29 November, 2017 – Episode 647 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast


Zombie Matter, China’s DAMPE, 6 Letter Alphabet, Yeti Buzzkill, Dumb Lizards, Mars Worms, Buff Ladies, Heart Patch, Fuzzy Dino Bird, Origami Muscles, Rats Of NY, Bacterial Rush, Coffee Climate, And Much More…

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“What has science done for me lately? (I’m sorry if this is too long to use…. I got a bit carried away)

Like many others who have answered this question for you, I’m truly thankful for medical advances and new technologies. But my real answer to this question is a bit different. You see, for the past 20 years I’ve taught science to the very young. 10 years at a science museum, and 10 years as preschool teacher. My daily interaction with science isn’t at all high tech.
–I’ve put too many lima beans into cups of dirt to count. I never tell my students what’s going to happen…. And they’re always amazed.
–We bring our trowels outside and almost every day we dig for worms. Last week a 4 year old asked why we weren’t finding many and I got to talk about the changing seasons and how different animals deal with the cold weather.
–We mix blue water and yellow water and HOLY CRAP we get green!
–We have pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches and even though other people don’t like them, we know a lot about them so we’re not scared or grossed out.
–last week a little girl asked me what happened if you put spaghetti in the freezer. I loved it! “”That’s a great question! Let’s try it and find out!””
–My crowning achievement as a preschool science teacher was when (with a lot of parent help) I guided a group of 5 year olds in dissecting cow eyeballs.

For me, science isn’t facts and figures and new discoveries. For me, science is showing very young people that the world is jam packed with secrets and mysteries. That we can ask questions. And that we can find the answers.

So what has science done for me lately? It has given me the joy and privilege of helping children discover awe and wonder for the world around them.

Mat Vandeneynden
Columbus, Ohio”

Zombie Matter
Dark matter lives on in the world of physics regardless of what you may have heard online.

China’s DAMPE
The Chinese Dark Matter Particle Explorer, which was launched in 2015, has observed over 1.5 million cosmic ray electrons and positrons, and begun an indirect, yet promising, test looking for dark matter.

6 Letter Alphabet
Researchers have successfully encoded and decoded bacterial DNA containing two additional base pair letters, X and Y, to produce proteins with non-standard amino acids. The feat opens the door to further synthetic biology programming.

Yeti Buzzkill
Mysterious creatures inhabiting the high mountains of Asia discovered… yeti?

Climate change is making lizards dumb.
Hotter incubation temperatures make for bearded dragons lacking in certain congnitive faculties. Great, now climate change is attacking our brains, too!!

Worms flourish in Mars simulant soil!
Worms successfully started a first generation of Mars-simulant born progeny, in a study testing the applications of agriculture on the red planet. So, when should we buy the time share? Is it now?

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Buff ladies
Stronger arm muscles imply that ancient ladies did a lot of hard work.

Heart Patch
Using induced pluripotent stem cells, Duke scientists have created a working artificial heart muscle large enough to potentially treat damaged heart muscle.

Dino’s of a feather…
Were still dinos.

Origami Muscles
Using principles of origami, researchers have developed an easily produced, low-cost artificial muscle with potentially superior contractile abilities to natural muscle.

Rats Of NY
Enjoy their own neighborhoods.

Long haired bacteria named after the members of the band Rush.

Growing coffee in a changing climate
As the climate shifts, we may need to take a page out of mother nature’s book and grow diverse landscapes to save our precious perk-inducing beverage.

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About the Author

I'm the host of this little science show.