16 August, 2017 – Episode 632 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

August 17th, 2017

How We Started, Fish Jaws, Dino-stein Tree, Sulfur Breath, Jellied Teamwork, Eclipse Gone Wild, Immune Switch, Making Magic Mushrooms, E-Cig Quitters, Middle Sweet, Spider hunger, Spider Kevlar!, And Much More…

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Conflict resolution…
It’s a tricky thing.
There are two sides to any argument.
Often Many sides…
And many sides may have opposing views that,
as the conflict resolution process plays out,
may or may not get their way.
And according to Dr. Stephen Bruce,
by way of the HR Advisor website…
There are six steps to Conflict Resolution:
1) Clarify what the disagreement is.
2) Establish a common goal for both parties.
3) Discuss ways to meet the common goal.
4) Determine the barriers to the common goal.
5) Agree on the best way to resolve the conflict.
6) Acknowledge the agreed upon solution and determine the responsibilities each party has in the resolution.
You can use these steps to improve the relations with your fellow citizen.
But straight forward conflict resolution has its limits…
It may keep Karen at work from taking your parking place,
or eating your lunch…
But if Karen wants you dead…
You need another strategy.
And while it may be too late to do anything meaningful to change Karen’s outlook…
You can rest assured that almost every human being on earth agrees with you.
And together,
we will stop the Karen’s of the world…
With This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi Dr Kiki,
Firstly thank you for such a wonderful Podcast. I live in Queensland Australia (I often hear Blair mentioning studies from here in Oz) Every week I look forward to listening to you all delivering science news whilst I’m on the long commute to and from work. I wanted to offer you an insight as to what science has done for me lately. For the past year my girlfriend and I have been going through IVF. I myself cannot produce mature eggs to use. Therefore Science is intricately involved in our process whereby she is able to donate her eggs and have them fertilised and the process of Frozen Enbryo Transfer to begin so that I may one day hope to be a mother. I’m often in awe of the amazing opportunities science offers us in this situations and I am so thankful for its development and involvement in my life.
I just wanted to let you know my story and a side note to say thank you for your wonderful Podcast that enlightens and brightens my week. Keep up the great work.
Cheers, Loui”

How We Started
Thanks to Snowball Earth, nutrients became available 650 million years ago that jump-started complex life.

Fish Jaws
A 400 million year old fish fossil is enabling international researchers to more accurately characterize the ancestors that led to tetrapods and eventually humans.

Dino-stein Tree
An oddball dinosaur fossil is not potentially bringing disparate groups of dinosaurs together.

Ag Sulfur bad for breathing…
Kids raised near farmland where sulfur was used as a pesticide experience more respiratory issues.

Teamwork makes the dreamwork!
That is true for humans, painted dogs, and now also… Jellyfish!

How will the eclipse affect wild animals?
Research shows, it is likely to make them sleepy!

Support us on Patreon!

Cancer Switch
Researchers have found a molecular signal that turns on immune cells’ tumor-killing ability.

Making Magic Mushrooms
For the first time, chemists have synthesized psilosybin opening up the path to therapeutic uses.

E-Cigs are doing their job…
People are more likely to stop smoking cigarettes if they use e-cigarettes.

Middle Sweet
New evidence on artificial sweeteners and metabolism might explain why people who drink diet beverages gain more weight.

Jumping spiders are so cute! They are tiny and eat tiny flies and watch them dance, awwww… OH MY LORD WHAT IS HAPPENING THAT TINY SPIDER IS EATING A FREAKING FROG!

Spider Kevlar!
Using lasers, researchers weld spider silk to Kevlar, among other things.

Micromachines For Stomachs
New research has shown proof of concept that anti-biotic carrying molecular robots can treat bacterial infections.

Alternative Medicine Review
Cancer patients were about 5x more likely to die within 5 years if they chose alternative medicine over conventional, according to this observational study.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


09 August, 2017 – Episode 631 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

August 11th, 2017

Interview & Stories with Tom Merritt, Bees Know Zero, Gardening Cockroaches, Neutrino Bumpin’, Dark Matter Clumpin’, Tiny Ear Bones, Learn In Your Sleep, Diet For Learning, Pay-ola-opioid-pah-demic, And Much More…

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By far the most accomplished category of creature on planet earth
when it comes to certain things…
Harnessing, multiplying and applying energy to do work…
Humans are good at that…
They succeed at technology,
where other creatures seem un-inclined to endeavor…
In this, above all other actions, they are most successful…
Humans make tools,
and learned to fly…
Which is clever,
but only casually so when compared to a crow…
which can do both of these hands free.
Humans domesticated cat and dog to be subservient companion species,
for whom the humans toil to provide food and shelter,
and pick up after asking for nothing in return…
as if it is they in charge of the situation…
Human special effects in film and video seem fantastical feats…
Until you see in real time,
and in reality,
the shape shifting,
color changing cuttlefish’s skill at illusion.
Humans can tell a good tale,
though there are better bards amongst the beluga…
Termite mound architecture dwarfs even the tallest skyscraper by scale.
And, not even the fastest fast rapper can keep pace with a Kookaburra.
And, these are but a few examples…
Humans are not nearly the all accomplishing planetary firsters they believe themselves to be…
They act as if all category of accomplishment belongs to them,
simply because they refuse to invite any other species to the competition…
Though there is one accomplishment the Humans have made
that all the creatures of the earth are at once thankful and envious of…
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Besides science, my other passion in life has always been painting. Recently, I have picked up my old oil paints and brushes and have profited of hours upon hours of the soothing application of layers of paint in a canvas, letting my creativity unwind.
At the same time, it got me thinking about how this activity was done in the past. For instance, pigments and dyes used to achieve vibrant and intense hues that really stuck to the canvas were often obtained from rather hazardous materials. Many well-known examples include lead for whites, arsenic for greens, and mercury for reds, which were essential to obtain a long-lasting hue, but were also critically toxic. And in most cases, the reasons behind the debilitating conditions were not even well understood and thus couldn’t be cured, nor could they be treated.
Fortunately for artists today, toxicity is one of the main concerns in the production of modern supplies, whether that is paint, solvents, lacquers, and tools alike. It was science which lead to the identification of these compounds as the culprits of such a diminished quality of life: consequence of prolonged and improper exposure to such noxious substances. Moreover, science has allowed both the discovery and the synthesis of less-harmful alternatives than those compounds used in the past.
Today, painting is —for the most part— a no-longer-life-threatening activity which I can enjoy while listening to the reassuring and constant progress of science delivered by your amazing show!
Thank you for such an inspiring and entertaining effort to inform and spread the word about the wonders of what humans are able to do through careful and methodical thought. You make it seem like an easy task, but making a podcast like yours is a feat that requires extensive amounts of consistency, patience, organization, commitment and most of all, passion. Thanks for being an inspiration to myself as an aspiring scientist, about to finish my undergraduate studies as a chemical engineer, and eager to pursue research-oriented opportunities out there. Listening to you every week fuels my hope that humans are capable of changing our collective future through the power of SCIENCE! Keep up the good work! Greetings from Mexico!”
— Minion Fernando López Haro

Interview & Stories with Tom Merritt
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont, the Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology, Current Geek with Scott Johnson, CordKillers with Brian Brushwood, and Top5 for Tech Republic. He also writes books.

Focus On Hearing
Scientists at Columbia Engineering published a study in the Journal of Neural Engineering described a system that combines a little mind reading with some AI to create a hearing aid that can focus on one particular speaker. The system uses a deep neural network to separate speakers in a stream of audio, then monitor neural recordings of a person’s brain to match which speaker the person is focusing on and amplify that.

Sleep Learning!
Researchers at MIT have developed an AI that analyze radio signals to measure sleep stages. A box emits low-power radio waves and analyzes the reflections. The key was training a deep neural network to recognize respiration and pulse signals among the other irrelevant information. In a test of 25 healthy volunteers the new technique was 80% accurate, comparable to an EEG monitored by specialists. This means sleep studies would no longer be restricted to lab situations with electrodes attached to your head. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Dina
Katabi led the study, which will be presented at the International Conference on Machine Learning on Aug. 9.

Bees understand what nothing means
Nothing, it means, like, the absence of something… but can you quantify what doesn’t exist? If you’re a bee, you can!

Cockroaches are tiny little gardeners!
Cockroaches are actually important seed dispersers. Who knew???

Support us on Patreon!

Neutrino Bumpin’
Over 40 years ago it was predicted based on quantum mechanics that neutrinos can lightly bump into other particles. Finally, a group of physicists confirm that prediction with a device that could lead to portable neutrino detectors.

Dark Matter Clumpin’
A bunch of papers and data from the first year of the five year long Dark Energy Survey have been released supporting the idea that 26% of the universe is dark matter and giving us the most precise map of dark matter in the universe yet.

Common ancestor between apes and humans
A baby’s skull shares secrets of human evolution.

Learn In Your Sleep
A study now shows that we can learn during REM stages of sleep.

Diet For Learning
Or, you might consider limiting your intake of kynurenic acid…

How many doctors got kickbacks from pharma script writing?… THAT MANY!?!?!

Mexican Dead Zone
Researchers couldn’t even measure how big it was, it is so big.

Astronomer Job Available
China needs someone to run the world’s largest radio telescope.

Planetary Protection
And, NASA has a job opening… it has nothing to do with Men in Black.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


02 August, 2017 – Episode 630 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

August 3rd, 2017

Interview w/ Jaya Iyer, Embryonic Editing, Hypnosis In The Brain, Echo Chambers Online, Ocean Body Snatchers, Itsy Bitsy Personality, Cheater Cleaners, Neuron Cooperation, And Much More…

Take our audience survey!!!

From this point on, you proceed at your own risk…
That said:
Welcome to planet earth…
It’s a nice place,
as far as planets go,
and depending on your tastes…
Geologically active,
though only modestly so…
Temperature ranges are mostly stable,
depending on your sensitivity…
Its surface is mostly water…
liquid form…
though some of it remains frozen…
Radiation levels more stable than most…
thanks to a robust magnetic field…
All in all not the most remarkable rock upon which to contemplate the universe
until you notice its one exceptional feature…
As some of you may have already noticed,
Planet Earth is teeming with life!
And what a wonderful diversity,
and symbiotic complimentary complexity of life forms…
The organisms that have arisen here
are some of the most marvelously amazing metabolisms you could ever imagine…
Perfect subjects for study,
as I’m sure you will agree…
Watch your step,
try not to disturb them too much as you conduct your research…
And while you are here be sure to tune into…
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“Science has saved me from Respiratory Disease Syndrome as an infant
That is what science has done for me.”
— Minion Ilyas Tannira

Interview w/ Jaya Iyer
Originally from India, Jaya got a Ph.D. in Fashion Merchandising from Iowa State University. She has taught Fashion buying and wrote a textbook on Fashion in Emerging Markets which is widely used in universities. She also worked in apparel manufacturing and exporting. She is the former apparel buyer for ThinkGeek. Thanks to inspiration from her daughter, Jaya founded Svaha and became determined to change the landscape of apparel.

Embryonic Editing
A team led by OHSU researcher, Shoukrat Mitalipov, successfully edited a gene mutation in human embryos using CRISPR.

Hypnosis In The Brain
A study of hypnosis found changes in the electrical activity in the brains of highly suggestible people as a result of being hypnotized.

Echo Chambers Online
We like our echo chambers, and when faced with debunking posts we tend to ignore them and reinforce our position.

Support us on Patreon!

Personal profiles for spiders!
What kind of spider is the best hunter? Science will tell us what to fear!

Cleaner fish? More like cheater fish!! Ammirite??
Boat noise may cause cleaner fish to not hold up their end of the symbiosis deal…

Snake Bites not so bad in Australia
So quit being such drama queens, Aussies! 🙂

Neuron Cooperation
Scientists have discovered how we recognize faces.

Maybe An Exomoon
The Kepler mission has possibly detected a moon orbiting a planet outside our solar system.

Drinking into old age…
good for you!

Magnetic Robo Viruses
going for a swim?

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


26 July, 2017 – Episode 629 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 27th, 2017

Dead Football Brains, Measles Making Return?, Neanderthal Brain, Ant Life, Stop Smearing Snails, Nature’s DJ, Speak Of Yourself, An Aging Target, On Geoengineering, Drinking For Memory, And Much More…

Take our audience survey!!!

If you lose your keys, your phone and your wallet…
It’s probably not your best day, but you are still you…
You can lose your job, wreck your car, your dog might run away…
And you will still be you…
You can lose a toe, foot, a leg or legs…
and get around without them…
Missing both of your arms…
might rank you low on the friends I will call to help me move list…
But you are still you…
Having a spine is simply divine, but if yours is broke…
you are still going to be you.
Your brain…
Is different…
Your brain is where you keep yourself…
it’s where you live…
It is you…
And You are it…
So take good care of yourself, by taking good care of your brain…
There is nothing you can do without your brain…
And without you,
your brain would have nothing to do…
Unless of course you were to hook it up directly to…
This Week In Science
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“What has science done for me lately: science gives me hope for foster children of the future. I am a foster parent and am constantly looking for ways to help my kids. Behavioral science helps but the changes in the brain due to trauma coupled with genetic predisposition for psychological illness and addiction gives some of these kids a tough road, especially without stability. I look forward to a future where CRISPR and individualized medicine can help with the battle and hopefully reduce the kids that end up in the foster system. I also am happy that our understanding of PTSD has increased and hopefully the kids are less likely to just be labeled as bad kids.”
–Minion Tracy Wame Adams

Dead Football Brains
The story here is that correlation does not equal causation, but in the brains of 202 football players of various skill levels who donated their brains to science, widespread brain damage was seen in 87% of the brains. This damage was correlated to behavioral problems in the individuals prior to death. This result suggests that CTE may be “related to prior participation in football”.

Measles Making Return?
A study modeling MMR vaccination rates concluded that only a small slip in vaccinations could lead to a resurgence of the measles in the US.

Neanderthals in your brain?
Neanderthal genes might be affecting brain and skull structure in a negative way for humans.

The life of an ant is a harsh one.
…and it only gets worse the more we learn about it.

Stop the snail smear campaign!
In this rare care of overestimating the effect of an invasive species, giant african snails may not be so bad after all.

Whales: Nature’s DJ
Whales learn songs like we do, and make remixes like your favorite DJ.

Support us on Patreon!

Speak Of Yourself
“Look at that good looking person in the mirror, oh wait, it’s me!” Maybe we should all adopt the third-person perspective.

An Aging Target
An aging hypothalamus may be the root of all aging. When researchers transplanted neural stem cells OR microRNA vesicles from young mice into the hypothalamus of mice, aging symptoms improved and the rate of aging slowed in the animals. Now, we have to ask if it will work the same in humans.

On Geoengineering
Could spraying particles into marine clouds help cool the planet?

Drinking For Memory
A test of the hypothesis that alcohol can improve memory found that it does.

Everybody Screams
Or, at least, humans are capable of determining when another animal is under duress just based on the sounds it is making.

Shark Gape
Sharks swallow with their shoulders!

Deserved Australia Bashing
In the name of balancing economic activities with conservation, the Australian government is rolling back marine protected areas established 5 years ago, re-opening more coastal areas to fishing. One area that will be particularly impacted is the Great Barrier Reef, which will see 76% of its area become permissive to fishing compared to 46% currently – although, commercial activities are reduced.

Dropping Sperm
Counts in Western men have decreased by about 50% since the 1970’s.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


19 July, 2017 – Episode 628 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 20th, 2017

Interview w/ Jessica Hebert, Shadow Occult, Space Sounds, Movie Cells, Pushing It Back, Frak., Thin Watery Line, No Bird Crossing, Squirrels Never Forget, World Robot Domination, And Much More…

Take our audience survey!!!

Despite anything you may hear to the contrary…
We humans originated on Earth…
We evolved from the great magnitude of fauna the earth has produced over 4 billion years…
We were forged in the fear of predation…
Where any miscalculation of risk might be our last…
And in the cunning adaptations of the hunt…
Learning how to catch our prey in more and more inventive ways…
And we are every bit the animal our ancestors were…
Beasts with brains, but beasts all the same…
And while all manner of modernity over the years has sought to claim itself civilized…
Every modernity of thought has kept the core conclusions of predator and prey…
That it is better to run or hide than it is to be eaten…
That it is better to fight and kill than it is to go hungry…
And that it is better to eat than to be eaten…
And while we struggle to construct modernity after modernity based on anything other than these principles…
One aspect of our modern age does seem to buck the trend of animal instinct…
Because only recently have we as a species, a society and a civilization,
Only now have we earthlings discovered, for no earthly reason at all…
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“Hello Kiki, Blair, and Justin,
I am alive because of science. When I turned 50, I had a colonoscopy, a test developed by and recommended by medical science. The test found cancer.
I then had a bunch of scientifically designed scans, CT, PET and MRI, to figure out the size of the tumor and if it has spread.
For treatment I had radiation with a very advanced machine, surgery and then chemotherapy, all developed by scientists and physicians.
I am now 3 years from the end of treatment. I am being monitored using CT scans and advanced blood tests. So far, there is no sign of the return of the cancer.
So, what science has done for me is it saved my life.”
–Patron Eric Knapp
Eric-in-AK in the chatroom

Interview with Jessica Hebert –
Jessica Hebert is a biology PhD student at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon studying the placenta. Jessica enjoys teaching and hopes someday to have a research lab and teach at a primarily undergraduate institution. She also engages in public outreach by serving on panels at public conventions, local podcasts, and in her work as the media and outreach coordinator for PSU’s Biology Investgations and Outreach (BIO) organization. She also makes nerdy music about science, Doctor Who, zombies, and more with her band, The PDX Broadsides, and with friends and collaborators through Facebook’s Theme Music. She can sometimes be seen running around with a band of privateers, PDXYAR, and occasionally finds time to sleep.

Support us on Patreon!

Shadow Occult
This is the story of the amazing observation recently achieved by NASA’s New Horizon’s team.

Space Sounds
NASA scientists are listening to the space around the Earth to discover more about plasma waves and how they shape space weather.

Movie Cells
Harvard researchers have encoded DNA with the first movie using CRISPR/Cas9 technology.

Pushing It Back
Kakadu find confirms earliest Australian arrivals arrived a long time ago.

Treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater may pollute area water sources.

Sparrows threatened by climate change, but not exactly how you might expect…
Seaside sparrows live in the thin line between the water and open clearings. Sea level rise is forcing nests into new territory, resulting in chicks being picked off quickly and without too much effort.

Why didn’t the bird cross the road?
Avian friends don’t cross large roadways, despite being able to fly. This is a game-changer for conservation.

Squirrels never forget
…but neither do I…

Robot Arm For You!
It’s a robot. It’s an arm. Wear it.

Robot Empowerment
Scientists are empowering robots to empower humans, which will in turn empower the robots. It’s all just so… empowering.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


12 July, 2017 – Episode 627 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 14th, 2017

Interview w/ Dr. Jens Foell, Death On Mars, Red Spot Images, Photon To Earth, Savage Snail Shells, Spider Ant, Quarreling Scientists, Melting, Death, Fix It, And Much More…

Take our audience survey!!!

The spider was in love with its neighbor
Turned out it was ants
With very nice pants
So spider of course copied the behavior…
No, this is not the limerick version of this show
But, I’ll have you know
We do love the science
Which founded many an appliance
So, off to the races we go…
This Week in Science
Coming up next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“Hi Dr. KiKi, Justin and Blair!
Just writing in to share what science has done for me lateleyyyyyyyyy! Today while doing some dishes I had a burnt pan that I couldn’t seem to scrape clean. Thankfully, I know a thing or two about chemistry and knew that if I heated super concentrated salt water in my pan, it would cause a reaction, lifting the burnt particles from the surface of my pan for an easy clean! Nothing monumental, but it just goes to show how science can and is used in our daily lives!
Good Science!”
— Minion Carlee Koritkowski

Interview w/ Dr. Jens Foell
Jens studied psychology in Tübingen, Germany, and then did his doctorate in neuropsychology at the University of Heidelberg on the ways that phantom pain therapy affects the brain. He is currently studying several topics at Florida State University; But above all, he is interested in how to recognize the fundamentals and components of psychopathy in the brain. He is also interested in science communication, and co-founded the German arm of RealScientists, a group dedicated to giving a platform to scientists to tell the world about their work.

Support us on Patreon!

Death On Mars
Ummm… yeah. About that life on Mars idea… might have hit a stumbling block.

Red Spot Images
Juno has sent back it’s first images from its Monday fly-over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot, and they are amazing.

Photon To Earth
Chinese scientists, using the Micius quantum satelitte and quantum entanglement, successfully transmitted information about a photon in space to a photon on Earth instantaneously. This paves the way for space-based quantum internet development.

Savage snail shells
Snail shells don’t just provide protection from predators and the elements, it turns out they also trap and kill parasites! Now that’s thinking outside of the box… or shell…?

What’s that old adage about a spider with it’s front legs in the air?
Oh right, it is mimicing an ant so as to sneak up and eat them!

Quarreling scientists
It would appear the jury is still out on whether monkeys could talk. I guess we’ll just have to figure out how to do a practical test!

We knew it was going to break off eventually, but the largest remaining ice shelf on the Antarctic peninsula, called Larsen C, finally calved and entered the ocean sometime between Monday and Wednesday of this week. The question now if whether this bodes for further collapse of the peninsula.

It’s the Earth’s 6th mass extinction. According to a new analysis animals are dropping like flies around the world.

Fix It.
The best way to reduce your CO2 emissions? Have fewer kids. Also, don’t drive, fly, or eat meat.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


05 July, 2017 – Episode 626 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

July 6th, 2017

A Case Against Placenta, Another Extinction!, Our Little Runaways, Neanderthals Get Back, Pretty Fairy Wrens, Praying Mantis Discovery, Ancient Potatoes of Utah, Copying Roman Concrete , Menstruation Brain, Killer Pregnancy, Scorpion-milking Robot, Marshmallows Redux, And Much More!!!

Take our audience survey!!!

The future…
Is gone for now…
It’ll be back later…
After you choose your nows…
And choose your nows carefully…
They are going to add up,
these nows that flow freely…
Will either end in a resource or a debt…
You can live a dream…
we all do it…
But is it your dream?
Are you even in it?
Throw yourself into it…
Be resilient in your actions…
They make the fabric of your tapestry…
These actions of yours become you…
as intention threads together reality
You become you…
And while you set out on a path,
while you set the pace
while you set your mind to have a mindset…
We will attempt to dial you into the world beyond intention…
A world despite you,
but not in spite of…
You have arrived at a destination…
One within your head…
but not limited to the skull walls that surround…
You have entered this week in science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“What science has done for me is to help me live my life to the fullest. I have a hard time controlling my mood and focus, and have for my whole life. Working with several doctors to get Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and the right antidepressant and stimulant medications for my condition have helped me get through my day to day a lot more smoothly. Without science and the scientific community, I might not be here today. Thank you for making the show, and good science to you all!”
–Minion Konrad Rahill

A Case Against Placenta
A case study published by the CDC argues against ingesting placenta pills post-pregnancy.

Another Extinction!
A massive and previously unrecognized marine megafauna extinction took place at the end of the Pliocene that saw losses of one-third of all large marine animals.

Our Little Runaways
There are fast-moving stars in our galaxy, called hypervelocity stars. Once we thought they had been flung from the galactic center, but new evidence concludes that they were expelled from the Large Magellanic Cloud when their binary partners exploded.

DNA based Neander History
Mitochondrial DNA from Neanderthal individual who died in Swabian Jura in modern-day southwest Germany suggests that Neanderthals received genetic contribution from Africa by hominins that are closely related to modern humans more than 220,000 years ago

Bird-eating preying mantises
They’re on every continent except Antarctica. There, that’s a thing you know now…

Pretty boys have a target on their backs
And when it comes to fairy wrens, they know it!

Support us on Patreon!

Ancient Potatoes of Utah
Potato-eating peoples presided perhaps 11,000 years back.

Copying Roman Concrete
Scientists have figured out what gives Roman concrete its longevity… unique minerals that form from chemical interactions with seawater actually make the material stronger over time.

Menstruation Brain
Best study to date finds no link between female hormone changes and cognition.

Killer Pregnancy
Pregnancies in Southern resident Killer whales have a high fail rate mainly due to decresing salmon stocks.

Humpback Bubbles
But, Humpback whales do enjoy their bubbles.

Scorpion-milking robot
It turns out that is a thing we need! Hooray for science!

Marshmallows Redux
When given the “Marshmallow Test” Nso children from Camaroon were able to wait for a treat much longer than their German counterparts.

The Bloop Solved?
Is the mysterious sound simply the sound of ice quaking and calving in the ocean? NOAA says yes.

Juno Celebrates Anniversary
As of yesterday, Juno has been in orbit around Jupiter for one year, and next week on July 10th will execute its 6th flyby of the planet with all of its instruments on to record activity of the Great Red Spot.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


28 June, 2017 – Episode 625 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 29th, 2017

Planet 10?, Planet 9?, Warmer Oceans, Rising More Rapidly, Archaea On You!, Bird Beats, Hot Hungry Rats, Neander-dentistry, Chimp Strength, Sleepers For The Sleeping, Cancelling Chronic Pain, Family Beds, SpaceX Double Hitter, Butts For Birds, And Much More!!!

Take our audience survey!!!

Humans live in an interesting world…
Bound on one side by the actual physical world…
That physical world that all living things,
and all non-living things…
exist in and interact with
and by doing so constitute the universe and everything in it…
And then we humans have another side by which we are bound…
The world within our brains…
And while it has been shown that the world within the human brain
can accomplish amazing things on the outside of the human brain…
It is also amazing just how susceptible that brain is to control…
Control can come in many forms,
from a catchy advertising jingle and a light bit of product placement
that encourages an impulse purchase…
To a conformity of ideology,
connecting the brain’s love of family to something completely unrelated…
In short, our brains are often susceptible and subject to false realities…
The best way to be sure your own brain isn’t harboring false realities
is to take it out once in a while…
I don’t mean out of the skull,
that really ends badly…
but out of its perspective…
Compare the world as it can be studied to the one constructed between your ears…
If you practice this,
become proficient at it,
you just might find…
This Week in Science
Coming up next…

This Week in What Has Science Done For Me Lately…
“I had a video conference call with nearly a dozen other people. Some where in Chicago, others in Florida, one in Poland, and myself in Seattle. We shared documents in near real-time using the power of internet protocols, routers, servers, and collaboration software. All made possible by scientific advancement in semi-conductors, algorithms, distributed systems, route optimization, and much, much more.”
— Minion David Larson

Planet 10?
An investigation of the orbital inclination of Kuiper belt objects discovered that there might be a Mars sized object somewhere beyind Neptune.

Planet 9?
The Outer Solar System Origins Survey has found a few more distant solar system objects, but without the clustering that would be necessary to support the existence of a giant Planet 9 in the outer solar system.

Warmer Oceans
No matter how it has been measured, ocean temps are going up.

Rising More Rapidly
Over just two decades the rate of sea level rise has increased by 50%, in large part due to melting ice sheets.

What’s on your skin?
Archaea, that’s what.

Sure, he can play the drums, but he’s no palm cockatoo!
Palm cockatoos may give us clues into the evolution of music!

Hot rats go hungry
Desert woodrats have declining liver function as temperatures rise, meaning they are unable to enjoy their favorite toxic treat.

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More evidence of Neandertal skills.

Chimp Strength
Muscle fibers taken from chimpanzees were dominated by fast-twitch types as compared to human fibers which are mainly slow-twitch. Did energy conservation in muscle help drive our brain enlargement as we became increasingly bipedal?

Meeting vegetative states half way…
With sleeping pills.

Cancelling Chronic Pain
Modulatory interneurons might be the root cause of chronic pain from peripheral nerve damage. A recent study pre-emptively activating somatostatin interneurons in the sensory cortex blocked chronic pain from developing in mice.

Co-sleeping isn’t such a bad idea, after-all.
Sharing your sleeping space with friends, family, and fur-babies may not be so bad for you!

SpaceX Double Hitter
Two successful launches with first-stage booster recoveries for SpaceX this past weekend!

Butts For Birds
Urban house finches in Mexico are possibly using cigarette butts to repel parasites like ticks from their nests.

Panda Positivity
Protecting panda habitat also benefits humans and other species.

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