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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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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Climate-health link//Smart grid

mosquito net, photo courtesy of Jason Lindsey/Perceptive Visions

On this How On Earth show we explore how climate change is taking a toll on human health, and then how “smart grid” technology can help reduce the carbon footprint of electrical power generation.  Co-host Susan Moran interviews Paul Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School; and Dan Ferber, co-authors of the new book “Changing Planet, Changing Health: How the Climate Crisis Threatens Our Health and What We Can Do About It.”

Then reporter Tom McKinnon interviews Davin Lim of Tendril, a Boulder-based company that is building the electronic pipelines to make the smart grid work.

Producer: Susan Moran
Co-hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Engineer: Ted Burnham

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Virtual power plants//Wildfires and climate change

Wildfire in the West

Tom McKinnon interviews, via phone, Peter Asmus of Pike Research about Virtual Power Plants.  This emerging information technology may help to integrate more renewable power onto the gird.  And even save money for customers who are willing to turn down their energy demand when the grid is stressed.

At the recent Conference on World Affairs, Susan Moran sat down with Peter Hildeband, the director of the Earth Sciences Directorate at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.  He talked about how climate change will impact wildfires in the West.

Producer:  Tom McKinnon
Co-Hosts:  Tom McKinnon and Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham

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Natural Gas Boom//BP Oil Spill’s Human Toll

We discuss the environmental and human costs of natural gas drilling practices, and then the human toll of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico one year after the disaster.

On natural gas drilling practices, Susan Moran interviews Steve Torbit, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Rocky Mountain Center; and Steven Hall, communications director for the Colorado Bureau of Land Management.

Ted Burnham interviews Liesel Ritchie, assistant director for research at the Natural Hazards Center, about the BP oil disaster’s social costs. Click here for details of the study.

Producer: Tom McKinnon
Co-hosts
: Tom McKinnon and Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Headlines: Breanna Draxler

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Theme Song Contest // Science of Music

Image courtesy of Flickr user davdenic

Today we announce a contest to find new theme music for How On Earth! Our current theme has served us well for more than 20 years, but we feel it’s time to change our tune. We’re looking to local musicians for that new “How On Earth” sound. Check out our Contest Page for more information, and to listen to and comment on submitted music.

Joining us in the studio today is Tom Wasinger, the Grammy-winning producer of our long-standing theme. We talk with him about the history and creation of that theme, and about his hopes for this new theme music contest. We also hear from Anjali Bhatara, of the Laboratory of the Psychology of Perception in Paris. She studies the way music affects the brain, the mind, and the emotions (hear an extended version of this interview). And we’ll get some advice on selecting a memorable new theme from music expert Don Campbell, author of The Mozart Effect and founder of the Institute for Music, Health, and Education here in Boulder.

Hosts: Ted Burnham and Tom Yulsman

Engineer: Shelley Schlender

Producer: Ted Burnham

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Pseudoscience // Conservation

Welcome to a special edition of How on Earth, done in conjunction with the Conference on World Affairs, which is being held this week on the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus.  Our two guests are participants in the Conference on World Affairs.  This first part of the show is Conference Panel 2051 titled “Pseudoscience”, with guest Seth Shostak.  Dr. Shostak is a Senior Astronomer at the SETI Institute, in Mountain View, California.  Our second guest is Larry Schweiger is president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, the largest conservation organization in the U.S.  We talk with him about conservation and environmental policy.

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

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Ocean thermal energy//Climate and drought in the Rockies

Ocean Thermal Energy Plant Schematic

Our live guests are consultant Dr. Robert Cohen and CU scientist Kristen Averyt.  Dr. Cohen discusses ocean thermal energy — a method to harvest some of the almost limitless solar energy captured daily by the oceans.  Dr. Averyt surveys the future of the Intermountain West as we increase temperature and put increasing population pressure on a dwindling water supply.

Producer: Tom McKinnon
Co-hosts: Tom McKinnon and Susan Moran
Engineer: Breanna Draxler
Headlines: Ted Burnham and Breanna Draxler

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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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