22 January, 2019 – Episode 755 – Directing Space Traffic


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Interview w/ Dr. Moriba Jah, Cancer T Cells, Snakes And A Virus, Watery Mars Dirt, Wet Rattlesnakes, Helper Parrots, Psychoactive Mood Bump, Greying Hair?, Playful Wolf Pups, And Much More…

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This is not the world you signed up for!
When you were born into this world, your biology was prepared a very different place

Millions of years of evolution, a hundred thousand years of language, thousands of years of civilization and now you are a part of an artificial environment the world has never seen before.

But no worries, you happen to have been born as one
of the most adaptable species the planet has ever seen

Your kind has rolled with the changes before,
and changed in ways that made it easier to survive.
and while your new environment may pose challenges, your biology will follow!

Thanks to advances in technology, you might not need to rely on such a large brain
So it may shrink a bit.
Your keen physical prowess can relax into a more sedentary society
No one will ask you to join a mastodon hunt anytime soon.
Don’t be concerned if there are some hiccups of disease along the way, it’s a temporary trade off, all change takes time.
Besides, what’s a little diabetes if you no longer need to run from a pack of lions, or chase off a family of bears to get the good cave?

Just never forget that the skills that allowed your ancestors to overcome the toughest challenges are still with you…

That smart phone in your hand?
Just the latest version of a tool mankind has wielded to circumvent the world for millions of years…
No longer stone, but still crafted to fit nicely in the palm.

The modern world is not the one your biology was built for… but we’re working on that

Here on, This Week in Science,
Coming Up next…

Let’s start with an interview!

Interview with Dr. Moriba Jah
This episode’s guest, Dr. Moriba Jah, is an American space scientist and aerospace engineer interested in where things are in space. He’s an Associate Professor of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics at the University of Texas at Austin, and previously worked as a spacecraft navigator for the NASA Jet Propulsion laboratory. His research involves determining the scope of objects in orbit around the Earth, and predicting their trajectories in space over time. If you are interested in seeing the visualizations of objects orbiting Earth put together by his lab that were discussed on the show, click here.

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

We are going to open this segment of the show to more general letters and inquiries. Have a comment? A question? A poem about science?

Contact us, and we will read it on the show!

Now, let’s continue with SCIENCE NEWS!…

Cancer T Cells
A newly described immune cell recognizes cancer cells and kills them, but how does it tell healthy from cancerous cells? And, why do people still get cancer if these cells are around?

Snakes on a plane
How the latest coronavirus (nCoV) went pandemic.

Mars might have had earth like oceans
Mineral deposits in sediments in Gale crater on Mars suggest a watery environment with a pH similar to the oceans on Earth.

Finally, it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Rattlesnake skin is all wet
And, acts like a straw for the snakes who are feeling thirsty!

Parrots help the unseen buddy next door
Parrots have been shown to assist an unseen comrade in cooperation tests. If only humans could do that…

Let’s end with some quick SCIENCE NEWS stories!…

Psychoactive Mood Bump
Researchers determined that people taking psychoactive substances, LSD and mushrooms, at festivals experiences a positive mood enhancement related to feelings of connectedness.

Greying Hair?
Science confirms that stress leads hair to go grey, but the reason is shocking.

Wolf pups spontaneously fetch
What does this mean? Anything? Nothing? We don’t know!

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