25 February, 2015 – Episode 503 – This Week in Science


Big Old Black Hole, Plastic Eating Coral, Saharan Dust Fall, One Lab To Test Us All, Carnivorous Genes, Evolutionary Clock, Limpet Teeth!, Ant Latrines, Harlequin Cats, Prothetic Arms, Marketing Science, Climate Attitudes, Sea Spikes, Brain Waving Memory, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
Today is a day that lives in scientific infamy… well, one of
the days anyhow…
For it was on this day, February 25, 1616
Back in a time when theological beliefs were treated as law…
and having opinions against, or simply beyond the understanding of the church
could lead to imprisonment, death, or worse…
That by order of a Pope, science was to be censored…
Specifically the propositions made by Galileo,
that the Sun and not the earth is at the center of our solar
system…. And that the Earth… moves
Pope Paul the Fifth chose inquisitor lord cardinal
Bellarmine to summon Galileo, admonish him for his discovery and warn him
against teaching it to others….
Galileo famously recanted his discovery and admitted it as
The fact that 16 years previous Giordano Bruno was summoned
on similar charges of teaching a heliocentric solar system could not have
escaped Galileo’s decision to recant.
The fact that Giordano Bruno was imprisoned when he refused
to recant his understanding of the universe could not have escaped Galileo’s
decision to recant.
The fact that Giordano Bruno further refused to recant his
understanding of the universe while imprisoned and was then hung upside down
naked in a town square with an iron spike through his tongue and set on fire
while still alive… could not have escaped Galileo’s decision to recant.
The fact that Cardinal Bellarmine and the, then cardinal,
now Pope Paul both sat in judgment over Giordano Bruno in his trial that ended
in torture and death… could not have escaped Galileo’s decision to recant…
The fact
that the church was ignorant of the heavens, censored one of the greatest contributors
to scientific progress and committed horrible acts of torture in retribution
for speaking truth…. Could not have escaped their decision to canonize Cardinal
Bellarmine, making him a Saint in 1930…
on this day, February 25, 1616 the order was given to censor
one of the greatest scientific minds the world has ever know…
And on this day 399 years later…
We celebrate their failure to do so on
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next

Big Old Black Hole
A quasar chosen from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey has led scientists to the most massive black hole ever discovered, which seems to have gained its mass too quickly for its age leading to speculation about black hole formation.

Plastic Eating Coral
Coral are eating microplastics. What does this mean for their health?

Saharan Dust Fall
Dust travels in a plume from the Sarah to the Amazon, and fertilizes the vegetation there.

One Lab to test us all
Let’s use sewage to test the microbial health of our urban areas!

Carnivorous Genes
The carnivorous bladderwort was found to have a very interesting genome, full of self-editing.

Evolutionary Clock
A database of molecular dating data is being constructed to aid researchers in more accurately determining the timing of branchings in the tree of life.

Ants have bathrooms
Ants deficate in the corners of their nests. This could be for sanitary reasons, or to help them use their feces for farming or other uses.

Rainbow cat collars save local species
Cats in ridiculous jester-esque collars scare off local bird and lizard species before they can fall prey to the bloodthirsty pets – but pests like mice and rats are still easy targets.

Limpet teeth are the strongest thing on earth!
Limpet teeth (or the scrapey part of the radula) are the strongest, toughest thing in the animal kingdom – eclipsing spider silk. Think of all of the amazing new technologies we could create with this information!

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Prothetic Arms
Three men have received robotic arm prostheses using brachial innervation.

Information on global warming not the whole issue
A lot depends on politics.

Sea Spikes
The Atlantic Ocean along the Northeastern US was higher by four inches for a period of time suggesting that there are significant year to year differences in ocean level that will impact the severity of storms.

Brain Waving Memory
Areas of the brain may communicate using coded electrical signals separate from action potentials: research showed that the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex change frequency when agreement and disagreement occur.

Washing dishes by hand…
correlates with a reduction in allergies
Eating peanuts when young…
reduces peanut allergies

Beards Are Mean
Research into perception of personality from face shape has led to the discovery that people think beards make men look aggressive.

Inside an Extroverted Brain
They are different, but it’s uncertain whether the differences are a cause or effect of the personality type.

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I'm the host of this little science show.