30 October, 2019 – Episode 745 – Who Needs a Microbiome Anyway???


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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Interview w/ Dr. Tobin Hammer, AI Mastery, Brainssss!, Bacterial Gut Battle, Rat-Eating Monkeys, Creepy Primate, Funny Guys, Stressed Out Organoids, Two-Legged Robots, Rat Racers, Feely Spiders, And Much More…

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There are creatures living in the darkness!

Despite any evidence to the contrary, you are most likely a human!
What it means to be human is a question with many possible answers.

Our thoughts, desires and feelings
Our intellect, ethics and accomplishments
Our anatomy can considered distinctly human
And our DNA as well…

But there is something else…
Something distinctly not human,
living in the darkness inside every one of us…
The bacteria in our guts…

And these living creatures have much more to do
with all of the things we think of as strictly human
Than we realized until recent years

But far from being body snatchers…
They help us be humans

In fact, Bacteria are so essential to a healthy human life
That without them we couldn’t have

This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Are you ready for an interview?

Interview w/ Dr. Tobin Hammer
Tobin Hammer is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, and describes himself as a combination ecologist, evolutionary biologist, entomologist, microbiologist, and naturalist. His work centers on the study of the interactions between insects – currently bees, butterflies, and moths – and their microbes.

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

“Hi Dr Kiki, Blair, and even Justin.
Here is what Science has done for me lately…

I’m of the vintage where there was no MMR vaccine when I was a child. And like most of my age group, I had at least 2 or 3 of those now uncommon (thanks to vaccines) illnesses. I had the measles when I was very you and had an extremely high fever while my adult teeth were forming, and due to this, I have very fragile teeth.

When I was 13 or 14 both of my front lower teeth were broken and I had to have them crowned. Back then (late 70’s/early 80’s) having teeth crowned was a 6 to 8 week process of grinding teeth, taking molds, sending off molds, waiting for someone to hand-cast and shape the crown, then having it installed over several visits to the dentist.

Fast forward to earlier this year when I cracked a tooth and I had to have a root canal and another crown. This time the tooth was scanned by the dentist with a hand scanner to model the existing tooth and how it fit with the rest of my teeth. The tooth was ground to shape, another scan was taken, and within 30 minutes, a new crown was computer cast and shaped in the dentist’s office and installed in the same visit.

No waiting 6-8 weeks with a temporary crown that prevented me from eating many foods, else it might come off, no repeat visits to the dentist (one crown 10 yrs ago took 4 visits because it wasn’t made correctly when it was sent out).

Thanks to scientific advances in 3D scanning, modeling, and modeling, I was able to have a broken tooth fixed in just one short visit.

Thank you, Science!

Let us know what science has done for you lately, and we will read it on the show!

Now, let’s continue with SCIENCE NEWS!…

Deep Mind StarCraft
Google’s Deep Mind AI research group has developed an AI called Alpha Star that doesn’t just play Star Craft II, it became a Grandmaster.

Brain To Brain
Using EEG and transcranial magnetic stimulation, researchers successfully demonstrated brain-to-brain information transmission.

Antibacterial Gut Bacteria
Weapons of bacterial warfare are developed by the bacteria themselves.

Finally, it’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Holy rat-eating monkeys, batman!
The same monkeys that might be eating the palm fruit farmers wish to preserve could be helping them out by eating rats as well!

The creepiest primate just got creepier!
Aye-ayes have a pseudothumb, that’s right, a sixth digit, complete with their own fingerprints!!

Let’s end with some quick SCIENCE NEWS stories!…

Funny Guys
A new meta-study finds that on average, men are funnier than the average woman.

Stressed Out Organoids
New research into brain organoids suggests that they are not as similar to real brains as the hype would have us think. In fact, they are really stressed out.

Two legged robots
Learning to balance is easier when taught by real humans.

Hey! Who’s driving that car? A rat??
Rats are less stressed when they get a chance to drive, as opposed to me when I get stuck in traffic…

Male spiders get touchy feely
Their copulatory organs may have some sensation in them after all. Which may not be a good thing, since so many spiders rip them off in mating. Whoops.

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