14 February, 2018 – Episode 658 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

February 15th, 2018

How Many Loves?, Predictions Of Infidelity, Moving Mammoths, Loving The Flow, Femme Fatale Fireflies, Memory Is Sexy, Bunnies Abound, Pup Pituitary, Can’t Buy Love, Can Buy Happiness, And Much More…

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To err is human
To learn from your mistakes…
Is divine…
Actually learning from mistakes is just what learning is…
And learning from the past mistakes of others…
Along with how others got it right…
Is only as good as the information they left behind.
The first time two rocks were banged together that produced a spark…
The world did not change in any significant way.
Not until the person who discovered this interesting effect showed it to others did this knowledge begin to spread.
At first, it may have been little more than a cave parlor trick.
Something to amuse ones peers with.
Then, one dry summers eve…
As the crowd oohed and aahed…
An errant spark caught in a whimsical wind swirled its way into a pile of flammable tinder…
And fire was invented…
If enough of the cave party survived the fire that is…
If not, then perhaps the discovery took a bit longer…
Thankfully we have found a collection of primitive parlor tricks gone awry where the parties survived to publish the tale.
On This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

How Many Loves?
An analysis of 50 languages found that there are at least 14 different kinds of love.

Predictions Of Infidelity
There are many factors involved in relationship success, two studies identify those factors in the hopes of improving fidelity.

Love with the lights on…
A breakthrough in flow battery technology might bring us more sustainable energy.

Moving Mammoths
Mammoths on the move, cared for one another.

Femme Fatale Fireflies
These ladies are savage, but they just do what they need to survive.

Memory is sexy
Especially when it leads you to the sweet sweet nectar… Mmmm….

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Here are two more sonnets Blair. I’m not sure either is what you’re looking
for, so ignore them at your pleasure.

My Springtime Hell
Perth Winter rains dye all the pastures green
The Spring is close behind, where hell ensues
The views are plundered by a new regime
As wildflowers bloom in all their wondrous hues
East winds now rising from the low plateau
Lift pollen grains into the clear blue skies
They’re carried down on to the plains below
Instilling misery in countless eyes
But thanks to science, Spring I can endure
Non drowsy anti-histamines, the cure.

My Podcast Heaven
I eagerly await each episode
My ears are filled with science, day and night
A hundred podcasts to my phone download
Flash memory stores untold gigabytes
But list’ning hours are too few in each day
And science shows have grown in recent years
But I can change the speed at which they play
At 1.3 I’ve caught up on arrears
So thanks to science, I am entertained
As more of our vast cosmos is explained

Bunnies abound
And, they have for a very long time.

Pituitary pups
A stress hormone released while in the womb may be entirely responsible for domesticated wolf traits.

Water Is Rising
At a faster pace than we thought. Turns out the acceleration of the pace of sea level rise is going to increase sea level by about 60 cm instead of the estimated 30 cm by 2100.

Can’t Buy Love
Relationships with high levels of materialism are rated as less satisfying, and have a higher chance of failure.

Can Buy Happiness
But, apparently, if you make $95,000 a year, you will be happy.

Entropy And Intelligence
Does an entropic brain correlate with intelligence? In this study it did.

Tesla Orbital Estimation
The Tesla vehicle is potentially settled into a stable orbit with a low probability of impact with the Earth or Venus over the next million years or so…

Lactation is for the birds!
The same hormone responsible for lactation in humans may be linked to parental care in zebra finches. See? This story had absolutley nothing to do with a bird with udders. Now try to get that image out of your head. Oops!

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07 February, 2018 – Episode 657 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

February 8th, 2018

Falcon Launch Success, TRAPPIST-1 Planets, Outside The Galaxy, Dead Vikings, Blue Malaria Urine, Barter Rats, Woodpecker Brain Damage, India Antibiotic Trouble, Urine Isn’t Sterile, Thermometers For Everyone, Naked Mole Bat, And Much More…

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The greatest discovery…
Might be hiding right under your nose.
No, it’s not a mustache, lips or even an adorable chin…
But it could be that some of our greatest scientific finds,
are already well within our grasp…
Just waiting for us to notice them…
And when we do, we often wonder why we didn’t before.
So much of what we discover seems obvious in retrospect,
that we often forget how much work went in to making is so…
But that’s what science does…
An endless pursuit of the obvious
Confounded at every turn by a universe that makes no sense
Until, by keen observation, it obviously does…
And the result of a billion keen observations is what the modern age is made of…
That and…
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

Falcon Heavy Launch Success
February 6th, 2018, SpaceX launched the Falcon Heavy rocket into space, and jettisonned its cargo – a spacesuit driving a Tesla – into a tragectory that will end up in the asteroid belt past Mars. Regardless of the folly involved in putting a car in space, the launch demonstrated the feasibility of private missions to the asteroid belt and possibly beyond for the first time, and put space well within our grasp.

TRAPPIST-1 Planets
The consensus is that the planets within the habitable zone likely have atmospheres dominated by heavier gases, which is promising for the existence of water.

Outside The Galaxy
A technique called microlensing has allowed astronomers to make what they say is the first extra-galactic observations of exoplanets.

The Viking Great Army
Radiocarbon dating suggests buried bones are Viking.

Cell Culture Dye
Kills malaria parasites at speed not seen before

What do rats and sororities have in common?
They pay for their friends: Rats that have shared food are more likely to receive grooming behavior from a food recipient. How is this different from payment? How is it like reciprocation? How is it both… or neither? WHAT IS MONEY, ANYWAY???

Woodpecker brain damage
Woodpeckers have evidence of what looks like brain damage throughout their family. But then why do they peck, or is it brain damage at all? And what does this mean for the superbowl??

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“I have what used to be called Asperger’s and is now known as High Functioning Autism. One of my conditions is I have a lot of issues with directions, my wife called me Directionally Challenge. I must stop and think before I know my left from my right. When it comes to travel, I need to travel a path several times before I learn how to get there on my own. GPS has been a great advantage to me, helping me get to work, home and many other places without a personal navigator. Thanks to GPS, I have been able to see Gettysburg, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. –Brian Von Wert”

Antibiotic Trouble
How India is brewing the next wave of patient zeros

Urine Isn’t Sterile
In fact, it’s teeming with life and the viruses that go along with it.

Thermometers for everyone
Melting permafrost might unleash a toxic supply of mercury into the world.

Cancer & Mole Rats
They just don’t really get it, but why?

Long-lived bats
It’s in the telomeres.

Cloned Crayfish
It’s an invasion of clones!

Uh oh… We’re boned.
Plastic pollution is prevalent on land, not just in the ocean. And it’s far worse than we thought. At what point will I become more plastic than human? Am I already?? AHHHH!!!!

Old Fish…
found dead

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31 January, 2018 – Episode 656 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

February 1st, 2018

Naked Mole Rat Longevity, Genetic Jitters, Eureka!, Horse Toes, Rooster Roadies, Rolling The Dice, Muscle Memory, Cancer vaccine!, Genetic Nurture, Genome Sequencing, Plastics R Bad, Voynich AI Crack, And Much More…

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What you put in determines what you can get out…
And it doesn’t really matter what stuff you are putting in…
Or what you are putting that stuff into…
Putting a decent effort into something
will get a different result than putting in no effort at all…
Inputting reliable data will result in more reliable data out…
Placing potatoes in a pot of boiling water
is much more likely to get you a pot of boiled potatoes
than if you had filled your pot with onions…
And while this may seem obvious to all…
It is not what we often practice.
For all around us all the time
people are placing onions in pots of boiling water
and expecting boiled potatoes as a result…
Like relaxing your way to getting fit…
Or eating junk food and still wishing to lose weight…
Or staying up too late and still hoping to be well rested…
Or tuning in to nonsense shows yet still wanting to become more intelligent…
But all they end up with are boiled onions…
Which, if covered in melted cheese
with a dollop of sour cream
is still a great snack to relax with for a late night Netflix binge on the couch…
And yet!
You have found your way here…
to the place that will put potatoes into your pot…
Or in this case, science into your brain…
so that you can achieve the result you actually desire…
To know what’s happening…
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

Naked Mole Rat Longevity
May you live long, like a naked mole rat. Naked mole rats don’t follow the usual mortality pattern seen in mammals. Somehow they manage to age without aging, without their odds of mortality increasing over time.

Genetic Jitters
A paper in Nature supports a postulate originally made by Watson and Crick, suggesting that genetic mutations, which are essentially the result of cellular machinery copying errors, are due to ‘quantum jitters’ in which DNA bases shift their shape for just long enough to become incorrectly incorporated into the DNA strand. These occurred at the same rate that such mutations occur naturally, and provides a mechanism for the genetic mistakes.

There’s gold in them there microbes!

We were wrong about the horses, all along!
Horses and similar hoofed critters may have a complete set of digits, after-all.

Why would a rooster make the perfect roadie?
Because they have built-in earplugs!

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This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately
“Science gave me a frame of reference in which to view the world. I was trained as a biochemist and eventually became a database designer.

For me, I am able to view an entire system and break it down to individual components. When something goes wrong I use the scientific method to analyze what is working and not working.

I use enzymology to view data flow like enzyme reactions in a biochemical pathway. Finding optimal paths and identifying bottlenecks.

The tools I learned as a scientist help me identify problems, and figure them out helps me every day. You don’t have to be a scientist to thing like a scientist.
Jerry Salem
Love the show. I mention it at least once a week to my friends and family!
–Jerry Salem Ph.D.”

Rolling the dice to rid the world of fate
How dice and psychology progressed hand in hand.

Muscle Memory
Scientists report a change in epigenetic tags on genes related to muscle growth as a result of exercise and muscle growth that remain after muscle shrinks and affect later growth.

Cancer vaccine! for mice
A promising cancer treatment essentially cured mice of cancer and protected them from future outbreaks. Clinical human trials are currently underway.

Genetic Nurture
The genes you did not inherit from your parents have about 30% the influence of the genes you did inherit, but what does this really tell us about nature versus nurture?

Genome Sequencing Advance
The entire human genome was sequenced using a miniION nanopore sequencer… there was a bit of tweaking involved, but they did it.

Plastics are bad, mmkay?
Plastics present in and around corals ruin their general health, and decrease their chance of survival. So no, DON’T TAKE THAT DISPOSABLE STRAW, KAREN!

Voynich AI Crack
An AI algorithm might have succeeded where decades of human analysis has failed, and cracked the code of the Voynich manuscript.

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24 January, 2018 – Episode 655 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 26th, 2018

Baby Clone Monkeys, Humanity Is In The Brain, Arctic Archaeology, Shrinking Birds, The Bee Buzz, Supplemental News, Smart Contact Lenses, BPA Won’t Go, God Helmet Placebo, Curry FTW!, Space Disco, And Much More…

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There is a way of looking at the world in which you can ignore the details…
A vision of everything based on how you assume it.
Just read the headlines,
you’ll get the drift…
Think something you know nothing about works a certain way?
That’s exactly how it works…
The label on the bottle claims to do this or that?
Good enough reason to end all further inquiry…
Why every day is a brand new opportunity to know what the whole wide world is doing…
Without even giving it a first look…
And while this way of existing in a world bereft of thought…
Is exactly how I imagine most of the people of the earth are going about things…
I haven’t really looked into it
as I’ve been far too busy getting excited to hear what’s new on
This Week In Science,
Coming up Next…

Baby Clone Monkeys
The first primate clones have been produced in China – two cutie-pie rhesus macaques.

Humanity Is In The Brain
An analysis of human fossil brain shape and size determined that shape is probably an indicator of cognitive development.

Arctic Archeology
It goes way back…

Bee metropolises aren’t buzzing
Bee colonies get quieter as they grow, contrary to expectation. If only we could harness the quiet for ourselves!

The birds are shrinking!
Climate change is the likely cause of smaller birds. so add that to the list of weird side effects …

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This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately
“Hey, dr. Kiki

Ever since you created this new segment, I’ve been wanting to write about something science has done for me lately. However, I couldn’t think of anything but the obvious: technology/medicine/everything science-y surrounding me and most of your audience at home. And then today, as I was going through my morning ritual, it hit me.

I have a long-running career in IT, and for the past seven I’ve had a great job at a worldwide tech company. I’m not rich, but I have a pretty comfortable life. Around four years ago I decided to study drawing and painting as a hobby. This year I started selling art as a side thing, and I’m planning on expanding it in 2018. Overall, things are doing just fine, and I believe I can be considered a successful person.

Here’s the plot twist, though: I suffer from type two bipolar disorder. When I was diagnosed in my early twenties, it had been crippling me for years. I wasn’t able to do anything for longer than a couple of months. Relationships, jobs, plans, college, anything I started went down the drain after a short period. And when the depression part of the cycle hit, it hit hard. I didn’t know I had a diagnose, I just thought I was a failure, and I was on the edge of becoming an alcoholic more than once just trying to cope with not being able to function. All the things I mentioned above – having a long-running career, studying, even planning for the future – were unthinkable back then.

This was sixteen years ago. Then I got diagnosed and treated, and once the medication was adjusted and started to kick in, things started to get better. It was a long process, but I’ve been stable and free of episodes for the past ten years. And that because of my morning ritual – wake up, have breakfast and take an affordable little pill that keeps my brain working properly. I’ve been doing it for so long that I don’t even notice it anymore and take it for granted. I shouldn’t, though.

So, what has science done for me lately? Well, I have neuroscientists, doctors, therapists, SCARY BIG PHARMA and a small pill to thank for pretty much my entire adult life. Science kept me going lately, it kept me going in the past 16 years and it will keep me going in the future. That’s kind of a big deal.

Have a great new year,

Whatchya taking there?
New resources from NIH cut the confusion on dietary supplements.

Smart Contact Lenses
Soft, smart contact lenses have been developed for non-invasive glucose sensing in diabetics.

BPA’s not yet gone away
It’s in your receipts.

God Helmet Placebo
It’s not the alcohol, but personal spirituality that predicts a placebo effect of weird mental experience with use of the ‘God Helmet’ at a music festival.

Curry For The Win!
A study out of UCLA gave curcumin supplements to 40 50-90 year olds who complained of minor memory issues, but did not have dementia. Over the course of 18 months, memory improved across the board as did measures of tangles and plaques indicative of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Space Disco
A New Zealand space company put a disco ball in space. Of course they did.

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18 January, 2018 – Episode 654 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 25th, 2018

Live from SF Sketchfest!, Syrup Futures, Dead Saiga, Does Climate Depress You?, But, Space Lasers…, Creative Brains, Blair’s Bear Poop, Stabby Slammy Time, Chameleon Glow, Viral Memory, Something Shocking, And Much More…

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There is a world that exists
beyond the calcium reinforced collagen skull-casing that surrounds your brain…
That world out there…
That is reality.
But in reality,
no one lives in reality…
The world you live in is the one between your ears…
Because like it or not,
that’s where you spend pretty much every second of every day…
What you put into your world is all your world will ever be…
And most of what we humans tend to put into our heads
was designed to entertain the brain…
And everything else that goes along with that
is meant to influence the brain…
To buy this,
be like that,
vote this way,
drive that id-mobile,
eat this kind of food
while laughing with a pretty friend who only prefers that brand of beverage…
Brains are being trained
that every problem is easily solved…
and every product is a solution…
So complicated is reality
…and in so many ways that some people actually become curious about it…
Those curious people ask questions…
they read books…
watch documentaries…
Visit museums…
And some spend a great deal of time in schools,
studying complicated things with other curious people
They take jobs that take on complicated challenges…
But by far the most important thing that curious people do is understand…
That the world will only ever be as good as the one between their ears…
So we’ve brought a whole bunch of curious stories to stick in yours
Here on this week in science,
coming up next…

Syrup Futures
In a drier future, there will be no more maple trees to produce pancake syrup.

Dead Saiga
A normally innocuous bacterium became deadly as a result of hot, humid weather. Will this happen more often with climate change?

Does Climate Depress You?
You might just be biospheric if the fate of the planet due to climate change stresses you out, but if it rolls off your back you could just be an egotistical bastard.

But, Space Lasers…
Chinese researchers published a paper investigating the feasibility of a laser in space to destroy space junk. But, what if they aimed it at something else?

Creative brains
Can MRIs predict who is creative and who is not?

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?

Let’s talk about poop!
Bear poop can tell us a lot of things, like where a bear was, and… Well, maybe before now that was all. But now bear poop tells us that they are huge seed dispersers! And here were are in California, without any more brown bears. Uh oh…

Whether stabby-stabby or slammy-slammy, mantis shrimp don’t often fight to the death
These deadly shrimp size each other up and often back down from a fight, rarely invoking the use of their powerful gifts.

That Chameleon Glow
We now know the chameleon bones actually glow.

Viral Memory
An unexpected discovery found that a protein important for memory formation, called Arc, acts like a virus in that it shuttles between neurons. Understanding why and how it does this will help in the understanding of information transmission within the nervous system, and could also be a new way to get gene therapy into cells without using viruses themselves.

In which Kiki gets to achieve her Type-A personality goals of controlling Justin…
Live demonstration of Backyard Brains Human-to-Human Interface with Bill Reith

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Live from Entomology 2017! – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 17th, 2018

Live from the Entomology 2017 conference, insects, insects, insects, and much more!!!

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The definition of Entomology is…
a branch of zoology that deals with insects
And while the etymology of entomology is also the study of insects…
It is not uncommon for an Entomologist to study spiders, scorpions, mites, or ticks…
Despite the fact that these are NOT insects…
but Arachnids…
And then there are the Myriapods…
centipedes, millipedes and other multi legged critters also studied by entomologists…
But there is a terminology…
That includes insects, arachnids and myriapods…
And whether you like the way arthro-poda-logical rolls off the tongue
Or prefer the long standardized ento-mo-logical
The following episode of TWIS is crawling with science-y news…
As we are broadcasting from the open circulatory system of bug research…
The 65th annual meeting of the Entomological Society of America…
Here on this week in science,
Coming up next…

Who’s Afraid?
You are. We all are. When 6-month old babies were exposed to either spiders and flowers or snakes and fish, their pupils dilated significantly more to spiders and snakes than the other stimuli suggesting that humans have retained an evolved fear of or predisposition to fear potentially threatening animals.

Interview w/ Jessica Ware
Jessica Lee Ware is an evolutionary biologist and entomologist. She is an assistant professor at Rutgers University, Newark studying the evolution of insect physiology and behavior, particularly dragonflies and dictyoptera, as well as their geographic distribution.

Digger Wasps…
Do you dig them?

Interview w/ Raul Medina
Dr. Medina is a professor in the Texas A&M School of Agriculture and Life Sciences department of entomology. His research interests center around the role that ecological factors play in the population genetics of arthropods, particularly the incorporation of evolutionary ecology considerations into pest control practices.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
A live answer from entomologist, Johanna Elsensohn about the science of food and cooking.

Ants are good at delayed gratification
Ants can go a bit further for better food, maybe with better self control than your toddler. How about that for an animal with a brian the size of the head of a pin!

Interview w/ Martha Burford Reiskind
Dr. Reiskind is a Research Assistant Professor in Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on using molecular methods to determine the evolutionary history and future evolutionary trajectory of species. An over arching theme for Dr. Burford Reiskind’s research is to understand how future environmental change or perturbations will affect the evolutionary trajectory of species or communities.

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10 January, 2018 – Episode 653 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 11th, 2018

2017 Predictions Review, Predictions for 2018, CRISPR Troubles, Pregnancy Or Infection, Anaesthetics Are Weird, Microbioroccoli, People Of Ice And Snow, Coldigators, Shrimp Defense, And Much More…

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Those who cannot remember the past…
It has been said…
Are condemned to repeat it.
As if the past were only a thing to avoid…
Many good things have come from the past…
Every good thing in fact has its origins in the past.
Much of it worth repeating!
So it’s just as well that we point out…
Those who don’t remember the past…
Will have a hard time replicating the positive results.
In any case,
knowing the past will help you make good decisions about the future…
And in some cases,
that knowledge can even allow you to predict the events that will come before they happen…
Like a local weather forecast…
More than just a premonition,
a prognostication!
With the right knowledge you too can be a soothsaying,
fortune telling, crystal balling, tea leave scattering,
flight of bird watching, climatology-voyant, oracle of the future…
And on today’s show,
we will show you just how easy it is as we ring in the new year with our prognostications for science in 2018…
Here on, you guessed it,
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next.

2017 Predictions Review!!!
(Listen to the show for the full run-down…)

2018 Predictions!!!
a large unguided man-made object will re-enter the atmosphere and crash to earth…
While it is most likely to crash into the ocean… satellite
It could make land fall…
Even so, it would be highly unlikely to crash in your country, your state, your county or your town…
And if it did crash land in your town, the chances of you being under the spot where it lands at the moment it is landing is so unfathomably remote as to defy the logic of even attempting to calculate the chances of such an event occurring…
And yet, because that chance is not zero, it just might happen… In fact, the chance of an object from space landing on your head is just about as good as it landing any place else…
so keep looking up this year, especially around late march… you never know…
The Japanese space agency will return to space with its Hyabusa 2 mission… to land on an asteroid… this time the landing will go off without a hitch… and will be found to be covered in tardigrades
Every time I have predicted that the Saints would win the Super Bowl, they won the Super Bowl… This year is no exception…
A discovery in San Diego that appears to be evidence of early humans hunting Mammoths 130,000 years ago will be turned on its head when the researchers discover that in fact, the mammoths were hunting us!
The microbiome will continue to reveal the way it works to scientists… eventually the cure to most illnesses will be addressed not with drugs… but with bugs…
This one might not happen this year but it is foreseeable that… the majority of Floridians will continue to vote for candidates who oppose climate science… despite the fact that the state of Florida is now only slightly larger than Delaware…
Fecal transplants will become so commonplace, and the benefits so well known, that people stop washing their hands… turns out, that was not a great idea as stomach viruses replace irritable bowl syndrome cases…

-Sperm: the new time-release capsule for your down-under, will begin clinical trials for cancer treatment!
-We will discover a new kind of cephalopod!
-Tardigrades will be discovered out in space, proving them to be the original alien.
-Coffee will be proven good, and then bad, and then good again.
-2018 will be the warmest year on record…
-White nose syndrome treatment will begin in the wild, saving some of the world’s bat populations!
-A scientists will run for congress in 2018 AND WIN.
-I will spend another amazing year on TWIS, and will once again find myself astounded at what a coffee shop interview for an internship in late 2011 became…
-TWIS will cross another state off our live show map!

– Climate: No rest for the wicked… more extreme storms and flooding of low-lying regions, the Arctic will melt, drought and fires in the Western US, more bad news about coral reefs, we will see the conversations about states water rights heat up this year… I am a total pessimist about climate in 2018. BUT I am an optimist that people, starting to learn more about these issues, will begin to act to make a difference (i.e. there will be less “”debate”” and more action).
– CRISPR & gene editing/therapy: the guy who trialled a gene therapy for Hunter Syndrome will report a successful recovery, we will see more development of CRISPR based CAR-T type therapies for cancer and HIV, Chinese CRISPR trials for HPV treatment will report success before the year’s end…
– Space: The Juno mission will be extended by NASA because it continues to bring in such amazing data & isn’t being as compromised by Jupiter as was expected, TESS will launch successfully AND begin to elucidate us about neighboring exoplanets before the end of the year, the INSIGHT mission to Mars will NOT find little green men living in tunnels beneath the planet’s surface but it will get to Mars in one piece before the year ends, someone will launch a successful mission to the moon before the end of the year, India will successfully send a lander and rover to the moon; the event horizon telescope will show us a beautiful black hole for the first time.
– AI: 2018 will continue to be a lot of talk about the pros and cons of AI, but we won’t see much more than chatbots continue to take over your Twitter and robots inhabiting the uncanny valley. Self-driving vehicles numbers will begin to grow.
– Microbes: there will be a report of a new antibiotic class, microbes will be successfully paired with immune system to treat disease, based on data from tribal people a new fad diet will hit the public consciousness involving root vegetables from Africa and seasonal meats, and a rogue scientist will develop a way to control politicians with microbes
– Physics: Again, no challenge to the standard model, any new particles will only serve to add resolution to our understanding; nothing ground-breaking on the dark matter front; no graviton; we still won’t understand why our universe is made of matter
– Synthetic biology: No Yeast 2.0, or truly synthetic bacteria… yet.
– TWIS will continue to bring you amazing weekly shows AND at least two live shows… starting with SF Sketchfest next week!

Here are some predictions from UC Davis!

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“I love the GPS in my phone and have an outboard GPS for my car. And I spent part of my career working on GPS navigation for the Space Shuttle.

Of course an enormous amount of science was needed to build the GPS system, from the electronics of the GPS satellites to the rockets that launched the satellites. But what interests me is that GPS wouldn’t work without relativity, a fact that is not obvious at first glance. The GPS satellites travel at 14,000 km/hour, which is a small fraction of the speed of light, so one might think adjusting for relativistic effects would be unnecessary.

The calculation of your position is accomplished by triangulating the distances to at least four satellites computed by computing distances to the satellites derived from the difference between the broadcast times of the precision clocks in the satellites with the time of the clock in your receiver. The receiver then solves four equations with four unknowns: the x, y, and z of your position plus how much your receiver’s clock is fast or slow. The distances to the satellites are so great that it turns out ignoring relativistic adjustments renders the calculation useless because extraordinary precision is required. The clock ticks of the GPS satellite clocks must be known to 20-30 nanosecond accuracy. There are two (opposite) relativistic effects that cannot be ignored, the apparent slowdown of the GPS clocks due to the satellites speed relative to us, and the apparent speedup of the satellite clocks due to our relative closeness to the earth’s gravitational field. These errors combined are 38 microseconds, or 38000 nanoseconds, which is way more than the 20-30 ns accuracy required of the receiver’s knowledge of the GPS clocks. Your GPS’s calculation of your position would be seriously off in just a couple of minutes, and the error would grow to 10 km each day! But with relativistic adjustments, if you have a good view of the sky, your GPS can calculate your position within 5 or 10 meters!

So what has relativity theory done for me lately? It helps my phone tell me where I am to within a few meters!
–Tim Wegner

1. Source: http://www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu/~pogge/Ast162/Unit5/gps.html
2. If you google “Top 4 Reasons Why GPS Doesn’t Need Einstein’s Relativity” you will see that there is such a thing as relativity denial!”

CRISPR Troubles
Will the human body’s immune system reject CRISPR, and make potential therapies useless or even dangerous?

Pregnancy Or Infection
Seems pregnancy in placental mammals is a game of optimally managing the inflammatory response that normally acts to fight infections.

Anaesthetics Are Weird
A study looking at how a common anaesthetic called propofol affected the synapses themselves found that a protein responsible for synaptic release of neurotransmitters was deactivated, leading to reduced connectivity between neurons in the brain.

People of the land of the ice and snow
Genes tell an ancient history.

Eat your vegetables… now with extra health!

Shrimp help fight cancer!
Bioluminescence, harnessed from deep sea crustaceans, may be a new piece to the puzzle of beating cancer! A cancer snitch is a snitch I like…

8th graders help wildlife with perseverance, a science teacher, and a 3d printer.
Peg the duck had a grim outlook, until some middle schoolers took her on and made her an artificial leg. Now that’s the power of science, school, a love for nature, and teamwork!

FYI, those alligators are fine.
They are brumating, which is like hibernating, but for reptiles. They’ll be fine, they lived through the last ice age…

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03 January, 2018 – Episode 652 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

January 4th, 2018

Native Migrations, Political Instability, White Nose Hope, Foxy Moth Friends, Solving Global Warming, Bacterial Ultrasound, Tinnitus Treatment, And Much More…

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It’s a new year…
calendarically speaking anyhow…
In reality it’s just the same number of days
stretched out before us that have always been there…
The future…
That place we’re going.
That thing racing towards us.
That once it meets us head on…
makes a whooshing sound as it goes past.
Every day a new challenge presents itself…
Every day a new opportunity to learn…
Every day a new chance to expand our horizons
by adding new knowledge to our understanding of the world…
And while we’ve seen many a strange thing on this journey of ours already…
Every week we will be right here with you.
And together,
we will see many more…
Here on This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next…

Newly discovered Native American population reveals migration
The DNA and archaeological evidence reveals an ancient population of humans who led the population of North America over 20,000 years ago, and that might lead to a shift in thinking about how exactly that migration took place.

Political instability and weak governance bad news for species
These turned out to be the greatest factor when it comes to biodiversity and species loss. Yet another reason for us to GET IT TOGETHER, ALREADY!

Mismatched female friend groups a win-win for moths
When an unattractive female moth hangs out with her foxy friend, it benefits them both, by simultaneously making the unattractive female look more enticing, and by making the attractive one look even better! Wait… which one am I? D’oh…

White Nose Syndrome may have found its match!
UV light has been shown in lab tests to irrevocably damage the DNA of closely-related fungus. The bats may have a shot, yet!!

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Global Warming solved!!!
sort of…

Bacterial Ultrasound
Medical science really has make leaps and bounds, to the point where you can mess with a bacterium, send it inward, and ask it, “how’s the weather down there?”

Tinnitus Treatment
A unique device might help the 10% of people in the US who suffer from debilitating tinnitus get back to work.

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