26 November, 2014 – Episode 491 – This Week in Science


Revisiting Triclosan, Shields Up, Life Abides, Poo Rockets, For family Fights, Turtles In A Tree, Frog Maps, Mines Bad, Ambulance Calls, A New Bird, Memory Map, Imagination Is Different, Virtual Brains Noisey Spiders, Whoya Gut In There?, And Much More…

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We gather together here at the table of science to give thanks…
Thanks to the science minded pioneers of yester-year who
forged for us a world of reason so that our minds might plant and harvest in
fields that produce rational results and make real progress in our standard of living…
Thanks to the researchers of today who provide a weekly
bounty of new knowledge, insights and awe inspiring discoveries…
Thanks to the engineers of technology who have made production
of and access to the show simple and readily available to all who seek it…
And above all else, thanks to you the listening audience,
the minions of twis, without which the shows hosts would simply fall into a new
category of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders identifiable
as speaking to oneself aloud about science news without audience…
The tradition of giving thanks is a good one
One that truly deserves to celebrated
And I can’t help but think that this is what we are doing
each time we say…
This Week in Science… Coming up next!!!

Revisiting Triclosan
A contributor to Scientific American’s blogs writes that the study we reported last week unnecessarily sensationalizes the results. What do you think?

Shields Up
A barrier to high energy electrons entering the Earth’s atmosphere has been discovered approximately 7200m from the surface of the Earth between the Van Allen radiation belts. So far, scientists are stumped about its cause, but suggest it might have to do with an area of electromagnetically charged gas, called the plasmasphere, is involved.

Life Abides
Scientists tested DNA stability after a sub-orbital flight, and found much of the DNA not only survived, but retained its biological activity.

What flushes down… can go up?
Poo Rockets. Engineers are working on a sustainable way to deal with waste products in space by turning it into fuel.

Fighting with family is a good thing…
Science says kids who grow up around verbal conflict are better able to deal with it as adults in their own relationships.

Turtles finally have a home…
… in the evolutionary tree! New sequencing techiniques out of the California Academy of Sciences has put turtle in a new group, closely related to dinos, birds, and crocs.

Frogs have mental maps
Frogs, it turns out, do not wander aimlessly, but instead can memorize their surroundings at up to a 100m radius!

Mining ruins everything…
At least where fish are concerned. Mining can destroy fish habitat miles downstream, and even sometimes in connecting branches that are not part of the direct flow from the mine. Just another reason to install solar panels on your house!

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When you call an ambulance…
… ask for the cheapest one in the fleet. Research shows more people succumb to cardiac arrest when picked up by more modern ambulances.

As 46 million go down, one new pops up
Scientists identify a new bird species living among the cocoa plantations.

Speciation By Time And Movement
Birds in South America were more likely to diverge into new species based on time and environmental stability than geographical disturbance.

Memory Map
A recent study used high resolution fMRI to determine the direction of memory formation and retrieval in the brain. For the insiders, it’s EC to HC and back again.

Imagination Is Different
EEG recordings of the brain while people were either watching a video or remembering it found that information flows through brain circuits in opposite directions: from parietal to occiptal for imagining, and vice versa for watching.

Virtual Brains
UCLA scientists found that place cells in the mouse hippocampus don’t become as active in a virtual reality environment as they do in real space.

Whoya Gut In There?
An analysis of our guts finds 10 million genes from bacteria.

Yet another reason jumping spiders are amazing
They not only make adorable dances, but they also make adorable noises! Listen!

Technicolor Higgs
Is the Higgs particle all there is? Some physicists think that it might actually be a composite of smaller particles bound by yet another force.

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I'm the host of this little science show.