17 October, 2013 – Episode 436 – This Week in Science


Kickoff The Brain, No Cosmic Ray Clouds, Jurassic Park Mosquito, How Many Hominids?, Pointing To Elephants, Cat Stroking Redacted, Bonobo Comfort, Megaphone Using Bats, Grow Myelin Grow!, Sleepy Brains, Spider Brains, Brains On Exercise, Brains on Oreos, Reading Minds, And Much More…

Disclaimer, disclaimer, disclaimer!!!
Over the next hour you may hear: Science-y terminology, bits and pieces of the scientific method, skepticism, fantasy, extrapolation, and even a touch of humor. That being said, it is all to one end, and that end is science. Our main cause here at twis is simple – we wish to bring science-goodness to the masses! Once people understand science, they will care about it, and once they care about it, they will investigate and learn. Once people investigate and learn, they will begin to see the light – they will begin to see what is happening all around us (the good and the bad). Once people’s eyes are open to the goings on in our world (the good and the bad), only then will they start to change their ways and make a difference. In the words of the good doctor, “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” I hope to make it possible for my grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren to experience the amazing sites, sounds, smells, and spectacles that is our planet earth – a healthy planet earth. How do I do my part? The same way Kiki and Justin do their part – it’s called…
This Week in Science… coming up next

The Human Brain Project Kicks Off!
Predicted to cost one billion euros, the international Human Brain Project to build a computer model of the human brain has been initiated.

Cosmic Rays Revisited At Cern
No evidence for cosmic ray influence in cloud formation found by most recent experiments, but data suggests a very important role for amines.

Jurassic Park Mosquito!
A female mosquito fossilized in amber is the only specimen to date found with an intact abdomen full of blood.

How Many Species???
A new paper sees evidence from a single Georgian fossil as evidence that Homo sapiens family tree should be trimmed.

Blair’s Animal Corner
Elephants never forget – to pay attention to humans!
Elephants have shown they are the only animals (besides humans) that can understand finger pointing without any previous training. However, a contradictory study comes to mind…

Redacted – Cats stress out when stroked!
It turns out the evidence was a bit erroneous for this one, and cats, in general, enjoy being stroked. Only the ones who reluctantly allowed stroking were stresses, who amounted to only approximately 10% of the sample size… Whoops!

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Bonobos Comfort Each Other
Young apes rush to comfort others experiencing stress.

Bats use curled up leaves like a megaphone!
Spix’s disc-winged bats sit in curled leaves which serve a triple purpose: shelter, noise amplification, and noise condenser. Is it still tool use if the tool is also an animal’s home?

Advances in Treating MS: Getting Myelin To Grow
Combining a drug commonly used in treating Parkinson’s disease with an immunosuppressant known to work in MS patients allows both drugs to be used at lower doses and maintain effectiveness in treating MS symptoms in mice. Scripps researchers are planning a clinical study based on these exciting results.

Go To Sleep
US researchers find that the brain needs sleep for cleaning out toxins.
Ancient Spider Brain
A 520 million year old fossil allowed scientists to show that spiders and scorpions share a common ancestor… because of its well-preserved brain.
Mind-Reading Methodology?
An innovative study linked peoples’ behavior and quantitative thoughts to brain activity in the intraparietal sulcus. It’s been suggested that this kind of research could lead to mind-reading technology in the future.
A Road To No Exercise
Protein factor FNDC5 which in increased after endurance exercise, was shown to increase BDNF in the brains of mice. BDNF is known to be involved in supporting brain health.
Why Can’t I Stop Eating Oreos?
They are more addictive than drugs.

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.