07 April, 2021 – Episode 819 – What Should You Know About Beavers?


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

New Physics?, Sensitive Tattoos, COVID Update, PUF Piece, Interview w/ Ben Goldfarb for International Beaver Day, Worm hunting Snails, Blaring Fireflies, Norwegian Blobs, Battery Race, Neander Ancestors, Rain Rules, Tit Turnover, Game Guides, Brain Glue, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

For the past four years the Environmental Protection Agency
has been the worst enemy of, well….
The environment.
Denial of global warming,
Mass purges of research scientists,
repeals of land, air, and water pollution regulations,
Abandonment of federally protected nature areas,
An odd attempt to get the auto industry to abandon their investments in cleaner emissions…
Then, when many auto companies rejected the plan,
announcing they would stick to the higher standard California regulations…
They were investigated by the department of justice under antitrust laws…
because not giving people an option to pollute more toxic exhaust out of their tailpipes
is exactly what antitrust laws are for…
Only, no, that’s not what antitrust laws are for,
and so yes, the investigation went nowhere…
But yes, the auto industry was investigated by the US federal government for wanting to make cleaner cars…
And there was also a massive reduction in on site inspections of industry by the EPA.
And, all the while, a pool of radioactive sewage was building up in Florida.
Also, in Florida,
a phosphate plant that closed 20 years ago began leaking
Threatening fish populations, sea grass, and aquifers of drinking water
has forced people to evacuate their homes and could bring about an epic red tide of toxic algae into Tampa Bay.
Because, environmental regulations, who needs ‘em?!?
But now there is at least some good news:
The global warming page is back up on the EPA website.
Science is being restored to the science advisory board of the EPA in the form of research scientists.
Yes, those folks…
are replacing the dozens of political appointees illegally placed there by the previous administrators
who I can only imagine started every conversation while at the science advisory board with:
“I’m not a research scientist, but the way I see it dot dot dot”

So to the incoming class of EPA advisor applicants we say
“Please take your job seriously.
We know you will, but seriously you have to take it seriously
Because the air we breathe and the water we drink is almost as important as…”
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with the science news

New Physics?
Magnetic muon movements suggest there is more to the world than the Standard Model.

Tattoo made of gold nanoparticles
It works like a sensor!

COVID UPDATE: Covid sniffing dog study has begun
Imagine a drive through that involved a doggy sniff, and not a nasal swab? It could be the near future!

COVID UPDATE: Breastmilk might hold antibodies for up to 80 days!
An admittedly small (5 participants), but still peer reviewed study shows getting the vaccine while breast feeding could protect your little one for nearly 3 months!

PUF Piece
Chaos might be the answer to security.


And, now for our Interview!

Interview with Ben Goldfarb
Ben Goldfarb is the author of Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter, winner of the 2019 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award. His work has appeared in publications including the Atlantic, Science, Orion Magazine, and National Geographic. He lives in Spokane, Washington, with his wife, Elise, and his dog, Kit — which is, of course, what you call a baby beaver.


It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Cone Snail Femme Fatales
Cones snails coerce worms out of hiding by being sexually irresistible. Really, that’s the story.

Fireflies blare out bats
“Musical armor” plays from within flireflies, that they themselves cannot hear, making them unlikely prey to bats. That’s one way to do it!

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What science news did Justin bring this week?

Mysterious blobs of Norway SOLVED
It’s squid eggs!

New type of battery on the horizon
Better batteries to be?

Neanderthal Ancestors
Have been around many times that didn’t always make it.

Let’s finish TWIS strong with science from Dr. Kiki!

Rain Rules
The rain in Spain falls mainly same on other Earth-like planets regardless of airdensity, according to a new study looking at the physics of raindrops, WHICH APPARENTLY DON’T LOOK LIKE RAINDROPS.

Tit Turnover
Immigrant turnover drives cultural evolution in Great tit populations even though resident birds are the innovators of new behaviors.

Game Guides
How could video game concepts help create greater social opportunity and equality?

Brain Glue
Could traumatic brain injuries be treated with brain glue someday?

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

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Want to see what we were talking about at this time last year? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2020 when we talked about how there were still only 2,860 COVID deaths in the US.

You might also enjoy this episode from 2011! Justin was joined by another guest for an hour of science discussion BEFORE SpaceX had really become something special.

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