27 July, 2016 – Episode 577 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 29th, 2016

Red Hot Spot, Primordial Holes, Spinning Gas Cloud, Dingo Diet, Slothy Sloths, Interview with Bad Astronomer – Philip Plait, and Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
The future is not here yet…
Yes, we discovered the Higgs
Yes, can cut, splice, and program DNA and RNA…
Yes, there are self driving cars…
Yes, the most powerful computer you ever purchased fits in your pocket…
Yes, the first black president of the united states served two terms…
and Yes, he is likely to be replaced by the first female president…
But, this is just the present day…
The future has much more in store for us…
Not all of it positive…
But so much of it positive that we will propel ourselves into this future knowing that there are obstacles,
And knowing that we are alive in the generation that overcomes them…
The generation that solves hard problems,
And applies easy solutions to the problems that never should have stood as obstacles to begin with.
The future isn’t here yet…
But it’s about to be…
Here on This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Red Hot Spot
Astronomers taking Jupiter’s temperature found that the great red spot is the source of non-solar energy for heating Jupiter’s atmosphere.

Primordial Holes
Japanese researchers postulate that the observed LIGO black hole mergers have been not just black holes, but rather primordial black holes — old and massive holes that formed from the collapse of especially dense areas of space after the big bang.

Spinning Gas Cloud
NASA-funded research has found that the cloud of hot gas that surround the Milky Way Galaxy is spinning in the same direction as the galaxy and only slightly slower. The discovery gives us more clues about the formation of our galaxy, and how matter settles out of these hot gas clouds to form celestial bodies.

A dingo ate my dingo!
Cannibalism in dingoes may not be limited to those experiencing hard times, instead turning on each other as a food source just like any other. Does this fundamentally change how we look at cannibals?

Sloths are sloths for a reason…
…and won’t be rushed…. Leaves give so little to a sloth system that they move slowly and expend very little energy.

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And, an Interview with the Bad Astronomer, Phil Plait. Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of “Bad Astronomy” and “Death From the Skies!”.

We spoke to him about skepticism, moonwalks, the space program, Hubble telescope, and much more… like, his wonderful goats.

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20 July, 2016 – Episode 576 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 22nd, 2016

Interview w/ Dr. Enrique Abreu re: ketamine therapy for depression, So Hot!, Brain Mapping Matters, Brilliant Ducks, Turtle Shells, Zero-Knowledge Time, Bonobo Mentors, City Punk Birds, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
a cat is a cat
and a fact is a fact
a cure is a cure
and a lie is a lie.
but how can you tell a cat, from a cure, and a lie from a fact?
truth can be a tricky thing, and many will tell you it is often relative.
but, the truth is most definitely,
completely the truth,
when it comes to science,
and it is our job,
each and every one of us,
to find it.
because when variables are isolated,
tested, and tried,
control groups are monitored,
and results are replicated,
truth can be defined.
we are here tonight to discuss new truths,
discovered through tried and true methods,
and unequivocally a part of
This Week in Science,
coming up next…

Interview with Dr. Enrique Abreu on the science of ketamine therapy for major depressive disorder.

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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?

Brain Mapping Matters
A new study looking at the human brain has mapped 180 areas in the brain’s cortex, confirming 83 that were previously know and elucidating 97 additional areas per hemisphere.

How did the turtle get his shell?
The answer to this ancient mystery now has a highly unexpected development: he may have gotten it to dig!

Teeny baby ducklings are inherent geniuses
Ducklings can make logical decisions and associations that I am not confident I could make… At any age…?

Zero-knowledge Warheads
A theoretical detection system for discerning active, deactivated, or fake nuclear warheads has been described in the PNAS. With any luck it will be implemented to allow nuclear inspectors to detmine the state of various nation’s nuclear stockpiles without giving up any nuclear warhead design secrets.

Female bonobo elders protect young ladies
The plot thickens on why female-led bonobo societies are so peaceful. It looks like males continue to try to stir things up, but the dominant females shut. it. down!

Did the city bird rough up the country bird and take his wallet?
Suburban birds are shown to be more aggresive than their country cousins. Is this an area where humans face similar influences?

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13 July, 2016 – episode 575 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 15th, 2016

Shifting Clouds, JunoCam, Two Blind Mice, Cicada Turn On, Crow Clean Up, Raven Friends, Cannibal Neanderthals, Social Immune Brains, Bacterial Brains, X Marks Brainy Maps Echolocation For All, Monkey Tools, Monkey Smarts, Swimming Robot Domination, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
Where ever you are…
Whatever you are doing…
Think for a moment that this is your last moment…
That however it happens, whatever the cause…
Suddenly this is to be your last moment alive…
Pause it here.
Rewind the week, the month and even the year…
How would you live differently in this frame of time?
Knowing the precise moment in which all moments end.
We can’t of course live productive lives thinking this way
But when given reason to reflect, we should make space for it.
Because nothing is guaranteed…
And death makes meaningless all work not done out of love
And all time spent on uninspired efforts, away from those we love
So eat, drink and be merry me hearties
For this week in science
Is coming up Next…

Shifting Clouds
An analysis of cloud cover from 1983-2009 found that cloud cover is tending toward the poles, and that storm clouds are reaching higher, both predicted effects of climate change.

JunoCam First light from orbit
JunoCam has started sending back images.

And now…. only two of the mice are blind
Third mouse gets vision restored

Cicada song is a turn on, and not just for cicadas!
Their melodious song encourages cicadas to mate, but it also brings their parasites to mate and lay eggs to feast on their flesh. How sweet…?

You guys, crows are important
They are pulling most of the weight when it comes to the nature clean-up crew.

Ravens learn best from their friends
Proximity and relationships have large influence on how much ravens will learn from one another.

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Evidence that Neanderthals were cannibals!

Social Immune Brains
An immune molecule was found to influence social behavior in mice, linking the immune system directly to the brain, and adding many questions about infection, parasites, and behavioral control.

X Marks Brainy Maps
Neuroscientists from the Zuckerman Institute at Columbia University have imaged mouse brains in real time to see where and how in the brain x marks the spot.

Echolocation For All
A recent study looking at electrical activation of the brain determined that people, like bats and dolphins, are somewhat capable of object identification and spatial reckoning through sound.

Tool use in monkey is, like, way old
We’re talking around 700 years old. Woah..

Monkeys know what they don’t know.
Ya know?

Swimming Robot Domination
Engineers created a little swimming robot that swims remarkably like a skate from a gold skeleton, plastic body, and rat cardiomyocytes engineered with light-sensitive ion channels.

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06 July, 2016 – Episode 574 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 8th, 2016

Juno You Know, Extremophile Culture!, Fungi farming, Paper Wasps Misrepresentin’, Bonobo Lady Wiles, The American Ostrich, Faulty fMRIs, Beetle Penises, Matching Genomes, Octopus Eyes, Martian Moons, Titan Life?, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
[Justin had a really good one this week, but he didn’t put it in the show notes…]
This Week in Science,
Coming up next…

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.

Extreme-ophile 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!

Fungi farming
Plant growth responses to high carbon dioxide depend on symbiotic fungi.

Misleading bonobo ladies use their feminine wiles to keep the peace
Bonobo females conveniently swell at times only occasionally signaling their actual ovulation. This takes the decision of when to mate out of the male’s hands, and into the female’s. Clever girls…

Wasps would be poor sports at poker
Paper wasps aggressively punish rivals that misrepresent their strength and skill – sounds like a lose-lose to me…

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The American Ostrich
A fossil find proposes a possible North American ostrich relative.

Faulty fMRIs
More data is in suggesting that fMRI studies may not be giving us the information about our brains that we had hoped. Statistical software packages delivered false positives up to 70% of the time for cluster inferences that predict whether certain brain areas are active simultaneously.

How to have sex with a hyper-long penis (if your a beetle)
The mechanics might help with creating tiny syringe needles!

Matching Genomes
It turns out that a little mismatch between genomes is good when it comes to mitochondria and the nucleus. A recent study using mice found that those with greater ancestral mismatch were healthier overall despite experiencing increased oxidative stress.

Martian Moons
The two Martian moons might be relics from an ancient moon impact.

Titan Life?
Hydrogen cyanide polymers might provide support structures for the evolution of life on Titan.

Octopus eyes are full of odd-shaped surprises!
Cephalopods appear at first glance to only see in black and white, but why, then, do they signal eachother in fantastic displays, or how then, can they camouflage so well? This new research may have the answer, and it has to do with their odd-shaped pupils.

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29 June, 2016 – Episode 573 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 1st, 2016

Mercury’s A Meteorite?, Mars Might Tridymite, Sneaky Black Holes, Hobbit Hole Fires, Kalimantan Deep Skull, Naked Dragons, Blue Tit Danger Songs, Snails On Acid, Chronically Your Gut, THC For Brains, Air Combat Robot Domination, Cockatoo Smarts, Sexy Mantis Snacks, Sexy Smelling Birds, Exercise To Remember, Text Brain?, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
You have just tuned in to a truly important message…
The world is not coming to an end…
There is no need to panic…
as there are no offers ending soon…
If you don’t act now…
Nothing bad will happen…
You are not running out of time…
The future is here! You made it…
Now relax, take every little task type thing off of your mind and simply enjoy…
This week in science…
coming up next…

Mercury’s A Meteorite?
Using chemical sleuthing and a hot pressure cooker, MIT geologists determined that the chemistry of Mercury’s oldest bits is similar to an extrememly rare form of meteorite.

Mars Might Tridymite
According to NASA, an unexpected molecule called tridymite showed up on Mars, leading researchers to muse that Mars might have had a more volcanic past than previously thought.

Sneaky Black Holes
There might be a lot more black holes in the universe than we thought based on a recent finding that a star isn’t actually a star at all, but rather a smallish black hole. Whoops!

Hobbit hole fires
Ancient humans used the Hobbit caves not long after the Hobbits vanished.

Kalimantan Deep Skull revisited
An old skull looked at a new way revises the story about Aboriginal ancestry.

What a naked dragon can tell us about our origins
Scales, feathers, and hair turn out to be practically the same, in that they all have a common genetic origin. And it was all discovered due to a mutant bearded dragon spied by a scientist in a pet shop!

Blue tits sing in the face of danger
Researchers have found a new use of bird song, and it isn’t for mating or marking territory. These birds sing when face-to-face with predators!

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Ocean acidification = escargo eating starfish and algae plumes…
As the ocean acid level rise it makes survival harder for the snails.

Chronically Your Gut
Bacterial diversity and populations can help diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome. New experiments published in Microbiome found that people with CFS are more likely than controls to have dysbiosis of their gut bacteria.

Brains relax with THC
THC stimulates endocannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and reduces inflammation and markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

Air Combat Robot Domination
An AI called ALPHA has bested an expert human opponent at aerial combat for the first time.

Cockatoos weigh their options depending on what’s available
When faced with free food or food that requires some work, cockatoos are able to make choices based on which tools they have, what food is free, and what food is likely to take the extra work.

The seedy secret of mantis mating explained
Female praying mantises cannibalize their mates in order to provide for their babies. It has nothing to do with how they feel about that particular male…

Sexy Smelling Birds
It’s not the birds that smell so good, it’s their bacteria!

Exercise To Remember
Exercise four hours after learning something if you really want to remember it says new research!

Text Brain?
Researchers described a new kind of brain wave only seen while people are texting.

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22 June, 2016 – Episode 571 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 25th, 2016

CRISPR For Cancer, Cas9 Versus Mutations, High Life, Source Of Rice, Oldest Farmers, Tricky Crab Traps, Dating Advice From Fish, Interview w/ Britt-Marie Hermes re: naturopathy vs. medicine, Smart Little Kakas, Undead Genes, Zika Vaccine, Placebo Brain Games, Quasi-Satellite, Robot Brains, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Nothing you have experienced will prepare you for what you are about to hear
That is unless you have been listening for awhile
In which case your mind is fully prepared to encounter the unknown
To delve brain first into the abyss of human knowledge
And step out the other side wet with insights into the inner workings of nature…
To the untrained brain, the journey may seem wrought with hidden dangers
The landscapes unfamiliar, and destination uncertain, the weather at once carefree and whimsical
And also wrought, if I can use wrought again here without seeming to over embellish…
Weather wrought with a wild foreboding…
and a willful wrath for whimsical ways…
It is as if…
everything we learn could in some way be turned against us…
It is not knowledge of the unknown that makes this so…
But knowledge of ourselves…
And in knowing the ways that man can hurl hardships at his fellow human
We pause…
we hesitate to speak what truths we know…
what mysteries we have lain bare…
What new knowledge we have now wrought forth from the abyss
(There I’ve used it again)
For fear…
fear it could be used against us…
But do not fear.
For fear is the most formidable force that can be used against you…
Never greater than when it finds you without the knowledge to understand…
never give into fear…
Instead listen…
to the carefree and whimsical voices as they guide you through yet another episode of…
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next

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.

Highland East Asian origin for prehistoric Himalayan populations
They’ve been high a long time.

A Source
For rice.

The world’s oldest farmers
Are termites

How some fish keep the magic alive
This is probably true in most relationships, but in a certain hermaphroditic fish, you get what you give.

Crabs trick the ladies into coercion
By literally trapping them inside their homes. Now, that isn’t very gentlemanly!

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Interview with Britt Marie Hermes, a Master’s of Science student in Medical Life Sciences at the University of Kiel. Her research interests include inflammatory and genetic diseases, like psoriasis and Crohn’s. She is also interested in studying medical ethics and epidemiology. A former naturopathic doctor and “natural health expert”, she received a degree in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University, held a one-year residency, and worked as a naturopathic doctor for three years before deciding that naturopathy is not based in science, is ineffective, and dangerous. She started a petition with change.org to ask the government to end state naturopath licensure and insurance reimbursement.

Aaaand, more science…
They were right all along about old dogs… Or was it kakas?
Except that these are birds… Young-uns do better with new challenges than their elders.

Undead Genes
The amazingly fascinating science of cellular activity after organismal death finds hundreds of genes become more activated in death.

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.

Placebo Brain Games
A new study and review of old literature on brain-training for improving intelligence found that previous positive results may have been due to a placebo effect stemming from personal bias of the volunteers.

Earth has a little friend in space.

Robot Brains

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15 June, 2016 – Episode 571 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 24th, 2016

Interview with RobotGrrl Erin Kennedy re: Robot Missions, New MS Treatment, Gravitational Waves, Hobbit Update, LED free cows, CO2 + Volcanic Rocks = Awesome, New Improved Meteorite, Seeing Exoplanets, Rewarding Empathy, Venus Pictures, Penis Bones, Brainy Birds, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
No matter how long this old world keeps spinning round…
There are somethings that will never change…
Like how untrue the last statement is…
For eventually nothing stays the same…
And while change comes even to those who wait…
Waiting around is not the science-y way…
So each day scientists set out to change what we know about…
well, everything.
And once a week we get together with a fresh list of what new things scientists have discovered
that will forever change how we see the world around us…
Here on This Week in Science…
Coming up next!

Interview with @RobotGrrl, Erin Kennedy, roboticist extraordinaire who is on a mission to help the world with robots, and to show the world that anyone can make robots that matter. Check out her Robot Missions!

Support us on Patreon!

New MS Treatment
Stem cells are treating MS!

Gravitational Waves!
More of them!

Hobbit update
Hobbitses had little ancestors!

LED free cows
Well, milk…

Molecular Handedness
Distant complex molecules have been found in a gas cloud near the Milky Way’s black hole that could give clues to the preferences of life.

CO2 + Volcanic Rocks = Awesome
Let’s put gas in the ground.

It came from space!!!
A new type of meteorite found.

Seeing Exoplanets
Is getting more and more amazing…

Empathy can be rewarding…

Images From Venus
The Japanese space probe is finally sending miages back to Earth, and they are wonderful.

Penis Bones
Evolved many times.

Brainy Birds
They have more neurons.

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08 June, 2016 – Episode 570 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 10th, 2016

Bioluminescent Fishes, CRISPR on RNA, Deglaciating Bison, Pre-Columbian Trade, Fish Face, Fiber-Optic Eyes, Microplastic Bothers, Interview w/ Dr. Elizabeth Sibert on World Oceans, Slime Mold Problem-Solvers, Jumping Eels, Provisional Names!, New Chemical Rules!, Inbred Neander News, Not Lost City, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Right now, at this very moment, there is an archeological site directly beneath your feet…
Beneath the paved roads and home foundations…
Under the swimming pools and strip malls…
Within the soil, in the rocks, and in-between the roots of trees…
there are clues to the history of the planet and the creatures who have called it home…
And this history can be revealed…
And if you happen to live in the Americas…
There is an ancient peoples beneath your feet…
A people that lived in the Americas ten thousand years before bronze-age men poured into Europe for the first time…
A people who fished and farmed and traded goods,
before the pyramids of Egypt were built…
A people who hunted ice age megafauna…
while Scandinavian lands were still too cold for Vikings to inhabit…
A people who traveled further from our collective origins than any others in exploration of our planet…
And it’s all there, wherever you happen to be standing…
a treasure trove of history, right there beneath your feet.
As with most knowledge…
its not your proximity to the information,
but how you search for it that counts…
And lucky for you your search has brought you here as you are now closer than you think to another episode of…
This Week In Science…
coming up next!

Bioluminescent Fishes
A recent study suggests that we are vastly underestimating the number of times that bioluminescence has evolved in organisms around the world. In its review of fish species, the study found that bioluminescence evolved separately at least 27 times.

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.

Deglaciating Bison
Finding once frozen fossils of the bison that people in the ancient Americas used to hunt is telling us more about those people.

Pre-Columbian Trade
Turns out people in the Americas were trading with people across the sea well before Colubus ever showed up.

Fish know your face
If fish can differentiate human faces, then it may be a skill we have overlooked in many, many types of animals.

Fiber-optic eyes?
Squid use what looks like a evolutionary mistake to create a pseudo-invisibility cloak!

Microplastics are bothering fish more than just in their tummies
As larvae, plastics inhibit development, too. Just another reason to reduce plastic entering our waterways!

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Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Sibert. Having recently completed her PhD in the Norris lab at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Elizabeth Sibert is both a paleontologist and an oceanographer. She studies tiny fossils called ichthyoliths, and is here to discuss the oceans with us.

Slime Molds solve problems!
A life form without a brain, or even neurons, can make strategic, logical decisions. Dude…

Jumping Eels
The electric eel jumps out of the water to shock its prey or intruders. Shocking!

Provisional Names!
Names have been proposed for the heavy elements recently added to the periodic table: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson.

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.

Inbred Neander News
Inbreeding among the neandertals has left humans with genetic troubles.

Lost city under the sea lost no more!
They thought it was Atlantis. But, they were wrong. It was just rocks.

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