23 June, 2021 – Episode 830 – How Far Do Butterflies Migrate?


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This Week: Look At Earth, Microbe Connections, Quantum Standstill, Tiny Rex?, Magnetic Bird Eyes, COVID Update, Hyena Bugs, Butterfly Record, Bacterial Resistance, Memory Reality, Youth Blood, Melatonin Mice, And Much More…

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The brick and mortar backbone upon which the modern world depends to carry the weight of our fast moving civilization…
Constructed from the ingenuity of human engineering and design,
That functional, visual manifestation of the earths one sentient being.
Reimagining the surface of the one habitable planet in our solar system
And as it turns out…
our infrastructure is crumbling.

Not entirely crumbling, not all at once, in many places the infrastructure is brand new!
But everything we build has a shelf life,
A number of years before nature reclaims the materials we build with
And returns them to the earth…

Every crack in a foundation…
Every dusting of rust on an exposed bit of rebar
Along every mile of road from sea to shining sea,
And in every pothole along the way,
There are signs that nature remains relentless in its push for entropy.
And our best response so far has been
More cement.
Cement is the most widely consumed material globally.
The cement industry accounts for 8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

So, as the politicians debate how best to spend infrastructure dollars,
Let us not overlook where those dollars could be best spent:
Research Science

Ange-Therese Akono at the McCormick School of Engineering is a research scientist
who is working on ways to make cement stronger,
longer lasting and better for the environment.
She is an example of what we actually need as an integral part of infrastructure planning.
Material research that can lead to lower maintenance costs, lower green house emissions, and taller structures.

By 2050, the United Nations predicts two-thirds of the world population will be concentrated in cities.
So we either build upwards,
or we pave the rain forest.
And roads…
We could afford every good thing humanity deserves if we could just spend less maintaining roads…
The national average is $25,474 in transportation spending per mile…
per lane.

And hey! Who knows,
with all the money we save by funding research that goes on to save us money,
we might be able to spend even more on research!
And the more we spend on research the more we will have of
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Look At Earth
There are 2000 stars that could potentially be looking at Earth the way we are looking are searching for exoplanets around distant stars.

Your microbiota is talking to you
…through a retro virus.

Quantum Standstill
Using LIGO, researchers reduced vibrations in the massive device’s mirrors enough to create the equivalent of a motion ground state in a large kilogram-scale object, which will enable future study of the effects of gravity on such objects.

Tiny bird discovered
It has the skull of a T-Rex.

Magnetic Bird Eyes
A protein isolated from English robin’s eyes responded to weak magnetic fields indicating the potential mechanism for how migratory birds sense the Earth’s magnetic field.


Are you ready for a COVID Update?

COVID Source
Understanding is only as good as our data.

Higher Seropositivity
A long-term study of people representative of the US population discovered that undiagnosed cases of COVID-19 were much higher than previously estimated. Follow-up of participants will allow understanding of differences between vaccine & naturaly acquired antibodies AND responses to variants of concern.

Acquired Differences
Francis Collins summarized a recent study comparing the antibodies produced by vaccinated individuals versus those unvaccinated, but previously-infected. There was a striking difference implying that while infection does provide acquired protection, antibodies from vaccination are more likely to provide more complete protection against future variants.

Did not everyone hear about covid-19?
Apparently, we forgot to tell the Amish.

Hesitancy Discrepancy
Vaccine acceptance should be high enough to get us to herd immunity,. but why are health care workers so much more hesitant than the general population?


It’s time for Justin’s Animal Corner?

T.Gondii is bad for Hyena pups…
They really should stay further away from lions.

Butterfly sets world record
How far do you think it flew during migration?

Beware of bacteria resistant veterinarians
They could be a source of trouble.

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Let’s finish strong with science from Dr. Kiki!

Memory Reality
The hippocampus helps us learn new things, but it also assists in assessing the present.

Youth Blood
A protein in blood involved in delivering oxygen to tissues also prevented cognitive decline in mice.

Melatonin Mice
Researchers studied the effects of melatonin on mouse behaviors – one of the most interesting implications is that we may have been unintentionally selecting for mice with low melatonin for years.

This Week in Science Questions!

How many other animals have incredible migrations? Mosquitoes?!? We aren’t kidding.
Do you have other questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Check out this episode of TWIS from last June! Our minds were blown when we learned that crocodiles can walk on two legs, and that our noses influence navigation. Seriously, puts some evidence behind following your nose.

Then there was also this one from 2011 that included news about engineering cows to make HUMAN milk, cool memory prostheses, and the danger to the oceans from ocean acidification. Can we fix the climate change problem already?!?

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