09 June, 2021 – Episode 828 – Can We Move the Moon?


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Reviving Life, Robots For Kids, Outsmarting Bacteria, Whipped Happiness, Metal Core?, Schooled Megalodon, No Moon Moving, COVID Update, Puppies!, Hangry Fruit Flies, Mental Health Diet, Better Learning, Do Your Math, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

In advance of the coming pentagon report on unidentified aerial phenomena
Some are expecting evidence of extraterrestrials,
While others are expecting scientific explanations.
Likely both will be disappointed.
In the meantime, consider the following…

What if it turns out that humans are the most intelligent life form in the galaxy?

Life in the galaxy seems likely
life abounds here on earth
Life is chemistry.
The chemistry of earth is not rare in the galaxy.
But intelligent life…
That sentient, theory of mind, innovator of language, mathematics, technology,
The type of intelligence humans are capable of…
Is so incredibly rare here on earth that only one species possess it.
And even then we have to ask ourselves:
For how long?

If you can imagine…
that we might be it for higher intelligence, the one rare example.
What then?
What responsibility should we have,
the most intelligent creature in the galaxy
for the planet we are on
for the only life forms we know to exist
for using our intelligence to uncover the mysteries of the universe
for one day traveling beyond our own star
so we can discover other planets, other life,
or maybe,
just use that big brain of ours to get along with one another here on earth.

If you are looking for the most intelligent lifeforms in the galaxy
You can find them.
The place you should be looking is
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Reviving Life
A bdelloid rotifer was thawed and brought back to life by researchers in Russia after 24,000 years.

Raising children with robots
In some cases robot companions could be very helpful.

Outsmarting bacteria at their own game
What if we could make bacteria evolve themselves to death??

Whipped Happiness
Nitrous oxide was used successfully to treat depression in a limited phase 2 clinical trial.

Metal core of a failed planet, might just be rubble
Will this affect its value?

Scientist gets schooled by high schoolers
Sharks have been measured all wrong, and megalodon was bigger than we thought

That Won’t Happen
No Louie, we can’t move the moon.


Are you ready for a COVID Update?

We started the segment with a thank you letter from Todd Barnell. Thank you for appreciating the COVID Update, Todd. We are all tired of being vigilant. But, we can get through this pandemic together.

Infected Are Ok?
A pre-print in the medrxiv suggests that their investigation of over 55,000 employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System suggests that people who were symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 might not need to get vaccinated. The CDC & WHO still suggest that all individuals get vaccinated, although some doctors think a single dose of a 2-dose vaccine could act as a booster to provide added protection.

Vaccine Facts
Contrary to the testimony of a known anti-vaccine doctor in Ohio yesterday, COVID-19 vaccines will not make you magnetic. They will protect you VERY well from infection by the SARS-CoV2 virus and its variants, including the delta variant, which is causing concern worldwide as it spreads among the unvaccinated.

Masks Work
A UC Davis study confirms that surgical masks reduce particles released into the air by talking or coughing, and would result in significant reduction in viral transmission even with imperfect fit.

Mix & Match
Early studies suggest that mixing different vaccines appears to boost safely immunity.

Flu vaccine safe for pregnant women and unborn children
Are we really just learning this?


It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Puppies love humans- it’s in their genes.
There is something in the special sauce that makes doggos, and it is in their DNA.

What does Blair have in common with a fruit fly?
They both get super hangry

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What does Justin have to say about science this week?

Mental health in women
It’s tied to diet much more than observed in men.


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

Better Learning
NIH-funded scientists found that procedural learning in the brain is accompanied by rapid replays of a practiced neural pattern, and that the somatosensory cortex communicates with the hippocampus & entorhinal cortex in the process.

Do Your Math
Math education was linked to improved neural plasticity and cognitive function, and a lack of maths could be predicted by low GABA neurotransmitter concentration in the middle frontal gyrus.

This Week in Science Questions!

Could we actually move the moon or change the orbit of the Earth? Possibly, but it’s a really terrible idea for all life on the planet.
Do you have other questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Check out this episode of TWIS from last June! We talked about baby crows, aggressive pink flamingos, and armored butterflies.

Then there was also this one from 2011 that ALSO had a story about the importance of math for kids. We also discussed human origins and bird brains. Sometimes things don’t change much in a decade.

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