02 October, 2019 – Episode 741 – Detecting Signals


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Tundra Blair & Polar Bears International, 2019 IgNobel Awards, Eat Meat?, Humans > Volcanoes, Ape Minds, Secrets Of The Tardigrade, Sneaky Bacteria, Color Change Asteroid, Cometary Visitor, Save The Sea Grass!, Baby Muscles, And Much More…

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All over the world…
People worry.
What are they worrying about today?

Well, that all depends on which person is doing the worrying
Where they are in the world
In their life
In their day

Many worries may seem distinct,
as if an individual person’s specific worry
might make them the only human being worrying about such things…
But it is rarely true…

There are enough people in the world worrying about things that despite how it seems,
no one worrier is ever alone in what worries them.
(Though there may only be one person on the planet currently worrying about being impeached.)

The numbers of people worrying about global warming is rising to such numbers
that there is coming next a global recognition that none of us are alone.
There is a strength in numbers that can cast worry aside and replace it with action.
And action is the enemy of worry.
But action alone is not enough.
What the world needs is action and…
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

First up, Blair calls in from the Canadian tundra!

Blair is traveling the sub-Arctic on the search for polar bears and new friends. She called in from a tundra buggy with one of those friends to talk about Polar Bears International and climate change.

Let’s talk about science now!

2019 IgNobel Awards
A lot of science finds interesting things… our annual look at the awards organized by the Annals of Improbable Research.

Eat Meat?
A new series of meta-review papers controversially find that eating red and processed meats is fine for your health.

Stop blaming volcanoes…
It’s not volcanoes… the real culprit of global warming is… HUMANS!!! Humans are 100x worse.

And, now it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!… without Blair!

Ape Minds
Apes might now be said to have a ‘Theory of Mind’.

Secrets of the Tardigrade
Have we divined their secret sauce for longevity and resistance to radiation?

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?

“Hello everybody,
So what has science done for me lately? Well, lately being 29 years ago…

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer, my self preservation skills are poor at best. I’m attracted to caution tape. Halloween of 1990, my senior year of high school, while out with a friend my car broke down. While waiting for a ride to come pick us up, I decided to climb a high voltage transmission tower. I had always thought, “Don’t touch a wire. What’s the worst that can happen?” and I found out.

I was 55 feet up the tower, 15 feet below the power lines when the power arced off and hit me. My friend Kelli was on the ground, and said the sky lit up so bright – it was midnight by the way – that she couldn’t see me. She said I kept screaming, “I can’t let go!”, when suddenly darkness and my body fell to the ground.

It gets better… when I hit the ground I started a brush fire. Yep, I was an ember. Never met one of those before.

The base of the tower was surrounded by a 6 foot fence with 3 strands of barbed wire on top. Remember that disclaimer? I climbed all of that to accomplish this goal.

I was motionless at this point, thought to be dead. Within minutes the emergency crews were showing up, and I was starting to move around. They had my friend yelling at me to lay still to avoid further injuries. She had to do this because they weren’t allowed to cut the lock on the gate until the power company showed up to
determine whether or not it was safe to enter.

After about 45 minutes, the brush fire had extinguished, and Kelli was losing her mind that no one was helping me. An onlooker walked around to the back of the fence and pulled it up from the ground. At which point, Kelli slid underneath and approached me.

This apparently changed the situation, and gave cause to the cops to cut the lock. The paramedics entered, and retrieved me. I was put into a helicopter, and sent off to the hospital.

While in the chopper I died, arriving at the hospital with no signs of life. The ER unit grabbed the defibrillator… anyone see the irony in where this is going? They shocked me back to life.

I spent the next 7 days in a coma. Both lungs had collapsed, and I was on a respirator. After waking from the coma I was still in a space between – meaning I was responsive, but still not aware. I came around on November 23rd with no recollection of what had happened. To this day I have no memory of the event or the 20 minutes or so leading up to it. Everything I’m telling you is simply what has been told to me.

I was 48% second and third degree burned. My left arm was welded to my side. Due to a broken collar bone, the only break from a 55 foot fall, they couldn’t start physical therapy until it healed 4 weeks in. That meant my left arm was useless when I woke. (A rep from the power company told me I was hit with roughly 140,000 volts, coal fired at that.) After 10 months of therapy and a few surgeries, I could lift a glass of water to my mouth.

Within a year I had a full recovery, and started rock climbing. I went on to get a job as a stunt performer with full use of my arm.

Science made all of this possible. Science figured out a way to make me whole and live on to travel the world doing awesome things with amazing people. When someone tells me they don’t trust science I simply take my shirt off, and point out that it wasn’t a politician or belief system that allowed me to tell my story. It was science, pure science.

I love your show. Blair’s theme song stays in my head for days after each episode. Keep doing what you’re doing and thanks for letting me tell my story.

Take Care
–Josh Hicks”

Let us know what science has done for you lately, and we will read it on the show!

Now, let’s continue with SCIENCE NEWS!…

Bacteria can shed their skin
This allows them to avoid detection.

Color Change Asteroid
An asteroid in the asteroid belt is acting like a comet.

Cometary Visitor
A second interstellar interloper has been discovered, and it seems to have some similarities to comets in our own system.

Save the sea grass!
Nearly one-third of all sea grass has disappeared, threatening coastal ecosystems.

Baby Muscles
Apparently, early in development babies have extra hand muscles.

Robotic Self Control
A new design for prosthetic hands combines robotics and neuroengineering to create “shared control” of the limb.

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