Titan Talk with Sarah Hörst

Headlines: Inheritance of mitochondrial DNA.  Coffee and Parkinson’s disease. Sending your name and a message to the New Horizons spacecraft.  Winds on Mars.  Water on Asteroids.

16278_PIA20016Feature: Titan (starts at 8:55) The solar system has so many different worlds that come in all shapes and sizes and histories, from boiling hot Mercury and Venus to icy Pluto and the Kuiper belt.  Such extreme alien worlds are exciting, but perhaps the places that catch our imaginations the most are the ones that are more familar – perhaps with the hope of humans one day visiting there and even living there.  So we think of places that have atmospheres and have – or once had – liquid water. But then there are those places that live in what you might call “the uncanny valley” between familiar and alien, and perhaps Saturn’s moon Titan fits into that category, with an atmosphere (but not one that you would want to breathe) and lakes (but not ones you would want to swim in).

Our guest today is Titan researcher  Dr. Sarah Hörst, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, where she also is a member of the Hopkins Extreme Materials Institute. She is a Co-Investigator in the proposed Dragonfly mission to Titan.  You can also follow her on Twitter as @PlanetDr.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits, Gretchen Wettstein
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributor: Beth Bennett

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Nature and Health

Photo: Jennifer Miller

Photo: Jennifer Miller

Nature is good for you.
It can be a walk in the woods that helps to calm your nervous system and spark novel ideas, or a wilderness retreat that helps to reduce symptoms of PTSD or ADHD.  But little is actually understood about how nature offers healing effects. What are the mechanisms? How much nature is enough, and to do what? And how enduring are the effects?  “Nature” isn’t only limited to places like Yellowstone or Rocky Mountain National Park.  Nature abounds in some cities, as well.  City parks, tree-lined neighborhoods, your own garden – these are slices of nature that can have huge benefits to your physical and mental health.  However, many cities and neighborhoods that lack a healthy tree canopy, and produce a lot of air pollution from vehicle traffic are plagued by high rates of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, among other illnesses, among residents.  At a time when humans around the globe are migrating to cities at rates never seen before, it is critical that cities increasingly become part of the solution, not just a major culprit behind environmental degradation and human disease.

Today’s show is the first in a series we’ll offer on the connections between nature and human health. It’s called “Nature Rx.”

Our three guests today are working in the nexus between environmental conservation and human health, to make cities part of the solution:

  • Dr. Ted Smith, director of the Center of Healthy Air, Water and Soil, at the University of Louisville’s Envirome Institute.
  • Christopher Hawkins, Urban Conservation Program Manager at The Nature Conservancy.
  • Janette Heung, principal and owner of JWG Global, a management consulting and research think tank in Colorado focusing on environmental conservation and public health.

Read more in the Colorado Outdoor Rx report and the UN Environment Programme report on air pollution.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Front Range Fracking // Planet+Human Health

Karley Robinson with her son outside their home in Windsor. Photo credit: Ted Wood

Karley Robinson with her son outside their home in Windsor. Photo credit: Ted Wood

Today’s show offers two features:
Oil & Gas Impacts (start time: 1:05) Proposition 112, which would require oil and gas wells to be at least 2,500 feet from homes, schools, parks and other buildings, has highlighted mounting public concerns about the health, social and other impacts of extensive drilling along Colorado’s Front Range.  Weld County is  center stage for the latest oil and gas boom; nearly half of Colorado’s 55,000 active wells are located there. Jason Plautz, a Denver-based journalist, discussed with host Susan Moran the science and politics surrounding drilling activities, and whether explosions such as the one in Windsor last December could happen in many other locations. Plautz and Daniel Glick wrote a feature article that has just been published in High Country News.

healthy_planet-imageHealthy Planet+Healthy Humans? (start time: 14:46) Matthew Burgess has been immersed in thinking about and studying how we humans, and the planet we inhabit, can both remain intact—in fact, can both thrive–well into the future. What’s he smok’in, you might ask? In fact, he is a serious environmental scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder. Dr. Burgess and nearly two dozen colleagues authored a recently published scientific paper that applies models to show how we can meet demands of increased populations and economic growth in 2050, while simultaneously achieving bold and effective conservation and climate goals set forth by the United Nations. Dr. Burgess is an assistant professor in Environmental Studies, with an additional appointment in Economics. And he works at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES), the collaboration between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Colorado. He discusses the paper and its implications with hosts Susan Moran and Joel Parker.

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

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Dogs for Diabetics

Dogs4Diabetics Founder Mark RueffenachtDogs have an incredible sense of smell – it’s so good, people can train dogs to sniff our everything from illegal drugs and explosives to lost people and even computer “thumbnail” drives, that maybe someone is trying to sneak into a high security building so they can sneak out information.  So how about dogs sniffing for something life-saving, such as a dangerous drop in blood sugars for an insulin-injecting diabetic? For a healthy person, the amount of sugar in the entire bloodstream at anytime is roughly 1 teaspoon. One teaspoon of sugar in around 5 liters of blood. That’s it.  For most people, the body’s own insulin production keeps blood sugars in a relatively healthy range, with the pancreas adjusting insulin levels in miniscule amounts to keep blood sugars in balance. For a diabetic who injects insulin, the injection itself can end up putting too much or too little insulin into the body, and this is especially dangerous when it forces blood sugar levels to go far lower than they normally would.  Modern technology is reducing the risk, somewhat, through continuous blood glucose monitoring devices. But even these have a lag time, and since sometimes a diabetics blood sugar levels can change dramatically in just 30 minutes, there’s still risk. But now, there are new “blood sugar monitors”. They don’t require batteries. They’re very friendly, they have incredible noses, and they even come equipped with wagging tails.  In today’s edition of How on Earth, we talk about “Dogs for Diabetics”.

For more information, visit these links:
https://dogs4diabetics.com
https://www.virtahealth.com/team
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BoulderDiabetes
https://www.meetup.com/Boulder-Low-Carb-Diabetes-Meetup

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

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Wildfire Health Impacts // Detained Immigrant Children Suffer Medical Woes

We offer two feature interviews on this week’s show:

Wildfire-induced hazey Denver skyline Photo credit: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Wildfire-induced hazey Denver skyline
Photo credit: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke (start time: 4:22) It’s peak wildfire season. Smoke from forest and grass fires contains particulates that can irritate eyes, throat and lungs — especially in children, the elderly, and people already suffering from asthma, allergies, heart disease. How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews Anthony Gerber, MD/PhD, a pulmonologist and an associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado, Denver, about the medical risks of breathing smokey air and what people can do to minimize the impact. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also offers info and warnings on air quality in Colorado.

Migrant children at detention center in Texas, Photo credit: Women News Network

Migrant children at detention center in Texas, Photo credit: Women News Network

Detained Migrant Children Suffer Medically (start time: 17:02) Since April, when the Trump administration’s controversial zero-tolerance policy went into effect to crack down on families crossing the border illegally, more than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents and detained in government detention centers. More recently, about 200 of the children have been reunited with their parents, but bulk of them have not. As a result, many of the children suffer from physical and mental health problems. Colleen Kraft, a pediatrician and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, talks with host Susan Moran about the medical impacts on migrant children.

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

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Science of Psychedelics

How to Change Your Mind PollanWe present another part of our interview with Michael Pollan about his book “How to Change Your Mind:  What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression and Transcendence”.  It is an investigation into the medical and scientific revolution taking place around psychedelic drugs, and the spellbinding story of his own life-changing psychedelic experiences.  Books like “How to Change our Mind” are starting to “alter the state” of awareness about modalities that are outside the conventional box of standard medical treatments for mental health problems.  And there are other ways this wave of new awareness is heading into our communities.

will-bio-photoWe also talk with Boulder Psychiatrist Dr. Will Van Derveer, who leads the Integrative Psychiatry Institute.  They will hold a professional conference this October 19-21 in Boulder. Their goal is to educate more health practitioners about how body imbalances, such as gut challenges and mold infections, along with undiagnosed trauma often underlie much of what leads people to seek psychiatric health.  One of the modalities that will be discussed at this professional conference is psychedelics.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Joel Parker
Producer / Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Chasing New Horizons, continued

51m+Ih4C2FL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_In 2015, the New Horizons Spacecraft flew past Pluto. Because Pluto is so far away, it took nearly 10 years of travel for the spacecraft to reach that distant dwarf planet — and that was after a decade of work to get the spacecraft to the launch pad. Planetary scientists Alan Stern and David Grinspoon have written a new book, called: “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto”. The book tells the story of developing and operating the New Horizon mission.

How on Earth’s own Joel Parker is also a scientist on the New Horizons mission, and he had a chance to chat with Alan and David about their book. Last week we heard the first part of this interview. In today’s show, we present Part 2 of that interview.  You can also listen to the full extended interview.

Host/Producer:  Alejandro Soto
Engineer:  Chip Grandits
Add’l Contributions/Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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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

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Chasing New Horizons – full extended interview

51m+Ih4C2FL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_Here we provide the full interview by How on Earth’s Joel Parker of planetary scientists Dr. Alan Stern (Southwest Research Institute) and Dr. David Grinspoon (Planetary Science Institute), about their new book: “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto“. Their book describes the the story of Pluto and NASA’s New Horizons mission, bringing the reader backstage to hear the details and meet the personalities behind building, launching, and flying this audacious mission.

Excerpts of this interview were first broadcast on KGNU on May 15th and May 22nd.

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2018 Graduation Special (part 2)

diploma-and-graduation-hatWith graduation season is upon us, today’s edition of How on Earth is the second of a two-part annual “Graduation Special”. Our guests in the studio today are scientists who will receive their Ph.D. in a STEM-related field.  They talk about their thesis research, their grad school experiences, and what they have planned next.

bio_HyunJooOhHyunJoo Oh – CU Boulder, ATLAS Institute
Topic: Computational Design Tools and Techniques for Paper Mechatronics

 

 

Nathan ParrishNathan Parrish – CU Boulder, Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences
Topic: Low Thrust Optimization in Cislunar and Translunar Space

 

Diana Perry Diana Perry – Stockholm University, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences
Topic: Swedish Seagrass Ecosystems in a Changing Climate: Coastal Connectivity and Global Change Sensitivity

 

Host / Producer / Engineer : Joel Parker

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