Stem cell science v. hype (start time: 00:57) Clinics offering stem cell therapies and other forms of so-called regenerative medicine are cropping up in many states, including Colorado. Practitioners of stem cells, are touting them as repairing damaged cartilage, tendons and joints, and even treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While the science looks promising, it seriously lags the marketing of stem cell therapies. Last year the FDA, which has yet to regulate the clinics, issued a warning about stem cell therapies. Laura Beil, a science journalist and producer of the podcast Bad Batch, recently wrote a cover article in Science News about the hype and the latest science of stem cells. She talks with host Susan Moran about her reporting. (For more info, check out this new BBC program on stem cell “hope and hype.”)
Science for the Rest of Us (start time: 16:38) At a time our own government leaders vilify science and reinvent facts, it seems as important as ever that journalists and the public at large grasp and translate scientific research. A new book, The Craft of Science Writing, offers tips on how to find credible experts (whether on the corona virus or vaccines or climate change), separate truth from spurious assertions, and make sense of scientific studies. The book is aimed at science writers, but it can be a guidepost for anyone who wants to make science more accessible. Alex Witze, a science writer who co-authored the book Island On Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano, is a contributor to the new book. She discusses the art of decoding and appreciating science with hosts Susan Moran and Joel Parker.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Beth Bennet
You may be among many who wistfully harken back to the “golden days” of the past. For some people the past does look rosier, or perhaps the present looks grim, but, according to Steven Pinker, a Harvard University cognitive psychologist, that “golden age” of the past is a reflection of faulty memory.
We — most people in the world, anyway — are actually far better off than we were decades and surely centuries ago. That’s based on many metrics of progress, including literacy, safety, gender equality, lower poverty, and many more. Pinker presents in his new book an abundance of data as evidence of such progress. This progress, he argues, is rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment some 250 years ago.
Today’s pledge-drive show features parts of our recent interview with Steven Pinker. Enlightenment Now: If you think the world, including the U.S., is falling apart, that the ideal of progress is as quaint as riding to work on a horse and carriage, you’re hardly alone. But you’re wrong, argues Harvard University cognitive scientist Steven Pinker in his new book. It’s called Enlightenment Now: A Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. As he shows in many copious charts and graphs from studies and national statistics, most people are living longer, healthier, safer, freer, and happier lives. And while our problems are formidable, the solutions, Pinker claims, lie in the Enlightenment ideal of using reason and science. Provocative? Yes. Pollyannaish? No, says Pinker. Today’s show features two sections of a recent interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran and KGNU host Joel Edelstein conducted with Pinker.
We will play the full interview on our March 20th science show. Meanwhile, Pinker will discuss and sign his book at two events on the Front Range on Saturday, March 17. He will be at Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver (2526 Colfax Ave.) at 4:00 p.m. Then he’ll speak at 7:00 p.m. at Unity of Boulder Church (2855 Folsom St.) Check with Boulder Book Store about tickets.
Hosts: Joel Edelstein, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Edelstein Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Big Game and Climate Change (start time 5:00) Last week, the National Resource Council released some serious warnings about climate change, saying its impacts could be abrupt and surprising. But as How on Earth contributor Brian Calvert reports, the National Wildlife Federation says big game is already getting hit. Species from mule deer to antelope to bear are all dealing with climate change in their own ways. Only elk are faring better, at least for now. All of that could mean serious changes for Colorado’s hunters and wildlife watchers, says, Dr. Doug Inkley, the senior wildlife biologist for the organization and the lead author of a recent report, “Nowhere to Hide: Big Game Wildlife in a Warming World.”
Hour of Code (start time 12:30) Coding is not just a magic trick where ones and zeros make Angry Birds. But it can be surprisingly simple to learn. You can do it in an hour. But you might want to use a game built by a team here at CU-Boulder. The tutorial is being offered as part of Computer Science Week. In the studio with How On Earth’s Joel Parker to explain the university’s so-called “Hour of Code” is Alex Repenning, a computer science professor at CU.
Hosts: Brian Calvert, Joel Parker Producer: Brian Calvert Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Beth Bartel
(start time: 5:50). We Coloradoans pride ourselves on our healthy habits — eating right, exercising, and paying attention to what’s in the food we eat. Yet many of the things we use everyday, like water bottles, sunscreens, makeup, and – OK, soda cans — are full of toxic chemicals. Many of them are untested, and may be insidiously making us sick. One of the more controversial compounds is BPA, which is used to make some hard plastic bottles and other food packaging. Today we have with us public health expert Dr. David Dausey to talk about BPA –bisphenol A — and other environmental toxins. He directs the Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health in Pennsylvania.
Hosts: Jim Pullen and Susan Moran Producer: Jim Pullen Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Dr. Paul Lightsey and JWST (start time: 5:55). Paul Lightsey, mission system engineer for the James Webb Space Telescope, joins us to share his intimate knowledge of the telescope’s optical element. JWST is the replacement for the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes. The telescope will stare back so far in time and space that it will be able to see the first stars and galaxies in the universe being formed.
Hosts: Jim Pullen and Beth Bartel Producer: Jim Pullen Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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