10 February, 2016 – Episode 553 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Interview w/ Paul Knoepfler re: Designer Babies, Slime Sees! Toxo Chimp Control, Screaming Flies, Thirsty Ladies, No PDA Chimps, Jib Cutting, Space Challenges, Seasonal Brain Changes???, And Much More!

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With election season well under way,
And the fate of science hanging in the balance…
Many are calling for change…
Some may even wonder,
if we are ready to take the next big step
and elect as president someone unlike any that has served before…
Someone with a unique perspective,
who could truly show how far we have come as a nation…
We have that opportunity, to take that step
And elect our first Robot President…
Now, I know it may not seem logical, but that’s only because you are not a robot…
In seeking the nomination, our robo-candidate could personally reach out
to each and every potential voter by making simultaneous non-pre-recorded robo-calls…
Our robo candidate could not only stay on message like a champ,
but could avoid overt Rubio-esque repetition by creating and sticking to a play-list of talking points…
And then, think of it… a President that never sleeps…
The emergency call that comes at two in the morning,
no different than the one that comes in early afternoon
And most importantly, a president who above all else, ends every speech to the nation with the words…
This week in science… coming up next

Interview with Dr. Paul Knopfler, the author of GMO Sapiens: the life-changing science of designer babies.

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Slime Sees!!!
A study in a species of light-sensing and phototaxing cyanobacteria discovered that they use themselves as mini-lenses, focusing light on a cell wall opposite the source, and then moving toward the light.

Toxo Linked to crazy cat chimps
Chimpanzees infected with Toxoplasmosis were found to seek out their leopard predators. Whut.

Flies can scream at their lady to get her attention
And likewise speak softly when whispering sweet nothings. Fruit flies can control their calls depending on the distance between themselves and their romantic conquest. This is the first time such acoustic control has been observed in any animal besides humans and songbirds!

Red flour beetle females can’t get enough!
Beetle females continue to reproduce, even after they have all the sperm they would ever need, sometimes even coercing reluctant males, but why? It’s all for the moisture from the ejaculate! This brings a whole new meaning to the word “thirsty”…

Male chimps are not into PDA
Chimps were less likely to exhibit grooming behaviors when other chimpos could see. “Oh, so I’m good enough for you to groom at homee, but in front of Sheila you won’t touch me?!”

Cut of old jibs not up to hard chomps
Ancient hominid jaws were not strong enough to support the biting and chewing of tree branches and other hard potential food sources, suggesting limitations to early diets that might have led to the changes in the brain that led to humans.

Hidden Galaxies
Hundreds of galaxies hidden from view by the Milky Way have been discovered, and lend insight into the forces behind the Great Attractor.

Challenge to Jupiter
Maybe Jupiter didn’t protect us from bombardment, but rather along with Saturn was responsible for sending object into Earth’s path.

Seasonal Brain Changes???
A study using a small sample of individuals found seasonal differences in brain activity, suggesting that annual cycles might influence your feelings and thoughts.

The Skinny Bear
Bears have different gut populations of bacteria in the summer from during the winter when hibernating, and when transplanted into mice, had interesting effects on their weight.

Grassy Condoms
Using a nanocellulose from Australian grass called spinifex, scientists think they can make condoms as thin as a human hair, but still as strong.

Gravitational Waves???
We broadcast too early to give you the news this week, but the discovery has been made! And, we will discuss the implications next Wednesday night! Join us again!

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