22 February, 2017 – Episode 607 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Interview w/ Dr. Greg Cunningham RE: Olfaction in Penguins, The TRAPPIST-1 System, Left Vs Right, Cute Lemur Faces, Mosquito ID Tech, Guts Need Nerves, Hair Cell Breakthrough!, Ancient Cave Bacteria!, Cat Apologies, And Much More…

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Just this week, in a solar system not so far away
As far far as other solar systems go…
7 planets,
rocky in nature and
all within the zone of habitability
Sparked the imagination of NASA.
Imagine a solar system so tightly wound
that from the surface of any planet
You can see the others with the naked eye…
So close that if it were ours,
we could colonize them all…
As they may all be wet with water…
Yes, an astronomer’s wet dream,
an unconstrained cornucopia of science fiction scenarios.
And what better way to begin the day than with the knowledge that
There are 7 more planets in our galaxy that may hold the potential for life to flourish.
But before you pack your bags and hitch your wagon to this star
There are a few things you ought to be prepared for upon arrival.
All this and more, on This Week in Science…
Coming Up Next.

Interview w/ Dr. Greg Cunningham about olfaction in penguins.
Dr. Cunningham is an Associate professor at St. Johns Fisher College where he studies behavior, ecology, and physiology of birds. Much of his research has focused on how and what birds smell, specifically Antarctic sea birds who have to locate food over vast stretches of open ocean. In 2015, he went to live with King penguins for a month, and joined TWIS this week to tell us a bit about what he found out while he was there.

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The TRAPPIST-1 System
Looks like we might have new neighbors with NASA’s announcement of seven earth-like planets orbiting the system’s red dwarf star.

Left vs. Right… which is more creative?
You don’t have to choose because the answer is both!

Identifying cute lemurs for their own good!
Facial recognition technology helps idenitfy individual lemurs within the rainforest to better protect the species. Neat!

Killing bad mosquitoes: no, they’re not all bad!
New technology helps kill bad mosquitoes and save good ones. Yes, some are good, remember??

Hair Cell Breakthrough!
Stem cell researchers have succeeded in developing a small-molecule drug cocktail that expands the population of hair cell progenitor cells in the inner ear. This suggests that repairing hair cell related hearing loss could be treated as easily as we treat ear infections one day.

Guts Need Nerves
A study published in PLoS Biology this week found that the enteric nervous system is important for the proper management of microbial gut populations.

Ancient Cave Bacteria!
They could be tens of thousands of years old, and were found in stasis, like Superman, which has implications for the idea of panspermia.

Cats need your apology right meow.
Cat ownership is not linked to any mental illness, though you should still use caution when handing kitty litter.

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