Evolution of the Human-Horse Bond

9780374224400In today’s show we offer the following feature:
The Horse (starts at 6:25)  Next to our connection with dogs and cats, perhaps the deepest bond humans have developed over time is with horses.  In fact, hands down, the horse has done more for us than either of those furry pets. That is, horses lie at the very foundation of our human civilization. Modern humans evolved with the horse.  A new book explores the deep history of this deep bond, and the far deeper history of the horse itself and its evolutionary biology over millennia. Ever wonder why  horses have such big teeth—unlike other hoofed mammals?  The book, which spans the globe as well as the horse’s anatomy, is called The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion.   Its author, journalist Wendy Williams joins host Susan Moran to talk about these beautiful creatures. Williams will speak on Nov. 16 at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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Mighty Microbes in Our Gut & Soils

Amy_Flask

Amy Sheflin Photo credit: Carolyn Hoagland

Mighty Microbes (start time: 5:45): Microbes – fungi and bacteria and probably viruses — are essential to life on Earth. They’re found in soil and water and inside the human gut. There’s a lot happening these days in microbiology, as scientists try to better understand what role these invisible powerhouses play in our health and that of the planet. Amy Sheflin, a PhD candidate at Colorado State University in the department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, speaks with host Susan Moran about her and others’ research into how microbial communities an enhance the health of our human gut, soils and crops.

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

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How the Brain Matures

The teenaged brain is wired differently than the adult.

The teenaged brain is wired differently than the adult.

Brains (starts at 4:35) This week on How on Earth we interview Professor Marie Banich, from the University of Colorado here in Boulder. Dr Banich uses cutting edge methodologies, particularly structural and functional MRI, to examine the role of the prefrontal cortex, as well as other brain regions, in executive function. Today she tells us about work that was recently funded by NIH to characterize how these systems change over the course of development.

Hosts: Beth Bennett and Joel Parker
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Carl Safina – Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel (part 2)

Wolf Gaze courtesy Carl Safina

Wolf Gaze courtesy Carl Safina

Beyond Words (starts 5:00) Last week, we brought you excerpts from an interview with MacArthur Genius Grant Award winner, scientist and naturalist, Carl Safina, about his ground-breaking book:  Beyond Words – What Animals Think and Feel.  Last week’s excerpts focused on elephants and then on the mysterious accounts of killer whales assisting people in danger at sea.  This week, we bring you more from “Beyond Words”  Safina takes us to the world of wolves in Yellowstone.  And we’ll look again at killer whales, and how they fare when captured for the entertainment trade.

Hosts: Susan Moran & Kendra Krueger
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Joel Parker & Space // Carl Safina – Beyond Words

HANDOUT IMAGE: "Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel" by Carl Safina (credit: Henry Holt) ***ONE TIME USE ONLY. NOT FOR RESALE

HANDOUT IMAGE: “Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel” by Carl Safina (credit: Henry Holt) ***ONE TIME USE ONLY. NOT FOR RESALE

Up Close and Personal – Astrophysicist Joel Parker (starts 3:00)  talks about why he volunteers to educate people about science and outer space.

Beyond Words:  What Animals Think and Feel, by Carl Safina.  (starts 4:10) We talk with MacAurther Grant winner, naturalist and scientist, Carl Safina, about his new book.  His publisher has kindly offered a limited number of these books as a gift to listeners who call and pledge their support to KGNU.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender and Joel Parker
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Are GMOs Environmentally-friendly?

Genetically-modified crops

Genetically-modified crops

GMOs (start time 5:35) An interview with Dr Sharon Collenge, an ecologist at the University of Colorado. Dr Collenge is an advocate of using new genetic technologies to make slight modifications to plant genomes which can increase yield, protect against disease and reduce pesticide use.

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

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Rock Arch Stability // Neonicotinoids and Silent Spring

Funnel_960Rock Arch Stability (Starts 5:24) How on Earth’s Daniel Strain  talks to Jeffrey Moore, a geologist who studies the West’s iconic rock arches — and watches them for signs that they’re about to collapse.  

Honeybee-cooling_croppedNeonicotinoids and Silent Spring – (Starts 15:33) We share a story from H2O radio warning about a pesticide that’s linked to the collapse of honeybee colonies, and growing concerns that it’s dangerous for other forms of life, it’s persistent in the environment and might bring about a new Silent Spring.  This information will be part of this week’s Western Apicultural Society conference in Boulder.  

Hosts: Shelley Schlender and Daniel Strain
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Neurobiology of Alcohol Abuse

Raising drinking glasses to celebrate - drinking? Image courtesy of Huffington Post

Raising drinking glasses to celebrate – drinking?
Image courtesy of Huffington Post

This week on How on Earth, we speak with Dr Paula Hoffman, a neuropharmacologist – she’s scientist who studies what drugs do in the brain- who works on the genetics of alcohol and other drugs of abuse. Paula reviews the action of alcohol on different neurotransmitter systems of the brain then describes some of the genetic issues which predispose people to risk for becoming alcoholics. Finally she talks about research done in her lab which has resulted in preliminary understanding of genetic networks involved.

Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Quantum Biology: Life on The Edge // Science and Art with Monica Aiello

lifeonedge

Quantum Biology: Life on the Edge

What do Enzymes and photosynthesis have in common?  Both are biological process that happen to rely on quantum mechanisims.  That’s right, particles tunnling through walls, shifting between particle and wave states: The weirdness of the quantum world isn’t as isolated as we once thought. This past summer Life on The Edge, a book about the frontiers of quantum biology was released to US audiences. How on Earth corespondent Kendra Krueger caught up with one of the authors Johnjoe Mcfadden to talk more about the book and the weird science of quantum biology.

 

Science and Art with Monica Aiello

nasa-artMonica Aiello is a visual artist who has worked with numerous scientific agencies to re-incorporate art into science.  She and her husband work closely with earth scientists and NASA mission scientists, including scientists involved in NASA’s Voyager, Galileo, Messenger and Magellan missions. Their collaboration with scientists doesn’t just inform their art work, but is also part of their community outreach programs.  Monica and Tyler Aiello’s work is featured in an upcoming exhibition called “Confluence” at the Space Gallery in Denver. Their work focuses on the Colorado River and the surrounding plateau.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Leslie Dodson
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Headline Contributors: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Habitat Exchanges // More Frequent Wildfires

biStateSlide

photo credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Habitat Exchanges (starts at 3:00):  The greater sage grouse is ruffling feathers all the way to Washington.  September 30th is the deadline for the US Fish & Wildlife Service to determine whether to list the grouse under the Endangered Species Act. More than a third of the sage grouse’s shrinking range is on private land. Which is why many ranchers, oil and gas developers and other landowners have been scrambling to keep the grouse from getting listed. Listing would mean tighter restrictions on land use. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is one of several environmental organizations that are trying to help come up with ways to preserve the sage grouse and its habitat without cramping the livelihood of ranchers and other land owners. One of the newest voluntary tools is what is called a habitat exchange, a marketplace with buyers and sellers of conservation credits.  How On Earth’s Susan Moran talks with Eric Holst, associate vice president of EDF’s working lands program, about these exchanges.

IMG_8027 - Copy

photo credit: Brian Harvey

More Frequent Wildfires (starts at 15:30):  This summer, fires have raged across much of the Northwestern U.S. The towering blazes, many of which are nowhere near being contained, have already charred more than two million acres of land. It’s a story that’s becoming increasingly common. Big fires like these are erupting more often than they did just decades ago, scientists say, and many place the blame on climate change.  On today’s show, Brian Harvey, a forest ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder who studies the causes and consequences of extreme fires, talks with us about why wildfires have grown more frequent in recent years — and what that means for the recovery of the nation’s forests.

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

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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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