03 August, 2016 – Episode 578 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Plants And Parasites, Malarial Mechanisms, Zika Update, Orangutan Mimic, Sea Lion Beats, Wolfie Questions, Oily Palms, Frost On Io, First Private Moon, New Lasers, Neurons Line Up, Don’t Smoke ‘Em, Challenge Success, Theranos Still Going, ISS Design Challenge, Fungus Lichens Yeast, Junco Telomeres, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
There is possibility
And then there is probability
It is possible to win the lottery…
But if you buy the ticket you will most probably lose…
It’s possible to jump off the golden gate bridge and survive…
But a large majority of those that launch themselves off most probably end up as lunch for all manner of fishy eaters…
It is possible to be struck by lightning while hitting a hole-in-one on the 7th at Pebble Beach…
But your golf buddy probably just said he saw it go in because that’s what buddies do when riding in ambulances with friends who have just been struck by lightning…
It is possible that the government is secretly working with a an alien race of dinosaur people
To first enslave and later to eat all of mankind
in order to take over the planet… which would explain global warming
and the chem trails and why the show firefly was canceled
and why there is always somebody, whenever you are out in public, who seems to be watching you… following you… and how else would they know that you alone have figured it all out…
Why, they even know your name is Ed… Run Ed, run for the hills, they’re on to you!
But unless your name is Ed… this is most probably not true…
And while everything and anything may seem possible,
the improbable more often than not is improbable because it is not possible…
What is always possible and becoming increasingly probable, unless your name is Ed and I mean it Ed you’ve got to go now, is that you are about to enjoy yet another episode of
This Week in Science,
Coming up Next…

Plants And Parasites
Two studies out this week report on the finding of a proliferation mechanism derived from plants in both Malaria and Toxoplasmosis. The discovery offers the possibility of treatments with fewer side effects compared to those currently available.

Malarial Mechanisms
And, last week, another study determined that when the malaria parasite mutates to avoid an antimalarial called chloroquine, it actually opens itself up to attack by other antimalarial drugs. Such a discovery could enable the lengthening of antimalarial lifetimes if incorporated properly into treatment regimes.

Zika Update
The NIH is beginning its stage 2 trial of a DNA vaccine for Zika virus, which essential will test for safety and proof of concept in healthy volunteers. Of concern are reports from the Obama administration that funds are running low for such research, which will delay the research and production process. Additionally, Zika has now been reported in over 40 US military members and their dependants, and in many cities across the US.

Colorful Dinosaurs
Turtle eye oils tell of an ancient origin that implies the dinosaurs saw and were quite colorful.

Is that orangutan making fun of me?
Or is he just learning to speak? I don’t know which would be more upsetting… But the ape may have a clue in the story of the development of human language.

…And that sea lion is a better dancer than me!
The sea lion that was taught to keep a beat in 2013 has some new insight for us in the story of music.

Should we save hybrid species?
All wolves in North America may be one species. So do they really need our help? And do we want to preserve weird wolf/coyote hybrids??

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Oily Palms
Palm oil demand is driving growing production in continents around the globe. With that production comes the need for more farm area, and so deforestation in sensitive areas is becoming a major issue. The question is whether consumer demand for sustainable palm oil sources will force the market to shift in that direction. For information on products that contain palm oil click this link.

Frost On Io
The atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Io gets turned to frost for about 2 hours out of every 42 as the moon passes through Jupiter’s shadow.

First Private Moon
Moon Express just received federal approval to put a coffee table sized lander on the moon.

New Lasers
Not just new, but VORTEX Lasers!!!

Neurons Line Up
In a landmark study of neuronal synapse structure, researchers have shown that some proteins on the sending side of a synapse are more likely to be localized together, and when they are they are more likely to be involved in neurotransmitter vesicle formation. Not only this, but the proteins on the sending side line up with proteins on the receiving side of the synapse.

Don’t Smoke ‘Em
E-cigarettes are harmful, just not as harmful as regular cigarettes.

Challenge Success
The Ice Bucket Challenge funded collaborations between researchers that culminated in the discovery of a gene variant that is present in 3% of ALS sufferers.

Theranos Still Going
The CEO of Theranos presented a new device, the miniLab for running assays, at a chemistry conference this week; again, presenting only internal data, and nothing that had been externally verified, and making grand promises.

ISS Design Challenge
It’s a contest for engineers/designers to team up with Grant Imihara to design a part for the ISS and 3D printed in space! Started by Mouser Electronics, the contest teams up with Made in Space to get useful 3D printable design into space.

Three isn’t always a crowd!
Yeast joins in the party with fungus and algae, and it turns out it was there all along…

The longer the flight, the shorter the telomeres
Uh oh. Maybe I shouldn’t be quite such the frequent flyer…?

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I'm the host of this little science show.