Enlightenment Now // Pledge Drive Teaser

Book coverToday’s pledge-drive show features parts of our recent interview with Steven Pinker.
Enlightenment Now: If you think the world, including the U.S., is falling apart, that the ideal of progress is as quaint as riding to work on a horse and carriage, you’re hardly alone. But you’re wrong, argues  Harvard University cognitive scientist Steven Pinker in his new book. It’s called Enlightenment Now: A Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. As he shows in many copious charts and graphs from studies and national statistics, most people are living longer, healthier, safer, freer, and happier lives. And while our problems are formidable, the solutions, Pinker claims, lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Provocative? Yes. Pollyannaish? No, says Pinker. Today’s show features two sections of a recent interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran and KGNU host Joel Edelstein conducted with Pinker.

We will play the full interview on our March 20th science show. Meanwhile, Pinker will discuss and sign his book at two events on the Front Range on Saturday, March 17. He will be at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver (2526 Colfax Ave.) at 4:00 p.m. Then he’ll speak at 7:00 p.m. at Unity of Boulder Church (2855 Folsom St.) Check with Boulder Book Store about tickets.

Hosts: Joel Edelstein, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Edelstein
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Urban Air Pollution: A new culprit

Los Angeles Smog. Image Courtesy of Clean Air Coalition

Los Angeles Smog. Image Courtesy of Clean Air Coalition

It’s the endless stream of tailpipes on the L.A. freeway which  causes that unsightly smog, nagging cough and chronic respitory problems, right?  Perhaps not any more, a new scientific study helps build the case that the major culprit may now be purchases made at the corner drug store or hardware store.  Chip Grandits speaks with Dr. Brian McDonald of NOAA about perhaps changing tactics for the next stage in the human race’s campaign to keep the air clean and healthy in both the indoor and outdoor environments of the urban areas many of us call home.

A couple headlines focus on related aspects of the changing climate in our Alpine environment and what it really means.  Does it seem like spring comes earlier every year, or is that just your imagination?  Well, the science says probably not, especially if you live in the Northern latitudes.  Science journalist Tom Yulsman, who writes about climate change and beyond in his blog ImaGeo for Discover magazine,  offers a headline  the declining snowpack in the Rockies.

Producer, Host, Engineer:  Chip Grandits
Contributors: Tom Yulsman, Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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The Starmus Festival

news-placeholder-Starmus-e1517313691450Woodstock.  Lallapalooza. Lilith Fair.  Coachella.  Burning Man.  All famous music and art festivals.  What about…science festivals?  Perhaps a festival with all the “rock stars” of science and space exploration, and while you’re at it, throw in a few music rock stars as well?  Well, that describes the Starmus Festival.  Starmus is the brain child of Dr. Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist who led the team that found the first observational evidence that supernova explosions are responsible for the formation of stellar mass black holes. We talk with Dr. Israelian about the past, present, and future of Starmus.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Contributor: Tom Yulsman
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Spaceport Earth

Spaceport Earth by Joe Pappalargo

Spaceport Earth. This week on How on Earth, we speak with Joe Pappalardo about his book “Spaceport Earth”. With the successes of Space-X and Blue Origin, private and commercial spaceflight is a fast growing business. Pappalardo talks with us about this new space industry and the advances and setbacks that have been faced. In particular, Pappalardo shares his knowledge about the spaceports, new and old, that are part of the new space endeavours. We also talk about how these new launch opportunities provide new ways to support the scientific exploration of both Earth and space.

Hosts: Alejandro Soto, Joel Parker
Producer: Alejandro Soto
Engineers: Joel Parker
Contributers: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Plastic Pollution in Ocean

Photo credit: Conserve Energy Future

Photo credit: Conserve Energy Future

In today’s show we offer two related features:
Plastic Pollution in the Arctic, Green Chemistry  (start time: 7:48) Try to wrap your brain around this statistic: by mid-century the mass of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than the total mass of fish if we continue with ‘business as usual,’ according to the World Economic Forum. Plastic debris, ranging from plastic water bottles to fish nets to invisible fragments, is choking seabirds and mammals all the way up to the Arctic, and quite possibly harming human health. How On Earth host Susan Moran recently attended the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway, where she interviewed one of the speakers, Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia. Dr. Jambeck directs the Center for Circular Materials Management, where researchers are designing materials and processes that both reduce waste and, like nature itself, reuse waste.

Photo credit: Chris Jordan

Photo credit: Chris Jordan

Grassroots Efforts Curb Plastic Pollution (start time: 20:24) In case you’re wondering what’s land-locked Colorado and your daily life got to do with plastic pollution in the ocean, our guest, Vicki Nichols Goldstein, founder and executive director of the Inland Ocean Coalition, discusses regional and national campaigns to curb plastic waste. The Suck the Straws Out campaign is one of many. You can get involved, starting with attending the Colorado Ocean Coalition‘s Blue Drinks happy hour on Feb. 15 in Boulder.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineers: Maeve Conran, Chip Grandits, Evan Perkins
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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The Longevity Diet

The Longevity Diet by Dr Valter Longo

The Longevity Diet by Dr Valter Longo

This week on How on Earth, Beth interviews Dr Valter Longo, director of the USC Longevity Institute. Dr Longo has researched the fundamental mechanisms of aging in yeast, mice and humans using genetics and biochemistry techniques. He is also interested in identifying the molecular pathways conserved from simple organisms to humans that can be modulated to protect against multiple stresses and treat or prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and other diseases of aging. In his new book, The Longevity Diet, he describes his research and how to apply it in your life, for health and longevity.

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Joel Parker
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Science on Tap

24991528_1121359964633876_8235555632401660665_nBoulder, Colorado has a rich culture of science, as the home for serveral prestigious national laboratories, a thriving technology industry, the flagship campus of the University of Colorado and various joint ventures between them.  As a science enthusiast, where might you go to find a community of like minded people? Must you work in a lab? Teach at a university? Enroll as a student?   Well now Boulder has Science On Tap, a monthly opportunity for science enthusiasts and beer lovers to come together and discover the latest and greatest research in science and technology that is happening along the Front Range.  With us in the studio is Chelsea Thompson who was instrumental in bringing Science On Tap to Boulder.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Joel Parker
Producer: Chip Grandits
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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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

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Miracle Brew – The Amazing Science (and Art) of Brewing Beer

Pete Brown, author

Pete Brown, author

This week on How on Earth, Beth interviews Pete Brown, author of Miracle Brew, the story of how beer is made of 4 seemingly simple components, but really from an amazing complexity of science and art. The New York Times recently reviewed Miracle Brew. Here’s what they said: A magisterial tour of fearsome science and vast brewery history leavened with cheery anecdotes, humor, vivid you-are-there prose and a clever eye for personality . . . His rhapsodies about the meaning of life and the meaning of beer are stirring. . . .His expertise and insight will leave you with a glimmer of infinity every time you hold a bottle of it in your hand.

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Susan Moran
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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2017 Look Back – 2018 Look Forward

2017For this end-of-the-year/start-of-the-year  How on Earth show, we look back to 2017 with clips from some of our features from the past year: selections about tracking methane leaks, ketogenic diets, using MDMA to treat PTSD, gravitational waves, the solar eclipse, space missions, and the politicization of science.  Those are just a few of the topics we covered in 2017, which also included: the continuation of the Our Microbes, Ourselves series, global warming and climate change, research about aging, mutant proteins, how humans have altered nature, future technologies, nuclear tests and the Van Allen belts, biofuels, extinctions following an asteroid impact, monorails, life expectancy in America,  observing stellar occultations by objects in the distant solar system, space shields for satellites, virtual colonoscopies, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), chronic fatigue syndrome, protecting pollinators, testing our drinking water, cancer, the Long Now foundation, citizen science, fracking, and more!

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

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