05 December, 2013 – Episode 441 – This Week in Science


Dead Comets Have No Tails, Asian Space Race, GMO Corn Retraction, Memory Sperm, Oldest Human DNA Evah, Crocs Are Smarter Still, Sneaky Sharks, Interview w/ Richard Price of Academia.edu, Matching Your Mate, Promise For Huntington’s, Grab A Bartender, Frisky Fruit Flies, Planet Formation Quandary, Axions Are Dark Matter?, And Much More…

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This Week in Science… coming up next

Comet ISON Thought Dead
After several post-sun sputters, the comet ISON appears to have lost its tail.

The Space Race Renews
India’s mission has left Earth’s orbit, and is off to Mars, and separately, China has launched a mission to the Moon.

GMO Corn Study Retracted
Study linking cancer in rats to GMO corn was retracted by journal, citing low sample size.

Newest Research in Epigenetics – Generational Memories Passed Thru Sperm
Researchers found that the IVF offspring of male mice exposed to an odorant molecule that was associated with a fearful event showed greater sensitivity in their startle response when exposed to the odorant themselves. The effect was seen two generations removed. Data to support the epigenetic transmission of the response was not convincing, but researchers are still looking into epigenetic mechanisms to explain the effect.

Old Bones Give Confusing DNA
Bones from a Spanish fossil pit have been identified as Denisovan based on DNA, but have Neanderthal features leading to confusion in the human lineage.

Blair’s Animal Corner
Crocs are smarter than we thought
Are you ready for another debate about what constitutes “tool use”? I hope so, because crocodiles have been observed using twigs to lure in prey – this is the first ever case of tool use in reptiles documented.

Sharks like to sneak up on you
Sharks prefer not to be seen when they approach a living thing. What’s more, they appear to comprehend what a human’s visual range is – so another scary animal turns out to be much smarter than we thought – watch out!

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GUEST: Richard Price, CEO of Academia.edu, discusses open science, the pros/cons to open science, Academia.edu’s role in the ecosystem, the kind of future he envisions for science, and challenges to making it a reality, among other things.

Grabbing A Bartender
It’s really not all that difficult, says science: grab a seat at the bar, and look at the bartender.

Promise For Huntington’s Sufferers
A newly discovered drug that mimics the neuron supporting effects of a protein called BDNF might reduce the degenerative effects of Huntington’s disease, and help sufferers live longer, better lives.

Frustrated Fruit Flies Die Sooner
Sexual frustration kills, and sexual satisfaction makes you live longer. That is, if you are a fruit fly…

Axions To The Rescue?
A new hypothesis in physics suggests that theoretical particles called axions could be the dark matter we are looking for, and there are possible experiments to prove it!

Planetary Formation Quandary
Massive exoplanet found orbiting its star at furthest distance yet forcing astronomers to ponder how it got there.

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