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Keeping Track of Invaders

 Invertebrate zoologist Jonathan Geller shows off the DNA sequencer used in his research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Photo: Melissae Fellet

Invertebrate zoologist Jonathan Geller shows off the DNA sequencer used in his research at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Photo: Melissae Fellet

By Melissae Fellet | KUSP News

Many marine invasive species enter California from San Francisco Bay and then spread into the waters of the western United States. Identifying new invasions requires knowing what organisms are currently living in the state. A scientist is helping to refine lists of current invaders by identifying them by their DNA.

Even though invasive species can disrupt ecosystems, invertebrate zoologist Jonathan Geller doesn’t get mad when he sees them.


Novelist Jonathan Franzen in KUSP Studio for ‘Science Friday’

Best-selling novelist Jonathan Franzen stopped by KUSP Studios, recording an interview for Science Friday‘.

In the interview he talked about the plight of songbirds – their being hunted in high numbers & about how his passion for birds has evolved. Listen here.

Photo: J.D. Hillard / KUSP

Photo: J.D. Hillard / KUSP


A New Conversation About Desalination – Full Transcript

Transcript: A New Conversation About Desal, Pt. 1

Bonnie Primbsch: CRC, the organization that I work for the Conflict Resolution Center for Santa Cruz County they have been working in this community to resolve conflict since 1986, it’s been a long time.

And normally the process that you are going to see goes into helping people resolve a conflict they have between them. As some of you have noted this is a little different, because it’s a community issue we don’t have the decision makers at the table we have people who are very active in making something happen. But they aren’t solely responsible for making the decision. So I don’t know how far we’ll get. Or if they are things that occur to Mike and to Rick as apart of being in this conversation what might happen with that understanding. Assuming that one comes so it’s all a big exciting experiment. -and it is not a debate I want to make that clear too. The goal is to not find a winner. They are not going to interview afterwards to ask who you think won.


Do You Think Science Refutes God?

KUSP invites you to play a game with your fellow listeners. Intelligence Squared U.S. pits major thinkers against each other in debates. The auditorium audience picks the winner based on changes in their own response to the core question.

How can we play?

  • Step one – Decide what you think about the question, “Does science refute God?
  • Step two – Listen to the debate July 7th at 7 pm or listen online here.
  • Step three – Add your answers to our Facebook question here.


The Most Violent Century? Probably Before the Agricultural Revolution

Steven Pinker says our perception of how violent we are as a species is skewed. Photo: Robert Leslie/TED

Steven Pinker says our perception of how violent we are as a species is skewed. Photo: Robert Leslie/TED

Steven Pinker questions the statement: The Twentieth Century was the most violent in history.

He charts the decline of violence from Biblical times to the present, and argues that, though it may seem illogical and even obscene, given events in Darfur and Syria, we are living in the most peaceful time in our species’ existence.

How? Good government. We act on violent impulses less often.

From last week’s episode of the Ted Radio Hour, which airs Friday nights at 7 on 88.9 KUSP and streams live at kusp.org

Ted Explores Beauty

Do we need beauty to enjoy ourselves, or do we need it to survive? Image: npr.org

Do we need beauty to enjoy ourselves, or do we need it to survive? Image: npr.org

Beauty surrounds us, draws us in, gives joy and creates conflict. In this hour, TED speakers conjure up beauty both ancient and modern, and suggest reasons why humans are hardwired to crave and respond to beauty.

Find the five-part show here

In the attached part one of the episode, Denis Dutton was a philosophy professor and the editor of Arts & Letters Daily, before his death in 2010. Dutton also taught philosophy at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. He has a provocative theory on beauty — that art, music and other beautiful things, far from being simply “in the eye of the beholder,” are a core part of human nature with deep evolutionary origins.

Superlight Efficient Revolution in Cars Starts in 2013


BMW's i3 is one of the first of a new approach to lightweight electric cars. Image: youtube.com

Part of Rocky Mountain Institute’s vision of getting us off oil by 2050 is a new approach to cars: electric, half as heavy, highly aerodynamic.

RMI founder Amory Lovins on Your Call Tuesday:

“About 3/5 of our mobility fuel, which is how we mainly use oil, goes to cars and if we make the cars 2 or 3 times lighter and more slippery, they use two- or three times less energy; They need a two- or three times smaller propulsion system; They also get safer by the way, because the ultra-light materials absorb 6 to 12 times as much crash energy and can do so more smoothly. And when the propulsion system gets two- or three times smaller, you can afford to electrify it.” The first new versions from Volkswagen and BMW arrive in Germany next year.

Cars Could Help Green the Electricity System

“When smart vehicles are exchanging electricity and information with through smart buildings with smart grids, they’re adding to the grid storage and flexibility that make it easier for the grid to accept varying solar and wind power,” say Lovins.

Learn about KUSP’s panel discussion with Amory Lovins “What is Our Energy Future” Sunday at 6 pm in Monterey

Nina Simon from MAH on ‘Your Call’

Nina Simon. Photo: Museu Picasso Barcelona

Can a museum launch a movement for creative change?

Listen to the archive of the show.

Thursday, December 6th on Your Call, a conversation with Nina Simon, Executive Director of the Santa Cruz Museum of Art  & History, and author of “The Participatory Museum.”  Listen from 10-11 a.m.  on KUSP and KUSP.org.

From TEDx Santa Cruz – Sept. 15, 2012:

The Museum of Art and History – Santa Cruz

How to Predict an Election—Polling Aggregators Sam Wang and Drew Linzer


By Robert Pollie | The 7th Avenue Project -

Fearless forecasters: Neuroscientist Sam Wang and Political Scientist Drew Linzer

Nate Silver isn’t the only forecaster to project the results of last Tuesday’s presidential election with preternatural accuracy. Sam Wang of the Princeton Election Consortium and Drew Linzer of Votamatic both hit the bullseye, too, and they explained to me why it’s not really so preternatural after all (hint: statistics works). We talked about their methods, why so many pundits and political partisans missed the boat, and whether it’s bedtime for bloviators

Ukulele Hero, Mariachi Magic


Broadcast originally on The 7th Avenue Project w/ Robert Pollie (Sunday Oct. 21, 2012).

Two new movies (shown at the 2012 Pacific Rim Film Festival) pay tribute to musical instruments and/or traditions that haven’t always gotten their due in mainstream USA.

In part one, Tad Nakamura, director of Jake Shimabukuro: Life on Four Strings. It’s a moving portrait of the musician who’s taken the ukulele—sometimes wrongly dissed as a novelty instrument—to virtuosic heights.

Jake Shimabukuro and Tad Nakamura (left); Mexican Diva Lila Downs and Shawn Ashmore (right).

In part two, Tom Gunderson director of Mariachi Gringo, the tale of a young man from the midwest who falls in love with Mexico and devotes himself to mariachi music. Lead actor Shawn Ashmore devoted himself to the music too, going to school on vihuela.