21 August, 2019 – Episode 735 – What’s In a Brain?


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Human Brain Evolution, Brain Lanes, Brain Maps, Toxoplasmystery Solved!, Lake Of Bones!, Koala Poo Pills, Locust Face Plants, Underwater Boat!, Beneficial Recklessness?, Mongolia!, Practice Or Perfect, Spider Storms, Memory Ripples?, Bioluminescent Schools!, And Much More…

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The following program is not intended for all audiences…
If you are curious minded
Or like learning about curious things
If you like thinking logically
Or speculating wildly about where logic may lead
If you like methodical inquiry
Or asking questions with no established pathways to answers
If you like science.
You have come to the right place.
If on the other hand
The very idea that the world is more complicated than might have assumed
Fills you with dread
And you enjoy a good scare
You have come to the right place.
If on the other… other hand
You are physically allergic to knowledge, wonder and un biased curiosity…
By all means stay tuned and document your symptoms so that we may find a cure…
Come to think about it, this show may actually be intended for all audiences
So welcome everyone to another episode of
This week in science,
Coming up next…

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

Human Brain Evolution
It wasn’t a very straight line.

Brain Lanes
Reading and math are relegated to different parts of the brain, but they follow the same tracts of white matter between brain regions. Digging deeper, neuroscientists discovered that the subject matter signals are also separated into sub-tracts within the larger bundles.

Brain Maps
UC Berkeley neuroscientists mapped the brain’s activity while people both read and listened to stories from The Moth. Surprisingly, they found the same areas of the brain were activated in both circumstances.

Why Cats? or Toxoplasmystery Solved!
The lack of an enzyme allows Toxo to reproduce.

What’s better than a day at the lake?
A day at a lake full of human bones!

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

Dr Justin’s Poo Pills.. For Koalas!
Microbial transplant could help koalas respond to reduced and rapidly changing habitat. Could this work for other endangered species with a need to adjust their diet?

D’oh! Locusts face plant for glory!
It might just be the best way to fall… On your face… if you are a locust. Not only is it the easiest, it might actually be the most likely method to save your tiny little exoskeleton from predators!

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

“Hi Kiki, Blair, and Justin

I have written two “What Has Science Done for Me Lately” stories previously. One was about an illness and the other was about a natural disaster. This one is not like them. This will be a happy one.

The science and technology of telecommunications and shipping have allowed me to more fully enjoy my hobbies. I am a collector of stamps and of Boy Scout books. The sales and auction sites on the internet have allowed me to purchase items I never would have found any other way. I have found information that would have required a trip to an archive in a faraway country just a few years ago. I have also made hobby friends all over the world.

I often repeat the old joke that there is a tiny difference between a hobby and a mental illness, but my hobbies have helped me in many ways over the years. When I am working on my hobbies my mind is calm, I am engaged, and I am enjoying myself.

So, Science has given me tools to make my enjoyment of my hobbies better. And for that I am grateful.
Eric Knapp
Eric-in-AK in the chatroom.”

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!…

Marine archaeologists make a discovery!
A deteriorating boat!

Beneficial Recklessness?
Scientists are suggesting that because both teenaged humans and macaque monkey adolescents show poor impulse control compared to adults, the inability to control the poor decisions of youth must be evolutionarily conserved because it’s beneficial.

Based on remains of tools, humans were there 10,000 years before the fossils suggest.

Does Practice Make Perfect?
With a few upgrades to the methodology, behavioral scientists repeated a study that showed more practice translated into better violin skills. The new findings also show practice makes better, but discovered that this isn’t necessarily the case for the best violinists, making the case for genes and inherent ability as a predictor of skill.

Spider Storms
Spider scientists followed colonial spiders after hurricanes in 2018, and found that the more aggressive colonies survived better. The next step is to find out why that is.

Closer To A Cure
Several recent trials of drugs to treat Ebola have proven very successful at reducing the mortality rate from the disease. The trick now will be getting people into the clinics for treatment.

Big Gulp
LIGO and Virgo have detected a black hole swallowing a neutron star completing the trifecta of gravitational wave discoveries sought by astrophysicists.

Memory Ripples?
Neuroscientists have detected a signal, called a sharp wave ripple, in the hippocaampus of the human brain that occurs 1-2 seconds before a memory is actively recalled.

Bioluminescent schools!
How and why do fish stay together in the aphotic zone when they can’t see each other? They glow, baby!

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I'm the host of this little science show.