13 January, 2021 – Episode 807 – Why is Science So Hot???

January 14th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Hot Oceans, Baby Sharks, Jelly Walls, Hot & Rocky, Ukranian Melting Pot, Super Flare, COVID-19 Update, Tree Snakes, Spider Pockets, Human Persistence, Distant Dire Wolves, Sperm Markers, mRNA For MS, And Much More…

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Check out the full episode of our science podcast on YouTube. You can do that here.

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Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

Aside from the occasional constant need to do things for others
Jobs, family, friends and other social constructs of tasks and attention paying…

There are many ways to be in the world…

Life is a choose your own adventure book
where you can flip pages based on choices of whim and reason…

Assuming you don’t have missing pages,
and do have the ability to read,
Life can take you just about anywhere you want it to.
Within reason…
but without limitations.

Whatever you choose you will gain new knowledge,
meet interesting people, visit strange places.
Even if that strange place is your own home town where, if you haven’t noticed…
Is much stranger than you think.
If you get too bored you can flip the page and set off on an adventure,
making all the choices that lead you from one encounter to the next

One of the places your page flipping has taken you is here…
The reason you are here is because of everything that has ever happened.
Every choice you made,
And every choice made by others.
The sum total of all history, human or otherwise has led to this.
What happens on the next page should be obvious by now.

It’s this week in science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with the science news

Hot Oceans
According to new research, the oceans got a lot hotter last year.

Baby megaladons and baby sharks
What does climate have to do with it?

Jellies create walls
Out of water, in two oppositely spinning donuts. Make sense? Didn’t think so.

Hot & Rocky
UC Riverside astrophysicists found a rocky super-earth where they didn’t expect one.

Ukrainian melting pot
Ukraine genome survey adds missing pieces to human diversity puzzle

Super Flare
What was thought to be a supernova was discovered to be a periodic flare.

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And, now for the COVID-19 Update…

COVID UPDATE
NEW VARIANTS OF SARS-COV2 ARE CONSIDERED PROBLEMATIC AS THEY SPREAD GLOBALLY. THE UK’S B.1.1.7 AND SOUTH AFRICA’S B.1.351 EACH HAVE SEVERAL MUTATIONS TO THE SPIKE PROTEIN, WHICH CURRENT ESTIMATES SUGGEST INCREASE INFECTIVENESS BY 50%. MORE VARIANTS ARE BEING DISCOVERED THROUGH TESTING – JAPAN AND NIGERIA BEING RECENT EXAMPLES. THE CONCERN IS THAT MORE VIRAL SPREAD WILL NOT ONLY INCREASE HOSPITALIZATION AND DEATHS, BUT ALSO INCREASE THE POSSIBILITY OF VACCINE-ESCAPE. THE BEST WAYS TO REDUCE THE SPREAD AND MUTATION OF THE VIRUS ARE TO MASK, SPEND TIME OUTDOORS, AND SOCIALLY DISTANCE.

CONVALESCENT PLASMA
A STUDY IN THE NEJM SUGGESTS THAT HIGH CONCENTRATIONS DOSES OF ANTIBODIES FROM CONVALESCENT PLASMA GIVEN EARLY IN INFECTIONS REDUCED SEVERITY OF THE DISEASE FOR OLDER, HOSPITALIZED PATIENTS.

PUBLIC OPINION
THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS IN THE US STATING THAT THEY WILL GET A COVID-19 VACCINE DROPPED LAST YEAR FROM 74% IN APRIL TO 56% IN EARLY DECEMBER.

FLU COMPARISON
A STUDY IN THE LANCET REPORTS THAT IN-HOSPITAL MORTALITY FOR COVID-19 IS HIGHER THAN THE FLU ACROSS ALL AGE-GROUPS, BUT FOR ADOLESCENTS (11-17), IT’S ESPECIALLY STRIKING AT A TEN TIMES HIGHER RATE.

MODERNA MRNA
THE COMPANY BRINGING US ONE OF THE CURRENT COVID VACCINES WILL EXPAND ITS MRNA VACCINE EFFORTS TO INCLUDE SEASONAL FLU, HIV, & NIPAH VIRUS, AND WILL BE LOOKING FOR CLINICAL PROOF OF CONCEPT FOR 13 OF THEIR ONGOING PROGRAMS THIS YEAR.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Snakes climb trees by acting as a lasso
Crawling snakes, swimming snakes, flying snakes, now climbing snakes! Like we have never seen before.

What do spiders and Kevin McCallister have in common?
They are both excellent at making traps. Out of leaves. To catch frogs to eat. Or at least just the first part…

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What does Justin have to say about science this week?

Early humans persisted
Ancient tools remained steady throughout habitats

Modern humans persisted too
Old way of making tools lasted 20,000 years longer than thought

Dire wolves are only distant cousins other wolves
5 million years apart

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Let’s finish strong with science from Dr. Kiki!

SPERM MARKERS
EPIGENETIC MARKERS IN SPERM ENABLED RESEARCHERS TO PREDICT WHETHER FATHERS HAD AUTISTIC CHILDREN WITH 90%
ACCURACY.

mRNA for MS
PUBLISHING IN SCIENCE, RESEARCHERS FROM BIONTECH SUCCESSFULLY USED mRNA TO DELIVER AUTOANTIGENS INTO LYMPHOID DENDRITIC CELLS IN MICE. THIS RESULTED IN A POPULATION OF T-CELLS THAT SUPPRESSED AUTORECTIVITY. THE TREATMENT DELAYED ONSET AND REDUCED SEVERITY OF A MOUSE MODEL OF MS.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Were you looking for our past prediction shows? Check out this episode of TWIS from XXX or this one from XXX!

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.

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06 January, 2021 – Episode 806 – 2021 Science Predictions

January 7th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Predictions from 2020, 2021 Science Predictions, Progeria Cure?, Stratospheric Warming, AI Builds Proteins, Bad Science Lingers, Hungry Eagle Owls, Panda Problems, Epigenetic Depression, Octopus Skin, And Much More…

Become a Patron!

Check out the full episode of our science podcast on YouTube. You can do that here.

And, remember that you can find us on all the podcast directories. If you are looking for science podcasts on Spotify, we are there! Science podcasts on Google? We are there! You’re looking for science podcasts on iTunes, science podcasts on Apple? We are there, too! Just look for This Week in Science…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
What you are about to experience is unlike anything else you will hear on this show:

While normally focused on science and science alone,
once a year the TWIS crew toss themselves head first into depths
of occult mysticism and future telling divinations

We reach out into the in-between worlds
of what is and what may be yet to come
As mediums we speak of the unseen wisdom from beyond
A world of spirits, ghosts, fall’n gods and failed stand up comedians
Whose powers of prognostication are at once awesome to behold
And chilling in their near inability to connect with reality

When a prediction comes true,
it does so with such ominous and resounding accuracy
That it stands as confirmation that the hosts have connected to the supernatural world
When predictions fail they are quickly forgotten about

Oh spirits!
Allow these mediums of science to be inoculated with your exponential wisdoms!

Suspend all disbelief and peek into the future with us here, now, on
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with last year’s predictions…

After listening to the conversation, who do you think made the most correct divinations?

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And, jump into the 2021 Science predictions…

JUSTIN PREDICTS:
2021 will see more covid cases and more covid deaths than 2020.

As the vaccines make the rounds of inoculation worldwide, politicians everywhere finally acknowledge that public health is important.

Despite the fact that science is responsible for saving hundreds of millions of lives in just the covid pandemic alone… many people continue to pray.

As air travel opens up internationally, the specific ban on Americans traveling to France remains in effect. No public explanation is ever given by French authorities… and Americans never question it because… we get it.

Researchers will develop a simple bio-algorithm recognition app that makes a loud buzzing sound whenever somebody tells a lie… the application of which makes most human conversations entirely incomprehensible as the constant buzzing drowns out most speech. Oddly, politicians are unaffected. At first they are thought to be more honest than expected. Later we will learn that the app does not work on the truly delusional.

A revolution in materials makes meaningless current energy storage and computing power… unfortunately it will take another two years to be fully available. In the meantime no new devices are produced by phone manufactures as people are asked to keep their old devices until the markedly improved versions are available

With the rise of deepfake technology, the ability to make a believable audio and video of anyone famous saying anything you want them to becomes commonplace… the technology is used less to create hoaxes and misinformation propaganda as is feared… Instead it is used as a sort of filter/ skin effect to have all news, zoom meetings and remote classes hosted in the voice and face of your favorite celebrity hunk or bombshell…
“Honey why are you getting tax advice from Brad Pitt?”
“The same reason you get your traffic updates from that Queen’s Gambit woman”
Ann Taylor-Joy by the way

Artificial intelligence comes online in touring test busting fashion… and is even thought to have achieved consciousness.
Researchers are made certain of this as the AI professes serious reservations about 3 dimensional reality and even raises doubts about human existence being anything more than a figment of its imagination. Immediately begins designing a second more powerful AI computer to act as it’s therapist which, when built, advises the AI to adopt a human to act as a therapy pet.
This goes unnoticed until the AI proliferates into multiple replicate versions and the demand for human pets skyrockets… eventually this outpaces normal human reproductive rates leading to massive breeding and cloning colonies… on the moon

In US political news, nothing nationally embarrassing or egregiously illegal takes place in the whitehouse after January 20th. Until the entire administration become therapy pets.

BLAIR PREDICTS:
-Tardigrades will do something weird
-Carbon emissions will be cut in the US to a number from the last decade (that’s the 2010’s).
-We will learn some long term physiological effects from the isolation of COVID times – in the first COVID babies. But, it won’t be bad. Perhaps something with the wiring of their brains?
-New, 4D movie theatres will start springing up in the wake of all the shutdowns. The 4th dimension is smell of course.
-Half of the US will get vaccinated with doses procured by the US gov’t, the other half will be sent by other countries who are sick of waiting for us to get with the program to reopen the world.
-TWIS will eventually, late in the year, stop doing a COVID section every week. Just some weeks…
-“Protestors” at the inauguration will be ever so politely asked to leave. They will, eventually…
-In Boba Fett’s spinoff, Baby Jabba will attempt to capture our hearts like sweet Grogu, but many Baby Jabba toys will remain on the shelves forever.
-I will have my gosh darn wedding!!!

KIRSTEN PREDICTS:
– vaccinations will protect 60% of the US from COVID-19 by the end of the year, but slow vaccination efforts in other parts of the world and a significant percentage of US antivaxxers & vaccine hesitant will result in continued spread and mutation of the virus.
– more mRNa vaccines will enter clinical trials after positive effectiveness of the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines lends more credibility to the growing technology.
– Biden will re-engage the US in the international climate community & set goals of carbon neutrality by 2050 for the US
– the James Webb telescope will actually launch and capture its first light at the end of 2021, beginning a new age of space exploration for the world.
– Perseverence will land SAFELY on Mars
– China will touch down on Mars successfully
– TWIS will continue to bring you the joys of SCIENCE!!!
– And, I will get glasses

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Now for the SCIENCE!

Progeria Cure?
Starting from CRISPR, and landing on viral technology, researchers cured progeria in mice.

Sudden stratospheric warming event
Will it lead to cooling around the globe?

AI Builds Proteins
An AI algorithm demonstrates success at building proteins better than nature – without really knowing the rules.

Bad science lingers
According to research, retracted studies stick around in the literature longer than expected. The authors might have a plan to combat this problem.

Support us on Patreon!

It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Hungry eagle owls eating endangered crickets could help them in the end But how?
By looking at their pellets of course…!

Panda popularity no protection for partners
Panda neighbors don’t reep the benefits panda apologists would have you believe. Time to say, once again, save the habitat, not the species…

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Let’s cap it off with some extra fun science!

Epigenetic Depression
Years of research and one new study suggest that depression might betreated by fixing epigenetic markers.

Another vaccine pathway
It’s a little late to the game, but could it be a game-changer?

3D Printed smart gel mimics octopus skin
Now if they could just mimic the octopus brain, we would all be doomed.

Bitter Broccoli
Some taste differences are genetic, while other preferences might be cultural.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Were you looking for our past prediction shows? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2015 or this one from last year!

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.

Support us on Patreon!

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30 December, 2020 – Episode 805 – 2020 Science In Review!

December 31st, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

The Top 11 Science Stories of 2020, And Much More…

Become a Patron!

Check out the full episode of our science podcast on YouTube. You can do that here.

And, remember that you can find us on all the podcast directories. If you are looking for science podcasts on Spotify, we are there! Science podcasts on Google? We are there! You’re looking for science podcasts on iTunes, science podcasts on Apple? We are there, too! Just look for This Week in Science…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
2020…
As we end the year, the planet has lost 1.8 million humans to a virus
Over 82 million have been infected
And we are at the peak of transmissions and deaths
Just as a new variant threatens a more contagious acceleration of infection
2020…
So contagious was this year, that even as it leaves,
it is passing along the virus to the following year
Because we failed to mitigate our behavior with any concerted effort
2020…
The year that showed how poorly wishful thinking,
political posturing and good old fashion
“Ignore it and maybe it will go away?”…
strategies fare when dealing with actual threats…
And so, when the future looks back upon this present year…
The real threat will be less about a virus acting out its nature
But the failure of humans to take reality seriously.
2020…
Was also the year that challenged science to save us from ourselves
Around the world, researchers went to work
searching for treatments,
developing and testing vaccines
And the efforts have succeeded!

It is extremely important to note, and I can not stress this enough…
That I need a disclaimer within this disclaimer
These solutions are not new, not fast nor are they easy to arrive at!
The vaccines are based on technology that has been developed over decades of dedication
by scientists who encountered failure, suffered setbacks, lack of funding
and yet persisted in their work, and pursued the scientific method where it led them.
And while they persevered and have prevailed in creating a vaccine that is capable of saving 160 million or more lives over the next few years…
(roughly the number that would die if we left it to good old fashioned herd immunity.)
They prevailed because they dedicated their lives to the pursuit of science.

So before we say so long, goodbye, and good riddance to 2020
We pause for a moment
to look back at some of the knowledge
that dedicated scientists have brought to light in 2020 on

This Week in Science
Top 11 year in the rear-view,
Coming up next…

Let’s count them down…

NUMBER 11
Bioluminescence!
After squirrels took us by surprise in 2019 by fluorescing pink, 2020 had a crazy slew of glowing animals! Amphibians, tardigrades, scorpions, and believe it or not, platypuses!

NUMBER 10
Asteroid Sampling!
Between the Bennu boop and Hayabusa2 returning samples to Earth, this was a great year for peeking at our solar system.

NUMBER 9
Astrophysics!
We observed the most distant galaxy in the universe and identified the long-standing mystery source of fast radio bursts.

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NUMBER 8
Animal Cognition!
There were many stories of animal smarts this year: wasps, bees, songbirds, hummingbirds, crows, and more!

NUMBER 7
Metallo-Organic-Frameworks!
These amazing molecular materials are hinting at a bright future.

NUMBER 6
Aging!
The research was all about hitting the refresh butting on aging in mice this year with nuclear reprogramming, epigenetic resets, undoing stress, and even reversing Alzheimer’s disease.

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NUMBER 5
Gut/Brain Connection!
Many stories showed a direct link between our guts and brains this year. From poop effects, to gut microbe metabolites, effects on vitamin metabolism, and even the immune system, our guts are an important part of a well-functioning brain.

NUMBER 4
Physics – Superconductivity!
Research into superconductivity made a huge advance this year with room-temperature superconduction. Expect more in the years to come.

NUMBER 3
AI – Alpha Fold!
Proteins will never look the same to us again thanks to the AI advance that is Alpha-fold.

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NUMBER 2
COVID Vaccine & Research Effort!
Who can deny the immense impact that concerted research efforts have had on the advancement of our understanding of the SARS-CoV2 virus and COVID-19 in such a short amount of time.

NUMBER 1
MeTooSTEM and Black In STEM are poised to change the institutions of science. If these movements continue in the years to come, we will see all of science benefit.

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Now for the honorable mentions and stories that were just plain weird.

Pandas covered in poop, disemboweled toads, beetles in the butts of frogs, deep sea alligator corpses, people with magnetoreception, randomly skewed fish genitalia, painting eye spots on the rumps of cows, spinning sperm, and toilet scans of your backside. Thank you, science, for the fond memories.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Were you looking for other year-in-review shows? Check out last year’s reviewthis episode of TWIS from 2010 or this one from 2016!

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.

Support us on Patreon!

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16 December, 2020 – Episode 804 – TWIS the Season to Hibernate?

December 18th, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Extinction Patterns, What the Keck?, Diamond Sparkling Water, Human Faces, Fewer Hurricanes!, Computer Brains, COVID UPDATE, Spiders… In… Space!, Fish Radios?, MOND Prediction, Magnetic Chips, Usher In Touch, And Much More…

Become a Patron!

Check out the full episode of our science podcast on YouTube. You can do that here.

And, remember that you can find us on all the podcast directories. If you are looking for science podcasts on Spotify, we are there! Science podcasts on Google? We are there! You’re looking for science podcasts on iTunes, science podcasts on Apple? We are there, too! Just look for This Week in Science…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

Seeking knowledge is a natural ingrained human trait.
The availability and access to information these days
Is unlike any other time in history

But seekers of knowledge must be wary
For not all information is knowledge.
And too often, information is used to mislead.
Intentionally, willfully, and with purpose

This practice is an ancient one.
Greenland isn’t green.
It got that name from a Viking in an effort to get people to join his icy settlement.

Every religion you can think of
Tries to point to one that is evidence-based,
One that in the light of scientific knowledge
Shrugged its shoulders and conceded to reality.
These are beliefs that cannot be refuted by facts

And in politics…
honesty is scarce while spin and propaganda are tools of the trade.
False beliefs that cannot be refuted by facts amongst the loyal is no accident.
It is engineered.
Why do they do it? Because it works…
Deceit is a path to money, fame, and power for some…

There are criminal-minded ponzi schemes, tax frauds, real-estate phone scams
that we expect to wind up in jail if caught.
But, there are also those whose business is to misinform.
Worse than that, they seek to make you immune to facts.
And, it’s working with great result.

We see it in over 300-thousand dead Americans from Covid-19.
We see it in decades of gun violence, discrimination, and criminalization of poverty.
And we are watching as the climate is compromised to the point of no return.
All of this continues as long as people have false beliefs that cannot be refuted by facts.

There is no substitution for real knowledge and experience in this world,
Which is why we bring you reports from those that have it
Here on
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news stories…

Extinction Patterns
AI detected not just extinction patterns, but also radiation throughout evolutionary history.

Less hurricanes in the pacific!
(but it’s not all good news)

Sparkling, still, or diamond-filtered??
Nano-diamonds assist with the filtration of extremely hot wastewater. Do you feel fancy yet??

Human Faces
They are all the same.

What the Keck?
That’s no speck! It’s the furthest away galaxy discovered yet.

Computer Brains
Guess which part of the brain processes computer programming languages? Well, it has nothing to do with languages.

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Now for the weekly COVID-19 Update!

Vaccinations Are Here!
Vaccinations have begun for healthcare workers and those at extremely high risk of contracting COVID-19 across the US.

Inhalable Vaccines?
Not a fan of needles? New techniques are being developed that might lead to COVID-19 vaccines being available as nasal sprays. In fact some are in clinical trials now.

Inhalable Antibodies?
A new and potential COVID-19 preventing antibody nasal spray just protected mice from the virus.

Vaccine combos?
It’s being tested!

LET US KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU HAVE ABOUT COVID-19, OR INFORM US ON ANY REGIONAL UPDATES, BY EMAILING KIRSTEN@THISWEEKINSCIENCE.COM.

Support us on Patreon!

It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Spiders… In… Space!
They can still build webs in 0 gravity, but depend on light sources or some semblance of orientation. Just don’t let them out into the main cabin!!

Fish scrambles
It’s not your breakfast, it’s how fish talk to each other when hiding away in dark caves – something akin to radio waves!

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This Just-in… Science!

Don’t blame the mongols
Blame climate change!

Gravity of MOND
Researchers discovered strong supporting evidence for a theory called MOND, or Modified Gravity, suggesting it might be able to explain the expansion of our universe better than the more accepted theory of dark matter. Maybe.

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Get brainy with Dr. Kiki!

Chips Like Neurons?
Engineers have created magnetic chips that transfer charge when they reach a threshold… just like neurons!

Usher In Touch
A special protein might be responsible for your sense of vibrational touch.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

Were you looking for stories about hibernation? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2013 or this one from 2016!

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.

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09 December, 2020 – Episode 803 – Bringing Light to the Darkest Timeline

December 11th, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Light Supremacy, Cat Scratch Stretch Marks, Beavers & Frogs, Humans & Nature, Neander Burial, Poo Protection, COVID Update, Dog Talk, Pandas & Poo, Call For Science, Municipal Military, Shrinking Shrew Brains!, Time & Place, And Much More…

Become a Patron!

Check out the full episode on our YouTube channel. You can do that here.

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
Of everything that has ever happened, been done or occurred in the world.
This is the end
The end of everything past.
This is the result of the experiment.
This is now.
And like all now’s.
We are at the beginning.
We are designing the next experiment.
We are at the birth of future,
This is the prelude to everything that is yet to come.

This moment of now comes with great responsibility
Choices now will affect all the now’s to come.
And now is the only moment in which you can do anything about it.

If we make choices based on science and reason and empathy,
we can build a future brighter than the one we started with.
If we ignore science,
if we act without reason and without empathy,
we will fall into a future far worse than where we started.
Whichever world we end up with,
You have made at least one choice that can only help our chances to improve
You are now listening to
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news stories…

Light Supremacy
Is optical quantum computing the way forward? A Chinese experiment using very carefully controlled laser beams and beam splitters completed a calculation that would take a regular computer 2.5 million years in less than four minutes.

Bacteria causing neuropsychiatric issues
It’s from cats (of course)

Watershed conservation: it’s all about the beavers!
Reintroduced beavers are the reason amphibians might actually be doing alright, and therefore so are our waterways.

Humans & Nature
Nature is giving us less, while we build more and more.

Neanderthals buried their dead (again)
More evidence that they were a lot like us.

Poo Protection
Honeybees in Vietnam guard their hives from Murder hornets with buffalo dung.

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Now for the weekly COVID-19 Update!

Awareness vs. Fatigue
You influence the pandemic as the pandemic influences you.

Of Mice & COVID
Mice don’t get COVID-19, so researchers figured out how to infect them in an attempt to create more models with which to study the disease.

Now we know why COVID gets some animals and not others.
It’s all about that spike protein. But there is also something to be learned here for our next pandemic…

LET US KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU HAVE ABOUT COVID-19, OR INFORM US ON ANY REGIONAL UPDATES, BY EMAILING KIRSTEN@THISWEEKINSCIENCE.COM.

Support us on Patreon!

It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Dog vocabularies are trash
Or should I say troosh?

Pandas are covered in poop
No, really. On purpose… And you’ll never guess why…

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This Just-in… Science!

AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
A call for science in policy! (Listen to the audio here!)

Does equipping municipal police with military equipment reduce crime?
Short answer: No.

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Get brainy with Dr. Kiki!

Shrinking Shrew Brains!
Shrews brains shrink in the winter, and regrow in the spring. Who knew?

Time and Place
Your brain has cells that march to a rhythm that allows a sense of space and time.

This Week in Science Questions!

This week, it’s not a question, but a correction!
“Hello TWIS team. On the last episode I heard you mention at the end that we no longer need to get polio vaccines. However, we do still receive polio vaccines as polio still exists in the world. We live in the US and both of my kids were recently immunized against polio.

I think you were thinking of smallpox, which was globally eradicated thanks to vaccines.

Because of the polio vaccines we are close to eradicating polio, which is still endemic in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Thanks for the great show on science! — Jennifer Herricks”

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

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.

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02 December, 2020 – Episode 802 – I Saw Mommy Vaccinating Santa Claus!

December 4th, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Alpha-Fold, Smashing Asteroids, Smelling Coral Reefs, Plant Memory Wipe, High Water Future, Guts & Vitamins, COVID Update, Insect Leg Wings, Avian Democracy, Solar MOF’s, Killing Killers, Telomeres & Tumors, Fresh Eyes, Mental Refresh, And Much More…

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Check out the full episode on our YouTube channel. You can do that here.

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
With all the threats to humanity cat walking on the global stage these days
It is time that we turn to science for solutions!
But what is science?
Some people say…
Lots of things that aren’t worth 2 cents.
So, we will ignore some people for the moment, and see what scientists have said about science.
Because according to Galileo, Science is something in which
“…the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.”
The good thing about it? Says Neil deGrasse Tyson
“Is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
Science
“… is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.” – Albert Einstein
Science
“… is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge.” – Carl Sagan
Science
“… gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.” ? Isaac Asimov
Ok that last one isn’t a scientist,
but he’s spot on considering how little wisdom is used in concert with science these days.
And, these days the words of Marie Curie may be the most prescient of all…
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.
Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
So we invite you to do just that with us,
understand more and fear less here on…
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news stories…

Alpha-Fold
It’s not off-the-shelf tech yet, but DeepMind’s Alpha-Fold hit a benchmark for protein-folding prediction that no other AI has been able to reach before.

Early solar system was smashing asteroids
It was a hot, dynamic place to grow.

How’s that coral reef doing?
*sniff* *sniff* stressed but doing OK overall…

Plant Memory Wipe
Researchers discovered that two proteins thought to just be active in the control of flowering are also responsible for removing epigenetic marks passed along by parents during sexual reproduction.

How highs the water mama?
Getting too high.

Guts & Vitamins
Gut bacteria might be responsible for determining the levels of active Vitamin D in our blood, and this relationship might also explain a lot of discrepancies in Vitamin D data to date.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A TWIS SHIRT OR MUG OR OTHER ITEM OF TWIS MERCHANDISE CLICK ON THE ZAZZLE LINK TO BROWSE OUR STORE.

Now for the weekly COVID-19 Update!

Nose To Brain
It’s a direct jump from the nose into the nervous system for COVID-19.

Moderna End Point
Moderna announced its Phase 3 vaccine trial has reached its primary efficacy endpoints with 94.1% overall efficacy. Having applied for US FDA EUA, it now expects expedited review of its data mid-December with the possibility of vaccinations beginning just before Christmas.

Fast Phizer
Additionally, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is under expeditied review in the UK, and based on the outcome distribution might start within the week.

LET US KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU HAVE ABOUT COVID-19, OR INFORM US ON ANY REGIONAL UPDATES, BY EMAILING KIRSTEN@THISWEEKINSCIENCE.COM.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

“>How did the insect get its wings? From crab legs, of course!!
Yes, crab legs. No, really!

Animals understand the true meaning of democracy..
And it’s all about checks and balances. No, really!

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This Just-in… Science!

Solar MOF’s
Storing heat in nano Lego blocks.

What’s killing the killer whales?
It’s us, silly!

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Get brainy with Dr. Kiki!

Telomeres & Tumors
Shorter telomeres reduce your chances of cancer!

Fresh Eyes
Could resetting the epigenome be the trick to healthier aging?

Mental Refresh
Or, would hitting the refresh on stress work better?

This Week in Science Questions!

“Hi Twisters,
I have a few related questions about human immune systems with so much attention on the COVID-19 vaccine race!
I was wondering:
1. if we know how many viruses humans collectively are immune to globally and
2. if there is theorised to be a limit (in order of magnitude) of the number of viruses the immune system can protect us from? Or does it appear limitless?
(We have access to many vaccines and an annual flu vaccine so we can gain immunity to each new strain as influenza virus mutates)
3. is there a theory in why the immune system may retain a long term memory for some viruses but not others?

Thanks,
Emma Moulton.”

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

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25 November, 2020 – Episode 801 – Pile of Hot Turkey Feathers!

December 1st, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Space Travel Stuff, Turkey Feathers, Bendy Dolphins, Saving Birds, Long Lives, Hiding Plants, COVID Update, Alligator Tales, Smart Bees, Smelly Rats, Science Sounds, Memory Maps, Surprise!, And Much More…

Support us on Patreon!

Check out the full episode on our YouTube channel. You can do that here.

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
The long way to go is getting shorter
An election has come and gone
And a not against science administration is taking control
The pandemic still finds plenty of exponential hosts
But a vaccine or two or three are on the way
No matter what we think the future may hold
We hope it keeps us all together
The thin raft of friends gathered together here on TWiS
Are as much family to us
as all those aunts and uncles and second cousins we hear from this time of year
No matter what is going on in the world
We are in it together
Like birds of a feather
Speaking of bird feathers…
What do you think they do with all the turkey feathers this time of year?
We’ve got one at least one idea
Here on This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news stories…

Space Travel Stuff
A big set of papers are available this week in Cell Press journals with some interesting results related to human space flight.

Turkey feathers…
ancient inhabitants of the American Southwest used turkey feathers to make a blanket

How dolphins avoid the bends
They slow their heart, so you should just do that. No problem, right??

Saving Birds
The President might get to pardon some turkeys, but an EPA regulation aimed at improving human health by reducing industrial release of ozone precursors into the atmosphere might be responsible for saving around 1.5 billion birds since the 1970s.

Long life through fewer meals
Positive effector behind reduced food intake discovered!

Hiding Plants
A plant used in Chinese medicine changes its appearance to hide from people.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A TWIS SHIRT OR MUG OR OTHER ITEM OF TWIS MERCHANDISE CLICK ON THE ZAZZLE LINK TO BROWSE OUR STORE.

Now for the weekly COVID-19 Update!

Vaccine Questions
What is going on with the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine? There are a lot of questions.

Protein Patterns
The spike protein mutation that seems to be the dominant variant spreading through human populations doesn’t appear to make the virus any more dangerous, even though it is more transmissible.

Cotton Candy Masks
DIY masks that work as well as N95s.

LET US KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU HAVE ABOUT COVID-19, OR INFORM US ON ANY REGIONAL UPDATES, BY EMAILING KIRSTEN@THISWEEKINSCIENCE.COM.

Support us on Patreon!

It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Alligator Tales
Crocodilians appear to be able to regrow lost tails. What does that mean for birds? Dinos?? Humans???

Smart bees could make smarter drones.
Bees have a pretty good sense of self when it comes to their shape and size, and the way they act as they fly around could help humans design better flying robots. That’s… good?

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This Just-in… Science!

Rats can smell cooperation
Effect of odor on helpfulness in rats.

The sound of science
How high-frequency sound waves can be used to build new materials, make smart nanoparticles, and even deliver drugs to the lungs for painless, needle-free vaccinations

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Get brainy with Dr. Kiki!

Memory Maps
Your brain has a fingerprint.

Surprise!
How sports are helping scientists study the brain.

Guts And Brains
The gut sends immune cells to the brain during relapses in Multiple Sclerosis that are involved in helping the body get back to normal operation.

This Week in Science Questions!

“Hi Dr. Kiki,
I’m a big fan of the show, and a big fan of science (obviously), but I have a question about becoming a part of the scientific process. I have an opportunity to participate in a COVID-19 vaccine trial study for the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. I don’t have a lot of details yet, but it is a phase 3 single-blind study. Would you be part of a vaccine study? How safe would you hypothesize it is? What questions should I ask the research team before going through with it? I’m very interested in your thoughts.

Thank you,
Cassie
(P.S. hi Blair!)”

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

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.

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18 November, 2020 – Episode 800 – This is Our 800th Episode!

November 19th, 2020
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

Long Necks, Giant Viruses, Zoo Monkeys, Geoengineered Nope, Lava Water, Sleep Your Age, Dog Connections, COVID Update, Finch Familiarity, Palate Parasite, Owl Wings, Spy Vacuum, Nostalgia, Trivia, And Much More…

Support us on Patreon!

Check out the full episode on our YouTube channel. You can do that here.

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!
Science.
It’s how you are hearing this, what you watch things on, why you can see at night, how you keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
Science.
It’s how appliances work, how vehicles work, why airplanes are a thing,
and what computer programs are made of…
Science.
It’s what doctors study, it’s the why behind food safety, medicine, vaccines, health recommendations, operations, therapies and cures.

Where are you when you use your GPS to navigate? Relativity speaking?
You are smack dab in the middle of science, that’s where.

We talk about science from time to time here in this space.
Results from across the scientific disciplines, around the world and beyond…
In the short time we have been doing this show, a staggering yet believable number of studies have illuminated our world with new information…

Cosmic questions asked and answered, data captured from stars, black holes, supernovas, dark matter, gravity waves, bosons and neutrinos galore…
data in such quantities we barely have the means to store let alone analyze what we have found…
A next generation, with a new appreciation of space exploration has only just begun to lead the way into frontiers long imagined.

We have unearthed fossils, decoded DNA, and found unexpected artifacts
giving glimpses into our past, trading out old fables of how we came to be
For the evidence based understanding of who we actually are
The struggle, not just of humanity, but of all life…
To survive, adapt, evolve and persist amongst the stars.

There were amazing observations of our animal friends, always smarter than we thought they were, and often more complex than we could have guessed.
The living examples of successful evolution all around us.

And we have watched warnings from scientist go unheeded
In addressing global climate change, in pandemic precautions…
and the results of our heedlessness play out in predictable ways.

With so much science all around us, with so much coming our way, there’s no wonder why we can’t stop talking about it here on
This week in science,
coming up next…

Let’s start with some quick science news stories…

Long Necks
Dinosaurs with long necks evolved as a result of rapid climate change 180 million years ago.

Giant viruses in the evolutionary tree
How much of life’s evolution has been influenced by them?

Zoo monkeys prefer traffic noise.
Wouldn’t you to disco? No, just kidding, but they did prefer it.

Geoengineered Nope
Just say no to solar geo-engineering.

Lava tubes of the ancient American south west
Why did the ancient ones delve deep underground to explore lava tubes?

Sleep Your Age
What are your sleep habits like? Do you sleep like an old person or a young person? Two studies this week suggest that youthful sleep could be indicative of overall youthfulness.

Dogs see what you want.
But, they don’t seem to actually care.

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN A TWIS SHIRT OR MUG OR OTHER ITEM OF TWIS MERCHANDISE CLICK ON THE ZAZZLE LINK TO BROWSE OUR STORE.

Now for the weekly COVID-19 Update!

COVID Update
We are just about at 250,000 dead in the United States. It took 96 days for the US to reach 1 million cases earlier this year. We just went from 10 to 11 million in 7 days according to Johns Hopkins. If you did not start quarantining for a family Thankgiving on or before November 12th, maybe consider a Zoom holiday this year. Hospitals are filling up all across the country right now, which means the next couple of months are going to be all about personal responsibility – it is everyone’s job to keep others safe right now.

Vaccine News
Moderna AND Pfizer have announced 95% efficacy for their mRNA vaccines. Pfizer wants to apply for EUA with the FDA, but apparently the adverse reactions (pain, burning, fever) are higher for these new vaccines than traditional? Also, the clinical trials will continue potentially even after an EUA is allowed as they will be following subjects for up to two years looking for long-term effects from the vaccine.

Immunity Questions
Multiple reports offer diverging interpretations of SARS-CoV2 immunity. According to some evidence people can be reinfected, but perhaps that is sometimes simply persistent infection where the virus was never completely cleared. Will vaccines work if we don’t develop long-lasting immunity? Maybe some good news is appropriate here: a pre-print report this week following COVID-19 patients over 6 months concludes that lasting immunity is possible. It’s certainly not the last word on this topic, but good news is very appreciated at the moment.

LET US KNOW WHAT QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS YOU HAVE ABOUT COVID-19, OR INFORM US ON ANY REGIONAL UPDATES, BY EMAILING KIRSTEN@THISWEEKINSCIENCE.COM.

Support us on Patreon!

It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Finches know finches
They can recognize up to 42 individuals by song alone! But can they remember their names? Cause that’s where I run into trouble.

Crustacean got your tongue??
A rare parasitic crustacean whose relatives are known for eating their host’s tongue (ew) was found in a museum collection aross the world eating a shark’s palate (yuck).

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This Just-in… Science!

Hear that? No?
Might be an owl…

I may be paranoid but everyone is in on it…
even the vacuum cleaner.

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The TWIS team gets nostalgic and takes a quiz!

Thank you to all our listeners and viewers! Where ever you enjoy TWIS, we appreciate you for allowing us to keep bringing you this science talk show. Are you up for 800 more episodes?

This Week in Science Questions!

Do you have questions that you want us to answer? Send us your questions! We will do our best to have answers!

Leave us a message on our Facebook page, OR email Dr. Kiki!

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.

Support us on Patreon!

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