17 October, 2018 – Episode 692 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

October 18th, 2018

My Two Dads, Life Questions, Nervous Stem Cells, Goo For Growth, Blind As A Bat?, Tornado Hurricane, Nicotine Noodles, Dead Rats, Preserve Life Now, Snow Song, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

Regardless of how many people have stated it in the past…
Ignorance is not bliss.
Yes there are things you cannot un-hear
Things you cannot un-see
And yes the world is full of totally regrettable and completely forgettable information…
It may even be safe to say that on any given day
There are more events worth forgetting than remembering.
By having a mind nimble enough to sift through the noisy informational wreckage of a sentient society
Separating the factual from the fictional,
the cement-able concepts from the dreadfully disposable…
Seeking out sources that are soundly scientific
And deep-sixing suspiciously un-skeptical concepts
Are not acts of ignorance…
But acts of reason and rational thought.
These are the actions of an advanced mind.
An advancing intellect.
And there is no more certain sign that you’ve got such a mindful intellect than the act of listening to
This Week In Science…
Coming up next!

My Two Dads
An effort to create embryos from stem cells taken from two male mice was unsuccessful, but teaches us much.

Life Questions
New physical evidence suggests claims of early life from rocks in Greenland might be faulty.

What makes stem cells so nervous?
The nervous system!!!

Goo For Growth
Salivary excretions from carrion beetles restructure the microbial community in decaying corpses, and support growth of beetle young.

Blind As A Bat?
Surprise! Bats have generally good vision, but cave-roosting and echo-location definitely led to tradeoffs in detecting UV light.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“This will be my second “”What has science done for me, lately? contribution.”

I was inspired by your trio of unanimous dishwasher machine adoration in a podcast earlier this year.

I am on the opposite end of the curve from you in that I grew up in a house with a dishwashing machine that I abhorred to such extent that I have not sought to use one as an adult. I wash my dishes by hand and, I feel, I’m extremely water and energy efficient.

I have recently moved to the dry continent of Australia from the verdant Willamette Valley where one had but to lean out one’s door to collect water. Here, where water is scarce, I am abundantly grateful for my science dabblings. I use two buckets for dish washing: one full of water and soaking dishes, the other is rinse water. Easy, water efficient, and, here’s the sciencey part, perfect for watering the garden.

Why? Because I am a kitchen witch and my lotions and potions are all made from mostly food. I make my own cleaning materials, balms, and toothpastes from kitchen cupboard items, so everything in my world is biodegradable, plant and animal friendly, and safe to consume in case one has wee kidlings or pets. I take my two big buckets of food debris and soap water from the sink and use them to feed my herbs and vegetables with zero concern about chemicals that kill. I just made two batches of lye soap, and some jars of beeswax salve to gift for holidays. I even make my own enzyme counter cleaner from citrus peels. I’m so happy that science allows me to take happy, healthy, mostly edible components and, through judicious application of heat and chemical reactions, create safe products that sprang from and are happily returned to our precious Earth.

Thank you, Science!
–MiLady Carol”

Tornado troubles
They are moving East!

Hurricane humblers
Maybe off-shore wind turbines can lessen hurricane effects on land.

Nicotine Nursery
Nicotine leads to behavioral and genetic effects generations down the line.

If You Can’t Quit
There is a solution on the horizon – Enzymes nix nicotine addiction.

Dead Rats
Researchers looked at dead rat remains to understand the differences between country and city rats of long ago.

Preserve Life Now
It will take millions of years for mammals to recover diversity losses that are currently occuring thanks to human actions.

Snow Song
The snowy layer covering the Ross Ice shelf in Antarctica influences the internal vibrations of the shelf, which sound ominous when sped up for us to hear.

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10 October, 2018 – Episode 691 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

October 11th, 2018

The Bad News, Cassini’s Last Word, Galactic Archaeology, Smelly Fruit, Disturbing Mouse Calls, Neandertals Now & Then, Brains & Nerves & Things, New Vesuvius View, Fish Hook Ethics, Is Hubble Safe?, And Much More…

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Imagine for a moment that something you think you know is wrong.
Not just any old tid-bit of information,
but something big…
Something fundamental to your understanding of other things that you know and believe.
You wake up one morning to breaking news headlines to learn that:
The sun is actually orbiting around the earth.
Now that would be a tremendous change to how you understand the solar system to operate.
And, if you are sufficiently skeptical,
slightly scientifically informed even…
You will likely doubt that this new information is true.
You may wonder why this is obviously incorrect idea is being propagated.
Yes, the experts and reporters are all exclaiming the evidence
of the recent research that has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt
that it is true…
The sun orbits the earth,
and it was just a poor understanding of the past that lead us to believe otherwise…
But you wouldn’t believe it.
How could you?
It makes no sense,
goes against all you know and learned.
Goes against how much the people you trusted knew more than you…
actually knew.
You will not be swayed by any form of false evidence to the contrary.
The world may have gone mad,
but you alone will maintain the reasonable assumption
that the Earth is in orbit around the Sun and NOT the other way round.
And you are correct.
But if instead of this,
you had learned that global warming is not happening.
That climate science is a hoax.
That everyone you trusted as a source of information about the world was wrong…
You can no doubt imagine the reaction you might have to waking up one morning to…
This Week in Science
Coming Up next…

The Bad News
The IPCC issued a report this week recommending world governments take a drastic and unprecedented change of tack to meet a highly conservative global warming goal of only 1.5 degree Celsius in part through yearly reductions of more than 1 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions globally over the next decade, and ending all coal-power by 2050.

Cassini’s Last Word
It’s a tale of ice and dust, rings, and magnetic spin that will leave you wanting to know more.

Galactic archaeology
Digging up the past with telescopes.

It’s all in a smell
Fruit is fruit, so that it will smell. So thanks, rotten apples, and you’re welcome.

Happy home is a healthy home.
Mice work through troubles and make better parents when using soothing, less agressive tones. SO LOWER YOUR VOICE LINDA, I JUST WENT FOR A WALK, OK??

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Another one for what has science done for me lately.
Listening to podcasts this one included, has prepared me for a little sideline, advocating vaping as a stop smoking aid. I have read the science, helped by the podcasts I listen to (mostly this week in virology) where I learned to read scientific papers. This means I have been able to filter the science for the public, provide references and facts to them. I’ve done my part to help save potentially millions of lives, by switching smokers to vaping.
None of this would be possible without science.
Thanks for all the work you do.
I switched to vaping years ago, and knew it was better than smoking, but science proves it to me (and others). How cool is that?!”

Ancient Neander health care
Community was key.

Modern Neander health care
Viruses were good for you and me.

Brain-sided Movements
Contrary to popular neuroscience evidence, researchers found that ipsilateral electrical activity in the brain could predict movement of a body limb. To date, animal and human research suggested movement instructions came from the opposite side of the body.

Painful Touch
A protein called Piezo2 was found to be responsible for sensitized pain responses after injury in two studies, suggesting that targeted therapies could be used to reduce pain.

New Vesuvius View
Would you rather suffocate or die instantly, burned alive? According to new research in PLoS One, volcanic victims may not have had a choice, and were likely killed by the intense heat from the pyroclastic flows.

Catch and release isn’t so harmless after all.
That hole left in a fish’s mouth spells bad news, in the end. But is it really worse than ending up on a dinner plate??

Is Hubble Safe?
For the time being, Hubble is in safe mode while engineers try to figure out what to do about a gyro.

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03 October, 2018 – Episode 690 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

October 6th, 2018

Interview w/ Dr. Susanne Brander from OSU, Nobel Prize Time!, Change Is Coming, Standard Model Challenge?, Neanderteeth, Bird PDA, Cats And Rats, Is That A Moon?, Goblin Planet, Very Old Dishes, And Much More…

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My calendar says it is time for science.
So, we’ll be talking about science news,
with Kiki, Justin, and our guest Susanne.
You’ll notice, some of these voices are female.
In fact, the majority are.
And it should go without saying,
that female voices deserve to be heard.
So without further ado,
let’s talk about things that matter,
With people that matter.
Because everyone matters,
and we’re excited to talk about something
That is scientific, fun, enlightening, and true.
On This Week in Science!
Coming up next…

Interview with Dr. Susanne Brander
Dr. Brander is an ecotoxicologist working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR. She also holds an adjunct position in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina. According to her lab website, “The Brander lab’s research encompasses the fields of toxicology, endocrinology, and ecology; integrating molecular approaches with measurements at the organism and population level. Our main focus is on the effects of stressors such as emerging pollutants, plastics, and changing climate on aquatic organisms, but our work spans the links between ecological and human health.”

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
” When I was serving in Iraq the vehicle I was driving was ambushed at a checkpoint manned by insurgents wearing Iraqi Police uniforms. Because of advances in material science and engineering the armor plating in the vehicle saved my life. Without those advances the bullets fired by the insurgents would have penetrated the drivers door and struck me.
Thank you sharing my story and hopefully more advances will be made in armor saving more soldiers lives. Please keep up the great work, TWIS is a great podcast and I learn a lot listening to it.
Thank you,
Chris ”

Nobel Prize Time!
Last week, we had the IgNobels, but now it is time for the Nobels. And, what a great line-up it is this year. “The Nobel Prize in Physics 2018 was awarded “for groundbreaking inventions in the field of laser physics” with one half to Arthur Ashkin “for the optical tweezers and their application to biological systems”, the other half jointly to Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland “for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses.” “The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H. Arnold ”for the directed evolution of enzymes” and the other half jointly to George P. Smith and Sir Gregory P. Winter ”for the phage display of peptides and antibodies”. And, the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.

Change Is Coming
Get ready, America. Climate change is coming, and it’s not going to be fun for us.

Standard Model Challenge?
High energy particles detected by two Antarctic experiments suggest a particle that doesn’t match the Standard Model of physics.

Old teeth point to interesting habits.

How do you PDA?
Courtship displays in blue capped cordon-bleus were more elaborate if there was an audience. Can you say the same about you and your bae?

Cats don’t hunt rats
So what are they even good for???

Do you know what Algae sounds like??
Algal bubbles emit a particular sound. So particular, that measuring it could be an effective way to measure algae cover. Take that, Audrey II!

Is That A Moon?
As big as Neptune, this may be the first exomoon discovered.

Goblin Planet
A newly discovered dwarf planet hints at Planet 9.

Very Old Dishes
Residues on old pottery suggest ancient eating habits.

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26 September, 2018 – Episode 689 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

September 28th, 2018

Genie In The Lab, The Sixth Sense, Not So Brutal, Sickness Smells, Vegetarian Sharks, Mantis Fishers, Nasal Influence, Retroviral Addiction, Microbial Trash Cans, Synthetic Cellular Circuits, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

Chances are…
just that, things that happen by chance…
The unexpected meeting between two people
that otherwise would never have met if not for circumstances in which, unintentionally…
they do meet, they talk and…
Chances are that’s all they do.
Talk and for a few passing moments,
enjoy each other’s company and go their separate ways.
But there’s also a smaller chance that the conversation leaves a lasting impression on one of them.
And, though the probability becomes slimmer still.
There’s a chance that the conversation leaves a lasting impression on both of them.
So much so that they might decide that this conversation,
the one they just happened upon by chance,
should continue…
that it in fact,
should never end.
Science is a lot like that…
conversations started long ago,
often by chance,
that no one has tired of having…
Because it’s just too damn interesting to walk away from…
Just like This Week in Science,
Coming up next…

Genie In The Lab
A CRISPR-based gene drive to destroy reproductive ability in female mosquitoes was successful in the lab.

The Sixth Sense
Just like our other senses, there is a fast-acting sensory system in the gut that communicates with the brain by way of the vagus nerve.

Brutal people of the past
Weren’t so brutal.

Sniff sniff… Is your roommate sick??
We’ve known for some time that sickness carries a certain scent, but now just being near someone ill could give you the mark of illness. Is that why everyone left once I sat down at the table? I hope that’s it…

Mantises don’t only prey on the spineless…
They eat fish! Talk about yikes…

Vegetarian sharks
Say what? Bonnethead sharks eat lots of algae – changing the way we categorize these fish… Maybe…

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“I know you and Blair had some concerns about the whole vaping thing a listener mentioned on the recent “”What Has Science Done for Me Lately””. But….
I got turned on to your podcast about six months ago by a friend and now TWIS, Science for the People, and Story Collider are highlights of my week. And, for 35 years I’ve loathed my addiction to nicotine. (Oh if I could go back and smack the 15 year old me up side the head…) I’ve spent the last two years especially trying everything out there with no luck. And then I heard the latest podcast. There was no way I was going to join the annoying hipsters with their idiotic vaping sticks – until I listened to you read that guy’s comments. So I went to my tobacconist and, all red-faced, told him I was thinking of trying vaping as a way to quit. He grinned and said “”Dude! That is how I quit a year ago! Let me set you up.”” And now I have massively reduced my nicotine intake. I can feel my body slowly weening itself off in a way I can handle. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And hell, even if it takes a while I am vaping – not sucking on non-filtered cigarillos, so that has to be a win. And in a week I saved $20. So I just sent that to you all. (And the store manager added TWIS to his podcast list by the way!)

Thanks for an amazing podcast. Thanks for filling my brain with amazing, beautiful, inspiring things every week. And thanks for turning me on to a tool that just make help me in other ways.
Todd Barnell”

The nose has it
Bacteria are linked to severity of colds.

Blame The Virus
An ancient retrovirus could be to blame for your drug addiction.

Mitochondrial Editing
Scientists are curing mice of disorders caused by mutations in their mitochondrial DNA with gene editing… will humans be next?

Microbial trash cans
Microbes have a way of taking out the metabolic trash.

Synthetic Cellular Circuits
Researchers developed proof of concept synthetic cellular components that fit together like a circuit to achieve various purposes inside cells.

Another Missing Link
A 127 million year old fossil was discovered in China that fills in another gap in the story of how dinosaurs became birds.

Biggest Bird Ever
Vorombe titan weighed in at over 1700 pounds.

Jellyfish and quinoa – dinner of the future!!
Quinoa has proven well suited for saline soils, more likely as sea level rise and local droughts linger on our radar.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


19 September, 2018 – Episode 688 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

September 20th, 2018

Interview w/ Dr. Kathryn Matthews from Oceana, 2018 IgNobel Awards, Alzheimer’s Discovery, Touchy Sea Otters, Love Hate Relations, Early Birds, Cold Case Ivory, Star Trek Exoplanet, Sandalwood For Hair, Antidepressants And Antibacterials, Robotic Skins, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

The world is big and complicated and full of noise…
Not just the buzzing, humming, tire screeching, siren squealing, clickety-clack type noise…
But informational noise of all sorts.
The news you read today,
the conversations you had,
conversations you didn’t have but over heard in passing…
advertisements, road signs, the temperature of the air,
thoughts you only half formed,
How you look in a mirror,
the feeling of your feet when putting on shoes,
And how often it is you put on shoes compared to
how infrequently you reflect on how nice it feels to take them off…
And at the center of all the complicated informational noise going on around you…
is your brain.
Some of the noise is interesting,
some of it isn’t,
what’s a brain to do…
A few things to keep in mind at all times,
wherever you are and whatever your brain happens to be doing…
Anything can be interesting if you ask the right question…
Every question has an answer…
And every moment is an opportunity to ask the right question…
And with that in mind,
we bring you a few moments of people asking the right questions
on a variety of interesting subjects here on
This Week in Science,
Coming up next…

Interview with Dr. Kathryn Matthews
Dr. Kathryn Matthews is Deputy Chief Scientist at Oceana. She trained as a coral biogeochemist, and spent some time in the Arctic, but eventually transitioned through the years into science policy, working as a AAAS science and technology fellow for the US Congress, then for the Office of Marine Conservation in the U.S. State Department. She also worked with the the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation and with The Pew Charitable Trusts, where she ran a marine conservation and sustainable fisheries grantmaking program.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hey Dr. Kiki
Newer listener but I have caught up on the last year of shows! New patreon sponsor as well happy to be part of the TWIS family.
Science is so important to me, not just for my job as a hazardous waste tech/ transporter.
To the tests we use to identify harmful chemicals! So that we can take the proper precautions to protect ourselves, so I can go home to my three kids! One who has autism
Too some people this phrase is not a good thing, I started the same way but my wife being who she is recognized the symptoms!
To his pediatric doctor who specialized in developmental disabilities! To the specialized school that he went to at 2 1/2!!! His insatiable need for knowledge at 5 is astounding I.e. Periodic table, human physiology, all the countries and capitals. As with many who are on the spectrum he was lacking in social skills but speech therapy and his school have made leaps and bounds!
So science has altered mine and my family’s life
Thanks for all you do
–Ben Bignell”

2018 IgNobel Awards
As hard as it is to beieve another year has gone by… it is time once again for the IgNobel awards; awarded to science that makes people paugh, and then makes them think. The 2018 Ig Nobel Prizes were awarded at the 28th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony, on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre. The winners are…

Catching Alzheimer’s Early
Discovery could explain failed clinical trials for Alzheimer’s, and provide a solution.

Sea otters are touchy
These weasels can tell minute differences in texture by touch alone, with their paws or whiskers, helping to explain how they can hunt and search in murky waters.

Why do we like bees and hate wasps?
Once again, it all comes down to fear of the unknown.

Spring is coming earlier every year, it seems.
But that shift is not uniform among regions, and migration shifts are also off-kilter. This could be bad news for ecosystems.

CSI cold case Ivory
DNA helps to finger illegal ivory trade networks.

First TESS Images
The new NASA exoplanet mission, TESS, is up and running, and has returned its first images of the first sector of the southern sky it is to scan looking for planets transiting stars 30-300 light years from Earth.

Is Vulcan Real?
Astronomers think they have found a planet around 40 Eridani A, or Keid, which was the star around which the planet Vulcan orbited in Star Trek. The star is less than 17 light years from Earth, and about twice the size of Earth, although whether it is gaseous or rocky is as of yet unknown. TESS will be observing this star system beginning in November of this year.

Synthetic Sandalwood Saves Hair
Researchers found that synthetic sandalwood decreases rates of follicular cell death and increases the amount of growth factor released.

Antidepressants And Antibacterials
Prozac influences bacterial mutations and leads to antibiotic resistance through activation of efflux channels.

Robotic Skins
Yale roboticists have developed skins with embedded actuators that can turn just about anything into robots.

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


12 September, 2018 – Episode 687 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

September 13th, 2018

Interview w/ David Quammen, Sugar Maker, New Neurons Discovered, Human Egg Marks, Beer Before Farming!, Old Art, Shrimp Shields, Beetle Baby Branding, Shark Encounters, Plastic Dolphin Pee, AI For Radio, Finding Ordinary Matter, Hot Drops Move, Wolverine Me, And Much More!!!

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

If you don’t believe in evolution…
you are wrong.
Even if you haven’t replaced evolution with anything specific or supernatural…
By choosing to go against all observations across all domains of science…
you have chosen to be wrong.
If you do believe in evolution, congratulations!
Though you are likely wrong as well…
Not as wrong as someone who outright denies that life forms evolve…
But your understanding of what evolution means,
how it works,
how it’s taken place over the past 4 billion years
is likely not a model that fits well with how evolution has taken place on earth.
But fear not, you are not alone…
In fact you’ve probably got a better grasp than Lamarck, Darwin, and Huxley had.
Not that they were wrong,
you just happen to have been afforded an extra hundred years and more
of scientific insight and discovery to base your impression on…
And, tonight we will delve deeper into how evolution happens,
where we’ve been in search for answers and maybe where we are going…
All that and more ahead on
This Week in Science,
Coming up next!

Interview with David Quammen
David Quammen studied at both Yale and Oxford, and has spent his life writing amazing stories about nature, evoution, and man’s relationship with the natural world. He contributes to National Geographic magazine, and can claim to have been the sole author of one issue. He wrote The Song of the Dodo, Monster of God, The Reluctant Mr. Darwin, Spillover, Ebola, The Chimp and the River, a book about Yellowstone, and most recently The Tangled Tree, which we are thrilled and honored to speak to him about tonight.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Science has allowed me to be super extra and give my rescue puppy a doggy dna test. I got to find out what all he is made of, which isn’t necessary, but is quite fun.
–April Robison”

Sugar Maker
How do sugars exist in space? What reactions created them? The Formose reaction creates sugars from formaldehyde and water, but things break down fairly quickly, so the reaction can’t explain clouds of sugars in space. Reseachers in Germany have shown that hydroxymethylene, a hyper-reactive carbene, doesn’t need water to create sugars when combined with formaldehyde. Could this be the missing molecule for interstellar building-blocks of life?

New Neurons Discovered
Turns out that there are more types of neurons in your inner ear than previously thought. According to a recent study using RNA sequencing to identify cell types in the ear, there are not just one, but three different Type I spiral ganglion neurons connecting to the hair cells, which appear to encode intensity information related to hearing.

Ancient humans, giant birds…
A story told of people lost to time.

Beer before farming!
Older cheese, older bread, and now, older beer.

Oh, and Human art just got a lot older too.
It pays to look at rocks sometimes.

Human shield? No, it’s all about the flying snail shield these days.
Amphipods carry pteropods to ward off predators. Whether the pteropods like it or not (which they do not).

Beetle parasites are all about customization
Beetles change their chemical and behavioral tactics to best tap into the resources nearby bees have to offer.

Sharks like it when you visit them!
It turns out the more you know about something, the more you care about it. So explains Blair’s entire career…

Plastic Dolphin Pee
Phthalates have been detected in the urine of wild dolphins. We don’t know what this means yet, just that we can see metabolites of plastics in dolphin pee.

AI For Radio
Using an AI algorithm to analyze data from the Breakthrough Listen data uncovered more fast radio bursts of unknown origin from dwarf galaxy FRB 121102.

Ordinary Matter Found!
Using a new method quantifying the gas illuminated by a quasar, researchers have corroborated other recent studies that find the “missing” baryonic matter in the universe. It’s in the gas in between things!

Hot Drops Move
Water dropped onto a hot pan has an internal mover according to a new study of this ‘Leidenfrost effect’. Apparently, fluid flow internal to the droplets influences the direction of movement of the drop over the pan’s surface as it evaporates.

We are all wolverine…
Blood makes skin move it!

If You love TWIS, please consider making a donation below.

Don’t forget to tell a friend about TWIS, and to check out our Patreon page!


05 September, 2018 – Episode 686 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

September 6th, 2018

Chickens And Eggs, Sexy Brain Cells, Medical Gene Editing, Space Elevator, Color Hawk Eyes, Meals And Mating, Medieval DNA, Plant Promises, Old Cheese, Ladies Follow Ladies, Self-aware Fish, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

The distant future is a long way off…
At least it used to be.
It used to be a lot further,
and much farther…
When people refer to the distant future these days,
They often mean what people used to mean when they would say that something was right around the corner…
From the beginning of space to the outer edges time…
The pace of things on planet earth is constantly picking up.
So every once in a while it’s worth slowing down…
And catching up on with all the wonderful things that go on in the world of
This week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Chickens And Eggs
In quantum weirdness, it doesn’t matter!

Sexy Brain Cells
Microglia look and act differently in the male and female mouse brains.

Medical Gene Editing
A very small trial of a CRISPR-based therapy to treat muscular dystrophy in dogs reported successful reinstatement of protein production in affected tissues.

Space elevator
Is this REALLY finally happening?

Harris Hawks have stunning color vision.
So I guess that’s another thing they can lord over Blair…

Are you hungry for steak or are you just happy to see me?
Cockroaches eat more protein with high mating frequency. So next time someone orders a meat-heavy meal, you can draw your own conclusions…

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hello TWIS,
Just over two years ago I woke up one early one morning with pain in my
abdomen. The pain worsened rapidly and my wife decided a trip to the
emergency room might be in order. By the time we had completed the half hour
trip the pain was so bad that I was rocking back and forth while moaning
constantly, simply trying to cope.
The staff at the hospital did an excellent job of getting the pain under
control and proceeding with a diagnosis. 7 hours later I was undergoing
emergency surgery.
Turns out my bowel had twisted and blocked itself. I found out later that
this was, in my case, extremely rare. It generally only happens when there
has been pervious abdominal surgery where the bowel can catch on the scar.
My belly had been a surgical virgin until the knife hit it that afternoon.
I also found out that later that the injury is very time sensitive. The
bowel can go into sepsis after as little as twelve hours. That is bad, very
I now realise that for 99 point several 9s percent of human history I would
have experienced a very slow and agonising death.
As it was, thanks to the expertise of the medical staff I left the hospital
two days later with a few stitches and a prohibition on lifting for a few

So, what has science done for me lately? Well there’s that.

Plus, of course, smart phones, safer vehicles, virtually unlimited access to
information, HD television, instant communication, streaming, a healthier
microbiome, pictures of Pluto,
productivity, instant banking, cleaner laundry, TWIS, a chance to feed the
world, a career, racing simulators, longer life expectancy, never washing
dishes, video games, some control of my cognitive biases, podcasts, robots,
more accurate weather forecasts, world travel, knowledge…..

Thanks for a very entertaining and informative show. Please keep up the
great work.
–Jorj ”

Medieval DNA
DNA shows us that people are just people.

Plant Promises
Australian scientists have managed to combine a CO2-eating carboxysome from blue-green algae with the cells of crop plants in the hopes that yieds will eventually increase some 60%.

Algae Future
Scientists in Cambridge have managed to wire photosynthetic bits from plants together with hydrogenase, an enzyme from algae, and water-splitting technology to improve upon nature’s designs, and possibly get us closer to cheaper, cleaner energy production.

Old Cheese
Cheese is older than bread.

Ladies Follow Ladies
Female vervet monkeys are more likely to copy other females than to learn from males. Whereas males aren’t as discriminating about their teachers.

Self-aware fish
Even the cleaner wrasse has enough self-awareness to know not to wear SOMETHING LIKE THAT ON CASUAL FRIDAY! LEARN HOW TO USE A MIRROR KAREN… FISH CAN!

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29 August, 2018 – Episode 685 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

August 30th, 2018

Interview w/ Anil Ananthaswamy, Less Nutritious Air, AWAKE And Surfing, Ultima Thule Targeted, Service Shrimp, Turtle Trees, Poop Mom, Secret Head Tunnels, The Microbe Fog, Bionic Eye Alert!, And Much More…

Want to listen to a particular story from the show? You can do that here. Just look for the time-code link in the description.

Hey! You know that cool post you saw today?
You know the one.
The one that was funny, no scary!
No, thought-provoking….
No, it was the one that proved a point you already believed…

Well anyway, even though aunt Helen, or cousin Joe, or that cool girl Stacey,
or even your annoying but constantly present on social media coworker Karen
(no one cares about your cat’s inner monologue, Karen)!
Even though they shared it this morning,
there’s something we need you to do before you hit “share.”

Please, please, PLEASE!
For the love of Sagan,
Do a quick google,
look for dissenting articles,
or at the very least…
Click on the link first.

It was a woodlouse spider.
And it never killed anyone.

So pull up a chair,
and a set of headphones,
grab your thinking cap,
and join us for some reasoned discourse,
meant for more than shares and likes
(though we wouldn’t say no to some)
Coming up next…

Interview with Anil Ananthaswamy
Anil Ananthaswamy is an award-winning journalist and former staff writer and deputy news editor for the London-based New Scientist magazine. He has been a guest editor for the science writing program at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and organizes and teaches an annual science journalism workshop at the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bengaluru, India. He is a freelance feature editor for the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science’s Front Matter. He contributes regularly to the New Scientist, and has also written for Nature, National Geographic News, Discover, Nautilus, Matter, The Wall Street Journal and the UK’s Literary Review. The Edge of Physics and The Man Who Wasn’t There were his first two books, and now he returns with Through Two Doors At Once, a book about the elegant double-slit experiment and its influence on our understanding of the quantum world.

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This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“So… this is more tech, but…
I was a smoker for a while, and by the end of 2013 I was smoking 2.5 to 3 packs a day (that, I’m sad to say, is not an exaggeration). A friend wanted to get me off cigarettes. I had tried things like the patch, the gum, etc, but it didn’t work.
My friend happened to work at a vape shop, and decided to try and get me on that.
To keep this whole thing short… within a couple months of vaping (that is, by early 2014) I had dropped cigarettes entirely and, fast forward to a couple months ago (this year), and I went 100% nicotine-free. Now, it’s true that I still vape, but that’s because, for some reason, it helps curb my sweet-tooth.There is no nicotine at all in what I vape, however. Just vegetable glycerin and strawberry nectarine flavoring. And also, it’s probable that I’m addicted to the actual act itself, as the simple ritual of building a coil, installing it in the atomizer, and wicking it is very relaxing, and I have an anxiety disorder so…
–Nathan Hevenstone”

Less Nutritious Air
Increased CO2 levels affect plants ability to absorb and incorporate nutrients.

AWAKE And Surfing
A new experiment at CERN is pushing the envelope for particle accelerator technology.

Ultima Thule Targeted
Farthest picture ever taken from Earth, New Horizon’s has it’s target in sight.

Cleaner shrimp? More like nurse shrimp, ammiright??
Cleaner shrimp also help fish heal. Now that’s service!

Motherhood is a load of crap
Or in naked mole rats, maternal instincts are because of it.

Turtle family tree coming in clearer.
A new discovery may help us clear up some long unsettled science business.

Secret Head Tunnels
Your brain and skull might have conversations about health. According to a new NIH-funded study, immune cells are more likely to travel to the damaged brain from the skull’s bone marrow than from other parts of the body. And, the cells move through special channels that connect the skull to the brain’s meninges.

Microbes like the fog
“Ride the wave!” they say. You should perhaps shut your windows…

Bionic Eye Alert!
The first 3-D printed bionic eye prototype has been reported.

Understand inflection. Uh oh.

Pesticide Addicted Bees
Bees exposed to neonicitinoid pesticides are more likely to choose foods containing those same pesticides to eat.

Itokawa Story
Itokawa, a near-Earth asteroid from which Japan successfully brought back a sample of surface dust grains, is as old as the solar system, but experienced a unique collision event about 1.5 billion years ago that set it on a tragectory to be captured by Earth’s gravity.

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