26 May, 2021 – Episode 826 – It’s the Little Things That Count


TWIS logo orange square

What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Headline Stories, Climate Doom, Stem Cell Guides, Problem Bird Feeders, City Bugs, Interview w/ Dr. Elisabeth Bik RE: Scientific Integrity, Code Switching Tamarins, Wolves For Deer, Just The Gist, Stimulating Sight, And Much More…

Become a Patron!

Check out the full episode of our science podcast on YouTube. You can do that here.

And, remember that you can find us on all the podcast directories. If you are looking for science podcasts on Spotify, we are there! Science podcasts on Google? We are there! You’re looking for science podcasts on iTunes, science podcasts on Apple? We are there, too! Just look for This Week in Science…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

Though you may be watching this from the comfort of your temperature controlled home,
on your cutting edge high tech device,
while consuming your chemically-derivedly-delicious sustenance, 
You are still simply an organism in an ecosystem with a role to play. 
Though you wear mass produced coverings,
mask your scent with artificial aromas,
augment your appearance with pigments,
and fill your days with mathematically created code, 
You are simply a hairless ape in a colony of the same.
No matter how much we separate ourselves from the natural world we will forever be a part of it.
And no matter how much we try to make sense of it,
it is simply the system in which we will forever participate. 
So, if you want to hear these hairless apes chat about things which often cannot be explained
since it is far bigger than our very own existence,
we are here to provide you some food for your overgrown frontal lobe tonight on…
This Week in Science!
Coming up next…

Let’s start with the science news

Headline Stories
A meta-analysis of 338 studies of vaccine safety published in the journal Vaccine found that the vaccines we use are generally safe for kids and adults. Aside from previously known adverse events, no additional risks were confirmed.
The CDC has told doctors to be on the lookout for myocarditis in young people following vaccination for COVID-19 as a result of reports to the agency’s vaccine unit. However, the incidence of the reports is not more than what would normally be expected in the general population.
The CDC is also reporting just 0.01% rate of breakthrough infections even with increasing spread of new variants – this means the vaccines are very effective at preventing infection.
A new estimate of the potential absolute limit for human beings based on blood cell counts and organismal resilience finds that the longest you can expect on this good Earth is 120-150 years.
A Dutch court ruled this week that the Shell Oil company has until the end of the decade to get in line with the Paris Agreement & cut its carbon emission by 45%.

We’re doomed.
Climate change may make us all infertile before it kills us.

Stem Cell Relaxation
The ISSCR, which provides guidelines to tihe international stem cell research community, dropped its 14-day limit for human stem cells. Additionally, it created a new 3-tiered system for research areas of concern.

Your bird feeder may be problematic
Bird poop tells us your feeder may do more harm than good.

City Bugs
Scientists from over 60 countries have published a sweeping analysis of microbes & antimicrobial resistance in urban areas. Sampling city surfaces and air for microbiome evidence, they found 31 species present in 97% of the samples.


And, now for our Interview!

Interview w/ Dr. Elisabeth Bik
Some have called her a vigilante, but Dr. Bik is a PhD-trained microbiologist, and has studied a variety of microbes at the Dutch National Institute for Health, the St. Antonius Hospital in Nieuwegein, and Stanford University. In 2019 she left her role as Director of Science at Astarte Medical in order to independently pursue scientific integrity.

Follow her hashtag #ImageForensics on Twitter to see how well you can detect fraudulent patterns. You can also support her work on Patreon. And, if you find plagiarism or other evidence of scientific publishing misconduct, you can report the findings to PubPeer.


It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Primates switch their accent to blend in with the locals
Tamarins use the calls of their neighbors to move through strange neighborhoods without altercation

Wolves saving deer for a change
The presence of wolves reduce deer collisions with cars by a sizeable percentage. Why? They scare them, for their own good.

Support us on Patreon!


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

Just The Gist
We remember the important parts.

Stimulating Sight
An optogenetics technique has demonstrated its potential to give sight back to people suffering from retintis pigmentosa.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have 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!

Want to see what we were talking about at this time last year? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2020 when we talked with Dr. Jenny Tung about her work with primates studying social behavior and health AND why the pandemic isolation period might affect you long after COVID lockdown is over.

You might also enjoy this episode from 2011! Were we really just starting to discover the missing matter in the universe? Was it really 10 years ago that researchers first turned skin cells into neurons?!? Kai joined the show to tell us about his thoughts on living forever. And, the wonderful Robert Brand joined us to discuss his work in the space industry.

If You love TWIS, and all the science news we bring you each week, please consider making a donation to the This Week in Science podcast.

Support us on Patreon!


About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.