Beth interviews Drs Jane Bock (starts at 16:35) and David Norris (starts at 7:10), co-authors of Forensic Plant Science, the application of plant science to the resolution of legal questions. A plant’s anatomy and its ecological requirements are in some cases species specific and require taxonomic verification; correct interpretation of botanical evidence can give vital information about a crime scene or a suspect or victim. They describe their entry in to the field and some interesting cases. Host: Beth Bennett Producer: Beth Bennett Engineer: Maeve Conran Additional contributions: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Joel Parker
For this end-of-the-year How on Earth show, we look back to 2016 with clips from some of our features from the past year: selections from the Our Microbes, Ourselves series, research about Zika, gravitational waves, and carbon farming. Those are just a few of the topics we covered in 2016, which also included: electric cars, electric airplanes, renewable energy, climate change, using the microbiome as indicator of length of time after death, star gazing, pesticides, life on other planets, planets around other stars, stars in other galaxies, eggs, plant diversity, marine animal sex, wildfires, recent science graduates describing their thesis work, PTSD, light pollution, pollinators, lead in water supplies, Alzheimer’s research, the Rosetta mission, the New Horizons mission, missions to Mars – past, present, and future, sleep, cell phones, and more!
Hosts: Joel Parker, Chip Grandits Producer: Joel Parker Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
This week on How on Earth Beth interviews two NOAA scientists who study climate change. Joanie Kleypas is a marine ecologist who investigates how rising atmospheric carbon dioxide affects marine ecosystems. She is a self-described optimist who is committed to finding solutions to the “coral reef crisis.” Pieter Tans he has led the Carbon Cycle Greenhouse Gases group at NOAA since 1985. This group has maintained NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, producing the most widely used data of atmospheric CO2, CH4, and several other greenhouse gases and supporting measurements. Host: Beth Bennett Producer: Beth Bennett Engineer: Maeve Conran Additional Contributions: Susan Moran Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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This week’s show offers two features: Global Biodiversity (start time: 1:22): Scientists, NGOs and government representatives from nearly 200 countries have been gathering in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN Biodiversity Conference, known as COP13. They’re meeting to promote protocols and strategic actions related to biological diversity, climate change, food security, and even citizen science. Gillian Bowser, a research scientist at Colorado State University, has studied international climate and biodiversity conventions, while working on issues such as women in sustainability, as well as citizen science. She discusses with host Susan Moran the importance of COP13, and the impact of citizens in scientific studies, such as identifying and tracking butterflies, birds and other species.
Scientists’ Letter to Trump (start time: 12:09) Last week roughly 800 earth and planetary scientists, as well as energy experts, sent an open letter to president-elect Donald Trump, urging him to take six concrete steps to address climate change and to help protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” Trump has called global warming a concept created by China to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive, and he has picked a climate change denialist to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Many scientists fear that a Trump administration will drastically decrease federal funding for climate research. Indeed, the Trump transition team has already issued a questionnaire to the Department of Energy to identify employees and contractors who have worked on climate change research. Alan Townsend, an ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder and one of many Colorado scientists who signed the letter, discusses these issues with hosts Maeve Conran and Susan Moran.
Hosts: Maeve Conran, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
This week, Alejandro speaks with Leonard David, a space journalist who has written a new book Mars – Our Future on the Red Planet. In his book he discusses the plans of both NASA and private companies to send humans to the red planet. The book is a companion to a six-part television series from executive producers Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, and which premiered on the National Geographic Channel last month. Hosts:: Alejandro Soto and Beth Bennett Producer: Beth Bennett Engineer: Beth Bennett Additional Contributions: Susan Moran Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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Beyond Earth (start time 5:10) Many have dreamt of colonizing other planets. It’s been a staple of science fiction for decades. Most often, people imagine creating a colony of humans on Mars, where people would live on a cold, dry planet with a thin, unbreathable atmosphere. Mars, however, may not be the best destination for future human colonization. In fact, Titan, a moon of Saturn, may hold greater hope for extending humanity’s presence in the solar system. Either way, humans face tough but surmountable challenges as we move beyond Earth. As a planetary scientist, Dr. Amanda Hendrix is actively involved in the scientific research and future mission planning that will enable humans to settle on other planets. She’s the co-author, with Charles Wohlforth, of the new book Beyond Earth: Our Path to a New Home in the Planets. Listen to How On Earth’s Alejandro Soto’s interview with Amanda Hendrix, where they discuss the opportunities and challenges for human space exploration.
Regenerative Economics (starts 3:20) Natural Capitalism Solutions leader, Hunter Lovins, will share an economic argument for why now’s the time for cleaner energy. Lovins, who lives near Niwot, Colorado, has presented this speech to government leaders and organizations throughout the world. This is an excerpt from that speech. Go here for extended version)
Logicomix (starts 8:52) Can a comic book teach kids about science? Two grade school children talk with a leading computational logic scientist about his graphic novel comic book, Logicomix.
Host/Producer/Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Beth Bennett Additional Contributions: Alejandro de Soto, Joel Parker
Max Boykoff – Global Climate Talks – Moving Ahead With or Without US – (entire show) While the world has held climate talks for 22 years (This is COP – Conference of the Parties — 22) and the Kyoto Protocol talks about climate change have been held for 12 years, this year’s October’s climate talks in Paris mark the first time that “entry into force” has been achieved. You might think of “entry into force” as the time when a critical number of nations are ready to develop global treaties regarding climate and pollution and its effects around the world. The 1st world meeting ever to talk about “Entry into Force” on climate issues is taking place right now, in Marrakech, Morocco. 200 nations have gathered to discuss these issues. The meetings began just before the US elections. Now Donald Trump is President Elect, and he has signaled that he will pull back from many of the nation’s current plans to reduce pollution and combat climate change.
To find out how this affects the world climate talks, up next we talk with Max Boykoff, speaking via Skype from the world climate talks in Marrakech Morocco.Max Boykoff is a scientist at CU Boulder and director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, which is part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies at CU-Boulder.He’s the author of a book on climate science and social response, titled, “Who Speaks for the Climate?”
The Science of Suggestibility (start time: 5:00) Scientists are learning more and more about how our expectations and beliefs influence how our bodies, including our neurochemistry, respond to pain and disease. The researchers are discovering that we are very suggestible creatures. But we are not all equally suggestible. Some of us can cure serious ailments even when we’ve knowingly taken a placebo remedy, but others can not. Herein lies a major puzzle that vexes drug manufacturers and medical practitioners. It’s a puzzle that has intrigued Erik Vance, a science journalist, since he nearly died from a severe illness when he was a toddler. His journey is detailed in a book that was just published today. It’s called Suggestible You: Placebos, False Memories, Hypnosis and the Power of Your Astonishing Brain (National Geographic). Listen to How On Earth’s Susan Moran’s interview with Erik Vance.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Alejandro Soto Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Multitudes of Microbes (start time: 3:38): You may find it unsettling to learn that our human cells make up only half of our bodies. The other half is a bunch of microbes (in the neighborhood of 40 trillion), all living and reproducing in, and on, our bodies. What’s more, these invisible machines could have a powerful influence on your brain, and on your overall health. Ed Yong, a staff writer for The Atlantic, found it disconcerting at first to learn this when he researched his book called “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.” The book, published earlier this year, explores the mysterious partnerships between humans, and many other species, and the mighty microbes with which we have co-evolved. Today we air the full phone interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran recently had with Yong. We played short clips of the conversation during our fall pledge-drive show last Tuesday. Thanks to you listeners who pledged! And thanks to Yong’s publisher, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, for donating to KGNU several copies, which some generous members are now reading. This interview continues our series called “Our Microbes, Ourselves.”
Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Kendra Krueger Executive Producer: Beth Bennett