23 May, 2018 – Episode 672 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


Interstellar Headlines, Dose Of Sunshine, Could You Iceman?, Nanotubes For All, Octopus Stories, Loch Ness Science, Turdigrades, End Of The World, Regrowing Brains, Raccoon Lizard Cat, Let’s Talk Worms, And Much More…

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Imagine for a moment if you will…
Contact with an alien species.
A voyaging spacecraft colony of creatures
who would like to live peacefully here with us on earth.
They had to leave their own planet behind because it became too inhospitable…
What with the pollution,
pervasive hazardous chemicals,
unstable atmospheric climate changes,
and an ecosystem in complete free fall…
they just had to head for the stars,
and their ship
was nearly out of plutonium when they happened by earth.
And so with open arms
and bit of uncertainty about whether we really have a choice…
we let the aliens live amongst us.
Soon we discover that the new arrivals have voracious appetites,
and an affinity for resources that rivals even our own.
After only a week,
they improve oil extraction to the point where there is no more oil to drill for…
Two weeks in and there seems to be a distinct lack of trees where once there were many…
Three weeks in and somehow they manage to catch and eat nearly all the fish in the sea…
By week four and there isn’t a four legged creature over four pounds that hasn’t disappeared down their bellies…
And at the end of just a month the air is unfit to breathe,
the oceans are acidified and the ecosystem is in complete free fall…
And as the aliens depart in search of more fertile planets to plunder…
The humans take a moment to ponder…
This must be what we look like to those weirdos that listen to
This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next…

Interstellar Headlines
Is 2015 BZ509 an interstellar alien object? Maybe, maybe not, but the headlines and researchers are jumping to conclusions on this one.

Dose Of Sunshine
Chinese researchers showed that in mice exposure to UV light increased concentrations of a compound called urocanic acid in the brain, linked the compound to glutamate production, and showed improvements in memory compared to control animals.

Could You Iceman?
An MRI study suggests that ‘The Iceman’, Wim Hof, has learned how to hack his physiology to produce a stress response that allows him to perform feats in extreme environments.

A solution for every problem.
Global warming, unbreakable pants, space elevator… all of it, solved

Octopuses are not aliens
No matter how bad we want them to be, they are simply fantastical, amazing creatures born from our own planet. Sawwy…

What’s hiding in Loch Ness?
Is it a fish? a dinosaur? a monster? we’ll know this summer! And, we might actually make some cool real life discoveries, too.

Do Tardigrades poop?
Boy howdy, yes they do!

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Being a TWIS fan, I herewith submit my TWIStiment to the role of science in my life. Though no scientist nor having training beyond college courses, I totally rely on science as a practicing visual artist, as do all creatives whether recognized or not. Geometry, geology, mineralogy, engineering and physics et al are required to make and maintain the machinery and tools to work steel and wood, fiber, stone, paint and clay; likewise the role of chemistry and atmospherics in the mastery of pigments and finishes, all, via the artisan empower the object itself, its life expectancy and interaction with light and space. Science, like art animates the what if, spurs possibilities, teaches by mistake and demands we build upon, and with, truth.
–Walter Gunn”

……Gonna die.
Dodging disaster from climate change
We just need to limit warming to 1.5 degrees celcius… somehow… no prob, right???

Regrowing Brains
UCLA researchers used a hydrogel to help mouse brains recover from stroke.

Raccoon lizard cat
…tells tale of Pangaea

Let’s Talk Worms
Predatory hammerhead flatworms have invaded France.

Mossie Spit Take
Looks like mosquito spit DOES cause an immune reaction in some people, sometimes lasting for DAYS. This might not answer why you get bitten, but it might tell you a bit about why some of you swell up more than others.

Thanks you, Chris Lee, from ArsTechnica for bring a smile to my face today. Magic space unicorns aren’t going to take us to the cosmos.

The shortest route is not always the fastest

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.