22 June, 2016 – Episode 571 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 25th, 2016

CRISPR For Cancer, Cas9 Versus Mutations, High Life, Source Of Rice, Oldest Farmers, Tricky Crab Traps, Dating Advice From Fish, Interview w/ Britt-Marie Hermes re: naturopathy vs. medicine, Smart Little Kakas, Undead Genes, Zika Vaccine, Placebo Brain Games, Quasi-Satellite, Robot Brains, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Nothing you have experienced will prepare you for what you are about to hear
That is unless you have been listening for awhile
In which case your mind is fully prepared to encounter the unknown
To delve brain first into the abyss of human knowledge
And step out the other side wet with insights into the inner workings of nature…
To the untrained brain, the journey may seem wrought with hidden dangers
The landscapes unfamiliar, and destination uncertain, the weather at once carefree and whimsical
And also wrought, if I can use wrought again here without seeming to over embellish…
Weather wrought with a wild foreboding…
and a willful wrath for whimsical ways…
It is as if…
everything we learn could in some way be turned against us…
It is not knowledge of the unknown that makes this so…
But knowledge of ourselves…
And in knowing the ways that man can hurl hardships at his fellow human
We pause…
we hesitate to speak what truths we know…
what mysteries we have lain bare…
What new knowledge we have now wrought forth from the abyss
(There I’ve used it again)
For fear…
fear it could be used against us…
But do not fear.
For fear is the most formidable force that can be used against you…
Never greater than when it finds you without the knowledge to understand…
never give into fear…
Instead listen…
to the carefree and whimsical voices as they guide you through yet another episode of…
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next

CRISPR For Cancer
Researchers at U of Pennsylvania are working on developing a CRISPR treatment for cancer involving T cells, which has been approved for human testing by a federal biosafety and ethics panel. The experimental treatment still needs approval from the medical centers that would run the study and the FDA.

Cas9 Versus Mutations
The Church lab published a paper in the BioArchiv last week that describes a novel system for inhibiting point mutations in organisms using the Cas9 genetic editor. The paper suggests that this system could potentially be used to prevent antibiotic resistance in bacterial species as well as creating oncogenic mutation prevention systems or even preventing the spread of undesired traits in plants.

Highland East Asian origin for prehistoric Himalayan populations
They’ve been high a long time.

A Source
For rice.

The world’s oldest farmers
Are termites

How some fish keep the magic alive
This is probably true in most relationships, but in a certain hermaphroditic fish, you get what you give.

Crabs trick the ladies into coercion
By literally trapping them inside their homes. Now, that isn’t very gentlemanly!

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Interview with Britt Marie Hermes, a Master’s of Science student in Medical Life Sciences at the University of Kiel. Her research interests include inflammatory and genetic diseases, like psoriasis and Crohn’s. She is also interested in studying medical ethics and epidemiology. A former naturopathic doctor and “natural health expert”, she received a degree in naturopathic medicine from Bastyr University, held a one-year residency, and worked as a naturopathic doctor for three years before deciding that naturopathy is not based in science, is ineffective, and dangerous. She started a petition with change.org to ask the government to end state naturopath licensure and insurance reimbursement.

Aaaand, more science…
They were right all along about old dogs… Or was it kakas?
Except that these are birds… Young-uns do better with new challenges than their elders.

Undead Genes
The amazingly fascinating science of cellular activity after organismal death finds hundreds of genes become more activated in death.

Zika Vaccine
An experimental DNA vaccine for Zika has gotten FDA approval to begin Phase-1 trails. Luckily, this vaccine is not the only one in the works as the US NIAID is hoping to be ready to start trials on theirs in August.

Placebo Brain Games
A new study and review of old literature on brain-training for improving intelligence found that previous positive results may have been due to a placebo effect stemming from personal bias of the volunteers.

Earth has a little friend in space.

Robot Brains

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15 June, 2016 – Episode 571 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 24th, 2016

Interview with RobotGrrl Erin Kennedy re: Robot Missions, New MS Treatment, Gravitational Waves, Hobbit Update, LED free cows, CO2 + Volcanic Rocks = Awesome, New Improved Meteorite, Seeing Exoplanets, Rewarding Empathy, Venus Pictures, Penis Bones, Brainy Birds, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
No matter how long this old world keeps spinning round…
There are somethings that will never change…
Like how untrue the last statement is…
For eventually nothing stays the same…
And while change comes even to those who wait…
Waiting around is not the science-y way…
So each day scientists set out to change what we know about…
well, everything.
And once a week we get together with a fresh list of what new things scientists have discovered
that will forever change how we see the world around us…
Here on This Week in Science…
Coming up next!

Interview with @RobotGrrl, Erin Kennedy, roboticist extraordinaire who is on a mission to help the world with robots, and to show the world that anyone can make robots that matter. Check out her Robot Missions!

Support us on Patreon!

New MS Treatment
Stem cells are treating MS!

Gravitational Waves!
More of them!

Hobbit update
Hobbitses had little ancestors!

LED free cows
Well, milk…

Molecular Handedness
Distant complex molecules have been found in a gas cloud near the Milky Way’s black hole that could give clues to the preferences of life.

CO2 + Volcanic Rocks = Awesome
Let’s put gas in the ground.

It came from space!!!
A new type of meteorite found.

Seeing Exoplanets
Is getting more and more amazing…

Empathy can be rewarding…

Images From Venus
The Japanese space probe is finally sending miages back to Earth, and they are wonderful.

Penis Bones
Evolved many times.

Brainy Birds
They have more neurons.

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08 June, 2016 – Episode 570 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 10th, 2016

Bioluminescent Fishes, CRISPR on RNA, Deglaciating Bison, Pre-Columbian Trade, Fish Face, Fiber-Optic Eyes, Microplastic Bothers, Interview w/ Dr. Elizabeth Sibert on World Oceans, Slime Mold Problem-Solvers, Jumping Eels, Provisional Names!, New Chemical Rules!, Inbred Neander News, Not Lost City, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Right now, at this very moment, there is an archeological site directly beneath your feet…
Beneath the paved roads and home foundations…
Under the swimming pools and strip malls…
Within the soil, in the rocks, and in-between the roots of trees…
there are clues to the history of the planet and the creatures who have called it home…
And this history can be revealed…
And if you happen to live in the Americas…
There is an ancient peoples beneath your feet…
A people that lived in the Americas ten thousand years before bronze-age men poured into Europe for the first time…
A people who fished and farmed and traded goods,
before the pyramids of Egypt were built…
A people who hunted ice age megafauna…
while Scandinavian lands were still too cold for Vikings to inhabit…
A people who traveled further from our collective origins than any others in exploration of our planet…
And it’s all there, wherever you happen to be standing…
a treasure trove of history, right there beneath your feet.
As with most knowledge…
its not your proximity to the information,
but how you search for it that counts…
And lucky for you your search has brought you here as you are now closer than you think to another episode of…
This Week In Science…
coming up next!

Bioluminescent Fishes
A recent study suggests that we are vastly underestimating the number of times that bioluminescence has evolved in organisms around the world. In its review of fish species, the study found that bioluminescence evolved separately at least 27 times.

In a new CRISPR development, researchers have confirmed a form of CRISPR/Cas9 that cleaves single-stranded RNA, potentially opening up a novel direction for therapeutic innovations.

Deglaciating Bison
Finding once frozen fossils of the bison that people in the ancient Americas used to hunt is telling us more about those people.

Pre-Columbian Trade
Turns out people in the Americas were trading with people across the sea well before Colubus ever showed up.

Fish know your face
If fish can differentiate human faces, then it may be a skill we have overlooked in many, many types of animals.

Fiber-optic eyes?
Squid use what looks like a evolutionary mistake to create a pseudo-invisibility cloak!

Microplastics are bothering fish more than just in their tummies
As larvae, plastics inhibit development, too. Just another reason to reduce plastic entering our waterways!

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Interview with Dr. Elizabeth Sibert. Having recently completed her PhD in the Norris lab at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Elizabeth Sibert is both a paleontologist and an oceanographer. She studies tiny fossils called ichthyoliths, and is here to discuss the oceans with us.

Slime Molds solve problems!
A life form without a brain, or even neurons, can make strategic, logical decisions. Dude…

Jumping Eels
The electric eel jumps out of the water to shock its prey or intruders. Shocking!

Provisional Names!
Names have been proposed for the heavy elements recently added to the periodic table: nihonium, moscovium, tennessine, and oganesson.

New Chemical Rules!
The US Senate has finally ratified a reform bill that changes the decades old and out-of-date Toxic Substances Control Act, aiming to bring more science into the regulation of new chemicals.

Inbred Neander News
Inbreeding among the neandertals has left humans with genetic troubles.

Lost city under the sea lost no more!
They thought it was Atlantis. But, they were wrong. It was just rocks.

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01 June, 2016 – Episode 569 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 3rd, 2016

Don’t Fear Your Phone, Virus Battles Cancer, Global Spin Marketing, To Catch A Cheater, Amphipod Claws, Interview w/ Sean Carroll about The Big Picture, Dancing Insect Hairs, Life From Comets, Of Peppered Moths And Butterfly Wings, Pot News, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
According to the most cutting edge research in science…
A term paper will not write itself…
If a desk is messy today,
no amount of waiting around will find it organized again without work…
If a sink full of dirty dishes is left alone,
it will continue to be a sink full of dirty dishes,
or worse, without effort…
And if you break an egg to make your breakfast…
You can prepare that egg anyway you like…
but won’t wind up with a neatly unbroken egg at the end…
You will end up with a dirty dish
that you have likely left on your messy desk
where your unwritten term paper is still not finished…
This is just one of the quirks of living in a universe with an arrow of time…
And while entropy is a major obstacle to procrastinating your way to a completed term paper…
Entropy is absolutely necessary for a world in which term papers are possible…
As the world becomes more complicated it also becomes more interesting…
And the more interesting the world becomes the more there is to learn about…
And the more there is to learn about the more you will hear about it here on
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Don’t Fear Your Phone
Another cell phone radiation study has been released that purports to show a link between radiation and brain and heart tumors in male rats. However, nobody’s talking about the many problems in the study.

Virus Battles Cancer
If you are suffering from a brain tumor, a new method involving a virus and cancer-fighting chemicals has passed Phase I clinical trials with the greatest of ease extending survival rates for those with tumors.

Global spin marketing
Words matter, but so does context.

Which came first, the cheater or the couch potato??
Male sparrows put less effort into raising their chicks when the female is likely to step out on him. They made their judgements based on the character of the female, not the paternity of the chicks, so the phrase “once a cheater” really means something in the sparrow world…

Hey baby, are you right or left-handed?
Amphipod ladies prefer a right-clawed gentleman, and despite it getting in the way, the bigger the claw the better. But why are there still lefties, then?

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Interview with theoretical physicist, Sean Carroll, about his new book, The Big Picture.

Life From Comets
The amino acid glycine and mineral phosphorus have been found on comet 67P by the Rosetta mission.

Of Peppered Moths And Butterfly Wings
Two studies out this week single out mutations in a gene called cortex as the source of variation in wing color variation in both the storied peppered moths and the wings of butterflies.

Dancing Hairs Tell Bees Where it’s At
…The nectar that is… The hairs on a bee can sense the electric signals coming from a flower. Is that like smelling a color? Or tasting a sound? Woah, man…

Cannabis and health
A New Zealand study delved into the health effects of smoking weed.

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25 May, 2016 – Episode 568 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

June 3rd, 2016

A Force of Nature?, Red Geysers, Maladapted Marshmallows, Beetle Genitals, Spider Gifts, Dolphin Snot, Venomous Drugs, CLOUDs From Trees, Egyptian Takeovers, Cockroach Magnetism, Of Antibiotics And Beetles, Birdie Colors, Monster Croc, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Regardless of what is about to happen…
do not panic…
Though you may want to take this opportunity to grab a towel…
A towel,
as I am sure you know,
is the most massively useful thing a minion of science can have.
Especially practical in dangerous times when one really, really, really wants to panic…
You can wrap it around you for warmth as you slurry across the artic melt counting polar bears…
You can lie on it while etching meticulous layers of sediment away from a found fossil
You can sleep under it beneath the radiation and stars which shine so steadily on mars…
Convert it to a sail and free yourself from a castaway’s fate of island dwarfism
Wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat or simply to ward off cats
Wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes,
or to protect yourself from traumatic insemination…
You can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal,
as long as that emergency is not a hungry polar bear that has been lurking about
and now thinks you are waving it over,
ready to be eaten…
and of course,
you can dry yourself off with it if you have recently showered in the knowledge that is
This Week In Science
Coming Up Next…

A Force of Nature?
A Hungarian lab has published results of experiments that hint at a neverbeforeseen particle with very unusual interactions that might be a fifth fundamental force apart from gravity, electromagnetism, and the strong and weak forces.

Red Geysers
A closer look at quiescent galaxies where star formation seems to be somehow depressed suggests that episodically active supergiant black holes might underlie the phenomenon.

Maladapted Marshmallows
Is impulsiveness maladaptive or simply a smart survival strategy for those with less? We don’t know, but it all has to do with vagal tone.

Beetle co-evolution… of genitalia
Drastic changes in genitalia occured in just 10 generations when submitted to selective pressures, and they were deeply intertwined… in more ways that one.

Gifts discourage eating mates
Men, take note (if you are a spider).

Dolphin snot makes sounds, and it isn’t the trumpet of a nose blow!
The mystery behind dolphin sounds may be revealed, and it is probably mucus…

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Venoms for drug discovery
A new method of drug discovery is locating compounds in venoms that can be quickly and easily put to use.

CLOUDs From Trees
Two papers in Nature report that cloud formation might come from vapors released by vegetation, and that pre-industrial skies might have looked surprisingly more cloudy as a result.

Nubian/ Egyptian culture…
It took over nicely.

Cockroach Magnetism
Cryptochrome 1 (Cry1) in fruit flies has been linked to detection on magnetic fields. Testing in cockroaches suggests that Cry2, a related protein, is involved in magnetic sensitivity in these insects.

Of Antibiotics And Beetles
Antibiotics fed to cattle alter the dung environmen and thus methane emissions. The unexpected effect is that dung beetle biobiomes are affected as well.

Red pigment is more than just pretty
The same chromosomes that give red beaks also make a bird more fit, increasing their ability to shed toxins from their body. What’s more, the same are also linked to seeing red!

“Man-eating” monster croc running amok in the Everglades
Next time you see a croc in Florida, you may want to take a second look. Or, you might just be better off slowing walking away…

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18 May, 2016 – Episode 567 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 19th, 2016

Massive Mastodon Hunts, Origami Belly Bots, Biodiversity Is Everything, Bad Panda Poop, The Cuckoo Mafia, Progress For Math, Simultaneous Hermaphrodites Take Turns, Bad Antibacterial Guts, Satisfied Lady Gorillas, Good For Overpasses!, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
The following hour of programming is being performed without a net…
As Annette could not be with us tonight…
Everything you are about to hear is recorded live, unrehearsed and unedited…
Unless we happen to curse…
in which case we will edit out the curse word,
and replace it with a more polished, high production value curse word…
The content has been vetted only in that we have read it,
believe that it comes from a reliable source,
and think that it may be interesting to talk about…
Aside from working without a net…
Dr. Kiki is also not with us tonight…
While many long time listeners will be saddened to hear that Kiki has left the show…
They will be delighted to learn that it is only for tonight, and that she will be back again next week….
So while the Dr. is away, the patients will be running the Twisylum here on
This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next…

Native Nation hunted Mastodons
… for days.

Take two robots, call me in the morning…
A new origami robot hides in a pill, and unfolds to do work in your stomach!

Biodiversity is more than just a pretty landscape
It hold deep, powerful protections from environmental stressors, such as climate change.

The cuckoo mafia is real… And they’re coming for your chicks.
Brood parasites will punish parents who kick out their eggs severely. But, is it really the mind-game it appears to be?

Panda poop
Gives further evidence that they are bad at panda-ing.

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Progressive Girls do it better…
Girls and boys perform more equally at math in progressive countries.

Chalk bass decide who’s the man and the woman in the relationship
As simultaneous hermaphrodites, these fish must make a decision of who will lay the eggs and who will fertilize them. They do it how any healthy couple would make a decision such as this, they take turns.

Anti bac bad for guts
And, for brains.

Homosexual activity observed in wild female Gorillas for the first time
And scientists couldn’t find any reason for it besides satisfaction!

Overpasses save lives
For wild species, at an alarming rate!

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11 May, 2016 – Episode 566 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 13th, 2016

Kepler Finds More Planets!, Martian Oxygen???, Earth’s Thin Atmosphere, Oldest Axe Ever, Loud Moths, Interview w/ Josiah Zayner re: Microbiome Transplantation, Lizard Tail Tales, Deadly Reptiles, Conservation By Kids, Sea Star Resurgence?, Memory Genes, Sleep Science, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
You are what you eat…
so the old saying goes,
or so the old saying once went…
And in many respects this tidbit of condensed wisdom remains true enough
Yet most old sayings,
despite all of their condensable wisdom,
are woefully lacking in details…
But that’s part of being an old saying…
keep it short,
make it true-ish,
and move on to other half truths that get you through the day…
Science is a tester of truths,
the older the better….
And half truths in the eyes of science are like half cooked meals or half read books…
Unsatisfying in unfinished form,
and anything but wise to proceed as if they were…
In the example of You are what you eat,
yet keeping with condensable form we have updated the saying slightly to say…
You are the microflora in your gut,
and should feed them accordingly…
And as far as new sayings go,
it lacks detail and is only half true at best…
So in order to give greater context to this tidbit of wisdom we offer you
This Week in Science…
Coming up next…

Kepler Finds More Planets!
Over 1200 exo-planets were announced by the Kepler team this week bringing the total to more than 2300. Of these, nine exist within their star’s habitable zone.

Martian Oxygen???
Discovered by a 747 here on Earth.

Earth’s Thin Atmosphere
New data collected from bubbles in lava confirm that early Earth’s atmosphere was less than half as thick as it is now. This result raises questions about how the Earth stayed above freezing.

New oldest axe ever found
The Northern Australians had it figured out around 50,000 years ago.

…Yelled the moth to the bat…

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Interview with Josiah Zayner, Ph.D, about his personal microbiome transplant experiment. Josiah transplanted someone else’s microbiome into and onto his body. Yes, he ate poop pills, and smeared his skin with microbe samples. Why? When? How? And… how’d it turn out? Listen to the show! (Here’s the link to The Verge article referenced in the show. Also, the Reddit AMA where Josiah posted the graphs of his data.)

And, More SCIENCE!!!
A telling tale of the lizards tail
Learning how lizards re-grow limbs, may help us do the same one day.

Favorite reptiles are also the most deadly
Is it any surprise that reptiles get a bad rap? The most popular reptiles searched for on the web are also the most dangerous…

Kids are good judges of conservation priorities
Children polled on which conservation issues should get hypothetic funding were surprisingly different from adults, but even more surprisingly, right in line with scientists’ views.

Sea Star Resurgence?
With high survival rates in this year’s sea star population, scientists wonder if wasting disease will be on the wane.

Memory genes
Genes related to memory consolidation might help with treating Alzheimer’s.

Sleep Perchance To Science
New wearable tech and time-shifting apps have given scientists access to sleep data from people around the world, allowing them to confirm lab studies of sleep habits and find new trends.

(And, just because it was awesome…) John Oliver On Science Reporting
Did you watch it? How do you think TWIS rates?

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04 May, 2016 – Episode 565 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

May 6th, 2016

How Ketamine Lifts, Weight Loss Gains, Dinos And Dung Beetles, Traumatic Insemination, Interview w/ Dr. Amro Hamdoun from UCSD, Rok Runestone Re-Read, Rhino Seed Vault?, 1 Trillion Friends?, Robo-Clicker For Dogs, How To Boil Water On Mars, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Very recently in a galaxy right where you are now…
A new knowledge
It is a period of scientific discovery…
A Science-y podcast, striking from a hidden studio,
has done their best to inform the public about current science knowledge.
During the podcast, the hosts managed to retell cutting edge news that could lead to breakthrough cures, advances in green technology and yes even a DEATH STAR, or super nova with enough power to destroy an entire planet…
several entire planets in fact if they happen to have been orbiting the star before it went super nova…
Pursued by the sinister agents of scientific ignorance, Princesses Kiki and Blair reach out from their podcast, custodians of the recent research that can save their people and restore informed thinking to the galaxy….
Also there will be lasers and robots and space craft and bizarre life forms and Justin mind tricks and much much more so May the 4th be with you here on…
This Week in Science
Coming up next…

How Ketamine Lifts
NIH funded scientists have found that Ketamine itself is not responsible for the depression-lifting effects of the drug, but rather a metabolite, which raises the possibility of creating a treatment for depression that doesn’t have the dissociative and tranquilizing effects of the original.

Weight Loss Gains
A study of contestants on The Biggest Loser found that after losing substantial weight on the show, the majority of individuals gained a lot of the weight back despite efforts to keep it off. Turns out that their bodies are working against them with metabolic rates that have slowed by about 500 calories a day compared to other people of their size.

Flowers, Dinos, and Dung beetles
Quite the evolutionary web woven from poo.

It’s Blair’s favorite reproductive strategy, back with a twist!
Traumatic insemination: this time it’s even more horrifying…
Twisted-winged parasites traumatically inseminate females… wait for it… while they reside inside another animal!!! Ewwwww!!!

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Interview with Dr. Amro Hamdoun from UCSD about the latest research from his lab.
A recent paper published in Science Advances by the Hamdoun lab found that persistent organic pollutants in the ocean accumulate in the tissues of tuna, and inhibit the cellular defenses of cells in humans and mice by binding with transport proteins essential for blocking chemicals from entering the body through the gut and other tissues.

Rok Runestone Re-read
Are ancient runes nothing more than a really old graffiti tag?

A seed vault, indeed!
A stunted family tree doesn’t necessarily have to be lights out for the species…

1 Trillion Friends?
A new analysis of the bacterial populization of the Earth estimates that there are between 100 billion and 1 trillion species on the planet… with fewer than 0.001 percent discovered.

Are we training our dogs wrong?
Or, in a rare twist, are we better at it than robots??? A computer pack on a harness on a dog was more consistent at rewarding desired behavior, but overall a little less accurate. Knowing what we do, is this the golgen ticket for animal training??

How To Boil Water On Mars
With an experiment on Earth, researchers have recreated the conditions on Mars, and shown that sub-surface boiling of briny water could produce streaks similar to those seen on the surface of Mars.

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