Cheatgrass, Marriage and Health, Smart Grids, Digital Education
Top of Mind with Julie Rose - Radio Archive, Episode 176
- Nov 10, 2015 10:00 pm
- 1:43:14 mins
Waging War on Cheatgrass (1:04) Guest: Ann Kennedy, Soil Scientist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service More than nine million acres burned in wildfires across the US this summer – among the highest on record and making it among the most expensive fire-fighting seasons. Western drought and invasive weeds are largely to blame. How are weeds to blame? Consider cheatgrass – aptly named because it grows so aggressively it cheats other native grasses and flowering plants of any chance for survival. Cheatgrass has taken over large swaths of the sagebrush country. And the kicker is that it’s not tasty to livestock or wildlife, so it just grows and grows and then it dries into perfect kindling just as peak burn season arrives. If we’re going to get a handle on the wildfires burning larger and hotter every year, we have to get a handle on cheatgrass. Ambivalent Relationships & Blood Pressure (23:43) Guest: Wendy Birmingham, PhD, Professor of Psychology at Brigham Young University Marriage is good for your health. Studies show married people tend to live longer than unmarried people and are at lower risk for depression. Generally speaking, married people are happier people. BUT, the quality of your marriage matters. If you’re unhappily married your health might worse than if you were single. So what about the in between stages? Marriages that are more-or-less ambivalent - not exactly blissful, but not awful either? And how exactly do marriage relationships affect one’s health? The Apple Seed (42:44) Guest: Sam Payne, Host of BYUradio’s “The Apple Seed” Sam Payne joins us in studio and captivates us with a new story. The Smart Grid (51:40) Guest: Steven Low, PhD, Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology When we talk about energy efficiency and the push toward relying on more renewal sources, there’s a parallel effort you may be less familiar with. It’s the work of bringing our electricity system into the new digital age. Do you realize the “grid” that links a power plant to the light switches in your home is fundamentally decades-old? And that while you may use an app on your smartphone to control the thermostat in your house, many power companies still have to send an actual person to read the meter and see how much electricity you used last month? A “Smart Grid” is what experts call a future where our electric utility system has been computerized with sensors and chips. Open-Source Education (1:10:20) Guest: David Wiley, PhD, Education Fellow at Creative Commons, Adjunct Faculty in Brigham Young University's graduate program in Instructional Psychology and Technology, Co-founder and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning The average college textbook will run you about 100 bucks – some are much more. And the reliance on those big heavy, worth-their-weight-in-goal texts hasn’t changed, even as just about everything else in our lives has gone digital. But there is a movement afoot to make open source, digital textbooks the norm in college. Several recent studies find students can learn just as much from the open, digital textbook and get grades that are just as high as their peers using the old-school $100-a-pop textbook. Bison Return to Colorado Grasslands (1:32:34) Guest: Jennifer Barfield, PhD, Reproductive Physiologist from Colorado State University November 1st marked the first time bison have roamed free on the northern Colorado grasslands in 150 years. Getting to that milestone took a lot of work by conservationists and reproductive scientists – including high-tech fertility treatment to help the bison overcome a bacterial infection that prevents them from reproducing.