27 March, 2019 – Episode 714 – What is the End?


TWIS logo orange square

What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Interview w/ Dr. Katie Mack On Astrophysics, Brain Cells For Bob?, Exercise Factors, 5-Year Plan, Babysitter Benefits, Scuba Diving Lizards, Big Ol T Rex, Lamb Bag Update, Over-Interpretation Hallucination, Evolution Constraints, Cancer Trees, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from TWIS, the This Week in Science podcast? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.


The following program is not for the weak of mind,
The bereft of imagination,
Or the willfully ignorant.
If you consider yourself to be amongst any of those groups…
You probably are not…
as they never would be so self aware as to think so…
If you are the adventuring sort…
an adventure here awaits!
As we go exploring into the unknown…
Following in intrepid footsteps of scientists the world over…
and occasionally wandering off the path into the wilds of speculation of unknowns yet unknown.
There are few destinations we have not dared to delve into
Subjects from Astronomy to zoology
Why the number of knowledge navigations we have neglected to navigate number in the…
Well it’s still a really big number…
there’s more to know then can fit in a human skull…
And on every extro-skullular adventure we venture together…
Here on This Week In Science,
Coming Up Next!

Who did we interview this week?

Interview with Dr. Katie Mack:
Dr. Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist who studies the universe from beginning to end, focusing on a number of questions in topics like dark matter, galaxy formation, cosmic strings, and more. She is working on a book that is due to be published in 2020, called The End of Everything, and she recently published a study on micro-black holes.

Support us on Patreon!

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

“What has Science done for me lately?
I could not sleep at all Sunday night/Monday morning. Back itched. At 5:30
AM, went on line to see if I could make an appointment. I did with my
regular doctor as their website said he had a 9:30am opening. The
amount of technology behind that simple transaction from my computer,
the router, the modem, hundreds or more miles of infrastructure, their
server, their appointment database and its connection to the public web
SECURELY (i hope), and all the myriad of protocols needed to do that,

So, I went to the doctor and took the time to ask if the itching on the back
of my skull was related as I assumed it was. Nope, he uses a $64 dollar
word that I can’t remember and said my follicles are infected. I walked
out of there with a pill prescription for the itch as I am NOT going to
turn into a contortionist to apply cream on my back. I didn’t even have
to ask him as he figured that out immediately. I also got another pill
and this weird shampoo for the scalp. All in less then five or so hours
of deciding to see him.

Even five years ago, I probably would have had to spend an hour or two
on the phone trying to get an appointment or just go to the expensive
emergency room. When it works, Technology is great.

Science drives technology which drives science which drives technology
which drives ….

In the Lab I work for, nearly every major machine is a
robot of some sort and has been for decades. The GC machines self
inject all the samples, clean the needles, etc all by themselves. GC is
Gas chromatography and the only time you ever hear that is when someone
is explaining what GC means. Without the robots there, you’d
need three times the people, have 20 times the mistakes humans are not
consistent, and run three shifts a say to do what we do now. All that
tech does science. And science is what led directly to all that tech
being created.

We have at least half a dozen of these going all the time in our Durham
office but we print to a PDF file these days, not a dot matrix printer.
–David Eckard”

And, NOW, Some Science News From This Week in Science

Brain Cells For Bob?
A new study looks at several methods of human brain preservation and finds evidence of neurogenesis depends on how tissue was stored after death. While far from the final evidence needed to confirm whether or not human brains continue to grow new brain cells throughout life, this study could at least create standards for future research.

Exercise Factors
And, a mouse study finds that factors released by platelets stimulate neurogenesis at low levels. Could such factors be at play in people, too?

Mike Pence thinks he is smarter than NASA
And, told them to get back to the moon in 5 years.

Blair’s Animal Corner!… with Blair!

You won’t help me with the kids? You’re killing me here!
Assistance in raising offspring could extend life expectancy in birds. So that’s another reason to pick the kids up from school and let mom take the afternoon off.

Scuba Diving Lizard
No tank or certification required.

Big Ol T Rex
He’s a big, mean, eatin’-machine – and it only took 20 years to figure that out! Because he was also dirty…

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

Lamb Bag
Update A synthetic womb shown previously to support late-term fetal sheep, was recently domonstrated to maintain pre-term sheep equivalent to a 24-week old human fetus.

Over-Interpretation Hallucination
Lack of information reaching the visual cortex might be responsible for the brain over-interpreting what it does receive and creating hallucinations.

Evolution of the youngest
The younger a species the more opportunity for evolution.

Cancer Trees
Cancer doesn’t grow on trees, but maybe trees can tell us things about cancer.

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.


About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.