30 August, 2017 – Episode 634 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

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Ancient Math, Human Variation, Mass Extinctions Suck, Probable Meteoroids, Whale Teeth Tales, Four Flippers Flipping, Bones For Brains, Microbial Messages, Moth Dating Games, Drink More Coffee, Promising Biomedicine, And Much More…

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DISCLAIMER, DISCLAIMER, DISCLAIMER!!!
Whenever a natural disaster hits…
And we witness tragic loss of life and home and livelihood…
I am reminded that there is no such thing as a natural disaster…
Only man made ones.
The events…
Whether in Texas or India or elsewhere,
While unprecedented in scale…
Were not unpredicted…
That they were not prepared for,
is no act of nature…
But our own damn fault…
We have known for some time that with global warming,
would come greater sea levels…
Larger storms…
With greater precipitation…
And greater flooding…
We have heard the dire predictions of scientists…
And we have seen many recent examples of those predictions proving true…
What remains now is a choice.
To continue to ignore reality,
and endure devastation after devastation as a natural part of life…
Or take charge of our future…
take charge of our leadership…
take charge of our own protection…
And in doing so live in a world made stronger, safer, and more secure.
A world built on the foundation of This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi Kirsten, Blair and Justin,
My story goes two fold – my work and learning English as my second language.
Back in the fall of 2005, after our daughter Liza was born, my second cousin was about to fly from Canada to Ukraine to see a new member in the family and he asked me what present would I want to. I was thinking about what I’ll be doing during long walks with the baby carriage and iPod Mini came to my mind. Ever since I began listening podcasts in English and TWIS was the first one (yes, I’m kind of veteran-listener -:) )
So kudos to clever engineers and iTunes platform builders for giving me a a great way of listening stuff that I deeply interesting in English and therefore helping me to polish my English more and more. TWIS was only the beginning, than I began listening wonderful StarTalk with Neil Degrassi Tyson, Life Scientific with Jim Al-Khalili, Orbital Path many others. All those podcasts helped me to grow my horizons and learn the language tremendously and continue to feed my curiously daily.
As to my work, without science, not a chance that I would be able to work from home on a U.K.-based online publication as an editor and have a real freedom to work from wherever I want, having my laptop, Wifi and yes – ??-:) next to me.
If you think hard enough about what makes such work style and language learning possible, you’ll name dozens and dozens of technologies that collectively make it possible. Without science it would not be possible. Period.”
–minion Artyom Dogtyev

Ancient Math
Well, not only did the Babylonians bring the world the first printed language, it turns out they also did complex math. An analysis of an ancient tablet revealed that the Babylonians practiced a form of trigonometry that is superior to the modern style in many ways.

Human Variation
Different groups of humans have very different and specific patterns of methylation, which could indicate adaptability, according to a recent study of human epigenetic variation.

Mass Extinctions Suck
A model of soot in the atmosphere at the K-T extinction estimates that about 99% of the light from the sun would have been blocked, and the effects would have lasted 6 years.

House size meteoroid hits earth
It’s really not as bad as it could be.

Plesiosaurs can’t swim?
That’s just silly.

From The Stacks
Another incredible fossil discovery was made when a researcher started looking at museum collections – the largest known Ichthyosaurus specimen ever was misidentified and had been given the tail of another species for display purposes.

Whales with teeth
From whence they came.

Hormone reverses age-related memory loss in mice
A protein made by our bones influences our brain function. Who knew?

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Let me hear your biota talk…
The bacteria are talking to your cells.

Moth Dating Games
Sexy female moths increase the chances of plains Janes getting a shot at the dating game. It turns out proximity to sexy plays a big role in helping the less attractive females reproduce.

Drink More Coffee
Live longer…

Promising Biomedicine
Researchers use a drug called dibezazepine is able to block Notch signalling and turn white fat cells into brown fat cells, which are metabolically more efficient.
Transplants of IPSCs into the brains of monkeys lacking dopaminergic neurons integrated successfully and reduced Parkinson’s-like symptoms over the study period.
A study in PNAS finds that small molecules called indoles that are produced by symbiotic bacteria increase the healthspan of worms, flies, and mice.

CAR-T Approval
It’s a go for the first CAR-T cancer therapy in the US, but the potential recipients are few.

Salmon Run
An Atlantic fish farm in Washington State failed this past week releasing over 3 million pounds of fish that have now spread some 60 miles. Fishermen are being given open license to take as many as they can in order to limit the damage to the ecosystem and natural Pacific salmon populations.

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About the Author

I’m the host of this little science show.