06 February, 2019 – Episode 707 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


What is in This Week in Science?

Evolution Thru Natural Selection, Melting Ice, Climate Forecasting, Bees Count!, Panda Past, Cuckoo Fish, 100 New Species, Killing Guns, fMRI And Consciousness, Sperm Counts!, Flying Pink Squirrels, Sleep Learning, Fidget Science, and Much More…

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The fast pace of current day life…
Life in the information age, where we are surrounded by so much knowledge…
An age where we stand on the shoulders of giants, those thinkers and tinkerers of the past…
An age where we advance science beyond and above…
and other wise further away from where science woke up that morning.
And yet, if we look at how we got here.
The things that actually lead to a bigger brain…
Or more importantly the massively increased blood flow to the brain,
The running, and hunting, and more running, and keen eyed foraging, and more running,
and the sniffing out dangers, and the still more running,
and the careful listening in the night and the really just constant running…
We must take pause and contemplate how differently most of us who don’t run constantly living are from the creatures that proceeded us.
Yes we have big brains and we rely on them still for survival…
But there is a distinct possibility that the brains of current humans represent peak human intelligence!
In which case, we should use them as much as possible now before evolutionary atrophy can set in.
And how better to apply a brain of peak intelligence that by listening to
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

Some Science News From This Week in Science

Evolution Thru Natural Selection

A lab experiment went wild, putting wild mice in outdoor pens with differently colored soils to see how animal coloration changed over generations.

Melting Ice

As Antarctica and Greenland melt faster and faster into the seas, it’s important to have an idea of what to expect. And, we can not only expect higher sea levels, but also changes in weather as ocean circulation patterns are altered.

Global warming forecast..

it ain’t great. In fact, it’s going to get worse.

For the love of Bees…

Let them count!

Blair’s Animal Corner!… with Blair!

Ancient pandas were not just “pandas”

Panda is the Nepalese word ‘nigalya ponya’, which means ‘eater of bamboo’. It turns out that ancient pandas were doing much more than that!

Fish daddies would rather be cuckolded by a brother

Being cuckolded by a relative is much preferred in fish – which makes sense if you don’t think about it too hard…

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

“Hello TWiS!
I was listening to the most recent episode of the show and I was bummed when you had run out of listener submissions. I love that segment!

We had emailed in April 2018 about how my then three year old son had been diagnosed with a craniopharyngioma, a really rare type of brain tumor that mostly impacts kids. It can have lasting and severe impacts for the rest for their lives, everything from sight and neurological deficits, to hormone deficiencies and more.

I’m not sure if you wanted to share my update, but I figured I’d give you guys one just in case. 🙂

My son is doing great! He’s a happy and healthy five year old! We’ve started getting ready for his leaving preschool and graduating into kindergarten. We’ve started human growth hormones over the summer since his tumor calcified his pituitary and he’s shot up. He’s gone from being one of the smallest kids in his class to one of the tallest.

He’s still on a number of medications several times a day that help us maintain all of the different hormones in his body that regulate everything from thirst, to growth, to parts of his immune system. But it astounds me that modern medical science can not only do this, but do it so well. He’s still a completely normal kid. No one knows anything is different about him unless we tell them.

It’s all due to modern medical science. If this had happened a hundred years ago I wouldn’t have him in my life. But because of medical science and a huge team of people who dedicated themselves to making kids well, he’s thriving and excited about going to big kid school.

We’ve had four monitoring MRIs since I emailed you last year. We’ve seen some small (expected) tumor regrowth and we have another surgery somewhere on the horizon months or years from now, but our neurosurgeon and neuro-oncologist aren’t concerned about future complications. The diagnosis is good. We shouldn’t even need another craniotomy – we should be able to just do a endoscopic transsphenoidal operation (through the nose) to remove the growth.

The whole ordeal has left him with a huge appreciation for science. Lately we’ve been doing science experiments at home that involve the cold weather we’ve been having in New England. He really got a kick out of learning all about dry ice with me (very safely – don’t worry) and the water cycle.

Keep up the good work guys. 🙂 I hope more listeners share their own stories too.
Ed Godbois”

And, Some MORE Science News From This Week in Science

What girls like to do…

(it’s science!)

100 New Species

Of gut bacteria!

Guns don’t kill people, but people with guns do kill people…

with guns.

fMRI And Consciousness

Two studies this week in science used fMRI brain scanning to look at patterns of functioning in the brain: the conscious and unconscious, and the effects of LSD.

Sperm’s Up!

Is it thanks to marijuana, testosterone, or good old honesty?

Holy pink flying squirrels, Batman!

Flying squirrels fluoresce bright pink – there, that’s a thing you know now. No, we don’t know why yet, Karen, WHY DO YOU HAVE TO RUIN THIS FOR ME?!

Sleep Learning

Researchers showed the hippocampus is responsible for allowing memory formation and recognition of words from another language heard during deep sleep.

Fidget Science

Researchers used a fidget spinner to separate blood showing these readily available toys to actually have a function other than annoying teachers.

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