10 December, 2014 – Episode 493 – This Week in Science

December 13th, 2014
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Where’s The Plastic, New Old Bones, Smart Homo, Old Tiny Farmers, No Bald Bees, Suicidal Tendencies, Hovering Hummers, Vampire Birds, Handy Crows, No Cancer From Phones, Space News, Laser Life, AI Debate, Puffy Puffers, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The view from planet earth is amazing or terrible depending
on who is looking, where they are looking and what they might be looking for…
If you look up on a clear night outside the influence of a
well lit city you can see the stars as our ancient ancestors once did… filling
the sky with countless suns, vast distances from our own…
We now know that this view is of only a tiny fraction of the
stars that populate our milky way galaxy…
And that our milky way is only one of hundreds of billions
of galaxies that populate the universe…
And as we set our sights nearer than the stars to our own
solar system…
We await our first detailed glimpse of a former planet that
has thus far been seen as a mere pixilated smudge in Hubbles lens…
Yes, there is still much to see and the view from here is
getting better all the time
Here on This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Where’s The Plastic
A new study of oceanic plastic levels estimates based on samples taken from various ocean sites that at minimum there are some 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons afloat. Additionally, microparticles of less than 4.75 mm in size were dramatically missing from the analysis.

New Old Bones
The fossil evidence of the first neoceratopsian dinosaur with an Asian origin during the late early Cretaceous was unearthed in Montana, and researchers have named it Aquilops americana, or American Eagle.

Smart Homo
Archaelogists have determined etchings on a shell were intentional, and the work of Homo erectus some 500,000 years ago.

Old Tiny Farmers
Ants have been culturing fungus gardens for about 50 million years.

No Bald Bees
The reason there are no bald bees? Propolis. It decreases inflammation, and stimulates hair growth in mice.

Suicidal Tendencies
They are all in your head. Brain scans indicate abnormalities in the pre-frontal cortex in adolescents who are potentially suicidal.

Hummingbirds use stationary landmarks to hover in one place.
Without the stationary reference points, the hummingbirds had a lot of trouble staying stable – those tiny brains are hard-wired for very specific skills!

Vampire Birds want to Suck Your Blood!!
Some birds (on opposite end of the planet) have adapted to subsist off the blood of larger animals – creepy!

Crows are right or left handed… er… beaked… er… eyed…
Crows favor one eye over the other when using tools and assessing their work. They are some of the only species of birds found to have this preference.

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Do electrical lines case cancer?
So far, all signs point to no.

SPACE News!
New Horizons Awakes
The mission to Pluto came out of its 18th dormancy successfully on Saturday, and will rendezvous with the kind-of planet in July of 2015.

Lake On Mars
Curiosity has sent back images and data that have been interpreted as comprising an ancient lake that went through several sedimentation events.

Deuterium Data Drama
Data from the Rosina instrument on Rosetta suggest that comets could not have been the origin of Earth’s water, and asteroids might be worth a revisit.

Laser Life!http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/12/early-rosetta-data-causes-rethink-of-where-earth-got-its-water/
Using a high-powered laser focused on a lump of clay, scientists in Prague simulated an asteroid impact, which resulted in the formation of the 4 nucleotide bases required to form RNA.

AI Debate
What do you think? Hawking says we mess with AI at our peril. Others disagree.

Puffy Puffers
Pupper fish don’t hold their breath to puff up, but the process is still quite tiresome.

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03 December, 2014 – Episode 492 – This Week in Science

December 5th, 2014
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Photonic Radiative Cooling! What?!?, Atmospheric Annihilation, Dried Up Dwarves, Radiation Station, Smarter Mice, Worms Eat Plastic, Drill Bugs Drill, King Richard Remains, Odor Me This, Panda Flexibility, Reef Sounds, Ceasing Smoking, Seeing The Unseeable, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The world is full of details…
Innumerable levels of complexity from every size to every scale
There’s a something to see, where ever you look…
Some of it is even alive!
And with all this complexity abounding we then add humanity…
Sentient humanity with all of its conceptual complexity
Making laws out of rational and irrational thoughts alike
Peering back in time thousands, millions and billions of years…
And sometimes denying that any of it ever existed
We built science as a tool of knowledge to separate
the rational from the irrational, and have seen it wielded it as a weapon against tyranny…
And we have seen it wielded by tyrants…
As a result, sentient humanity with all of its conceptual complexity can fall into two categories…
Those who trust in the scientific method and those who do not
While both sides of this divide have their reasons for choosing where they stand
If you look up at a starry night and all you see is lights
You are missing the view of the Milky Way, and a billion suns burning bright
Here on This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Photonic Radiative Cooling! What?!?
Stanford researchers have developed a device for our rooftops that passively cools up to 5 degrees below ambient temperature and beams the excess heat into space.

Atmospheric Annihilation
MIT scientsists have calculated the probability of Earth losing its atmosphere due to the impacts of many small objects, and found it quite high.

Radiation Station
The MATROSHKA mission discovered that astronauts might not receive as much radiation as estimated.

Dried Up Dwarves
Old M-class dwarf stars might have burned too brightly early on in their planetary system development cycle to allow water-based life to form on so-called Goldilocks planets.

Smarter Mice
Adding human glial cells to developing mouse brains resulted in smarter mice.

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Worms Eat Plastic
Researchers discovered that a species of worm harbors gut bacteria that eat plastic. Might be good news for degrading plastics in the environment.

Drill Bugs Drill
Studies of how microbes attack cells have shown that they mechanically drill through the cell membrane to gain access to the cell interior.

King Richard’s Remains
They were found in a parking lot… well, under a lot being constructed that is.

Odor Me This
Kittiwakes likely use odor to choose mates. Scientists found that preen gland scents resemble genetic factors for immunity.

Panda Flexibility
Wish Blair was here for this one! Pandas can live more places than thought!

Reef Sounds
Coral reefs impacted by human activity and climate change are quiter than healthy reefs. This can impact all sorts of aspects of life on the reef.

Ceasing Smoking
Changes in brain activity in specific brain areas predict success in smoking cessation, and potentially point toward development of better approaches to the challenge.

Seeing The Unseeable
Technology to produce 3-dimensional shapes in middair that can be felt has been developed using ultrasound.

Infrared Vision
When pulsed properly, human eyes can see infrared light even though it is supposed to be outside our frequency range.

Ebola Update
Ebola continues to spread through Sierra Leone with death tolls rising.

Less Virulent HIV?
Adaptation of HIV to human immunity factors might be reducing its virulence.

Let’s Go To Mars!
Make sure to check out the results of tomorrow’s important Orion capsule launch.

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26 November, 2014 – Episode 491 – This Week in Science

December 2nd, 2014
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Revisiting Triclosan, Shields Up, Life Abides, Poo Rockets, For family Fights, Turtles In A Tree, Frog Maps, Mines Bad, Ambulance Calls, A New Bird, Memory Map, Imagination Is Different, Virtual Brains Noisey Spiders, Whoya Gut In There?, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
We gather together here at the table of science to give thanks…
Thanks to the science minded pioneers of yester-year who
forged for us a world of reason so that our minds might plant and harvest in
fields that produce rational results and make real progress in our standard of living…
Thanks to the researchers of today who provide a weekly
bounty of new knowledge, insights and awe inspiring discoveries…
Thanks to the engineers of technology who have made production
of and access to the show simple and readily available to all who seek it…
And above all else, thanks to you the listening audience,
the minions of twis, without which the shows hosts would simply fall into a new
category of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifiable
as speaking to oneself aloud about science news without audience…
The tradition of giving thanks is a good one
One that truly deserves to celebrated
And I can’t help but think that this is what we are doing
each time we say…
This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Revisiting Triclosan
A contributor to Scientific American’s blogs writes that the study we reported last week unnecessarily sensationalizes the results. What do you think?

Shields Up
A barrier to high energy electrons entering the Earth’s atmosphere has been discovered approximately 7200m from the surface of the Earth between the Van Allen radiation belts. So far, scientists are stumped about its cause, but suggest it might have to do with an area of electromagnetically charged gas, called the plasmasphere, is involved.

Life Abides
Scientists tested DNA stability after a sub-orbital flight, and found much of the DNA not only survived, but retained its biological activity.

What flushes down… can go up?
Poo Rockets. Engineers are working on a sustainable way to deal with waste products in space by turning it into fuel.

Fighting with family is a good thing…
Science says kids who grow up around verbal conflict are better able to deal with it as adults in their own relationships.

Turtles finally have a home…
… in the evolutionary tree! New sequencing techiniques out of the California Academy of Sciences has put turtle in a new group, closely related to dinos, birds, and crocs.

Frogs have mental maps
Frogs, it turns out, do not wander aimlessly, but instead can memorize their surroundings at up to a 100m radius!

Mining ruins everything…
At least where fish are concerned. Mining can destroy fish habitat miles downstream, and even sometimes in connecting branches that are not part of the direct flow from the mine. Just another reason to install solar panels on your house!

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When you call an ambulance…
… ask for the cheapest one in the fleet. Research shows more people succumb to cardiac arrest when picked up by more modern ambulances.

As 46 million go down, one new pops up
Scientists identify a new bird species living among the cocoa plantations.

Speciation By Time And Movement
Birds in South America were more likely to diverge into new species based on time and environmental stability than geographical disturbance.

Memory Map
A recent study used high resolution fMRI to determine the direction of memory formation and retrieval in the brain. For the insiders, it’s EC to HC and back again.

Imagination Is Different
EEG recordings of the brain while people were either watching a video or remembering it found that information flows through brain circuits in opposite directions: from parietal to occiptal for imagining, and vice versa for watching.

Virtual Brains
UCLA scientists found that place cells in the mouse hippocampus don’t become as active in a virtual reality environment as they do in real space.

Whoya Gut In There?
An analysis of our guts finds 10 million genes from bacteria.

Yet another reason jumping spiders are amazing
They not only make adorable dances, but they also make adorable noises! Listen!

Technicolor Higgs
Is the Higgs particle all there is? Some physicists think that it might actually be a composite of smaller particles bound by yet another force.

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19 November, 2014 – Episode 490 – This Week in Science

November 21st, 2014
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What Did Philae Do?, Triclosan Does What?, Black Holes Spooky Quasars, Meteoric Pigeon Hypotheses, On A Bear Hunt, Of Mice And Men, Sea Stars A’wastin, Bankers Ethics, Living For Memory, Moldable Old Brains, Flies Under Pressure, Kiss Of Bacteria, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Science is knowledge that refutes myth, superstition, and conjecture…
It has the power to dissolve ignorance, cure illness, and is the main process by which necessity births invention…
To describe nature, the world and the cosmos without referencing mythology is the key to the scientific method.
Without this freedom, we would not be where we are today, and if we should ever lose this freedom, we will go no further in our scientific pursuit…
But for today, we still have this freedom and there for we still have
This week in science… coming up next

What Did Philae Do?
The little ESA lander on comet 67P, skipped to a stop in the lee of some kind of ridge last Wednesday morning. It’s location made energizing the craft with solar energy impossible, so scientists enacted a plan to use the craft’s batteries to do as much science as possible before they failed. The first result has come back from a German instrment, indicating that there are organic molecules on the comet.

Triclosan Does What?
A new study finds that long-term exposure to triclosan in mice leads to liver fibrosis and cancer.

Black Holes Spooky Quasars
Scientists working with data from the VLT found that quasars line up with the filaments of the universe.

The latest of the Pigeon Hypotheses
The newest research data suggests pigeons have a gyroscope in their brain, so it is gravity, and not magnetism, nor mental maps, that guide them home.

Bear hunting kills a lot more bears than just that prize specimen
Infanticide increased and Fecundity (reproductive success) decreased in times of high hunting pressure. This is a triple-whammy on these very important top predators.

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Of Mice And Men
According to the mouse ENCODE Consortium, mice and humans share many genetic elements and pathways, but there are differences that should be used to inform future research.

Sea Stars A’wastin
Researchers from Cornell University led a team of scientists in search of the cause of a sudden and devastating wasting disease in Pacific Ocean sea stars. The effort has identified a viral vector called a densovirus as the possible cause, leading scientists to home in on what is being described as Sea Star associated Densovirus.

Not a surprise…
Banking ethics are not found in bankers.

Fruit flies succumb to peer pressure
Fruit flies will often conform to societal norms, unless previously trained for other behavior. So, flies are not complete sheep, but there are definitely sheepish undertones…

Old brains just as moldable
Researchers found changes reflecting plasticity in the brains of older people, but not in the same places as in younger brains.

Trans Fats Bad For MemoryTumeric Time!SCN And MemoryShift Work And MemoryNo Nighttime Iron?
A number of studies this week point to ways that our diet and lifestyle influence our brain and body. Some foods contain components like trans-fat, which are bad for memory, while others contains like tumeric seems to boost memory. Additionally, when we sleep can affect the functioning of our SCN, and lead to declines in memory ability over time. It is also possible that lack of synchrony between the brain and organs like the liver can influence metabolic problems.

Calorie Restrict Your Brain
The gene profiles of female mice fed 30% fewer calories than controls were less likely to mirror the changes that occur with aging.

Kiss Of Bacteria
Kissing for 10 seconds allows the transfer of up to 80 million bacteria between partners.

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12 November, 2014 – Episode 489 – This Week in Science

November 18th, 2014
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Mind-Controlled Mice, Philae Has Landed, Really Old Genes, Electronic Tongue, Knights Of the Feather, It’s Bat-otage!, Lung Regeneration, Twisted Light, Koala Clamydia, Testicular Prominence, Beat Deafness, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
We live in a multi-lingual world where various beliefs are couched different languages…
and often, those with different languages live amongst each other…
While often thought to be a modern consideration, like multi lingual drivers tests at the
department of motor vehicles for instance…
There was another time when the wisdom of inclusion was put into action…
2200 years ago King Ptolemy had a kingly declaration to make to his subjects…
Because he wanted as many as possible to understand his demands, he had it carved in stone
not in just the Egyptian hieroglyphic of the day, but in two other languages as well…
At the time of its 1799 French discovery in city of Rosetta we knew nothing of how to
transcribe the strange hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt…
But we knew well the third engraved language… ancient greek…
And with this discovery, an entire branch of academic study was unleashed, and the
history of an ancient nation, a beginning of civilization became known to us for the first time…
It is just this sort of Rossetta stone we hope to bring you each week as we seek out the science
news stories that usher in new waves of inquiry and new insights into past dilemmas on
This week in science… coming up next…

Mind-Controlled Mice
Scientists demonstrated the potential of mind-controlled optogenetic gene expression, in the first experiment to link a human’s brain to a protein producing device implanted in a mouse.

Philae Has Landed
ESA’s Rosetta mission successfully landed the Philae lander on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

Really old people genes
Whole genome analysis of supercentenarians revealed that there is no gene for old age.

Electronic “tongue”
A new electronic device called the e-tongue will lap up water, beverages, blood, and more to sense chemical fingerprint.

Knights Of the Feather
Male hummingbird beaks are for stabbiness, not flower-eating.

I’m Tellin Ya All, it’s a Bat-otage!
Bats use a “jamming” frequency to confuse competitors when going in for a meal

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Lung Regeneration
Scientists have discovered stem cells essential to the regeneration of damaged lungs.

Twisted Light
Physicists successfully transmitted beams of twisted light through the skies of Vienna, demonstrating the potential for open-air transmission of classical and quantum communications.

Koala Clamydia
Koala clamydia vaccine could save those cuddly, STD-ridden, fuzzy-wuzzy, outback darlings!

Testicular Prominence
A new protein atlas of the human body shows the testicles as a location of high protein diversity.

What Is Beat Deafness?
If you can’t hold a beat or adjust to match a beat, you’re beat deaf.

Drop Of Diagnosis
A new machine aims to diagnose diseases with just a small drop of blood.

Google Genome
$25 storage per year…

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05 November, 2014 – Episode 488 – This Week in Science

November 7th, 2014
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Driving The Climate, D’Oh Clymatia, Connecting Humanity, Smelly Women, Big Ol Mammal, The Dumb Vote, Brains On Fat And Sugar, The Telomerator, Financial Advisors?, Life On Water, Lingering Smoke, Go Fever?, Ebola Update, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Remember, remember this fifth of November
That science is progress
And will not surrender
That elections of leaders who are doubters of reason
Will find a world without science
A world hotter each season
We have given a pass to a party of voices
Who habitually make un-science-y choices
Not the simplest concept can these jokers catch
They lead deaf-men through darkness and yet we lost the match
We supporters of science, we believers in proof
We seekers of knowledge and revealers of truth
Its just one election, for two years we’ll be vexed
Till then more than ever, this week in science…
Will be coming up next…

Driving The Climate
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab researchers looked at data regarding how well different surfaces on Earth emit in the far-infrared spectrum of light, and determined that it is probably much more influential on global heating than has been thought.

D’Oh Clymatia
Seriously, people. The climate is screwed unless we make changes, and the sooner the better.

Connecting Humanity
University of Washington scientists have successfully shown that they can send signals from one person’s brain over the internet to activate hand movements in another person.

Big ol’ mammal
Ancient groundhog that lived during the time of the dinosaurs weighed in at about 20 pounds; big for a mammal of that time. But, can we say… dino snack?

Smelly women
Anatomical study shows that women have more cells in their olfactory organs, explaining why they have a better sense of smell.

The dumb vote
Psychologists find that people are more likely to vote for healthier looking candidates over intelligence.

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Fat For Brains
It turns out that fat in your diet is good for your brain.

Brains On Fat And Sugar
Fat and a certain sugar are essential for neuronal stem cells to continue dividing healthily. Interestingly, animals lose this sugar as they age.

Financial Advisors?
Investment professionals are no better at investing than educated lay-people.

The Telomerator
A new tool for synthetic biology makes it possible to break circular DNA into linear pieces so that experiments can be
more closely aligned with the biology of higher organisms.

Life On Water
How much water does life need to exist and survive? A new study suggests that microbial life requires a water activity measure (related to humidity) of at least 0.6, versus a measure of 1.0 for pure water. This new measurement suggests life might be capable of living in many seemingly arid environments.

Lingering Smoke
Researchers found that chemicals left over from cigarette smoke that attach to dust particles, walls, and other surfaces in a smoker’s home, called third-hand smoke, linger for hours after a cigarette is smoked and may have significant health impacts.

Go Fever?
Capping off a terrible week for private space flight, the Vigin Galactic Space ShipTwo crashed last week killing one pilot and injuring another as a result of an uncommanded change in the ship’s conformation.

Ebola Update
The WHO has revised its estimates downward as improvements in the numbers of cases are being seen in Liberia. However, it is being conservative in its estimates as not all cases or deaths are being reported.

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29 October, 2014 – Episode 487 – This Week in Science

October 31st, 2014
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Fairies Sing To Eggs, Who Decides Sex?, Better Beetle Babies, Cat Poo Fever, Sick Spit, Disgusting Politics, Ribozyme For Life, Beware Old Poo, Brain Changes In CFS, Orders And Morals, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The following hour of programming is not for the faint of heart…
As ghoulish corpses begin grumbling in their graves
and long sleeping vampires slowly slide the coffin lids ajar…
As witches stir all manner of creepy crawly creatures into their
cauldrons
And neighborhood children across the nation prepare to
embark in an ancient pagan celebration
We will keep you safe and sound with fairies, beetle sex and
Ebola protocals…
Comfortably distracted with brain parasites, and ancient poo
viruses
And as always… just a little creeped out by what is actually
going on in the natural world of
This Week In Science… coming up next…

Fairies Sing To Eggs
Fairy Wrens are found to sing a specific song to their offspring while they are still in the egg. The offspring respond to this song, and possibly learn it in order to gain an advantage in the nest against brood parasites once they hatch.

Who Decides Sex?
In ferns, the ladies use an inactivated sex hormone called gibberelin to tell immature plants to become boys.

Better Beetle Babies
A study looking at red flour beetle’s mating habits determined that signals conferring immune system instructions for specific pathogens are likely transmitted within the sperm, while other more general immune signals arise from the seminal fluid. It is likely that the signal in the sperm is epigenetic in nature.

Cat Poo Fever
Study determines close to 21 percent of schizophrenia cases may actually be the result of Toxoplasma gondii infections, which means they are potentially treatable.

Feel sick? just spit on it
A new assay of human spit found a significant number of completely unknown RNA based molecules that are thought to be involved in cell signalling. The finding suggests that simple assays for disease markers might be possible.

Disgusting Politics
Researchers found that fMRI brain scans of people’s brains while they view disgusting images are sufficient to determine their political leanings with 95-98% accuracy.

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Ribozyme For Life
Researchers have created an enzyme in the lab for catalyzing the joining of left-handed ribonucleic acids. It is hypothesized that self-repilcating ribozymes with specific handedness would have been necessary for life to get a start.

Beware Old Poo
Scientists identified two viruses in 700-year old caribou feces. They then infected plants with the viruses confirming that viruses might survive for long periods frozen in the ice.

Brain Changes In CFS
An MRI imaging study has for the first time shown distinct differences in the brains of people with Chronic fatigue syndrome from healthy individuals.

Orders And Morals
A study suggests that being talked into succumbing to a vice actually leaves you feeling better than not engaging in the vice at all or engaging in it of your own will. Also, a separate study suggests that time of day and your personal chronotype determine how likely you are to be immoral. Does it make a difference when you are being ordered to do something immoral?

Rocket Down
An Antares rocket exploded at launch yesterday destroying over 2000 kg of supplies for the International Space Stations. However, none of the supplies were critical, so there is no danger of astronauts currently on the ISS running out of things in the immediate future.

Nurse Defies Government
Kaci Hickox says she will not submit to a 21 day quarantine.

Ebola Rising
WHO puts numbers at 10,000

California Enacts Guidelines
California residents who have had contact with Ebola-infected patients are subject to a 21 day quarantine.

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22 October, 2014 – Episode 486 – This Week in Science

October 27th, 2014
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Dark Matters, In The Light, The Fermi Signal, Olive Oil Update, Bendy Feathers, Skin Cells Brain Cells, Shrinking Goats, Latrines For Lemurs, Best. Experiment. Ever., Interview w/ Rob Manning From NASA JPL, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
If you are listening to the sound of my voice, you are alive…
And what’s more, you are not alone…
No matter where on earth you find yourself, life is all
around you…
Running, flapping, swimming and wriggling about…
Eating, getting eaten, causing traffic jams…
And while the planet you are standing on may be teeming with
life…
The universe itself is not so crowded
Hundreds of billions of Galaxies… each with hundreds of
billions of stars…
And yet for all we know, we are the only life anywhere in
the universe…
The possibilities are plenty, the probabilities abound,
and yet on the only planet that we know supports life
has done so only once in its 4 billion year history…
We are searching the surface of another planet tonight…
looking for clues of life beyond our little blue rock… and perhaps planning for
a second home amongst the stars
A home not unlike the home we have found here…
On This Week in Science… coming up next

Dark Matters
A group of scientists report that strange fluctuations in X-rays emitted by the sun could be the result of axions, a particle hypothesized to be the source of dark matter.

In The Light
German researchers are repurposing a telescopic mirror to search for photonic evidence of dark matter in the fabulously named FUNK experiment.

The Fermi Signal
NASA’s Fermi space telescope has evidence of photon emissions from the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, which could be related to dark matter collisions. However, the signal is too weak to correspond to the predicted quantity of dark matter that should encircle the black hole had it formed according to the standard model of black hole formation. So, either dark matter theory is wrong, or we need to go back to the drawing board with our ideas about our black hole.

Olive oil update
Turns out that olive oil holds up better under scrutiny… er, heat… than other seed oils.

Bendy feathers
Feather structure is more complicated than thought, and very specific depending on the species.

Star wars
Scientists film a laser pulse, and determine that the movies have gotten them all wrong.

Brains cells
Completely bypassing the pluripotent state, researchers programmed skin cells to become brain cells without any intervening steps.

Climate Change is Shrinking Goats
A rise in climate of 4 degrees celcius over the past 30 years has caused chamois goats to shrink by a whopping 25%, but it appears to be due to a change in behavior, rather than resources…

Latrines: Facebook for Lemurs
Lemurs use latrine trees to communicate with each other through their urine – so the next time you think your partner’s addiction to social media is disruptive, be glad they aren’t lemurs!

Best. Experiment. Ever.
By terrifying squirrels with remote controlled cats and hawks, a researcher learned that they use vocal cues and physical signals to communicate with other squirrels, as well as predators.

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We spoke with Rob Manning about his book – Mars Rover Curiosity: An Inside Account from Curiosity’s Chief Engineer – and learned all sorts of things about the one ton robot crawling across the face of Mars.

Rob Manning has worked at NASA and Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for more than 30 years. He now leads the engineering for the Mars Program Office and is chief engineer on a project to develop technologies for landing even larger robotic vehicles on Mars with hopes of eventually landing future astronauts and scientists on Mars.

More science!!!
Oldest sex is older than we thought
Placoderms are now the oldest vertebrate to show internal fertilization appendages, pushing sex’s origin back to 385 MYA.

Fish just want to have fun
Chiclid fish have been shown to exhibit “play” – proving fish have a lot more going on in their noggin than we like to believe.

The Coldest Meter
An experimental cryostat in the Gran Sasso laboratory in Italy has officially become the coldest square meter in the known universe. The CUORE experiment, otherwise known as the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events, cooled a copper vessel with a one meter volume to 6 milliKelvin, or -273.144 degrees Celsius, which is not far from absolute zero, 0 Kelvin, or 273.15 degrees celsius.

Feeling SAD
A new unpublished study finds that people with SAD experience a 5% increase in levels of a serotonin transporter protein called SERT compared to normal controls.

Myelin For Memory
Using mice genetically engineered to lack the gene for creating myelin, scientists discovered that myelin is necessary for muscle memory to form.

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