Newton’s Football (start time 5:45) This Sunday the Denver Broncos face the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, so we thought we’d bring you a scientific perspective on the game of football. How on Earth’s Ted Burnham talks with the co-authors of the book Newton’s Football: The Science Behind America’s Game, journalist Allen St. John and science evangelist Ainissa Ramirez.
Strontium Clock (start time 14:10) We’ve got a full-house of physicists in the studio today to help us understand the new timepiece and why it’s important. Travis Nicholson and Sara Campbell are graduate students on the team led by Professor Jun Ye. Dr. Ye is a Fellow of JILA, a Fellow of NIST, and Adjoint Professor with CU’s Department of Physics.
Hosts: Ted Burnham, Jim Pullen Producer: Joel Parker Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Jim Pullen Additional contributions: Kendra Krueger, Beth Bartel, Joel Parker, Jim Pullen
On Friday, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, better known as the IPCC, released the first bit of its Fifth Assessment Report, a volume with a plain name that may have a large influence on global policy. This first part of the report, part one of three, is the “sciency” part, documenting the current state of knowledge of climate change and its effects. The report sticks to the physical science of climate change—by how much the climate is changing, what’s causing it, and what the world might look like by the end of the century. The next two volumes of the report will address the societal impacts of climate change and, lastly, mitigation strategies.
HOE co-host Beth Bartel speaks with Tad Pfeffer, a professor at CU-Boulder jointly appointed between the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, (INSTAAR), and the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Pfeffer is one of the lead authors on Chapter 13 of the IPCC report, the chapter on sea level rise.
Feature #1 (starts 05:25): A sweeping new report on the state of climate change and its current and future impacts in the United States was recently released in draft form. It’s called the National Climate Assessment. It comes at a time when major storms and wildfires are increasing in many areas. And last year the continental U.S. experienced its hottest year ever recorded. How On Earth co-host Susan Moran interviews one of the participating authors of the report, Dr. Dennis Ojima. He’s a professor at Colorado State University in the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department, and a senior research scientist in the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. Dr. Ojima co-wrote the chapter on the Great Plains.
Feature #2 (starts 16:30): Paul D. Miller, a.k.a. DJ Spooky, says the pallet of a 21st-century artist is data. That’s certainly the approach he took after visiting Antarctica in 2007—Miller used scientific data from ice cores and other Antarctic sources to create musical motifs representing the southern continent, then blended them with live performers and his own hip-hop beats. Co-host Ted Burnham speaks with Miller about the process of “remixing” the frozen Antarctic landscape, and about how music and art offer new ways to make scientific topics such as climate change accessible and meaningful.
Producer: Susan Moran Co-Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran Engineer: Ted Burnham
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender
As bad as the drought has been recently in Colorado and other states, it pales in comparison to the nearly 10-year-long drought of the 1930s. Its unrelenting and gargantuan dust storms inspired the name “The Dust Bowl.” In southeast Colorado and other Great Plains states, children died of dust pneumonia. Thousands of cattle died or were slaughtered. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes. It came to be called “the worst man-made ecological disaster in American history.” On November 18th and 19th PBS will air a four-hour documentary called “The Dust Bowl.” It was directed by Ken Burns and written and co-produced by author Dayton Duncan. How On Earth co-host Susan Moran talks with Duncan about the film and the lessons learned –or not learned — from The Dust Bowl.
Feature #2: Zero Population (start time 15:58) John Seager, CEO of the nonprofit Population Connection, discusses with How On Earth co-host Ted Burnham about the organization’s efforts to help American citizens and politicians understand the environmental and other implications of the ever-expanding global human population. John will speak this Friday at the CU campus in Boulder. His presentation is titled, “Soaring Past 7 Billion: Population Challenges for a Crowded World.”
Hosts: Ted Burnham and Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producer: Jim Pullen
Feature #1: Neanderthals (start time: 6:01)
Our Neanderthal ancestors have long been maligned as rather dim-witted cave-dwellers. But they may have been brighter — and more colorful — more like us, shall we say. We turn to the BBC’s Science in Action for a look at new research into who these ancestors really were. Here’s BBC’s Jon Stewart.
Feature #2: Antarctica (start time: 11:03)
It may be hard for people living in Colorado and other land-locked states to grasp that our daily lifestyles – burning fossil fuels every time we turn on the lights or drive our car, for instance – affects the delicate marine ecosystems of the Southern Ocean, from the ice algae to the penguins and whales. And in turn, the health of the plants and animals, and indeed the ice they depend on, in Antarctica, affects our own health. Cohost Susan Moran interviews Dr. James McClintock, a marine biologist at the University of Alabama in Birmingham, about his new book, “Lost Antarctica: Adventures in a Disappearing Land.” He shares his adventures waaayy down under, and his concerns about the future of the fragile and stunning continent.
Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Edelstein
Executive Producer: Jim Pullen
Colorado Drought Conference (start time 4:35): Experts are meeting at a conference in Denver this week to discuss the implications of prolonged drought conditions here in Colorado. How On Earth’ Susan Moran speaks with biologist Dr. Chad McNutt of the NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information Center about wthe drought means for the ecosystem, and for Western cities — and how we can start to address the problem.
A More Perfect Heaven (start time 11:50): Joel Parker speaks with Dava Sobel, a science journalist and author who tells the stories of the science and the scientists from the past and how they connect to the present. Those stories reveal that the course of scientific progress is far from orderly — it often takes unplanned twists, has failures that require going back and starting over, and can be driven by the quirks of the personalities of individual scientists.
Today we hear about Sobel’s most recent book, A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos. This book also contains the play And The Sun Stood Still, which will be presented in a free staged reading by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company this Thursday, September 20th at 6:30 at the Dairy Center for the Arts.
Hosts: Ted Burnham, Joel Parker
Producer: Ted Burnham Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Jim Motavalli joins us by phone from his home in Fairfield, Connecticut. Jim is the author of a new book titled “High Voltage: The Fast Track to Plug In the Auto Industry” and helped us sort out some of the issues around EVs. Mr. Motavalli is an auto journalist who writes for the New York Times, Car Talk, the Mother Nature Network and PlugInCars.com. Jim has been covering the emerging electric vehicle industry for the last decade. He reported that if he finds some extra money in his sofa cushions he’ll be buying a Tesla Roadster. Rodale Press has donated some copies of “High Voltage” as premiums for new and renewing members. Give us a call at 303-449-4885 and you’ll be reading Jim’s book faster than you can charge up your Nissan Leaf. (Motavalli interview starts at 4:39).
Shelley Schlender visited with Colorado State University Scientist and Paleolithic Lifestyle expert Loren Cordain to talk about acne prevention. Cordain asserts that the best “prescription” for preventing acne is to eat the foods that have always helped traditional cultures be acne-free. That means lots and lots of vegetables, along with some fruit. Meanwhile, kick out modern foods–especially high glycemic foods . . . that means avoid sugary and starchy modern stuff — you know, sodas, candy, bread and pasta. Cordain also says to eliminate dairy. (Cordain interview starts at 16:05).
Producer: Tom McKinnon Co-Hosts: Breanna Draxler and Tom McKinnon Engineer: Ted Burnham Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon
In celebration of Thanksgiving, Beth Bartel interviews Stan Baker of the National Wild Turkey Federation about wild turkeys in Colorado. You may be surprised at the story of the wild turkey in North America and just how different the wild turkey is from the domestic turkeys we’re used to. There’s a reason Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey, not the bald eagle, to be our national bird.
Can light pollution at night lead to air pollution during the day? Jim Pullen talks with researcher Harald Stark of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences (CIRES) to find out. Stark’s work has taken him over Los Angeles to measure the chemistry of the night sky. What he is learning increases our understanding of ground-level ozone, which is a major pollutant of our urban air.
Hosts: Joel Parker & Beth Bartel Producer: Beth Bartel Engineer: Ted Burnham Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon
Susan Moran has a telephone interview with Cynthia Barnett. Cynthia is a journalist and author of Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis.” She calls the U.S. one of the most “water-wasting places on the planet.” But in her book she also draws from positive examples of water conservation in the country to propose a new “water ethic.” (start – 4:20).
Jeff Branson of the SparkFun Electronics Department of Education joins Tom McKinnon in the Boulder studio to discuss the so-called Maker Movement. In particular, he describes how it is revolutionizing K-12 education. (start 13:20).
Producer: Beth Bartel and Tom McKinnon Co-Hosts: Susan Moran and Beth Bartel Engineer: Ted Burnham Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon
Tom McKinnon and Peter Asmus of Pike Research discuss electrical utility municipalization from a national perspective. Peter adds an interesting statistic — the photovoltaic industry already has created more jobs than coal mining even though at present it produces much less power.
Shelley Schlender interviews Bill Hoch of Montana State University about why leaves turn colors in the fall. Bill punches some holes in the conventional wisdom on the topic and notes that the color change is a critical step in the trees retaining important nutrients.
Hosts: Tom McKinnon & Ted Burnham
Producer: Tom McKinnon
Engineeer: Ted Burnham
Headlines: Beth Bartel Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon