Science

Mountain Edition - June 27th, 2013

Jun 27, 2013

In a matter of days, it’ll be illegal to give family or friends a gun... without having them getting a  background check. Today we’ll hear about confusion over details of the new transfer law.

That and other new Colorado laws have frustrated local enforcement officials--enough that they’ve filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. We’ll talk with a Roaring Fork Valley sheriff about why he signed on with that effort.

Our science reporter delves into the tricky question of how air quality is monitored... even when pollution is coming from hundreds of miles away.

A major group of wildfires continues to burn in southwestern Colorado. That’s as Stage One fire restrictions kick into place for parts of the Roaring Fork Valley. We’ll find out why many in Pitkin County are at risk if a wildfire does break out nearby.

We’ll take a tour of one of the most energy efficient houses in the world. Amory Lovins is Chief Scientist for Rocky Mountain Institute. He takes us on a tour of his Old Snowmass home... spoiler alert, it has bananas, too.

Tracking Air Quality in the Roaring Fork Valley

Jun 26, 2013
Drew's News at Roaring Fork High School

The US Supreme Court is in the news for decisions on same sex marriage and voting rights... but the highest court in the land is also planning to look at air pollution. At issue is who's to blame when air quality monitors go way past the legal limit. The court announced Monday it will soon review a 2011 EPA rule... one designed to help protect communities downwind of power plants. Part of the problem is figuring out how to regulate air pollution that goes across state lines. Aspen Public Radio’s science reporter wondered how air quality is measured and tracked. From a field in Carbondale, here’s Ellis Robinson. 

What Physics Teaches Us About Cells

Jun 19, 2013
Jim Gipe / Pivot Media

Physics is often introduced to young minds by teaching them to calculate the trajectory of a baseball or the time it took the apple to drop from the tree and bonk Newton on the head. But maybe kids should learn how to calculate the speed at which nutrients zoom around our bodies, or the force of proteins building and tearing-down structures inside of cells. Now, the fundamental toolbelt of physics is being applied to better understand diseases like Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's, according to physicist Jennifer Ross.

mill56 - Flickr

The scientific community agrees: exercise does a body good. When comparing a sedentary lifestyle spent on the couch versus being an active cross-country skier, the recommendation from doctors is a no brainer: Go grab those skis! Which is a lesson Aspenites have long taken to heart. But a recent study from Sweden complicates the simplistic “exercise is good” mantra that we are used to hearing.

That's the sound of 15-thousand cross country skiers simultaneously embarking on a grueling 90 km course. This is the Vasaloppet in Sweden.

Coal Mines Provide Enticing Green Energy Source

Jun 14, 2013
Credit Kathy Browning - Flickr

One local company is already taking advantage of methane capture at coal mines. The Aspen Skiing Company last year, invested in a project that generates energy from methane at a mine near Paonia.  Their trailblazing will set the stage for other groups to try out similar projects. Aspen Public Radio’s Ellis Robinson reports.

Digging for Dust Data

Jun 11, 2013
Center for Snow and Avalanche Studies

If you’ve ventured out on a hot day wearing dark clothing you know that within a short time you're soaked with sweat. Similarly, when a blanket of dust settles on snow, it acts the same way - the snow sweats or melts. The result is a rapid melting of snow.  Aspen Public Radio’s Science Reporter Ellis Robinson has more.
 

Marci Krivonen

  As schools across the country work to improve students’ comprehension of math and science, one district in the region is taking those lessons to the sky. A new after-school program at the Aspen School District is using hands-on learning to churn out a new generation of aerospace engineers and pilots. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more. 

Two more speakers from this year's Aspen Ideas Fest:

* Cassie Conley, Planetary Protection Officer with NASA

* Dan Gross, President of Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence
 

Marci Krivonen

The Roaring Fork Valley is no Silicon Valley. But, it is home to a growing innovative computer tech company. The Basalt-basediOmounts designs and distributes sturdy stands to hold smart phones and tablets. The company does most of its business online and has furnished local lodges, like the Hotel Jerome, with its products.

Turns out, iOmounts isn’t the only business of its kind in Colorado. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

 

More details are available on what happened during the April 20th deadly avalanche on Loveland Pass. It was the worst accident of its kind in more than a half a century. The Colorado Avalanche Information Center released their final report on Wednesday April 24th. In it are some painful details--like the lone survivor waiting four hours to be dug out, and the slide being powerful enough to wreck car. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher talks with CAIC Executive Director Ethan Greene.

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