29 June, 2016 – Episode 573 – This Week in Science Podcast (TWIS)


Mercury’s A Meteorite?, Mars Might Tridymite, Sneaky Black Holes, Hobbit Hole Fires, Kalimantan Deep Skull, Naked Dragons, Blue Tit Danger Songs, Snails On Acid, Chronically Your Gut, THC For Brains, Air Combat Robot Domination, Cockatoo Smarts, Sexy Mantis Snacks, Sexy Smelling Birds, Exercise To Remember, Text Brain?, And Much More…

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This week in science…
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Mercury’s A Meteorite?
Using chemical sleuthing and a hot pressure cooker, MIT geologists determined that the chemistry of Mercury’s oldest bits is similar to an extrememly rare form of meteorite.

Mars Might Tridymite
According to NASA, an unexpected molecule called tridymite showed up on Mars, leading researchers to muse that Mars might have had a more volcanic past than previously thought.

Sneaky Black Holes
There might be a lot more black holes in the universe than we thought based on a recent finding that a star isn’t actually a star at all, but rather a smallish black hole. Whoops!

Hobbit hole fires
Ancient humans used the Hobbit caves not long after the Hobbits vanished.

Kalimantan Deep Skull revisited
An old skull looked at a new way revises the story about Aboriginal ancestry.

What a naked dragon can tell us about our origins
Scales, feathers, and hair turn out to be practically the same, in that they all have a common genetic origin. And it was all discovered due to a mutant bearded dragon spied by a scientist in a pet shop!

Blue tits sing in the face of danger
Researchers have found a new use of bird song, and it isn’t for mating or marking territory. These birds sing when face-to-face with predators!

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Ocean acidification = escargo eating starfish and algae plumes…
As the ocean acid level rise it makes survival harder for the snails.

Chronically Your Gut
Bacterial diversity and populations can help diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome. New experiments published in Microbiome found that people with CFS are more likely than controls to have dysbiosis of their gut bacteria.

Brains relax with THC
THC stimulates endocannabinoid receptors on nerve cells and reduces inflammation and markers of Alzheimer’s disease.

Air Combat Robot Domination
An AI called ALPHA has bested an expert human opponent at aerial combat for the first time.

Cockatoos weigh their options depending on what’s available
When faced with free food or food that requires some work, cockatoos are able to make choices based on which tools they have, what food is free, and what food is likely to take the extra work.

The seedy secret of mantis mating explained
Female praying mantises cannibalize their mates in order to provide for their babies. It has nothing to do with how they feel about that particular male…

Sexy Smelling Birds
It’s not the birds that smell so good, it’s their bacteria!

Exercise To Remember
Exercise four hours after learning something if you really want to remember it says new research!

Text Brain?
Researchers described a new kind of brain wave only seen while people are texting.

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