19 August, 2015 – Episode 528 -This Week in Science (TWIS)


The Drinkable Book, DNA Data Storage, Lice Resistance, Ancient Bone Tales, Brainy Mice, Glowing Lizards!, Sperm For Life!, Gut Bacterial Blindness?, Glass Paint, Sweetgrass Solution, New Alcoholism Drugs, One Scan Rules, Freshening Football Helmets, Wiki Science Trolls, Meteoric Life, And Much More…

Disclaimer Disclaimer Disclaimer
For all of our achievements throughout the history of mankind
We now truly live in our most advanced age of scientific understanding.
This statement has been true somewhere in the world for most our history
With some regress allowed for the dark ages when
the fall of Rome was followed by a momentous loss
of the scientific and engineering knowledge of pagan scientists…
But even then, scientific inquiry continued,
lost knowledge was regained,
and scientific progress continued…
in starts and fits we pursued knowledge.
Sometimes at the personal political risk of the pursuer…
Often with great benefit to quality of life,
and always with new challenges for society to adjust to.
We’ve come a long way from that first stone picked up off
the African tundra and knapped into a working tool…
That is, if it was us at all…
In fact, it most certainly was not…
for now, in our most advanced age of scientific achievements
it is beginning to become clear that perhaps…
it was not us who invented the first stone tool after all…
That perhaps when the first ancestor of man picked a stone up off the African plains…
He did so because of the curious knapping he saw about its sharpened edge…
An artifact of an age of understanding that preceded us…
More on that ahead as we head into another episode of…
This Week in Science…
Coming up Next

The Drinkable Book
Chemists have created a book with pages doped with silver and copper nanoparticles that can purify 4 years worth of water for one person.

DNA Data Storage
Researchers are working on a way to not only save data for thousands of years using DNA, but to also make it searchable.

Lice Resistance
Lice populations in 25 states have developed resistance to the common incecticide used in over the counter treatments.

Ancient bones telling tales…
Markings on 3.8 million year old bones have been revealed to be from stone tools making the emergence of tools within the age of Australopithecus, rather than Homo sapiens, much more likely.

Brainy Mice
In lab tests on mice, an enzyme called PDB4E was linked to improved memory and decreased anxiety. If it works in a similar manner in humans, if could be used to treat anxiety disorders and PTSD.

Great Glowing Geckos, Batman! (I mean, anoles…)
The shady areas of a vibrant forest become “visually noisy,” but translucent neckflaps, or dewlaps, help cut through it all and attract the “ladies.”

Stored sperm gives species hope
Black-footed ferret sperm from a 20-year-long dead ferret has successfully injected the captive population with new genetic material. Should we keep a store of endangered species’ sperm for safe-keeping?

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Gut Bacterial Blindness?
Do bacteria in the gut activate an immune response that can cause blindness in the eyes? It is very possible.

Glass Paint
Will paint made of glass reduce heat absorption on roofs, automobiles, and playgrounds?

Sweetgrass Solution
Turns out that sweetgrass contains known mosquito repellents, and performs at least as well as DEET in repelling the biting insects.

New Alcoholism Drugs
A new class of drugs, called beta-carbolines, show promise in rat studies for treating alcoholism.

One Scan Rules
Often finding blood clots within the body takes several scans using multiple different methods. A new technique tested in rats has the potential to make only one scan necessary.

Football Helmet Protection
Will a new chemical strip be enough to indicate damage to the head?

Football Brains
Research suggests that high school football player’s brains may not recover from concussions between season, and potentially lead to damaging repercussions.

Googling Wikipedia science trolls
Don’t trust the more controversial Wikipedia entries, they are edited often and not accurately.

Meteoric Impact!
The building blocks of life (the nucleotides that make up DNA) may have been produced by a meteoric impact.

Irisin Redux
Irisin, a molecule purported to be responsible for metabolic increases after exercise, has had its ups and downs. Most recently, however, researchers used atomic methods to prove its presence in blood samples. The question now is what its presence means.

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I'm the host of this little science show.