About Shelley Schlender


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Shelley Schlender has written 104 articles so far, you can find them below.


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

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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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Fecal Microbial Transplant for C. Diff Colitis

We bring you two recent science releases involving Colorado scientists.  One features bumblebees and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.  The second looks at new tick-born disease from Missouri that was tracked down by Harry Savage, CDC Fort Collins.

We also share a story about an unusual medical treatment that is saving people from a devastating gut infection called recurrent C-Diff Colitis.  The treatment that cures this condition the most effectively is a fecal microbial transplant.  Giving perspectives about the “cure” are CU Health Sciences Gastroenterologist Steve Freeman, and CSU Veterinary Scientist, Rob Callan.  As for the treatment, this spring, the FDA put up hurdles so it was harder for doctors to do fecal transplants.  So much outcry arose, this summer, the FDA lifted the ban.

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

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End of Night – Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

The world is awash with artificial lights – so much so that most of us never experience the night sky like our ancestors did. So what?  Does it matter?  Is it simply an inevitable and acceptable result of progress?  Here in the studio with us today to talk about the personal and global effects of light pollution and the loss of dark skies at night is Paul Bogard who has written the book The End of Night. Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light,

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

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The Voodoo Doll Task // Drones for Climate Science

“Voodoo Doll” courtesy Creative Commons

The Voodoo Doll Task – (begins 5:30) Scientists have few ways to accurately measure agression.  How on Earth’s Garth Sundem talks with University of Kentucky psychology professor, Nathan DeWall, about a new fix. It’s called the Voodoo Doll Task. DeWall’s recent studies include over thirteen hundred subjects, and an upcoming research paper shows his voodoo doll task works darn well. What does an angry person do when holding a voodoo doll and a handful of pins, or when presented with a computerized version of the doll? The answer could indicate that person’s desire to carry out the aggressive action in real life.

CIRIES Data Hawk

Drones for Climate Science – (begins 15:00) These days they get a bad rap because of their use by the government to snoop on people, and even to kill terrorists. But unmanned aerial vehicles – often called  “drones” – are increasingly being used to save the planet, or at least to measure and understand a slice of it.  For more, How on Earth’s Susan Moran talks with Doug Weibel  who is part of a CU-Boulder science and engineering team that designed an unmanned aerial vehicle , or UAV, that they’re about to take to Alaska’s Arctic Circle. The aircraft –called DataHawk — is meant to help them better grasp how Arctic sea ice is melting, especially in the summer in areas where it used to persist for many years.

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

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Larry Gold – Gold Lab Symposium

We talk with Larry Gold about this year’s Gold Lab Symposium at CU-Boulder.  It features, “The Biological and Social Evolution of Healthcare: Rube Goldberg and Time.  Friday, May 17th – Saturday, May 18th, 2013, Muenzinger Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder.  NOTE:  After the conference, speaker presentations will be posted at the Gold Lab Symposium site.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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