A Tough Summer Vacation

The 10th RESESS cohort, summer 2014. For more: resess.unavco.org

The 10th RESESS cohort, summer 2014. For more: resess.unavco.org (Photo/Beth Bartel)

A Tough Summer Vacation (start time 10:52) It’s summer! And although the town feels empty of students for many around here, some researchers may be feeling a sad little void this week as summer internships tie up and interns leave town for a short break before beginning their normal school years. Three Boulder institutions run and coordinate comprehensive research internship programs that just finished on Friday of last week, ending with a bang: Colloquiums and poster sessions for the young scientists to show off their work. The three institutions are UCAR, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network, and UNAVCO. UNAVCO’s internship program is geared towards bringing underrepresented populations into the Earth sciences. The program is called RESESS, and no, it’s really not a playful break like recess was in elementary school. RESESS stands for Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students. And this internship is intense.

Thanks to 2014 RESESS interns Josh Russell, Ann Marie Prue, Brian Chung, Wesley Weisberg, Amy Asanuma, Belinda Gonzalez, Garth Ornelas, Ashlyann Arana-Morales, Jaqueline Romero, and Diana Rattanasith.

Links:
The UNAVCO RESESS program, for solid Earth sciences
The UCAR SOARS program, for atmospheric sciences
The NEON Internship Program, for ecological sciences

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bartel
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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1964 Alaska Earthquake – Extended Version

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake. To commemorate the quake, we’re posting this extended version of the interview we broadcast on March 25, 2014, with Dr. Mike West, the Alaska State Seismologist and Director of the Alaska Earthquake Center. How On Earth host Beth Bartel talked with Dr. West about his recent paper, “Why the 1964 Great Alaska Earthquake Matters 50 Years Later,” published in Seismological Research Letters.

To whet your appetite, here are some of the topics we covered:

  • How this earthquake fit in to the still-young idea of plate tectonics.
  • How geodesy–the study of the shape of the Earth and how it changes–helped nail this event down as a subduction earthquake.  (Also: How the simplest explanation is not always the right one.)
  • Monitoring: Where we were then, where we are now.
  • Why we should look to Alaska to test out earthquake early monitoring systems.
  • How this quake led us to see that the same thing could–and has–happened off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
  • Local tsunamis, and what we should do about them.
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Big Game, Warm World // Hour of Code

Bull_elk_bugling_in_the_gibbon_meadow_in_the_yellowstone_national_parkBig Game and Climate Change (start time 5:00) Last week, the National Resource Council released some serious warnings about climate change, saying its impacts could be abrupt and surprising. But as How on Earth contributor Brian Calvert reports, the National Wildlife Federation says big game is already getting hit. Species from mule deer to antelope to bear are all dealing with climate change in their own ways. Only elk are faring better, at least for now. All of that could mean serious changes for Colorado’s hunters and wildlife watchers, says, Dr. Doug Inkley, the senior wildlife biologist for the organization and the lead author of a recent report, “Nowhere to Hide: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World.”

Cu_computer_scienceHour of Code (start time 12:30) Coding is not just a magic trick where ones and zeros make Angry Birds. But it can be surprisingly simple to learn. You can do it in an hour. But you might want to use a game built by a team here at CU-Boulder. The tutorial is being offered as part of Computer Science Week. In the studio with How On Earth’s Joel Parker to explain the university’s so-called “Hour of Code” is Alex Repenning, a computer science professor at CU.

Hosts: Brian Calvert, Joel Parker
Producer: Brian Calvert
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Beth Bartel

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MAVEN: Mission to Mars // Communicating geophysics

Mars’ atmosphere may have been depleted following the loss of the planet’s magnetic field. Illustration courtesy of NASA.

On this week’s How On Earth, we’re joined by the University of Colorado’s Bruce Jakosky, principle investigator on the MAVEN satellite mission that will investigate Mars’ upper atmosphere. NASA granted final approval to MAVEN last fall, and the spacecraft is scheduled to launch in 2013. Also, Ted Burnham speaks with Carol Finn, incoming president of the American Geophysical Union, about the need for scientists to communicate better with the public.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Producer: Shelley Schlender

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How On Earth is produced by a small group of volunteers at the studios of KGNU, an independent community radio station in the Boulder-Denver metro area. KGNU is supported by the generosity and efforts of community members like you. Visit kgnu.org to learn more.

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