13 May, 2015 – Episode 514 – This Week in Science


NASA Moonshot Research, Cere’s White Spots, Crazy Clouds, Artificial Neurons, Under-reporting People, Clean Up Man, Snake Orgies, Bat Beams, Anti Bac Babies, Chicken Snouts, Drugs For Cleverness, Chocolate Or Friend, And Much More…

NASA Moonshot Research
NASA has funded 15 of the most sci-fi ideas to see what sticks.

Cere’s White Spots
White spots on the dwarf planet Ceres are becoming more visible and plentiful. Researchers believe the spots to be water ice.

Crazy Clouds
Researchers measured what they describe as a cloud of antimatter in a thundercloud, and don’t really know what it came from.

World robot domination… gets a bit closer
Memristors are leading the pack for the design of artificial neuron and learning networks.

HPV Vac at work…
The HPV vaccine is working well, and not just for women. New efforts are underway to vaccinate all girls by the age of 11 with the understanding that it could decrease cervical cancer by 80%.

Under-reporting life and death
It’s estimated that the lives (births and deaths) of millions of people worldwide go completely unreported. In the case of a disaster, these individuals can have terrific impacts on government plans for response scenarios. Researchers are working on new methods to count these invisible people.

Ladies love a clean pad
Female gobies pick suitable males by how clean they keep their nests, and how healthy their other eggs are.

Bats with 20/20 echolocation
Bats open their mouths wider to focus-in on objects nearby.
*An error was made during the show: Dr. Kiki thought the narrowing sound beam discussed referred to a narrowing of the sound wave period. In actuality, the bats’ mouths open wider to actually cast sound over a more narrow, well-focused area, and are more closed when they are projecting sound into a wider space. In effect, the bats do create a ‘beam’ of sound that can be more or less focused.

How to win out in a snake orgy
Red-sided garter snakes expend a lot of energy on making sure their sperm is successful.

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Anti bac babies = bad bac adults
Data suggests that anti-bacterials given to developing children have negative health effects into adulthood that arise from the disruption of natural bacterial populations.

Chicken Snouts
Yale researchers genetically manipulated chicken embryos to express an ancestral state, supporting ideas about how the transition from dinosaur to bird took place.

live long with wonder drug
A new drug given to old mice made them stronger, faster, and more clever. Not yet available for humans.

Chocolate Or Friend
A study in Animal Cognition suggests that rats are at least as likely to help a fellow drowning rat as they are to go after food; when chocolate was pitted against a drowning friend, they helped the friend 50-80% of the time.

Fishy sunscreen pills
A compound from fish genes have been successfully expressed in yeast, and could be used in pills or lotions for us to block harmful UV rays.

Jaw Jumping Ants
These ants use their jaws to jump to safety… sometimes.

Honeybee Stats
USDA reports that US honeybee populations dropped by 40% last year.

Recent Mates
A conference reports that Neanderthals and humans mated as recently as 37,000 years ago.

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