30 November, 2016 – Episode 595 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

December 1st, 2016

Weird Quantum Space, Space Eyes, Lucy In The Sky, Not Dead Yet, Old Genes, What The Frack?, Skin You’re In, We All Gots Bugs, CRISPR Cures Hemophilia, Boiling Water, Life Choices, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The future of fighting over fresh water has arrived.
We see it happening now in North Dakota, and the rules are pretty simple.
If you have influence over government, your water supply will be safe.
If you do not, it will not be safe…
it won’t even be yours.
An oil pipeline was set to pass near the city of Bismarck North Dakota…
Some town folk complained,
and the Army Corp of Engineers deemed this route too endangering of public water ways.
They called it a “high consequence area”,
so it was moved to an assumed “low consequence area”
Through an area of fresh water used by Native Sioux people…
Since the Army Corp of Engineers flooded much of Sioux land and towns with dams to provide water for people elsewhere in the past…
this came as no surprise to the Sioux.
The current path follows the reservation border with an environmental disaster in waiting.
And, since it passes under their source of drinking water,
the situation can only get worse.
And, is what we can expect to see more of going forward everywhere in this country…
As public water rights give way to private influence…
The phrase not in my backyard…
only works when you have political influence.
Without it, we all will have to give up water rights to those who do.
And there are two things none of us can live without…
Clean water…
And This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Weird Quantum Space
Measurements of a neutron star seem to have measured polarized light suggestive of weird quantum particles in space.

Space Eyes
Astronaut vision problems might be related to cerebraospinal fluid leaking into the eye cavity and increasing the intra-ocular pressure there.

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds…
Maybe Lucy swung from the trees.

The Great Barrier Reef is far from “dead.”
But it does need our help, ASAP!

Corals are much older than we thought
Thousands of years old, in fact.

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What the frack?
Never too late to begin learning… researchers are trying to understand the forces at work during the fracking process.

Skin You’re In
A new analysis of the shape of skin cells might have a lot to tell us about what happens when things go wrong.

We all gots bugs
Very individualized populations of them.

CRISPR Cures Hemophilia
In mice, researchers have used a two-vector system to specifically return the function of a clotting protein in Hemophilia B.

Boiling Water
If you put water into carbon nanotubes, turns out that you can solidify water at a temperature higher than boiling!

Grow, or have sex and die??
The age old question. But now we know who is calling the shots, at least in bristleworms!

Magnetically Reconnecting
Magnetic field lines break apart and reconnect violently causing such effects as solar flares and gamma ray bursts. Understanding how the process works will help create better tokamaks for sustainable nuclear fusion.

Here LIGO!
LIGO announced it is back doing science runs after receiving engineering upgrades that have increased its sensitivity by 25%.

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23 November, 2016 – Episode 594 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

November 29th, 2016

Interview w/ Erik Vance – Author of Suggestible You, More EM Drive Madness, Hot Arctic Weather, Invasion of Earth, Manly Salt Frogs?, Split-Brained Ducks, Combing Your Hair, Sperm Health Benefits, Turkey!!!, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
When the first American arrived in North America…
There was no one here to greet them…
20,000 years ago…
There were lions, sabre-tooth cats and nine-foot long sabre-tooth salmon,
Giant sloths, Giant Tortoises, Giant condors and Giant Beavers.
There were horses, camels, mammoths and mastodons,
A beautiful armadillo, a short faced bear, and a Dire Wolf…
And while the biggest threat of all was yet to come…
The people were thankful for the discovery they had made…
They populated two continents and formed countless civilizations…
In the course of human history there are none that traveled so far so fast from our original origins…
And about 1500 years ago…
They domesticated the bird that is now synonymous with giving thanks.
So, on this day of thanks,
as millions take part in a traditional dinner…
Remember to thank the people who made the meal possible,
And for their home in which you eat it…
And, if stuffing yourself on traditional irony isn’t your thing…
We’ve got a kitchen full of science-y goodness cooking on
This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next…

Interview with Erik Vance
a biologist turned science writer based in California and Mexico. He writes for the Last Word On Nothing blog, and has written for The New York Times, Nature, Scientific American, Harper’s, National Geographic, and a number of other local and national outlets. We talk with him about his first book, Suggestible You.

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More EM Drive Madness
NASA’s EM Drive researchers published an article about their investigations. Ars Techinica isn’t impressed.

Hot Arctic Weather
Low sea ice and warm air flow from a wavy jet stream have set the Arctic up for unseasonably warm temperatures… about 20 degrees Celsius above normal.

Antarctic Retreat
An ice core study has marked the 1940’s as the earliest point at which the Pine Island glacier in Antarctica began its retreat.

Trump And NASA
While Trump inspiringly wants to explore the entire solar system by the end of the century, reports suggest that he his willing to blind our view of Earth in order to do so.

Invasion of Earth
It’s not aliens… but it will be

Salt has lady frogs feelin’ extra manly…
Research suggests that road salt might affect sex rations in frogs. The question is how?

Ducks are hemispherically biased when it comes to mommy
Looks like a split-brain situation.

Sperm Health Benefits
Looks like a compound first identified in semen, hence the name, has heart protective and lifespan lengthening effects… at least in mice and fruit flies.

Combing Your Hair
It’s easy for some, but for others it’s impossible thanks to a genetic mutation or three.

Talking bout…

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16 November, 2016 – Episode 593 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

November 17th, 2016

CRISPR For Humans, CO2 You Know, Bacterial Control, Cockatools, Personality And Pigs, Underwater Archeology, Math And Coffee, Anti Bacterial Humans, Tickling Rats, Bird Poop Cooling, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer!
There is a difference…
Between what we want to see in this world…
And what we sometimes get…
Reality it seems,
is a result oriented endeavor.
There are moments in time when we can effect change
Moments when we can simply observe the results of change
And moments in which we are changed by the result
When change is heading your way,
as it often does,
you have two basic choices to make:
Let that change effect you
Or change your affect in the world…
If you change the way you interact with reality
Knowing that it is a result oriented endeavor…
The world you want to see
Can be the result you made happen
And sometimes that can make all the difference in the world
And what better result of reality could there be than…
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

CRISPR For Humans
The first human trial of a CRISPR therapy has begun in China. Researchers are injecting edited cells into cancer patients to determine whether the treatment is received safely, and whether it allows the patients to fight off the cancer.

CO2 You Know
Global emissions of CO2 stayed steady for the third year in a row in 2016. However, atmospheric CO2 continued to rise, mainly because El Nino conditions decreased possible carbon sinks in the terrestrial biosphere. In fact, an assessment found that no country is currently reducing CO2 emissions fast enough to keep us below a 2 degree global temperature increase.

Diabetes and the gut…
The immune system uses gut bacteria to control glucose metabolism, which could have important ramifications for the treatment of some Type 2 Diabetes.

Bird brains: the gift that keeps on giving
Cockatoos can fashion tools out of multiple items, despite not using tools in the wild. This indicates that perhaps the birds picture what they need before making it. Bird-brained, indeed!!

Pigs have lots of personality
Pigs act differently and have more pessimistic or optimistic tendencies, depending on their individual personality. This means we may have to throw out some findings based on the assumption that individuals within species will act the same given certain stimuli.

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Underwater Archeology
This will be how we are found someday…

Math And Coffee
In the search for the perfect cuppa, mathematicians have simplified the equation describing the coffee brewing process.

Anti Bacterial Humans
A new method of discovering antibiotics finds a very promising one in an unlikely place.

Tickling Rats…
For science.

Bird Poop Cooling
Bird poop physically and chemically cools the Arctic, but not enough to negate warming trends.

The speediest in all the land
A bat is now the fastest at horizontal flight, reaching up to 160 km per hour!

Badass snails hit rivals with their shells!
Totally metal.

FTC Votes Science
New rules for the marketing of OTC homeopathic products were released by the FTC, finding many misleading in their claims of efficacy, and recognizes “that an OTC homeopathic drug claim that is not substantiated by competent and reliable scientific evidence might not be deceptive if the advertisement or label where it appears effectively communicates that: 1) there is no scientific evidence that the product works; and 2) the product’s claims are based only on theories of homeopathy from the 1700s that are not accepted by most modern medical experts.”

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09 November, 2026 Episode 592 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

November 10th, 2016

Trump Picks, CRISPR For Humans, Zika Protection, Neanderthals!!!, Sneaky Assassin Bugs, Thorny Devil Sponges, A Chicken Question, Birds And Plastic, Early Land Life, Light Channeling Plants, Scary Snakes, No Connection, Algal Poops, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
Ladies and gentlemen…
step right up…
step right up…
the American side show is about to begin…
right this way,
don’t be bashful, don’t be shy,
there’s no way to walk on by…
give the tent with the painted orange top a try…
the things you are about to see cannot be unseen,
that which you are about to hear cannot be unheard…
it will be over when it’s over
it is guaranteed to leave a lasting impact you won’t soon forget…
And your complacency is the only price of admission…
That’s right, just sit back, stay home, and assume for the best…
Because what could go wrong?
Right behind the tent flaps sirs and madams,
you will find out soon enough…
If you aren’t in, you’re out,
and going to miss out big league…
This way, that’s right two at a time…
quickly now…
That’s it, everybody in…
you there…
What’s the matter friend,
saving your complacency for a rainy day?
Wait! You’re headed for the wrong tent!
That’s no side show, that’s…
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next…

Trump Picks
A skeptic to lead.

CRISPR For Humans
Stanford University research shows that it is time to test a CRISPR methodology for repairing Sickle cell anemia in humans.

Zika Protection
A Zika antibody was successful in protecting pregnant female mice and their offspring from developing complications related to zika infection. It is suggested that the antibody might be useful as a therapeutic agent until a vaccine becomes widely available.

Squeezed out bu natural selection.

Giraffe assassin bugs add insult to injury
They sneak up on spiders in their webs, stab them with their beaks, and drink out their innards for dinner. But not before wrecking up the place first…

Thorny devil lizard brings new meaning to porous skin.
Amphibians breathe through their skin, but these lizards drink with theirs. Tube-like projections in their skin pull water through and into their throat, where they swallow the sweet nectar down in the dry desert heat. Creepy stuff…

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How the chicken crossed the road…
Probably in a boat.

Birds And Plastic
Plastic in the oceans smells tasty to seabirds. That’s why they eat it, according to a new study out of UC Davis.

Earliest life on land… ever….
3.22 billion years ago, life might have gotten a real foothold on land.

Light Channeling Plants
Plant stems act like fiber optic cables to channel light to the roots where it stimulates light-sensitive, growth-stimulating receptors called phytochromes.

No Connection
It doesn’t appear that the auditory and reward areas of the brain are connected in people who don’t appreciate music.

Algal Poops
The problem with Soylent has been traced to an algal flour used by the company as a protein additive.

Apparently snakes are scary for a reason
Humans are better at spotting snakes in obscured circumstances than other critters, presumably because they would be more likely to kill us.

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04 November, 2016 – Episode 591 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

November 7th, 2016

Tilted Moon, Interview w/ National Aquarium Conservation Director, Cosmic Pasta, New NASA Nose, Interview w/ NASA Goddard Director of Office of Education, Climate Changes Prey, Underwater Nanotech, Whale Song Waves, Interview w/ beatboxer Shodekeh, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
Live from the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland,
and the Maryland STEM Festival
This Week in Science…
Coming up next.

Tilted Moon
New research from UC Davis and University of Maryland published in Nature tries to explain why the Moon is tilted in comparison to Earth’s orbit around the Sun.

Interview w/ National Aquarium Director of Conservation, Laura Bankey; her favorite animal is any species of sea turtle. We talked about the National Aquarium, its research program, and conservation of deep sea canyons, like Baltimore Canyon.

Cosmic Pasta
Structural similarities between neutron stars and cellular endoplasmic reticulum might lead to greater insights into the connections between the large and the small in nature.

New Nose for NASA…
… with lasers that could sniff out chemical compounds on Mars.

Interview w/ Dr. Robert Gabrys, Director of NASA Goddard’s Office of Education. We discussed Goddard Space Flight Center education programs, getting students early experience in science, Hubble and James Webb telescopes, Mars work, and inspiring future scientists and astronauts to boldly go.

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Climate Changes Prey
Increasing water CO2 levels were shown to cause prey species to change their behavior, and swim toward their predators.

Underwater Nanotech
Little amphipods use some sort of nanotech to appear invisible. Researchers think it might actually be a bacterial coating.

Whale Song Waves
A new component of whale song has been discovered! Particles might play a role in communication in addition to pressure waves.

Interview w/ Shodekeh, vocal percussionist and experimentalist. You need to see this up-close laryngoscopic video of Shodekeh demonstrating various vocal percussion elements.

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26 October, 2016 – Episode 590 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

October 27th, 2016

Is It Aliens?, Patient Zero History, Creepy Crawly, Parasitic Plants, How To Poison Ants, Driving Animals Crazy, Flocking Dinos, Plasticity Abides, Bug Burgers, Advancing Prostheses, And Much More…

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Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
The best evidence for aliens yet…
Is that there are other planets…
Possibly inhabitable in the way that we think life may inhabit…
And that the number of these planets is not few…
And that the conditions for habitability are not unique…
Because in a universe of a hundred billion galaxies…
With 70 sextillion stars…
There are so many possibilities
That life on more than one planet is highly probable…
And while our cosmic cousins are likely out there somewhere
It doesn’t mean we should claim that they have secretly fiddled with the formation of our civilization
Just because some of people can’t comprehend how we got from knuckle dragging apes to
This Week In Science…
Coming up next

Don’t forget!!!
You can catch all sorts of STEM fun at the Maryland STEM Festival! And, don’t forget that you will be able to come join TWIS LIVE at the Opening Ceremonies at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD on Nov. 4th!

Is It Aliens?
Probably not.

Patient Zero History
Was not really the source of HIV in North America.

Creepy Crawly
400 legs, unknown goo, and four penises…

Parasitic Plants
These weeds really get into their neighbors.

Ants may jump off a bridge if their friends did it, too.
Ants believe social analysis of food items over personal expertise. Even when food carries the scent of toxicity – peer pressure wins out.

Noise could drive wild animals bonkers
Urban noise distrupted mongooses’ ability to smell predators and seak shelter, indicating that traffic sounds are enought to cause all sorts of problem-solving deficiencies. So go ahead, buy that house right by the highway… if you dare!

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Flocking Dinos
Did they live together or die together?

Where Neurons Go
Apparently, embryonic neurons integrate very well.

Plasticity Abides
An Italian study found that visual areas of the brain retained their ability to respond to light stimuli after implantation of a retinal prosthesis and years after initial damage to the retina.

Bug Burgers
Would you care for cricket or grasshopper? They are both better for you than beef.

Advancing Prostheses
Brain surface electrodes supplied haptic feedback to patients from a glove, and peripheral nerve implants in amputees start to deliver on haptic feedback that tells the difference between hard and soft touch.

Ape vs Man handedness
When did we get so handy?

Homeopaths Fight Back

Update On ESA Lander
It crashed.

Tasmanian devils fight back from the brink
These wiley creatures are actually fighting the cancer that has nearly wiped them out. Will it be enough? And can we use this information to help beat human cancer?

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19 October, 2016 – Episode 589 – This Week in Science

October 20th, 2016

Interview w/ The Director of the Maryland STEM Festival, Thinking Machines, Planet X Influence, Tool Making Monkeys?, Generous Magpies, Visual Fish, Higgs Bison, Soothing Lithium, Genes With Altitude, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
We live in the modern world…
The newest age humanity has ever known…
Which is always the case really, whenever people are describing the present…
The dark ages in Europe were a major setback in knowledge,
but most folks living through it probably had no idea there had been a more modern world behind them…
And, as progress pushes forward through every aspect of our lives…
As we automate more processes,
speeding up production…
As we compute larger data sets faster…
As our population grows and the need for a workforce shrinks…
As we fill every open stretch of land with paved roads, carbon copy houses, and coffee franchises…
As we push nature further from our daily lives, and alter the climate upon which nature thrives…
We see the results of our efforts…
Planet-wide warming…
Depleted fishing, hunting, and farming grounds…
Diminished fresh water reserves…
Increased wild fires…
Intense storms and hurricane seasons…
and over one hundred species of plant, insect and animal going extinct every day…
What for? To what end?
Why are we so set on this path, so dedicated to a goal that we cannot even envision how it ends?

and what a vision.
No wonder we don’t ask…
how the world will look when we are done destroying it.
The answer of course is that we don’t care because we won’t be here to see it…
Because we can’t imagine that change taking place in our own lifetime…
And our children?
We obviously don’t love them enough to ensure that it doesn’t happen in theirs…
Thankfully, there are some people left who do love this planet enough to protect it…
Unfortunately they aren’t running the country…
But they are here with us now,
listening to This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next.

An interview!!!

With Phil Rogofsky, Chair of STEMulating Minds and Director of the Maryland STEM Festival about creating a statewide festival from scratch, and all the things you have to look forward to at this year’s events.

You can catch all sorts of STEM fun at the Maryland STEM Festival! And, don’t forget that you will be able to come join TWIS LIVE at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD on Nov. 4th!

Now, onto more science!

Thinking Machines
Google’s DeepMind AI has taken a small step forward by learning and reasoning using memory rather than programming.

Planet X Influence
The sun’s tilted axis might be due to Planet X or 9 or whatever we are calling it these days.

Tool making monkeys?
Monkeys banging rocks together provide interesting evidence for the Hominin past.

“Human-like” generosity found in magpies
Magpies will exhibit prosocial behavior, something that until recently has been considered uniquely human. So, they’re not just out to steal my jewelry!

Triggerfish may also be arguing about the color of that darned dress
If triggerfish had the internet, they would have had similar trouble deciding if that dress was blue and black or gold and white, because they are susceptible to the same visual illusions as humans.

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Anti-hypoxia gene in Tibetans has Denisovian roots…
Perhaps the adaptation evolved much, much earlier.

Lithium For Brains
New research points the way to explaining why lithium works as a wonderful anti-psychotic medication for some and not others.

Higgs Bison has been rediscovered
And, that’s bIson, not bOson.

Mars Landing?
With one part of the ExoMars mission a success, questions roll in about the fate of the lander.

New Horizons
Going, going, still going… New Horizons has its sights set on a red rock in the Kuiper Belt.

Minding Self Control
Do you have a strong self-control muscle?

Stop talking smack about that spider in the corner – it can hear you!
Completely by accident, researchers discovered this week that spiders can hear sound waves far better than previously thought.

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12 October, 2016 – Episode 588 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)

October 13th, 2016

Interview on Libraries & STREAM, Nation-Space, Water On ProximaB, In Search Of, Space Brain, Hard-Working Ladies, Male Spider Martyrs, Supply And Demand, Mind-Reading Apes, Wild Wolbachia, And Much More…

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Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer!!!
False beliefs…
can come in many forms…
Most can be corrected with knowledge…
False beliefs that cannot be refuted by facts…
Is a frightful form of madness…
And to remain willfully ignorant in the face of facts…
is a maddening form of politics.
Telling when others hold false beliefs is thought to be an important aspect human cognitive development.
It helps us choose which advice to follow…
Which to ignore…
It’s useful in predicting what future behavior of others will be…
And if you are really good at it,
you can read minds…
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
But I am ignoring it because it has nothing to do with what I’m about to say…
Apes, it turns out, have this ability also!
And while we humans can continue to think that we are more advanced in many mental respects to our ape cousins…
The purely human trait of Theory of Mind…
is all in our heads…
And before much longer so will be a bunch of science-y goodness
because it’s time once again for
This Week In Science
Coming Up Next…

An interview!!!

With Connie Strittmatter, Coordinater of Children’s and Teen Services at the Harford County Public Library in Maryland.

You can catch all sorts of STEM fun at the Maryland public libraries during the Maryland STEM Festival! And, don’t forget that you will be able to come join TWIS LIVE at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, MD on Nov. 4th!

Now for the science news…
A Russian-led group is creating a new nation in space called Asgardia with the core values of “knowledge, science, and intelligence”, a philosophical mission of serving all humanity and digitalizing the noosphere, a legal mission of creating “Universal law” to benefit all humanity, and a scientific mission of “peace, access, and protection.” Become a citizen at asgardia.space.

Water On ProximaB
Simulations have determined that there is likely to be liquid water on ProximaB. How much is up for debate, but if there’s any it increases the chances for an atmosphere and life.

In Search Of
More Earth-like planets in the Alpha Centari system. Anyone up for a crowdfunded space telescope?

Space Brain
Charged particle irradiation results in robust and persistent deficits in recognition and temporal order memory 12 weeks later.

Female squirrels have more work ethic, and in turn males get eaten.
Male squirrels in Alaska spend more time lolling about, and this in turn gets them predated upon more often.

Males allow themselves to be cannibalized for the good of their children
When male dark fishing spiders curl up afer sex, essentially accepting their fate as a post-coital snack, their offspring emerge more fit. Who ever said males don’t help with the children??

In coucals, it’s all about supply and demand.
In one species, the males do all the work while the female gallivants about mating with other males, who also do all the work in raising a nest. In another species, they form monogamous pairs. The key is all in the ratio of males to females, proving that even in love, it’s all about supply and demand.

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Apes can read minds…
A new study using eye-direction shows that apes know when tricks are afoot, and supports the ‘Theory of Mind’ hypothesis for our close relatives.

Nesting Doll Genes
There was an old virus that swallowed a gene… then a bacterium who swallowed the virus… and a spider who swallowed the the bacterium… don’t ask me why. But, in the end it is rather interesting.

More Wolbachia
The strain of bacteria living within a host can influence host survival rates and evolution in response to viral infection.

Green Beer
Using waste water from breweries might make for sustainable batteries.

New Dwarf Planet?
Called 2014 UZ224, was discovered by students challenged to find new objects in the solar system. It is half the size of Pluto, and lives in the Kuiper Belt some 14 billion kilometers from Earth.

Beer helps ease pain in snails
Should we be concerned with the physical stress of euthanizing invertebrates in a lab? If so, beer may help bring dignity and peace to snails about to meet their maker.

Climate Change could be the biggest threat to frogs
As indicator species, amphibians usually serve as canaries in the coal mine, so does that mean climate change will be our largest threat as well?

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