Dave Schlom

Host, Blue Dot

Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.

We talk with two comedians from the hoard of funny-folk who'll take over town to perform stand-up in many different venues for the fourth annual Chico Comedy Festival. We'll also talk with painter Amber Palmer and several of her fellow artists about events planned for this summer including plein air (outdoor) art-creation activities and art exhibitions at several Chico locations.

Big Wave Dave talks surfing! Featuring a conversation between San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter Bruce Jenkins and retired NASA Oceanographer Bill Patzert, we dive deep under the swells of the world of big waves with an emphasis on Mavericks -- the biggest surf wave on the west coast located in Half Moon Bay. The conversation wraps up reminiscing about Bruce Brown's The Endless Summer and a campaign for surfer license plates as a tribute to the classic film. Mark Sponsler rides big waves like Mavericks and has a website called Stormsurf that forecasts wave conditions for surfers -- he shares his insights on waves -- what makes the perfect surfing wave? We also talk to Surfer Magazine staff photographer Frank Quirarte who takes his camera into the big break at Mavericks on a personal water craft and rescues surfers trapped in the cauldron of whitewater. Finally, a bonus segment listening to surf guitar and surf music with music historian and guitar collector John Biscuti.

On this episode Dave is joined by co-host Kate Fullam as they interview Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix: How Nature makes us Happier, Healthier and more Creative. The second half of the show features an in depth look at Naturebridge at Yosemite, a program that connects young people to nature on its grandest stage. Dave talks to Kristina Rylands, former Naturebridge participant who is now the head of the program. Nolan Ford visits with Ana Bachman from the McConnell Foundation, which funds high school students from Northern California to attend Naturebridge. Finally, Dave visits with a former student, Nicole Curiel, who attended the Yosemite program in 2016.

Before the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, the signature temblor in the Bay Area occurred on October 21, 1868. That rupture of a major fault, 150 years ago has drawn the attention of scientists concerned that a magnitude 6.5+ quake is due for the densely populated East Bay. Dave is joined by USGS Geophysicist Ken Hudnut as they interview two leading experts on the Hayward Fault: David Schwartz and Tom Brocher. It's a fascinating and frightening discussion of the "ticking seismic time bomb" beneath the East Bay.

In this episode we revisit two authors we interviewed in 2017. Jeff Goodell is the author of The Water Will Come, a sobering look at what lies ahead as the world's oceans expand and rise due to climate change. A contributing editor to Rolling Stone, the New York based writer was inspired to write the book in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast with flooding in 2012, previewing what is certainly going to be a major and ongoing slow motion disaster in the near future. Goodell visits Miami Beach where the effects of sea level rise are already becoming a problem. Perhaps the most alarming chapter is about the U.S. Naval base at Norfolk one of the nation's most important defense installations that is likely to be abandoned in the next couple of decades. On a personal note, Dave also learned to his amazement that Goodell's mother is close friends with his neighbor, proving the adage that it is indeed, a small world, and one destined for major coastal changes no matter what actions we take to combat global warming in the near future.

In the second half of the show, Dave revisits his interview with Kathryn Miles, author of Quakeland: On The Road to America's Next Devastating Earthquake. Her book opens with a look at the tragic events following the Hebgen Lake earthquake of 1959 and takes readers on a a story that is part science and part travelogue as she journey's around the country investigating what scientists know, and more alarmingly don't know, about the ground beneath our feet. Miles travels into the bowels of the Earth in deep mines and the Hoover Dam in her search to understand how a devastating earthquake could have cataclysmic effects on the economy and infrastructure of the U.S. And not just in the seismically active west, but also on the east coast and midwest.

 

Sea level rise and eclipse phenomena highlight this episode. First Dave talks to NASA Oceanographer Josh Willis about two new studies. The first reports that sea level rise isn't increasing at a linear rate -- it is accelerating. The second study demonstrates how much our understanding of ice melt from Antarctica's glaciers has advanced in just the past few years. Then we revisit The Great American Eclipse of 2017 with Dr. Gordon Telepun. A plastic surgeon from Alabama, Telepun created the smart phone app Solar Eclipse Timer. His YouTube channel by the same name (as the app) features detailed explanations of the varied and amazing phenomena associated with total solar eclipses.

 

In this week's episode Dave is joined by Nolan Ford for an in depth conversation with Jad Abumrad, host of WNYC's Radiolab which is one of public radio's most popular and innovative programs. Jad was fascinated with recording sounds from an early age and after pursuing a college education that concentrated both on writing and musical composition, he kind of stumbled into a career in radio reporting which led, eventually, to the fascinating storytelling soundscapes that make up Radiolab with his longtime cohost Robert Krulwich. Jad will be visiting Chico for a stage presentation on Innovation at Laxson Auditorium on March 3. Also in this episode, Dave talks to Christopher Potter about his new book The Earth Gazers. The book is an extensive history of the space program from its earliest beginnings in Russia with Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and America with Robert Goddard. Along the way he weaves Charles Lindbergh's little known influences on the nascent rocketry program in the U.S. and the complex story of German rocket scientist Werner von Braun who designed the giant rockets that hurtled American astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo Program. But a funny thing happened while trying to leave our planet, we discovered what it looked like to actually see our world from beyond. Dave and Christopher discuss how that has changed our world view, literally and figuratively!

In this episode we bid a temporary aloha to our longtime friend and surfer buddy, William Patzert. Dave is joined by former producer (and the composer/performer of Blue Dot's theme music) Matt Shilts to interview Bill, who just retired after 35 years from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The guru of California climate forecasters, Bill Patzert has been the go to guy for news media outlets across the country from Southern California TV stations to StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson. But his favorite place to hang out and talk about his work is right here on Blue Dot. It might not be a coincidence that Matt Shilts' last time being on the show featured an interview with Bill. We are also joined by two of Bill's friends -- his NASA/JPL Oceanographer colleague Josh Willis and the Director of the Aquarium of the Pacific, Jerry Schubel.

On this episode of Blue Dot, Dave talks to fellow science communications host Ira Flatow who joined us from his home in Connecticut. The award winning host of Public Radio International's Science Friday tells us about being on the NPR staff in the early days as a science correspondent, the PBS television series he hosted for kids, Newton's Apple, his love of science and gadgets plus some tips for would be guests on the show. Ira also tells us about what it was like to play himself on the hit CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory. Dave is also joined by United States Geological Survey research scientist Francis Rengers about the recent, tragic debris flows in Montecito, California that took 20 lives. Rengers specializes in studying the impacts of wildfires and how they can lead to catastrophic erosion like what was seen following the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara County.

In this episode of Blue Dot, Dave is joined by Kate Fullam to interview Ann Druyan. Ann was the Creative Director of the Voyager Interstellar Message Project. She co-wrote ‘COSMOS: A Personal Voyage’ with her late husband Carl Sagan. She was awarded the Emmy and Peabody awards for ‘COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey. In this wide ranging discussion we'll hear about Ann's relationship with her late husband the creation of the reboot of Cosmos on Fox Television and the release of the catalog of books by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan on Audible last year. A second season, Cosmos: Possible Worlds is in production with Druyan and the rest of the Cosmos team and will be on Fox in 2019. The second half of the show features a report from Sheryl Hosler, The Roving Naturalist from YouTube. Sheryl will tell us about the strange an interesting lives of parasitic sea lice.

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