15 January, 2014 – Episode 497 – This Week in Science


Repairing The Spine, Ending Resistance, Smartphone Separation, Sloshy Birds, Electric Knifefish, Bamboo Bassinett, Circumcising Autism, Synthetic Thoughts, American Dog Day, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer…
The following program contains explicitly educational language,
Graphic depictions of scientific fact,
and brief full frontal disregard for intuitive or supernaturally
derived notions of how stuff works…
It is intended for mature, immature, irreverent as well as
much too serious listeners of all ages…
Subject matter covered may occasionally be objectionable to
people with political views rooted in the middle ages…
All that is required for you to enjoy the show is that you
If after listening you find yourself challenging views you
held before listening,
the desired effect has occurred…
If after listening you find yourself pondering the relative
strangeness of the world around you….
The desired effect has occurred…
If after listening you decide that there is nothing better
you could have done for your brain than allow it a view of the world beyond the
confines of your skull…
the desired effect has occurred
And if after listening your brain sees something beyond its
boney borders that it wants more of…
the desired effect has occurred
If after listening you find yourself wanting more of what
your brain wants,
the desired effect has occurred and more is available…
Here on this week in science… live in new York city…
Coming up next.

Repairing The Spine
French and Swiss researchers have developed a soft, flexible device that can be implanted beneath the dura mater and directly on the spinal cord to deliver electrical and chemical stimulation. The advanced design is tolerated and effective in mice with spinal injury for at least two months, which is much longer than previous designs.

Ending Resistance
Bostonian and German researchers farmed bacteria in dirt boxes, and discovered a potential new antibiotic, called teixobactin, to which Staph and MRSA have absolutely no resistance. The researchers say the key to this compound is that it attacks the lipid portion of the biochemical pathway that is involved in building the bacterial cell wall, whereas most antibiotics have focused on proteins. Additionally, the source of teixobactin is a Gram Negative bacterial species, and the compound acts powerfully on Gram Positive species.

Smartphone separation anxiety
It’s real. ‘Nuff said.

Birds of a Feather get sloshed together
Drunk zebra finches slur their songs like drunk people slur their speach, but their motor skills did not seem effected quite the same way ours usually do…

Electricity makes Knifefish feel freaky
Male knifefish emit electric signals for their females, and females really dig it if the male has the proper juice.

Frogs use bamboo as bassinett
White spotted bush frogs in south India use bamboo to hold their eggs, and the father helps take care of them.

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Circumcision causes autism
Or does it? A correlation found between circumcision and autism is debated.

Items For Thought
Should we use synthetic biology to solve our man-made problems?
How available should the language of life, DNA, be? Does freedom of speech apply?

Dog day in america
How long have dogs been in America? And, just how long have they been hanging out with humans?

DNA Shuttles!
Thank to a team from New Zealand research intitutions mitochondrial DNA was shown to move from normal cells to tumor cells lacking mitochondria, restoring respiratory function and tumorigenesis. It is not understood how often this kind of horizontal gene transfer occurs between cells in living organisms, specifically humans.

Twitchy Dish Muscles!
Duke University researchers used myogenic progenitor cells (aka stem cells) to create human muscle cells in the lab that respond to chemical and electrical stimulation just like natural muscles. The development could make it possible to personalize research for patients suffering from a variety of muscle-related disorder.

Really, Really old shark sperm
A bamboo shark has produced a viable egg years after being separated from all male sharks. She stored that stuff for the longest ever recorded for sharks before popping out a sharklet!

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I'm the host of this little science show.