21 October, 2015 – Episode 537 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Interview w/ Dr. Matthew Francis on the question: What Is Life?, Ovulating Dino Examined, Twitterpated Marmosets, Sunscreen Kills… Corals, Distraction Control, Bacterial Communication, Into Africa, Tooth Regen, And Much More…

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This Week in Science… coming up next!

Life on Earth started early
An analysis of ancient zircons found carbon particles likely produced via photosynthesis, which suggests that life bagan almost immediately on our planet.

Earth came early to party
A theoretical investigation posits that many earth-like planets have not yet formed.

Dr. Matthew Francis
is a physicist, science writer, and Director of CosmoAcademy. He is also knwon to wear jaunty hats. He recently wrote an article for Mosaic about life itself in which he investigated the study of life, how exactly we define it, and how that influences our ability to recognize it.

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Ovulating dino examined
Using chemical signatures in egg shells as a proxy for body temperature, paleontologists were able to determine that some dinosaurs were more endothermic than others.

Twitterpated marmosets bring extra allure
Monkeys given a boost of oxytocin received more attention form their mate, without asking for it. How do they know??

Sunscreen: the silent coral killer
A common chemical found in sunscreen has been shown to be an endocrine disruptor, DNA damager, and overall bad influence on corals. Next time, wear a hat instead of slopping on that spf!

Distraction Control
New research highlights how the thalamus might act as your attentional spotlight to inhibit distracting sensory information, and help you focus.

Bacteria Talk Like Neurons
A study showed that bacteria in biofilms use membrane ion channels to cause oscillations in electrochemical membrane potential that could spread between bacteria as a form of communication.

Into Africa theory…
It looks as though human ancestors not only left Africa, but also returned to it. Genetic evidence suggests that there was a lot of Eurasian mixing with African populations.

Stop brushing your teeth – soon you’ll be able to just grow more
Cichlid research has helped us see how the line between taste buds and teeth is more blurred than we previously thought. This could lead to research that could allow humans to grow new sets of teeth when dental problems loom.

Diet And MS
The fats you eat might influence your risk for disease and its progression.

Pregnancy No No’s
In addition to alcohol, put marijuana on your list of things to avoid while pregnant.

Rewarding memories
How my high school history teacher was ahead of her time.

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I'm the host of this little science show.