15 January, 2014 – Episode 497 – This Week in Science

January 22nd, 2015

Repairing The Spine, Ending Resistance, Smartphone Separation, Sloshy Birds, Electric Knifefish, Bamboo Bassinett, Circumcising Autism, Synthetic Thoughts, American Dog Day, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer…
The following program contains explicitly educational language,
Graphic depictions of scientific fact,
and brief full frontal disregard for intuitive or supernaturally
derived notions of how stuff works…
It is intended for mature, immature, irreverent as well as
much too serious listeners of all ages…
Subject matter covered may occasionally be objectionable to
people with political views rooted in the middle ages…
All that is required for you to enjoy the show is that you
If after listening you find yourself challenging views you
held before listening,
the desired effect has occurred…
If after listening you find yourself pondering the relative
strangeness of the world around you….
The desired effect has occurred…
If after listening you decide that there is nothing better
you could have done for your brain than allow it a view of the world beyond the
confines of your skull…
the desired effect has occurred
And if after listening your brain sees something beyond its
boney borders that it wants more of…
the desired effect has occurred
If after listening you find yourself wanting more of what
your brain wants,
the desired effect has occurred and more is available…
Here on this week in science… live in new York city…
Coming up next.

Repairing The Spine
French and Swiss researchers have developed a soft, flexible device that can be implanted beneath the dura mater and directly on the spinal cord to deliver electrical and chemical stimulation. The advanced design is tolerated and effective in mice with spinal injury for at least two months, which is much longer than previous designs.

Ending Resistance
Bostonian and German researchers farmed bacteria in dirt boxes, and discovered a potential new antibiotic, called teixobactin, to which Staph and MRSA have absolutely no resistance. The researchers say the key to this compound is that it attacks the lipid portion of the biochemical pathway that is involved in building the bacterial cell wall, whereas most antibiotics have focused on proteins. Additionally, the source of teixobactin is a Gram Negative bacterial species, and the compound acts powerfully on Gram Positive species.

Smartphone separation anxiety
It’s real. ‘Nuff said.

Birds of a Feather get sloshed together
Drunk zebra finches slur their songs like drunk people slur their speach, but their motor skills did not seem effected quite the same way ours usually do…

Electricity makes Knifefish feel freaky
Male knifefish emit electric signals for their females, and females really dig it if the male has the proper juice.

Frogs use bamboo as bassinett
White spotted bush frogs in south India use bamboo to hold their eggs, and the father helps take care of them.

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Circumcision causes autism
Or does it? A correlation found between circumcision and autism is debated.

Items For Thought
Should we use synthetic biology to solve our man-made problems?
How available should the language of life, DNA, be? Does freedom of speech apply?

Dog day in america
How long have dogs been in America? And, just how long have they been hanging out with humans?

DNA Shuttles!
Thank to a team from New Zealand research intitutions mitochondrial DNA was shown to move from normal cells to tumor cells lacking mitochondria, restoring respiratory function and tumorigenesis. It is not understood how often this kind of horizontal gene transfer occurs between cells in living organisms, specifically humans.

Twitchy Dish Muscles!
Duke University researchers used myogenic progenitor cells (aka stem cells) to create human muscle cells in the lab that respond to chemical and electrical stimulation just like natural muscles. The development could make it possible to personalize research for patients suffering from a variety of muscle-related disorder.

Really, Really old shark sperm
A bamboo shark has produced a viable egg years after being separated from all male sharks. She stored that stuff for the longest ever recorded for sharks before popping out a sharklet!

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07 January, 2015 – Episode 496 – This Week in Science

January 9th, 2015

TWIS predicts 2014 in our annual prediction show, Cutllefish Cues, Fake Meal Pills, No Shed Xmas, Goldilocks Abound, Disco Clam, And Much More…

Future Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
Predicting the future has always been a difficult task…
Mystics, sages, crystal ball gypsies and financial analysts
have been at it for thousands of years with little evidence that they are doing
more than guessing about possible outcomes…

It takes some courage to predict things in the near future… Long
term predictions have a way of being forgotten if they are wrong,…
It’s one reason to have more respect for the nightly news
At least he or she is attempting to tell you about events so
new, they haven’t happened yet, but will come to pass within a weeks time…
while everyone else gets to ramble off info about things that have already
taken place.

Prognosticators have made bold predictions in the past.
The inventor Thomas Edison predicted a future where
Everything was made of steel, and iron could be converted into gold so easily
that it would cease to be valuable…
Both Tesla and Marconi believed wireless operation of military
vehicles and weapons would make war obsolete.
Decca Records declined to sign the Beatles in 1962 as Guitar
Music was on the way out…
Isaac Asimov predicted 2014 would be the year of mega cities
under the sea…

Popular mechanics in 1949 predicted that the Computer of 50
years into the future would no longer consist of tens of thousands of vacuum
tube… but only 1000. Bringing its desk
top weight down from 30 tons, to a mere 1 and a half

And showing the greatest vision over the longest time…
Popular Mechanics in a 1905 issue… (it’s been around that
long!) predicted that a doctor would one day be able to examine a patient
anywhere in the world by utilizing a mechanical hand that would transmit touch feedback…
and therefore be able to diagnose many ailments from afar…

While that last one is in some way shape or form already happening
now, the one thing they all failed to predict but you wise prognosticating
predicterator of future events saw clearly is
This Week in Science… prediction show… coming up next…

This year we predict…
From Justin: “Apple will create the iThink, a mind-phone interface.
Sparticles will be found by the LHC, our first glimpse of dark matter.
Serious talk about neutrino being the theoretical tachyon particle.
Will discover the atheon, the atheist particle that refutes the Higgs being a God particle.
When UN meets to put together climate change plan, cold weather will make them do nothing.
This is the year, the Monkeycat will be discovered.
No evidence for a gravity wave, but good penguin recipes from BICEP2 crew in Antarctica.
Green Bay vs. Broncos – Broncos lose.
This is the year, TWIS becomes a coast to coast show!”

From Blair: “-It will be discovered that actually, Pandas play an integral role in the food webs in bamboo forests (and I will officially apologize on the show, dressed as a panda) –
-As permafrost melts, we will discover a crazy, never-before described Family of animals
-We will cure Koala chlamydia and Koala populations will begin to bounce back
-In one state, a group will try to pass a law forbidding not only evolution and climate change education in the classroom, but also statistics, as it promotes “”leftist propaganda.”” The Supreme court will not agree.
-We will find another way crows are smart.
-Curiosity will see mold on mars! and then discover we brought it there. Whoops!
-We will read about yet another new theory on how pigeons navigate, nullifying the most recent – magnetic fields.
-Scientists will shine more light on dark matter
-A monkey will type some Shakespeare, via brian-to-brain communication
-I will create some more artwork to send to TWIS contributors, due to the fact that we will remain solidly over the $500 mark for the majority of the year!
-I will successfully goad a famous person (hopefully Bill Nye) to reply to a SHOUTY TWEET!!”

From Kirsten: “-You thought drones were bad in 2014… just wait for 2015. With new technologies like VR interfaces on the market, we will see pilots with their heads in their drones.
-And, the FAA will continue to punt on making regulations for the UAV’s.
-Japan’s SCHAFT robot will sweep the DARPA Robotics Competition in June… because he’s SCHAFT.
-The restarting of the LHC at 13 trillion electron volts, double it’s original power, will further confirm the Higgs particle and the Standard Model of physics.
-December’s climate change conference in Paris will consist of a large number of politicians hand-waving and making no real progress.
-The New Horizons mission will successfully rendezvous with Pluto finding it to be very cold, and the Dawn mission arriving at Ceres will find the same.
-Ebola will continue to rage in Africa, and be ignored by most Americans.
-We will still have no evidence of gravitational waves, although studies will be ongoing.
-As Europe’s ITER Tokamak facility begins construction, the US-based NIF will show progress on fusion experiments.
-Hydrogen cars will become more prominent in the market being snatched up by Silicon Valley yuppies, although petroleum vehicles will continue to dominate.
-An email will be sent by thought alone from a brain via a mouse-goldfish-robot pathway.
-SpaceX will successfully demonstrate reuseable rockets and new Mars vehicles.
– Using one of these rockets, Japanese company, Otsuka Pharmaceutical, with American company Astrobotic Technology, will solidify plans to put a can of Pokari sweat on the moon, and go on to win the Google Lunar X prize.
-Venter will create the first completely synthetic living organism.
-This year will mark the beginning of genetic printing on demand.
-Solar Impulse will become the first solar plane to circumnavigate the Earth.
-TWIS will kill in NYC!
-We will have an amazing 500th episode
-AND, we will produce more shorts, long-form interviews, and in-person meet-ups!”

How do you think we will do???

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Cuttlefish can hear, and are rather touchy about it.
Cuttlefish showed noise response at about the same range as fish, and showedmost sensitivity around the frequency at which we produce the most noise pollution in the ocean. Sorry guys!

Fake Meal For weight loss
Salk Institute researchers have developed a compound that locally stimulates the gut to “think” that it has eaten, resulting in weight loss and increased metabolism in a mouse model.

The science of a gorgeous, not needle-shedding Xmas tree
Scientists have been studying which genetic lines of trees shed the most needles to come up with the bestest trees of them all. The only hiccup is, climate change may get to them all, first!

Two New Goldilocks!
Astronomers delving into Kepler mission data have found eight new planets within the Goldilock’s zone of their host stars. Two of these planets are rocky, and potentially Earth-like.

Funky Disco Clam
There is a clam at the bottom of the sea that reflects light, and that has been nicknamed “the disco clam”. Enough said.

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30 December, 2014 – Episode 495 – This Week in Science

December 31st, 2014

TWIS deconstructs 2014 in our annual countdown of the top 11 science stories of the year!

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The new year is swiftly approaching!
A year full
of potential new discoveries, each new day a new opportunity to learn new
things about a world we have just begun to truly understand…
And as we
prepare to set sights on new horizons of science-y discovery we pause here at
the end of an amazing year to look back and appreciate the super awesome-ness
of what we have only just learned.
As we do
each year we will be re-selecting the top 11 or so stories that most caught our
eye out of the several hundred we have reported on out of the tens of thousands
of discoveries that occurred…
As with any
top anything list, there was much fierce disagreement, some unequivocal
unanimous-ity, and several times when flipping of coins or rock paper scissors
was used to pick the entries to the final top eleven list…
So here they
are, 2014’s top eleven stories for This Week in Science…
Coming up next!!!

Number 11… Quantum Teleportation
Quantum teleportation sent information over leaps and bounds this year; as well as to multiple places opening the door to multi-party communication.

Number 10… Gravitational Waves
BICEP, or not to BICEP?

Number 9… Water in Earth
Ringwoodite was found in a diamond, and more evidence amounted to suggest that there is a lot of water in the Earth’s mantle.

Number 8… Human evolution
Engravings on 430,000 year old shells suggest that the genus Homo was a lot more complicated than we thought.

Number 7… Gene Therapy
Gene therapy for sight.
Gene modification in monkey embryos.
Gene modification in adult mice with liver disorders.

Crocodiles will destroy us all.

Animals are smart
… And also never forget.

Peacocks – we had them all wrong.

Invertebrate Sex…
It never gets old.

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Number 6… Space launches
Orion success.
Antares explosion.
SpaceShip 2 accident.

Number 5… Ebola
Ebola vaccine

Number 4… Omics
Proteome database
Largest-ever map of the human interactome predicts new cancer genes.
Bird genomics and evolution.

Number 3… Stem Cells
Acid dipping experiment, published, and retracted, suicide and more…
Drop of blood makes stem cells.
Stem cells used to create first operating organ and fish embryo.
Human skins cells reprogrammed directly into brain cells that integrate into the brain successfully.

Number 2… Space exploration
Rosetta/Philae: Rosetta sniffed a comet, and detected cometary water content, which has implications for water on Earth. Philae landed successfully on the comet, and detected organic molecules!
with NASA: Cassini turned 10, and detected water inside Enceladus.
LADEE hit the moon.
Kepler got a second chance, and started finding planets again.
On Mars, the Curiosity mission found traces of organic compounds, methane

Number 1… Synthetic biology
An artificial cell with organelles was created.
Artificial enzymes were designed using XNA.
Synthetic chromosomes were created in yeast cells.
Synthetic DNA was used to create a partially synthetic bacterial organism with no deleterious effects.

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17 December, 2014 – Episode 494 – This Week in Science

December 19th, 2014

Organics And Gas On Mars, Gamma Rays From Lightning, Water on Earth!!!, Death To Mammals, Squirrel Impacts, Cannibal Ant Babies, Snail Sense, Hypo Ain’t So, Unhealthy Hajj, Arsenic Everywhere, Cholera From Orbit, Tastes Like Dino, Holiday Science, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Twas the night before Twis-mas when all through the house
No science was stirring, not even on a mouse
The stories were laid, by the web cam with care…
In hopes that the minions soon would be there
Blair was already hiding her bed
While visions of peacock spiders danced in her head
And Kiki in her lab coat and I on the moon
Preparing our brains to bring the show soon
When all of the sudden the arose such a chatter
So to the chat room I sprang to see just what was the matter
The minions were there and the minions were ready
For the show to begin and the news to come steady
I open a window and saw with surprise
That the google hangout was going… about to be live
I looked for my invite, I found it in text….
Just in time for This Week in Science…
Coming up next!!!

Organics And Gas On Mars
Mars Curiosity rover has detected organic molecules and methane burps on Mars. What does this mean for life on Mars? Absolutely nothing.

Gamma Rays From Lightning
Experiments with satellites and airplanes have confirmed that lightning produces x-rays and high energy gamma-rays. Shocking!

Water on Earth!!!
Massive amounts of water are contained within the mantle of the Earth, and are part of a billion year water cycle in and on our planet.

Smart Snail Foetuses
Foetile snails still in the egg can learn from stimuli while they mature and react better once they are hatched. Those are smart babies!

Ant larvae are cannibals
Ant larvae, despite being quishy blobs of ooze, can sense relatedness to nearby eggs and cannibalize those eggs when it is advantageous.

Squirrels are exacerbating climate change
Squirrels turn the soil and raise temperatures where there is permafrost filled with heat-trapping gasses. So, they are melting the ice and releasing more carbon dioxide. Way to go, Squirrels…

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Allergens in your hypoallergenics
Labeling means nothing. There are potential allergens in many products labeled hypoallergenic.

Holy Unhealthy Hajj
Air pollution is the worst measured by scientists in Mecca during the annual holy pilgrimage.

Arsenic Everywhere
And, everyone is still drinking! Test your well, folks.

Cholera From Space
Using satellites to monitor temperature and precipitation in areas prone to cholera has enabled scientists to predict outbreaks and the potential spread of the disease.

Asteroids killed off the mammals too
Not just the dinosaurs were affected when asteroids made Earth difficult for large animals to survive. Many egg-laying mammals died as well.

Chickens really ARE tiny dinos…
Or, at least, they are more genetically related to dinosaurs than other birds.

Tinsel Science
Tinsel used to contain lead, but was phased out in favor of plastic tinsel in the 1970’s.

Holiday lights
NASA is visualizing changes in light from day to day around the world to get an understanding of human activities. Christmas lights make things brighter in the winter months!

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10 December, 2014 – Episode 493 – This Week in Science

December 13th, 2014

Where’s The Plastic, New Old Bones, Smart Homo, Old Tiny Farmers, No Bald Bees, Suicidal Tendencies, Hovering Hummers, Vampire Birds, Handy Crows, No Cancer From Phones, Space News, Laser Life, AI Debate, Puffy Puffers, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The view from planet earth is amazing or terrible depending
on who is looking, where they are looking and what they might be looking for…
If you look up on a clear night outside the influence of a
well lit city you can see the stars as our ancient ancestors once did… filling
the sky with countless suns, vast distances from our own…
We now know that this view is of only a tiny fraction of the
stars that populate our milky way galaxy…
And that our milky way is only one of hundreds of billions
of galaxies that populate the universe…
And as we set our sights nearer than the stars to our own
solar system…
We await our first detailed glimpse of a former planet that
has thus far been seen as a mere pixilated smudge in Hubbles lens…
Yes, there is still much to see and the view from here is
getting better all the time
Here on This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Where’s The Plastic
A new study of oceanic plastic levels estimates based on samples taken from various ocean sites that at minimum there are some 5.25 trillion plastic particles weighing 268,940 tons afloat. Additionally, microparticles of less than 4.75 mm in size were dramatically missing from the analysis.

New Old Bones
The fossil evidence of the first neoceratopsian dinosaur with an Asian origin during the late early Cretaceous was unearthed in Montana, and researchers have named it Aquilops americana, or American Eagle.

Smart Homo
Archaelogists have determined etchings on a shell were intentional, and the work of Homo erectus some 500,000 years ago.

Old Tiny Farmers
Ants have been culturing fungus gardens for about 50 million years.

No Bald Bees
The reason there are no bald bees? Propolis. It decreases inflammation, and stimulates hair growth in mice.

Suicidal Tendencies
They are all in your head. Brain scans indicate abnormalities in the pre-frontal cortex in adolescents who are potentially suicidal.

Hummingbirds use stationary landmarks to hover in one place.
Without the stationary reference points, the hummingbirds had a lot of trouble staying stable – those tiny brains are hard-wired for very specific skills!

Vampire Birds want to Suck Your Blood!!
Some birds (on opposite end of the planet) have adapted to subsist off the blood of larger animals – creepy!

Crows are right or left handed… er… beaked… er… eyed…
Crows favor one eye over the other when using tools and assessing their work. They are some of the only species of birds found to have this preference.

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Do electrical lines case cancer?
So far, all signs point to no.

New Horizons Awakes
The mission to Pluto came out of its 18th dormancy successfully on Saturday, and will rendezvous with the kind-of planet in July of 2015.

Lake On Mars
Curiosity has sent back images and data that have been interpreted as comprising an ancient lake that went through several sedimentation events.

Deuterium Data Drama
Data from the Rosina instrument on Rosetta suggest that comets could not have been the origin of Earth’s water, and asteroids might be worth a revisit.

Laser Life!http://arstechnica.com/science/2014/12/early-rosetta-data-causes-rethink-of-where-earth-got-its-water/
Using a high-powered laser focused on a lump of clay, scientists in Prague simulated an asteroid impact, which resulted in the formation of the 4 nucleotide bases required to form RNA.

AI Debate
What do you think? Hawking says we mess with AI at our peril. Others disagree.

Puffy Puffers
Pupper fish don’t hold their breath to puff up, but the process is still quite tiresome.

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03 December, 2014 – Episode 492 – This Week in Science

December 5th, 2014

Photonic Radiative Cooling! What?!?, Atmospheric Annihilation, Dried Up Dwarves, Radiation Station, Smarter Mice, Worms Eat Plastic, Drill Bugs Drill, King Richard Remains, Odor Me This, Panda Flexibility, Reef Sounds, Ceasing Smoking, Seeing The Unseeable, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
The world is full of details…
Innumerable levels of complexity from every size to every scale
There’s a something to see, where ever you look…
Some of it is even alive!
And with all this complexity abounding we then add humanity…
Sentient humanity with all of its conceptual complexity
Making laws out of rational and irrational thoughts alike
Peering back in time thousands, millions and billions of years…
And sometimes denying that any of it ever existed
We built science as a tool of knowledge to separate
the rational from the irrational, and have seen it wielded it as a weapon against tyranny…
And we have seen it wielded by tyrants…
As a result, sentient humanity with all of its conceptual complexity can fall into two categories…
Those who trust in the scientific method and those who do not
While both sides of this divide have their reasons for choosing where they stand
If you look up at a starry night and all you see is lights
You are missing the view of the Milky Way, and a billion suns burning bright
Here on This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Photonic Radiative Cooling! What?!?
Stanford researchers have developed a device for our rooftops that passively cools up to 5 degrees below ambient temperature and beams the excess heat into space.

Atmospheric Annihilation
MIT scientsists have calculated the probability of Earth losing its atmosphere due to the impacts of many small objects, and found it quite high.

Radiation Station
The MATROSHKA mission discovered that astronauts might not receive as much radiation as estimated.

Dried Up Dwarves
Old M-class dwarf stars might have burned too brightly early on in their planetary system development cycle to allow water-based life to form on so-called Goldilocks planets.

Smarter Mice
Adding human glial cells to developing mouse brains resulted in smarter mice.

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Worms Eat Plastic
Researchers discovered that a species of worm harbors gut bacteria that eat plastic. Might be good news for degrading plastics in the environment.

Drill Bugs Drill
Studies of how microbes attack cells have shown that they mechanically drill through the cell membrane to gain access to the cell interior.

King Richard’s Remains
They were found in a parking lot… well, under a lot being constructed that is.

Odor Me This
Kittiwakes likely use odor to choose mates. Scientists found that preen gland scents resemble genetic factors for immunity.

Panda Flexibility
Wish Blair was here for this one! Pandas can live more places than thought!

Reef Sounds
Coral reefs impacted by human activity and climate change are quiter than healthy reefs. This can impact all sorts of aspects of life on the reef.

Ceasing Smoking
Changes in brain activity in specific brain areas predict success in smoking cessation, and potentially point toward development of better approaches to the challenge.

Seeing The Unseeable
Technology to produce 3-dimensional shapes in middair that can be felt has been developed using ultrasound.

Infrared Vision
When pulsed properly, human eyes can see infrared light even though it is supposed to be outside our frequency range.

Ebola Update
Ebola continues to spread through Sierra Leone with death tolls rising.

Less Virulent HIV?
Adaptation of HIV to human immunity factors might be reducing its virulence.

Let’s Go To Mars!
Make sure to check out the results of tomorrow’s important Orion capsule launch.

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26 November, 2014 – Episode 491 – This Week in Science

December 2nd, 2014

Revisiting Triclosan, Shields Up, Life Abides, Poo Rockets, For family Fights, Turtles In A Tree, Frog Maps, Mines Bad, Ambulance Calls, A New Bird, Memory Map, Imagination Is Different, Virtual Brains Noisey Spiders, Whoya Gut In There?, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
We gather together here at the table of science to give thanks…
Thanks to the science minded pioneers of yester-year who
forged for us a world of reason so that our minds might plant and harvest in
fields that produce rational results and make real progress in our standard of living…
Thanks to the researchers of today who provide a weekly
bounty of new knowledge, insights and awe inspiring discoveries…
Thanks to the engineers of technology who have made production
of and access to the show simple and readily available to all who seek it…
And above all else, thanks to you the listening audience,
the minions of twis, without which the shows hosts would simply fall into a new
category of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifiable
as speaking to oneself aloud about science news without audience…
The tradition of giving thanks is a good one
One that truly deserves to celebrated
And I can’t help but think that this is what we are doing
each time we say…
This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Revisiting Triclosan
A contributor to Scientific American’s blogs writes that the study we reported last week unnecessarily sensationalizes the results. What do you think?

Shields Up
A barrier to high energy electrons entering the Earth’s atmosphere has been discovered approximately 7200m from the surface of the Earth between the Van Allen radiation belts. So far, scientists are stumped about its cause, but suggest it might have to do with an area of electromagnetically charged gas, called the plasmasphere, is involved.

Life Abides
Scientists tested DNA stability after a sub-orbital flight, and found much of the DNA not only survived, but retained its biological activity.

What flushes down… can go up?
Poo Rockets. Engineers are working on a sustainable way to deal with waste products in space by turning it into fuel.

Fighting with family is a good thing…
Science says kids who grow up around verbal conflict are better able to deal with it as adults in their own relationships.

Turtles finally have a home…
… in the evolutionary tree! New sequencing techiniques out of the California Academy of Sciences has put turtle in a new group, closely related to dinos, birds, and crocs.

Frogs have mental maps
Frogs, it turns out, do not wander aimlessly, but instead can memorize their surroundings at up to a 100m radius!

Mining ruins everything…
At least where fish are concerned. Mining can destroy fish habitat miles downstream, and even sometimes in connecting branches that are not part of the direct flow from the mine. Just another reason to install solar panels on your house!

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When you call an ambulance…
… ask for the cheapest one in the fleet. Research shows more people succumb to cardiac arrest when picked up by more modern ambulances.

As 46 million go down, one new pops up
Scientists identify a new bird species living among the cocoa plantations.

Speciation By Time And Movement
Birds in South America were more likely to diverge into new species based on time and environmental stability than geographical disturbance.

Memory Map
A recent study used high resolution fMRI to determine the direction of memory formation and retrieval in the brain. For the insiders, it’s EC to HC and back again.

Imagination Is Different
EEG recordings of the brain while people were either watching a video or remembering it found that information flows through brain circuits in opposite directions: from parietal to occiptal for imagining, and vice versa for watching.

Virtual Brains
UCLA scientists found that place cells in the mouse hippocampus don’t become as active in a virtual reality environment as they do in real space.

Whoya Gut In There?
An analysis of our guts finds 10 million genes from bacteria.

Yet another reason jumping spiders are amazing
They not only make adorable dances, but they also make adorable noises! Listen!

Technicolor Higgs
Is the Higgs particle all there is? Some physicists think that it might actually be a composite of smaller particles bound by yet another force.

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19 November, 2014 – Episode 490 – This Week in Science

November 21st, 2014

What Did Philae Do?, Triclosan Does What?, Black Holes Spooky Quasars, Meteoric Pigeon Hypotheses, On A Bear Hunt, Of Mice And Men, Sea Stars A’wastin, Bankers Ethics, Living For Memory, Moldable Old Brains, Flies Under Pressure, Kiss Of Bacteria, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
Science is knowledge that refutes myth, superstition, and conjecture…
It has the power to dissolve ignorance, cure illness, and is the main process by which necessity births invention…
To describe nature, the world and the cosmos without referencing mythology is the key to the scientific method.
Without this freedom, we would not be where we are today, and if we should ever lose this freedom, we will go no further in our scientific pursuit…
But for today, we still have this freedom and there for we still have
This week in science… coming up next

What Did Philae Do?
The little ESA lander on comet 67P, skipped to a stop in the lee of some kind of ridge last Wednesday morning. It’s location made energizing the craft with solar energy impossible, so scientists enacted a plan to use the craft’s batteries to do as much science as possible before they failed. The first result has come back from a German instrment, indicating that there are organic molecules on the comet.

Triclosan Does What?
A new study finds that long-term exposure to triclosan in mice leads to liver fibrosis and cancer.

Black Holes Spooky Quasars
Scientists working with data from the VLT found that quasars line up with the filaments of the universe.

The latest of the Pigeon Hypotheses
The newest research data suggests pigeons have a gyroscope in their brain, so it is gravity, and not magnetism, nor mental maps, that guide them home.

Bear hunting kills a lot more bears than just that prize specimen
Infanticide increased and Fecundity (reproductive success) decreased in times of high hunting pressure. This is a triple-whammy on these very important top predators.

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Of Mice And Men
According to the mouse ENCODE Consortium, mice and humans share many genetic elements and pathways, but there are differences that should be used to inform future research.

Sea Stars A’wastin
Researchers from Cornell University led a team of scientists in search of the cause of a sudden and devastating wasting disease in Pacific Ocean sea stars. The effort has identified a viral vector called a densovirus as the possible cause, leading scientists to home in on what is being described as Sea Star associated Densovirus.

Not a surprise…
Banking ethics are not found in bankers.

Fruit flies succumb to peer pressure
Fruit flies will often conform to societal norms, unless previously trained for other behavior. So, flies are not complete sheep, but there are definitely sheepish undertones…

Old brains just as moldable
Researchers found changes reflecting plasticity in the brains of older people, but not in the same places as in younger brains.

Trans Fats Bad For MemoryTumeric Time!SCN And MemoryShift Work And MemoryNo Nighttime Iron?
A number of studies this week point to ways that our diet and lifestyle influence our brain and body. Some foods contain components like trans-fat, which are bad for memory, while others contains like tumeric seems to boost memory. Additionally, when we sleep can affect the functioning of our SCN, and lead to declines in memory ability over time. It is also possible that lack of synchrony between the brain and organs like the liver can influence metabolic problems.

Calorie Restrict Your Brain
The gene profiles of female mice fed 30% fewer calories than controls were less likely to mirror the changes that occur with aging.

Kiss Of Bacteria
Kissing for 10 seconds allows the transfer of up to 80 million bacteria between partners.

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