23 January, 2019 – Episode 705 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

January 24th, 2019

Is Planet 9 Real?, Cloned Edited Monkeys, Listening Leaves, Crow Considerations, Budgie Boyfriends, Can Cure Cancer?, Check Your Gums, Reversing Alzheimer’s, Sediba Stories, Neander News, Little Dead Frozen Things, Go Go Gadget Gene Drive, Exercise Is Mental, Jesus Geckos, 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 wonderful thing about wondering about things
is the wonderful places that wondering can take you
No matter how far back in current human history you go
There is evidence of wondering about the unknown…
And one of the wonderful places that wonder often leads…
Is discovery.
Discovery can be the destination of wonder…
But it can also be the journey itself,
with many discoveries whooshing by…
And along that wandering journey of wondering
The many discoveries unwound from the unknown
will undoubtedly wheel us towards more wondering
Until one wonderful day when we discover what it is we’ve all been wanting…
Another episode of
This Week in Science!
Coming Up Next…

Is Planet 9 Real?
Maybe not, say some researchers who came up with a model and didn’t do any observation.
But, a brand new paper by Brown and Batygin lends heavy credibility to the idea of a planet out there.

Cloned Edited Monkeys
Chinese research has crossed a new threshold with the publication of two papers describing the CRISPR editing of macaque monkey embryos and the production of clones based on fibroblast cells taken from the embryos using somatic nuclear transfer.

Listening Leaves
Plants respond to specific vibrations in the environment.

Crows are smart. Again…
This time, it looks like they can infer how heavy an object is, by seeing how the wind might blow it around.

Intelligence is sexy. No really! Science says so!
…If you are a budgie… Being able to solve a puzzle makes unappealing males suddenly the life of the avian party. So take that, bullies!

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi Dr Kiki, this is probably too long for you to read on the show… I unfortunately talk a lot, this gets transferred into me typing a lot. this is my What has Science done for me lately story.
Hi, my name is Ash and I’m a High School Science Teacher in Sydney Australia. I have been wanting to contribute to ‘what has science done for me lately?’ for a long time. However, not being able to quantify what lately actually means, nothing has really stood out, as I try and communicate science to whoever will listen, even beyond my time at school. Blair’s 700th episode note inspired me to write in as it made me think about the way I teach.
When I get a new grade of year 7 students (First year of High School in Australia) I always ask the class to draw a scientist for homework at the end of their first lesson. Rest assured 90% of the time their image is Einstein esq. sometimes there is the odd girl or Professor Frink from the Simpsons. After they’re finished, similar to Dr Kiki did for Blair, I ask student’s if they have ever asked “why?” about anything, solved a problem for themselves, worked out how to fix something, even tried different strategies to pass a really hard level on a video game. If so, they have engaged with at least part of the scientific method and they themselves are scientists. As they progress through high school they are going to learn the skills to be even better, more informed scientists, of which they are extremely enthusiastic about and eager to learn more. They repeat the activity drawing themselves as scientists and everyone is keen as beans to get learning. Unfortunately, there is some correlation between puberty and a demise in this enthusiasm, which I think kicks in when teenagers realise they know everything, fortunately for most their enthusiasm is rekindled in about grade 10 when they start thinking about their future.
BUT what has science done for me lately? In 2017 myself and 3 other teachers were selected by the Australian Science Teachers Association to go on Bush Blitz. A program funded by the Australian Government and various private organisations to send about 20 specialist taxonomists into the field of remote areas of Australia for two weeks with the goal of discovering new species and recording range extensions for known species. As a biologist this was a really amazing experience because the only fieldwork I did in my undergraduate degree was collecting rocks for one of my lecturers research. There were a few new plant and some animal species found as well as apparent new spider genus, but I haven’t seen a paper published on it yet so that may have fallen through. To sit around a table with all these specialists in their field, enthusiastically talking about their discoveries of the day over dinner was incredible and I wanted to spend as much time with all the scientists absorbing all the knowledge that I could.
This experience inspired me to be a more involved citizen scientist, using various app based technology to help with the recording of species within my local area. Furthermore it increased the cache of skills I have to teach my students, and has helped me engage them with their local environment. Giving me the necessary skills to head outside and confidently teach how to record abiotic and biotic data, catching and identifying spiders, insects and record sightings of larger animals with the aim of creating long term surveys, monitoring the health of our local ecosystem as we have an airport opening up 6km from us in 2026.
The experience also inspired me to return to university, and I am currently doing my Masters in Zoology (entomology) part time while working. I am loving all the skills I am learning and have come up with some research that I may look to undertake in regard to ecological education in the future.
Communicating Science is my life and I am a better educator because of TWIS. My students love hearing all the things that I have learnt from your show often diverging into a rabbit hole of tangents that have nothing to do with the curriculum. Some stories have even helped me improve my results, because you direct me to extremely current research in my assignments that my lecturers want to then discuss with me. Maybe when Uni is all done I’ll be able to collaborate with Blair as a colleague if I’m lucky enough to score a job as an educator at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney.
In summary, Science… It has made me who I am. Science, hockey and music are all I really talk about and whenever conversations hit a lull I start a sentence with “so have you heard about…” and will start talking about something that I have read or learnt from this show. It keeps dinners gatherings with my relatively conservative family interesting. I know this isn’t what you usually read out in the segment but I just wanted to contribute to the show. Good Science to you all.
(If you want to see my students loving Science check out @ashsix4 or #sciencewithmulcahy on instagram)”

Another cure for cancer…

Check Your Gums
A bacteria might act as one cause of Alzheimer’s Disease, and researrchers might be onto a treatment

Reversing Alzheimer’s
A team from University of Buffalo has reversed cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s disease in a mouse model. Great news for mice!

Australopithecus sediba
Acool walking skeletal animation, and more evidence of the braided stream.

Neander news
Long-term cohabitation was a thing.

Little Dead Frozen Things
found beneath the Antarctic ice.

Go Go Gadget Gene Drive
Researchers are looking at new techniques to improve gene drive results in mice.

Study links exercise to good mental health

Running on water – not just for saviors
Geckos have been recorded running on water – using a combination of surface tension, hydro[hoib skin, and slapping motions.

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


16 January, 2019 – Episode 704 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

January 17th, 2019

MS Advances, Mystery Species, Tantalizing Teeth, Slimesplosion, Sex And Shells, Humans-Hounds-Hares, Fat Cancer, Predator Whales, Blood Vessel Organoids, Science Footsies, Broad Virus Protection?, Space-biotics, Surfs Up, 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.

Amazed by it or not…
The scientific world never ceases
Asleep at the wheel is no problem at all…
The scientific world is keeping a good grip.
Too busy to bother with the details?
The scientific world already has them neatly laid out.
Don’t have time to get sick?
The scientific world is on it.
It covers peoples mouths when they cough,
it washes their hands,
and it even wipes their bottoms.
And just in case you were wondering…
The scientific world wants you to know.
Where ever you are…
whenever you are…
whatever you are doing…
The scientific world has you covered,
has your back, front and side to side.
The scientific world is looking out,
not just for you but your children’s children’s children…
and all your ancestors too.
The scientific world never sleeps,
never takes a day off not even on its own birthday,
which you missed again this year,
but it’s ok…
Because the scientific world never complains,
never holds a grudge,
never needs winding, ironing, charging,
or hard to find replacement parts from a supplier with a confounding website.
And above all,
the scientific world is listening
To this week in Science
Coming Up Next…

MS Immune Replacement
Is chemotherapy and stem cell replacement worth the risk for MS treatment? Research suggests it might be for 15-20% of MS sufferers.

MS Protection
A compound called Sephin1 showed promise in protecting mice from myelin damage by protecting oligodendrocytes, the cells that create the myelin sheath.

Mystery species in the human genome… hint, it’s not aliens.
Deep learning technique provides insights into human evolution

Tantalizing teeth
Ancient human teeth.

How Hagfish Slime Slimes
Apparently, it unravels.

Shell Me A Story
A survey of multiple hermit crab species supports the hypothesis that hermit crab penis size is related to shell theft.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Listening to podcast 690 convinced me to stop using plastic altogether. With the new and expanding research on the affects plastic has on wildlife I believe that each person even making a small slow step to eliminate plastic usage could benefit the world. I have also convinced my family and we are trying to spread the word to family and friends to, slowly but surely, limit our uses of plastic throughout our daily life. This is how science has benefited me lately.
Now I have a question that I have been trying to figure out and would like a second opinion on it. In Neil deGrasse Tyson’s podcast with Joe Rogan he explains that it is difficult to view some quantum particles. He explains that when you can’t see something it could be anywhere, but when you turn on the light you can view it. Which makes sense to me. He later says that when scientist try to view some subatomic particles that photons themself move the particle meaning that it cannot be viewed. I was thinking of ways to figure out ways to due this.
So my question to you, Justin and Blaire is : Could we use acoustic levitation yo suspend subatomic particles in place to view them? Now I know you may not know the exact answer to this question but I would like to hear how you brainiacs would go about solving this problem. Thank you for TWIS! It always keeps my brain thinking and my curiosity wondering. Keep up the good work.
–Damien Brodbeck”

Humans, hounds and hares
Hunting help might have led to human-hound cohabitation.

Fat Cancer
Using two FDA approved drugs, researchers induced human cancer cells in mice to turn into fat cells.

Apex predator whales of Egypt
They came for the babies.

Blood Vessel Organoids
Grown from stem cells in a dish, and successfully transplanted into mice, human blood vessel organoids have the potential to uncover causes of vasculature diseases and lead to new treatments.

Science Footsies
Small internal muscles of the foot that were thought to support the arch were instead found to be important for propulsion.

Broad Virus Protection?
A compound has been discovered that seems to act against SARS, MERS, ZIKA, an enterovirus, and various influenza viruses by interrupting lipid membrane processes.

Don’t use antibiotics in space.

Surfs Up
And, keeps getting stronger.

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


09 January, 2019 – Episode 703 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

January 10th, 2019

Magnetic Movement, Crystal Stars, Repeating FRB FTW!, Human Desire, Ebola Cure, Primate Disease, Whale DJs, Immune Systems, Early Autism Changes, Anger Stimulation, Cricket Culprits, Freaking Eye Beams, 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.

Robots are everywhere!
And robots are great, because robots do a lot of work faster, better and tirelessly.
Yes, robots work!
Until they don’t.
And when they don’t work, that’s where humans can help!
And humans helping robots get back on task…
While having nothing to do with the following program
Is exactly how I began and ended my day at work today.
Which is why this disclaimer is all about robots, and not
This week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Magnetic Movement
Thanks to the US government shutdown, not only are thousands of people working without pay or furloughed, but the is FDA significantly reducing agricultural inspections, and it looks like global navigation will continue to be affected by a misaligned magnetic field.

Crystal Stars
There are diamond stars all around us.

Repeating FRB FTW!
The second repeating fast radio burst discovery in history was reported this week in Nature.

Human sexual desire…
is linked to relationship forming. Who knew?

Ebola cure
Has one been found?

You might take more than a photo home after snapping a selfie with a monkey…
Humans and monkeys in Cameroon interact in a lot of ways, but new research tells us that any contact, even having monkey on the menu, might get humans very, very sick.

Whale songs go in and out of style, just like those CRAZY PANTS, KAREN!
Humpback whales trade, incorporate, and together abandon elements of their songs, alongside other humpback populations, despite limited contact. Must be really catchy!

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi folks,
I’ve been a fan of the show for years now. And like many of your listeners, I have much to thank medical science for. Perhaps I’ll get back to you later about that. For today, though, I have to thank science for entertainment. Science is mostly the slow accumulation of facts and refinement of ideas, but I’ve always been fascinated by the breakthroughs that have added to the storehouse of knowledge, or in some cases by scientific events that were just spectacular. I’ve seen the arrival of Black Holes, quasars, the Cosmic Background Radiation, smallpox eradication, quarks, lasers, high-temperature superconductors, computing from vacuum tubes to qubits, space exploration from Sputnik to Major Tom in a Tesla, the Higgs boson, plate tectonics, graphene, Lucy, Denisovans, dark matter and dark energy, CRISPR and the list goes on. The Anthropocene and mass extinction, I could do without. But I find science and the power it has to lift the veil of ignorance to be immense fun and a great source of hope at the same time.

Lately? Well, lately, I have been given new entertainment by a subject that some folks thought was old hat when I was a kid, namely relativity. And it largely started with a TWIS episode. Let me explain.

LIGO and its companion detectors have opened up a whole new field of gravitational astronomy for us. Their detection of gravity waves has been covered extensively on TWIS, and as I am drafting this text I see four more events announced. As a byproduct, just over a year ago two papers came out almost on top of each other, and generated a classic moment of unintended comedy. On TWIS episode 643, Justin Jackson, with great enthusiasm, explained how the authors of the first paper, using LIGO measurements from black hole collisions, had been able to place upper and lower bounds on the speed of gravity, at roughly the speed of light plus or minus 45%. So far so good. He then immediately went on to describe the findings of the second paper, issued only 2 days later, which compared the newest matching gravity and gamma ray detector results for a neutron star collision. These findings proved that the speeds of gravity and light are the same to within a minuscule fraction above or below, expressed in scientific notation as numbers times ten to the minus 15th or 16th power. Unfortunately, in reading out the numbers, Justin kept leaving out the minus sign in the exponents, thereby effectively changing the accuracy to plus or minus about a billion light years per second, rather than fractions of a micron. He tried valiantly to explain why what he was reading out was an improvement. The look on Dr. Kiki’s face as she sought to contain the resulting confusion was priceless.

The whole occurrence inspired me to order a bunch of books from the library about Einstein and his work on relativity, which gave me many hours of educational entertainment, and deepened my respect for a great man’s genius. In appreciation, I offer the following limerick to the TWIS crew:
Although Justin could not say it quite,
The detectors show Einstein was right:
Their dataset proves
That gravity moves
At precisely the same speed as light.
–Rod Hagglund
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada”

Your genes are part of your immune system
Your microbiome is part of your immune system

Early Autism Changes
Using stem cells, scientists pinpointed the stage where neuronal development in autistic brains might start to differ from normal.

Anger Stimulation
Researcher used tDCS to modulate an area of the brain involved in impulse control to determine if anger-responses could be reduced… and they were.

Cricket Culprits
While crickets certainly weren’t the cause of concussion-like symptoms reported in relation to a strange illness affecting people on the US Cuban military base, their songs were part of the story.

Freaking Eye Beams
We all have imaginary beams coming out of our eyes.

Using plastic tarps and garbage to make our agricultural system more sustainable??
What is considered waste in agricultural industry, paired with some good, old-fashioned tarps, could make chemical pesticides unnecessary!

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


02 January, 2019 – Episode 702 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

January 3rd, 2019

2018 Predictions Review, 2019 Predictions, Drinkable Brain Juice, Dating Africa, Dinosaur Noses, Cuteness Aggression, Dimensional Bubble, New Horizons Snowman, Asimov Predicts, 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.

It’s a brand new year,
A mere babe in the chronological woods
And with a new year come new hopes,
Which are usually old hopes, dusted off, ironed out and given a bit of polish
In the hope that in the new year the old hopes will finally be realized
And with each new year, that sense of hopefulness is often framed by a winter landscapes
And a twinge of uncertainty
With these first cold shuffling steps into the unknown future
It is can be comforting to trace your steps ahead and plan for what’s to come
And as with any forward looking plan,
to do so successfully you must do that thing that you can only do whilst looking forward…
Predict how the future will unfold!
So on the following episode, we will do just that, prognosticate the path of science yet to come…
Right here on This Week in Science
Coming up next!

Predictions from 2018 – How did we do?
“- Climate was on everybody’s mind this year, and although there was much to get depressed about, efforts for positive action were apparent.
– The Hunter therapy was successful in that there werent any negative responses , but there wasn’t a reliable positive response either.There was movement in the CRISPR CART field that is very promising: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180306115721.htm. And, afaik, there aren’t any results for the Chinese HPV trial, but we know what other unsanctioned tests have been successful.
– Juno is still going strong, the first data from TESS became available in December of last year, so we should be hearing lots more from TESS in the coming year, INSIGHT landed without a ticker tape prade from little green men, China’s Chang’e 4 launched in December to attempt a landing on the far side of the moon THAT IS HAPPENING TOMORROW, no Indian lander… yet, and we are tantalkizingly close to imaging the event horizon of our Milky Way’s black hole.
– Self-driving cars and accidents were up, AND AI started to make some scary gains
– I’m still waiting for the microbial mind control, but I think we learned that it might actually be possible.
– As exciting as Physics was this past year, I don’t think that we really broke the mold… just reinforced it, really.
– There were a couple of snybio advancements, but it wasn’t a game-changer kind of year.
– And, we got one live show in last year. I hope we do another in 2019!”

??? There were lots of words spoken here, but nothing written down.

“-Sperm: the new time-release capsule for your down-under, will begin clinical trials for cancer treatment!
-We will discover a new kind of cephalopod!
-Tardigrades will be discovered out in space, proving them to be the original alien.
-Coffee will be proven good, and then bad, and then good again.
Coffee helps teams work together
…and reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
But climate change is creating new stress for the bean, and people are split on how to fix it
-2018 will be the warmest year on record…
NO, 4th hottest
-White nose syndrome treatment will begin in the wild, saving some of the world’s bat populations!
Not yet, but a contender arrived! UV light!
-A scientists will run for congress in 2018 AND WIN.
YAS! 7! 3 engineers, 2 medical experts, a biochemist, and a software engineer!
-I will spend another amazing year on TWIS, and will once again find myself astounded at what a coffee shop interview for an internship in late 2011 became…
-TWIS will cross another state off our live show map!
No :(”

Alright, what do we think will happen in 2019?
“1) 2019 will bring waves of news about synthetic biological circuits…
While at first only used in convenient applications to allow biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to quickly offer a smorgasbord of revolutionary products and cures…
Synthetic biological circuits will eventually replace all conventional electronics allowing everyone to remain completely unplugged all the time as the devices run on enzymes and not electricity.
However you will have to share your lunch with your phone…
2) A solar system will be discovered made up entirely of black holes,
Complete with an anchoring super massive black hole where the sun would be, smaller orbiting black holes and even moon like satellites, though much bigger than a moon, in orbit around those….
The stunning part of this discovery? It will be spotted not by a cosmologist with a telescopic array, but by a cosmetologist with really good set of teeth…
3) In 2019 Time Travel is Discovered!
Not that we discover how to time travel in 2019 but that we uncover the ancient tomb of a woman who is verifiably and undeniably of this century.
Awkwardly, the discovery comes five years before Lisa Randall even conceives of a theory by which she might actually be able to build such a device…
4) Despite all of the evidence to the contrary thus far 2019 is the year we learn that ALL sharks are primarily vegetarians… they just eat a bit of fish on the side…
Pescetarians everywhere are emboldened by this news and there is a noticeable up-tick in shark tattoos on people who have never been at sea.”

“-Tardigrades in space! Either on Mars, or somewhere else. We will not be sure if it is from contamination, or if they started out there. Yet…
-Dinosaurs will be reclassified as warm-blooded
-A national state of emergency will be declared in regards to climate change. Just not in the US…
-Tesla semi-trucks will go to market and start popping up across the country.
-Spiders will do something, or be discovered doing something, crazy and unexpected.
-Humans will invent a new (or overblown) food allergy.
-A CGI (human) character will star in a film alongside real actors, and we won’t be able to tell the difference. -Foldable smartphones will hit the shelves, and be short-lived…
-TWIS will do an amazing live show somewhere NEW in the world, with a great audience.”

“- the Chinese mission to the moon will be successful, and stoke the fire of the race back to the moon and onto Mars for the US
– the Indian moon mission will also launch successfully… because I am an optimist, and it would suck for the mission to fail after so many delays..
– LIGO/VIRGO will discover many more black hole mergers from big ones to little ones.
– we will see a successful SpaceX test of its crew capsule and docking with the ISS
– stem cell therapy companies will make a lot of noise as the FDA regulations kick in and cause some growing pains for the treatment industry
– There will be a kerfuffle between China and the rest of the world regarding CRISPR use in humans
– mosquitos with gene drive to limit reproduction will be released in the wild, mass hysteria will ensue
– CO2 capture will see a major development, and excite more people about helping reduce our greenhouse gas emissions
– another great year for TWIS!”

Support us on Patreon!

“Predictions 2019 from Ed Dyer
The Event Horizon Telescope will create the first actual detailed picture of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way.

Cell based vaccines will lead to a universal flue vaccine.

A genetically modified horse will be born that will be faster and stronger than its counterparts. Scientist in Argentina rewrote the genome of cloned horses and the first foals are expected in 2019.

The flow of pollutants into our rivers, lakes, and oceans will increase and record breaking algae blooms, and fish die-offs will occur.

Humans will become increasingly relent on AI computer models doing research, and AI technology in our homes. An AI will emerge that begins to act solely on its own, A first step towards World Robot Domination!

Rose colored glasses sales will plummet. Tin Foil hat sales will skyrocket.

Dr Obi-Wan Kiki, Jackson Skywalker, Imperial Princess Blair, save me TWIS team. Save me! Your my only hope!
-Ed Dyer”

Brain Cocktail Hour
Scientists at Yale created a drinkable chemical cocktail that reverses prion-related brain degeneration and restores memories in mice.

The 20,000 year pulse of African emigration
New data sheds light on the movements of early hominids.

Dinosaurs getting “nosey”
…and just like that, one of my predictions may have come true…

Cute aggression is a real thing
And it makes me wanna bite that puppy’s cute wittle face off!

An Expanding Bubble
According to string theorists, our universe is on the surface of an expanding bubble in an additional dimension, and so our 4 dimensions are an emergent property of that situation.

Ultima Snowman
The New Horizons mission successfully rendezvoused with Ultima Thule on New Years Day, and sent back an image of a reddish space snowman.

Asimov Predicted 2019
And, he did pretty well…

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!


26 December, 2018 – Episode 701 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

December 27th, 2018

Top 11 of 2018!!!, 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.

What a year it’s been!
Of course I’m not talking about the things covered in the regular human news cycle
Yes there were wonderful
/ mundane /
painstakingly tragic human tragedies and triumphs this year…
But as a dedicated science news junkie,
nearly none of the news that exists beyond the pale of
Propelling our knowledge of the world at large really matters…
Yes I know it matters, yes everything matters…
But what separates science news from the rest of human the noise
Is that when we expand our knowledge in science
When we expand our understanding of the planet upon which we live
The solar system our planet resides within
The universe our solar system was born from…
That knowledge is firmly passed on to generations to come
To scientists and laymen alike
When we build upon the past, we build towards the future.
And as we build towards the future we can correct courses
That may have been poorly navigated in the past…
Nowhere else the trajectory of human progress and prosperity more firmly asserted
Then right here on
This Week in Science
Coming Up Next!

Top 11 Countdown…
Number 11
Diamond Earth
A new analysis of the crust and upper mantle of Earth using sound waves estimates that there are up to a quadrillion tons of diamonds hiding below the surface.
It came from space!
And landed in Greenland.
Deep Life
The Deep Carbon Observatory, which has been assessing the carbon inside our planet, recently reported that there’s a lot of life down there.

Number 10
Black holes
Milky Way’s Black Hole
It exists!
Speaking of Holes
Astronomers reported discovering black hole mergers in multiple galaxies.
The black hole mergers list grows

Number 9
Water On Mars
A massive underground aquifer has been detected on Mars. The hypothesis s that it is full of liquid water.
Mars Insights Coming
After its months long journey to Mars, the Insight lander successfully landed in Elysium Planitia on the surface of Mars, sent back some images, and is getting to work on science preparations. We should begin to see results within the next month as it will be drilling into the surface of the red planet taking temperature and seismic readings.

Number 8
Gene Drive
Driving Genes
A research team from UCSD reported the first demonstration of successful gene drive in mammals.
Genie In The Lab
A CRISPR-based gene drive to destroy reproductive ability in female mosquitoes was successful in the lab.

Number 7
Active Mini-Brains
Scientists turned stem cells into brain cells, and then into mini-brains, which spontaneously began connecting and communicating thru electrical signals that were eventually comparable to the brain activity of preterm babies.
Brains In Brains
Researchers showed that mini human brains implanted into mouse brains survived and functionally integrated into the host tissue.

Number 6
There is a battlefield beneath your feet…
Fungi vs. bacteria
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.
Create the blood you need
Stomach bacteria could turn donor blood into whatever type you need.

Support us on Patreon!

Number 5
Turtle Missing Link
We’re getting close to finding where turtles belong in the evolutionary tree!
Oldest animals
Cholesterol molecules allowed identification of earliest animals.
Viruses – Alive?
Giant viruses have the ability to make synthesize protein – should we reclassify them and allow them into our “alive” club?
Ancient Viruses
Date back to the beginning of vertebrates, at least.

Number 4
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.
Keeping your brain longer
Lymphatic vessels key to proper brain aging
Sexy Brain Cells
Microglia look and act differently in the male and female mouse brains.
Fixing Alzheimer’s
Using human cells, researchers at the Gladstone Institute in San Francisco confirmed that the presence of a protein called ApoE4 leads to damage that potentially causes Alzheimer’s. Additionally, using a “structure corrector”, they were able to fix the mutant protein and reverse its cellular effects.
Viral Memory
An unexpected discovery found that a protein important for memory formation, called Arc, acts like a virus in that it shuttles between neurons. Understanding why and how it does this will help in the understanding of information transmission within the nervous system, and could also be a new way to get gene therapy into cells without using viruses themselves.
Memories can be transferred between organisms

Number 3
Baby Clone Monkeys
The first primate clones have been produced in China – two cutie-pie rhesus macaques.
You, Me, Uterus!
The Lancet reports the first instance of a live birth from a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor.
A Chinese researcher has been using CRISPR to edit embryos for HIV resistance. Apparently, twin girls have been born from this process. Independent analysis of the results is still pending, although the international community is in an uproar.
My Two Dads
An effort to create embryos from stem cells taken from two male mice was unsuccessful, but teaches us much.

Number 2
Climate Change
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.
Climate Assessment
The US government’s fourth climate assessment was released last week on Black Friday, and concludes that the US will sufffer major economic impacts if we stay the course on climate.
Shrinking Birds
Higher global temps could shrink species (not just in number)
Damaging Male Fertility
Climate Change damages sperm in insects

Number 1
Neanderthal art
Finger Bone Finding
One finger bone is helping tell the story of human migration out of Africa.
Homo naledi’s brain
African origins were a multi cultural affair
Ancient human DNA O’plenty
New Neander News
A dou of Denisovan
Hobbit folk have mostly neanderthal DNA
Neanderthals made sculpture
Primitive human cave art not so primative… also not human
Compassionate Neanderthals
Neanderthal DNA conferred virus resistance to out of africanus humanus

And, honorable mentions go to…
They can be vegetarian and have fertilizing poop.

They give milk to their babies, even into middle age. They watch the stars to know when to take flight. And take the air on electrical fields, not wind. And, Zombie spiders tell us they live in colonies and work together.

And, New Caledonian crows for being so smart.

Also, we live in the future…
Car… In… Space
3D printed corneas
Contacts as Doctors

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 December, 2018 – Episode 700 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

December 20th, 2018

Top 11 of 2005, Black Hole Loops?, Ring Rain, Momma Says Danger, Swimming With Danger, Guns Kill Kids, Space Fossils, Earth Fossils, Facebook Value?, CRISPR Mutants & Precision, Sounds Like Home, 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.

As another trip around the sun nears its end…
We often begin taking a number of looks back at the year in science that was…
With a Top Eleven best of… re-countdown-ing
Which I believe is next weeks show.
Despite that this is not the show in which we wistfully look back on the year that was
It’s hard not to take a little pause here at the 700th episode of TWIS
And think of all the science stories we’ve thunk about together…
That’s two episodes a day,
every day for all of the days of 2018 that lead up to today!
And to think of how many stories we didn’t cover.
How many more stories are headed our way.
And how no matter what seems to be going on in the world.
Each week we all get together to find out what’s been going on
This Week In Science
Coming Up Next…

Top 11 of 2005
Looking back at where we were… although we’ve been on the air at KDVS 90.3 FM since 2000, our podcast got its start in early 2005. So, I went back to our 2005 end of the year show to see what stories made the cut.

11) Cryptobiology – monkey cat
10) human reconstruction/cyborgs
9) Nanobots
8) Paleontology
7) Space robots – Cassini, Deep Impact, Hayabusa
6) Birdflumageddon/Tamiflu
5) Beginning of the universe
4) Origin of life
3) Stem cells and cloning scandal
2) Global warming – human caused
1) Evolution

Remember to join us next week for our 2018 Top 11 science stories year in review show to take a look back at what happened this year.

Black Hole Loops?
Does a new way of looking at physics taking place in singularities confirm that white holes exist?

Ring Rain
Saturn’s rings aren’t going to last forever.

Orangutans know when to stay quiet, and how to explain the past
Mum was the word for orangutans with a tiger nearby, but once the danger had passed, they sounded the alarm to tell their babies what just happened. This is quite the complex communication system, even for us!

Salmon become nose-blind to danger under changing ocean chemistry
Salmon can still smell the danger, but with heightened CO2 levels, they just don’t seems to care…

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“What has TWIS done for me? Lately, some good stuff. But if I go back. Way back. It’s done something really amazing.

January 2012 – episode 355. A young ZooKeeper unsure of what her place is in this world, rings a doorbell in Noe Valley. Just a few months later, that ZooKeeper, still unsure of what her place is in this world, but enjoying every moment of science communication, is asked point blank in the chatroom what authority she has – as she is not a scientist. She agrees, she is not a scientist. The good doctor sitting next to her chimes in: “”You read articles, vet methods, do supplemental research, and communicate complex science to the public. You studied a science, and work in it. You use scientific thinking. You are a scientist.”” YOU. ARE. A. SCIENTIST.

Something clicks. That young scientist was never the same. Ever. And that was a good thing.

Thanks to this show, science is part of my identity and a priority in my life, and I grow and learn every week. Thanks to this show, I get to use knowledge and skills that I don’t always get to use other days of the week. I get to be an artist, when I was told I couldn’t. Thanks to this show, my life is organized, defined, and explained totally differently, and my passion has a place to live. Thanks to the listeners, the tweeters, the chatroomers, the patreon supporters. Thanks to the IT helpers, the friends and family that come out to our shows. Thanks to Justin for really championing this whole “”Blair’s Animal Corner”” thing, which in episode 356 was originally deemed “”Blair’s Animal House.””

But most of all, I am thankful to Dr Kiki, who gave me a chance at something when I was definitely not an obvious choice. Not a grad student, not even in education or communication at the time. But this ZooKeeper met up with her for coffee to discuss an internship, and things will never ever be the same.

It’s episode 700, and I am thankful for the past 7 years of This Week in Science.
–Blair Bazdarich”

#2 cause of death
Can science lead us to real gun control?

Space Fossils
Do ancient dust clouds tell us about the evolution of our universe?

Earth Fossils
Did feathers evolve more than once? Looks like it.

Facebook value?
How much would it cost for you to give up Facebook?

CRISPR Mutants
Our use of CRISPR isn’t ready for prime time yet.

CRISPR Precision
But, we are getting more precise every day.

Sounds like home.
Corals may listen for the ideal settling place, which opens up interesting methods for saving reefs!

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 December, 2018 – Episode 699 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

December 13th, 2018

Uterine Influence, Deep Life, Dark Matter Evolution, Spider Milk, Junkie Finches, Midwest Climate Woes, Your Brain On Imagination, Information Mindset, Hexagonal Structures, Supernova Death, Toothless Whales, 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.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Which, on the surface may seem like an unreasonable and deeply flawed idiom.
Yes, there’s the whole there goes the basket, so goes all the eggs…
But, if when collecting eggs from hens you attempted to carry multiple baskets
The risk of dropping a basket would obviously increase…
And how many of us actually collect eggs now days?
The modern equivalent might be, don’t put all your eggs in one shopping cart.
So, you’ve got a dozen eggs, you put six in this cart, and six in that one…
Still looks like the egg to cart ratio is off…
You now need a third cart…
4 eggs per cart, that seems a little less risky!
Unless you happen to be walking down an isle where someone else is attempting to push three carts
Because now the risk of being cut down at the Achilles by a shopping cart has gone up dramatically
When it comes to being a life form on planet earth, we are all in the same basket.
And until that changes we need to act like it.
Because where goes the earth, so goes all of us.
And nowhere is that made more obvious than
This Week in Science,
Coming Up Next…

Uterine Influence
Considering last week’s story about uterus transplantation, this story on the effect of hysterectomy on rats is worth consideration.

Deep Life
The Deep Carbon Observatory, which has been assessing the carbon inside our planet, recently reported that there’s a lot of life down there.

Dark through the ages…
a dark matter tale of stability.

Spider milk: not just for babies…?
Spiders can give milk… And what’s more, mom continues to make it long after young can fend for themselves! Does that sound like anyone you may know??

Darwin’s finches are getting spoiled rotten
Junk food is changing the course of evolution, in one of the poster-children of Darwin himself.

Chicken Years
We are affecting the evolution of chickens in unexpected ways.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hello Dr Kiki,
I’m Elie (pronounced like Ellie but it’s a guy’s name). I’m from Lebanon and currently doing my PhD in Molecular medicine in Cyprus. my work is on the role of natural killer cells in Multiple sclerosis specifically when it comes to EBV infections. Being in a specialized virology lab, we rarely get to see or hear of science news outside our fields, that’s why I find TWIS such an essential part of my week, so much so that I’ve gotten in the habit of writing one of the topics I hear on the week’s TWIS. It’s found some fans who now enjoy my weekly TWIS update. Let me tell you what has science done for me: it has sparked my curiosity in the workings of everyday, it’s let me pursue my studies in a field that’s so vast and unknown, and most of all it’s allowed me to tinker in the working of biology, and dabble in other sciences outside of biology. So thanks for your hard work and enthusiasm. Much love to you, Blair and Justin!

Too many eggs in the Midwest basket
Climate change will have increasingly negative impacts on agriculture.

Your Brain On Imagination
Is just reality.

Information Mindset
Your attitude carries more weight than some genes.

Lipid membranes more organized than we imagined
Hexagons make them structured.

Supernova Death
Did a supernova kill off the Meg by giving it cancer?

Toothless whale does more than look silly
They tell us about the evolution of baleen!

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 December, 2018 – Episode 698 – This Week in Science (TWIS) Podcast

December 6th, 2018

CRISPR Babies Update, You, Me, Uterus!, Placenta In A Dish, Not Our Tools, Not A Dolphin, Uno Dos of Trace, New Species!, A Neuromorphic Synapse?, Galileo GPS Relativity, Going Greenland, No Heart Stem Cells, 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.

they’re pretty much everywhere.
The following program is geared towards humans
Humans make up most of the listening audience.
The stories are mostly retold by humans,
Based on scientific work done by other humans.
There are humans helping record, edit, and rebroadcast the show.
There are humans who support the financial needs of the show.
There are even humans who visit the show from time to time.
But oddly, the actual content of the show is rarely directly about humans.
It’s one of the wonderful things about science;
Unlike most anything else we humans talk about…
Science allows us to focus our minds on things not human.
And as it turns out,
there’s a lot more going on in the universe than us!
And we’re going to talk all about it here on
This week in science,
Coming up Next…

CRISPR Babies Update
Apparently, the researcher who reported the first births of two gene-edited babies is now missing. Also, are we discussing the edited CCR5 gene, which according to research in individuals given CCR5 blockers ass part of HIV treatment is involved in learning and memory. So, tell us who was only interested in disease and NOT enhancement?

You, Me, Uterus!
The Lancet reports the first instance of a live birth from a transplanted uterus from a deceased donor.

Placenta In A Dish
Researchers in the UK have successfully created healthy placental organoids from donated placental tissue, which could lead to a platform for studying placenta-based disease in the lab.

Ancient mystery hominins somewhat discovered
Whose tools have we found?

If it walks like a dolphin…
it still isn’t a dolphin. It might be an Ichthyosaur!

A Conversation w/ Trace Dominguez! Find him at Uno dos of Trace.

Support us on Patreon!

This Week in What Has Science Done for me Lately?!?
“Hi Everyone,
Long time listener (Eric-in-AK in the chatroom)
What has science done for me lately?

Well, on November 30, 2018 my home, Anchorage Alaska was hit by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake. The epicenter was 7 miles from town. In other places an earthquake that big and that close has been devastating and deadly.

However, Alaska is earthquake country. We have a large percentage of the world’s earthquakes. So we have some history.

On March 27, 1964, Anchorage and South-Central Alaska suffered a mind-boggling magnitude 9.2 quake. This quake, known as the Good Friday Earthquake for the day it happened, caused significant damage and a large loss of life.

In 1964, after the arrival of relief workers and disaster supplies came scientists. They studied the ground that had been moved by the quake. They looked at buildings. They talked with eyewitnesses and in the end, they came away with a better understanding of earthquakes.

The ground movement offered confirmation of the then new theory of plate tectonics. The damage assessments lead to new tough building codes used throughout earthquake prone regions. And the rescue and relief operations lead to new and updated procedures to react to such a quake.

So, what has science done for me lately? Because of the scientific work done in the aftermath of the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake, my home of Anchorage just rode through a potentially devastating 7.0 earthquake with some, but not a lot of damage, no fatalities and only a few injuries.

Thank you, science.
(personal note, the quake was a wild ride)
–Eric Knapp”

Seven spiders spinning, four wiggly eels, three sneaky sharks, two water bears, a seahorse, and a liverwort plant…
New species for the holidays!

A Neuromorphic Synapse?
Are we on the path to artificial brains? A new study suggests nanowires with memristor abilities might finally be up to the task.

Galileo GPS system confirms Einstein’s Relativity!
Galileo satellites were poorly launched in 2014, their elliptical orbit allowed them to measure time dilation due to their change in distance from earth’s mass.

Greenland is going, going…
Melting due to climate change is happening at a much accelerated rate.

No Heart Stem Cells
To address the controversy surrounding the existence of stem cells in the heart, a recent study traced the paths of dividing mouse heart cells after induced myocardial infarction to see if any of them became new heart muscle. The result? While cells propagated new blood vessels, immune cells, and scar tissue, no new heart muscle was found.

OSIRIS-REx At Bennu!
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission arrived at the asteroid called Bennu this week, and is preparing to (technical term here) “boop” the chunk of space gravel to grab a piece and bring it back to Earth.

LIGO Virgo Catalog
The gravitational wave detector teams have released a full catalog of observations, which contain four additional black hole mergers based on deeper analysis of the data. The next observation season begins in Spring 2019.

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!