18 September, 2014 – Episode 481 – This Week in Science


Wiping Cell Memory, Not So Sweet, Three’s Company, Peacock Fools, Femme Fatale Bugs, Backyard Chickens, Hummers Got Sweet, Ape And Essence, Soft Robots Rule, Got Bags?, Psilocibin Or Cigs?, Nanobot Wine Test, A Baby’s Cry, And Much More…

Disclaimer disclaimer disclaimer!
It’s time again for a batch of good news. When it comes to our troubles as a species, it usually boils down to being our own fault. Our obsession with cars and gadgets and technology have brought us into an age of acidifying oceans, melting glaciers, bad air quality, and along with it an attitude that can only be described as “use it or lose it.” And where is that good news you ask? Science and technology has won one this week! Scientists in Australia, after just three years of experimentation, have successfully found a way to print solar panels on flexible plastic or metal, hardly thicker than a piece of printer paper. What’s more, they can print the equivalent of one panel every two seconds. This stuff could end up coating buildings, cars, or just about anything else that can be coated in a thin plastic sheet. It sounds like we are well on our way to renewable, clean energy that is affordable and easy to use. We can pull ourselves out of this mess, get us back to where we need to be, and maybe even get some new cool gadgets along the way? It all came from some experimentation and teamwork. We have the power – now we just need to band together to use it, support it, and spread knowledge of it far and wide. And do you know the easiest way to get started with that last bit? It’s called…
This Week in Science! Coming up next…

Wiping Cell Memory
Scientists have succeeded in creating the first human line of pluripotent stem cells to an embryonic state with no memory of their previous forms.

Not So Sweet
Research suggests bacteria might be the lynchpin in explaining how artificial sweeteners lead to obesity.

Three’s Company
DNA suggests Europeans came from three ancestral groups rather than just two.

Those peacocks have been playing us all for fools
Those decorative trains may not be the disadvantage biologists have always thought. Is it possible those fancy feathers don’t have so much of an effect on fitness?

Female decoys electrocute pests
Invasive emerald ash borer beetles are getting zapped by convincing female imposters – yay, science?

Backyard Chickens could poison you and your friends
Many medications prescribed to chickens could leech into the eggs if they are not specifically for egg-producing hens, or not dosed properly.

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Hummers Got Sweet
Hummingbirds re-evolved the mutation that allows perception of sweet taste.

Ape And Essence
Chimps are just aggressive.

Soft Robots Will Rule The World
Engineers have designed a soft, untethered quadruped robot that can maneuver and survive serious impact.

Nanobots testing out our wine!
Nanotechnology helps vintners to detect the proteins responsible for astringency, aka dryness, helping to make the wine better before it hits human lips.

It doesn’t matter what species, a crying baby is a crying baby
Deer mothers responded to the cries of infants from several mammal species in now way even closely related to them. Some things are just hard-wired, I guess.

Psilocibin Or Cigarettes?
A pilot study suggests pilocibin pills are effective for quitting smoking.

Star Inside A Star
Astronomers have found the first example of a Thorne-Zytkow object, first predicted 40 years ago, which is a neutron star that has been gulped up by a red dwarf.

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I'm the host of this little science show.