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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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15 October, 2014 – Episode 485 – This Week in Science

October 17th, 2014
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Stem Cell Discovery, Nerve Proteins Get New Use, Stem Cell Solidarity, Pro-Anti-Biotic-Turkey-Pox, Estro-powers, Fecal Transplant Pills, Cooperative Crocs, Collapsible Birds, Gecko Glue, D-listing Da Drought, Oil Rigs Beat Reefs, Kanga-Shoes, Kanga-Shoes, Walk With Feeling, Holding It, Ebola Update, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The universe is stranger than you think.
Even if you woke up this morning thinking what a sane and rational
world it is you live in…
Even if you take the regular route to grab a morning coffee…
Even if your day is unusually uneventful…
Even if this evening, everything turns out the way you
expect it to…
Everywhere around you, all the time… just below the surface
of the way things appear…
Strange things are happening…
Not that they are actually strange things going on, seeing
as they go on all the time …
But atomic, sub atomic, quantum things… invisible-ish quirky
quarky things…
Taking vastly different paths through spacetime than you are
likely to encounter on your way to grab a Wednesday morning coffee…
Unintuitive worlds where Newtonian physics do not apply,
Where the tics and tocs of time are beat out to rhythms faster
than the speed of sound
Worlds without day or night or consciousness or coffee or casual
conversation…
And yet, despite all this there is still
This week in science…
Coming up Next

Stem Cell Discovery
Possibly overturning conventional wisdom about stem cells, germ layers during development, and what cells can become which tissues, scientists discovered stem cells in the liver that could become both liver and blood vessel cells.

Nerve Proteins Get New Use
Nerve filament proteins are being used to create brush polymers for use in surface materials like paint and cosmetics.

Stem Cell Solidarity
Stem cells in the olfactory bulbs of mice were found to strengthen the organization of the brain area, and have been implicated in maintaining memory.

Pro-anti-biotic-turkey-pox
Turkeys might be giving us the next class of antibiotics. A strain of bacteria harvested from turkeys has a compound that kills other bacteria, which researchers are excited about.

Estro-powers
Researchers are investigating whether the female powers of estrogen are related to infection resistance.

Fecal Transplant Pills
Poo pills are just as good, if not better than, invasive procedures to replace gut bacteria.

Cooperative Crocs
Citizen science data tells us that crocs may be working in groups to catch their prey (and after our previous story where they use tools – we are starting to get nervous).

Collapsible wings make birds better flyers
Closing their wings during turbulence and engaging in freefall allows the birds to fly on windy days. Dear god, please no collapsible wings on my airplanes!!

Geckos glue to gables with hinging hold
For the first time, scientists have studied gecko traction when traveling downhill. They rotate their wrists to keep their setae at the correct angle for maximum stickiness. Will the gecko never cease to amaze?!

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D-listing da Drought
California’s present drought is not worse than the 1934 conditions that created the Dust Bowl. In fact, although the ridge of pressure currently deflecting storms from the west is the same phenomenon that led to the 1934 drought, our land management is better and will likely not result in the same dust causing conditions.

Oil Rigs Beat Reefs
A survey of oil rigs and ecosystems determined that the biomass productivity for fish species is much higher than that found in natural reefs. More fish may be attracted to oil rigs due to their vertical orientation in the water column.

Kanga-Shoes
Sthenurine kangaroos, 550 pound carnivorous beasts with faces like rabbits that lived on Australia 100,000 years ago, were more likely to walk than hop according to recent research.

Feel blue? Walk it off
Body posture while walking was shown to affect peoples’ moods; straighter spines led to more upbeat attitudes.

Higgsogenesis?
Did an asymmetry between Higgs and anti-Higgs particles in the early universe lead to our matter dominant universe? And, can the Higgs particle explain dark matter?

Half As Much MAtter
Using a method developed one hundred years ago, astronomers calculcated that our galaxy contains half as much dark matter as thought. They also determined thed escape velocity for an object attempting to leave the clutches of the Milky Way.

Ebola Update
Nurse who treated the Dallas Ebola patient has contracted the virus, making this the first confirmed case of transmission in the United States.

Holding it – more complicated than you think
The muscles in your pelvic floor are linked to many other muscle groups in your body – and scientists are just starting to figure out which.

Flipping out

Sew what?

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08 October, 2014 – Episode 484 – This Week in Science

October 10th, 2014
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It’s Nobel Week!, Oceans Are Bigger, Ridiculously Ridiculous Ridge, Foxy Origins, Brain Train To Rabies Town, Can Rhino’s Swim?, Loud Larvae, Sticky Spiders, Aesthetic Avians Architects, When You Die, Naval Robo-Ships, Amazing Expanding Brain, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
There has always been a difference between what we see and
what is real…
Sometimes it is an intentional illusion…
like a Movie, which is made up of still photographs whizzing
past a beam of light at 24 frames per second…
Sometimes it is a more subconscious trick…when our vision of
an event is filtered by some connotations of past experiences…
You pass on the coffee refill not because you’ve had enough…
but because the waitresses shirt is yellow, and you don’t care for more yellow
just now and besides…
her face is similar in some strange way to a dog that once
bit somebody standing next to you and even though you aren’t actually
recollecting the event right now as she offers to refill your cup… somewhere
the connection has been made and the coffee refill has been averted…
And what do we see when we look with eyes?
Flickers of light?
With ears?
Vibrations of tiny hairs?
And even these events like all senses must be converted into
electrical impulses that whirl about the brain searching for pattern
recognition…
So how is it we
know anything at all about the world around us if this is all we see?
Because this is all we need.
This whizzing, whirling subconscious flickering of recognition patterns is
Exactly what was required to do the work of an active mind…
and you have an active mind, which is why you find yourself looking forward to another episode
of This week in science…
Coming up Next

It’s Nobel Week!
“The winners of the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics are :Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”; for chemistry are: Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”; for physiology and medicine are: John O’Keefe, May-Britt Moser and Edvard I. Moser “for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain”. Yay for one woman in there!

The Oceans Are Warmer
Research using both sea level measurements and the Argo system of ocean monitoring floats suggests that the upper 2000 meters of the oceans are warmer than we thought. Also, findings suggest that the Southern hemispheres oceans have warmed more than measurements previously concluded.

Ridiculously Ridiculous Ridge
A recent paper suggests that a ridge of persistent high pressure in the north pacific ocean is what has kept California moisture free the past two years. Also, AGCC has created conditions where this might become the norm rather than an outlier… get ready for more drought in the future California.

The Origin of foxy  ladies
UC Davis scientists report the results of an analysis of the red fox genome based on the Y-chromosome, which concludes the Eurasian and North American populations actually comprise two separate species that have been reproductively isolated for more than 400,000 years.

Brain Train to Rabies Town
The bones of a large land mammal dated at 48 million years old ties African elephants and rhinos to Pakistani tapirs. The study ties up loose ends about the confusion over the ancestral linkages of these animals.

Can Rhino’s swim?
Israeli scientists determined that the rabies virus hijacks a nerve growth factor within nerve cells in order to move rapidly into the spinal cord and then brain of its host. An understanding of how such a virus can gain entry into the brain has the potential to influence research into drug development for disorders of the brain.

Aesthetic Avians Architects
When given the option, birds employed standard camouflage and disruptive camouflage when nest-building.

Sticky Spiders
More nightmare fodder – daddy-longlegs use very sticky glue to keep prey from evading their fate.

Loud Larvae
Snapper larva have been shown to make noise! WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE BABY FISHES!

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Ever wonder what happens when you die?
The Awareness During Resuscitation or AWARE study, which looked at 2060 cardiac arrest cases at 15 hospitals across the globe, reported that the terminology used to describe near death and out of body experiences is imprecise and insufficient to properly scientifically investigate conscious awareness. They suggest that cardic arrest should be used as a marker as it is biologically synonymous with death, and that further unbiased study into death is warranted.

Amazing Expanding Brain
The cerebellum has been shown to be potientially very important to understanding modern human cognitive abilities in light of evidence that it expanded rapidly in apes and our human ancestors. It is possible that the neocortex has received an unprecedented amount of attention to date.

Naval Robo-ships
The US Navy reported a successful test of its robot ships. Based on technology used by the NASA Mars rovers, which are fairly autonomous, these ships would not necessarily need human guidance, and a single person could pilot up to 20 of these drone ships on their own.

Sugary drinks…
messed up adolescent rats’ heads

Coffee…
It’s in your genes!

First Reported Ebola Transmission
A Spanish nurse has reportedly contracted Ebola from a patient who became ill while treating patients in Africa. Also, the Ebola infected patient in Dallas who was in critical condidition has died.

Soylent 1.1
Now with digestive enzymes… to reduce gas.

Bats Like Trees
It looks as though bats think windmills are trees when the wind is low. This is a probable influence on the number of bats killed by windmills yearly.

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01 October, 2014 – Episode 483 – This Week in Science

October 6th, 2014
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First US Ebola Case, Life In The Stars, The Moon’s Man, Guns Kill People, Who’s Your Mommy?, Teenage Contraception, Magnetic Dolphins, Eyeless Cavefish Got No Rhythm, Bug Cam, Sharks Got Personality, What Is Wet?, Motivating Change, Apple A Day, Saved By Sugar, Pretty Mars Pictures!, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Time is a tricky thing…
Time can fly, drag, march, run out, heal and be killed,
You can give it, get it, have it, take it, leave it, be ahead of it, be behind it, spend it,
save it, lose it, and waste it…
Once gone you can’t get it back, but you can
always make more of it for the things that matter most
And as we learned from Einstein… it’s all a matter of perspective, as time doesn’t tick
the same everywhere for everything…
So while we begin our show at the same time of the day this week, but at different day of
the week this time
We hope that the sometimes confounding nature of time doesn’t keep you from being with us
right now as we tic off another episode of
This week in science…
Coming up Next

First US Ebola Case
The first case of Ebola has been diagnosed in the US, wherein the patient began showing symptoms 5 days after returning from West Africa, and went to a hospital in Texas for treatment.

Look For Life In The Stars
A search for the building blocks of amino acids by the Atacama Large millimeter/Submillimeter Array discovered the most complex molecule to date in dense star forming regions of space.

What Made The Moon’s Man?
Data from NASA’s GRAIL mission allowed researchers to conclude that the man in the moon resulted from volcanic activity, and not an asteroid impact as previously thought.

Guns Kill People
Evidence shows increases in gun sales match increases in homicides in the US.

Who’s Your Mommy?
Size of young in flies determined by first mating rather than male who sired the offspring.

Teenage Contraception
Free contraception program reduced pregnancy rates.

Dolphins are attracted to magnets! (Get it?!)
Dolphins showed increased interest in magnetized barrels as opposed to normal ones. They didn’t seem to react much differently to it though, they just seemed curious…

Eyeless Cavefish Ain’t got No Rhythm
Eyeless fish from Mexico have figured out how to capitalize on their deficit – by ignoring the sun.

New project helps citizens identify potentially dangerous bugs
A massive collaboration has set up a consistent bug-identification system to warn people of potentially dangerous vectors in their home

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Sharks Got Personality
Scientists found personality traits in sharks.

What Is Wet?
Researchers have developed a neural model to help us understand how we determine the feeling of wet. The conclude that temperature is an important component along with tactile sensations transmitted to the brain via specialized nerve fibers.

How do you motivate youth to change?
Shame them in real time!

An apple a day keeps the fat pants away
Granny smith apples in particular are irreplaceable when it comes to a healthy gut and a skinny human.

Gut Bacteria Saved By Sugar
Sick mice were found to produce a special sugar just for “good” bacteria in the small intestine while they were ill. The sugar might be linked to Crohn’s Disease.

Pretty Mars Pictures!
MAVEN and MOM have inserted into orbit around Mars, and started returning images.

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25 September, 2014 – Episode 482 – This Week in Science

September 26th, 2014
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Ebola Set To Increase, Trees Are Unique Flowers, Black Holes Don’t Exist, Polyandry Without Promiscuity, Jealous Spider Lovers, Narwal Tuskiness, Interview w/ Mark McCaffrey of NCSE, Cut Grass Smell, Animals In Bushes, Cement Emissions, 2000 Liters, MAVEN Inserted, Quantum Transportation, Read A Book, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Embody
In my body
I am bones and muscles
heart and lungs
vessels and intestines.
I am nerves and brain
senses and thoughts.
In my body
I feel my aches and pains
soft caresses.
I hear breath and beats
song and words.
I see light and color
frequency reflected.
I taste sweet and sour
bile and blood.
I imagine dreams and dragons
hopes and fears.
In my body
I am my shadow
dark in light.
I am the things I reach for
the things I touch.
In my body
I am me
I am my family
I am the world.
I am…
This Week in Science! Coming up next…

Ebola Set To Increase
Cases could reach 500,000 to more than a million by 2015.

Trees Are Unique Flowers
Research suggests that each tree species is host to a unique bacterial population.

Black Holes Don’t Exist
A physicist has mathematically determined that black holes do not form when massive stars die.

Earth Water Old
A recent analysis find much of Earth’s water was formed in interstellar space before the formation of the Sun.

Polyandry without promiscuity
Mice confuse paternal lines without having multiple partners, by sharing their nest with other lady-mice, and therefore preventing infanticide. Smart?!

Spiders are jealous lovers
Spiders guarded young females until they reached maturity so they could have first crack…. Aww?

Narwhal tusks are just for looks
They are due to sexual selection and not defense. Surprise, surprise…

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Interview with Mark McCaffrey, NCSE Programs and Policy director, and author of the recently released book, Climate Smart and Energy Wise.

That Fresh Cut Grass Smell
The odor of freshly cut grass might also be a signal for help that attracts beneficial insects to help protect the vegetation from attack.

All species prefer an unmown bush
Grass au-naturel is better for everyone, acording to a new study…

2000 Liters Of Beer
Xanthohumol, a flavonoid in beer, aids cognition in young but not old mice.

MAVEN Inserts
Into the upper atmosphere of Mars.

Quantum Transportation
25 kilometers is a long way, yo.

Reading real books is good for you
Reading a real-life book helps your memory, your emotional state, and your sleep patterns. Sorry, kindle…

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18 September, 2014 – Episode 481 – This Week in Science

September 19th, 2014
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Wiping Cell Memory, Not So Sweet, Three’s Company, Peacock Fools, Femme Fatale Bugs, Backyard Chickens, Hummers Got Sweet, Ape And Essence, Soft Robots Rule, Got Bags?, Psilocibin Or Cigs?, Nanobot Wine Test, A Baby’s Cry, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
It’s time again for a batch of good news. When it comes to our troubles as a species, it usually boils down to being our own fault. Our obsession with cars and gadgets and technology have brought us into an age of acidifying oceans, melting glaciers, bad air quality, and along with it an attitude that can only be described as “use it or lose it.” And where is that good news you ask? Science and technology has won one this week! Scientists in Australia, after just three years of experimentation, have successfully found a way to print solar panels on flexible plastic or metal, hardly thicker than a piece of printer paper. What’s more, they can print the equivalent of one panel every two seconds. This stuff could end up coating buildings, cars, or just about anything else that can be coated in a thin plastic sheet. It sounds like we are well on our way to renewable, clean energy that is affordable and easy to use. We can pull ourselves out of this mess, get us back to where we need to be, and maybe even get some new cool gadgets along the way? It all came from some experimentation and teamwork. We have the power – now we just need to band together to use it, support it, and spread knowledge of it far and wide. And do you know the easiest way to get started with that last bit? It’s called…
This Week in Science! Coming up next…

Wiping Cell Memory
Scientists have succeeded in creating the first human line of pluripotent stem cells to an embryonic state with no memory of their previous forms.

Not So Sweet
Research suggests bacteria might be the lynchpin in explaining how artificial sweeteners lead to obesity.

Three’s Company
DNA suggests Europeans came from three ancestral groups rather than just two.

Those peacocks have been playing us all for fools
Those decorative trains may not be the disadvantage biologists have always thought. Is it possible those fancy feathers don’t have so much of an effect on fitness?

Female decoys electrocute pests
Invasive emerald ash borer beetles are getting zapped by convincing female imposters – yay, science?

Backyard Chickens could poison you and your friends
Many medications prescribed to chickens could leech into the eggs if they are not specifically for egg-producing hens, or not dosed properly.

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Hummers Got Sweet
Hummingbirds re-evolved the mutation that allows perception of sweet taste.

Ape And Essence
Chimps are just aggressive.

Soft Robots Will Rule The World
Engineers have designed a soft, untethered quadruped robot that can maneuver and survive serious impact.

Nanobots testing out our wine!
Nanotechnology helps vintners to detect the proteins responsible for astringency, aka dryness, helping to make the wine better before it hits human lips.

It doesn’t matter what species, a crying baby is a crying baby
Deer mothers responded to the cries of infants from several mammal species in now way even closely related to them. Some things are just hard-wired, I guess.

Psilocibin Or Cigarettes?
A pilot study suggests pilocibin pills are effective for quitting smoking.

Star Inside A Star
Astronomers have found the first example of a Thorne-Zytkow object, first predicted 40 years ago, which is a neutron star that has been gulped up by a red dwarf.

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11 September, 2014 – Episode 480 – This Week in Science

September 12th, 2014
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Boom! Goes The Sun, Solitons Make Me Nervous, Scared Outta Eggs, Back To Water, Fish Cooperate, Birds Are Loopy, Birds Are Loopy, Vitamin B1 For Brains, Bacterial Pharma Production, Thumb Wars, Purposeful Pelvises, Lips Like Jagger, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The following is a conservation success story: this week marked the official return of California blue Whales to historical numbers. The blue whale, the largest animal on Earth, and at one time a creature driven to the brink of extinction, is back, at least along the California coast. So, what now? Are we done? No! This just shows that when the scientists, the hippies, the kids, and the media band together for something so implicitly positive as “save the whales,” it works. We can do it. We can protect and foster a species so gigantic our human brains can’t even comprehend it’s massiveness. So, let’s do it again, and again and again! Never stop! Find the conservation movements that are easy to get behind – and find ways to make all those others easier to get behind. Not one group of us can do it alone – we need each other. So, whether you are a tree-hugger, a chemist, a couch potato, a student, a news anchor, or an “other,” let’s band together for some… This week in science! Coming up next!!

Boom! Goes The Sun
A solar flare erupted from the sun aimed directly at Earth. Expect geomagnetic storms in the next few days.

Solitons Make Me Nervous
German researchers report the non-cancellation of nervous impulses traveling from opposite ends of a nerve, and suggest that it is further evidence in favor of a soliton theory of nerve conduction.

Frogs whose brothers get eaten are scared out of their eggs!
Treefrogs still in their eggs hatch sooner when some of the eggs get eaten. They somehow know and speed up the growing process to escape predation. Now that is precocial young!

Mosquito fish roll back to water in style!
Balance and orientation work the same in and out of water, it turns out. The “hop” onto land may not have been so difficult!

Trouts and eels are as good as chimps at working together
Trouts and eels work together to snag prey, and even pick the best partners for the task at hand – often with accuracy as good as chimpanzees! So much for a tiny fish brain…

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Birds Are Loopy
Research shows that many migratory bird species fly a looped path that follows “green wave” of vegetation.

Gettin’ Separated
Neo-tropical bird diversity is most likely to stem from birds moving beyond geographical barriers than to the formation of the barriers themselves.

Brain Keeps Chugging
You might go to sleep, but your brain keep working to make sense of the world.

Vitamin B1 For Brains
A lack of the vitamin was shown to lead to brain damage.

Bacterial Pharma Production
UCSF researchers suggest we should look to our bodies bacterial populations for production of the drugs we need.

Thumb Wars
Analysis of pressures on the digits, including the thumbs, during stone tool creation suggests that the thumb of the non-dominant hand was pivotal in evolution of dexterous hominid thumbs.

Whale pelvises are not vestigial, they are for sex!
Whale pelvic sizes are related to testes size and promiscuity, so maybe they are not so useless, after-all…

Lips Like Jagger
Ancient extinct swamp-dwelling hoofed anthracothere fossil discovered in Egypt, and named after Mick Jagger for its luscious lips.

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04 September, 2014 – Episode 479 – This Week in Science

September 5th, 2014
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Your Vortex Needs Ice, Moving Rocks, Immense Heaven, Bird School, Salamander-boy, Fish Urine Aaphrodesiac!, Fearless Dreadnaughtus, Brain To Brain, Cancer Scanner, Martian Memory Wipe, Dead Russian Sex Geckos, Printed Robobirds, Eat Breakfast No Diabetes, Music Brain!, Pretty Low Sperm, And Much More…

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer…
This Week in Science, coming up next…

Your Vortex Needs Ice
A study published in Nature Communications used observational data and modelling to propose a potential mechanism for the slippage of the polar vortex that causes extreme cold weather events outside of the norhtern pole region, suggesting that melting sea ice is to blame.

Moving Rocks
Death Valley’s famously sneaky rocks have been observed by scientists. Rare ice formation on the Racetrack playa coupled with light winds allows the normally still rocks to slide and create tracks that follow cracks in the ice and force from the wind.

Immense Heaven
Cosmic mapmakers have defined our local supercluster, called Laniakea, or Immense Heaven.

Bird School
Cockatoos learn to manufacture tools, and make improvements, after watching an older bird.

The new X-Man: Salamander-boy
Salamander skin may hold the key to super-human healing abilities!

Fish urine that calms males and excites females? Now that is an aphrodesiac!
Tilapia urine appears to have a pheromone in it that lowers testosterone in neighboring males and stimulates egg production in females. Now that is a shower of gold!

The handsomer the man, the lower his sperm count
Attractiveness was positively correlated with low sperm count in a recent study – indicating a trade off between characteristics for sexual selection and sperm count

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Fearless Dreadnaughtus
The largest dinosaur to date has been discovered, and it’s another plant-eater.

Brain Trade-offs
Two studies highlight the tradeoffs required by the brain. One focuses on development and energy allotment, concluding that toddlers grow less quickly due to the brain’s energy demands. The other concludes that the dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex operates in part to balance honesty and self-interest, and that damage to the area results in more self-interested behavior.

Brain To Brain
Researchers successfully transmitted the messages ‘Hola’ and ‘Ciao’ over 5000 miles from the brain of the sender to the brain of the receiver via brain-computer interface and the internet. Receiving individuals experienced the message as phosphenes, or flashes of light, that they then translated appropriately.

Eating breakfast could keep you from getting diabetes
26% of students surveyed in the UK regularly did not eat breakfast. These students all had higher levels of blood values associated with type 2 diabetes.

Losing weight won’t stop diabetes
The type of food you eat is more important than the calories, so losing weight may not stop diabetes. Instead, eat healthier!

Music shapes your brain!
Disadvantaged youth showed congnative development after free community music programming

Cancer Scanner
A team of researchers have developed a handheld laser scanner that can detect Raman scattering nanoprobes contained in malignant tumor cells during surgery.

Martian Memory Wipe
NASA’s Opportunity rover is experiencing memory problems, and will receive a wipe to reformat its flash memory system and decrease reliance on malfunctioning flash memory cells.

Dead Russian Sex Geckos
5 geckos were sent into orbit by the Russians to have sex. None returned to Earth alive, and it is questionable whether they lived long enough to do the deed.

Printed Robobirds
A company called Clear Flight Solutions is 3-D printing robotic birds of prey to keep unwanted birds at bay.

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