27 January, 2016 – Episode 551 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Alzheimer’s Seeds?, CRISPR Update!, Computer Beats Man, Little Crumpled Balls, Weird Bird Navgation, Big Mammal Brains, No Striped Camo, Appalachian Dino, Consciousness In Balance, Genes For Scizophrenia, Hedgehogs For Teeth, And Much More!!!

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!
Just a few days from now America will begin voting in the final candidates for the 2016 election…
And as with every US election, the fate of the world hangs in the balance…
It matters who will win this election…
How they lead will steer the course of our domestic spending,
our foreign involvements,
and will likely confirm two or more Supreme Court Justices
who will leave their mark upon the laws of the nation for generations to come…
But why would any of this matter to the world of science?
Science is neither progressive nor is it conservative…
Science does not involve itself in matters of ideology…
Science is just science…
It deals with matters of evidence
and is does not take heed of public opinion
nor care if it defies supernatural belief in its results…
One does not poll a population to find a popular position in science.
You follow the scientific method to a result…
and the result becomes popular by its reliable reproduction.
So without delving into the political sphere too far,
If there is a politician or political ideology that seems determined
To talk past science as one might disagree with an ideological point of view…
Be ware… wary… way wary even…
For the enemy of science… is the enemy of reality…
and what they would have you accept in its absence
Is nothing like what you are about to hear on this week in science…
Coming up next.

Alzheimer’s Seeds?
A recent reports adds evidence to the idea that alzheimer’s disease might be transmissable in certain situations.

CRISPR Update!
Scientists have used CRISPR-CAS9 to repair retinal stem cells with a defect for retinitis pigmetosa. The cells could potentially be transplanted back into the same patient to treat the disease.

Computer Beats Man
The game of Go is considered the most complex in the world with over 10e171 possible board positions. Last October, the AI called AlphaGo created by Google DeepMind beat the European Go champion, a feat considered at least a decade away. What does this mean for the future of AI?

Increasing oil’s performance with crumpled graphene balls
Using a novel method to form graphene sheets into a ball structure led scientists to create a new kind of lubricant that could help reduce friction in engines.

The magnetic field thickens, as does the plot?
Birds may be affected by polarized light when guiding their way via magnetic fields

Is bigger better?
It might be if you are talking mammalian brains…

Zebra stripes: revealed!
There is new evidence that the stripes do not give any extra camouflage from predators. Time to rewrite those textbooks!

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Research team identifies rare dinosaur from Appalachia
And, Justin is shocked by ancient ocean splitting North America in two.

Consciousness In Balance
By looking at brain activity of individuals as they slipped out of consciousness, researchers are able to say that consciousness emerges with neural connectedness.

Genes For Schizophrenia
A massive study using genetic information from more than 65,000 people has determined that a gene called C4, which is involved in synaptic pruning, conveys the most risk of schizophrenia development.

Hedgehogs For Teeth
The bacterial populations from the surface of teeth have been mapped, and they work together beautifully.

The line between cold and warm-blooded is wearing thin
Tegus can raise ther body temp and keep it up during mating season, even without extra food or sunlight. A mystery’s afoot!

Fertile Faces
Women with high estrogen levels were more likely to pick pictures of ovulating women as potential man stealers.

Blue Origin Again!
Blue Origin reflew its reusable booster rocket, and again successfully landed it vertically.

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.