns down a house.

T17.1HeliosWinter Solstice (starts at 13:44) As a chart of sunrise and sunset makes clear, although the shortest day of the year is at the winter solstice, the latest sunrise occurs *after* the solstice and the earliest sunset occurs *before* the solstice… The sunset is going to get later faster and faster now, while the sunset time is going to also get later until after the solstice, then start creeping earlier.  What’s going on here?  How on Earth’s Jim Pullen explains.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

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The Sports Gene // These Shining Lives


THE SPORTS GENE:  
Running has become a great elite sport, thanks in part to the amazing sprinters from Jamaica  and the long distance runners from the African equator.  How much is all that running talent nature, and what’s the power of nurture?  In his book, The Sports Gene, David Epstein says it’s definitely both.

THESE SHINING LIVES:   Now playing at CU Boulder, is a story about one of the most stunning technologies to ever harm U-S workers.  It involves a technique from the early 1900s that made it possible for the hands of watches to glow in the dark.  The “Glow” came from radium-laced paint, which killed many of the young women who were told to lick their paint brushes to make sure that the dials were painted properly.  The new play is titled, “These Shining Lives.” and it’s fitting that it will open at CU just 10 miles from the former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant, where controversy still rages over radioactive contamination.  Here to tell us more is the director of “These Shining Lives,” Elizabeth Dowd.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel
Additional Contributions: Jim Pullen

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The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance

In this pledge drive show for KGNU, we feature an interview with David Epstein, author of The Sports Gene.  Through his new book, Epstein looks straight at a debate that’s as old as physical competition. Are stars like Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, and Serena Williams genetic freaks put on Earth to be top athletes? Or are they simply normal people who overcame their biological limits through sheer force of will and obsessive training?  This book tackles the nature vs. nurture debate and traces how far science has come in solving this great riddle.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Beth Bartel, Susan Moran, Jim Pullen, Shelley Schlender, Kate Fotopoulos
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

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Monarch Migration // Better Batteries

Monarch caterpillar on milkweed. Courtesy Tom Ranker.

Feature #1: (start time 4:45) As we unpack our coats and boots from storage boxes, so are insects, in their own way, planning for a seasonal change.  Monarch butterflies in our neighborhood, east of the Rockies, fly south to very specific forests high in the mountains of Mexico. Their journey, and life at their destination, is a precarious one.  Dr. Deane Bowers, a professor and curator of entomology at the CU Boulder Museum of Natural History, speaks with co-host Susan Moran about what is happening now with monarchs and other butterflies. And she discusses how the ability of certain insects, such as caterpillars, to defend themselves against predators by making themselves taste disgusting is being affected by human disturbances, such as nitrogen fertilizer runoff. To get involved in monarch conservation, go to Monarch Watch.

Feature #2: (start time 14:30) One of the greatest limitations of effectively using clean and renewable energy sources is a simple device with which we are all undoubtedly familiar — the battery.  Dr. Conrad Stoldt is an associate professor of mechanical engineering at CU Boulder and co-founder of Solid Power, Inc., where he is developing an all-solid-state lithium metal battery. Stoldt talks with co-host Beth Bartel about how batteries work, why batteries are such a stumbling block in the current race to energy solutions, and how his research may just lead to the next big thing.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Beth Bartel
Producer: Susan Moran/Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Click on audio file below.

 

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Stories from the Flood

AFTER the flood – How to Stay Safe

Kathleen TierneyNatural Hazards Center, Boulder

LISTEN (10 MINUTES)  “Many of the injuries that happen in disasters happen because people are trying to take care of disaster related problems themselves, and and they get injured.  If you’ve never handled a chain saw before in your life, this is probably not a good time to start.” – Kathleen Tierney
Boulder is a world renowned center for research into Natural Disasters.  One of the leaders in this field is Kathleen Tierney who directs CU Boulder’s Natural Hazards Center.  She speaks with KGNU’s Shelley Schlender about how to stay safe AFTER a disaster,  how to document your needs for insurance, how Boulder planners have reduced the impacts of this huge flood event, and what it’s like, personally, here in Boulder, to be a disaster victim.

Climate Change and Future Flooding

Kelley MahoneyCIRES, Boulder

(LISTEN 15 Minutes)  As for WHY this storm happened, KGNU’s Jim Pullen talks with Kelly Mahoney, a research scientist at CU Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences – also known as CIRES.  Mahoney says the Rocky Mountains are the most challenging part of the country for making climate predictions.  But the Rocky Mountains might indeed have more dry periods punctuated by more intense and very wet superstorms.

We have a pretty good handle on the trends that we might expect along the eastern two thirds of the country and also in the southwest.  So in the eastern part of the country, we do expect things to get a little more moist.  And the complete opposite in the desert Southwest.  Regarding average precipitation, we expect to see it drying.  So that places the Colorado Front Range in the unique position of being right between the two climate signals.  For the Colorado Front range, I think most folks say we feel like the region will see a mean drying, meaning longer longer stretches of dry punctuated by an increase in extremes.  But it’s still definitely an area of study.  Lots of people are continuing to look into this.”

Planning for more superstorms

Marcus Moench, Institute for Social and Environmental Transition, Boulder

LISTEN (20 Minutes)  The Institute for Social and Environmental Transition does a lot of work globally regarding flooding and climate and environment protection.    Speaking with Jim Pullen, their president, Marcus Moench, says Boulder has fared pretty well, though it faces challenges.

The main flood areas, the infrastructures through Central Boulder has functioned enormously well.  The underpasses and things like that.  We face, as everyplace does, a huge challenge particularly along minor streams, where it’s impossible to keep the vegetation clear, to keep culverts the size you want.  And where there are contrasting interests.  For example, if you have a grate in front of a school such as Flatirons school that protects kids from falling into the culverts, but at the same time it becomes the first thing that clogs and floods the street, the minute any flow comes down. “

But Moench says that even in usually arid Boulder, we can learn lessons from wetter climates, such as those in Asia:

All the infrastructures, the water heaters, the sewer, things like this, The water supply stuff is located much higher up.  The electricity.  We put a lot of that infrastructure into our basements.  And as people are mucking out here, that’s one of the largest costs a lot of people will face is replacing that water heater, that dryer, the stuff that’s in the basements. “

For a list of resources for people in our communities dealing with these disasters, check KGNU


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Boulder Science Festival // Insect Chorus Songs

Headlines:  CU Scientists explore ways to combat methicillin-resistant staff infections; Yale survey indicates Coloradans concerned about climate change; Denver and Boulder Cafe Sci’s begin for fall; Farewell to Population scientist, Al Bartlett.

Boulder Science Festival (starts at 5:58) Many people in Boulder are familiar with the large number of local science groups and institutes, so what better place to celebrate and learn about science?  That is exactly what our next two guests plan to do: create the Boulder Science Festival, which will be held October 12-13 at the Millennium Harvest House hotel.  In the studio today we have Marcella Setter, the Director of the Boulder Science Festival, and an experienced administrator who loves organizing events that get the public excited about science. As the Director of Science Getaways, Marcella plans group trips for science enthusiasts who want to add some learning and discovery to their vacations.  Joining Marcella here in the studio is her husband, Phil Plait, an astronomer, author, and writer of the Bad Astronomy Blog for Slate.com. An internationally-acclaimed speaker, Dr. Plait has appeared on numerous television science documentaries and is a self-proclaimed “science evangelizer”.

Insect Chorus Songs (starts at 14:58) You’ve heard it. It’s the sound of summer – or rather, the looming end of summer. The chorus of crickets, cicadas and who knows what else outside that is now in prime time.  As an ode to summer, we thought we’d bring in a cicada and other insect specialist to share with us who the heck these critters are, and what’s their role in biodiversity. Maybe he’ll even tell us how we can eat them – like billions of people around the world do with delight. Brian Stucky is a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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

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Copper Might Promote Alzheimer’s – Extended Version

 

Copper Penny

I’m Shelley Schlender.  This is an extended interview from the report we broadcast on August 20th, 2013, about a new study from the University of Rochester that indicates that too much of an essential nutrient, copper, might promote Alzheimer’s disease. (more…)

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Smoke Free Casinos Reduce 911 Calls // Mirrors and Water = Hydrogen Fuel

Smoke free casinos mean fewer Ambulance Calls

Smoke Free Casinos Reduce 911 Calls (starts at 2:41) Colorado’s ban on smoking up at Central City and Black Hawk casinos has not only reduced second hand smoke.  It’s reduced the number of 911 calls for ambulances.    A new study in this week’s journal, Circulation, reports that ambulance calls to casinos in Gilpin County fell 20 percent after smoking was banned.  For more, we speak with the study’s lead author Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

CU-Boulder – Artist’s Image of Hydrogen Fuel Plant, including mirrors

Mirrors and Water = Hydrogen Fuel (starts at 7:40) We hear how to make hydrogen fuel, from water,  sunshine and mirrors, from  Chris Muhich, a PhD student at CU-Boulder whose dream is to create affordable, clean burning hydrogen available to everyone.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender & Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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