Do Fathers Matter? (start time: 3:07) If you’re a father or a son or daughter – which pretty much covers everyone – this interview should hit home. Science journalist Paul Raeburn’s latest book — “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked” – explores what seems like a no-brainer question. But the answers he discovers surprised even him. After last week’s pledge drive teaser, we now offer the extended version of host Susan Moran’s interview with Raeburn.
Mercury in Waterways (start time: 15:20) Next time you take a sip of mountain spring water or catch a wild trout, you might be getting a bit more than you bargained for. Scientists have found mercury in Colorado waterways and in the fish that swim in them. And recent research shows that wildfires in recent years may have added to the problem. How on Earth’s Jane Palmer talked with Joe Ryan, an environmental engineering professor at the University of Colorado. Dr. Ryan also directs AirWaterGas, a project studying the impacts of oil and gas drilling on the environment.
Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Ted Burnham Executive Producers: Jane Palmer and Kendra Krueger
Living Planet Report (starts at 5:50): The environmental organization World Wildlife Fund just released its science-based biennial Living Planet Report. It doesn’t paint a rosy picture overall; WWF shows that, for instance, wildlife populations across the globe are roughly half the size they were 40 years ago. And although rich countries show a 10 percent increase in biodiversity, lower-income countries are suffering a drop of nearly 60 percent. The report also ranks the ecological footprints of 152 nations, and warns that the world is living beyond its means. But there are bright spots in the report, too. Even in the absence of national legislation and international treaties, some cities in the U.S., including Boulder, and around the world are making progress toward sustainability and greenhouse gas reductions. Co-host Susan Moran interviews Keya Chatterjee, director of WWF’s renewable energy and footprint outreach program.
Finding Exoplanet Water (starts at 18:15): For the first time, scientists have detected water vapor on a cold exoplanet the size of Neptune. Previously, it had only been possible to measure the atmospheres of larger, Jupiter-sized exoplanets, but these findings from the Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes bring scientists a significant step closer to studying the atmosphere of Earth-sized planets orbiting other stars. Understanding the atmosphere of exoplanets may tell us more about their evolution and formation – Eliza Kempton, assistant professor of physics at Grinnell College in Iowa, explains in this report from Roland Pease of the BBC’s Science In Action.
Executive Producer: Joel Parker Producer: Ted Burnham Co-Hosts: Susan Moran, Ted Burnham Engineer: Ted Burnham Headlines: Beth Bennett, Jane Palmer
The Meaning of Wilderness (starts 4:30):Fifty years ago last week, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. It was then, and remains today, one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation. It has protected millions of acres of land. And it established a legal definition of wilderness: “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Today, many are questioning what conversation should look like hardly a square inch of land around the world is truly “untrammeled.” Co-host Susan Moran discusses wilderness then and now with Dr. M. Sanjayan, a senior scientist at Conservation International. He was a correspondent on the Showtime series on climate change, called Years of Living Dangerously. His next TV series, which will air next February, is called Earth — A New Wild. Dr. Sanjayan will speak this Friday at 4 pm MT at Americas Latino Eco Festival. (www.americaslatinoecofestival.org)
Living Underwater (starts 13:50):This segment continues our series, “The Ocean is Us,” exploring how we all, even in land-locked Colorado, are connected to the ocean, and what’s at stake. Co-host Susan Moran interviews Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the late oceanographic explorer who opened a window into the ocean for millions of people worldwide in the 1960s through his revolutionary scuba diving and underwater-living adventures. Fabien, an aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, and documentary filmmaker, discusses Mission 31, his recent 31-day underwater-living experiment (one day longer than Jacques-Yves’ expedition a half century ago).
All features in the “The Ocean Is Us” series can be found here. Also, checkout KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.
Executive Producer: Joel Parker Producer: Ted Burnham Co-hosts: Susan Moran, Ted Burnham Engineer: Ted Burnham Additional Contributions: Jane Palmer, Beth Bennett
Astronomy Through the Ages (starts at 4:10): If I ask you to close your eyes and imagine an astronomer, what do you see? Maybe you think of a lone figure hunched all night over the eyepiece of a telescope in a big, domed observatory. Maybe you think of Jodie Foster, as Ellie Arroway in the movie Contact, wearing headphones to listen in on cosmic radio waves at Arecibo.
My mind always wanders back to a woodcut of Tycho Brahe’s 16th-century observatory, filled with intricate equipment for making naked-eye observations of the night sky.
But do any of these ingenious images actually resemble the life of an astronomer today? And how are new technologies and “big data” changing the way we study stars today and in years to come?
To discuss those questions, we’re joined in our Boulder studio by Dr. John Bally, a professor of astronomy at the University of Colorado, and Dr. Seth Hornstein, director of the Sommers-Bausch Observatory on the CU campus.
Hosts: Shelley Schlender, Ted Burnham Producer: Ted Burnham Engineer: Shelley Schlender Additional Contributions: Jane Palmer Executive Producer: Joel Parker
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
Hope On Earth (starts 7:08): Few people have thought as critically and deeply about the state of Earth and our role on it than Paul Ehrlich. Over the course of several decades, the Stanford University biologist and ecologist has written many books, including 1968’s controversial The Population Bomb, in which he predicted that hundreds of millions of people would starve to death in the 1970s due to overpopulation and limited resources.
He has just come out with a new book, which he co-wrote with Michael Charles Tobias, an ecologist, filmmaker, book author and animal rights advocate. The book is called Hope On Earth: A Conversation. And indeed, it is a conversation between Ehrlich and Tobias. In fact, their conversation –many of them — took place here in a research outpost just outside of Crested Butte.
Both men join us by phone to discuss the book and the most pressing environmental issues of the day that it explores.
Producer: Ted Burnham
Co-Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham Executive Producer: Joel Parker
As the end of the school year approaches for high school students, it’s a good time to celebrate the achievements and passion of students in Colorado who have excelled in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM). Two of them — Hope Weinstein, a senior at Fairview High in Boulder, and Michael Brady, a senior at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village — were finalists at a renowned global competition last week. It’s the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, which is a program of Society for Science & the Public. Hope and Michael talk with co-host Susan Moran about their research and their message to other students.
Rosetta Comet Mission (starts at 15:16)
When he’s not busy volunteering with How On Earth, Joel Parker is an astronomer with the Southwest Research Institute — and that’s the hat he has on today as our in-studio guest. He joins us to talk about the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which will tag along with comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it swings nearer to the sun later this summer.
Joel is the Deputy Lead Investigator for ALICE, the ultraviolet spectrometer aboard the spacecraft. He’s also the featured presenter at Cafe Scientifique tomorrow night. So think of this conversation as a preview of what you might hear if you join him tomorrow at Brooklyn’s down in Denver. Joel will give a very informal talk starting at 6:30 pm, and will try to answer all your tough questions about comets, Rosetta, or anything else. CafeSci is free and open to the public.
For our May 13th show we offer two features: Gold Lab Symposium (starts at 3:42): Biotech entrepreneur Larry Gold, a CU Boulder professor at the BioFrontiers Institute, talks with How On Earth’s Shelley Schlender about the annual Gold Lab Symposium, which will be held in Boulder May 16th and 17th. This year’s theme is Embracing the Reptile Within: Head, Heart and Healthcare. The event will focus on research and educational approaches that can potentially help improve the U.S. healthcare system.
U.S. Climate Change Report (starts at 11:50) The National Climate Assessment, a sobering new report on the science and impacts of climate change in the U.S., makes it starkly clear that human-induced climate change is already affecting all parts of the country. It is making water more scarce in some regions while bringing torrential rains elsewhere. It is making heat waves more common and severe, and it’s causing more severe and destructive wildfires. How On Earth co-host Susan Moran talks with two guests: Kristen Averyt, PhD, is a lead author of a chapter on Energy, Water and Land. She is associate director for Science at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at CU Boulder. Dan Glick is a journalist who helped edit the report. His company, The Story Group, also produced a series of videos that highlight the report’s key findings and how climate change is affecting many people’s lives and livelihoods.
Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Ted Burnham 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.
Earth Day gives us plenty of reason to reflect on the state of the planet and the impact we humans have had on it. This week’s show featured Dr. Linda Mearns, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, who is among hundreds of scientists who produced the latest report on global climate change. She’s a lead author of a chapter on regional climate change in the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. She also co-authored previous IPCC assessments – in 1995, 2001, and 2007. Dr. Mearns talks with How On Earth host Susan Moran about the science and implications of the IPCC report, including what it means for Colorado and the broader U.S. West.
Unfortunately, due to a technical glitch at the station, the recording of that live interview was lost. But we still have audio from our second feature.
Charles Bolden, the top administrator at NASA, was here in Boulder last week, touring the classrooms and facilities that earn the University of Colorado more space agency dollars than any other public university in the nation. We’ll hear what he has to say about CU’s role in the space program — past, present and future.
We’ve also recreated the Earth Day tribute that opened the show. These days it’s more like Earth Week, and it’s not too late to catch some of the planet-happy celebrations going on in the Boulder area this weekend. Listen for details.
Co-hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran Producer and Engineer: Ted Burnham