17 July, 2014 – Episode 473 – This Week in Science

July 21st, 2014

CDC Messiness, Toxo Cures Cancer, Eating Elephants, Google Warming, 8000 Year Old Brains, Squirrel Urbanity, Baboon Schedules, Fish Memories, Dead Animals Tell Tales, What Ladies Wear, Baby Talk, Wisdom Of The Confident, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
We live in a world of leaders. People who make decisions on the behalf of
others and in doing so, shape the world we live in…
This is either a good system or a terrible one, but since it
is the only system we have ever known we have nothing to compare it to.
Yes we can point to this leader or that, this era of world
leaders or that and rate them as good, bad or mildly indifferent to the time in
which they led…
Even then it may matter more who is doing the judging of the
behavior than what the behavior is…
Genghis Khan was both a great leader and a bad neighbor,
depending on who you asked.
Hitler was unquestionably a ruthless genocidal Dictator with
a face only a Nazi mother could love… but oh how they loved him…
And so it goes right
down the line of human history and even today… nobody fights because they think
they are in the wrong, if anything WAR is an acronym for We Are Right!
But what if there were another way to run the world? A way that didn’t require leaders or armies
or warfare…
a world in which the most basic needs of humanity are met,
and the standards for civilized society are spelled out and complied with by
This world, this brave new civilization of un ending peace
and prosperity is much closer than you think.
I speak of course of the coming age of world robot
And when the day comes for our future robot masters to take control
of the mess mankind has made, I hope they take special notice of one segment of
humanity that has always worked the hardest to make the world a better place
for robot kind…
The scientists, the engineers, the programmers and of course
This week in science… coming up next

CDC Mess Ups
Oops, the Atlanta CDC lab accidentally contaminated a mild strain of flu with H5N1 (bird flu), and sent it to a low security agricultural lab.

CDC And Congress
CDC fesses up that they need to work on their “security”.

Toxo Cures Cancer
In the lab, a mutated version of T. gondii cures mice of cancer.

Clovis People Ate Elephants

Google Warming

8000 year old brains?!?!

Squirrel Life
Is urbanization a good thing or a bad thing for squirrels?

Baboons are on a tight schedule
The wily baboon starts picking nits early.

Fish have memory
And a really good one at that.

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What do kiwi, dodo, elephant birds and green pigeons have in common?

What Ladies Wear
Being scantily clad and wearing red makes other women like you less.

babies can talk
Or, at least, they know what we are saying long before they start talking.

Wisdom Of The Confident
Neuroscientists have discovered that wisdom of the crowd breaks down based on how biased individuals in the crowd are. Independent, “confident”, individuals lead to wiser crowds.

Mapping Ocean Plastic
A survey of plastics in the oceans has resulted in detailed maps of the distribution of such plastics, and understanding that not all plastics entering the oceans is accounted for.

Dry Ice Martian Gullies
Dry ice is responsible for gully-like geological formations that appear to be the consequence of flowing liquid water.

Pandas Eat Two
kinds of bamboo, that is.

Kudzu Is Bad News
The invasive plant drops material that is much easier for microbes to digest, so that less carbon-rich plant material degrades and is locked away, resulting in a net release of CO2 into the atmosphere.

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10 July, 2014 – Episode 472 – This Week in Science

July 11th, 2014

The Planet That Wasn’t, Neand-Ear-Man, How Did We Come to Be, Birds Aren’t Dinos?, Revisiting Archaeopteryx, Bees Can Shout, Pesticides Affect Bee Foraging, It’s Not Just Bees, Spider Re-Animation, Your Skin Smells, Silence Or Shock?, No Mutants, Frameshifting Genes, Snapshots From Leaves, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
The world you are living in is the world of today.
It is not the world you were born into, and with some luck,
it is not the world you will die in.
In this day and age of here and now we have inherited a past
filled with innovation and ignorance…
As a people we have mastered nature, technology and
information as tools to increase our health wealth and knowledge…
On the shoulders of giants, we pioneered from the moon to
mars to beyond the solar system, we broke the genetic code, can carry the
library of Alexandria on a thumb drive, and in our pockets is a communication
device more powerful than anything every placed in the hands of individuals…
At the same time we have polluted our atmosphere to the
point of altering the climate to disastrous future consequence…
Our role in the present, the actions we take today will
reverberate out through the future timelines of our species…
No pressure…
It thankfully won’t take all of us to make a difference… but
will take you.
Because you, more so than most humans, are informed. You know the issue, the stakes and the
solution… and besides… you’ve seen who your neighbors are, and it isn’t them
the future is relying on
And you know this is right because right now you are
listening to This Week in Science…
Coming up next…

The Planet That Wasn’t
Gliese 581g turns out to be a misinterpreted blip in the data after closer scrutiny.

Inner ear bones indicative of neanderthal lineage were found in an early-human skull.

How Did We Come to Be
It was the climate and a diversity of traits that allowed Homo to spread around the globe.

Birds are birds?
Not flying Dino’s?

Revisiting Archaeopteryx
Feathers on a recent specimen indicate that feathers evolved first for insulation and communication, and secondarily for flight in theropod dinosaurs.

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Bees Can Shout
Talking about favored places to dine, animals usually whisper. But, this study finds some bee species shout the news of a great diner so that increased visits by friends will ward off visits by strangers.

Pesticides Affect Bee Foraging
Neonicitinoid pesticides were found to decrease the number of foraging bees and change the preference for forage choice.

It’s not just bees
Neonics also linked to declining bird populations in the Netherlands.

Spider Re-Animation
Scientists used cross-sections of a fossilized 410 million year old arachnid ancestor to graphically determine how it might have walked.

Smelling with your skin
You can do it. There are olfactory receptors in your skin.

Would you rather sit quietly or shock yourself?
More men than women like to shock themselves.

No Mutants!!!
Stem cells undergoing targeted gene replacement experience no more mutations than normal cells, easing fears that manipulating cells increases the mutation risk.

Frameshifting The Genes
Researchers found a messenger RNA that frameshifts an important immune respone gene about 10-15% of the time that the gene is transcribed, resulting in genetic gobbeldy-gook that gets thrown out with the cellular trash. It’s thought this is an important part of modulating the immune system’s inflammatory respone.

Snapshots from the edge
Using femto-second crystallography researchers have taken snapshots of photosynthesis in process, and aim to make a molecular movie in the near future.

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03 July, 2014 – Episode 471 – This Week in Science

July 4th, 2014

Facebook Fail, Viral Responsibility, Genes In Tibet, Shrooms Are Dreamy, Interview w/ Dan Falk – Science of Shakespeare, Plants Have Memory, So Do Fish, Bone Wasp Graves, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
The following hour of programming is brought to us in large part by the United States of America…
A government designed in the Age of Reason, Rationalism and Enlightenment…
Founded by thinkers, inventers, and naturalists
A government that through the years has preferenced education and scientific pursuits over dogmatic adherence to the traditional loyalty of a kings religion
This break from the past ways, ways that we still see employed in many parts of the world today, is the true strength of a nation that chose above all else… life, liberty and the pursuit of this week in science… coming up next…

Facebook Fail
Facebook research manipulated users without consent.

Flu Virus Creation
A researcher at UW-M reported that he had created a version of the Swine flu that can evade the human immune system.
Related conversation on Google+

From Denisova to Tibet
Tibetans got their altitude perseverence from a Denisovan gene.

Dreaming Awake
fMRI research found primitive brain regions (those active while dreaming) became activated by psilocibin, while centers related to higher thought and self-consciousness were inactivated.

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Interview with Dan FalkThe Science of Shakespeare: A new look at the Playwright’s Universe.

Buy the Book!

More Science News:
Plants Have Ears
Arabidopsis plants respond to the sounds of caterpillars chewing by increasing their chemical defenses.

Fish Have Memories, too
Fish remembered where they had found food for up to 12 days in a recent study.

Flowers Blast Birds
A plant found in Central and South America blasts birds with pollen via a complex bellows organ when the animals are foraging.

Bone-house Wasps And Ants
A new species of spider wasp fills an outer vestibule to its nest with dead ants in an effort, researchers think, to protect its young with dead ant smell.

Cassini Pics
Cassini has been taking pictures of Saturn for a decade.

Studying Earth’s Respiration
The OCO-2 was launched this week to observe sources and storage repositories of CO2.

Hubble Finds 2 Kuiper Belt Objects
In an effort to figure out where to send the New Horizons Mission after it leaves Pluto, Hubble imaged the Kuiper Belt and found two potential objects.

Earth-like planet found 16 Light Years Away

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26 June, 2014 – Episode 470 – This Week in Science

June 27th, 2014

Musical Chimps, Microbead Madness, Melting Meters, Eliminate The Competition, Spiders In Disguise, Invading Earthworms, NeanderPoo, Fossil Larvae, SmartPhone Microbiome, Back Off!, Rat Regret, Food Dating, Burrowing In The Genes, Butterfly Compass, Special Guest Sama Ahmed, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
The following hour of programming is part of an ongoing investigation
into planet Earths ability to make discoveries in the field of science…
Each week, we check in on our subject to see how things are
coming along
And each week… the earthlings surprise us with many new
scientific discoveries with which to amuse ourselves…
From their perspective, the human ability to sense things is
quite limited…
Narrow band of light spectrum vision, limited audio frequency
hearing range, and not much else …
And yet, with the aid of their very primitive yet highly
functional brains, there is very little beyond the human ability to comprehend.
Where senses fail, they construct new ones…
Where evolution left them off, they evolve technology to go
And when even the
most powerful technology on earth cannot observe a subject of interest directly…
The human uses a form of mystical pattern recognition they
call “Math” to know things about the universe… far from human ability to see or
hear or taste or touch…
And while we observe the human condition in general to be inexplicably
and unpredictably less than desirable at times, it is only these highest
achievements of awesome amazingness that we have included in this report now
being submitted for you perusal entitled…
This Week in Science… coming up next

Sama says! This Week we are joined by Sama Ahmed from Carry the One Radio, a fantastic graduate student produced podcast out of UCSF. He brings:
Plastic microbeads from @DerekHennen
Old Neanderthal poop from @ClathrinSays
Fossilized larvae! from @BioInFocus

The Animal Corner contains:
Mitigating Climate Change Impacts may mean picking sides
Competition provides extra pressure on those animals already stressed due to changing climate. Recent research suggests some animals may have a much better chance of surviving climate change if competitors are eliminated.

Spiders are masters of disguise
If they weren’t scary enough already, some spiders can cover themselves in dirt to appear practically invisible!

Wormy Citizen Science
Worms are invading North America, and one way for us to stop it is through a new fancy app!

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More from Sama:
Rats regret bad decisions from @Lwang19.
The genetics of burrowing from the @HopiHoekstra lab at UCSF.

And, Blair…
Your Phone is gross – but that’s a good thing!
Your smartphone reflects your own personal micrbiome. Perhaps your phone will soon be able to tell you when to go to the doctor!

Busy Butterflies have a built-in compass
Light and magnetic fields play a part in butterfly migration – there may be yet another threat to butterfies – magnetic disturbances from humans!

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19 June, 2014 – Episode 469 – This Week in Science

June 20th, 2014

Probing fukushima, Conscious Hubs, Thinking Syncing Brain, Neander-skulls, Color-blind Crabs, Anxious Crawfish, Sticky Horny Frog, Fish-eating Spiders!, Hubble, Gaia, Rosetta, and Espresso with Scott Lewis, Futball and Exoskeletons, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer!
This Week in Science, coming up next!

Probing fukushima
With cosmic rays! Toshiba and LANL are teaming up to image the nuclear material in the Fukushima plant with cosmic rays.

Conscious Hubs
The brain reboots itself from induced unconsciousness by bringing up activity in specific hubs first.

A brain that syncs, thinks
As monkeys learned a task, brain areas involved were found to synchronize their activity.

Pit of bones
A pit containing 17 Neandertal skulls reveals new information about hominoid evolution.

Crabs aren’t hard of herring!
They have special structures for discriminating among sounds in the environment.

Crawfish get anxiety
And like to hide in the dark, but feel better with antidepressants.

Super sticky horned frog!!
Big mouth and a sticky tongue make for an interesting story.

Nightmare fodder
Fish-eating spidersssssssss… AHHHHHHHHHH!

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Guest: Scott Lewis, Host Space Fan News
Astronomer & Science Communicator
Presenter of Space Fan News!
Creator of Know The Cosmos
Co-host of HubbleHangouts with Tony Darnell and The Hubble Space Telescope
Co-host of the “Virtual Star Party” with Fraser Cain from Universe Today.

Deep Field
Beyond Pluto

More News…
Fish have feelings too ya know
Seeing around corners
World Cup Ball Is Better
According to NASA, this year’s ball design will be more predictable when kicked at speeds typical of World Cup players.
Was the Robo kick underwhelming?
It was a kick seen round the world, but what does it really mean for paralysis victims?

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12 June, 2014 – Episode 468 – This Week in Science

June 13th, 2014

Punch My Face, Or Don’t, How Much Life?, We Don’t Know, Not Standard Fit, Strong Spider Leaders, Copulatory Plugs, Spraying Puppy Love, Interview Re: Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary W/ Chad King, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer!
This Week in Science, coming up next!

Faces, they take a licking
Researchers at the University of Utah posit that faces evolved to take punches.

No, they didn’t. That’s bro science.
Brian Switek at his blog tears into the evidence arguing that hands have not evolved as weapons, and faces have become less robust with time. His post elicits some interesting responses from the authors.

How much life is out there?
Analysis suggests there may be 100 million complex life fostering planets in the Milky Way.

Stars are hot, life is not.
But, this doesn’t take the life cycle of stars into account. So, they are probably all dead.

Galaxies don’t fit standard model
Is it time for a reassessment of our view of the universe?

Terrifying spider colonies
It turns out that some spiders just need strong leaders.

Copulatory Plugs in Spiders
Big and Hard is best.

Love Potion #9… For Dogs
Oxytocin, the “bonding hormone”, makes puppies even friendlier.

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Interview with Chad King from Monterey Bay National Marine Sactuary (MBNMS) about a recent undersea mission in Monterey Bay to investigate a lost shipping container and the Sur Ridge.

“Chad King is a marine scientist and data analyst for NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Integrated Monitoring Network (SIMoN). With SIMoN, he is responsible for the collection, analyses, and dissemination of spatial data relating to long-term monitoring projects. King also actively participates in the field as a part of the MBNMS research team. He earned a BS in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MS in marine science at Moss Landing Marine Laboratories.”

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05 June, 2014 – Episode 467 – This Week in Science

June 6th, 2014

Magnets Vs Gravity, Nerves Talk Immunity, Vulcan Laser Super Nova, Another Moony World, Bees Got Maps, Spiders Play Guitar, Glowing Fungus Bats, Drone Farm, Big Bang Challenged, Autism And Depression, Warmth And Drugs, NSA Tracks You, Charging AntiHydrogen, We Got Teleportation!, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer!
It’s time to explain. Why we do twis. We do it because science is important, and people don’t just want to know, they need to know. Science is important, because it is a quest for knowledge.
WHY IS KNOWLEDGE IMPORTANT?! I’m so glad you asked.
We have an impact on the world around us, sure, but why would we bother to alter things? Why? To fix the problems we’ve made. We care to preserve the world around us, its inner-workings, its splendor, and its function. The more we know, the more we discover how much we are a part of everything around us and that we, in fact, are as dependent on it, as it is on us.
In the words of one of my great idols, Theodore Geisel, aka Dr Seuss himself, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
Those words from 1971 in the Lorax are, in a nutshell, why we do twis. We all need to care a whole awful lot, and we can only care, once we understand.
So, let’s gain some more understanding – shall we?
It’s This Week in Science, coming up next!

Magnets versus gravity
New analysis of black holes suggests that for some magnetic forces might be as important or more so than gravity.

Nerves and immunity get intimate
The immune system talks to the nervous system, specifically the brain, by passing along mRNA via extracellular vesicles.

Vulcan laser super nova
Exactly what it sounds like… on a tabletop.

Traces of another world found on the Moon
Lead researcher, Dr Daniel Herwartz, from the University of Goettingen said, “We have now discovered small differences between the Earth and the Moon. This confirms the giant impact hypothesis.”

Bees don’t use the sun, they make a map!
Previous studies suggest bees use the sun to find their way, but new research suggests there is much more at work.

Spiders can tell what’s in their web by playing it like a guitar
By plucking their web strings after calibratring them, female spiders can figure out sex, species, and more about what is stuck in their web.

Glow-in-the-dark bat signal
Tool for highlighting white nose syndrome diagnoses bats in the wild.

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Drone Farm
Corn farming researchers investigate using drones as agricultural assistants.

Big Bang finding challenged
Two independent analyses propose that the original analysis did not properly account for the confounding effects of galactic dust. That means no evidence against, just no evidence for. One analysis used an updated Planck team increases fraction of polarization caused by dust. Other analysis excluded data on small spatial scales where gravitational lensing mimics gravitational waves.

Autism linked to anti-dep meds

Warmth and MDMA don’t mix

New software can track individuals in a group

Antihydrogen charged!

Teleportation achieved?

University of Michigan will open fake city to test self-driving cars this fall

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29 May, 2014 – Episode 466 – This Week in Science

May 30th, 2014

World Robot Domination with Robot Overlord David Calkins, Walking Robots Named Jimmy, How Much For That Robot In The Garage?, Female Scorpions Attack!, Thoughtful Flies, Whiplash Evolution, Blue Bee Honey, Odor Of Exploitation, Compulsive Brains, Bad For Your Brain, NASA Recaptures Satellite, What Museum Collection?, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer!
TWIS is now. What is now? Now is not then, now is not later. But now never lasts – it is infinitely small, and impossible to grasp.
With every tick of the clock, a now has past, and a future becomes present.
What nows were and were good, what nows are now long gone and were less than perfect, what nows have passed us by as highly forgettable, what nows have become thens and were downright regrettable, all those nows are written in the tombs of time forever.
We cannot get them back, and nor should we. But we can grow and learn from the nows that are gone. With the nows that will come soon, and not so soon, the nows in the future, we can plan, we can look forward, and live hoping to make those future nows better.
So… what to do NOW? No… NOW? Now?! Oh, of course – now… it’s time for THIS WEEK IN SCIENCE! Coming up next…

TWIS was joined by roboticist David Calkins to discuss (dum dum duuuummmm…) World Robot Domination

New walking robots!
Intel’s got a version
Another link to walkers… Darwin
There’s also a Robo-Velociraptor in development.

Female scorpions are more likely to attack, males are more likely to run!
Pregnant females are too hefty to flee, so instead they fight with extreme ferocity!

Fruit flies think before they act
Fruit flies took longer to choose where to grab food when scents were more similar. This indicates a process of thinking and decision-making – something fruit flies were not thought to be capable of… Until now!

Evolution so fast… it gives you whiplash
Crickets in Hawaii on two separate islands have evolved into silence – in less than 20 generations, independently!

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French Bees Making Blue Honey
Pollution from an M&M plant upstream is causing bee honey to come out blue. Is that a bad thing? Probably…

More proof your smart phone is making you dumber
Taking lots of pictures makes it harder for you to remember things. So, put down that camera and enjoy your life!

ISEE-3 satellite re-capture and reboot

Are Museum Specimen collections necessary?
Some say yes, some say no. But so many things are figured out years, decades, or centuries later, is it worthwhile to have these creatures on file? Sounds like probably yes…

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