24 April, 2019 – Episode 718 – Inside Project Drawdown


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Interview w/ Dr. Jonathan Foley on Project Drawdown, Hereditary Heights, Hearing Voices, Penguin Warming, Seaweed For Deer, Clean Mouse Houses, Glowing Gonopods, Lots Of Earthquakes, Ancient Beer, And Much More…

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You only live once!
A phrase often accompanied by a decision to do something bold, or indulgent or short sighted…
Such as a tattoo that says “You only live once”
when the acronym YOLO would have sufficed and taken up less space on your neck…
But is that really true? Do we all live just once?
As anyone with a neck tattoo might tell you,
no… it is not.
We live every day which is each our own personal forever…
and only die once.
But try encouraging your friends to do the bold, or indulgent, or short sighted thing
by shouting
You only die once!
And you will likely get less takers…
Humans have for many generations been treating the planet
as if all that could possibly matter is that which immediately matters to them…
As if humanity only lived once, and to heck with the consequences…
And now…
the consequences are setting in like a YOLO neck tattoo at a job interview.
(Nothing against neck tattoos by the way just, if you are going to get one, maybe don’t base it on a meme)
And so we current humans,
living at the current height of histories consequences have choices…
We can make the changes needed to build a better future…
we all get neck tattoos that say…
This week in science,
Coming Up Next…

First up, and interview with Dr. Jonathan Foley

Dr. Jonathan Foley, the Executive director of Project Drawdown, is a world-renowned environmental scientist, sustainability expert, author, and public speaker. His work is focused on understanding our changing planet, and finding new solutions to sustain the climate, ecosystems, and natural resources we all depend on.

Take the Project Drawdown quiz on the CNN website! How did you do? Let us know, and what surprised you!

Here is the link to the eco-friendly solid refrigerant replacement that is being developed by materials scientists. Fingers crossed this can help us get on the right track!

Send your questions about Project Drawdown and its solutions to Dr. Foley on Twitter!

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And, if you are interested, support the PDX Broadsides Kickstarter!

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

“What has science done for me lately?

Well, it grabbed me up short and forced me to re-evaluate my perceptions. Your interview with Dr. Helm was fascinating. I was hooked at the get go since she is from Home of Pluto too (and yes, all of us here still consider it a planet). I was drawn in deeper as I had never heard of the neuston, and the whole topic was terribly fascinating. But then…we got to marine debris.

For the last 17 years, I’ve had the good fortune to work with Native American environmental professionals across the country on waste management and other related issues. I have, shall we say, rather strong feelings when it comes to waste of various types, and the effects it has on our land, waters, and communities. The conversation took some unexpected turns for me that led to my stopping as I walked home and saying out loud “WTF?!” But then the scientist on my shoulder said “Whoa buddy. Shut your mouth, open your ears, and pay attention to where the studies are leading.”

It wasn’t a comfortable experience by a long shot. But it has led me to read more, to question my assumptions, and to remember that when it comes to things being black and white – well, those are penguins; not situations in real life. Once again, Science reminded me to not get too comfortable and to follow the facts. — Todd Barnell”
[Watch our interview with Dr. Helm here!]

Let’s continue with Some Science News From This Week in Science

Hereditary Heights
How did you get to be so tall? A question often asked of children as they grow. But, until now, the question hasn’t had an exact answer. Although we know height is hereditary, specific genes responsible for the variation have remained undiscovered. A recent whole-genome analysis of over 21,000 people found many rare gene variants that might pinpoint how and why we grow to a certain height.

Hearing Voices
In a new advance toward brain-computer interfaces that will one day let brains speak without need of a mouth, UCSF researchers have designed a device that translates full sentences from neural activity within the motor cortex that are understood 43% of the time.

Global warming bad for baby penguins
Leaving the nest is always hard, but changing temperatures are making it even harder for some.

Reindeer are turning to seaweed for survival
Climate change has affected food availability, and the animals are turning to novel sources of nutrition.

And, now it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!… with Blair!

A clean mouse home is a happy mouse home
Mice seem to prefer to keep waste away from where they sleep. Go figure!!

Are your gonopods glowing, or are you just happy to see me?
Glowing millipede genitals identify species! That’s a weird sentence… I love science!!

And, finally, Some Quick Science News Stories To End The Show

Lots Of Earthquakes
Southern California experiences an earthquake approximately once every 174 seconds… or just about every three minutes. They are just so small nobody feels them.

The first recording of what was possibly a rumble from within Mars was recorded by the InSight lander. More to come, but it suggests there is activity within the red planet that can tell us about its interior.

Spidey Desensitization
Exposing subjects to seven seconds of a spider scene from Spiderman 2 or an ant scene from AntMan reduced their respective spider or ant phobias by 20%.

Ancient peruvian beer festival…
500 years of beer might have played an influential role in supporting the ancient society.

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