The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, but it is currently at risk from oil development. Some of the park’s inhabitants, however, are trying to forge a more sustainable, and less destructive path out of poverty. These indigenous Kichwa people, who have already been caretakers of the rainforest for hundreds of years, have developed ecotourism in the region, providing all the jobs, schools and healthcare that they need. How did the community find the commitment and tenacity required for such a project? By thinking like Leafcutter ants.
To find out about the award winning model of conservation and sustainability H20 Radio’s Frani Halperin and Jamie Sudler visited the region earlier this year and produced the podcast Want to save the Amazon? Think like an Ant. We play this feature [4:15] on this week’s show and afterward [18:30] talk with Frani and Jamie about the project and what Coloradoan’s can learn from the Kichwa community’s efforts.
Hosts: Jane Palmer, Beth Bennett Producer: Jane Palmer Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producers: Kendra Krueger, Jane Palmer
(4:33) Think computer coding and art are worlds apart? Vikram Chandra, author of the novel Sacred Games would have you think again. In his most recent book Geek Sublime: The Beauty of Code, The Code of Beauty, Chandra looks deeply into the connections between technology and art, illustrating his arguments with a history of coding and a meditation on the writer’s craft. Under his musings is Chandra’s own story, where he finds his way to the West from India and dabbles in literature, then coding, then back to writing.
This week on How on Earth, Jane Palmer speaks with Vikram Chandra about what makes computer code beautiful, whether programming can be considered an art form and the culture that surrounds computer technology.
Hosts: Jane Palmer, Beth Bennett Producer: Jane Palmer Engineer: Kendra Krueger Executive Producers: Jane Palmer and Kendra Krueger
Testing the Water (Start time 3:30) What exactly is in our water—the stuff we drink, shower in and use to wash our vegetables? This is a question lots of Coloradans have started to ask in the last few years as oil and gas operations have ramped up in the state. Several communities have become very concerned how nearby drilling operations might be adversely affecting the quality of their water supply. We’ve seen the videos of people living near to fracking wells lighting their tap water, and we’ve heard the stories about the possible health impacts but how much of this is anti-fracking dramatization and how much is there really to be concerned about? How much is energy development in Colorado affecting the water supply and how can we, that is Jane and Joe public, find out the vital statistics of our water quality?
Co-host Jane Palmer discusses these questions with hydrologist Mark Williams from the University of Colorado. Williams is the co-founder of the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center (CWERC) and he has conducted projects around the state looking at the impacts of energy operations on both water and air quality. He has also developed a guide to help residents who live near oil and gas development test their water. The “how to” guide shows well owners how energy-related or other activities might affect their groundwater.
Executive Producer: Joel Parker Producer: Jane Palmer Co-hosts: Jane Palmer, Ted Burnham Engineer: Ted Burnham Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender
Caffeine and Athletics (starts at 4:35): Chances are you’ve already had a cup of coffee this morning or, if you are like me, it was a cup of tea. Or maybe, if you are truly hedonistic, you started the day with a bar of chocolate. Either way, if any of these options are part of your daily routine you’d be one of the 90 percent of people in this country that regularly consumes caffeine, America’s drug of choice.
In this week’s show we talk to Murray Carpenter, author of the book Caffeinated: How Our Daily Habit Helps, Hurts and Hooks Us. Although he covers the history and culture of caffeine in his book, he is specifically going to be talking about the science of caffeine and how this powerful drug affects our cognition and physical health. In particular, for all you runners, cyclists and swimmers out there – there maybe a few of you in Boulder – he’s going to discuss how the right dose of caffeine can help an athlete’s performance. Apparently, for you runners who can run a 40-minute 10K without caffeine, ingesting the drug can help knock 72 seconds off your time. That would put you at least 100 places higher in the Bolder Boulder.
Hosts: Jane Palmer and Ted Burnham Producers: Jane Palmer and Ted Burnham Engineer: Ted Burnham Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett Executive Producer: Joel Parker
You drive to Starbucks with your cell phone in your pocket, go online, read your favorite newspaper, share an interesting book review on Facebook and then go and order the bestseller from Amazon. It’s only 9:00am, but you’ve already left a data trail—a big one—on your whereabouts, your taste, your friends, and your financial habits.