Fingerprint Hand Gun // High Altitude Observatory

Kai Kloepfer - Designer of Fingerprint Smart Firearm Technology

Kai Kloepfer – Designer of Fingerprint Smart Firearm Technology

Fingerprint Hand Gun.  (starts at 5:45) How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender talks with Boulder teen scientist Kai Kloepfer, who is creating a “Smart Gun” that won him first prize in engineering at the INTEL international science fair and a $50,000 grant from the Smart Tech Challenges Foundation.  Kloepfer’s goal is to prevent accidental shootings of children.  His gun fires only when the user’s fingerprint is authorized.

High Altitude Observatory - Hawaii location

High Altitude Observatory – Hawaii location

High Altitude Observatory.  (starts at 11:35) Director Scott McIntosh talks with How on Earth’s Joel Parker about the observatory and its 75th year celebrations.




Hosts: Joel Parker, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Headline Contributors: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Gold King Spill, Mining Prospects


Contaminated Animus River following Gold King Mine spill.
Photo credit: RiverHugger/Creative Commons

Science and Politics of Mining (start time: 6:49)  On August 5 an inactive mine named Gold King, which had been leaking toxins for years, spewed more than 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a creek that feeds into the Animus River in southwest Colorado. Its neon orange path of wastewater was shocking. But also shocking is the long history of acid mine drainage pollution and the lax regulations that allow mining companies to basically walk away from their disasters. Dr. Mark Williams, a professor of geography at CU Boulder, and an expert in mountain hydrology and hydrochemistry., has worked on remediation of several mines in the state. He speaks with How On Earth host Susan Moran about the anatomy of mines, how this disaster happened, what it suggests about the many other precarious mines in the state, and what should be done to prevent such disasters from happening.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Headline Contributors: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Global Climate Models & Climate Change

Events like heat waves are more likely with climate change. Image courtesy of Heartlander Magazine

Events like heat waves are more likely with climate change.
Image courtesy of Heartlander Magazine

Beth Bennett speaks with Claudia Tebaldi, a climate scientist at NCAR, about her work analyzing climate models to project climate change in the future. She addressed heat waves and local conditions and how these models can be used to make projections in these areas. Start time approx 5 min.

Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Historical Analysis of Agriculture and Greenhouse Gases

Adler_Cowk1223-19-e1438626342444When it comes to reducing greenhouses gases, every little bit helps, and that includes managing the greenhouse gases produced by how we grow our food.  Raising livestock and growing crops both generate greenhouse gases, and to gauge their impact, a new study takes the long range view.  The results were published in a paper: “Measuring and mitigating agricultural greenhouse gas production in the U.S. Great Plains, 1870-2000” in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  It analyzes 100 years of agricultural production, and it takes this look at farming close to home – it focuses on the bread basket of the United States – the Great Plains, which includes eastern Colorado.  Here to tell us more are scientists Myron Guttman (University of Colorado) and Bill Parton (Colorado State University)

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Kendra Krueger
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Beth Bennett, Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker

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Grazing the Niobrara // Savory Institute

Using ATVs as "wolves" to move a herd of cattle

Using ATVs as “wolves” to move a herd of cattle

Mooo-ving Cattle Near the Niobrara (starts 4:28) We talk with Steve Hicks, director of the USFW  Niobrara Wildlife Refuge complex near Valentine, Nebraska and join the Rocking Arrow Ranch on a cattle moo-oo-vve designed to help maintain the quality of wild grasslands


savory institute mexico-1963-2003

“Before” and “After” holistic grazing adopted on a Mexican pasture – courtesy the Savory Institute

The Savory Institute (starts 10:05)  We talk with Boulder’s grazing think tank, The Savory Institute, founded by Allan Savory, about holistic grazing strategies that have the potential to restore grasslands that have been degraded through overgrazing . . . or undergrazing.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender
Producers: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Daniel Strain, Beth Bennett

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Pluto Flyby // Case of the Rickety Cossack

PlutoPluto Flyby  (start time 1:00): Joel Parker discusses the New Horizons mission from the command center live!

Case of the Rickety Cossack (start time 25:00): Beth Bennett talks to Ian Tattersall about his new book,  a fascinating précis of the study of human evolution and some startling new findings showing that our species is one of many hominids in which natural selection mixed and matched various characteristics and abilities.

Host: Beth Bennett
Show Producer: Beth Bennett
Board Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Additional Contributions: Susan Moran

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Unprocessed Food // Bee Biodiversity

Unprocessed-book coverReal Food (start time 4:20): What we eat , and how we eat, is inextricably connected to our own health as well as the health of the planet.  Every decision we make—whether to bake a chocolate cake or buy it from Safeway or at a Farmer’s Market—is full of nuances and even contradictions. Megan Kimble is a writer who became obsessed with wondering how she could make a difference in the world by examining her eating habits. Her just-published book, called Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, is her personal journey into the scientific, public health, environmental and political issues related to food. Kimble will  speak tonight at the Boulder Book Store, at 7:30, and tomorrow night, July 30, at Tattered Cover in Denver, at 7:00 p.m.

Photo credit: Dan Groege

Palaeorhiza (from Papau New Guinea). Photo credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The Buzz About Bees (start time 13:49): Across the United States, buzzing pollinators are key to the growth of countless flowering plants. But many bee species are also disappearing nationwide, due to pesticide use, habitat loss, and other threats.  Dr. Sam Droege is a wildlife biologist who studies this vanishing world. He heads up the U.S. Geological Survey’s Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. For several years he’s also led an effort to photograph bees — very, very close up.  Droege’s bee photos are the basis for a new book called “Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World.”

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producers: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Daniel Strain

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Student Dust Counter reaches Pluto

newhorizons nearing Pluto

New Horizons Spacecraft Nearing Pluto (artist rendition)

(Main Feature Start Time 6:00) We talk with CU students, former students and their advisor about how a student built science instrument called the Student Dust Counter managed to travel billions of miles on the New Horizons spacecraft, and what happens with its project to study space dust, now that it’s near Pluto.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Kathy Frasier
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran


Fourth Phase of Water//Extended Excerpt

Here is an extended excerpt with Dr. Gerald Pollack, University of Washington professor of Bioengineering. We talk about what barriers exist for scientists in today’s community and a new resource for research to be evaluated in a rigours and open minded format.

Listen here!


The Fourth Phase of Water

4th-phase-coverHow On Earth reporter Kendra Krueger caught up with Gerald Pollack, Bioengineering professor from the University of Washington to talk about the physical chemistry of water.  The science of water has a sordid past of controversy and dispute which continues today in our current scientific and layman communities.  Why is that? What is so strange about the properties of water?  Find out more in this weeks episode of How on Earth

Pollack Laboratory Website


Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Beth Bennett

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