20 June, 2018 – Episode 676 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


NIF Update, Life For Mars?, The Venusian Spin, Microbial Motivations, Flying Spiders, Stressed Out Bees, Drug Beliefs, Coffee For Diabetes, Glial Pruning Shears, Light Tissue Origami, Nutrition News, VR Learning, Night Animals, Polite Dinos, And Much More…

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The world is safe.
not safe maybe, but…
The world is not nearly as dangerous at it imaginably could be…
Picture for a moment a supernatural earth
One in which vampires are real.
And not the shiny, well-mannered sophisticated type vampires full of charm and biting wit.
But, a world in which intelligent immortal blood thirsty fiends
begin hunting humans as soon as the sun goes down…
In this world,
working the late shift might have more consequences
than the ill effects of a disrupted circadian rhythm…
Day drinking would be the norm,
as bars and clubs close at dusk,
to avoid the additional dangers of Draculas with high blood alcohol levels…
And even fairy tales would have new twists,
as Cinderella hurries home
not to avoid turning into a pumpkin…
But to avoid being torn limb from limb by plasma pounding predators.
Yes, the world could be much less safe than it is…
if such monsters were real.
Or worse, it could be less intelligent!
If it wasn’t for This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

NIF Update
Did you forget about NIF? Researchers have been incrementally improving their methods to get to energy producing fusion. They aren’t there yet, but they’ve made a big step forward.

Life For Mars?
Red chlorophyll is essential to low-light photosynthesis in cyanobacteria, which could have the ability to survive on Mars. Hello, terraforming?

The Venusian Spin
The quickly churning atmosphere of Venus actually pushes the planet around faster.

Microbes And Mood
The little buggers may contribute to depression.

Mayo clinic microbes
A cure for constipation?

Protein shakes are for chickens
Researchers suggest bacteria as space food for cows.

Holy flying spiders, Batman!
Flying spiders, or to be more accurate, wind-surfing spiders, can asses weather conditions for a grand day out. Now THAT’S a weatherman a person can trust!

Bees get stressed, just like you.
Did you have a crazy day at work? Did you find that your ability to complete tasks went down as your stress went up? Bees are just like us!!

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“I have a hearing loss. It was discovered when I was 6 in 1966 and struggled to learn to read. I also didn’t talk much then. My first grade teacher told my mother that I was retarded. She didn’t believe that for a moment because I have done things retarded children just don’t do. So off to the doctors we went. I don’t remember much of the visit. I do remember hearing in great fascination the noises coming from a sample hearing aid that was over the ear and had no mold so it whistled a lot.
The family moved that year to State College and I repeated first grade. This time WITH a hearing aid. From my second time in first grade through eighth grade, I also got speech therapy in Penn States back yard. They, at that time, had a terrific hearing center. To this day, I often get noted for good eye contact. The truth is, there is NO eye contact. I am watching your lips as that therapy was a lot of lipreading. A four inch difference.
I wore several analog hearing aids through that time and had a new mold for the ear about every six months (growing up you know, a loose mold allows a lot of feedback or whistling).
Not that it solved all my problems. I was picked on relentlessly till I got to high school. Like a hearing loss kid is going to be normal. The worst years were junior high. Teachers listening to this, pay attention. Just about EVERY child in my grade at that school could EASILY tell you what my problems were but in my case, none of the teachers were willing to listen.
Over the decades, I never stopped wearing aids. Went from one over the left ear to a pair of in ear as the technology advanced. The quality improved significantly. Then about 4 years ago, moved on to an over the ear pair that is essentially a computer that shapes sound. The amplifier is in a tiny module that has a rubber cone on it that sits in the ear. A wire runs from the computer to the amp.
The amp in this link for the top picture in this link is that tiny module where the clear rubber cone is. They pick colors based on your hair color so mine are brown. Those rubber cones are disposable. Mine also have not one but three mikes allowing them to eliminate some of the noise.
Expensive too. ($5590 for the pair, ouch). If I could afford it and wanted it, the dealer as a new model that improves understanding by another 30% or so they say but that is another five grand. NO INSURANCE for this. Vocational Rehab once bought me a pair. The cheapest hunks of junk they could get their hands on (they were marginal too.) I have no clue how society can get insurance and decent quality electronics for all. This problem should be insured.
So, science solves some of my hearing loss. For the record, it is around 50%, both ears. While growing up, it was %60 / %40 left / right. so wore aid in the left ear Most of the loss is in the high frequencies. High frequencies are where 90% of your speech understanding is.
Try this experiment if you can. make a sound filter that lowers frequencies 1000 hz and up by at least 50% and see if you can understand speech.
–David Eckard”

Strong religious beliefs stay away from weed
…but pop opioid pills just the same.

Coffee For Diabetes
Researchers controlled blood sugar in mice using caffeine.

Glial cells make you smarter…
or forgetful.

Light Tissue Origami
Researchers are folding biological tissue with light!

BPA Miscommunication
BPA creates communication problems for mice.

Mediterranean Diet
It’s still good, just how good is in question.

Eels On Cocaine
Cocaine contaminated waters are likely having an effect on sea life.

Triclosan Mutations
Yup, triclosan leads to anti-bacterial resistance mutations.

VR – maybe not so bad after all…
People learn better through VR than a laptop or tablet. But might they learn even better in REAL LIFE??

This brings the cold shoulder to a whole new level.
Animals are avoiding us so hard they are turning noctural. Ouch.

Dinos were polite

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