Boulder Science Festival (starts at 5:58) Many people in Boulder are familiar with the large number of local science groups and institutes, so what better place to celebrate and learn about science? That is exactly what our next two guests plan to do: create the Boulder Science Festival, which will be held October 12-13 at the Millennium Harvest House hotel. In the studio today we have Marcella Setter, the Director of the Boulder Science Festival, and an experienced administrator who loves organizing events that get the public excited about science. As the Director of Science Getaways, Marcella plans group trips for science enthusiasts who want to add some learning and discovery to their vacations. Joining Marcella here in the studio is her husband, Phil Plait, an astronomer, author, and writer of the Bad Astronomy Blog for Slate.com. An internationally-acclaimed speaker, Dr. Plait has appeared on numerous television science documentaries and is a self-proclaimed “science evangelizer”.
Insect Chorus Songs (starts at 14:58) You’ve heard it. It’s the sound of summer – or rather, the looming end of summer. The chorus of crickets, cicadas and who knows what else outside that is now in prime time. As an ode to summer, we thought we’d bring in a cicada and other insect specialist to share with us who the heck these critters are, and what’s their role in biodiversity. Maybe he’ll even tell us how we can eat them – like billions of people around the world do with delight. Brian Stucky is a doctoral student in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Susan Moran
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
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
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
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
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.
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
We talk with Larry Gold about this year’s Gold Lab Symposium at CU-Boulder. It features, “The Biological and Social Evolution of Healthcare: Rube Goldberg and Time. Friday, May 17th – Saturday, May 18th, 2013, Muenzinger Auditorium, University of Colorado Boulder. NOTE: After the conference, speaker presentations will be posted at the Gold Lab Symposium site.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Jim Pullen Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Joel Parker
If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you feel physical pain. Terrible sunburn? Pain. A muscle cramp? Pain. In each case, you know it’s pain. But how a body senses this pain has been elusive. Surgeons have tried to cut out what they think of as the brain’s pain center. This often doesn’t work, and it has side effects. Painkilling drugs? Sometimes they help, sometimes they cause addiction. Understanding the brain’s pain circuits might help scientists find better ways to deal with pain. Last week, CU-Boulder researchers took a step in that direction by publishing a magnetic resonance imaging map that they believe shows the signature of physical pain response within the brain. The lead researcher on this project is Tor Wager. Wager is the director of the Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience laboratory at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Tom’s River (starts at 5:03) Susan Moran interviews Dan Fagin, author of the new book Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation. You’ve likely heard of the chemical contamination of Love Canal at Niagara Falls, in the mid-1970s. And the leukemia cluster linked to water pollution in Woburn, Massachusetts,in the mid-80s — made famous by the book Civil Action. But you may not have heard of another cancer cluster –- also linked to industrial chemicals – this one in the small town of Toms River, N.J. Fagin’s book about Tom’s River is far more than a gripping investigation of one town’s struggle; it is a cautionary and illuminating tale about the complexities of finding a causal, not just associative, link between pollution and cancer. And it is a story for anyone concerned about whether the air they breathe, and the water they drink is in jeopardy.
Making Primitive Fire (starts at 15:40) Roger Wendell interviews Michael and Lorritta Slayton, who are longtime practitioners of primitive fire making and survival skills. Teaching at rendezvous, schools, and outdoors shows Michael and Lorritta have delighted thousands with their “Backup to the Bic” demonstrations – how to create a lifesaving fire during an emergency when matches and high-tech lighters won’t do the trick. Primitive fire making focuses on very old, but tried and true ways of making fire. Today, Michael “Big Smoke” and Lorritta “Flint Woman” Slayton will teach us about Bow Drill Fire Sticks and the flint-and-steel methods for creating fire – assuring us that what we learn from the past will make us wiser for the future.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Roger Wendell Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender
In this spring pledge drive show, How on Earth’s Chip Grandits talks with Neil Shubin, author of the new book, The Universe Within: Discovering the Common History of Rocks, Planets and People. We offer this book to listeners to who call KGNU to pledge their support and bring you more programs like this. Additionally, we have thank you gifts for listeners who pledge that include, Facing the Wave, Pandora’s Lunchbox, The Hidden Reality: Parallel Universes and the Deep Laws of the Cosmos, and The Fat Switch. These are all books we’ve featured, along with authors interviewed, thanks to the efforts of your all-volunteer science show team, How on Earth. You can pledge securely on line to support this show and others at kgnu.org.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker, Chip Grandits Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender