10 August, 2016 – Episode 579 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


IT’S NOT ALIENS, Canyons On Titan, Old Tool News, Breathy Bees, Sharing Spiders Die, Firefly Buzzkill, Iceworm!!!, Back to Behavior, A Whale Ears, A Lotta No, DNA Everywhere, X-Prize AI, And Much More…

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Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
The world of man is the world of stories…
Stories forge our religions, form our ethics, frame our political leanings and foster our imaginations…
It is how we read and write our history.
Story telling is the power behind the urban and the legend, from Gilgamesh to camp fire ghosts.
It is the fuel our media runs on…
Books, movies, music, news, poetry, paintings, photographs, social media posts, sports, video games and even 20 second commercials…
are all telling us a story of the world…
In many ways each of us is living in a fable,
Stitched together by the stories that surround us…
And then, there are some stories that speak to us about a world beyond…
Beyond the ideological barn yard,
Past the pools of poetry and pontification,
Trending lightly over the latest hashtag hill,
And sitting there just outside the gates of fairytale town…
There is Science.
And the stories told by science can not only teach us our history beyond the fortunes and failings of its human inhabitants…
But teach us the history of our planet, our solar system and our universe…
As well as teach us ways we can write our own future…
And righting the course of future human history is exactly what we’ve come to expect from
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next.

But, a new analysis of light from the star cum Dyson sphere cum star found that it has been steadily dimming over the past four years.

Canyons On Titan
Cassini has found evidence that there are liquid hydrocarbons flowing through a canyon system on Saturn’s moon Titan.

Really old tools found…
Thank goodness they weren’t very clean.

Bees work together to “breathe” as what is basically a super-organism!
This is some next level stuff. Bees ventilate the colony by directing air through the group of individuals. Even a marching band isn’t that well coordinated!

Sharing isn’t always caring
Spiders that overshare starve, so THAT’S WHY I DON’T WANT TO GIVE YOU A BITE OF MY LUNCH, KAREN!

Firefly buzzkill
Your porch light could be ruining a firefly’s sex life, so consider that before you ruin their summertime ambiance!

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It’s not really a worm, but climate change will expose it.

Back To Behavior
New research on an expanded population of New Caledonian crows suggests that Betty the crow (who was lauded for innovative tool-making) may have been simply following a behavioral routine.

Whale Ears
Fossils tell the tale of hypersonic hearing in early whales.

A Lotta No
This is the week of let-downs in physics! CERN researchers report that the hints of a graviton particle were just blips, and disappeared with more data. That’s not to say another version of the particle doesn’t exist at different energy level, but this particular particle most likely doesn’t exist at the point they analyzed.
The OMEGA Laser facility used laser power to investigate the nucleosynthesis of lithium during the Big Bang, and came up short — less lithium-6 than expected. Now, the question is whether the Standard Model is accurate with respect to atomic formation.
Finally, the IceCube neutrino detector project reports no evidence of sterile neutrinos. This result is disappointing to some because sterile neutrinos would be evidence of physics beyond the Standard Model, but regardless, it also helps put stricter limits on future experiments.

A new X-Prize $5 million competition in partnership with IBM’s Watson pits groups against one another “to develop and demonstrate how humans can collaborate with powerful AI technologies to tackle the world’s grand challenges.”

That’s quite the DNA test!
eDNA test could help us discover which species live in nearby water without ever seeing or catching any individuals.

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.