12 September, 2018 – Episode 687 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


Interview w/ David Quammen, Sugar Maker, New Neurons Discovered, Human Egg Marks, Beer Before Farming!, Old Art, Shrimp Shields, Beetle Baby Branding, Shark Encounters, Plastic Dolphin Pee, AI For Radio, Finding Ordinary Matter, Hot Drops Move, Wolverine Me, And Much More!!!

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If you don’t believe in evolution…
you are wrong.
Even if you haven’t replaced evolution with anything specific or supernatural…
By choosing to go against all observations across all domains of science…
you have chosen to be wrong.
If you do believe in evolution, congratulations!
Though you are likely wrong as well…
Not as wrong as someone who outright denies that life forms evolve…
But your understanding of what evolution means,
how it works,
how it’s taken place over the past 4 billion years
is likely not a model that fits well with how evolution has taken place on earth.
But fear not, you are not alone…
In fact you’ve probably got a better grasp than Lamarck, Darwin, and Huxley had.
Not that they were wrong,
you just happen to have been afforded an extra hundred years and more
of scientific insight and discovery to base your impression on…
And, tonight we will delve deeper into how evolution happens,
where we’ve been in search for answers and maybe where we are going…
All that and more ahead on
This Week in Science,
Coming up next!

Interview with David Quammen
David Quammen studied at both Yale and Oxford, and has spent his life writing amazing stories about nature, evoution, and man’s relationship with the natural world. He contributes to National Geographic magazine, and can claim to have been the sole author of one issue. He wrote The Song of the Dodo, Monster of God, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Spillover, Ebola, The Chimp and the River, a book about Yellowstone, and most recently The Tangled Tree, which we are thrilled and honored to speak to him about tonight.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Science has allowed me to be super extra and give my rescue puppy a doggy dna test. I got to find out what all he is made of, which isn’t necessary, but is quite fun.
–April Robison”

Sugar Maker
How do sugars exist in space? What reactions created them? The Formose reaction creates sugars from formaldehyde and water, but things break down fairly quickly, so the reaction can’t explain clouds of sugars in space. Reseachers in Germany have shown that hydroxymethylene, a hyper-reactive carbene, doesn’t need water to create sugars when combined with formaldehyde. Could this be the missing molecule for interstellar building-blocks of life?

New Neurons Discovered
Turns out that there are more types of neurons in your inner ear than previously thought. According to a recent study using RNA sequencing to identify cell types in the ear, there are not just one, but three different Type I spiral ganglion neurons connecting to the hair cells, which appear to encode intensity information related to hearing.

Ancient humans, giant birds…
A story told of people lost to time.

Beer before farming!
Older cheese, older bread, and now, older beer.

Oh, and Human art just got a lot older too.
It pays to look at rocks sometimes.

Human shield? No, it’s all about the flying snail shield these days.
Amphipods carry pteropods to ward off predators. Whether the pteropods like it or not (which they do not).

Beetle parasites are all about customization
Beetles change their chemical and behavioral tactics to best tap into the resources nearby bees have to offer.

Sharks like it when you visit them!
It turns out the more you know about something, the more you care about it. So explains Blair’s entire career…

Plastic Dolphin Pee
Phthalates have been detected in the urine of wild dolphins. We don’t know what this means yet, just that we can see metabolites of plastics in dolphin pee.

AI For Radio
Using an AI algorithm to analyze data from the Breakthrough Listen data uncovered more fast radio bursts of unknown origin from dwarf galaxy FRB 121102.

Ordinary Matter Found!
Using a new method quantifying the gas illuminated by a quasar, researchers have corroborated other recent studies that find the “missing” baryonic matter in the universe. It’s in the gas in between things!

Hot Drops Move
Water dropped onto a hot pan has an internal mover according to a new study of this ‘Leidenfrost effect’. Apparently, fluid flow internal to the droplets influences the direction of movement of the drop over the pan’s surface as it evaporates.

We are all wolverine…
Blood makes skin move it!

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.