06 December, 2017 – Episode 648 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

December 8th, 2017

Interview w/ K. Arcand & M. Watzke On Magnitude, North South Links, Sea Turtle Lost Years, Missing Link!, Bronze Age Space Bling, Hereditary Mental Illness, Tongue Clusters, Uterus Ethics?, And Much More!!!

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We live in interesting times.
There are other descriptors we could apply.
But for the sake of time,
and the lack of safe harbor,
we’ll leave it at that for the moment.
In these interesting times,
there are plenty of things to vying to occupy your mind.
And these things are everywhere…
Every form of entertainment is at your disposal…
Television and movies that take you away to strange and exotic places that…
during the car chase and after the recycled formulaic plot twists…
may seem pretty familiar by now…
Our political satire has never been better,
often performed by actual politicians!
You can watch your favorite sports ball teamers…
play the game they’ve been playing over and over again,
year after year…
Ya’know, I think they’re getting pretty good at it too…
And video gaming has never been better…
tickling brains with better graphics then ever before…
But at the end of the day,
if all these of things that have attempted to occupy your mind…
Have failed to be interesting to you…
fear not.
For the truly interesting content your brain has been thirsting for is finally here on…
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi! I really love your show! I listen to it on my daily walks around the neighborhood PokeStops. I found you just a few weeks ago searching through the Podcast Addict app and I have a lot to catch up on. Anyway, I’d like to tell you what science has done for me lately. Neuropsychology has helped me understand who I am and why I’m a bit weird. I was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome just a year ago, at the age of 41. Of course, now it’s known as ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder. When I was a child, this syndrome or disorder wasn’t widely known and so it took all this time for the doctors to realize this. Until then, I had been treated for depression, when in fact I was just tired from meltdowns. Now that I know what I am, I understand myself so much better and it also helps me understand others a bit more. Praise be to those much smarter than I am \o/ ????
–Nero Kosonen”

Interview w/ Megan Watzke and Kimberly Arcand, authors of Magnitude: The scale of the universe.
Kimberly Arcand is the visualization lead for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, specializing in image and meaning research, and in data representation. She lives near Providence, RI.
Megan Watzke is the press officer for NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, specializing in communicating astronomy with the public. She lives in Seattle, WA.
Together, Arcand and Watzke are the authors of several popular science books including Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond and Your Ticket to the Universe: A Guide to Exploring the Universe.

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North South Links
California will get drier and experience more drought as the Arctic melts.

Sea Turtle Lost Years
Not so lost after all, sea turtles from South America appear to actively swim to avoid the continental shelf and stay offshore during their developmental years prior to reproduction.

Missing Link!
But, isn’t every link missing until it’s found?

Bronze age space bling
It’s all meteorites, yo!

Hereditary Mental Illness
Children of Finnish women evacuated from Finland during WWI experience more psychological disorders than others suggesting that some aspect of trauma is passed from one generation to the next.

Tongue Clusters
New microbial imaging of the tongue shows that unlike the bacterial mixing that occurs in other tissues, the tongue appears segregated.

Uterus transplant a success!

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29 November, 2017 – Episode 647 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

November 30th, 2017

Zombie Matter, China’s DAMPE, 6 Letter Alphabet, Yeti Buzzkill, Dumb Lizards, Mars Worms, Buff Ladies, Heart Patch, Fuzzy Dino Bird, Origami Muscles, Rats Of NY, Bacterial Rush, Coffee Climate, And Much More…

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The following hours of programing are intended for a specific audience…
You may or may not think your-self to be who we are looking for…
And that’s all right…
just relax…
It isn’t you…
Our target audience is the human brain…
And sometimes to get there,
to get messages to the human brain…
You have to slip them past the human filters…
That bogged down bouncer of enlightened thought…
So for the next few hours,
relax your senses…
Even if you happen to love the content…
Even if you happen to be offended by the content…
It’s all designed to sneak past your ears…
So that we may communicate with your brain directly
in a relaxed way…
And soon,
without even realizing it…
Your brain will be awash in science-y goodness with another episode of…
This Week In Science.
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“What has science done for me lately? (I’m sorry if this is too long to use…. I got a bit carried away)

Like many others who have answered this question for you, I’m truly thankful for medical advances and new technologies. But my real answer to this question is a bit different. You see, for the past 20 years I’ve taught science to the very young. 10 years at a science museum, and 10 years as preschool teacher. My daily interaction with science isn’t at all high tech.
–I’ve put too many lima beans into cups of dirt to count. I never tell my students what’s going to happen…. And they’re always amazed.
–We bring our trowels outside and almost every day we dig for worms. Last week a 4 year old asked why we weren’t finding many and I got to talk about the changing seasons and how different animals deal with the cold weather.
–We mix blue water and yellow water and HOLY CRAP we get green!
–We have pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches and even though other people don’t like them, we know a lot about them so we’re not scared or grossed out.
–last week a little girl asked me what happened if you put spaghetti in the freezer. I loved it! “”That’s a great question! Let’s try it and find out!””
–My crowning achievement as a preschool science teacher was when (with a lot of parent help) I guided a group of 5 year olds in dissecting cow eyeballs.

For me, science isn’t facts and figures and new discoveries. For me, science is showing very young people that the world is jam packed with secrets and mysteries. That we can ask questions. And that we can find the answers.

So what has science done for me lately? It has given me the joy and privilege of helping children discover awe and wonder for the world around them.

Mat Vandeneynden
Columbus, Ohio”

Zombie Matter
Dark matter lives on in the world of physics regardless of what you may have heard online.

China’s DAMPE
The Chinese Dark Matter Particle Explorer, which was launched in 2015, has observed over 1.5 million cosmic ray electrons and positrons, and begun an indirect, yet promising, test looking for dark matter.

6 Letter Alphabet
Researchers have successfully encoded and decoded bacterial DNA containing two additional base pair letters, X and Y, to produce proteins with non-standard amino acids. The feat opens the door to further synthetic biology programming.

Yeti Buzzkill
Mysterious creatures inhabiting the high mountains of Asia discovered… yeti?

Climate change is making lizards dumb.
Hotter incubation temperatures make for bearded dragons lacking in certain congnitive faculties. Great, now climate change is attacking our brains, too!!

Worms flourish in Mars simulant soil!
Worms successfully started a first generation of Mars-simulant born progeny, in a study testing the applications of agriculture on the red planet. So, when should we buy the time share? Is it now?

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Buff ladies
Stronger arm muscles imply that ancient ladies did a lot of hard work.

Heart Patch
Using induced pluripotent stem cells, Duke scientists have created a working artificial heart muscle large enough to potentially treat damaged heart muscle.

Dino’s of a feather…
Were still dinos.

Origami Muscles
Using principles of origami, researchers have developed an easily produced, low-cost artificial muscle with potentially superior contractile abilities to natural muscle.

Rats Of NY
Enjoy their own neighborhoods.

Long haired bacteria named after the members of the band Rush.

Growing coffee in a changing climate
As the climate shifts, we may need to take a page out of mother nature’s book and grow diverse landscapes to save our precious perk-inducing beverage.

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22 November, 2017 – Episode 646 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

November 24th, 2017

Interstellar Visitor, Kill Switches & A Driving Debate, Poo & You!, Dolphin Gifts, Sinister Loving Snails, Another Genome?, Gut Brain Effects, Prion Skinny, Turkey Trouble, Science Take Down!, And Much More…

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The thankful season is once again upon us…
And while the President has plenty of turkeys he would like to pardon…
We should pause here a moment to consider giving thanks
To a creature that has done more than just fill our bellies in a feast.
A creature that has nourished our minds
and propelled us into a more healthy and prosperous future…
The heroes behind many of our Nobel Prize winning humans…
Living lives dedicated to science…
And while our whiskered cousins may not claim credit for their results…
The modern era of science, medicine and psychology would not have been possible…
Without their bold and bountiful contributions…
Their model metabolisms,
And their stoic, steadfast equivalence of our emotional equilibrium,
So to the Lab Rat and Research Mouse alike,
We offer you our heat felt thanks this season… here on
This Week In Science…
Twisgiving edition…
Coming up next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“What has science done for me? drugs that simultaneously fixed my depression and my insulin resistance.
–Tedward LeCouter”

Interstellar Visitor
Oumuamua is the name of the first detected visitor to our solar system from another star.

Engineered Kill Switch
Synthetic biologists have developed a “kill switch” for bacteria to ensure potential safety for future environmental applications.

Gene Drive Debate
Will gene drives ever be safe for release into the wild?

Things that make you go poo…
Microbiome and tissue contractions that are indispensable for healthy bowel functions

What do spiders and dolphins have in common?
They know the value of a good present to sweeten-up a lady. Dolphins bring high-quality sponges to potential mates, to increase their chances of getting the “yes.”

Sinister snails find love easier than expected
Snails with torsion (twisting) in the “wrong way” have been found to reproduce with classically twisted snails. This has cascading consequences for any species of snail characterized by their torsion.

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3rd external genome?
Bacteriophage Transcytosis?!?

Gut Brain Effects
Several abstracts presented last week at the Society for Neuroscience meeting discussed the interplay between the microbiome and neurodegenerative disease according to an article in The Scientist.

Yet another reason to wash your hands…
NIH scientists and collaborators find prion protein in skin of CJD patients

Turkey Trouble
Happy Thanksgiving. Wild turkey populations are in decline in the US for the first time in decades.

Using science to take down poachers!
As though a modern-day tricorder, new on-the-spot DNA scanning technology will help federal agents identify trafficked animal products at the moment of entry into the US!

Bats Fall For Surfaces
Acoustic properties of flat, smooth surfaces might confuse bats and lead to collisions.

Chorus Microburst Energy!
NASA’s Van Allen probes got a boost from the FIREBIRD II cubesat when observations provided more evidence that chorus waves in the Van Allen belts lead to high energy electron emissions into our upper atmosphere.

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15 November, 2017 – Episode 645 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

November 16th, 2017

Interview w/ Kelly Weinersmith, Noisy Feathers, Smelly Feathers, Wine Time, Climatia Update, Neolithic Farmer Gatherers, Pulsar Pulse, Zinc Finger Treatment, Sex Attacks, And Much More…

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“My first what has science done for me lately Limerick:
I work as a pharmacy technician.
Healing the sick is my mission.
With research and tech,
I yell go to heck,
And beat viruses to submission.
–Travus Leroux”

Interview with Dr. Kelly Weinersmith, Co-Author of Soonish!
Dr. Weinersmith is Adjunct Faculty in the BioSciences Department at Rice University, where she studies parasites that manipulate the behavior of their hosts. In addition to being a respected researcher, she co-hosts ‘Science… Sort Of’, which is one of the top 20 natural science podcasts. Kelly spoke at Smithsonian Magazine’s “The Future is Here 2015,” and her work has been featured in The Atlantic, Science, Nature, National Geographic, BBC World, Gizmodo, and CBC’s Quirks and Quarks.

Blair’s Animal Corner!
Noisy feathers
Crested pigeons make a noise when they take off that warns their comrades of incoming trouble. Birds may be nature’s one man band!

Smelly feathers
Australian parrots have smelly feathers that tell their story to fellow birds, and unfortunately, their fiercest predators.

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A wine before time…
A discovery from the Neolithic period just made wine more aged.

Climatia Update
A new climate analysis estimates that Texas is at an increasing risk of dangerous rainfall levels in the next 83 years. Our CO2 emissions are going up again after leveling off for a few years. But, if we start working together and planning, we might at least be able to feed a lot more people on this planet.

Neolithic farmer gatherers…
Neolithic hunter-gatherers didn’t die off, but were integrated into farming peoples who settled near them.

Wealth inequality bust or boom?
The more unequal, the bigger the bust for society at large.

Pulsar Pulse
Researchers are building a gravitational wave detection array from pulsars in surrounding quadrants of space to try to pick up the low-frequency signals of super-massive black holes colliding.

Giving The Zinc Finger
For the first time, a gene editing technology involving zinc-finger nucleases was used to treat a man suffering from Hunter syndrome.

Sex Attacks
Cardiac arrest really doesn’t happen that often after or during sex, but when it does, female lovers aren’t very likely to give CPR or call 911.

What’s the buzz?
That depends on if you’re organic. Bees buzz differently when exposed to pesticides, resulting in less pollen propagation. Poop…

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


08 November, 2017 – Episode 644 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

November 10th, 2017

Transgenes For Skin, Renewed Explosions, Murdering of Cells, Clumsy Male Mammoths, Speedy Salmon Sperm, Human Height, Rejuvenation Of Cells, Artificially Sweet Septic, Helpful Bonobos, An Awful Death, Who’s Baaaaaaaaaad?, Rod-Cones!, And Much More…

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Tonight’s show is not for the feint of heart…
Although Halloween has passed…
There are still plenty of things going bump in the night…
What exactly is making the sounds you hear outside your window in the dark?
Could it be an undead supernova…
stirring in its starry grave?
Or maybe it’s a mindless mammoth meandering after midnight?
Are you frozen out of fear?
Or because a frightful fungus is forcing you not to flee?
And while there may be a killer or two out there…
Wait til you hear about one lurking much nearer…
But not to worry,
it’s not all the stuff of night mares ahead…
We have science stories,
all sorts…
On This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Science gave us science teachers! I was homeless for a time in high school resulting in a myriad of issues jumping from school to school. By junior year I was sick of being placed in remedial classes due to administration not willing to determine what the different transcripts were saying about my class rank. I went to this new school asking anyone who would listen that I needed to be placed into AP Chemistry. The amazing Mrs Ward led the charge to let me take the class which eventually led me to pursue my PHD in physical chemistry.”
–Veronica Hayes

Transgenes For Skin
Doctors and scientists successfully transplanted skin created from transgenic autologous stem cells onto a Syrian child in Germany who had lost almost the entirety of his epidermis due to a severe case of a disease called junctional epidermolysis bullosa. The transplantation is successful even 2 years later.

Renewed Explosions
Observations of a supernova by the Palomar Observatory have deemed the dying star incredibly unusual because instead of exploding just once, it apparently exploded multiple times, with the earliest record possibly dating back to 1954.

Ancestral Changes
Height and weight evolved at different speeds in the bodies of our ancestors

Male mammoths died of clumsiness
These “lone wolf” lone mammoths are found most often because they lacked the ability to look where they stepped, new research suggests…

Hold on to your hats and glasses, cause this here is the fastest sperm in the wilderness!
Salmon can adjust the speed of their sperm to beat rivals to the egg, within as little as 48 hours, by changing the composition of their seminal fluid. Now THAT’S an evolutionary arms race!!

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Murdering of Cells
Researchers have caught killer cells red-handed, observing them as they systematically killed three strains of bacteria

Rejuvenation Of Cells
Old skin cells treated with resveratrol analogues that act as what are known as “splicing factors” seemed to become ‘youthful’ again: their telomeres expanded, the cell cycle renewed, and they started dividing.

Artificially sweetened septic tanks?
Artificial sweeteners have become a marker for septic system leakage in Canada.

Helpful Bonobos
Bonobos helped strangers to get food, and yawned in response to stranger’s yawns suggesting that trust of strangers, or xenophilia, is a new commonality shared by humans and our closest relatives.

An Awful Death
It was discovered that a parasitic fungus that causes insects to immobilize themselves by grabbing onto a surface with their mandibles doesn’t act via brain control, but rather takes over their periphery. So, in effect, if the insect were aware, it would be aware of not being able to stop itself from putting on its own handcuffs.

Name A World
The New Horizons team is holding a naming contest for the object at the edge of the solar system that will be visited on Jan.1, 2019.

Who’s Baaaaaaaaaad?
Sheep were taught to recognize the faces of celebrities from pictures alone, and responded likewise to pictures of their human caretakers. What’s next? Will shepherds have to buy their flock a subscription to US weekly??

not rods… not cones… rod-cones!

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01 November, 2017 – Episode 643 – This Week in Science

November 2nd, 2017

Cooperating Chimps, Aging Is Inescapable, Peptide Life, Oceanic Kleptos, Vibrating Oysters, Speed Of Gravity, AI For Suicide, Aliens Like Us, Space Brain!, Attosecond X-ray, T-Rex Arms, Salty Saliva, And Much More…

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Nobody gets out of here alive…
It’s not a threat…
Just the cards you have been dealt by being alive…
That one day,
you will shuffle off this mortal coil…
And in the meantime…
Everything you see, hear, smell, taste and touch…
This is the world.
And yet,
the world is much bigger still than this…
For there is knowledge.
Knowledge that can take us far beyond see, hear, smell, taste and touch…
Knowledge that can fill our everything with just about anything
From the big bang to the microbial muck…
From genomic manipulations to rovers on mars…
From basic chemistry to advanced theories on how gravity works
Knowledge is to be found everywhere
And we humans are adept as can be at it.
And every new bit of knowledge that we have…
Gives our world, our life, our everything…
a little more
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Dear Dr. Kiki, Justin, and Blair,

I live in Oklahoma City, where science struggles for respect. But we also have a lot of
wildlife out here, and that’s where science does so much for me. I am a pollinator gardener, and, thanks to countless hard-working entomologists and botanists, I have an x-ray view into the world of the fascinating insects that populate my gardens. Thanks to their studies, I can look at a Monarch butterfly, and fully appreciate the struggles that she has overcome, just to reach my garden. And it is deeply-satisfying to know that I am directly contributing to the survival of a threatened species. And I only know that, because of scientific research.

Scientists also allow me to peer into the inner lives of bees. For example, did you know that Queen bees determine the sex of their babies by choosing whether or not to add sperm to each egg? Entomologists told me that.

Here is another fun story about bees, full of intrigue and internecine warfare. Bumblebees are quite different from honeybees, because their queen isn’t the only one who lays eggs. In late summer, her daughter worker bees also lay eggs. Isn’t that amazing? But wait, there’s more. The Mother bee eats her daughters’ eggs, and they eat hers, and the reproduction battle is on. By the end of the season, the colony will end up with a certain percentage of males who are NOT the queen’s sons. Wicked crazy, right? Thank you, scientists, for this amazing discovery.

And thanks to the scientists who are working hard to find out how to save our pollinators. Our lives would be so boring without the bees and butterflies, not to mention their critical role in agriculture.

And, last but not least, thanks to our science mentors, like you guys. I enjoy your spirited debates. Justin’s crazy ideas are sometimes really spot-on. I’m so glad he thinks outside the box, and I’m also glad that Dr. Kiki and Blair are there to challenge his REALLY crazy ideas. There’s nothing more true to science than a lively debate. Keep up the great work! …..Holly Hunter, Oklahoma City”

Cooperating Chimps
A study shows that chimpanzees will cooperate to count to 8 to get a reward. We wonder what kind of a reward will be required for them to write a Shakespearean sonnet.

Aging Is Inescapable
Two researchers argue that aging is the invetable result of a balance between cell death and cancer, and that there is no way to escape it.

Life… how all that got started
Might not have been RNA first after all.

Kleptopredation – adding insult to injury in the open ocean.
Nudibranchs reportedly exhibit this newly discovered behavior, wherein they eat something that just finished gobbling down their own meal, thereby getting two meals for the price of one. At least the prey didn’t go out hungry?

“Little oysters! Little oysters! But answer there came none.”
And this was scarcely odd because… they were clamped down to hide from the racket you were making.

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Traveling at the speed of gravity
The recent neutron star merger discovery might have negative repercussions for some modified theories of gravity. It all depends on whether gravity travels at the same speed as light.

AI For Suicide
Researchers have developed an artificial intelligence learning algorithm that can identify suicidal brains on the basis of fMRI scans.

Aliens are just like us…
sort of… maybe…

Space Brain!
An MRI study of astronauts brains discovered structural changes to the brain that resulted after long periods in microgravity.

Attosecond X-ray
The fastest thing humans have ever done… create a laser pulse that can keep up with electrons.

No tACS For Memory
In the first study to test tACS direct influence on brain activation in humans, researchers found no effect on memory-related brain waves.

T Rex’s arms may be useful, after all.
Their structure has one researcher scratching his head (which t rex’s can’t do), suggesting that perhaps those stubby arms were used for slashing, if only in the juvenile state?

Salty Saliva
Is there an enzyme in saliva that might keep our salt consumption down?

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


25 October, 2017 – Episode 642 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

October 26th, 2017

Antimatter Matters, CRISPR Pigs!, Medieval Lepracy Squirrels, Shrunken Heads!, Once Upon A Spider Sex, Radioactive Zombie Plastic, Mass Biodiversity Boom?, Bacteria Evolve, Robotic Bees, Daydreaming…, Chury Pebbles, Gun Show Spillover, Spider Venom VR, Stem Cells For Vampires, And Much More…

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As darkness falls across the land
The science hour is close at hand
Creatures crawl in search of studies
To analyze all that research un-muddies
And whichever stories shall be found
Will fill the airwaves with such a sound
Antimatter, CRISPR Pigs,
Jumping Spiders, Shrunken heads…
Medieval leprosy spread by squirrels
Give evolved microbes, spider venom a whirl,
radioactive zombie plastics forming tombs,
Robobees, you’ll hear real soon.
And though you might not hear it live
Your mind will shiver,
hope you survive
For no mere mortal can resist
The science news here on TWiS!
This Week in Science
Halloween Edition…
Coming up Next!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“It allowed me to share my experience at eclipse totality with my on-line friends:
-Selden McCabe”

Antimatter Matters
No differences in magnetism.

Now with less fat! Using CRISPR technology, researchers designed pigs to burn more fat for body temperature regulation in cold environments in the hope that the improved piglets can save farmers money on heating bills.

Medieval Leprosy Squirrels
Squirrels were probably responsible for spreading leprosy in the medieval age.

Shrunken Heads!
Shrew noggins shrink in winter, skull, brain, and all. But why?? And how?? And eww…

Jumping Spider females say, “one and done, mister!”
Jumping spider females have no interest in copulation after the first time. Is that because once is enough? Or once was one too many times?

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Radioactive Zombie Plastic
Gamma rays make recycling plastic into concrete a breeze!

Mass Biodiversity Boom?
A controversial book has emerged arguing that we are not necessarily on the verge of another mass extinction.

Bacteria Evolve
68,000 generations later, what are the E. coli in Richard Lenski’s lab up to?

Robotic Bees
These amazing robots are buzzing flight powerhouses!

Chury Pebbles
Data from the Rosetta mission to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko (aka Chury) suggests that planetisemals form from pebbles of dust and ice that collect due to gravitational forces.

Losing your mind is a good sign
Daydreaming is a possible sign of intelligence!

Gun Show Spillover
Guns shows in Nevada resulted in spikes in gun related deaths and injuries in California.

Suicide For Cancer
In a series of studies researchers have found short RNA sequences that can be used to interfere with cancer cell survival by triggering cell suicide pathways.

Stem Cells For Frailty
Successful Phase I and II trials for treatment of age-related frailty with stem cell infusions derived from younger individuals suggest the therapy might be worth further study.

Spider venom, pain management, and virtual reality
This Halloween, strap on some goggles, explore the human brain, and get bit by lots of spiders… For science!!

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


18 October, 2017 – Episode 641 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

October 19th, 2017

Neutron Star Smash!!!, AIs Rule Go, Salty Science, Saltier Science, Smother Mothers, Venom Variation, Eruption And Famine, No Easter In Argentina, Reproductive Bacteria, Breast Cancer Awareness, Octopus Camouflage, Spider Labyrinths, And Much More…

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A great poet once said something deeply revealing of the human condition…
And spoke it so plainly,
in such a simple string of otherwise ordinary words…
That everyone who heard it felt changed from that day forward…
They were more bold,
and self-assured…
Yet more empathetic and dedicated to the betterment of all…
They all found great happiness and success in their endeavors because of this perspective…
Though unfortunately,
while setting off brightly into their futures,
nobody took the time to write it down.
And, while I have no idea what was said then,
partly because I made it up,
we all can imagine that there is a short and simple string of words
that could invoke our better natures…
I offer you mine here…
Once upon a long ago time…
On a planet near as near can be…
A creature was born that bore a striking resemblance to you and me…
It looked around and wondered…
Is this all there is to see?
This child of evolution,
this beast of biology’s past
Looked around and wondered…
Am I really up to the task?
With feet not quite made for walking…
And eyes pitch blind at night.
It stood up late one evening
And walked clear out of sight.
And where was this primitive child of history headed?
You may have already guessed.
This Week In Science,
Coming up next…

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“I’m a resident of Houston, Texas and in mid-August I had some minor surgery in my arm which left me pretty-much home-bound for the following two weeks. Unfortunately during those two weeks, Hurricane Harvey decided to show up. However, I had science on my side. Due to advances in climatology, meteorology, hydrology, and computer science I was able to stay up to date on the path of the storm, including receiving real time alerts for flooding, heavy rain, and even tornadoes. Thanks to the advances in telecommunications, I was able to stay in touch with the friend who was going to evacuate me, though thankfully it never came to that point. Thanks to the engineers and material scientists I was able to stay warm and dry in my apartment throughout the storm. Thanks to the advances in the sciences of food preparation and stabilization, I was able to stay fed throughout the storm and recovery without having to go to the grocery store repeatedly. Though Harvey was a disaster for Texas, without science it would have been a lot worse.”
–Jay Schneiderman

Neutron Star Smash!!!
The LIGO/VIRGO collaboration announced the detection of the merging of two neutron stars in a specific region of space, and the observation by various telescope arrays of the light signals resulting from that merger.

AIs Rule Go
Google’s DeepMind AI initiative, which has succeeded at beating human masters of the game Go, developed a new AI competitor that was trained by other AIs. With 3 days of training, it consistantly beat human-trained AI predecessors.

Salty Science
Salts might be the future of batteries.

Saltier Science
New desalination process for brackish waters.

Scorpions adjust their venom accordingly
Scorpions can adjust their arsenal to protect, kill, or both. Yikes!

Guppy mothers take (s)mothering to a whole new level
Guppy gestation lasts longer when food is scarce, and shorter when predators loom. Mom sure knows how to give her DNA investment just what it needs. Awww….

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Eruption And Famine
Researchers made a connection between volcanic ash in ice cores and records of unrest in ancient Egypt.

No Easter in Argentina
It’s not in the genes.

Reproductive Bacteria
A study of the female reproductive tract found that the microbiota of the system is complex and varies in correlation with several factors.

Breast Cancer Awareness
Breast cancer cells use ammonia as a source of nitrogen to fuel growth. This understanding could lead to new treatments.

Future soldiers will blend in better with seaweed and squid.

Dampeners… now with more spiders!

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