Sanden Totten Science Reporter

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Contact Sanden Totten

Sanden Totten is KPCC's Science Reporter. He covers everything from space exploration and medical technology to endangered species and the latest earthquake research. He's also co-producer of Brains On!, a podcast for kids and curious adults about the scientific mysteries of the universe.

Before joining KPCC's Science Desk, Sanden was a producer for Take Two and the Madeleine Brand Show. He began his career in journalism at Minnesota Public Radio where he co-created the show "In The Loop," and helped develop the Public Insight Network, a crowd-sourcing tool designed to bring unique perspectives to the news.

Sanden is the winner of several honors, including the Radio and TV News Association’s Golden Mike for “Best Radio Medical and Science Reporting” and the National Entertainment Journalism's award for “Best Radio News Story.” In 2011 he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, he graduated from Oberlin College in 2004 with a BA in Psychology and English.

Sanden has lived in Sweden and Japan and speaks both languages. He's a fan of comics, fast music and movies about time travel.

Stories by Sanden Totten

The world's most expensive boulder?

The costs of moving the giant 340-ton boulder to the L.A. County Museum of Art. Hint: Gas isn't even the most expensive part of the process.

Grammy Museum exhibit explores LA's music after WWII

The new exhibition is called "Trouble in Paradise." KPCC's Sanden Totten finds out why the contradiction fits L.A. and speaks with music pioneers from after WWII.

Mars exploration takes a hit in new NASA budget

NASA Director Charles Bolden traveled to Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena Wednesday to discuss budget cuts with his staff. NASA is slated to lose $300 million in funding for planetary exploration next year.

LA expands a promising, but expensive, alcohol abuse treatment

Alcohol abuse costs L.A. County more than $10 billion every year. A large part of that money goes for treatment for alcoholics. Many end up in a familiar circle of rehab, treatment and relapse. But a new drug program is looking to stop that cycle with a shot.

Writers behind video games fight for recognition

Recent releases like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 or Batman: Arkham City have sold millions of copies and racked up huge profits But many who create the games don't get proper credit for their contributions - like the writers.

Murders, suicides and bear attacks - Pasadena's dark history

When you think of Pasadena – you think of the Rose Parade, Colorado Boulevard or maybe little old ladies in fast cars. But like every neighborhood, Pasadena has a dark side. The Pasadena Confidential bus tour explores the grim history of this quiet suburb. The tour features bizarre crimes, strange disappearances and a rude but entertaining clown named Crimebo.

L.A. aims to green up city streets with mini-parks

Mini-parks are popping up around the country, from New York to San Francisco. Now, Los Angeles is about to join in. These "parklets" take advantage of small spaces in urban areas. They're often set up in what was once a parking space and include benches, trees and sometimes a patio.

Noise pollution is driving larger birds away, study says

Thanksgiving is not a good time for turkeys. But a new study from the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina has bad news for other birds as well. The research found that many larger birds are being driven from their natural habitat by human noise pollution. Scientists worry this could have long term consequences for the environment around loud areas like cities and factories.

Catholics adapt to new translations

This Sunday, Roman Catholic churches across the U.S. will roll out a big change that might confuse the pews. For the first time in 40 years, the Church is updating the translation it uses during its English language services. The goal is to bring the prayers closer to the original Latin. For English-speaking Catholics, that means memorizing new words and phrases – some of which are awkward and much more formal than many are used to.

Last chance to see Tim Burton's LACMA exhibit

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art is celebrating the end of its five-month exhibit on the work of Tim Burton. Visitors can see art from Burton's movies like "Batman," "Beetlejuice" and "Edward Scissorhands," as well as his original paintings and drawings.

Great California ShakeOut: Convincing people to prepare for an earthquake

When the “big one” hits, will you be ready? That’s the question behind an event called the “Great California ShakeOut.” It’s a statewide earthquake drill happening Thursday at 10:20 a.m.

Music for October 19, 2011

Tunes for today (in order of appearance):

A lost piece of downtown LA history is restored

On Thursday, October 20, the 30-minute film "Of Scrap & Steel" will be projected on the newly renovated roof of the Union Rescue Mission (URM). The 1948 film shows scenes of Los Angeles while telling the story of Arthur Hawkins, an alcoholic executive who ended up on the streets of Los Angeles and whose life was saved when he turned to the URM for help.

Thomas Guides lost in a GPS world

Once so common that businesses advertised their locations by listing Thomas Guide page numbers, they've gotten harder to find.

UCLA researchers find that H1N1 has spread to pigs in Africa

UCLA researchers have made an intriguing discovery. They've found swine flu in North African pigs. They stumbled upon the H1N1 virus while studying swine in Cameroon. The scientists think the pigs caught the virus from humans. They say the strain is almost identical to the one that many Southlanders contracted.