18 February, 2015 – Episode 502 – This Week in Science


AIDS Monkey Vaccine, Hazy Mars, Brush With A Star, Science Is Better, Sexist Neanderthals, Chimps Learn Language, Pigeon Smarts, Ladybug Guards, Monster Hurricanes, Epigenome Database, Talking Language, Quiet Speech Center, Quiet America, Senseless Munchies, Caramel Cancer, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
The following hour of programming has already begun…
It’s a science show where we talk about science…
What you are hearing now is the introduction.
Which will be followed by science
Later on in the show there will be a middle part.
Followed by more science…
And at some point after that, the show will end…
At which point we will likely just hang out here as we won’t
have anywhere more interesting to go…
Because even when the show is over, there is still nothing
more interesting to talk about than science…
To make the most of your listening experience we suggest
taking copious mental notes…
Though be careful not to write them on the backside of any
important memories
of which, I just remembered that it’s Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio
Volta’s Birthday today….
I tell you this not
because I want you to wish my friend a happy birthday, you can, but he won’t hear
you on account of his death…
I tell you this because this is a science show
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta was a scientist born 270 years ago…
he discovered voltage… invented the battery… discovered Methane… and did it all
without any modern convenience to help him except for one…
Science… the only modern convenience that really counts
because without it we wouldn’t even have
This week in science… coming up next

AIDS Monkey Vaccine
Researchers report unparalleled success with a vaccine for simian immunodeficiency virus, a close relative of the human immunodeficiency virus, that includes two artificial versions of the CD4 receptor targeted by the virus upon infection.

Hazy Mars
What is that haze in the upper atmosphere of Mars? No one knows.

Brush With A Star
70,000 years ago or so, our solar system had a small run in with a small star system called “Sholtz’s Star”, which apparently passed through the outer Oort cloud.

Why sex is good, but science could be better
Sexual reproduction is amazing at getting rid of disease-causing mutations, but perhaps targeted genetic modification could do the job better?

Sexist Neanderthals
Marks left of the teeth of male and female neanderthal remains indicate that there was a division of labor between the sexes.

Chimps learn each others’ languages when societies merge
Danish chimps came to live with Scottish ones in Edinburgh, and the Danes modified their language to conform to the Scotts. Did they learn a new language or just conform to societal norms> Either way, impressive!

Pigeons are no dummies
Pigeons can learn to categorize items from within many different categories, such as dogs with dogs and hats with hats. What’s more, when shown a new picture, they could categorize them, too!

Ladybug as bioweapon
Wasps trick ladybugs to guard their eggs, like a giant weapon/fortress/helicopter mom.

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Monster Hurricanes hit Massachusetts
Based on sedimentary data and pollen grains from the past, scientists say that we should expect more as oceans warm. Also, the West will need to watch out for multi-decade droughts.

Epigenome Database
A tome of papers were published this week reporting on a project that has mapped the epigenomes of 111 cell-types in the human body.

Where european language came from
It wasn’t Europe.

Quiet Speech
Broca’s area, the area thought to be responsible for speech production in the brain was surprisingly found to deactivate during speech in a recent study.

Two biological entities that have been split for 60 miliion years get back together again!
It’s Ferngully sex-capades!

Soda Caramel Cancer
A compound found in cola drinks is cancer-causing, but how much is too much?

Getting the Munchies makes no sense
THC makes people hungry, but the effect happens by activating neurons involved in telling the brain that the stomach is full. What is up with that?

America’s Quietest Places
You can still find peace and quiet in the wild American west.

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I'm the host of this little science show.