21 March, 2018 – Episode 663 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


Scientist Doodles, Rogue Star, New Neander News, Double Denisovan, Batty Communication, Cane Toad Traps, The Sinkhole State, Plastic Everywhere, Gerrymandering Science, Graphene Hair, Fat Fries Taste, 5 Fantastic Frogs, And Much More…

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The wonderful thing about the world we are living on…
if you haven’t noticed by now
Is that it is covered with living things…
So many planets in our solar system without life…
So much of the universe apparently uninhabitable…
And yet this one planet…
This one we live on…
Life is abundant.
It is everywhere we have looked…
And it should come as no surprise that with all this teaming, resplendent, abundance…
We would want to learn everything we can about it
Here on
This Week In Science…
Coming Up Next!

Scientist Doodles
One in three kids now draws a woman when asked to draw a scientist compared to nearly 100% male depictions in the 60’s.

Rogue Star
Simulations of the movements of objects in the solar system suggest that about 70,000 years ago Scholz´s star perturbed their Oort cloud orbits and set them on different paths through the solar system.

New Neander News
The five new genomes will help in reconstruction of Neandertal population histories.

A Dab of Denisovan
Twice over even! Looks like Denisovans and Humans mixed more than once.

Bats learn from other species
Is this new? Apparently, it is.

It’s high time we addressed the cane toad in the room… er… in Oz…
New traps combine audio and visual effects to make a dent in the approximately 1.5 billion toad problem in Australia.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi Dr Kiki!

So, how to start? Well, I listen to these segments, which are often about health issues, and while I’m really happy for the people who are helped, I also find them a bit depressing because they ignore the, let’s say, less good, parts of health science.

I’ve got a health problem that’s been going on for nearly 10 years. It took me eight years to find a doctor who would do more than say “”go away””, and even now, while my current doctor has had a pretty good go at trying to figure out what is going on, they still don’t know, and so there is no solution.

However, that’s not the problem. I accept that we won’t always be able to get answers. What is the problem is the lack of care. All the doctors that I’ve seen show no signs of caring about me, or how the lack of answers affects me, and for that I blame science. Doctors have become blinded by all the good stuff that they can do, with the consequence that when they can’t provide a solution, they don’t know how to provide, or don’t see the need to provide, a caring human touch. All their science, which they worship (just look at the way that they react to any alternative health system), has insulated them from human needs and wiped out their humanity.

It’s not just in treatment that this is a problem. Chronic fatigue isn’t my problem, but way that people with it have been treated by the research community illustrates the problem. Initially, there was Simon Wessely who said it was all in people’s heads, and because he was such a prominent figure, everyone in the science community fell into line, presumably without thinking. Even now, when the “”all in the head”” explanation has been debunked, he is still lauded by the science community. More recently we’ve had the PACE trial, where the authors fought tooth and nail against releasing their data. And who did the science community back? Well, I don’t think that it was the patients. Where is the care in any of this?

So, what has science done for me lately? I think that it’s taken the care out health care, and I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Hope that you can use this. Or if it’s too hard, at least use it as inspiration to recognise the damage that science sometimes does.

Why Texas is such a sinkhole state…
Or, we just dig it too much.

BPA Brains
Even low doses of BPA altered neuron development and later behavior in mice.

Plastic Everywhere
A questionable study finds microplastics in bottled water.

New gerrymander
Can science direct politics?

Hawking Accuracy
Read the paper, people.

Astronaut Genes
Clarifications on last week’s story.

Graphene Hair
A new use for graphene might be as a hair dye. Will this lead to conductive hair integrated electronics elements?

Being fat could be killing your taste buds.
Or at least it does in mice. What a vicious cycle…

Five new frogs found hanging out in a museum…
True story.

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I'm the host of this little science show.