11 January, 2017 – Episode 601 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 16th, 2017

New Life!, Spider Silk Spinning, Retro Virus Age, Avian Relations, Suburban Bird Divorce, Mouse Vision, Baboon Vowels, Glial Age, The Appendix, Predictions In Spaaaace!, Pitty Orchids, Superhero Side-effects, And Much More…

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A funny thing happened on the way to modern world…
We are the result of evolution…
It is the process of life that led up to the natural world.
But Evolution is not just a thing that happened…
And it is not just the process of natural things…
Evolution is taking place in the modern world as well…
Evolution is everywhere in our societies, cultures and economies…
Evolution plays out in our technology, art, and engineering…
Evolution is the process of trial and error
The process of learning and remembering…
Evolution is life, in all its endeavors…
And science is at once the study of evolution…
And the act of evolving…
The current state of our evolution depends more on science, than it does on natural selection…
Yet natural selection is the prototype that science was built on…
Make no mistake, we are evolving right now, and faster than ever before…
And nowhere else is the act of evolving now talked about more than right here on…
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

New Life!
A group of Archae bacteria called the Asgard archae have been discovered through genetic analysis, and might lead us to understanding the evolution of complex eukaryotic life.

Spider Silk Spinning
Scientists use pH to set spider fibers to spinning.

More retro than retro…
retro virus age

Terns tough it out for the kids… Er… for the stability… er… for the finances??
Terns stay together whether or not it makes sense to, potentially just because everyone else their age is already taken. Talk about a catch-22!

Suburban sprawl breeds divorce
Birds that avoid people get pushed away by suburban sprawl, and this conflict often brings divorce, loneliness, and less chicks.

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Three blind… Two bli…
One more mouse can see!

Baboon Vowels
More evidence that primates have been primed for speech since well before humans hit the scene.

The Importance of Glia
Glia, not neurons, are most affected by brain aging.
Turnover of the cells, called microglia, is 10 times faster than thought.

The Appendix
A cross-species analysis adds to the proof that it does indeed serve a purpose.

Predictions In Spaaaace!
Researchers studying a binary star system about 1800 light years from the sun predict that the stars will merge in about 5 years giving us a bright red spot to observe in the sky.

Pitty Orchids
Would a rose that smelled like gym socks still be called a rose? These orchids mimic human stench to attract unlikely pollinators: mosquitoes.

Superhero Side-effects
Kids don’t always take the good parts of superheroes, but rather are more likely to latch onto aggression.

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04 January, 2016 – Episode 600 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 9th, 2017

Interview w/ Futurist and Author, Amy Webb, Review of 2016 Predictions, Predictions for 2017, And Much More…

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The future has yet to be written…
And everybody’s got pen…
Or Computer…
Or mobile type device…
Even if you have none of these devices,
the future is still going to include you…
And while what you want from the future,
and what you will get are not always the same…
The better you are at predicting the future,
the more likely you will get what you expect…
And when you expect what’s coming,
you can prepare for it…
And being prepared for the future,
is the best way to prevent being stuck in the past…
And being stuck in the past,
Is where most people who invented time machines must still be…
Speaking of being stuck in the past,
this disclaimer has gone on long enough…
This week in science 2017 Prediction Show…
coming up next…

Interview with Amy Webb, futurist and author of The Signals Are Talking – Why today’s fringe is tomorrow’s mainstream. She is the founder of the Future Today Institute, and is an adjunct professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business. You can access the Future Today Institute 2017 trends report here.

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Predictions from 2016! How did we do??? Better than Nostradamus?

Predictions for 2017!!! What do we think will happen this year???
Justin says…
“There will be no new proof of dark matter, despite multiple new tests scheduled for 2017… in fact, earlier signals that it might exist will fall down under further scrutiny…
The Sun will go completely dark during the day in America… if it stays this way, god or perhaps many gods will show up in person to explain everything to humanity… otherwise, science as usual folks…
Microbial influence on the human health becomes so well understood that fast food joints begin asking which kind of bacteria you would like with your meal
Gene editing goes public… but much like the 3-D printer, only a few people can do anything useful with it…
One such application of gene editing will be applied by a mad citizen scientist who alters the cognitive abilities of three animals… a pet mouse, a feral cat and a colony of ants…
By the end of 2017, a mysterious hedge fund company will spend billions to fund a global ad campaign… Encouraging people to picnic more often…
The mind microbiome connection leads to a startling discovery… when Political party affiliation is directly linked to specific strains of gut bacteria… as is the blue dress gold dress phenomenon
Bill Nye the science guy will be forced to change the parental rating on his new show from G to R after finding no way around cursing through every media interview in which a reporter mentions the current days weather at their location… even though the show content is unchanged
The Chinese ivory trade will come to a slow incomplete stop… Meanwhile Elephants will begin to trade in human teeth…
Home Robotics will have a major breakthrough when engineers finally realize that people don’t actually care about Artificial Intelligence, but really want Artificial Personality…
Sales of both Flatter Bot and the YesManEchoChamber500 out sell all other home appliances in 2017 even though they serve no functional purpose…
AI will make some progress however, as prerecorded robo calls are replaced by live robots who go door to door… the subjectivity of these visits will be called into question at first, as the door to door robots don’t actually seem to ask questions but Tell people how they will answer survey questions… but after a while it is clear, the robots know exactly how we will answer the questions before knocking…
NASA will be given a new directive, to focus only on space exploration… followed by severe budget cuts…
The Affordable Care Act will be repealed… and replaced with a reality TV show resembling the Hunger Games… only instead of energetic young people running violent gauntlets… it’s tired, old sick people…
And my Super Bowl Prediction of 2017… Chiefs vs Cowboys… Cowboys win… with a score of 24-17.”

Blair says…
“• More exciting news about slime molds!
• Successful replacement of bodily organs with 3d printed ones in a human (trying this one again)
• Tardigrades will continue to be the gift that keeps on giving
• 2017 will be a very wet year in California, and everyone will forget about the drought and water crisis
• An AI-written TV show will premier (streaming) and gain popularity
• Trump will withdraw from his plan to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement
• Self-driving cars will enter the roads in full force, and start working for ridesharing apps without a driver or wheel – with quite a few mishaps in the first week
• A new political party will surface, with their main platform being the succession of blue states along the west coast
• Citizen-led climate action will increase, with marches and demonstrations on the rise
• Restorative vision tests will run, and work, in a primate species!
• The tools will arise for two parents of the same sex to have a child together that is a genetic reflection of just them
• TWIS will smash ‘em dead at SF Sketchfest!”

And, Dr. Kiki says…
“- Climate: 2017 is going to be cooler and drier for much of the West thanks to La Nina conditions, until La Nina goes away when the West can expect heat waves and drought once again.
– CRISPR and gene-editing: The Chinese will report positive results for their cancer tests; hemophilia treatment will begin clinical trials, a treatment for gene-linked blindness will start clinical trials, and another will receive FDA approval; Zika and malaria will see successful vaccine trials; the patent ruling will go to UC Berkeley.
– Optogenetics: we will trials of optogenetics in the eyes, and promising results in early human studies for the treatment of Alzheimer’s
– Space: Cassini will make an unexpected discovery as it passes through the rings of Saturn to its death; Juno will not find anything unexpected on Jupiter; The Chang’e 5 lunar mission will return samples to Earth from the moon reinvigorating the space race; The Event Horizon telescope will successfully photograph the event horizon of the black hole at the center of our galaxy
AI: Self-driving trucks will begin to be used regularly with no accidents reported other than lots of lost jobs for truck drivers.
Microbes: we will discover more specifically how microbes are tied to various human diseases, like diabetes.
Physics: Physics will remain Standard; Result will corroborate dark matter particles existing in the galactic halo, but axions will not explain dark matter in 2017; there will not be a major graviton discovery either; LIGO along with VIRGO in Italy will detect at least a dozen gravitational wave events in 2017 and begin pinpointing location of origin;
Synthetic biology: Yeast 2.0 will miss its 2017 goal of creating a synthetic yeast.
Astronomy: TWIS will travel to central Oregon to watch the solar eclipse!”

Do you have predictions for 2017? Let us know in the comments below!

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28 December, 2016 – Episode 599 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 3rd, 2017

Dr. Kiki, Justin, and Blair wish you a Happy New Year with the Top 11 Science Stories of 2016!!! And, of course, much more!!!

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You can’t be everywhere at once!
And while this may be true for you, it is not true for science…
Science is everywhere at once throughout all time…
How is this possible?
Is science a time traveling faster than light super hero,
bending the laws of physics to her will and whimsy?
But if there was a time traveling faster than light super hero,
bending the laws of physics to her will and whimsy…
she’d damn sure be using science to do it…
Science begins with that most human of all human traits, observation…
We watch a thing…
we try to figure it out…
Maybe that thing is another human…
So we watch them…
maybe we watch them try to figure something out…
Maybe that thing we watch them try to figure out is dangerous.
Like the best way to fell a mastodon,
or what poison berries taste like,
or what fire tastes like…
Maybe we watch them try and fail to figure something out…
And in our observing…
We learn something new about the world…
And therefore, science.
And while the observations and potential discoveries are everywhere,
there are some that stand out more than others…
And we’ve got the top eleven from 2016 for This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next…

Number 11 – Zika
The Zika-Brain Link
Although preliminary, a study shows that neural progenitor cells can be infected with Zika, and the infection leads to a reduction in cell growth and division.
Zika Vaccine
An experimental DNA vaccine for Zika has gotten FDA approval to begin Phase-1 trails. Luckily, this vaccine is not the only one in the works as the US NIAID is hoping to be ready to start trials on theirs in August.
Zika vaccine trial, funding for research from US administration???, spreading in the US and American countries.
The NIH is beginning its stage 2 trial of a DNA vaccine for Zika virus, which essential will test for safety and proof of concept in healthy volunteers. Of concern are reports from the Obama administration that funds are running low for such research, which will delay the research and production process. Additionally, Zika has now been reported in over 40 US military members and their dependants, and in many cities across the US.
Zika Protection
A Zika antibody was successful in protecting pregnant female mice and their offspring from developing complications related to zika infection. It is suggested that the antibody might be useful as a therapeutic agent until a vaccine becomes widely available.

Number 10 – Space
First Light
The Kepler space telescope has detected the “shock breakout” of a supernova. This is the first time that we have seen the instant of ignition for the massive stellar explosion.
Alien Oceanography
The Cassini mission explored Saturn’s moon Titan over several years, and a new paper out describes the moon’s polar oceans, specifically Ligeia Mare. It appears to contain mainly methane, have a soft bottom, and be surrounded by wetlands.
Juno You Know
Successfully performing a brilliant entry into orbit around Jupiter, the tank-like spacecraft named after Jupiter’s wife begins its science mission.
First light from orbit. JunoCam has started sending back images.
Canyons On Titan
Cassini has found evidence that there are liquid hydrocarbons flowing through a canyon system on Saturn’s moon Titan.
Plan-et B!
If we destroy this planet, maybe there’s a Plan B for humanity! The ESO reported finding an exoplanet within the habitable zone around Proxima Centauri… the closest star to Earth aside from the sun.
Getting There
An analysis of the physical dangers to the StarShot campaign suggests that craft planning to accelerate to 20% the speed of light require special shielding and design considerations since they will even be damaged by impacts with atoms.
Blue Origin Lands
Blue Origin Again!
Blue Origin reflew its reusable booster rocket, and again successfully landed it vertically.
Breakthrough Starshot
100 million dollars and a bunch of big names are teaming up to send a tiny space kite to Alpha Centauri by way of laser.
Space X Win!
Finally, the Space X team successfully returned its booster rocket to the water-based landing pad with a landing that can only be called a perfect 10.
Snow-capped Pluvian Mountaintops
Mountains covered with methane abound on Pluto, according to new evidence from the New Horizon’s mission. An instrument named Ralph imaged the mountains rising out of a region named Cthulu, and found infrared evidence of ice on the mountaintops.
Ceres Spotlight
A volcanic-looking dome rises from Occator Crater, and indicates recent geologic activity. Also, more in-depth analyses suggest water ice just below the surface and mainly near the poles.
Pluvian Lakes
Frozen lakes of nitrogen on Pluto. Looks like it!

Number 9 – Intelligence
Slime Molds solve problems!
A life form without a brain, or even neurons, can make strategic, logical decisions. Dude…
Apes can read minds…
They can predict that expectations can be different than reality.
Cuttlefish can count!
Cuttlefish have state-dependent evaluation, and can tell different amounts by sight.
Tool making monkeys?
Capuchin monkeys made tools disturbingly similar to those of early hominids
“Human-like” generosity found in magpies
Magpies will exhibit prosocial behavior, something that until recently has been considered uniquely human. So, they’re not just out to steal my jewelry!
Crowdsourced Memory
Slime molds have much to teach us, like the chemical basis for the transmission of memory.

Number 8 – AI/Robots
Computer Beats Man
The game of Go is considered the most complex in the world with over 10e171 possible board positions. Last October, the AI called AlphaGo created by Google DeepMind beat the European Go champion, a feat considered at least a decade away. What does this mean for the future of AI?
Alpha Go Recap
Holy SkyNet, Batman!
Air Combat Robot Domination
An AI called ALPHA has bested an expert human opponent at aerial combat for the first time.
A new X-Prize $5 million competition in partnership with IBM’s Watson pits groups against one another “to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges.”
Thinking Machines
Google’s DeepMind AI has taken a small step forward by learning and reasoning using memory rather than programming.

Number 7 – Human Evolution
Human migration
Australopithecus out of Africa… (great rift valley anyway)
Blood brains
Ancienter Out of Africa humans with Neanderthals

Number 6 – Medicine
Teixobactin Progress
Chemists have succeeded in synthetically producing the novel anti-bacterial agent Teixobactin that was discovered just last year. While still a long way from being able to use the compound for treatment of human infections, it is the first step in creating a new class of antibiotic drug.
Anti Bacterial Humans
Human microbiome contains genes for potent antibiotics that researchers could use.
Re-invigorating antibiotics
Scientists discovered compounds (tarocins) that reinvigorated antibiotics that would otherwise get thrown away. Say goodbye to expiration dates on those pill bottles!
Cutting out HIV
HIV is being clipped out of genes (not in human clinical trials yet) by an enzyme. They’ve gotten to using it in mice to great effect!
Sight regained
Scientists coaxed optic-nerve cables, responsible for conveying visual information from the eye to the brain, into regenerating after they had been completely severed, and found that they could retrace their former routes and re-establish connections with the appropriate parts of the brain.
Three-Parent Baby
It’s not the first time that a baby has been born with the help of three parents, but it is the first time that a baby has been born thanks to a technique called spindle nuclear transfer in which the nucleus of a female egg is tranplanted into the egg of a donor that has the nucleus removed. The resulting egg was then fertilized with the husband’s sperm, and implanted into the mother using IVF techniques. The take-home here is that a woman with mitochondrial disease was able to birth a healthy baby.

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Number 5 – Gravitational Waves
What?!? The rumors are true.
It was announced that the upgraded LIGO detector confirmed detection of the merger of two black holes approximately 1.3 billion years in the past.
Then, there were… More of them!

Number 4 – Bacteria/Microbiome
Hedgehogs For Teeth
The bacterial populations from the surface of teeth have been mapped, and they work together beautifully.
Giving Babies Cooties
Researchers smeared babies delivered by C-section with vaginal secretions from their moms. When compared to the microbiomes of vaginally-delivered babies, the C-section microbiomes appeared almost normal. This suggests a proof of concept that could be fine-tuned for use in hospitals.
Your Bacterial Home
An analysis of rural and urban homes shows dramatic differences in microbial populations, which could have implications for urban healthcare and recommendations.
It Takes a village… of bacteria…
Paradigm shift: ‘We need to study lumps of bacteria’
Extremophile Culture!
Scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab have succeeded in growing nanoarchaebacteria in the lab. These organisms survive in the crazy acidic hot springs in Yellowstone, and have eluded culturing before now. Thanks to genomic sequencing, the researchers were able to determine the metabolic needs of the bacteria, and design appropriate culture conditions… made to order!
Immune system… uses gut bacteria to control glucose metabolism
How probiotics… can beat cancer

Number 3 – Climate Change
Rapidly Rising Waters
Four papers in PNAS this week based both on computer models and actual data of historical changes conclude that sea level rise is the fastest it’s been in the past 2000 years.
Great Barrier Reef Bleaching
93% of the Great Barrier Reef is experiencing bleaching to some degree this year, and while there is an expecteded 50% mortality in the northern sector, the central and southern portions are expected to recover.
Frogs are the first group to be identified as at great risk from climate change.
Even more than from habitat destruction. As frogs are indicator species, this is concerning.
Alters behavior of fish
They swim towards predators when exposed to too much CO2.
So Hot!
The first 6 months of 2016 have broken all temperature records! Are we on track to win once La Nina has an influence on conditions?
Military base under snow since the 1950’s will soon be unearthed, along with a whole lot of gross stuff, and some harmful stuff. Uh oh.
Ice-free Northwest Passage
A southern route between Amundsen and Boffin Bays is almost clear, allowing cruise liners to make expeditions along the Northwest Passage.
CO2 You Know
Global emissions of CO2 stayed steady for the third year in a row in 2016. However, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise, mainly because El Nino conditions decreased possible carbon sinks in the terrestrial biosphere. In fact, an assessment found that no country is currently reducing CO2 emissions fast enough to keep us below a 2 degree global temperature increase.
Hot Arctic Weather
Low sea ice and warm air flow from a wavy jet stream have set the Arctic up for unseasonably warm temperatures… about 20 degrees celsius above normal.
Antarctic Retreat
An ice core study has marked the 1940’s as the earliest point at which the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica began its retreat.
The Great Barrier Reef is far from “dead.”
But it does need our help, ASAP!

Number 2 – Policy
New Chemical Rules!
The US Senate has finally ratified a reform bill that changes the decades old and out-of-date Toxic Substances Control Act, aiming to bring more science into the regulation of new chemicals.
FDA Finally Bans
After years of reports by TWIS (jk)… scientific evidence against the usefulness of antibacterial agents in soaps, the FDA voted to ban 19 specific substances giving manufacturers a year to phase them out of products.
FTC Votes Science
New rules for the marketing of OTC homeopathic products were released by the FTC, finding many misleading in their claims of efficacy, and recognizes “that an OTC homeopathic drug claim that is not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence might not be deceptive if the advertisement or label where it appears effectively communicates that: 1) there is no scientific evidence that the product works; and 2) the product’s claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.”
Science Gets Policy
The House and now the Senate have approved the 21st Century Cures Act, and sent it to the President for signing. It will earmark funding for Bidens Cancer moonshot, and possibly open the FDA up to fast-tracking medical devices and drug treatments.

Number 1 – CRISPR
CRISPR Update!
Scientists have used CRISPR-CAS9 to repair retinal stem cells with a defect for retinitis pigmetosa. The cells could potentially be transplanted back into the same patient to treat the disease.
Single nucleotide mutation editing
In a new CRISPR development, researchers have confirmed a form of CRISPR/Cas9 that cleaves single-stranded RNA, potentially opening up a novel direction for therapeutic innovations.
CRISPR For Cancer
Researchers at U of Pennsylvania are working on developing a CRISPR treatment for cancer involving T cells, which has been approved for human testing by a federal biosafety and ethics panel. The experimental treatment still needs approval from the medical centers that would run the study and the FDA.
Cas9 Versus Mutations
The Church lab published a paper in the BioArchiv last week that describes a novel system for inhibiting point mutations in organisms using the Cas9 genetic editor. The paper suggests that this system could potentially be used to prevent antibiotic resistance in bacterial species as well as creating oncogenic mutation prevention systems or even preventing the spread of undesired traits in plants.
CRISPR For Humans
Stanford University research shows that it is time to test a CRISPR methodology for repairing Sickle cell anemia in humans.
CRISPR For Humans
The first human trial of a CRISPR therapy has begun in China. Researchers are injecting edited cells into cancer patients to determine whether the treatment is received safely, and whether it allows the patients to fight off the cancer.
CRISPR Cures Hemophilia
In mice, researchers have used a two-vector system to specifically return the function of a clotting protein in Hemophilia B.

And, Blair’s Write-in votes…
Epigenes From Dads
Evidence suggests that tRNAs that hitch a ride on sperm as they travel down the epididymus alter protein expression in offspring and affect metabolism.
A little semen goes a long way…
seminal fluid from one male had an effect on offspring, even if he wasn’t the actual “father.”
Beetles drink the stuff up!
Females had sex more than necessary, cause she was parched.
Pre-selecting gender
Sperm of particular genders follow particular chemical trails, so you could potentially pick the gender of your next baby!

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21 December, 2016 – Episode 598 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

December 24th, 2016

Interview with Dr. Caren Cooper on Citizen Science, Crowdsourced Memory, Santa’s Climate Woes, Traffic Fatalities, Horizontal Boogie, Savage Chimps, Antler Fibers, Tabby’s Star Transition, Antimatter Matters, Vaccinations For Cows, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
Twas ye ole winter solstice
and all through the lab
were bits of odd science
stem cells, horseshoe crabs

Kiki, the doctor,
was in her white coat,
Justin drank beer,
while Blair studied stoats.

When out from the galaxy
rose such a sound:
it was physics, and skeptics,
there was research all ’round!

The discourse was merry
the guests were all there
the chatroom was chatting
it was science, with flare!

It was bosons, and dark matter,
a chicken, err… t rex.
All on this week in science…
coming up next!!

Interview with Caren Cooper, Research Associate Professor, Forestry and Environmental Resources at north Carolina State university, and Jointly appointed as Assistant Head of the Biodiversity Research Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. She is an advocate for the practices of Citizen Science, Open Science, and Science Communication, pursuing scholarly inquiry into these areas, and bringing them all together to achieve Public Science. Her book, Citizen Science – How ordinary people are changing the face of discovery, was published this week.

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Crowdsourced Memory
Slime molds have much to teach us, like the chemical basis for the transmission of memory.

Santa’s Climate Woes
It looks like Christmas is going to be hot in the Arctic this year with estimates that temperatures will be 50 degrees above normal.

Traffic fatalities
Looks like marijuana legalization has interesting effects on fatal traffic accidents.

Horizontal boogie
Horizontal gene transfer opens all sorts of doors to evolution.

Chimps: Savage AF.
Chimpanzees have no interest in helping or hurting others when there is no benefit to themselves. It is highly possible that previous studies with that result have been a byproduct of the task in itself being interesting to complete. Turns out, chimps don’t give a hoot.

All Rudolph wanted for xmas was some indestructible antlers!
Reindeer have special, criss-crossing fibers in their antlers, allowing them to withstand the rigors of brutal competition among young bucks.

Tabby’s Star Transition
A new analysis suggests that Tabby’s star is undergoing a continuous phase transition.

Antimatter Matters
The light is the same.

Vaccinations benefit EVERYONE
Yes, even when it comes to cattle.

Christmas Bird Count
It’s that time of year! Get in on the bird counting!

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14 December, 2016 – Episode 597 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

December 16th, 2016

Fearful Science, Climate Science, Run…, Sleep…, Big Headed Ladies, Sexy Stressors, Metaphorically Feeling, Disappearing Penis Bones, Testing Gravity, Glow Worm Pee, Talking Monkeys, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The following hour of programming is part of a Chinese conspiracy
to convince Americans that climate change is real…
We take marching orders from multiple left wing cabals within the United Nations.
We use the EPA to undermine corporate freedom.
We are professional agitators.
We are paid to protest.
Paid by aliens in order to further the expansion of the Illuminati new world order.
They pilot our black helicopters…
We faked the moon landing.
We invented evolution…
…made it up to ruin Christmas.
We planted fake dinosaur bones in the desert.
Sprinkled plaster parts of mythical hominins in caves across the globe.
All to back up our lies.
Like the voting booths, our ranks are full of dead people…
We infiltrated the department of energy to propagate our climate agenda.
We refuse to give you the names of climate researchers because,
Like the atoms, black holes, bosons, galaxies and everything else beyond your sight…
they do not exist…
we made them up.
You have been brain washed by us…
to believe in science…
Hypnotized into thinking that physics works…
Even now you are about to undergo another session of propaganda here on
This Week in Science…
coming up Next.

Fearful Science
Researchers are working to archive government databases before Trump becomes President. However, this has been an ongoing effort.

Arctic Pulse
Measuring seasonal emissions is important to understanding the forces driving climate change

Atmospheric Thermostat
Heating and cooling of the upper atmosphere is unexpectedly triggered by the same events.

NASA Visualizing CO2
A recent project by NASA used a supercomputer to combine data from a global CO2 monitoring satellite called OCO-2 with high resolution weather software to enable visualization of the movement of CO2 around the Earth. This is important to our understanding of the global carbon cycle.

It’s good for your brain.

It’s good for your brain.

Big Headed Ladies
Bigger headed females live longer and have more babies. Brain size had nothing to do with fitness for males, however…

The sexes really are different, turns out.
The sexes respond differently to stressors, proving once and for all that medicine and susceptibility should hold gender as a factor, at least when considering fruit flies.

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Metaphorically feeling…
Our brains really do respond to physical metaphor.

Disappearing Penis Bones
Humans may have lost their baculum as a result of monogamy, according to a new study of the bone in mammals and primates.

Maybe monogamy isn’t our thing?

Testing Gravity
In the first test of a theory of gravity that does not include dark matter, but rather a dark gravity force by which gravity acts over large distances, a recent analysis of weak gravitational lensing around 33,000 or so galaxies was able to explain the distribution of gravity around galaxies without the need for invoking a dark matter factor.

Next time you’re having trouble catching fish, maybe try peeing on your line?
Oh wait, that only works if you are a glowworm from New Zealand… My bad…

Talking Monkeys
“Will you marry me?” has never sounded so scary.

Atmospheric rivers affect oyster populations.

Self-healing silicon chips?

EPA Fracking takeaway is published.

Zebra finch song is both individual and species specific thanks to dopamine and silent gaps in the song.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.
Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


07 December, 2016 – Episode 596 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

December 15th, 2016

Science Gets Policy, Dark Matter Distribution, Gut Feelings, Bird Laser Goggles, Fake News Memories?, Breathe In, Justin’s Habitat Corner, FDA Fast Tracks, Weed Scientists, Virtual Games, Sea Bees, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
What is really going on…
Is a real thing…
Everyone may have views or opinions.
These views and opinions can be shaped and formed and influenced and manipulated and solidified like a lump of children’s playdough…
However, let us never forget or even imagine that truth is an opinion.
That facts depend on a point of view.
There is a reality of the world that is beyond human perception.
Not invisible to the mind, but beyond ability of its doughy design to dismiss.
Reality goes on…
with or without human words or actions…
And while we head into a future free from the foundations of logic
One where reality will be a near constant casualty
You will begin to hear people asking more and more often
What is really going on?
And when you hear this question asked…
Even if you yourself are unsure of the answer…
Reassure them that Yes… reality is going on…
And it is still being discussed openly and honestly here on
This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next.

Science Gets Policy
The House and now the Senate have approved the 21st Century Cures Act, and sent it to the President for signing. It will earmark funding for Bidens Cancer moonshot, and possibly open the FDA up to fast-tracking medical devices and drug treatments.

Dark Matter Distribution
A new analysis of the universe suggests that dark matter is not as clumpily distributed as previously thought, and might lead to a more nuanced understanding of the formation of galaxies.

Gut feeling…
Microbial you gets more and more interesting.

Bird Laser Goggles
Stanford University just won the internet with this study investigating how birds fly. Check out this cool video from Stanford explaining the research and showing off the goggles.

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How many of us believe fake news… about ourselves?
Basically, everyone is prone to false memories.

Breathe In
Breathing, specifically breathing in, might influence our perception and memories.

Justin’s Habitat corner
It’s more bad than good these days.

FDA Fast Tracks
A new drug in late stage trials looks incredibly promising as a treatment for children with a neurodegenerative disease.
Researchers from MAPS are applying for FDA fast-track treatment of MDMA as a therapeutic agent for PTSD.

Weed Scientists
Not that weed… the kinds in your garden.

Virtual Games
University of Washington scientists are using magnetism to send signals to the brains of people to help them play video games.

Sea Bees
Pollinators of the sea???

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30 November, 2016 – Episode 595 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

December 1st, 2016

Weird Quantum Space, Space Eyes, Lucy In The Sky, Not Dead Yet, Old Genes, What The Frack?, Skin You’re In, We All Gots Bugs, CRISPR Cures Hemophilia, Boiling Water, Life Choices, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The future of fighting over fresh water has arrived.
We see it happening now in North Dakota, and the rules are pretty simple.
If you have influence over government, your water supply will be safe.
If you do not, it will not be safe…
it won’t even be yours.
An oil pipeline was set to pass near the city of Bismarck North Dakota…
Some town folk complained,
and the Army Corp of Engineers deemed this route too endangering of public water ways.
They called it a “high consequence area”,
so it was moved to an assumed “low consequence area”
Through an area of fresh water used by Native Sioux people…
Since the Army Corp of Engineers flooded much of Sioux land and towns with dams to provide water for people elsewhere in the past…
this came as no surprise to the Sioux.
The current path follows the reservation border with an environmental disaster in waiting.
And, since it passes under their source of drinking water,
the situation can only get worse.
And, is what we can expect to see more of going forward everywhere in this country…
As public water rights give way to private influence…
The phrase not in my backyard…
only works when you have political influence.
Without it, we all will have to give up water rights to those who do.
And there are two things none of us can live without…
Clean water…
And This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Weird Quantum Space
Measurements of a neutron star seem to have measured polarized light suggestive of weird quantum particles in space.

Space Eyes
Astronaut vision problems might be related to cerebraospinal fluid leaking into the eye cavity and increasing the intra-ocular pressure there.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds…
Maybe Lucy swung from the trees.

The Great Barrier Reef is far from “dead.”
But it does need our help, ASAP!

Corals are much older than we thought
Thousands of years old, in fact.

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What the frack?
Never too late to begin learning… researchers are trying to understand the forces at work during the fracking process.

Skin You’re In
A new analysis of the shape of skin cells might have a lot to tell us about what happens when things go wrong.

We all gots bugs
Very individualized populations of them.

CRISPR Cures Hemophilia
In mice, researchers have used a two-vector system to specifically return the function of a clotting protein in Hemophilia B.

Boiling Water
If you put water into carbon nanotubes, turns out that you can solidify water at a temperature higher than boiling!

Grow, or have sex and die??
The age old question. But now we know who is calling the shots, at least in bristleworms!

Magnetically Reconnecting
Magnetic field lines break apart and reconnect violently causing such effects as solar flares and gamma ray bursts. Understanding how the process works will help create better tokamaks for sustainable nuclear fusion.

Here LIGO!
LIGO announced it is back doing science runs after receiving engineering upgrades that have increased its sensitivity by 25%.

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23 November, 2016 – Episode 594 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

November 29th, 2016

Interview w/ Erik Vance – Author of Suggestible You, More EM Drive Madness, Hot Arctic Weather, Invasion of Earth, Manly Salt Frogs?, Split-Brained Ducks, Combing Your Hair, Sperm Health Benefits, Turkey!!!, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
When the first American arrived in North America…
There was no one here to greet them…
20,000 years ago…
There were lions, sabre-tooth cats and nine-foot long sabre-tooth salmon,
Giant sloths, Giant Tortoises, Giant condors and Giant Beavers.
There were horses, camels, mammoths and mastodons,
A beautiful armadillo, a short faced bear, and a Dire Wolf…
And while the biggest threat of all was yet to come…
The people were thankful for the discovery they had made…
They populated two continents and formed countless civilizations…
In the course of human history there are none that traveled so far so fast from our original origins…
And about 1500 years ago…
They domesticated the bird that is now synonymous with giving thanks.
So, on this day of thanks,
as millions take part in a traditional dinner…
Remember to thank the people who made the meal possible,
And for their home in which you eat it…
And, if stuffing yourself on traditional irony isn’t your thing…
We’ve got a kitchen full of science-y goodness cooking on
This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next…

Interview with Erik Vance
a biologist turned science writer based in California and Mexico. He writes for the Last Word On Nothing blog, and has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, National Geographic, and a number of other local and national outlets. We talk with him about his first book, Suggestible You.

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More EM Drive Madness
NASA’s EM Drive researchers published an article about their investigations. Ars Techinica isn’t impressed.

Hot Arctic Weather
Low sea ice and warm air flow from a wavy jet stream have set the Arctic up for unseasonably warm temperatures… about 20 degrees Celsius above normal.

Antarctic Retreat
An ice core study has marked the 1940’s as the earliest point at which the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica began its retreat.

Trump And NASA
While Trump inspiringly wants to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century, reports suggest that he his willing to blind our view of Earth in order to do so.

Invasion of Earth
It’s not aliens… but it will be

Salt has lady frogs feelin’ extra manly…
Research suggests that road salt might affect sex rations in frogs. The question is how?

Ducks are hemispherically biased when it comes to mommy
Looks like a split-brain situation.

Sperm Health Benefits
Looks like a compound first identified in semen, hence the name, has heart protective and lifespan lengthening effects… at least in mice and fruit flies.

Combing Your Hair
It’s easy for some, but for others it’s impossible thanks to a genetic mutation or three.

Talking bout…

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