Smoke Free Casinos Reduce 911 Calls // Mirrors and Water = Hydrogen Fuel

Smoke free casinos mean fewer Ambulance Calls

Smoke Free Casinos Reduce 911 Calls (starts at 2:41) Colorado’s ban on smoking up at Central City and Black Hawk casinos has not only reduced second hand smoke.  It’s reduced the number of 911 calls for ambulances.    A new study in this week’s journal, Circulation, reports that ambulance calls to casinos in Gilpin County fell 20 percent after smoking was banned.  For more, we speak with the study’s lead author Stanton Glantz, director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education

CU-Boulder – Artist’s Image of Hydrogen Fuel Plant, including mirrors

Mirrors and Water = Hydrogen Fuel (starts at 7:40) We hear how to make hydrogen fuel, from water,  sunshine and mirrors, from  Chris Muhich, a PhD student at CU-Boulder whose dream is to create affordable, clean burning hydrogen available to everyone.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender & Jim Pullen
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Buzz Aldrin’s Vision for Space//The Bees Needs

Buzz Aldrin’s Vision for Space Exploration (starts at 6:14) Dr. Buzz Aldrin advocates that the United States should not enter a space-race to the moon against the Chinese, or a race to Mars against the Russians, but rather show leadership by cooperating with the major space-faring nations to systematically step across the great void to the Red Planet. This is his personal Unified Space Vision. He is also working toward an independent council, a United Strategic Space Enterprise, that would advise American citizens about the nation’s space policy. USSE experts would draw on a deep knowledge of America’s previous successes and failures to present a unified plan of exploration, science, development, commerce, and security within a national foreign policy context. Buzz shared these visions with How On Earth’s Jim Pullen. Here’s an excerpt from his hour-long discussion with Jim. Stay tuned for the rest of his discussion, in which he shares little-known insights into why Apollo 11, not Apollo 12, was first to land humans on the moon, and never-before-shared honors for Neil Armstrong and Pete Conrad.

Bees Needs baby bee block at the KGNU Boulder studios © 2013 Jim Pullen

The Bees Needs (starts at 16:04) Colorado is home to over nine-hundred species of wild bees. Most of these solitary creatures nest in the ground, but others nest in the hollow stalks of plants, and about one hundred and fifty species nest in holes in wood. How are these bees doing? Are pesticides striking them down, like their honeybee cousins? How will they respond to changes in climate? CU scientists Dr. Alex Rose and Dr. Virginia Scott have embarked on a journey of discovery, and they’ve invited ordinary people to help. It’s the Bees Needs, a citizen-science project. How On Earther Jim Pullen is a part of that citizen-science team, and he invited Virgina and Alex to see what’s happening at the bustling bee block nest outside our studio.

Hosts: Jim Pullen and Susan Moran
Producer: Jim Pullen
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker and Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Fecal Microbial Transplant for C. Diff Colitis

We bring you two recent science releases involving Colorado scientists.  One features bumblebees and the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory.  The second looks at new tick-born disease from Missouri that was tracked down by Harry Savage, CDC Fort Collins.

We also share a story about an unusual medical treatment that is saving people from a devastating gut infection called recurrent C-Diff Colitis.  The treatment that cures this condition the most effectively is a fecal microbial transplant.  Giving perspectives about the “cure” are CU Health Sciences Gastroenterologist Steve Freeman, and CSU Veterinary Scientist, Rob Callan.  As for the treatment, this spring, the FDA put up hurdles so it was harder for doctors to do fecal transplants.  So much outcry arose, this summer, the FDA lifted the ban.

Hosts: Jim Pullen, Shelley Schlender
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Coming Up: Earthquakes and Fracking

Oil and gas facility in Larimer County, Colorado. (© 2013 Jim Pullen)

Does fracking cause earthquakes? KGNU is hosting a discussion on the correlation between earthquakes, fracking, deep injection wells, and geothermal projects. Join seismologists Dr. Bill Ellsworth, USGS Menlo Park, Dr. Emily Brodsky, UC Santa Cruz, and Dr. Nicholas van der Elst from Columbia’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory to learn the latest about anthropogenic (human-caused) earthquakes, including the Colorado connection. On KGNU’s The Morning Magazine, Wednesday, July 31, at 8:35AM. And to learn more before the show, listen to this short feature on Free Speech Radio News. To listen to the conversation, go here. Support your community radio, KGNU!

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World Listening Day

WWVB Ft. Collins (© 2013 Jim Pullen)

The World Listening Project celebrated its 40 anniversary on Thursday, July 18th. On Thursday, How On Earth’s Jim Pullen was in Ft. Collins recording audio for an upcoming story on the National Institute of Standards and Technology radio station WWVB. To celebrate the World Listening Project, World Listening Day, and the field of acoustic ecology, he took a few minutes to record a thunderstorm that was causing some havoc at the station. Take some time to listen quietly to the sounds in your life!

(Recorded using linear pulse-code modulation at a sample rate of 96 kHz and resolution of 24 bits per sample with a Marantz PMD 661 recorder specially fitted with low-noise preamplifiers by Oade Brothers and an Audio-Technica BP4025 x/y stereo field recording microphone. The audio file posted here is a 192 kbps mp3.)

Producer: Jim Pullen

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End of Night – Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light

The world is awash with artificial lights – so much so that most of us never experience the night sky like our ancestors did. So what?  Does it matter?  Is it simply an inevitable and acceptable result of progress?  Here in the studio with us today to talk about the personal and global effects of light pollution and the loss of dark skies at night is Paul Bogard who has written the book The End of Night. Searching for Natural Darkness in an Age of Artificial Light,

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

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Good & Bad Calories // PhD Comics

Good & Bad Calories (starts at 4:50) Ever since the 1970s, the rise of obesity in the United States has an epidemic. Researchers around the world are trying desperately to figure out why so many of us get fat, and what we can do to change that.  A large amount of funding, and support from public health policy, goes toward the hypothesis that we get fat because we eat too many calories and do not exercise enough; when someone eats more calories than they need, the instructions go, they should exercise.  That’s “Calories in, Calories Out.”  But recently, an expert with a different point of view spoke to a packed audience of doctors, staff and medical students at the University of Colorado Medical Center.  The expert is Gary Taubes, the author of the New York Times bestsellers “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Why We Get Fat“.  Taubes is also the recipient of angel investor funds: $60 million to devote to research to better understand how the kinds of foods we eat affect our metabolism.  Central to Taubes’ ideas is the opinion that “Calories in, Calories Out” simply cannot be enough to explain, or help people, maintain a healthy weight.  In this feature, we provide an excerpt from his talk at the CU Medical School.

PhD Comics (starts at 13:50) Unless you work in science, you may not always be aware of the humor that goes on among scientists and what the culture is like.  So what better way to show the comic parts of science than by way of a comic strip?  One of the more well-known science-oriented comic strips is called “PhD Comics” and is written by Jorge Cham, who is trained as an engineer, holds a bachelors degree from Georgia Tech and a PhD in robotics from Stanford.  He also was an instructor at Caltech, a researcher in a neuroscience lab, where he studied brain-and-machine interfaces, and he also has a chemistry background.  So he has a wide set of experiences to draw on…literally DRAW on…for his comic.  We talk with Jorge Cham to find out more about the comic and other ways the scientist comic artist unveils the secret lives of scientists and, in particular, science grad students.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Shelly Schlender
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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The Voodoo Doll Task // Drones for Climate Science

“Voodoo Doll” courtesy Creative Commons

The Voodoo Doll Task – (begins 5:30) Scientists have few ways to accurately measure agression.  How on Earth’s Garth Sundem talks with University of Kentucky psychology professor, Nathan DeWall, about a new fix. It’s called the Voodoo Doll Task. DeWall’s recent studies include over thirteen hundred subjects, and an upcoming research paper shows his voodoo doll task works darn well. What does an angry person do when holding a voodoo doll and a handful of pins, or when presented with a computerized version of the doll? The answer could indicate that person’s desire to carry out the aggressive action in real life.

CIRIES Data Hawk

Drones for Climate Science – (begins 15:00) These days they get a bad rap because of their use by the government to snoop on people, and even to kill terrorists. But unmanned aerial vehicles – often called  “drones” – are increasingly being used to save the planet, or at least to measure and understand a slice of it.  For more, How on Earth’s Susan Moran talks with Doug Weibel  who is part of a CU-Boulder science and engineering team that designed an unmanned aerial vehicle , or UAV, that they’re about to take to Alaska’s Arctic Circle. The aircraft –called DataHawk — is meant to help them better grasp how Arctic sea ice is melting, especially in the summer in areas where it used to persist for many years.

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

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China’s environmental impact // 100 Year Starship

Today, June 18, we offer two features interviews:
Feature #1 – China’s Environmental Impact (start time  4:46): China’s meteoric economic rise is causing harmful side effects, ranging from choking air pollution domestically to threatened forests, wildlife and air quality around the globe. Of course China’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions still pale in comparison to those in the United States, and roughly one-third of China’s CO2 emissions are generated to manufacture goods that are exported to the U.S. and other nations.  Craig Simons, a former journalist and author of a recently published book, The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World, discusses with co-host Susan Moran these critical issues, including coal mining in Colorado for export to China.

 

Feature #2 – 100 Year Starship (start time 15:35): Science and exploration tend to be long-term commitments. That’s well-known by fans of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy” series, where the computer Deep Thought did calculations for 7.5 million years to find the answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and everything.  However, projects on our world tend to be limited by shorter-term political and funding cycles.  So it is hard enough to consider projects that require thinking a decade into the future, beyond many political lifetimes.  What about projects that require thinking a century or more into the future, many generations from now?  Well, that is exactly what one group of space exploration advocates is working toward.  The project is called the 100 Year Starship, which aims to create a long-duration mission sending humans to another star. Alires Almon, member of the project, talks with co-host Joel Parker about the challenges and the vision of 100 Year Starship.

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

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Bird collisions and wind energy policy

High importance (yellow) and critical importance (red) risk areas to birds and wind tower proposals (2003-2011) (dark crosses). Source: American Bird Conservancy.

 

One to two million additional bird deaths per year. Wind is the most rapidly growing energy source in the US, but are environmental protections keeping pace? Tuesday on How On Earth, Kelly Fuller, the American Bird Conservancy’s Wind Campaign Coordinator, talks with Jim Pullen about the impact of big wind on birds.

Host: Jim Pullen
Producer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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