Pine Beetle Kill // Plight of Sharks

“Empire of the Beetle” by Andrew Nikiforuk

Feature #1: If you live on the Front Range, or just about anywhere else in Colorado, you don’t have to go far to notice huge swaths of rusty brown that have replaced green conifer forests. By now, many people are familiar at least with the devastating effects of the mountain pine beetle. But far fewer may understand just how these voracious insects actually make their living, or that this epidemic — and its causes and triggers — are far more nuanced, and controversial, than meets the eye.  How On Earth co-host Susan Moran talks with Canadian journalist Andrew Nikiforuk about the beetles that have been gorging with impunity on lodgepole pine, spruce and other forests from British Columbia down nearly to Mexico. His new book is called The Empire of the Beetle: How Human Folly and a Tiny Bug Are Killing North America’s Great Forests.Previously, he wrote a best-selling book called Tar Sands.

“Demon Fish” by Juliet Eilperin

Feature #2:  Sharks have a special place in the human psyche.  Perhaps it is a combination of the mystery of the depths of the ocean and natural fear and awe of powerful beasts that can kill humans with a single bite.  But these predators also are key players in the ocean’s ecosystem. The science and legends of sharks are the subject of a new book called “Demon Fish: Travels Through the Hidden World of Sharks” by Juliet Eilperin, the environmental science and policy reporter for The Washington Post.  How On Earth’s Joel Parker talks with Juliet about her book. Listen to the extended interview here.

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


Theme Song Contest

The Science of Music (Courtesy Flickr user wlodi)

How On Earth’s Theme Music Contest has concluded! And the winner is…

Patient Truth - T3KL3R

This track comes from local musician Josh Cutler, a.k.a. T3KL3R, a composer whose music is featured in the games of Boulder-based design company Team Phobic, including Electropy and Undead Ocean. Congratulations, Josh!

In addition to our winner, we received a number of excellent entries, all of which you can still listen to at this page. Thank you to all of the talented musicians who offered their music in support of our show:

Paper Bird
Jon Stubbs (of Hamster Theater)
The Buck Fifty



Theme Song Contest – All Entries

The Science of Music (Courtesy Flickr user wlodi)

How On Earth’s Theme Song Contest is no longer accepting submissions.

Thank you to all the talented musicians who offered their music in support of KGNU’s local, community programming. We were very impressed with all of the entries, and you can still listen to them here.

For comparison, here is the theme we were replacing after many years of faithful service to How On Earth. It was written by Tim Morton and produced by Tom Wasinger.

How On Earth Theme


  • Paper Bird is a local band putting their own unique spin on the folk genre. They submitted a track from their 2010 album When The River Took Flight.

Yellow Sun - Paper Bird

  • T3KL3R is a composer whose music is featured in the games of Boulder-based design company Team Phobic, including Electropy and Undead Ocean.

Patient Truth - T3KL3R

  • Jon Stubbs is a composer, musician, educator, and long-time KGNU member. He is also part of local band Hamster Theater.

Dancers - Jon Stubbs
Phoenix - Jon Stubbs
Dreams - Jon Stubbs

  • The Buck Fifty is an emerging Boulder-based trio playing their acoustic blend of folk and bluegrass – Mile High Americana.

Spray - The Buck Fifty

  • Jababa is a 5-piece instrumental group from Boulder. They blend elements of funk, fusion, and progressive rock to create a new hybrid genre that both honors the traditions of these styles while simultaneously forging new ground..

Booty Sox - Jababa
Green Slime - Jababa
Look Paw No Hands - Jababa

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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 to learn more.


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