Andrea Tilstra – Deaths of Despair – or not

Andrea TilstraCU-Boulder Sociologist Andrea Tilstra discusses how this decade’s reduction of lifespan in the US  ties closely with two factors 1) easier access to painkillers and opioids, and 2) the obesity epidemic and the related health problems that come with it.  Tilstra also explains the quesitons a social scientist/demographer asks when examining the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 Boulder County local tracking of the pandemic, and the human factors to consider as people face the stresses of social distancing and trying to stay connected.

Producer and Host:   Shelley Schlender
Engineer:   Maeve Conran
Executive Producer:   Jill Sjong
Additional Contributions:  Music from Lynn Patrick

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Clean – The New Science of Skin

31hxj3045QLHow clean is “clean”?  How do you get clean, and how important is it…could it actually be advantageous to your skin and general health to not try to get too clean?  We talk with medical doctor and author Dr. James Hamblin about his new book “Clean:  The New Science Of Skin“.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Jill Sjong
Show Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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Corona Virus: Therapies and Transmission

nCoV-1This week on How on Earth, we are still producing off site. Beth and Angele give an update on treatment and transmission of the corona virus and Shelley interviews CU Boulder scientists Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal who explain the pros and cons of using old medicines to fight Covid-19, and they describe some new “medicines” in the future, and how to speed up their development.

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Angele Sjong, Joel Parker, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Beth Bennett & Joel Parker
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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COVID-19: ACE, Targeted Therapies, Old & New Medicines

Antimicrobial Regeneration Consortium LogoThis episode talks about research about COVID-19, angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), and targeted therapies, and our feature is an interview with CU-Boulder scientists Anushree Chatterjee and Prashant Nagpal. This husband and wife science team explains why there may be a downside to adapting old medications to fight Covid-19.  They’ll also explain their anguish about why creating new “drugs” to fight Covid-19 cannot happen as fast as they or anyone would like.  They have founded the Antimicrobial REgeneration Consortium, with the goal of speeding up the creation and availability of antimicrobial medicines.  They are also developing a way to give people a tiny dose of nanoparticles–basically incredibly tiny microchips, preprogrammed to specifically target a disease such as Covid-19  (see our earlier discussions with them).

Host: Beth Bennett, Angele Sjong, Shelley Schlender, Joel Parker
Producer: Joel Parker, Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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At the Intersection of Science and Art with Jorge Perez-Gallego

dsc09823We talk with University of Colorado Scholar in Residence Jorge Perez-Gallego about many non-traditional paths one might take after getting a science Ph.D. as well as CU’s Grand Challenge and the fascinating intersection of science and art through the Nature, Environment, Science & Technology (NEST) Studio for the Arts.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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Concussion Test // Pot & Pain Meds // Chords and Codons

 

Romberg testConcussion Test (Starts 1:00)  David Howell is chief researcher at Children’s Hospital Colorado.  Howell says the century old Romberg Balance Test can help evaluate how long a child will need therapeutic intervention after a blow to the brain.

 

CannabisPot & Pain Meds (Starts 7:00 )  Mark Twardowski is doctor in Grand Junction who does endoscopic procedures that include pain medications.  Twardowski has just published an analysis that shows his patients who use marijuana need more pain medication and sedation during a procedure, such as a colonoscopy, compared to patients who do not report having used marijuana.  GO HERE FOR INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

 

Chords and CodonsChords and Codons (Starts )  Fulbright Scholar Colin Campbell is a scientist who specializes in spectroscopy.  He also composes songs that turn science data into music.  Today (April 16th) at 5:30, Campbell’s songs will be part of a performance at CU-Boulder’s Biofrontiers Institute in the Butcher Auditorium.

 

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

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The Goodness Paradox – Full Interview

cover-Goodness ParadoxThe Goodness Paradox (Starts 5:22): On this week’s show we play the full interview with Richard Wrangham, a primatologist at Harvard University, about his new book, The Goodness Paradox: The Strange Relationship Between Virtue and Violence in Human Evolution.  Wrangham discusses with How On Earth hosts Susan Moran and Chip Grandits how, and why, homo sapiens evolved to be both peaceful and violent (less reactively aggressive and more proactively aggressive, like our bonobo ancestors), and what it bodes for the future of human civilization. On the pledge-drive show last week we played short snippets of the interview. And thanks to our listeners who pledged, some of whom received a copy of The Goodness Paradox. And thanks again to Pantheon Books for donating them.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Susan Moran
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Soft Robotic Muscles

HASEL "Soft Robotic Muscles" lift a Raspberry

HASEL “Soft Robotic Muscles” lift a Raspberry

Soft Robotic Muscles (WHOLE SHOW)  Robotic Materials are going beyond gears and levers toward powerful components that are softer and more muscular.  These materials may someday soon help build more human like prosthetic limbs for amputees. . . . or help a harvesting machine pluck ripe strawberries without squishing them. PhD students Nick Kellaris and Shane Mitchell  are with CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science — Keplinger  Lab.  They call their soft robotic muscles HASEL actuators.  HASEL stands for Hydraulically Amplified Self-healing Electrostatic actuators. 

Hosts, Producer and Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Cricket Chorus // Foliage Science

This week’s How On Earth features the following two segments:

Snowy Tree Cricket. Photo credit: Scott Severs

Snowy Tree Cricket.
Photo credit: Scott Severs

Late-summer Cricket Chorus (start time: 1:02) One of the most poetic sounds of the end of summer is …. no, not your kids kicking and screaming because summer is over. It’s the sound of crickets, katydids and other melodic insects “chirping” at night. Our focus here is Snowy Tree Crickets in Colorado. They are called “temperature” crickets because you can calculate what the temperature is outside based on how many times these crickets “chirp” in a certain time period. How On Earth’s Shelley Schlender took a stroll recently with two Boulder naturalists — Steve Jones and Scott Severs — to learn more about how, and why, crickets in general make their chirping sound, and why we hear so many of them in the evenings this time of year. Some resources about crickets and their brethren: 1)  http://songsofinsects.com/  2) biology and recordings of nearly all singing Orthopterans (crickets, grasshoppers, katydids), at  Singing Insects of North America (SINA)  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Walker/buzz/.

Big Blue Canyon, Colo. Photo credit: Jeff Mitton

Big Blue Canyon, Colo. Photo credit: Jeff Mitton

The Science of Aspen (and other) Foliage (starts: 9:40) One of the most iconic images of Colorado is aspen groves quaking in early fall in their brilliant yellow, orange and even red hues. This year, the aspen, and many other plants, are changing colors earlier than normal. Due largely to the extended warm and dry conditions, many aspen leaves are fading and shriveling without turning bright colors. Dr. Jeff Mitton, an evolutionary biologist and a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder, talks with host Susan Moran about what dictates the timing and intensity of foliage. Dr. Mitton also writes a bimonthly column, called Natural Selections, in the Daily Camera. Here’s one (of many) on crickets.

Hosts: Maeve Conran, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Contributions: Shelley Schlender
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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