18 September, 2019 – Episode 739 – Unintended Consequences!


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Moon Dust, Unintended Mosquitoes, Weird Old Apes, Pain In The Asp, Hide & Seek Rats, Older Neanderthals, Cure For Colds, Everything Old Is, Asteroid Impacts, Scent Sacs, Big Neutron, And Much More…

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Every once in a while things do not go quite as you expected they might.
An election goes the other way
You lose your job without notice
You fall off your bike and need stitches
Which might make the unexpected seem like a very terrible thing.
However the unexpected can also be a source of really positive things…
Like falling in love
Finding a 20 in the pocket of a jacket you haven’t worn in some time
Or detecting the background cosmic radiation,
the residual proof of the big bang,
despite never having heard of it before,
as happened at Bell Labs’ Holmdale Horn Antenna in 1964.
The unexpected comes in many forms…
if it didn’t it could hardly keep on being unexpected,
eventually someone would catch on to it…
And occasionally they do!
The story of science is the story of people catching on.
It’s the story we can’t get enough of here
Where having expectations of hearing the unexpected is just what you can expect each week on
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

First up, the BIG science news stories of the week!

Moon Dust
A new study suggests that a vaporizing moon/comet/exoplanet is potentially responsible for the odd behavior of Boygian’s, or Tabby’s, Star.

Unintended Mosquitoes
A planned release of genetically modified mosquitoes meant to reduce mosquito populations in Brazil worked, but has led to the spread of genes from the GM species into the natural population.

10 million year old upright apes
… found in Hungary.

And, now it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!… with Blair!

Paths clean from poop come at a price.
By excluding birds from public parks and walkways, we may have made the park a much worse place to be…

Have you played hide and seek with your lab rats today?
Rats appear to enjoy this activity, and it may, once again, change the way we care for lab animals.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?

“WHAT HAS SCIENCE DONE FOR ME . . . l a t e l y ? ?

Independence for chickens! The lovely feather babies/ pet dinosaurs commonly known as chickens that I have living in my yard have been greatly impacted by physics and electricity. In the past I faithfully trudged out to their coop at 6am every day and made sure I was home before sunset to let them out or lock them in their coop. However, I knew some day I would like to sleep in again on weekends.

I consulted with my brother who is a mechanical engineer about an automatic door opener for the coop. Eventually I found that such a thing already existed and was able to fully automate the chickens. Their door automatically lifts in the mornings and closes in the evening. Of course I still make sure to go out in the morning and evenings to give them treats but am no longer bound to a strict schedule. It has been wonderful!

Also, I would love if Blair did something on Tapirs. I love them. They’ve been my favorite since I was a kid and I believe they’re endangered. They are the gardeners of the rainforest and they have the cutest spotted babies! I heard that scientists are now putting reflective strips on their trackers to help them be seen by people at night as many of them are being hit by cars in south America.

So way to go science for looking out for one of my favorites.
–Sarah Crawford”

Let us know what science has done for you lately, and we will read it on the show!

Now, let’s continue with more SCIENCE NEWS!…

Neanderthals are older than we thought
New evidence pushes them back to European living 650,000 years ago.

Cure For Colds
Stanford researchers are targeting a single protein that could cure the common cold and more.

Robots of the late Neolithic
Weren’t really robots, but they had a similar effect.

Cool Asteroid Life?
Did the breakup of a massive asteroid lead to an explosion of life on Earth?

Asteroid Boop Plans
NASA and an international contingent are planning to push an asteroid around.

Don’t blame the dog, blame the microbes.
It turns out that the anal secretion created by cats, dogs, bears, and more to mark their territory is actually produced by their microbes. Thanks, little buds, but I think we’re good from here.

Biggest Neutron Star
It’s only 30 km across, but at almost 2 and a half times the mass of our sun, it breaks records as the largest ever discovered.

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