Science Education, Evolution & Creationism

the book “Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)" by Matt Young and Paul Strode

At its most basic level, science can be considered as non-political or at least politically neutral: science is dedicated to the collection of facts and interpreting them to help us understand the universe and how it works. For that reason, many people – one may even say our culture in general – places a high value in being scientifically literate. Or at least we pay lip service to that idea. But when the results of science end up contradicting and conflicting with other ideals such as religious beliefs, personal behaviors, or vested interests, then science can become very political. Perhaps the two most visible examples of this politicization of science are in the areas of climate change and evolution, where the discussion ranges from the White House and Congress to local school boards and textbooks. Our guest today has front line experience in several aspects of science and education. Dr. Paul Strode is a biology teacher in the Boulder Valley School District, and has been an instructor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado. Dr. Strode is co-author of the book: “Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)” – also available and reviews here and here.

Hosts: Susan Moran and Joel Parker
Producer & Engineer: Joel Parker

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Beekeeping in Troubled Times

Beekeeper's Lament, by Hannah Nordhaus; image courtesy of Harper Perennial

This week on How On Earth co-host Susan Moran interviews Hannah Nordhaus, Boulder-based author of the new book, The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honey Bees Feed America. Nordhaus describes how one passionate, colorful and quixotic beekeeper named John Miller struggles against all odds to keep beekeeping–and bees–alive at a time when they’re being slammed by a mysterious mixture of Colony Collapse Disorder, varroa mites and other maladies.

Nordhaus will give a reading at the Boulder Book Store on June 30, 7:30 p.m.

Hosts: Joel Parker and Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker

 

 

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Cell Phone Safety

The World Health Organization has officially listed cells phones as a possible carcinogen. One expert who’s not surprised at the designation is University of Colorado, distinguished professor Frank Barnes. For decades, Barnes has cobbled together hard-to-find research dollars to study the biological effects of magnetic fields and radiation, including cell phone radiation. In 2008, he chaired a National Research Council report that called for more research into the health effects of all kinds of wireless technologies, including laptop computers, wireless phones, and cell phones. In today’s show, Frank Barnes talks with How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender about cell phone safety.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Tom McKinnon
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Tom McKinnon

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Cell Phone Safety – Extended Version

 

Here is the extended version of the interview with CU Electrical Engineering Professor Frank Barnes about cell phone safety.

 

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Cavemen Stayed Local while Women Left Home

We talk with Sandi Copeland, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at CU, about this story:

Two million years ago, two-legged apes roamed the African landscape. Many of these ancient hominins,  lived in limestone caves in what is now South Africa. We know this through fossilized skull fragments and teeth from those caves.

But fossils only tell us where an individual died—not where it grew up, or where it traveled during its life. Or do they? New research from the University of Colorado that’s been published in the journal Nature, reveals that male hominins in South Africa grew up in the caves where they died, while the females who died there grew up elsewhere and migrated to the caves as adults.

The research not only sheds light on the behaviors of early human relatives; it makes use of a new technique, pioneered by the CU researchers, to quickly and cheaply analyze the birthplace of fossilized creatures.

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

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Colorado river crisis // “The Believing Brain”

Lake Mead's dipping water line. Image courtesy of futuretimeline.net.

This week co-host Susan Moran speaks with Dr. Doug Kenney, director of the Western Water Policy Program at the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado,  Boulder’s law school. Kenney sheds light on the Colorado River Compact and how population growth, climate change, and water politics, are expected to further threaten our future water supply.

And Ted Burnham interviews skeptic and science writer Michael Shermer. His new book, “The Believing Brain,” presents a counter-intuitive explanation for how we form and reinforce our beliefs. Shermer draws on evidence from neuroscience, psychology and sociology to show that we often form beliefs first, and only then look for reasons to believe.

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

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Moonwalking with Einstein (Part 2) // Brain Evolution

We present the second part of Joel Parker’s interview of Joshua Foer, author of the book “Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything” (the full interview can be found here).  To round out the “brain theme” of the show, we also include an excerpt of BBC’s Science in Action where Jon Stuart talks with paleontologist Timothy Rowe about how our brains evolved and how scientists can study brains from long dead, ancient mammals.

Producer: Joel Parker
Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran, Breanna Draxler
Engineer: Ted Burnham

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The Future of Space Flight: Alan Stern & Elon Musk

We share excerpts from a talk about the Future of Spaceflight, presented at CU-Boulder in April, featuring Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute and Elon Musk of Space X.

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

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2011 GoldLab Symposium – Speaker Sessions

Here are audio recordings from the 2011 GoldLab Symposium at CU-Boulder, with both Friday and Saturday sessions.  For power point slides and videos of the session, go to GoldLabColorado.com

FRIDAY – PART 1:  Health and Medical Problems Everywhere

Moderator: Fintan Steele, CIMB at CU, Boulder

 

9 AM:  “Our Dialogue, One Year Later”

Larry Gold –  MCDB, CU and SomaLogic “Our Dialogue, One Year Later”

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Gold Lab Symposium & Fat for Stronger Muscles

We learn about new research that indicates that the combination of exercise plus eating high cholesterol foods may help build lean body mass, even in older adults.

What’s more, eating high cholesterol foods such as cheese, beef fat and eggs, when combined with exercise, also seems more heart safe than most people think, according to new research published by Steve Riechman, in the Journal of Gerontology.

And we talk with Larry Gold, founder of the  Gold Lab Symposium.  The 2011 symposium features scientists, researchers and policy makers discussing how health and science can intersect with healthcare policy, and how to make each one  better.

The 2011 GoldLab Symposium was held at CU-Boulder’s Muenzinger Auditorium May 13 – 14th.  For audio recordings of the sessions, go here.  For videos and powerpoint presentations from the sessions, go to GoldLabColorado.com

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Co-hosts: Joel Parker, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Shelley Schlender

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