25 May, 2016 – Episode 568 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


A Force of Nature?, Red Geysers, Maladapted Marshmallows, Beetle Genitals, Spider Gifts, Dolphin Snot, Venomous Drugs, CLOUDs From Trees, Egyptian Takeovers, Cockroach Magnetism, Of Antibiotics And Beetles, Birdie Colors, Monster Croc, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Regardless of what is about to happen…
do not panic…
Though you may want to take this opportunity to grab a towel…
A towel,
as I am sure you know,
is the most massively useful thing a minion of science can have.
Especially practical in dangerous times when one really, really, really wants to panic…
You can wrap it around you for warmth as you slurry across the artic melt counting polar bears…
You can lie on it while etching meticulous layers of sediment away from a found fossil
You can sleep under it beneath the radiation and stars which shine so steadily on mars…
Convert it to a sail and free yourself from a castaway’s fate of island dwarfism
Wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat or simply to ward off cats
Wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes,
or to protect yourself from traumatic insemination…
You can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal,
as long as that emergency is not a hungry polar bear that has been lurking about
and now thinks you are waving it over,
ready to be eaten…
and of course,
you can dry yourself off with it if you have recently showered in the knowledge that is
This Week In Science
Coming Up Next…

A Force of Nature?
A Hungarian lab has published results of experiments that hint at a neverbeforeseen particle with very unusual interactions that might be a fifth fundamental force apart from gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak forces.

Red Geysers
A closer look at quiescent galaxies where star formation seems to be somehow depressed suggests that episodically active supergiant black holes might underlie the phenomenon.

Maladapted Marshmallows
Is impulsiveness maladaptive or simply a smart survival strategy for those with less? We don’t know, but it all has to do with vagal tone.

Beetle co-evolution… of genitalia
Drastic changes in genitalia occured in just 10 generations when submitted to selective pressures, and they were deeply intertwined… in more ways that one.

Gifts discourage eating mates
Men, take note (if you are a spider).

Dolphin snot makes sounds, and it isn’t the trumpet of a nose blow!
The mystery behind dolphin sounds may be revealed, and it is probably mucus…

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Venoms for drug discovery
A new method of drug discovery is locating compounds in venoms that can be quickly and easily put to use.

CLOUDs From Trees
Two papers in Nature report that cloud formation might come from vapors released by vegetation, and that pre-industrial skies might have looked surprisingly more cloudy as a result.

Nubian/ Egyptian culture…
It took over nicely.

Cockroach Magnetism
Cryptochrome 1 (Cry1) in fruit flies has been linked to detection on magnetic fields. Testing in cockroaches suggests that Cry2, a related protein, is involved in magnetic sensitivity in these insects.

Of Antibiotics And Beetles
Antibiotics fed to cattle alter the dung environmen and thus methane emissions. The unexpected effect is that dung beetle biobiomes are affected as well.

Red pigment is more than just pretty
The same chromosomes that give red beaks also make a bird more fit, increasing their ability to shed toxins from their body. What’s more, the same are also linked to seeing red!

“Man-eating” monster croc running amok in the Everglades
Next time you see a croc in Florida, you may want to take a second look. Or, you might just be better off slowing walking away…

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I'm the host of this little science show.