24 October, 2013 – Episode 437 – This Week in Science


Textbooks Stay Sciencey, Mistaken Homosexuality, Marmosets Are Polite, Hubble Sees Old things, Lasers To The Moon, Epigenetics And Age, Gold In The Trees, Carbon Issues, Piggybacking Virus Tells Tales, Protected By Allergies, And Much More…

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Texas Textbooks Keep Science
Publishers made slight modifications to science textbooks, but did not cave to suggestions that Creationism should be included in the materials.

Blair’s Animal Corner
Homosexuality is a mistake – IN INVERTEBRATES!
Males appear to engage in homosexual behavior due to an error, where they increase their likelihood of fathering offspring by trying early and often. That being said, it occurs naturally, and carries an advantage, even if that advantage is that they act before they are sure of a gender. The point can now be made – it happens – even in invertebrates!

Marmosets are polite
Marmosets have been observed in polite conversation, that is, turn-taking when they make their calls – so why can’t you?! Monkeys do it, so there’s no excuse…

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Really old galaxy found by Hubble
Galaxy confirmed to have existed 700 million years after the Big Bang. There have been other such discoveries, but none that passed more stringent age confirmation tests.

NASA shoots lasers at the moon
It’s not the first time, but the LLDC instrument on the NASA LADEE mission has clocked truly impressive download speeds of over 600 Megabits per second. Relying on three ground-based stations around the globe, the system does still have to contend with atmospheric issues that reduce reliability. The next step is an inter-planetary laser communications internet… someday, anyway.

Epigenetics Shows How We Age
Epigenetic methylation of DNA in tissues throughout the human body correlated biological and chronological ages, except in female breast and cancerous tissues. The anomalous tissues had biological ages that surpassed their chronological. Scientists are now investigating how changing methylation affects cellular aging.

There’s Gold In Them Trees
Really. Researchers found microscopic gold particles in eucalyptus trees.

US carbon output lowest since 1994
We debate whether this is actually meaningful since American manufacturing is moving to other countries. Are we just playing a shell-game with this type of story?

Allergies To Protect You
Mice given small doses of bee and viper venom were better able to withstand lethal doses of the toxins at a later time due to activation of the IgE part of the adaptive immune system.

Herpes Virus Followed People Out Of Africa
The genes of the Herpes Symplex 1 Virus follow the trail of human migration out of Africa, and provide support for the movement of Amerindian peoples into America over a landbridge approximately 15,000 years ago.

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I'm the host of this little science show.