21 July, 2021 – Episode 834 – Fly Me to the Moon, Mr. Bezos!

July 22nd, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: You Will Assimilate, Viruses On Ice, Twisty Shark Intestines, AI Protein Puzzler, Not Spider Silk, COVID Update, Poo-Eating Pikas, Fish Friends, Butterfly Blues, Oceans Are Full, Song Rules, Rat Empathy, 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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Space….
The final frontier.
A place where one day mankind will watch
As billionaires build resorts on the moon,
And overtime regulation free factories on Mars.
Space…
The undiscovered country, from whose borders
No travelers tax returns are ever seen.

And while tax dodging billionaires live out childhood dreams
Of wearing space suits and launching their rockets
into suborbital altitudes and then
fizzing all over themselves with champagne upon completion,

Let us not forget that this is a great achievement for the commercialization of space.
And a rather modest admission that as a Nation, America will play no role in it.
When Nasa landed on the moon we did so as a nation…
And the words Niel Armstrong used, dedicated the event to all mankind.
Jeff Bezos made no such statement…
Well, he did thank Amazon employees for paying for it.
I suppose through starvation wages, unsafe working conditions, unrealistic time quotas, lack of job security, lack of health security, and an all around lack of respect for basic human dignity.
Never mind the unregulated outsourced manor in which most of the products the company sells are manufactured…
Somehow, those starvation wages equate to “Job well done”
You did it, you put one billionaire space cowboy into sub-orbital space.

Look around at the growing homelessness problem in “fill in the blank” city or town.
The housing epidemic, the lack of mental health programs, the growing expense of healthcare, the cost of educating the next generation, the stagnant spending on science research and all the rest and tell yourself…
At least we are all paying for billionaires to take publicity fueled joy rides instead of collecting taxes from them.
Job well done everyone.
Who needs public funding for society when you have that?
The limited public funding of science is however the only reason we can even bring you
This Week in Science
Coming up next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

You Will Assimilate
UC Berkeley researchers think they have discovered a new kind of extracellular genetic element that methane-munching Archaea swap like Lego-bricks. They’ve named them ‘Borgs’ for their ability to assimilate genetic elements. But, the big question is whether they are actually real.

Viruses On Ice
Thawing ice is releasing ancient viruses into the world.

Shark intestines: so all out it’s totally in.
Their amazing, unique spiral guts keep sharks full and happy.

Protein Structure
The Baker Lab out of the Institute of Protein Design at the University of Washington has developed an open-source AI for determining protein structure that takes only 10-minutes running on a gaming computer to find solutions to protein puzzles that are almost on par with results from Alpha-Fold, Google’s DeepMind Ai.

A word from a materials scientist about how to fight global warming
We need to start with what we’ve got.

Not Spider Silk
Chemical Engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have used engineered microbes to create a synthetic spider silk that is tougher than the real thing.

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Want a COVID Update?

Vaccine Approval
The FDA might take until January 2022 to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, but a report suggests ir might be as soon as early this fall. Additionally, we could see an EUA for kids under 12 in time for school, although several factors could keep us waiting for a pediatric vaccine until winter.

2nd Dose
Different from the 1st… Booster shots of the Pfizer mRNA vaccine stimulate the immune system to produce neutralizing antibodies, engage T-cells, and prime the immune system to ward off SARS-CoV2 significantly more than the 1st dose.

Infection Antibodies
The longer we live this virus the more we learn about our immune responses to it. A paper out in Nature Communications found that people naturally infected with SARS-CoV2 produce antibodies against the virus for up to 9 months following primary infection. They also found some individual had increases in antibody production that could be the result of re-infection.

Kid Immunity
Children who presented with mild or even asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 had robust antibody responses months later suggesting some amount of protection against future infection with the virus.

Orphan Epidemic
COVID-19 is leaving orphans around the world. An analysis estimates that a child loses a caregiver to the disease once every 12 seconds.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner?

Pika-poop, I choose you!
Pikas survive the harsh winter like any of us might, eating yak poop. No?

Fish friends prevent you becoming food
Fish are able to more accurately respond to and recognize threats when in the company of comrades. Friendship can literally be life or death.

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What science news does Justin have?

There is no room for new life on the ocean floor
Bacteria have filled it up!

New species of Butterfly discovered in San Francisco
But, this isn’t the feel-good story you were hoping for.

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

Song Rules
The mockingbird uses song production rules similar to those used by humans.

Help Your Own
Rats help other rats they know, and it turns out their brains are activated similarly to humans in the process. The results of the study highlight the need to find common ground between people in order to manage our ancient tendencies.

This Week in Science Questions!

The team behind the Blue Origin New Shepherd launch this week should be commended for the incredible work they have done to successfully launch people to the edge of space… safely! However, there is a huge conversation that needs to be had as private companies propel us toward space and other planets. What about Earth? Is space tourism for the very-rich really a goal that our planet needs as over-population, income inequality, & climate change grow ever worse? We’d love to hear your thoughts as we share ours every week on the show…

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!

How can you keep from looking like an idiot in public? Listen to the disclaimer from this episode of TWIS from last July. Justin doles out some fantastic advice. We also covered one of my favorite stories from 2021 that described how if you break the Earth down into tiny pieces, it’s really made of tiny cubes. Don’t believe me? Listen to the show!

This one from 2011 was full of incredible science. Can you believe we were discussing NASA’s Dawn mission 10 years ago? It had just rendezvoused with asteroid Vesta and was headed to dwarf planet Ceres to discover among other things that organics & water are present on these distant space rocks; leading to so many more questions about the formation of the solar system.

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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14 July, 2021 – Episode 833 – How Do Pandas Eat?

July 15th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Light-Bending Holes, Friend Zone Potential, Conservation Thru Games, Fossilized Ripples, Robot Farms, iAge Immune Clock, Panda Teeth, Busting Bird Traffickers, Changing Language, Multi-Sex Species, Brain Plasticity & Psilocibin, Microbial Moods, 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 TWIS in 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…

Scroll down for Blair’s story about how pandas eat in the Animal Corner! There is so much more science to share and discuss on the way…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

The future is coming! The future is coming!
Right now, wherever you are…
Whatever you happen to be doing…
The future is about to change things…

It might be for the better
It might be an anticipated change
Something overdue that has taken a long time getting here
It might be a change that improves your life
In ways you can’t even imagine

It also might be a future that is worse
Where the weather is always too hot and getting hotter
One where robots take all the jobs from humans
Or worse
One in which robots don’t take all the jobs from humans

The future can be good
The future can be bad
It’s the future,
and that’s just how the future works

But one thing about the future…
It’s often predictable
Global warming is predictable
Pandemics are predictable
Automation taking over manufacturing is predictable

The only thing that we can’t predict?
Is how humans will react once they learn that the real driving force
Behind every change the future has in store
Started with a conversation on
This week in science
Coming up next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Black Hole Lensing
After more than 40 years we have a formalized mathematical description of how light bends around black holes.

Two-thirds of romantic couples start out as friends
How do the other 1/3 start out?

Video games boost animal knowledge
Red Dead, more like red read!

Fossilized Ripples
Are ripples in a sediment layer 1500meters underground evidence of ancient tsunami waves emanating from the Chixiclub asteroid impact?

Robot farms
Will we choose dystopia or utopia?

iAge Immune Clock
Can we use inflammation as a measure of aging?

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner?

Bunk panda teeth explained
Despite carnivore teeth, pandas find a way to eat bamboo. Against all odds…

Animal traffickers busted!
New technology allows authorities to identify illegal wildlife trade

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What science news does Justin have?

Words Matter
Does forensic anthropology need consistent language to leave its racist past behind?

Three Sexes?
A new species of algae with a trio of sexes that all breed with each other has been discovered!

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

Brain Transport Plasticity
Our long-term memories depend on brain transport proteins called Kifs that carry hundreds of RNA molecules to the dendrites for construction.

Psilocibin Plasticity
Brain plasticity was improved for up to a month after psilocibin exposure in mice.

Microbial Socialism
Microbes in mice help them with socializing by reducing stress hormone release.

This Week in Science Questions!

Pandas! How do they even exist? Blair has a beef with pandas because all the evidence suggests that they are poorly adapted to existence, and yet we continue to pour resources into keeping them alive. Is it at the expense of other species? But the news this week suggests that not everything about the Great panda is poorly adapted. Is there more that we just haven’t seen? Are pandas worth the fuss or not?

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!

Why be friendly? Listen to what is possibly the longest episode of TWIS ever because of our incredible conversation with Dr. Brian Hare. We explored dogs, wolves, humanity, and friendliness in addition to ALL the science news from the week.

This one from 2011 starts out with a rap from Justin. The science included stem cell treatments for macular degeneration & liver disease, the first transplanted synthetic trachea, mouse molars made from stem cells, tool use in tusk fish, a creepy moaning mouth robot, how the internet is changing human memory, and so many more things!

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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07 July, 2021 – Episode 832 – Help for Cats with Heart Disease?

July 8th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Sea Rise, Plurality Of Singularities, Clean Your House, Male Life Extension?, Bat Origins, Vampire Dominance, COVID Update, Poop Beetle, Beetle Strider, Cat Medicine, Faces & Emotion, Brain Waves, Dancing Helps, Trout On Meth, 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 TWIS in 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...

Stay tuned for our story on help for cats with heart disease! There is so much more science to share and discuss…

Disclaimer, Disclaimer, Disclaimer!!!

When Lewis and Clark headed west the then President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, had a special request.
Keep your eyes out for woolly mammoths…
Because, well, why not?
They had been seen before, in fossils anyway.
And concept of extinction had yet to be invented.
The early Americans believed as people had believed for thousands of years
That the natural world was unchanging.
If you killed a rabbit for supper, another magically appeared in its place.
Kill a hundred rabbits, a hundred would poof into existence overnight.
In time, the fossil record revealed more and more strange creatures that could not be found.
And once dinosaurs were discovered,
It was unavoidable…
things in nature can change.
We didn’t mean to make the Passenger Pigeon and the Dodo bird go extinct…
We just didn’t understand that killing every member of a species prevented more from existing.
And like extinction,
The concept of evolution had to be invented for humans to understand it.
Like concepts in physics,
Or anatomy,
Or climate.
Before we know about a thing,
It can be very hard to see that it is happening all around us.
We are foolish and ignorant creatures…
until we are not.
And when we are not…
That is the moment where humanity takes its rightful place in the universe,
And tunes into
This Week in Science
Coming up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Sea Rise
NASA researchers have determined that thanks to the moon’s wobble and sea level rise, coastal cities will experience significantly more flooding in the 2030’s. But, Texas might be starting to capture carbon, so that’s something positive?

A gaggle of black holes spotted in the Milky Way
What does this mean? And, what should we call them?

Our theories on allergies could be all washed up
A new study suggests a clean house, is only a good thing. Period.

Male Life Extension?
It comes with a catch.

Where do bats come from?
We really don’t know.

Bat Equality
Dominant female vampire bats don’t need to prove they are in charge.

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.

Are you ready for a COVID Update?

Another Receptor
It’s possible that SARS-CoV2 affects inflammation in the endothelium by way of another receptor – the alphaVbeta3 surface integrin.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner?

Poop beetle. Fossilized poop beetle.
Need I say more?

Beetle break-dances through water, upside down
With the help of a strategically placed air bubble, this beetle scoots across the underside of water. Wow!

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What science news does Justin have?

Personalized medicine for cats with heart disease
Could we test whether or not they will respond to certain medications? It looks like help is on the way.

Faces in mysterious places
Pareidolia is emotional.

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

Brain Waves
VR makes our brains do something different.

Dancing Helps
Dancing with music was shown to slow the development of Parkinson’s symptoms in a very small sample of patients.

Trout Desire
Apparently, trout choose meth.

This Week in Science Questions!

Do the ends justify the means? Does science still endeavor to the benefit of humanity? Is there a balance to the goals and the methods that are involved? So many questions to ponder in the philosophy of science.
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!

Want to get an idea of how far we have come with respect to COVID-19 testing? Listen to this interview with Dr. Enrique Lin Shiao on efforts underway last summer to develop COVID tests. We also discussed his work in science communication and CRISPR.

This one from 2011 included discussion of new targets for treating MS, questions about drug pricing, air pollution effects on the brain, world robot domination of armpits, and finger length proportions. What does your finger length predict? You’ll have to listen to find out!

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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30 June, 2021 – Episode 831 – How Hot Can it Get?

July 2nd, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Hot News, Enter The Dragon Man, Spiders Like Snakes, Hungry Black Holes, Another New Human, Malaria Promise, COVID-19 Update, Wildfire Plumage, Suicidal Mantids, Snake Warming, Glow mRNA, Gut-Brain, Lobster Pot, 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!!!

Everything
And, I do mean everything.
Is more complicated than we can perceive.
It’s comfortable to know things,
To put them in boxes of identifiable categories,
And say this is this…
And that is that.
The more we simplify,
The more confident we are it is so.
And there is so much we do know in this way
That it is really hard to argue for an alternative.
But lest we forget,
Here is a quick reminder:
All the things we put in boxes
Are not actually in boxes.
Reality is complicated,
And every slice of the complicated
Is itself complex.
And within the complex slice of complicated
There are nuances from which
New complications arise.
And even when we get to a point where we truly understand
An aspect of a nuance to a complex slice of the complicated,
We remember that it is all connected in ways we can barely comprehend.
And this realization should serve as a reminder that
When you hear a very simple answer to any question
Chances are it is either mostly incorrect,
Or another episode of
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Hot News
Record temperatures, fires, permafrost melt… these are just a few of the predictions coming true sooner than expected thanks to our rapidly warming climate. Will this “once in a millenia” PNW heat event event happen more often? It’s likely.

Enter the Dragon Man – Homo longi
Is it a new human or a Denisovan?

Hey, did you know some spiders eat snakes?
Not sure how to handle this info?? Me, either!!

Hungry Black Holes
The LIGO/VIRGO collaboration has finally detected the gravitational wave signal of black holes devouring neutron stars. Previously just hypothesized, they say they have evidence of two events.

Another new human
What does this tell us?

Malaria Promise
A small clinical trial of a new malaria vaccine was over 87% effective at preventing infection in patients at the highest dose. Also, China has eliminated malaria after 3-years with zero indigenous cases.

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.

Are you ready for a COVID Update?

Mask Guidelines
Get vaccinated.

Masks Help
We should really have kids wear masks in school.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner?

Wildfires kick birds when they are down
Wildfires can impact songbird hormones and plumage, which at this point is insult to injury. We get it, wildfires!

Parasites turn mantids suidical
In a first, parasites appear to alter light perception in their hosts, causing them to go “overboard.”

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What science news does Justin have?

Guess who loves global warming?
It’s snakes

Glow in the dark mRNA
This new tool could revolutionize science.

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

Gut-Brain
Microbes in your gut make compounds that increase production of new brain cells.

Lobster Pot
Giving pot to lobsters affects their behavior, but not necessarily their nociception.

This Week in Science Questions!

Is this the coolest summer we can expect for decades to come? Probably not, but climate change is… changing things. The new normal is going to be hotter more often as we inch into the future, unless we take action to reduce our impact on the atmosphere.
Do you have other 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!

How is it possible that we didn’t publish an episode last June 30th? If you are looking for something good, perhaps try this interview episode with Zeke Hausfather on the accuracy of climate models.

This one from 2011 using LSD to fix headaches, crows remembering faces of human enemies, and how prune fingers are better for gripping! Yes, it’s been a decade since we discovered that your fingers don’t get pruney because you’ve been in the bath too long.

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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23 June, 2021 – Episode 830 – How Far Do Butterflies Migrate?

June 25th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Look At Earth, Microbe Connections, Quantum Standstill, Tiny Rex?, Magnetic Bird Eyes, COVID Update, Hyena Bugs, Butterfly Record, Bacterial Resistance, Memory Reality, Youth Blood, Melatonin Mice, 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!!!

Infrastructure.
The brick and mortar backbone upon which the modern world depends to carry the weight of our fast moving civilization…
Constructed from the ingenuity of human engineering and design,
That functional, visual manifestation of the earths one sentient being.
Reimagining the surface of the one habitable planet in our solar system
And as it turns out…
our infrastructure is crumbling.

Not entirely crumbling, not all at once, in many places the infrastructure is brand new!
But everything we build has a shelf life,
A number of years before nature reclaims the materials we build with
And returns them to the earth…

Every crack in a foundation…
Every dusting of rust on an exposed bit of rebar
Along every mile of road from sea to shining sea,
And in every pothole along the way,
There are signs that nature remains relentless in its push for entropy.
And our best response so far has been
More cement.
Cement is the most widely consumed material globally.
The cement industry accounts for 8% of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions.

So, as the politicians debate how best to spend infrastructure dollars,
Let us not overlook where those dollars could be best spent:
Research Science

Ange-Therese Akono at the McCormick School of Engineering is a research scientist
who is working on ways to make cement stronger,
longer lasting and better for the environment.
She is an example of what we actually need as an integral part of infrastructure planning.
Material research that can lead to lower maintenance costs, lower green house emissions, and taller structures.

By 2050, the United Nations predicts two-thirds of the world population will be concentrated in cities.
So we either build upwards,
or we pave the rain forest.
And roads…
We could afford every good thing humanity deserves if we could just spend less maintaining roads…
The national average is $25,474 in transportation spending per mile…
per lane.

And hey! Who knows,
with all the money we save by funding research that goes on to save us money,
we might be able to spend even more on research!
And the more we spend on research the more we will have of
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Look At Earth
There are 2000 stars that could potentially be looking at Earth the way we are looking are searching for exoplanets around distant stars.

Your microbiota is talking to you
…through a retro virus.

Quantum Standstill
Using LIGO, researchers reduced vibrations in the massive device’s mirrors enough to create the equivalent of a motion ground state in a large kilogram-scale object, which will enable future study of the effects of gravity on such objects.

Tiny bird discovered
It has the skull of a T-Rex.

Magnetic Bird Eyes
A protein isolated from English robin’s eyes responded to weak magnetic fields indicating the potential mechanism for how migratory birds sense the Earth’s magnetic field.

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Are you ready for a COVID Update?

COVID Source
Understanding is only as good as our data.

Higher Seropositivity
A long-term study of people representative of the US population discovered that undiagnosed cases of COVID-19 were much higher than previously estimated. Follow-up of participants will allow understanding of differences between vaccine & naturaly acquired antibodies AND responses to variants of concern.

Acquired Differences
Francis Collins summarized a recent study comparing the antibodies produced by vaccinated individuals versus those unvaccinated, but previously-infected. There was a striking difference implying that while infection does provide acquired protection, antibodies from vaccination are more likely to provide more complete protection against future variants.

Did not everyone hear about covid-19?
Apparently, we forgot to tell the Amish.

Hesitancy Discrepancy
Vaccine acceptance should be high enough to get us to herd immunity,. but why are health care workers so much more hesitant than the general population?

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It’s time for Justin’s Animal Corner?

T.Gondii is bad for Hyena pups…
They really should stay further away from lions.

Butterfly sets world record
How far do you think it flew during migration?

Beware of bacteria resistant veterinarians
They could be a source of trouble.

Support us on Patreon!

WANT TO HELP TWIS? LEAVE A POSITIVE REVIEW FOR TWIS ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST PLATFORM TODAY!

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

Memory Reality
The hippocampus helps us learn new things, but it also assists in assessing the present.

Youth Blood
A protein in blood involved in delivering oxygen to tissues also prevented cognitive decline in mice.

Melatonin Mice
Researchers studied the effects of melatonin on mouse behaviors – one of the most interesting implications is that we may have been unintentionally selecting for mice with low melatonin for years.

This Week in Science Questions!

How many other animals have incredible migrations? Mosquitoes?!? We aren’t kidding.
Do you have other 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!

Check out this episode of TWIS from last June! Our minds were blown when we learned that crocodiles can walk on two legs, and that our noses influence navigation. Seriously, puts some evidence behind following your nose.

Then there was also this one from 2011 that included news about engineering cows to make HUMAN milk, cool memory prostheses, and the danger to the oceans from ocean acidification. Can we fix the climate change problem already?!?

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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16 June, 2021 – Episode 829 – Why Are Bats Disease Vectors?

June 18th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Whirling Filaments, Mouse Free, Healthy Hops, Plastic Microbes, Swiss Bats, Interview w/ Drs. Angelique Corthals, Liliana Davalos, & Diana Moreno Santillàn RE:Bat Immunity Genetics, Underwater Archaeology, Bird Song Translator, Pain And Vitamins, 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!!!

Jon Stewart recently went on the late show with Steven Colbert and suggested COVID-19 had escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.

And that might be true. It’s possible for that to have happened.
Things like that have happened before.
Because even a level 4 Biosafety lab is only as safe as its weakest followed protocol.
Also, it happens to be located in a country without a free press where the government controls information like an authoritarian cheerleader mom with next level deepfake skills.
Also, it might not have.
The Spanish flu of 1918 most likely started on a farm in Kansas. It just got identified in Spain.
But, Jon isn’t anti-farm, in fact he has one!
One of the reasons there are often emerging novel corona viruses from east Asia is not because east Asia has an inordinate amount of labs…
It is because that is where 1 out of 5 humans live…
Greater numbers of humans, denser urban areas, leads to a higher number of novel pathogens
Add in a temperate environment with some help from global warming,
another thing science is trying to save you from,
and you have nearly constant conditions conducive to transmission.
There are many thousands of Coronaviruses in east Asian animal reservoirs,
Which is why studying them is so important!
And, yes there is a lab that studies them in Wuhan, a city with 2.5 million more people than New York City…
And, yeah, maybe they should put labs like that out in the country near say, a farm in rural new jersey, to keep them better isolated from greater humanity.

But what’s worse…
Jon blamed science for covid-19…
saying the pandemic was “more than likely caused by science.”
Which…
stop…
Anti science talk like that is hurting America
It’s why we can’t get meaningful action on global warming.
It’s why we relied on Russian rockets to go to space for a decade.
It’s why the pandemic hit the United States so hard.
And, it’s why it isn’t done spreading.
SO stop…
Stop hurting America.

Think of what halting all research on viruses would even look like?
We knocked out Hib, small pox, chicken pox, measles, mumps, rubella, and polio.
Remember polio, Jon?
No, because you didn’t have to live through it.
But, the people who did were losing their children to these diseases.
So they fought back… with science.
What about AIDS? Should we end all AIDS research?
It’s a race for a cure not a run from the research…

And yes, working with pathogenic viruses is very dangerous.
The front line researchers who study them know this all to well.
There is a constant risk that a pathogen will escape containment despite the multiple layers of precautions that are in place…
And they occasionally fall ill from the very thing they are studying.
It’s dangerous work scientists do while responding to these threats.
But, these are caring people who want to keep the experiment of humanity viable.

And, next time you want to blame science for something,
Look no further than
This Week in Science,
Coming up next…

Let’s start with the science news

Whirling Filaments
Massive filaments that crisscross the universe… spin.

Mouse free study titles get reported as human
This is not confusing at all.

Hops are good for your liver…
In mice.

Plastic Microbes
A new method modifies E. coli bacteria to turn PET plastics into a compound you might recognize called vanillin.

Swiss bats have diverse viruses
This means there is a lot of viral mixing.

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.

And, now for our Interview!

Tonight we are speaking with W/ Drs. Angelique Corthals, Liliana Davalos, & Diana Moreno Santillán about their new paper investigating the genetics of bat immunity.

Dr. Corthals is a biomedical researcher and biological/forensic anthropologist at CUNY’s John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Dr. Dávalos is Professor of Conservation Biology at Stony Brook University’s Department of Ecology and Evolution. And, Dr. Moreno Santillàn is a Postdoctoral Researcher at Texas Tech University.

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What did Justin bring for us?

Underwater archeology
Obsidian tools found in Lake Huron originated from a quarry in Oregon… over 2000 miles away. They provide support for cross-continental trade routes of ancient Americans.

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WANT TO HELP TWIS? LEAVE A POSITIVE REVIEW FOR TWIS ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST PLATFORM TODAY!

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

Song Translator
What does it take to turn brain activity into a song?

Pain And Vitamins
A new study finds a very clear link between Vitamin D and opioid addiction… in mice. It’s an interesting story with potential for therapeutic uses.

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!

Want to see what we were talking about at this time last year? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2020 when Dr. Kiki was joined by lizard lassoer, Earyn McGee! We discussed lizards, life, and of course… science.

You might also enjoy this episode from 2011! We contemplated how water vapor is shot into the universe by jets from young stars, mice being cured of depression with ketamine (this was an early study leading to the human therapy that is growing now!), AND the inheritance of promiscuity in zebra finches. What a coincidence that zebra finches were featured in episodes EXACTLY a decade apart. Enjoy the blast from the past!

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 June, 2021 – Episode 828 – Can We Move the Moon?

June 12th, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: Reviving Life, Robots For Kids, Outsmarting Bacteria, Whipped Happiness, Metal Core?, Schooled Megalodon, No Moon Moving, COVID Update, Puppies!, Hangry Fruit Flies, Mental Health Diet, Better Learning, Do Your Math, 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!!!

In advance of the coming pentagon report on unidentified aerial phenomena
Some are expecting evidence of extraterrestrials,
While others are expecting scientific explanations.
Likely both will be disappointed.
In the meantime, consider the following…

What if it turns out that humans are the most intelligent life form in the galaxy?

Life in the galaxy seems likely
life abounds here on earth
Life is chemistry.
The chemistry of earth is not rare in the galaxy.
But intelligent life…
That sentient, theory of mind, innovator of language, mathematics, technology,
The type of intelligence humans are capable of…
Is so incredibly rare here on earth that only one species possess it.
And even then we have to ask ourselves:
For how long?

If you can imagine…
that we might be it for higher intelligence, the one rare example.
What then?
What responsibility should we have,
the most intelligent creature in the galaxy
for the planet we are on
for the only life forms we know to exist
for using our intelligence to uncover the mysteries of the universe
for one day traveling beyond our own star
so we can discover other planets, other life,
or maybe,
just use that big brain of ours to get along with one another here on earth.

If you are looking for the most intelligent lifeforms in the galaxy
You can find them.
The place you should be looking is
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with some quick science news

Reviving Life
A bdelloid rotifer was thawed and brought back to life by researchers in Russia after 24,000 years.

Raising children with robots
In some cases robot companions could be very helpful.

Outsmarting bacteria at their own game
What if we could make bacteria evolve themselves to death??

Whipped Happiness
Nitrous oxide was used successfully to treat depression in a limited phase 2 clinical trial.

Metal core of a failed planet, might just be rubble
Will this affect its value?

Scientist gets schooled by high schoolers
Sharks have been measured all wrong, and megalodon was bigger than we thought

That Won’t Happen
No Louie, we can’t move the moon.

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.

Are you ready for a COVID Update?

We started the segment with a thank you letter from Todd Barnell. Thank you for appreciating the COVID Update, Todd. We are all tired of being vigilant. But, we can get through this pandemic together.

Infected Are Ok?
A pre-print in the medrxiv suggests that their investigation of over 55,000 employees of the Cleveland Clinic Health System suggests that people who were symptomatic and tested positive for COVID-19 might not need to get vaccinated. The CDC & WHO still suggest that all individuals get vaccinated, although some doctors think a single dose of a 2-dose vaccine could act as a booster to provide added protection.

Vaccine Facts
Contrary to the testimony of a known anti-vaccine doctor in Ohio yesterday, COVID-19 vaccines will not make you magnetic. They will protect you VERY well from infection by the SARS-CoV2 virus and its variants, including the delta variant, which is causing concern worldwide as it spreads among the unvaccinated.

Masks Work
A UC Davis study confirms that surgical masks reduce particles released into the air by talking or coughing, and would result in significant reduction in viral transmission even with imperfect fit.

Mix & Match
Early studies suggest that mixing different vaccines appears to boost safely immunity.

Flu vaccine safe for pregnant women and unborn children
Are we really just learning this?

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Puppies love humans- it’s in their genes.
There is something in the special sauce that makes doggos, and it is in their DNA.

What does Blair have in common with a fruit fly?
They both get super hangry

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What does Justin have to say about science this week?

Mental health in women
It’s tied to diet much more than observed in men.

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

Better Learning
NIH-funded scientists found that procedural learning in the brain is accompanied by rapid replays of a practiced neural pattern, and that the somatosensory cortex communicates with the hippocampus & entorhinal cortex in the process.

Do Your Math
Math education was linked to improved neural plasticity and cognitive function, and a lack of maths could be predicted by low GABA neurotransmitter concentration in the middle frontal gyrus.

This Week in Science Questions!

Could we actually move the moon or change the orbit of the Earth? Possibly, but it’s a really terrible idea for all life on the planet.
Do you have other 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!

Check out this episode of TWIS from last June! We talked about baby crows, aggressive pink flamingos, and armored butterflies.

Then there was also this one from 2011 that ALSO had a story about the importance of math for kids. We also discussed human origins and bird brains. Sometimes things don’t change much in a decade.

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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02 June, 2021 – Episode 827 – Does the COVID Vaccine Affect Periods?

June 3rd, 2021
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What is in the This Week in Science Podcast?

This Week: NASA News, Limb Regeneration, Bad Videos, Interview w/ Drs. Kate Clancy & Katherine Lee RE: Vaccines & Menstruation, Real Fake News, Brain Testes, The Dark Way, Bat People, Intelligent Pupils, Starving Memory, 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!!!

Not everything you don’t understand
Is the first thing you think it might be.
As UFO news abounds
A few things to remember:

Nothing has been discovered.

Yes, there are instruments giving results that don’t make sense.
But, they only don’t make sense if you assume you know what you are seeing.

Yes, there are eye witness accounts that seem credible.
They come from humans trained to track vehicles in flight.
So, as far as vehicles in flight are concerned, nothing makes sense.
But, that most likely means that the objects aren’t vehicles

What we do know is that objects are falling from over 80,000 feet in the sky –
According to the missile cruiser USS Princeton
that had tracked hundreds of such objects over the course of the week the footage was taken.
And they are very, very cold –
As shown in the infrared camera of the Super Hornet fighter jets sensor display.
That’s all we know for sure.

It could just be reentering space junk
from the cluttered and decaying cloud
of millions of pieces of space trash we’ve littered our low orbit with…

But to be fair,
I guess it could be falling space junk from ET’s mothership
that we blew up with our secret moon base laser.
But I’m skeptical of that idea

Also…
Hey Pentagon!
If you had spent the 22 million dollars having scientists look into the matter
As opposed to military advisors…
You would likely have an answer by now.
And that answer would no doubt be
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next…

Let’s start with the science news

NASA News
Making headlines today, NASA announced its selection of two missions to Venus, which will be slated for launch between 2028-2030. Also, the James Webb space telescope launch is being delayed again, but perhaps this time it will only be for a few weeks. Logistics are hard, yo!

Limb Regeneration

Think before you like that cute monkey video
Those exotic animals on YouTube are an even bigger problem than you thought..

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.

And, now for our Interview!

INTERVIEW W/ Drs. Kate Clancy & Katie Lee.
Dr. Clancy is a biological anthropologist who specializes in reproductive health at the University of Illinois, in the Department of Anthropology. Her research and policy advocacy work focuses on sexual harassment in science and academia. Dr. Lee is an NIH-funded postdoctoral research scholar in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis who also works as a biological anthropologist, but with a focus on reproductive bone health.

Here is the link if you would like to take part in their survey of the relationship between the COVID-19 vaccines and menstruation.

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It’s time for Blair’s Animal Corner!

Electric fish pause to make their point extra dramatic
Just like a good actor, knowing when to pause is just as important as known when to speak under the sea.

Jays aren’t fooled by parlor tricks
These Corvids know you palmed that coin, Mr. Mysterious.

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What did Justin bring for us?

Fake news is real to some people
Unfortunately, politics persuade people to believe false things.

Brains & Testes
They have something in common!

WANT TO HELP TWIS? LEAVE A POSITIVE REVIEW FOR TWIS ON YOUR FAVORITE PODCAST PLATFORM TODAY!

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

The Dark Way
Some astrophysicists think that the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy might not be a black hole, but dark matter instead.

Bat People
Researchers want to help people hear like bats… in ultrasound.

Intelligent Pupils
New work links pupil size with intelligence.

Fast Memory
Intermittent fasting in mice resulted in increased adult neurogenesis and improved memory retention.

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!

Want to see what we were talking about at this time last year? Check out this episode of TWIS from 2020 in which we discussed self-care during COVID, the importance of friends during stressful times, AND liver bio-engineering from skin cells… turns out THAT is more promising than geo-engineering for the climate.

You might also enjoy this episode from 2011! NASA decided its Mars rover, Spirit, was no longer working. But! Scientists were able to get a brain in a dish to remember something for twelve seconds. That’s longer than my memory these days. Also, do you remember the arsenic life story? Check out the episode to jog your memory.

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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