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Science, opinion, history, music and entertainment...what more could you ask for? It's the Blue Streak Science Podcast!

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080: Grant Ballard - Point Blue Conservation Science
<ul> <li>Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico over 1,100</li> <li>The Trump Administration Proposes to Scrap Automobile Fuel Efficiency Standards</li> <li>Also, Donald Trump picks a White House science officer</li> <li>The US state of California Hits Its Emissions Target Years Early!</li> <li>Interview with Dr. Grant Ballard, Chief Science Officer of Point Blue Conservation Science</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Nevena Hristozova and JD Goodwin</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico over 1,100</strong></h3> <p>It is a story we keep mentioning and we will keep mentioning for as long as it’s necessary. Puerto Rico - the American territory which seems to be completely forsaken by the American administration, probably because they don’t have fancy golf courses there right now. The government claims 64 deaths between landfall in September 2017 and December 2017, while the official average comes to about 1140 people who lost their lives. Talk about fake news the government seems to be the best in cooking these up. Next to that the, months-long power shortages, the contaminated water supplies, the extreme flooding are part of the daily struggles of the people of Puerto Rico a year after the hurricane hit. Good job, to president Trump and his cabinet for taking care of their own people...]</p> <p><a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-hurricane-maria-deaths-20180802-story.html"> LA Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2175853-how-many-people-did-hurricane-maria-really-kill-in-puerto-rico/"> New Scientist</a></p> <h3><strong>GOP Administration Proposes to Scrap Automobile Fuel Efficiency Standards</strong></h3> <p>Last Thursday, Donald Trump released a proposal to scrap federal fuel-efficiency standards for passenger vehicles. His administration has also threatened to remove California’s ability to set its own emissions guidelines.</p> <p>The reaction from the science community, as well as government officials in California was swift and negative. On Twitter, Governor Jerry Brown wrote, “California will fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”</p> <p>What’s the Trump administration’s argument?</p> <ul> <li>Current standards drive up vehicle prices</li> <li>these standards would  increase the number of deaths from traffic accidents by encouraging consumers to keep driving older cars that aren’t as safe as new ones.</li> </ul> <p>According to John DeCicco, a University of Michigan engineer who studies the environmental impact of vehicles, “I don’t believe the administration has any solid engineering or economic ground to stand on. It is basically political opportunism.”</p> <p>With Trump’s new proposal the projected CO2 emissions would increase by roughly 20% compared to the projected output under the current regulations.</p> <p>Trump’s plan would also revoke a waiver granted to California that allows the state to set air-quality standards that are stricter than those enacted by the federal government. The waiver also lets other states to adopt California's standards.</p> <p>Even car makers are advising the GOP administration to back off because this could create a legal mess that could get dragged out for years.</p> <p>We’re not gonna let this happen.  </p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05832-4">Nature</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/02/climate/trump-auto-emissions-california.html"> New York Times</a></p> <h3><strong>New Pick for White House Science Office is Not Bad</strong></h3> <p>Our next story takes us back to you know who! Donald Trump.</p> <p>Mr. Trump assumed office more than a year and half ago. Among his accomplishments is the fact that he has gone longer without a science adviser than any first-term president since 1976.</p> <p>Here’s the biggest surprise. His choice to be director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy is not a d*%#head.</p> <p>He is a meteorologist and his name is Kelvin Droegemeier. He’s an expert on extreme-weather events, and has been the vice-president for research at the University of Oklahoma since 2009. Kelvin Droegemeier also served on the National Science Board, which oversees the National Science Foundation, under presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush.</p> <p>This guy is a good choice.</p> <p>Granted, he’ll be stepping into an Office of Science and Technology Policy that has been eviscerated from a staff of 130 employed by President Obama to that of only 50 by Donald Trump.</p> <p>But this one appointment is a good choice, and Donald Trump should be commended for it.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/trump-s-pick-head-white-house-science-office-gets-good-reviews?rss=1"> Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-taps-meteorologist-as-white-house-science-advisor/"> Scientific American</a></p> <h3><strong>California Hits Its Emissions Target Years Early!</strong></h3> <p>JD, for a country that pulled out of the Paris agreement, showing nothing but disregard for scientific and popular opinions by the office running it, your own state is doing really well! California set a goal in 2006 to reduce its greenhouse emissions to levels equal those of 1990 by 2020. A recent study published by the Air Resources Board reviewing data from 2016 shows that California has already hit that target with few years to spare!</p> <p>Emissions from the power sector mark the biggest drop - around 35%. At the same time California’s economy was still growing, mind you - for those who believe that degrowth is the only way to return to healthier planet. And also, for those who believe the greener future is a poorer future - you are wrong and California just proved you wrong with very convincing numbers!</p> <p><a href= "https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/26/world/california-met-ambitious-2020-greenhouse-gas-emissions-target-2016/#.W2PCwdhKjUI"> Japan Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.greenmatters.com/renewables/2018/08/01/1Vbqjx/california-2020-emissions-goal-reached"> Green Matters</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Dr. Grant Ballard, Chief Science Officer</strong></h2> <h2><strong>Point Blue Conservation Science<img class= "alignright wp-image-1361 size-medium" src= "https://bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/80_350x350-300x300.png" alt="" width="300" height="300" /></strong></h2> <p>It was my privilege today to talk with Grant Ballard, the Chief Science Officer of <a href="http://www.pointblue.org" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Point Blue Conservation Science</a>. We discussed the history, mission, and current projects being undertaken by this many-faceted conservation organization.</p> <blockquote> <p>Point Blue is a leader in climate-smart conservation, helping to ensure that wildlife and our own communities continue to thrive in the decades to come. We believe that our collaborative climate-smart conservation actions today can lead to ecosystems that sustain healthy wildlife and human communities well into the future. As leaders and innovators in conservation science, we have the vision, scientific rigor, passion, and ability to inspire others to act to make positive conservation outcomes possible for a healthy blue planet.</p> <ul> <li>Point Blue Conservation Science website</li> </ul> </blockquote> <p> </p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team<img class= "size-medium wp-image-1360 alignleft" src= "https://bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Unthinkable-199x300.jpg" alt="" width="199" height="300" /></strong></h2> <p><strong>Book:</strong> <a href= "https://www.amazon.com/Unthinkable-Extraordinary-Journey-Through-Strangest/dp/006239116X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533669249&sr=8-1&keywords=helen+thomson+unthinkable" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Unthinkable</a> - And Extraordinary Journey Through the World's Strangest Brains</p> <p><strong>Author:</strong> Helen Thomson</p> <p>In <em>Unthinkable</em> Helen Thomson tells the stories of nine extraordinary people. From the man who thinks he's a tiger to the doctor who feels the pain of others just by looking at them.</p> <p>This is a terrific book that helps us to understand ourselves by helping us to understand the unique brains of some extraordinary people.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Next Week’s Episode</strong></h2> <p>Interview with Dr. Amber Stuver of Villanova University</p> <p>We talked all about LIGO and gravitational waves.</p> <p>Don't miss it!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Thanks to Grant Ballard of Point Blue Conservation Science</p> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> Spotify</a> and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by <a href="http://www.propodcastsolutions.com/">Pro Podcast Solutions</a>.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Nevena Hristozova, and me!</p> <p>I’m JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>Thank you for joining us.</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

079: Heatwaves and Wildfires in the Climate Lounge!
<ul> <li>General Relativity passes the black hole test</li> <li>A day by the lake...on Mars</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>And more!</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Amrita Sule and JD Goodwin</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Animals Frozen for 42,000 Years Wriggle to Life</strong></h3> <p>Not a lot of us are excited when we hear the phrase, "blast from the past”. But this time we do have news that goes about 40,000 years back.<br /> <br /> A team of researchers revived 2 nematodes from samples of permafrost in Siberia.  Scientists claim that these two nematodes have been frozen since the Pleistocene, thousands of years!</p> <p>Previously, nematodes that were frozen for about 39 years and also tardigrades frozen for about 30 years have been revived. However, this is the first time a complex organism like a nematode has been revived after thousands of years of frozen dormancy.<br /> <br /> For this new study Russian scientists worked in collaboration with Princeton University researchers and found two viable nematodes while analyzing about 300 soil samples collected from the melting permafrost. Both are believed to be females.<br /> <br /> One permafrost sample about 32,000 years old came from northeastern part of Yakutia in Russia and the other about 42,000 years old permafrost sample came from the Kolyma River in northeastern Siberia.<br /> <br /> As these isolated worms warmed, they started moving and eating.</p> <p>A number of organisms native to Arctic and Antarctica are known to undergo cryo-protective dehydration i.e when they encounter freezing temperatures they rapidly dehydrate – remove water from their cells. This prevents damage to their tissues  which could occur otherwise when the water in their cells could freeze and form crystals.<br /> <br /> More information would be indeed vital to understand how these two nematodes survived for thousands of years in frozen state. They would also be key in understanding evolutionary divergence between ancient and present nematode populations.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.livescience.com/63187-siberian-permafrost-worms-revive.html"> Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ancient-roundworms-allegedly-resurrected-russian-permafrost-180969782/?utm_source=twitter.com&utm_medium=socialmedia"> Smithsonian Mag</a></p> <h3><strong>Einstein theory passes black hole test</strong></h3> <p>The theoretical physicists come up with these elegant equations to explain everything in the universe from the very small to the very large. But it takes scientists who can design experiments to find out if the predictions of these theories line up with what’s out there in the real world.</p> <p>General Relativity has been experimentally confirmed many times. But one of the best things you can do with a scientific theory is to test it in the most extreme conditions to see if holds up. If it doesn’t then you have to scrap it, or revise it if possible.</p> <p>For the first time scientists have been able to test Relativity with an extremely massive object. How massive? Is 4 million times the mass of the Sun big enough for ya?</p> <p>We’re talking about the supermassive black hole in the center of the Milky Way. This black hole is known as Sagittarius A.</p> <p>In particular, there’s one star called S2. And S2 goes around Sagittarius A in an elliptical orbit every 16 years at 3% of the speed of light.</p> <p>There are other stars in the area, and only a few years ago observing these would have been impossible. But these four telescopes, located in the Atacama Desert in Chile, can overcome distortions from the earth’s atmosphere. By bringing the light together from all of them it creates a virtual super telescope.</p> <p>What they were looking for is a gravitational redshift. That’s when the light from this star gets stretched out as a result of a strong gravitational field.</p> <p>Gravitational redshift is predicted by General Relativity, and has been observed before, but not from such a massive object with its intense gravitational field.</p> <p>Until now.</p> <p>These astronomers followed S2 before and after it streaked by Sag A on 19 May and they measured it every hour.</p> <p>And they saw that the light from S2 was stretched, that is red-shifted, by the black hole exactly as predicted by the Theory of General Relativity.</p> <p>They’re not done looking at S2. The more we observe this unusual star whipping around Sagittarius A the more we can learn about the extreme conditions so close to a supermassive black hole.</p> <p>These results are published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/star-s-black-hole-encounter-puts-einstein-s-theory-gravity-test?rss=1"> Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/star-orbiting-black-hole-einstein-gravity-general-relativity"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44967491">BBC Science and Environment</a></p> <h3><strong>Mars May Have a Lake of Liquid Water</strong></h3> <p>Water is the most essential requirement for life. When planets are explored for the possibility of life, scientists first look for evidence of slightest amount of water.  </p> <p>And much to their surprise the Italian scientists working on the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission announced that the Mars orbiter has found a lake of liquid water below the southern ice sheets on Mars.</p> <p>In the past, there have been indications of presence of tiny amount of water on Mars. However, this is the very first evidence of a liquid lake that spans 20 km across and sits under the planet’s southern polar cap.</p> <p>Temperatures below the ice sheet could be as low as -68 degree C and pure water would freeze at such low temperatures. There is probably lot of salt dissolved in the water- thereby lowering its freezing point.</p> <p>This lake was discovered by the The Mars Advanced Radar for Subsurface and Ionosphere Sounding instrument, or Marsis instrument developed by the Italian space agency. This instrument bounced radar beams on the ice sheets and the reflection revealed presence of a triangular region beneath the sheets – speculated to be a basin into which water had flown.</p> <p>The Italian scientists matched these radar measurements to similar ice lakes in Greenland and Antarctica on earth to confirm their observations.</p> <p>So, is this the evidence of life on Mars we’ve been looking for all along? Not yet. More confirmation is needed. If this holds true, it would be substantial in understanding if any organisms can, or have survived.</p> <p>Since, no other orbiter has detected this in spite of using a similar technology, for example NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, there might be debate about this and a assessment of this martial polar region might follow.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44952710">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mars-may-have-lake-liquid-water-search-life"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/science/mars-liquid-alien-life.html"> The New York Times</a></p> <h3><strong>Carrie Fisher will be Leia again in ‘Star Wars: Episode IX’</strong></h3> <p>Last Friday the cast for the next Star Wars film was announced. And guess who’s in it?</p> <p>Hint: “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.”</p> <p>Not just Princess Leia Organa...but Carrie Fisher herself is playing Princess Leia. This is no little hologram or CGI generated image of her, either!</p> <p>Yes, Carrie Fisher died in 2016. That really happened.</p> <p>How are they going to do this?</p> <p>Star Wars: Episode 9, directed by JJ Abrams, is going to use previously unused footage from the filming of Episode 7: “The Force Awakens”.</p> <p>According to Abrams this has the blessing of Fisher’s daughter Billie.</p> <p>“Episode 9,” begins shooting next month, and is scheduled to be released December 2019.</p> <p>Another notable casting appearing in the new film will be Billy Dee Williams as Lando Calrissian.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2018/07/27/carrie-fisher-will-be-leia-again-in-star-wars-episode-ix/?utm_term=.7e749afaf0ae"> Washington Post</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/27/movies/carrie-fisher-star-wars-film.html"> The New York Times</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Heatwaves and wildfires: What is going on?</strong></h3> <p>This week in the lounge we are just going to take a quick tour of the planet and see how things are going. I’m just going to, um, open up a browser real quick here, surely you’re impressed with my preparation, alright, let me type in weather disasters into this here google search...and. Oh god. The world’s on fire… let’s talk about this</p> <p>First, Europe. Europe has been sitting under a dome of high pressure that has basically let the continent slow cook. Temperatures reached into the 30s C or 90F as far north as the Arctic Circle...normal.. England has been baking. So has France.. So has… you get the picture it’s hot. A preliminary study suggests the heat wave was made 5 times more likely in northern Europe thanks to climate change. In Greece, the recent hotness combined with unusually strong west winds caused wildfires near Athens to grow incredibly out of control. The kineta fire to the west burned through rural areas and didn’t cause too much damage. But the Rafina fire 10 miles to the west was horrible. The hot dry gusty winds made the fire grow rapidly and even worse unpredictably. The fire quickly overtook the seaside resort towns near Rafina including Mati on July 23 forcing residents onto the narrow streets which quickly became clogged with cars. This led people to rush to the beaches and into the sea to protect themselves as the fires burned all the way to shore. Videos of the residents in the water while ash clouds the sky and fire burns in the distance were terrifying. Over 90 people died with dozens still missing. Making it the 5th deadliest wildfire in the past century and the deadliest in Europe. It’s a horrible shocking thing. And this happened in a place that, to be honest, wasn’t that dry. The winds were the unusual part. The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre released in January a <a href= "https://publications.europa.eu/en/publication-detail/-/publication/0e99c069-ff3b-11e7-b8f5-01aa75ed71a1/language-en"> report</a> specifically looking at the risk of wildfires in Europe in a future dominated by man-made climate change.  The report found that for the Mediterranean region, the fuel needed for fires will become even drier increasing the risks for weather-driven forest fires.  Making matters worse, drying conditions will extend farther north from the Mediterranean, while the large source of moisture found in the Alps will decrease as temperatures warm.</p> <p>In the US, hot weather has led to dumbly (is that a word, it should be) hot temperatures in California. Redding hit 110 on July 26. And it’s been hot and dry for quite awhile. A bit different than Greece. But similarly, fires broke out and rapidly grew in size. The Carr fire has burnt 110,000 acres andis only 27% contained and has burned into Redding itself. It has destroyed over 1200 buildings and killed 7 people so far including two firefighters. The freaking fire even creating this rotating fire hellscape that was like a tornado. It created its own weather. There is even a photo of a steel pipe wrapped around a tree. Meanwhile, the Ferguson fire near Yosemite killed two firefighters and caused the largest park related fire closing since 1990 burning nearly 57,000 acres. Country-wide, so far this year the burned area is 25% above-average. That’s alot</p> <p>Air quality in California as a result of all of the fires has been incredibly dangerous for those outside as well.</p> <p>Climate change… it’s making this worse but I’ve never felt comfortable saying “new normal” but I never was eloquent enough to say why. Thank god for smarter people. So let me quote Crystal Kolden a fire scientist at the University of Idaho. She noted that the behaviour of the Carr fire is not the behavior firefights are used to seeing in the middle of the night, instead it’s more normal during the hottest parts of the day. She says” That sort of extreme, it’s something we have seen a lot in the past couple years, but it’s something we’ve been seeing more frequently with a greater magnitude ofr the last 20, 30  years. “ But she pushed back on saying this is a new normal because “That implies that it’s not going to get that much worse. But what our projections tell us is that it’s going to get worse”</p> <p>Of course she’s right. SHE’S A FREAKING FIRE SCIENTIST. As temperatures warm, the fire seasons get longer, the fuel gets drier, and drier more plentiful fuel means if fires form they grow fast and large. Not surprisingly,  In <a href= "https://www.climate.gov/news-features/featured-images/risk-very-large-fires-could-increase-sixfold-mid-century-us"> recent research</a> looking at trends in weeks where conditions are favorable for very large fires, scientists found that the potential for the development of very large fires is expected to be up to six times as likely by mid-century (2041-2070) compared to 1971-2000 in the mountain west. 2 to 4 times in California.</p> <p>It hasn’t been lost on me that I’m doing another story on wildfires and the host of this podcast JD has gone through the terrifying ordeal himself after his home burned down last year. Fires that grow large so fast and going to encroach on that urban wild interface. Another bit about how infrastructure is not built for the extremes we are ALREADY seeing, let alone what may happen in the future.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/5th-Deadliest-Wildfire-Globally-Past-100-Years-Greeces-87-Deaths-Mondays-Fires"> Wunderground</a> <a href= "https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/Onslaught-California-Wildfire-Kills-Least-7"> Wunderground</a> <a href= "https://www.climate.gov/news-features/event-tracker/strong-winds-whip-deadly-wildfires-greece-late-july-2018"> climate.gov</a> <a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2018/07/30/how-climate-change-is-making-disasters-like-the-carr-fire-more-likely/?utm_term=.55d1a31ac7b6"> WaPo</a> <a href= "https://www.axios.com/science-behind-carr-fire-tornado-redding-california-f77a451d-9aec-46bd-8091-acb0dd45fff0.html"> Axios</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Taking part in the pub quiz today are: Amrita Sule and Tom Di Liberto.</p> <p>What are the rules? The first rule of Pub Quiz is you do not talk about Pub Quiz.</p> <p>I ask a science question and our panel of dangerous intellectuals provide their brilliant answers along with some witty repartee’.</p> <ol> <li>A pair of papers posted on the preprint server arXiv last month suggests that this cosmological Theory results in far fewer universes than previously thought. What Theory am I talking about?</li> <li>On Friday, 27 July what notable celestial event took place?</li> <li>A bite from this animal can make a person deathly allergic to red meat. This week researchers announced that its bite may also be linked to coronary artery disease. What animal is it?</li> <li>In recent weeks hundreds of dead fish, seabirds and sea turtles have been washing up on the beaches of what U.S. state?</li> <li>According to a new study published in Nature Geoscience on 23 July, the oldest evidence for life on land was found in what country?</li> </ol> <p>That’s it for the Pub Quiz!</p> <p>How did YOU do?</p> <p>What? You want the answers? Then you're just gonna have to listen to this episode!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <p>Are there any birders out there? Of course there are! Well, I have an awesome way for you to waste 90 minutes of your life.</p> <p>On Twitter there’s a thing called TrickyBirdID. It’s #TrickyBirdID. It’s run by Jason Ward, and you can find him at JasonWardNY.</p> <p>This is a daily contest on Twitter. Jason posts pictures of birds, and you try to guess what they are! It’s not always easy because the pictures may be backlit, blurry, or maybe a partial picture. It’s meant to be a challenge, and it it.</p> <p>He gives everyone 30 minutes to give their answers, and whoever answers correctly first wins that round. There are a total of three rounds.</p> <p>I was in rare form on Monday and won two of the three rounds. That last one was a white-eyed vireo, but I answered with yellow-throated vireo.</p> <p>Still, this is a great way for birds nerds to waste time, and for that reason I recommend hashtag TrickyBirdID on Twitter.</p> <p>#TrickyBirdID on Twitter</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Next Week’s Episode</strong></h2> <p>Dr. Grant Ballard, the Chief Science Officer of Point Blue Conservation Science.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> Spotify</a> and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by <a href="http://www.propodcastsolutions.com/">Pro Podcast Solutions</a>.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Dr. Amrita Sule, and Tom Di Liberto.</p> <p>I’m JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>Thank you for joining us.</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

078: Let's Get Political!
<ul> <li>Our first political endorsement!</li> <li>The Blue Streak Science News</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>The Asshole of the Month</li> <li>Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Political Endorsement</strong></h2> <h3>Dr. Shannon Hader, Democrat for the 8th Congressional District in Washington</h3> <p>We’re coming up on that silly season again, but this time around it seems so much more urgent because so many of us failed to see the reality that we faced during the last election. Part of that reality is that the anti-science and alternative-truth segment of our society have seized power. And folks, they’re making the most of it to roll back scientific progress and education.</p> <p>[caption id="attachment_1215" align="alignright" width="263"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-1215" src= "https://bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/78_350x400-263x300.png" alt="" width="263" height="300" /> Shannon Hader[/caption]</p> <p>However, in November we have a chance to slow them down. If we can elect candidates into Congress who understand the importance of science and critical thinking in good government then that will go a long way toward slowing down the damage to our nation and the world that is current happening unabated.  </p> <p>So this election season the Blue Streak Science Podcast will be endorsing candidates who hold true to the values of science, equality, long-term economic progress, and the preservation and restoration of our natural heritage, both in America and worldwide.</p> <p>The first candidate we’re endorsing is Dr. Shannon Hader who is running to represent the state of Washington’s 8th Congressional District in the House of Representatives. Dr. Hader is the former director of the Division of Global HIV & TB at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p> <p>Do you want to know what the Trump administration is doing to the CDC? Their 2018 budget slashed its funding by $1.2 billion. That a 17% reduction.</p> <p>Dr. Hader also worked for three years as director of the HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis, STD and TB Administration at the District of Columbia Department of Health.</p> <p>In making her announcement Dr. Hader said, "Science-based decision-making is under assault at NASA, at the EPA and the CDC, where I felt its effects directly.”</p> <p>Well, we can turn this around by supporting Shannon Hader in her run for Congress. If you live in District 8 of Washington state I strongly urge you to vote for Dr. Hader in the primary on 7 August. If you don’t live in the district then you can show your support for science and good government by contributing to her campaign at:  <a href="http://drshannonforcongress.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener">www.drshannonforcongress.com</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Baby snake 'frozen in time'</strong></h3> <p>I have Christmas come early, but not as we know it. For most of us, Christmas presents come in boxes and nice wrapping, with little bow on top. But if you are a paleontologist then Christmas present come wrapped in amber. And things have come along a bit since Jurassic Park and John Hammond’s preserved mosquito on his walking stick since now we’re starting to get fossilized vertebrates, mostly from Myanmar. So far we’ve had a bird wing, a chick, a lizard and even a feathered dinosaur tail!</p> <p>This time it’s a snake. Rather tragically it is a baby snake that didn’t get a great run at life, but the upshot of this is that a lot of the animal has been preserved inside.</p> <p>Remains like this are like russian dolls: a fossil within a fossil, as the amber itself is a fossil of tree resin. The fact that it started life as a thick sticky tree sap is how creatures come to be trapped in it in the first place, preserved in a stone considerate enough to be transparent and so beautifully that it could make a pharaoh blush!</p> <p>Although the head is missing, there is enough animal left for it to be identified as a new species. (<em>Xiaophis myanmarensis</em>). It would have lived about 99 million years ago and appears to be a very primitive member of the snake lineage.]</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44872148" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/63095-baby-snake-fossil-amber.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05742-5" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Nature</a></p> <h3><strong>A New Geologic Age</strong></h3> <p>You might wonder - anyone can subdivide the time of Earth’s existence in periods entirely up their will and imagination. But that’s not how official geology works! Also, dividing the Earth’s history into eons, eras, periods and ages is much less arbitrary than you might think, and …. well… much more scientific! Go figure!</p> <p>So how does it work, you ask? It rocks! A new geological period is defined when significant chemical trace different from the period before is found in the rock deposits of the Earth’s crust. Deposition of such chemicals usually relates to some pretty major climatic event on the planet, which is naturally worthy of marking the start of a new geological period.</p> <p>The newly categorised period we live in now is called Meghalayan. The name comes from Meghalaya, a northeastern state in India, whose name means "the abode of clouds" in Sanskrit. And a rock scientists analyse from there actually made them consider updating their historical nomenclature for earth’s periods. By analyzing a stalagmite growing on the ground of a cave in the Indian state, geologists found that each layer had different level of oxygen isotopes (versions of oxygen with different numbers of neutrons). This change marked the weakening of monsoon conditions from that time. And the change they estimated was significant - between 20-30 percent decrease of monsoon rainfall, so that def qualifies as a new era, I’d say! It apparently started about 4200 years ago and some scientists think it’s still too soon to start classifying it as a new era, since it’s not well established how widespread the effects of these changes are, but if we have evidence for something for 4200 years, why not take it as rather established.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.livescience.com/63103-meghalayan-age-within-holocene-named.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/living-new-geologic-age-called-meghalayan" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44868527" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">BBC Science and Environment</a></p> <p><a href= "http://www.stratigraphy.org/ICSchart/ChronostratChart2018-07.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener">International Chronostratigraphic Chart</a></p> <h3><strong>The Great British Butterfly Count</strong></h3> <p>Calling all my fellow Brits, this is an urgent call to action; Sir David Attenborough needs you. I get two stories this week and I get to mention a different Attenborough brother in each, fantastic!</p> <p>The legendary Sir David is calling people to take part in the Great British Butterfly Count. This is a massive citizen science survey of British butterfly populations. It’s been happening seasonally since 2010 and this year it is running from the 20th of July to the 12th of August, so it really isn’t too late to get involved.</p> <p>The reason that this year in particular is so important is because the conditions at the start of this year means that we should be having a bumper year for butterflies, but in case you haven’t noticed; it’s recently been very hot and very dry. Drought really isn’t a friend of butterflies and with hose pipe bans starting to be seen we could be running into tricky conditions for caterpillars. This means that this could be a really important year for monitoring how conditions affect these beautiful lepidoptera.</p> <p>You don’t need to be a lepidopterist to take part. If you get over to bigbutterflycount.org then they have all of the information that you need there for you to help out. It’s also a great thing to do with your kids, I intend to get out there with Matilda.</p> <p>But this does remind me of a question that I’ve never found an answer to, so if anyone listening can help, please get in touch. Why do caterpillars get a fancy name when all other larvae just get called a “whatever it is” larvae?]</p> <p><a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/20/sir-david-attenborough-urges-british-public-to-join-butterfly-count" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The Guardian</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/20/world/europe/uk-big-butterfly-count.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">The New York Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.npr.org/2018/07/20/630848449/britains-big-butterfly-count-begins-with-david-attenborough-leading-the-charge" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NPR</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.bigbutterflycount.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Big Butterfly Count</a></p> <hr /> <h3><strong>Researchers use 36 years of bike race footage to illustrate Belgium's changing climate</strong></h3> <p>Now first I gotta say a big thanks to Amrita for alerting me on this story because I have missed it and to JD for letting me talk about it.</p> <p>Since I live in Belgium for 6 years now, this feels like home and I’m dying to cover interesting science from around here cause for such a small country the universities and research centers are doing pretty darn well!</p> <p>Anywho! To the story! Once upon a time, there was a very observing climatologist, who was also a passionate cyclist (for the record half of Belgium (the northern half, closer to the Netherlands are) called Pieter De Frenne. He works in the department of water and forest management in the Gent University.</p> <p>He had the brilliant idea to use archive footage of Tour of Flanders from decades back to do a comparative study on the changing climate of the region through the years. This race is one of the most regular ones - always taking place early April each year and always in the same area if not exactly the same route.</p> <p>So he and his colleagues went through more than 2000h of footage since 1981 until today and selected several landmarks that appear in all the footage through the years and compared them. They mostly settled for trees as these are most easily traceable/recognisable.</p> <p>What they noticed is that the majority of the trees in the early 80 had barely any leaves yet in early April. Compared to back then, now almost every year most of the trees were well leafed up, meaning that spring is consistently coming much earlier than just two decades ago.</p> <p>While this might sound like a pleasant thing, it’s not necessarily a good thing on a big ecological scale. The consistent changes in the tree part of the ecosystem has a significant effect on all other parts too - insects, birds and other animals in the area whose life is somewhat related/dependant on the trees. For migratory birds for example it can have quite dramatic effects - if they arrive to the usual destination after trees have bloomed, they might be unpleasantly surprised by the fact that their food (larvae or eggs of insects) have already matured/hatched and are either completely gone or much harder to catch and feed the bird’s hatchlings.</p> <p>Also, all vegetation which grows under the trees will be affected - if the tree crown is already in full bloom by the time gras, bushes and flowers show up, they might have much less access to light to be able to complete their life cycle which in turn affects other animals relying on them for food and so on and so forth - the whole ecosystem can change quite dramatically, quite fast.</p> <p>The scientists then went on to compare their results with other already published scientific data for the ecology of the region and established that they are in fact right and that this “out of the box” method is actually valid and working. They published their own data in the Methods of Ecology and Evolution.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/bike-race-footage-climate-change-1.4736912" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CBC</a>, <a href= "https://besjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/2041-210X.13024" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Methods in Ecology and Evolution</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <p>Today’s story time feature in the lounge is sure to Tickle you brain. It will certainly help you tick off things on your “To-Learn” lists. It definitely won’t have you bored listening to the tick tock of the clock. This story is about ticks.</p> <p>I’m not a big bug person so you’ll excuse me if I don’t paint an incredibly intricate picture of what a tick is. But it’s a small arachnid whose big fame in the United States is as a carrier for Lyme disease.  Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States and found generally throughout the Mid-Atlantic into the Northeast United States (Think Washington DC to Boston) as well as around the Great Lakes. I grew up in New York and can attest to the fear of lyme’s disease. Short story, my older brother was at a soccer tournament when we were young and I, being a dick, hid and scared him into some woods. The rest of his 10 year old boy teammates when in after him. And we never saw him again...No of course not, he walked out the other side and was back to the team in 3 minutes. But in those three minutes in the woods, 4 or 5 kids came back with ticks on them. So knowing what’s going on with ticks is sorta important. Lyme disease can be a debilitating bacterial infection affecting the joints, heart and nervous system.</p> <p>Enter Nathan Nieto and his lab at Northern Arizona University.  From August 2016 to January 2017, his lab ran a pretty cool deal. If you found a tick, you could send it to his lab and he would give all the info you need on the little evil thingie (I’m adding irrational personal feelings here so don’t yell at me…). For tick research, they normally get 100 ticks at a time by pretty basic methods like dragging a piece of fabric behind a truck, any adrenaline loving ticks hop on.. TO THEIR DOOM for science. For this public science effort, they budgeted for 2400 ticks, yet received nearly 16,000! They just published their results in PLOS One.</p> <p>Dr. Nieto’s lab were sent ticks from 49 states (no Alaska) and Puerto Rico. Once received they tested them for 4 pathogens including <em>Borrelia burgdorferi</em>, the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. They found some rare ticks but also ticks capable of carrying Lyme disease in 83 counties where they hadn't been recorded before.This really shows the power of citizen science as tick research can be incredibly difficult. A study of this size could never have been done without public involvement.</p> <p>How does this tie to climate change? Ticks occur on earth. Moving on… No really, ticks rely on warm temperatures to live. As temperatures warm, as winters shrink, as spring comes earlier and fall lasts longer, ticks can be out there for longer. Plus, warmer temperatures can enhance the rate at which a baby tick becomes fully developed. Tick development rates have increased by two times in the US and 5 times in Canada.<br /> Not surprisingly, the rate of Lyme disease has doubled since 1991, from about four cases per 100,000 people to eight.</p> <p>And where does the name come from, since I’m sure you’re wondering? Well Lyme Regis in southern England, indirectly. The first case diagnosed as lyme disease occurred in Old Lyme, CT, named after Lyme Regis. Not to go off too far on a tangent but it’s interesting so here we go. The northeast US is scattered with town names in reference to England (I grew up in a town called Smithtown inNY) but things get really weird near new york as english settlers ran into dutch settlers who founded New Amsterdam (after stealing land from the native population) which later became New York after the dutch lost to the english in 1674. But the dutch left a legacy in New York as many neighborhoods still bare dutch names. Brooklyn, Bronx, Coney Island, Harlem are all dutch. And even common words used in the US like boss come from the dutch. Ever wonder why Americans call them cookies and the english call them biscuits. THE DUTCH. Fascinating stuff. Tangent over.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/07/12/628491294/researchers-study-thousands-of-ticks-collected-by-the-people-they-bit" target="_blank" rel="noopener">NPR</a> <a href= "https://www.cbsnews.com/news/ticks-that-carry-lyme-disease-are-spreading-fast/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">CBSnews</a> <a href= "https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/climate-change-tick-s-best-friend-lyme-disease" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SierraClub</a> <a href= "https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/6/6/15728498/lyme-disease-symptoms-rash-ticks-global-warming" target="_blank" rel="noopener">VOX</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Asshole of the Month</strong></h2> <p><strong>Donald Trump, President of the United States</strong></p> <p>In 1962 when I was a year old, Rachel Carson published her landmark book on environmental science called “Silent Spring”. That lit a fire in the American consciousness about the environment.</p> <p>In the 1960’s the air in our cities was awful. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland caught fire in 1968. Seriously, it caught fire!</p> <p>I remember hearing about how birds of prey were disappearing because of pesticide pollution. In particular, the pesticide DDT (or more accurately its breakdown product DDE) would move up the food web getting more concentrated with each step, until it was consumed by apex predators such as California Condors, ospreys, and peregrine falcons. The effect of DDT on these raptors was that it caused them to lay eggs with very thin shells, or no shells at all. Those thin shells would crack under the weight of incubation. And this caused their populations to plummet. The iconic bald eagle was nearly extinct in the contiguous states in the 1960’s and 70’s, as was the peregrine falcon and many other birds.</p> <p>As a result of increased environmental awareness we made real progress with the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.</p> <h4>The Endangered Species Act.</h4> <p>This is the single most important piece of legislation in the United States for conserving biodiversity and slowing down the extinction of species. The Act was passed in 1973 with overwhelming bipartisan support (the House voted 355-4 in favor of the law), and it was done so at the urging of a Republican president, Richard Nixon. How times have changed.</p> <p>Since its passage, the Endangered Species Act has helped reverse the impending extinction of species from the magnificent Grey Wolf to the Schaus’ Swallowtail Butterfly of the Florida Keys. Still, over the decades the law has been criticized by big business and agricultural interests who feel that the Act limits their ability to generate a profit, and to do whatever the want with their property.</p> <p>Enter the Trump Administration. Last week they proposed to severely restrict the scope of the Endangered Species Act.</p> <p>This led to Congressional hearings on the Act and has raised the alarm nationwide that one of the nation’s best ideas is about to be eviscerated.</p> <p>Consider this:</p> <ul> <li>A 2011 Harris Poll showed that 84% of Americans support the Endangered Species Act, with Democrats having the strongest support at 93%.</li> <li>64% of Americans believe it acts a safety net and a balanced solution to save wildlife, plants and fish that are at risk of extinction.</li> <li>63% of Americans believe decisions about whether to remove the Endangered Species Act’s protections should be based on science, and not politics.</li> <li>92% of Americans agree that decisions about wildlife management and which animals needs protection should be made by scientists, not politicians.</li> </ul> <p>Seriously, 92% of Americans don’t agree that the sky is blue on a sunny day! Yet the same number actually agree that this is a decision that should be made by scientists, and not politicians. There are some issues like gun control and reproductive rights which are terribly partisan, but the Endangered Species Act is not one of those issues.</p> <p>So, for going against the will and interest of the American people, and for selling out our country’s natural heritage to special business interests for a profit, Donald Trump, you are the the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Month.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Joining us today are the Chris MacAlister, Nevena Hristozova, and Tom Di Liberto.</p> <p>Here’s how it works. I ask a science question and our team of science dweebs offer up their witty answers.</p> <ol> <li>Remember the online name search last year for that research ship? The consensus was Boaty McBoatface, but they decided to name it after Sir David Attenborough. There’s another naming contest going on in the science world...what’s it for?</li> <li>This past week a paper came out that suggests Neanderthals could do something the rest of us can do quite easily. What is that?</li> <li>It was announced this week that a fossil of Bigfoot has been found. But that’s just what they’re calling it. What kind of animal was it really?</li> <li>What gelatinous pink species is invading the waters of the American Pacific Northwest?</li> <li>A Chinese tree shrew loves to eat this food that most animals avoid, but oddly enough, many humans crave. What food is it?</li> </ol> <p>For the answers to today's Pub Quiz just have a listen to the podcast! Ain't we sneaky that way?</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <p><strong>Tom</strong>: It’s not science but it’s still fascinating. If you are curious to learn more about the Dutch influence on New York City and on thus on the United States, I highly recommend reading The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto. Even as a New Yorker, the history of New Amsterdam is glossed over in our history books, but the legacy of dutch culture, you could argue, has given New York City the identity it has to this day as a cultural melting pot. Plus, it’s crazy to see a place as terraformed as Manhattan depicted as it likely was to Native Americans when the first European colonizers reached it.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> I’ve been to a roundabout in Chester. I little bit random I’ll grant you, but I’m afraid that it gets no less random when I say that I went there to play a gig to a guy on a treadmill!</p> <p>What’s actually going on is that a guy called Steve Hughes is on a mission to raise funds to build the UK’s first <a href= "http://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/attractions/supertree-grove/facts-and-figures.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener">supertrees</a>. They have some magnificent ones in Singapore.</p> <p>They are essentially big hollow metal trees and they can be used a frame for plants to grow up, they create habitats for all manner of flora and fauna in the middle of city, returning some biodiversity to places where it has been all but eradicated.</p> <p>The ones that Steve are trying to fund are nowhere on the scale of Singapore but they will also provide an space for people to come and learn about the trees and what they do, as well as containing weather stations.</p> <p>So far Steve has run 7 marathons in 7 days in 7 countries and last weekend he ran 100km in 10 hours on a treadmill. He made an event of it, this why I was playing.</p> <p>If you want to know more or support him the you can check him out on <a href="http://chestersupertrees.org" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">chestersupertrees.org</a>. </p> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> Just coming from a panel discussion on cities and urban life beyond growth - how can  cities be drivers of change in production practices and consumption patterns.</p> <p><strong>Tom:</strong> If you find yourself in Washington DC you might catch me in an improv comedy show with the Washington Improv theater. </p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> I attended another lecture at Bodega Marine Lab. This one was titled “Saviors of the reef? Context-dependent control of algae by coral reef fishes”. The speaker was Mike Gil, who is a postdoctoral researcher in Environmental Science and Policy. He is working on coral reef ecology projects in Thailand.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena: </strong>Going to a bi-weekly civic hack night - organised by the Civic Hack lab BXL. This edition will be about InfluencAir - citizen science project to measure air quality in Brussels. Never been part of a citizen science project so I’m very curious and excited to see what’s it about! </p> <p><strong>Tom:</strong> So on Saturday August 4th at 6pm, my science improv comedy team The Hypothesis will be performing at the 12th annual Baltimore Improv festival. We’re a team made up of all different types of scientist and science enthusiasts who like to walk on the funnier side of science and the sciencier side of comedy.</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> It’s back to the Bodega Marine Lab for me. “Phototaxis and phototropism in symbiosis” by Dr. Shawna Foo of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>I’d like to thank our newest Patreon supporter, our friend Sam Danby from Norway! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!</p> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Spotify</a> and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by <a href="http://www.propodcastsolutions.com/" target= "_blank" rel="noopener">Pro Podcast Solutions</a>.</p> <p>Our hosts today were Chris MacAlister, Nevena Hristozova, and Tom Di Liberto.</p> <p>I’m JD Goodwin.</p> <p>Thank you for joining us. And remember...follow the science!</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

077: Michael MacFerrin, Ph.D. - Glaciologist
<ul> <li>Conversation with Michael MacFerrin, Research Glaciologist</li> <li>Science News</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Nevena Hristozova and Chris MacAlister</strong></h2> <h3><strong>An Origin of Cosmic Rays Discovered</strong></h3> <p>In a galaxy far far away…</p> <p>For real though - it’s really far - 4 billion light-years away. My calculations show that with the current tech for space flight we have, we could get there in 76.32 trillion years so it is freaking far!</p> <p>But anyway, the point is that this galaxy is a blazar - a type of an active galactic nucleus with a relativistic jet directed very nearly or directly towards Earth. These jets are essentially ionized matter traveling at nearly the speed of light. Relativistic beaming of electromagnetic radiation from the jet makes blazars appear much brighter than they would be if the jet were pointed in a direction away from the Earth. So far we knew that blazars are powerful sources of emission across the electromagnetic spectrum and are  sources of high-energy gamma ray photons.</p> <p>Now though we know something new - because that’s the whole point of science! It appears, according to the latest data coming from the so called The IceCube Collaboration, that this blazar galaxy is a source of high-energy neutrinos - one of the most elusive particles in the universe! Their article was published in Science under the title <em>Multimessenger observations of a flaring blazar coincident with high-energy neutrino IceCube-170922A</em>.<br /> <br /> The astrophysicist Francis Halzen of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a leader of IceCube, himself said that so far no one was able to pinpoint the source of this type of neutrinos.</p> <p>By basically tracing the trajectory of the heavy neutrinos detected in the IceCube, the scientists could determine its place of origin somewhere close-by Orion. In intergalactic distances, this is probably like searching for a sand grain in all the oceans on our planet. But employing a bunch a telescopes including the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, they’ve found the blazar <strong>TXS 0506+056</strong> (I’m so naming my firstborn like this!). And the best part is that we were able to trace this neutrino back to home because it is essentially so elusive! Neutrinos (as their name shows) have no charge so they travel through the universe without much effect from other matter in it. Exactly this reluctance to interact with other matter is the reason why generally neutrinos are so hard to detect and study… It’s a beautiful catch 22 in this case!</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/high-energy-neutrinos-blazar-icecube"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-44786125">BBC News</a></p> <h3><strong>Cancer Fighting Cancer Cells</strong></h3> <p>They say that you can’t fight fire with fire, but this isn’t true if you’re smart about how you use your fire. Controlled burning is best measure available for controlling wildfires. So could the same be said for cancer? Can you have a little bit of controlled cancer to protect you from the main article? Maybe so, if you’re clever enough. It appears that Clemens Reinshagen and a team at Harvard are clever enough as they appear to have pulled this off, in mice.</p> <p>They have done this by turning cancer cells into double agents. Cancer cells loose in the bloodstream can detect and home in on other tumours and this is the key skill that the team use.</p> <p>Once our double agent cancer cells have infiltrated the tumour, they commence the next stage of their operation. They release a protein that triggers cell death in the cancer cells; that is, all the cells except our double agents. CRISPR based technology has been used to alter these cancer cells to provide them with protection, so that they can continue their job.</p> <p>But even once the job is done, you’re still left with a patient full of cancer cells, which is clearly less than ideal. So for the final part of the process, a drug is used to prompt the altered cancer cells to do the honourable thing and kill themselves off.</p> <p>So there we have it; double-agent, assassin, samurai cancer cells. You heard it here first people!]</p> <p><a href= "http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/10/449/eaao3240">Science Translational Medicine</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/cancer-cells-engineered-crispr-slay-their-own-kin"> Science News</a></p> <h3><strong>Earliest Evidence of Humans Outside of Africa</strong></h3> <p>2 million years ago! This is a long time ago! Much longer than we thought the early hominids have ventured out of Africa. 2.12mln to be precise - precision is important!</p> <p>At the same time, a giant rodent weighing nearly 700 kg used to live in South America, just to give you a perspective how different the world was back then.</p> <p>Nonetheless, there were already established members of the genus Homo who decided that Africa is old news and they went travelling, reaching as far as China.</p> <p>This is known now thanks to some stone tools unearthed at China’s Shangchen site. They were dated to roughly quarter million years before what was previously thought to be the oldest evidence of Homo genus on the Eurasian continent. Unfortunately, no hominid fossils have ever been discovered from this period in the site. Until they do find similarly dated hominid fossils in the area, we’ll not know for sure if the representative was a Homo erectus or an earlier hominid.]</p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05696-8">Nature</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/shangchen-stone-tools-put-early-hominids-china-earlier"> Science News</a></p> <h3><strong>Otzi’s Last Meal</strong></h3> <p>I reckon that you guys should all come over to mine for a big Blue Streak Science get together sometime. I’m already having some ideas for what I’m going to cook you. We could start off with some cereal, followed by a nice piece of venison, and I’ll serve that with some poisonous fern. How does that sound?</p> <p>You know what? I’m thinking that maybe cuisine has come along a bit in the last 5,300 years. This is the story that the stomach contents have been analysed of a man who was naturally mummified in about 3,100 BCE, a man known as Otzi the Iceman,.</p> <p>His diet of cereal, Ibex and deer was probably pretty standard for him. It’s unlikely that treated himself to a lavish last supper as it looks like he was killed in a surprise attack.</p> <p>With that in mind, the really confusing part of these findings is the poisonous ferns. Why would he be eating poisonous plants? The leading theories that the team have is that it may have been medicinal, to help combat internal parasites, or that he may have wrapped his other food in it leaving some toxic spores behind to be consumed. The team don’t know if the food that Otzi ate was fresh or not, so maybe wrapping it in something toxic could help prevent spoilage, or to ward off scavengers.</p> <p>Although, considering the amount of smoking and recreational substance abuse that still goes on today, maybe it was just what all the cool kids did back then. He may not even have known that it was toxic.</p> <p>Either way, the amount of detail we are getting about Otzi, over 5000 years after he died, is incredible. And as if this isn’t amazing enough, the next objective is to use this information to try and recreate what Otzi’s gut microbiome may have looked like, providing another way to peer back in time and see what his life have been like.]</p> <p><a href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/heres-what-oetzi-the-iceman-ate-before-he-was-murdered/"> Scientific American</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/63044-otzi-mummy-last-supper.html">Live Science</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <h3><strong>We’re not getting any Younger (Dryas) over here!</strong></h3> <p>Sometimes the news just makes me want to go back to a simpler time. A time without the internet, meddling and farcical meetings. I’m not talking the 20th century either. I’m thinking even farther back. About 13,000 years back when the human population was less than 1 million, and boy did the environment think that was swell, and things were a bit chillier. The planet was just coming out of an ice age. And that meant temperatures were on the upswing along with oceans. It was a wonderful active time…. Geologically. Painfully slow changes humanely.</p> <p>Then…. All of a sudden (and I don’t mean SUDDEN geologically, I mean human sudden like several decades suddenly), the northern hemisphere was plunged back into a colder climate that lasted for a thousand years. A well known abrupt climate change  whose cause has been studied and questioned and fought over (scientifically so it’s friendly) for years. It’s what is known as the Younger Dryas, named for a flower whose official name is latin mc-latinface… or dryas octopetaia. Either one.</p> <p>Anyways, recent research led by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute or WHOI has a new claim as to what happened. They took sediment cores in the eastern Beaufort sea near where the Mackenzie river empties into the ARctic Ocean which also happens to be near the border of the Yukon and Yellowknife territories. By looking at oxygen isotopes in the shells found in the cores, they determined that a massive glacial flood occurred there near the time of the abrupt Younger Dryas.  This truly humongous flood would have dumped tons of fresh water into the Arctic that the researchers say would have made its way into the Atlantic Ocean.</p> <p>Where did the water come from? Melting glaciers. Specifically the Laurentide Ice sheet. As it melted it formed massive lakes including Lake Agassiz, a ginormous lake in the middle of modern day canada.. But as the ice sheet melted, what kept those lakes in place suddenly disappeared, allowing them to empty. Now for awhile, the water flowed south through the Mississippi. But eventually, it shifted to flow north. Some researchers have thought it emptied through the St Lawrence seaway into the Atlantic. What makes this research novel is that the meltwater instead flowed north into the Arctic. Now, not all scientists agree...they never do… but regardless of where the meltwater entered the Northern atlantic/Arctic, it’s what it does afterwards that’s interesting.</p> <p>Why does that matter? Well it makes more sense as to the mechanism that actually caused the cold change. All of that freshwater slowed or stopped the giant Atlantic ocean conveyor belt known as the “Atlantic meridional overturning circulation” (or AMOC) which brings warm water to Europe. Normally, that conveyor belt of water becomes saltier as it moves north, becoming denser and sinking. The injection of freshwater in the Arctic/North Atlantic disrupts this by freshening the water and not letting it sink. This slows down the conveyor belt which means less warm water to Europe and a plunge into coldness.</p> <p>Why do we care now? Well there is a HUGE amount of freshwater locked into Greenland. As it melts, it is also depositing fresh water into the North Atlantic, albeit much slower than the sudden Younger Dryas event. However, there is research that says the AMOC is slower than it used to be. While scientists don’t think a shutdown is imminent, past events like the Younger Dryas abrupt cooling can give interesting insight into just how our climate system works, especially if we stress it in certain ways. The climate is super duper complex and what may seem like a small regional climate change somewhere can easily snowball (pun intended for this story) into something much bigger, like hemispherically bigger. Let’s also keep that thought in mind whenever we talk about geoengineering.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/following-the-fresh-water">WHOI</a> <a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/energy-environment/2018/07/11/scientists-may-have-solved-huge-riddle-earths-climate-past-it-doesnt-bode-well-future/?utm_term=.6241e0bec71e"> WaPo</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Interview with Michael MacFerrin, Glaciologist</strong></h2> <p>This past winter I had the privilege to chat with Michael MacFerrin, glaciologist, and Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder. We talked about his work and discoveries on the Greenland's immense ice sheet. Science is hard work, folks! But the rewards and experiences last a lifetime and beyond. Join us as Mike shares his incredible experiences from this frozen wilderness.</p> <hr /> <h2>Pub Quiz</h2> <p>All in favor of doing the Pub Quiz say “aye”! The ayes have it!</p> <p>Joining us today are the incredibly intelligent Nevena Hristozova, the immensely imaginative Chris MacAlister, and the intermittently inclement Tom Di Liberto.</p> <p>Here’s how it works. I ask a science question and our team of incomprehensible intellectuals initiate their ingenious answers.</p> <p>It’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.</p> <ol> <li>What animal possesses the most massive eyes?</li> <li>Swiss physician Adolf Fick is credited with fitting the first what in 1888?</li> <li>What is the world’s most common eye color?</li> <li>This eye color is in what part of the eye?</li> <li>When you go to an ophthalmologist for an eye exam, you are often asked to look at a chart that has rows of letters in decreasing sizes, with a very large "E" at the top, followed by other letters. What is the name of this chart?</li> <li>Which eye disorder causes an opacity, or clouding in the lens?</li> <li>Your doctor says you have an orbital ecchymosis. What would just about everyone else call it?</li> <li>What would a pirate wear to improve his/her eyesight?</li> <li>Our eyes can detect about 500 shades of what?</li> <li>People of this eye color have a common ancestor who lived about 10,000 years ago. No, what color eyes?</li> </ol> <p>How did YOU do?</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena: A</strong> bit of shameless self-promotion - I was invited on the 3rd of July to a panel discussion as part of the plenary session of the summer school Let's talk science. It's a collaboration between the Flemish universities and includes half day plenary talks on scicomm topics and 2 or 3 days of workshops on various scicomm skills. I was one of the six reps of universities representing my university as sort of a scicomm role model (yeah baby). So we had a discussion on what's scicomm for us all, what it gives us and why we do it, what's our fav media for scicomm and apparently I stirred the audience by saying that I myself am my fav media because I just love the most to sit and talk with people about science. It was extremely cool and it felt a great honor to have been part of this.</p> <p><a href= "https://sgseventcenter.webex.com/mw3300/mywebex/default.do?nomenu=true&siteurl=sgseventcenter&service=6&rnd=0.259603886242068&main_url=https%3A%2F%2Fsgseventcenter.webex.com%2Fec3300%2Feventcenter%2Fevent%2FeventAction.do%3FtheAction%3Ddetail%26%26%26EMK%3D4832534b00000004cf3ad56ff9c182086c30620384b8675da1e2684a64d0201bb8a33edb6ff59aa3%26siteurl%3Dsgseventcenter%26confViewID%3D100959156532413720%26encryptTicket%3DSDJTSwAAAAQyFdS3-yzIOuSqne86gA4Hm5HLFZqBb3kCgpJTkAcc-w2%26" target="_blank" rel="noopener">SGS Food Webinars</a></p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> I’ve been to family wedding in Cornwall, which is limited in its level of scientific interest if I’m completely honest. But whilst I was there I was talking to by wife’s cousin who is a tattoo artist. This conversation included tattoos, how training tattoo artists need to practice on themselves and the inevitable spectre of unwanted or regretted tattoos. This compelled me to go into science communication mode and share the findings of a surprisingly recent study on why tattoos last for as long as they do, considering how quickly our skin gets replaced. The key is our immune system. The tattoo ink gets locked inside white blood cells that try, in vain, to destroy the ink. This actually ends up preserving them inside and as each immune cell dies, a new one takes its place to continue the preservation. The useful thing about knowing this is that immunosuppression can be used to aid the tattoo removal process.</p> <p><strong>Tom:</strong> I’ve been taking a 2.5 year old to gymnastics classes where they attempt to get a bunch of toddlers to play group games together. My toddler disagrees and immediately makes a run for the balance beam. In good news, he has great balance and is seemingly indestructable. In bad news, for the other kids, he tends to bounce off everything even other children. Those kids arent so lucky.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> On the 19th of July, Thursday I'll be attending an online seminar by SGS. It's a Food safety webinar entitled 'How to Improve Food Authenticity, Traceability and Safety using Next Generation Sequencing'. If it's not too late for our listeners with interest in knowing how can authorities can use latest technologies to ensure that what we eat is what the label says. It's at 10am Central European time @sgseventsenter webpage.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In the Blogosphere</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena</strong>: If I may - an episode of my other podcast, the one I actually produce is just out - it's only our 4th and it's with guests from an account on Twitter called Latino labs promoting diversity in academia. You can listen to it on my blog incubatorium.eu of the right hand side directly or anywhere you catch your podcasts if you search for the Scicomm JC podcast.</p> <p><strong>Chris</strong>: In addition to recent posts about whether dogs can smell fear and how to recreate radiation using a skipping rope. This week, on Matilda’s Lab I’ve finally dealt with a subject that I’ve been meaning to for a long time: Uncertainty. One of the big misunderstandings of people who question modern science is that we don’t prove things; only Mathematicians can do this, instead; all we can do is to minimise our uncertainty about things and accept that what we know can change depending on where the evidence takes us. Ultimately, we are in a non-ending war against ignorance. Ignorance is our default state, so if you (like so many people) are fearful or ashamed about your ignorance, don’t be, we all have it. Instead, get out there and do something about it!.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Thanks to Michael MacFerrin for sharing his amazing work in the frozen (but thawing) north.</p> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href="mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082">Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A">Spotify</a> and any of the usual podcast directories such as Overcast. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>And please check out our website is at bluestreakscience.com</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by <a href="http://www.propodcastsolutions.com/">Pro Podcast Solutions</a>.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Nevena Hristozova, Chris MacAlister, Tom Di Liberto, and JD Goodwin.</p> <p>Thank you for joining us. And remember…follow the science!</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

076: Mariana Di Giacomo - Paleontologist
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>We get an inside look on fossil restoration and paleontology with Mariana di Giacomo of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History</li> <li>Science News</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Chris MacAlister and Dr. Amrita Sule</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Wetlands Protection Rule put ‘too much emphasis’ on science, Trump officials complain</strong></h3> <p>It’s time for the continuing adventures of the Trump administration and their valiant efforts to protect you from the scourge of the environment and its evil plans to keep you healthy and alive!</p> <p>As scientists we shouldn’t make assumptions about things but I reckon it’s pretty safe to bet that if you’re taking time to this science podcast then you probably aren’t a fan of White House at the moment. So I’ll try to avoid preaching to the converted because there is some other interesting stuff going on.</p> <p>The broad picture is this. The United States has a Clean Water Act. It’s a law that gives isolated wetlands and waterways automatic federal protection. Whilst this may be one of the few environmental protection measures that Trump isn’t scrapping, his administration argues that the interpretation of this law is not in keeping with its wording.</p> <p>To be fair to them, they have a point; the law is impressively vague. The Act says it should apply to "navigable waters of the United States". “What do they mean by that?” you may ask. The Act defines them as "waters of the United States." I’m sure glad that they clear that up! The Supreme Court has attempted to decide what that phrase means 3 times and how far have they got with this? They’re split.</p> <p>To cut a long story short; the Obama administration interpreted the law in a way that not only protected the areas in question but also protected the waters that feed into these waters. After all, what’s the point in putting your valuables into a safe and then leaving the door wide open? But it is this interpretation that the White House is questioning stating that Obama’s Environment Protection Agency (the EPA) put “too much emphasis on science”. Ken Kopocis, who lead the agency at the time, said that "It's baffling for a science-based agency to say that they relied too much on science" and I can see his point. You wouldn’t accuse Roger Federer of paying too much attention to Tennis.</p> <p>But the reason why this accusation is being made is because EPA should rely both on science and law when developing regulation. The defence of the EPA is that, with such a vague law to work with, what’s left to rely on other than the science.</p> <p>For me, the really worrying thing isn’t that this argument is being made, it’s why is this argument being made? Why would you want to remove protection from these areas; what possible better use could they put it to? Don’t go all Big Yellow Taxi on me America, it may not be paradise but we don’t need another parking lot!</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/obama-s-wetlands-protection-rule-put-too-much-emphasis-science-trump-officials-argue?rss=1"> Science</a></p> <h3><strong>Human Implants Invaded by Microorganisms</strong></h3> <p>This story definitely makes me think of the time when I had a screw and a rod in my ankle due to a fracture.  But who knew that when these implants were removed a year later they had likely become home to number of microorganisms found in the human body.</p> <p>Implants like screws from joints, pacemakers, or plates from skulls when first implanted are completely sterile – which makes sense because you don’t want any infection. But recent studies showed that, once in place, they start being colonized by fungi and bacterial species which naturally occur in the body.</p> <p>Previously there have been studies on microorganisms on implants surrounded by infected tissue. However, this is the first time studies have been carried out on implants from people with no such complications.</p> <p>This study, which was carried out at Costerton Biofilm Center at the University of Copenhagen, looked at around 100 implants from infection free patients. They also looked at implants from patients who were due to have them removed, as well as from deceased patients.</p> <p>The group found that about 70% of implants were covered with microorganisms. These are not harmful as they had not attacked by the body’s immune system.</p> <p>This is pretty cool because although it is be well known that human bodies are home to microorganisms it has been thought that our tissues and blood are free of them. But given this observation that might not the case, as one possibility is that the bacteria and fungi reach the implants via blood stream.</p> <p>More studies need to be done to answer questions like – What is the role of these microorganisms who make these implants their home OR Does this colonization by good bacteria/fungi prevent infections?</p> <p><a href= "http://sciencenordic.com/human-implants-are-invaded-microorganisms"> ScienceNordic</a></p> <h3><strong>The End of the Road for Kepler Space Telescope</strong></h3> <p>One of our great eyes in the sky is about to close for the last time. The Kepler Space Telescope is about to run out fuel. Supplies have got so low that it has been put into hibernation until the start of August when it gets its slot on the Deep Space Network. At this point it will awake, use the last of its fuel to point its antenna toward Earth, transmit its final message, and then it will be goodnight Kepler. So here at Blue Streak Science, we’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate Kepler and all that it has achieved.</p> <p>This NASA mission was named after Johannes Kepler, a 17th century German mathematician, astronomer and astrologer (no one’s perfect). He formulated the laws of planetary motion and was one of the giants whose shoulders Newton, in his own words, so famously stood upon.</p> <p>Kepler was launched in 2009, charged with the task of discovering Earth sized exoplanets. It cost six hundred million dollars, and do you want to know what you get for that kind of money? One instrument: but, oh what an instrument; it’s photometer can monitor the brightness of 150,000 stars at once, watching for those characteristic dips in radiation caused by a passing satellite.</p> <p>So how did this one trick pony perform? Well its earthbound predecessor, the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher, has discovered 134 exoplanets but it’s had a five year head start. Kepler’s total is 2,512 with 5,011 candidates still awaiting confirmation.</p> <p>Kepler’s legacy will be the confirmation that exoplanets are very common. And this has massive implications for the greatest question of humanity; are we alone in the Universe? Because the more planets that there are out there, the more chances there are that something may be living on one.</p> <p>But the search does not stop here, TESS the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, launched in April of this year (as was so expertly covered on this podcast) and should have started collecting data last month. It is expected to discover another 20,000 exoplanets, which is great news for anyone looking for work in exoplanet astrology. You guys are gonna be busy!</p> <p><a href= "https://www.space.com/41099-kepler-space-telescope-hibernation.html"> Space.com</a></p> <h3><strong>Raptors of a Feather</strong></h3> <p>Let’s go back in time guys. We have a story from the Jurassic World. So, who is it this time? The RAPTORS – my personal favorites, who have made appearance in the entire Jurassic park franchise yet.</p> <p>Now in the movies we have seen how these intelligent Velociraptors work together and hunt in packs.  <strong>But</strong> did they do that in real life as well??</p> <p>Velociraptors as they have been called were similar to another animals called <em>Deinonychus.</em> Bonebeds of <em>Deinonychus</em> surrounding bones of herbivores have indicated that they worked in packs to hunt the prey however this notion has been questioned over years.</p> <p>But there is another line of evidence, which comes from their tracks which also indicates the same at least in part. In 2008 paleontologists described that velociraptor –like animals walked side by side for a time.</p> <p>The imprints discovered had the signature of two-toed imprints - with the killing claw held off the ground, indicating that they belonged to deinonychosaurs. And just this year another set of deinonychosaur tracks indicating signs of similar interaction was found.</p> <p>These tracks are among the aggregation of 300 dinosaur footprints in the  Early Cretaceous rock of eastern China. There are four trackways with 15-18 foot prints and alongside each other in the same direction. </p> <p>Theses footprints initially look single toed but then if you think of modern ostriches – who have two toes but them most of their body weight rests on one toe – making an imprint look like single toed.</p> <p>These footprints were pretty small about 10 cm in length thus likely made by a smaller animal. The most important thing that stood out was that these tracks are very close to each other and go in same direction. At one point you see that one track crossed the other and that one Deinonychosaur was lagging behind but more or less they followed same path.</p> <p>Now, from these tracks it is difficult to say if this particular pack was hunting or just out on a stroll. Well I guess for this moment back in time, birds of feather were just flocking together.</p> <p><a href= "https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/laelaps/raptors-of-a-feather/"> Scientific American</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <p>Thanks JD! It’s summer in the climate lounge, so we’re going to talk about summery things. Cold drinks with umbrellas. A relaxing day at the beach. And scorching temperatures that have caused horrible things across North America and serve as a scary reminder at what may be not a rare event come the next 50-100 years. Things jumped up a notch there at the end huh? Yeah, I know. Here in the climate lounge we go from 0 to 50….celsius REAL QUICK.</p> <p>So over the last several weeks a giant heat dome has sat itself in the upper troposphere over much of North America. This has led to sinking, warming air, and a lack of clouds allowing for the summer sun to simply bake the continent. Now it hasn’t done all of this in the same place at the same time. The focus of the dangerous heat has shifted across North America (and even been located in Europe).</p> <p>Chris: [Tell me about it!]</p> <p>First, temperatures were hot over eastern North America. Temperatures in Washington DC didn’t drop below 80 for a couple of days. But the scarier stuff happened farther north in Canada. The hot temperatures in Quebec have led to at least 54 deaths, 24 of which were in Montreal as scorching temperatures descended on a region that is simply not used to that sort of heat. Many of those who died were older and lived in places without air conditioning. Temperatures in montreal stayed near 35 C for nearly a week, the longest period of warmth since 1965. Long lasting heat and warm nights are a very bad combo for the elderly and young. The body simply has no time to recover.</p> <p>Moving west, the heat dome led to some frankly startingly temperatures out in California. On July 6, the temperatures set all-time recor in 6 locations in southern California. Including 117 in Van Nuys, 118 in Riverside and 111 at UCLA. Downtown LA only hit 108 a daily record that beat the old one by 14 degrees. According to the US’s National Weather Service, it hit 120 at Chino which would be the highest ever temperature recorded by an automated site in the region of southern California (coastal or valley). That’s absurd. It’s sorta hard to explain why because my jaw literally dropped when I first saw that and has remained that way. I mostly subside now on bugs that mistakenly fly into my mouth. It’s a living.</p> <p>What makes this nuts is that California normally sees its hottest temperatures in September when dry winds called the Santa Anas zoom down the mountains and warm as they compress, leading to hot temperatures. To be setting temperature records like this in early july is again, absurd.</p> <p>So it was hot. Who cares? Its weather right NOT climate. That’s sorta missing the point. But listen to an expert Michael Wehner of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, "[i]n probabilistic terms, climate change increased the chances of the heat wave by about 20 to 50 times," adding that there is at least a 99% likelihood that human-induced climate change "<a href= "https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wace.2018.03.001">increased the severity of this heat wave</a>."</p> <p>Climate change is affecting temperatures now. It’s beginning to show its weather cards on the table… As temperatures continue to warm, events like this will become more and more common. And while some folks who are used to hot temperatures may be thinking Psht I can handle that, the last two weeks show some pretty big vulnerabilities. During the heat wave in California, electricity demands skyrocketed and power went out for 12-24 hours. Yes. It was 115 degrees in a place that normally gets hot. And the power still went out.</p> <p>But even scary is what happened in Canada. Simply put, it’s a region not used to the type of heat wave that may be common in 50 to 100 years. And because of that, many residents simply don’t have the technology that people more used to the heat do, like air conditioning. And when that happens, sadly people die.</p> <p>Now it will get hot every summer. It is summer after all. But every year we see glimpses of what in the future we may see as normal. And that could mean drastic changes to the way people, cities and regions exist. Now that is not fatalistic. I’m not saying we’re doomed. What I’m saying is, let’s acknowledge what we are seeing, and take steps to make it not so bad. Oh and maybe think about who among us will be most affected the quickest thanks to climate change. A little empathy goes a long way...</p> <p><a href= "https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/07/us/heat-wave-los-angeles-wxc/index.html"> CNN</a> <a href= "https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/heat-wave-ending-1.4736509?cmp=rss"> CBC</a> <a href= "https://www.wunderground.com/news/2018-07-03-southern-california-record-heat-southwest-monsoon-moisture"> Wunderground</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Interview with Mariana Di Giacomo, paleontologist</strong></h2> <p>Today's interview with Mariana Di Giacomo was like getting a personal behind-the-scenes tour in a science museum. And our tour guide is a paleontologist who specializes in fossil restoration at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. What a treat!</p> <p>Have a listen to this interview!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Joining us for this humdinger of a hootenanny are the hippest of hipsters Chris MacAlister, the humble and housebroken Tom Di Liberto, and the heartwarmingly highfalutin Amrita Sule.</p> <p>Here’s how it works. I ask a science question and our horse stable of highbrow hotshots heartily holler back.</p> <p>It’s not just the letter H today. It’s animals that begin with the letter H.</p> <ol> <li>Sharp-shinned, Shikra, red-tailed, and the Cooper’s are all types of what?</li> <li>Naturally occurring only in Asia, Africa, and Europe there are 17 species of this small spiky mammal.</li> <li>Any of several species of low-flying diurnal raptors or a British military aircraft.</li> <li>There are four species of this carnivore that range from Africa to southern Asia. One species might be welcome in the audience of a comedian.</li> <li>The name of this species means “water horse”? What is it?</li> <li>What birds have the highest metabolic rate of any homeothermic animal?</li> <li>Name any insect from the taxonomic Order Hymenoptera.</li> <li>What is the only known comet visible to the naked eye that may appear twice in a human lifetime?</li> <li>This hard-shelled invertebrate, named for its resemblance to equine footwear, is related to arachnids and evolved about 500 million years ago.</li> <li>This type of whale ranges from 12 to 16 meters in length and weighs around 25 to 30 tons, and was featured prominently in the film Star Trek IV “The Voyage Home”. What is it?</li> </ol> <p>How did YOU do?</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <p><a href="https://www.thebritishhistorypodcast.com/">The British History Podcast</a></p> <p>Host Jamie Jeffers takes us on a history adventure. Well, not exactly. Yes, it’s a history adventure, but it’s also a storytelling adventure with every episode.</p> <p>It’s a chronological retelling of the story of Britain beginning in the most recent Ice Age and it goes forward from there. That’s a lot of ground to cover! But Jamie makes every episode worth listening to...sometimes more than once.</p> <p>So I highly recommend you begin at the beginning, episode one, or you may become lost without the stories that lead up to the current episodes.</p> <p>You can find that on Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.</p> <p>We’ll put links in the show notes.</p> <p><a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-british-history-podcast/id440985304?mt=2"> Apple Podcasts</a><strong>,</strong> <a href= "https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-british-history-podcast">Stitcher</a>, <a href="https://www.thebritishhistorypodcast.com/">Website</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> As I mentioned last time I was on; I’ve been to the Lake District, a little way from Penrith and whilst I never got around to making it to Beatrix Potter’s house I managed to capture another type of experience. On our first night at the campsite I took my dog, Cassini, for a short walk before the sun completely set. I’m so glad that I did as I soon became aware that we were not alone. All around me, darting through the air were bats, pipistrelles. “Wow” I thought, “Matilda would love this!” And then responsible parenting thoughts kicked in: “Agh, we’ve just put her down to sleep”. But sod responsible parenting, there’s bats everywhere, so I went to get my daughter out of bed. Now I should probably explain at this point that Matilda LOVES bats. Spooky moods in kids TV are ruined because every time a colony of bats emerge unexpectedly Matilda is delighted! We are so lucky to have one of the best zoos in the UK on our doorstep, Chester Zoo, and Matilda’s favourite place in the zoo is the bat cave, where Rodrigues Fruit bats and Seba’s short-tailed bats are free to fly around you, and possibly shit on you. So the expression on Matilda’s face as the pipistrelles started to emerge before her eyes is something that I will never forget. It was one of those moments that reminds me exactly why I do science communication, because there is no greater spectacle than the wonder of nature and no greater feeling than sharing that with someone.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Going to a lecture at Bodega Marine Lab in stunningly beautiful Bodega Bay, California. It’s titled “Saviors of the reef? Context‐dependent control of algae by coral reef fishes”. The speaker is Mike Gil of the University of California at Davis, and this will be happening on Wednesday, 18 July.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Once again, our thanks to Mariana Di Giacomo for sharing her stories from the field and the lab</p> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> Spotify</a> and any of the usual podcast directories such as Overcast. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>And please check out our website is at bluestreakscience.com</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by <a href="http://www.propodcastsolutions.com/">Pro Podcast Solutions</a>.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Chris MacAlister, Amrita Sule, Tom Di Liberto, and JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>Thank you for joining us. And remember...follow the science!</p> <p> </p>
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075: Chris Ryu - Dorset Science & Technology Centre
<p>Today we begin our pivot towards doing more interviews on the podcast. And we could not have chosen a better person to talk with than our good friend and science outreach superstar Chris Ryu. We had a terrific time talking about the Dorset Science & Technology Centre and the Atom Club. Chris' passion is in science, technology, and coding and his mission is to share this with children and adults in some of the more rural areas of southern England. We applaud the hard work and dedication of everyone involved in this important science outreach development. </p> <h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Interview with Chris Ryu of the Dorset Science and Technology Centre</li> <li>Science News with Sophie McManus and JD Goodwin</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Sophie McManus and JD Goodwin</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Crow vending machine skills 'redefine intelligence’</strong></h3> <p>Last week a new study published in Nature Scientific Reports revealed further evidence for their cognitive abilities, and shows that these so-called “bird brains” can memorize tool shapes and even recreate them from memory. The subject of the research is the New Caledonian crow. They’ve been studied for quite some time now. In their native habitat they’ll fashion hooks to very precisely snag grubs and other tasty treats from holes and crevices.  </p> <p>Where does this behavior come from? Are they just copying other crows without thinking about it? Is this a hard-wired behavior that all of these crows possess as instincts? It also could be possible that these crows are memorizing tool designs, and recreating them.</p> <p>This research was led by Dr. Sarah Jelbert, a post-doctoral research associate in psychology at the University of Cambridge. Dr. Jelbert and her team designed this experiment to see if this behavior, this cumulative cultural evolution, is happening with these crows. They had 8 subjects, and the first order was the train them to recognize what a proper tool looks like. The one that’ll “do the trick”.  In this case the right tool for the job was a correctly sized piece of paper. The experimenters offered the crows differently sized pieces of paper that they could use on a specially made vending machine...one that dispensed meat.</p> <p>The crows had to figure out if the larger pieces of paper would release the delicious treat, or a smaller piece of paper. When the correctly sized paper was put into the slot a hidden experimenter opened the hatch and a tasty treat would come rolling out. So the birds were conditioned to understand which size of paper would do the trick.</p> <p>Here’s the best part.</p> <p>The crows were then given larger sheets of paper. Instead of giving up they used their gray matter to figure it out. The crows began to use their bills and talons to tear and shape the paper into the properly sized tools. They were trained to know what sized tool was needed. This information had to be stored as memory. Then they had the ingenuity to take that information and create the right tool for the job.</p> <p>This is just one experiment. But it has given researchers a lot to go on for further testing and also observation of crows in the wild. For instance, how long does this memory last? Can a completely different reward experiment be done, and would the crows remember how this one worked when presented with it later? But right now, it looks like one more unique human trait is falling by the wayside.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-27405-1">Nature</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44654098">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/28/science/crows-toolmaking.html">New York Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencealert.com/crows-can-remember-tool-shapes-recreate-them-cumulative-cultural-evolution"> ScienceAlert</a></p> <h3><strong>Scientists are counting seal pups in the Thames Estuary</strong></h3> <p>Maybe a glimmer of good environmental news, for a change!</p> <p>First we go back in time 60 years, when London’s Thames estuary was declared ‘biologically dead’. The river was dirty and almost devoid of wildlife. Since then, things have turned around to some extent - and today we have 3500 seals in the Thames. There are two species, harbour and grey seals. Some of them are about to give birth, so scientists are doing a count to work out how they’re doing.</p> <p>Thea Cox, conservation biologist at the Zoological Society of London, says that "Knowing how many there are is a really good indicator of the health of the estuary, what habitat is available to them, what food source is available to them."</p> <p>This good news story has a sting in the tail - although the river is generally less polluted, we naturally do have to worry about plastic pollution, in particular microplastics, both for our own health as well as that of the seals.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44647967">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/seals-river-thames/">iNews - Environment</a></p> <h3><strong>Marshmallow test re-visited</strong></h3> <p>Do you know what the marshmallow test is? It’s a test that was first conducted by Stanford psychologist Walter Mischel to see if there is any correlation between early childhood self-control and later childhood success.</p> <p>Here’s how it worked. The experimenter placed a marshmallow on a table in front of a preschool aged kid. Then the grownup promised to give the kid two marshmallows if they could resist stuffing the first one in their cute little face for 15 minutes.</p> <p>They did these tests in the 1960’s on 90 children in a local Stanford preschool. Decades later they came back to their test subjects to measure their success over the years. And yes, there seemed to be a greater degree of success in kids who resisted marshmallow temptation, including higher test scores and a lower body mass index.</p> <p>The results of this research were published in 1990 and has been a measure of children’s willpower since that time.</p> <p>But a new paper published in the journal Psychological Science suggests that this test, the marshmallow test, may just be a lot of fluff.</p> <p>The new study was led by Dr. Tyler Watts of New York University, and Dr. Greg Duncan and Haonan Quan, both of the University of California-Irvine. And these researchers made a few changes to the test. They increased the sample size from 90 to 900, and they also included a much greater diversity of kids. And these background factors were given consideration when they analyzed the results.</p> <p>And according to Dr. Watts the results showed that once the kid’s backgrounds were factored in, any differences in delaying gratification didn’t result in any statistically meaningful increases in success at a later age.</p> <p>The results suggest that a child’s ability to resist a marshmallow is more influenced by their socio-economic backgrounds. Think about it. If you’re growing up not sure about anything in your life, including when your next meal is happening...then you better grab any food while you can. Also, such a background is more likely to sow distrust in adults promising to give them something...like that second marshmallow. And their future success in school and in life is probably far more influenced by the economic disadvantages of their childhood than by any ability to resist a marshmallow, or other food reward.  </p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/kids-waiting-longer-classic-marshmallow-self-control-test"> Science News</a>, <a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/why-marshmallow-test-may-be-nothing-fluff"> Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-research-marshmallow-test-suggests-delayed-gratification-doesnt-equal-success-180969234/"> Smithsonian</a></p> <h3><strong>Poliovirus could treat brain cancer</strong></h3> <p>Glioblastoma is a devastating form of brain cancer - it’s the most common type of malignant brain tumour and patients typically do not live for long after diagnosis - best-case scenario is around 20 months. A study published last month by a team at Duke University indicated that a modified form of poliovirus may have some benefits in prolonging life expectancy.</p> <p>But how would POLIO help with brain cancer? The polio treatment is one of several “oncolytic viruses” being investigated as anti-cancer agents. So researchers have long viewed such viruses as potential tools for directly killing cancer - and the virus kills tumour cells and they now suspect that the viruses might be more effective at marshaling the body's immune system against malignancies, according to the National Cancer Institute. As I said, the virus has been modified, so it will not cause polio (this being a horrible disease, causing paralysis and possibly death). It’s modified as follows - the part of the virus that targets and kills nerve cells during a polio infection was swapped with a piece of the common cold virus.</p> <p>Of 61 people with recurring glioblastoma who were treated with the modified virus, 21 percent were alive after three years. In a “historical” comparison group of 104 patients, who would have been eligible for the treatment but died before it was available, 4 percent lived as long.</p> <p>The paper is in New England Journal of Medicine. It is an early phase trial and will naturally face much scrutiny in months and years to come.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/poliovirus-treatment-helped-patients-deadly-brain-tumors-live-longer"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2018/06/26/polio-virus-treatment-increased-survival-in-patients-with-deadly-brain-tumors-study-shows/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7d018a2ff158"> Washington Post</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62938-poliovirus-could-treat-brain-cancer.html"> LiveScience</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <p>Today in the Lounge, I wanted to step back from climate change per-se and talk about an interesting climate feature. DUST! Specifically, Saharan dust that gets transported thousands and thousands of miles across the tropical Atlantic Ocean, causing all sorts of issues.</p> <p>Every year hundreds of millions of tons of dust gets picked over West Africa and blow west by the trade winds over the Atlantic Ocean. Most of the dust is born at the Bodele depression in north central Chad at the southern end of the Saharan desert. It is actually a dry lake bed that is the lowest point in chad. Winds get funneled through nearby mountains, accelerate through and pick up dry diatoms (microorganisms) left over from a time when the lake was an actual lake and transport them west with the prevailing winds.</p> <p>Now this dust causes some unbelievable sunsets across the Caribbean but provides a gross hazy view during the day. The view is like when you mistakenly touch the lenses part of your glasses and then put the glasses back on. The dust is your wayward fingers.</p> <p>But you might be thinking, I’ll deal with a hazy day for a good sunset. Well, the dust can also combine with the normal every day human-caused pollution emitted near cities to create extremely hazardous air quality days. In Dallas Texas, 7000 miles away from Africa, the dust combined with human pollution to cause levels of pm2.5 (particles that smaller than 2.5 microns or 0.0001 inches) which were highly elevated.</p> <p>Why care? Outdoor air pollution, dominated by PM2.5, is responsible for around 4.5 million deaths a year (<a href= "http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(17)32345-0/fulltext">Landrigan et al. 2017</a>), half of which are in China and India. These particles are such a danger because of just how small they are. At less than 2.5 micrometers, the particles are able to penetrate deep into lungs and even your bloodstream. Extreme exposure to a large amount of PM2.5 can lead to nonfatal heart attacks, irregular heartbeats, reduced lung function, aggravated asthma, and increased respiratory symptoms. In the most vulnerable—those with pre-existing heart or lung disease—exposure to PM2.5 can even lead to death.</p> <p>But there are some positives, Saharan dust, specifically those diatoms, helps to fertilize the Amazon rainforest with nutrients and helps build beaches across the Caribbean. This dust also lives in what is known as the Saharan Air Layer as it moves across the Atlantic, a layer of air that is hot and dry. This hot and dry air mass also helps to kill off any potential tropical cyclone from developing usually leading to a reduced number of storms. Which is good!. And It’s part of the natural climate ecosystem with dust storms happening at the bodele depression about 100 days a year. But it still can cause issues, especially when combined with those non-natural parts of the climate ecosystem.</p> <p>So the next time you watch a video that brings a tear to your eye and you want an excuse, don’t just say you have dust in your eyes, say you have diatoms from the bodele depression in your eyes. You’ll be super cool I promise.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.wunderground.com/news/2018-07-01-saharan-dust-texas-houston-saturday"> Wunderground</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Interview with Chris Ryu</strong></h2> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Thank you Chris Ryu for sharing with our audience all the great things you’re doing at the Dorset Science and Technology Centre, and the Atom Club. This is true grassroots science outreach, and they deserve your support. So please check them out at Atom.club.</p> <p>That concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by Pro Podcast Solutions.</p> <p>Our hosts today were Sophie McManus, Tom Di Liberto, and JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>Thank you for joining us</p> <p>Follow the science!</p>
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074: The Life and Legacy of Koko the Gorilla
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>A**hole of the Month</li> <li>A Farewell to Koko</li> <li>Where’s all the Matter?</li> <li>Three places struggling to control HIV and AIDS</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Sophie McManus and JD Goodwin</strong></h2> <h3><strong>A Farewell to Koko</strong></h3> <h4>Sophie McManus</h4> <p>Koko, the famous ‘talking gorilla’, has died in California aged 46.</p> <p>Koko was born in 1971 in San Francisco zoo and when she became ill she needed hand-rearing. The student for the job was Penny Patterson, who also taught her some American sign language. In a couple of years Koko learned 80 signs, before she was moved to Stanford University.</p> <p>It is claimed she could understand 2000 English words and knew 1000 different signs. Apart from that, Penny Patterson described evidence for a sense of humour and a charming and creative sense of word play - she referred to a zebra as a ‘white tiger,’ a Pinocchio doll as an ‘elephant baby,’ and a mask as an ‘eye hat’. Koko famously loved cats - her favourite kitten was called All Ball, and the way she handled her kittens is obviously full of care. She tickled Robin Williams back in 2001 and it was claimed she ‘grieved’ when told of his death.</p> <p>Koko’s life and treatment attracted scepticism and criticism as well as plaudits. The former arose from overinterpretation of the results she gave scientists - after all, she was taught to sign, mainly to respond to humans, it was not a spontaneous desire to communicate or chit-chat as human infants have. There is also the danger of projecting human emotions onto animals. For example, my family has dogs, and although we think they show emotions like jealousy (like when one tries to steal the other’s food), this may partly be our projections. (Secretly still convinced the young one gets jealous). The fact Koko trembled her lip when told Robin Williams was dead may not be crystal clear signs of grief. An example of projection and over-inference in animal studies is that of the horse Clever Hans.</p> <p>The criticism was also born of her environment and diet - although she was given many toys (and pets), obviously her home was entirely unnatural for a gorilla, her diet was humanised, she was given many different supplements by a ‘naturopath’, and she didn’t have the chance to socialise with other gorillas. Slate published a fantastic article summarising the many criticisms of ape sign studies.</p> <p>Her species, the western lowland gorilla, is considered critically endangered today. Today, studies into ape communication such as the study of Koko’s life are less likely to receive ethical approval. Quote from Barbara King, an anthropologist - it's not very respectful of the world's biodiversity to insist upon making apes into furry versions of ourselves. Koko taught us so much about the great ape mind, even while she paid a cost, in her own daily life, for our scientific curiosity.</p> <p>So generally then, Koko was a star, but we shouldn’t be looking to replace her.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.newyorker.com/culture/postscript/remembering-koko-a-gorilla-we-loved"> The New Yorker</a>, <a href= "https://www.npr.org/2018/06/21/622160278/koko-the-gorilla-dies-redrew-the-lines-of-animal-human-communication"> NPR</a>, <a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44559261">BBC News</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/koko-gorilla-gone-she-left-legacy"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/gorillas-koko-sign-language-culture-animals/"> National Geographic</a></p> <p><a href= "http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/08/koko_kanzi_and_ape_language_research_criticism_of_working_conditions_and.html?via=gdpr-consent"> Great article in Slate</a></p> <h3><strong>Have scientists finally found the universe's missing matter?</strong></h3> <h4>JD Goodwin</h4> <p>Most of us have heard that everyday matter, the stuff that we can observe like atoms and molecules, make up only a small percentage of the universe. Dark energy comprises about 70%, and dark matter is about 25%. Although we don’t know exactly <em>what</em> they are we can calculate their mass by their effects on what we can <em>observe</em>. But there’s that roughly 5% of everything that is ordinary matter, more accurately known as baryons. We know this from observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation. So we’re on pretty solid ground there.</p> <p>After years of observing galaxies, and using every tool in the cosmologists’ toolkit we’ve only been able to observe half of the predicted baryonic matter, the ordinary matter, that the universe <em>should</em> have.</p> <p>Last week a paper was published in Nature that just may very well account for the missing baryonic matter in our universe. The paper’s lead author, Fabrizio Nicastro said: “The missing baryons represent one of the biggest mysteries in modern astrophysics.”</p> <p>But progess has been made over the years. Astrophysicists have calculated the mass of all the stars in the universe. They then added in the interstellar gas inside of galaxies and this up to about 10%. I’m not talking 10% of the mass of the universe, just 10% of the expected mass of baryons, which as you now know, comprises only about 5% of the universe’s total mass.</p> <p>Still with me here?</p> <p>Okay, we’re up to 10% of baryonic matter. Now add in the gas that surrounds galaxies like gigantic haloes. Then toss in the <em>even hotter</em> gas that fills galaxy clusters. That now brings us up to almost 20%. Better, but not particularly satisfying.</p> <p>Through some different observational techniques astronomers then turned their attention to the super colossal gas filaments that run between galaxy clusters. And that brought up to 60% of the predicted baryonic matter.</p> <p>Now we’re getting somewhere.</p> <p>And here’s where the this new paper by Nicastro and his team comes into play. They didn’t just start looking last week, by the way. They’ve been at this for almost 20 years. The team used the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory to observe a quasar. A quasar is a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at its core that emits intense radiation in the form of x-rays all the way to visible light. According to Nicastro, “After combing through the data, we succeeded at finding the signature of oxygen in the hot intergalactic gas between us and the distant quasar, at two different locations along the line of sight. This is happening because there are huge reservoirs of material – including oxygen – lying there, and just in the amount we were expecting, so we finally can close the gap in the baryon budget of the Universe.”</p> <p>This was one paper, although it took them 20 years to get to this point. Still, they have plans to look at more quasars with the XMM-Newton and NASA’s Chandra space observatories.</p> <p>Also, better space observatories are scheduled to be launched in the late 2020’s that will provide even more data. But right now it seems we have found all the ordinary matter in the universe.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/XMM-Newton_finds_missing_intergalactic_material"> European Space Agency</a>, <a href= "https://www.scitecheuropa.eu/xmm-newton-space-observatory-material/87495/"> SciTech Europa</a>, <a href= "https://www.outerplaces.com/science/item/18634-found-universe-matter-baryon"> Outer Places</a>,</p> <hr /> <h3><strong>These three places show the AIDS epidemic is far from over</strong></h3> <h4>Sophie McManus</h4> <p>Florida, Russia and Nigeria. Different corners of the world, united by the fact they are all struggling to up the ante against HIV and AIDS infection.</p> <p>These are the metrics we can use to gauge progress made in the fight against HIV, as explained in an excellent article published in <em>Science. How many people are living with the virus? What is the rate of new infection? What percentage of infected people are receiving antiretroviral drugs, which both stave off disease and prevent transmission? How many infected people have progressed to AIDS and how many have died from it? And how many children are infected by their mothers?</em></p> <p>Nigeria, Russia and the American state of Florida stand out from their neighbours because they are ‘first’ for at least one of the metrics I just mentioned. They all face differing challenges. For example, Nigeria has a high rate of mother-to-child HIV transmission, Russia has a high death rate. Florida has a high new infection rate, partly because many people there with HIV are unaware of their status, as testing isn’t as widespread as it could be.</p> <p>If you are a data nerd, you should look up the article called ‘Ending AIDS? These three places show the epidemic is far from over’ published on the 14th June on the <em>Science</em> website. There are some great interactive charts and graphics that elegantly sum up the data.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/ending-aids-these-three-places-show-epidemic-far-over?rss=1"> Science</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>A**hole of the Month</strong></h2> <h3>Elliot Sudal, publicity seeker and shark abuser</h3> <p>Have you seen the headlines? "World's Sexiest Shark Wrangler? Jaws Are Dropping Over this Ab-Tastic Ocean Expert's Instagram". That was from People Magazine in May.</p> <p>From the Daily Mail also in May, "Picture of shark wrangler holding a 12-foot hammerhead goes viral – but it's not for the reason you're thinking". I’ll tell you the reason. Yes, it’s his rippling abs!</p> <p>I’m talking about Elliot Sudal, the latest internet sensation who hooks and captures these menacing monsters from the deep and wrestles them ashore, all the while looking ABSolutely fabulous doing it. But this is 2018, and the good guys don’t slaughter sharks any more.</p> <p>After wrestling the fearsome beasts on to the beach Mr. Sudal does what any modern day muscle-man would do. He poses alongside, and sometimes sits on these vanquished creatures. He even invites other people to do the same, especially if they look really awesome in a bikini. Being the good guy, Mr. Sudal applies a tag to the shark before dragging it back into the water, after the photo op of course, and lets it go back into the deep.</p> <p>What a great guy!</p> <p>According to the Daily Mail, “He works for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,” and that “Sudal's job takes him to exotic locations like the Bahamas and Nantucket catching anything from bull sharks to sting rays.”</p> <p>Let’s hear what his employer, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration has to say about their star employee and shark hunter Elliot Sudal:</p> <p> </p> <blockquote> <p>“Mr. Sudal is not and has never been an employee of NOAA Fisheries nor is he formally affiliated with any of the agency’s programs.</p> <p>The agency remains concerned with Mr. Sudal’s shark and sawfish handling practices. Physical handling should be minimized, all species should be kept in the water while tagging and then released quickly. During tagging, sharks should <em>not</em> be dragged onto dry sand...for <em>any reason</em>.</p> <p>Mr. Sudal’s tagging of an endangered smalltooth sawfish caught in Florida in April 2017 was investigated by NOAA and resulted in a compliance assistance letter from NOAA’s Office of General Counsel informing him of the Endangered Species Act issues and the safe handling protocol for sawfish.”</p> </blockquote> <p>This public notification by NOAA is highly unusual, and reflects the seriousness of the situation. Mr. Sudal has been presented in the media as an employee of NOAA. That is false. Mr. Sudal has been claiming to be a conservationist. Mr. Sudal has violated nearly every guideline of NOAA’s shark tagging guidelines. But hey, those pictures and the viral videos are awesome, huh?</p> <p>So awesome that they’ve landed Elliot Sudal on the beach as the Blue Streak Science A**hole of the Month.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/07/letting-sharks-off-the-hook/278117/"> The Atlantic</a>, <a href= "https://www.adventuresportsnetwork.com/sport/fishing/miss-maine-usa-contestant-a-prolific-shark-tagger-but-is-this-conservation/"> Adventure Sports Network</a>, <a href= "https://abcnews.go.com/US/man-photographed-wrestling-shark-ashore/story?id=19682461"> ABC News</a>, <a href= "http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5716467/Florida-shark-wrangler-brings-huge-hammer-head-goes-viral-muscles.html"> Daily Mail</a>, <a href= "https://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/nefsc/Narragansett/sharks/pdfs/cstpbooklet.pdf"> NOAA shark tagging guidelines</a>, <a href= "https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/feature-story/noaa-fisheries-statement-recent-inaccurate-media-coverage-shark-tagging-elliot-sudal"> NOAA press release</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD: </strong>I visited Point Blue Conservation Science. Point Blue is a private conservation science organization that is, honestly, far bigger and more wide-ranging that I’d thought. They used to be known as the Point Reyes Bird Observatory, but they took on the moniker of Point Blue Conservation Science because their scope is much wider than just birds. They are certainly California-centric with research going on all over the Bay Area, offshore including the Farallone Islands, and as far away as Alaska all the way down to Antarctica!</p> <p>I met several of their key staff members who seemed quite keen to share their research, and hopefully we’ll be sharing that with you, our audience.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD:</strong> I have nothing planned, except to practice some video techniques with my new gimbals.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and any number of podcast directories, or you can listen to us directly on the Blue Streak Science website where you can check out the show notes for links and other good stuff for each episode.</p> <p>That website is at bluestreakscience.com</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by Pro Podcast Solutions.</p> <p>Thank you for joining us</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
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073: Antarctic Melt Rate Triples!
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>The melt rate of the Antarctic...the news ain’t good, folks</li> <li>Mars Rover Opportunity Hunkers Down for the Big Dust Storm</li> <li>Animals Are Doing their best to avoid us, and staying up late</li> <li>Stephen Hawking’s ashes buried in Westminster Abbey</li> <li>The Pub Quiz</li> <li>There is no Climate Lounge today. Tom Di Liberto and his wonderful wife have just brought a new scientist into the world!</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Listener feedback</strong></h2> <p>Will Simmonds: "Just wanted to say I love the show, gives me great information and entertainment on my runs. I’m especially loving the pub quizzes, but maybe try expand on the answer with a fact, etc. The New Arsehole of the Month is a fantastic addition. However, I'm rather baffled at how some of these people acquire these high state positions."</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Dr. Amrita Sule and Chris MacAlister</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Antarctic Melt Rate Has Tripled in the Last 25 Years</strong></h3> <p>Antarctica is a continent roughly the size of United States and Mexico combined. It is covered with ice sheets. If all of this ice were to melt it would increase the water levels by 60 meters. Although this is not going to happen overnight and these ice sheets have more or less remained in place for past 10,000 years.</p> <p><img class="size-medium wp-image-1025" src= "https://bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/73_800x500-300x188.png" alt="" width="300" height="188" /></p> <p>Antarctic Petrel</p> <p>But Antarctica is indeed melting!! Reports published recently revealed that Antarctica has lost <strong>around 3 trillion tons of ice in just the past 25 years</strong>, and this ice loss has accelerated rapidly over the last five years. This is pushing up the global sea levels by 0.6 mm annually – which might seem pretty small but it’s not if you look at cumulative increase.</p> <p>For this new study, satellite measurements have been used to track changes in ice sheets since the early 1990s. These satellites scanned Antarctic ice sheets with altimeters to gain information about its volume. Another type of satellite measurement tracked the speed at which it moves towards the ocean. Some satellites are equipped to weigh the ice sheet by sensing gravitational pull of earth. These measurements are helpful in telling you what is its sea level contribution.</p> <p>There has been some uncertainty associated with regional differences in Antarctica. This study helps clear that up.  For example, West Antarctica and Antarctic peninsula, have been known for some time to lose ice but not east Antarctica, which has been stable for most time. Therefore East Antarctic has always caught the attention of people who deny the science of Global Warming.<strong> </strong>But recent studies show higher melt rates in certain regions east Antarctica as well. So there you go!</p> <p>The majority of losses do come from melting of West Antarctic ice sheets due to warm ocean water melting some glaciers from the bottom up. In 25 years, this has caused about 8 millimeters of sea level rise and about 40% of this rise has happened in past five years. This definitely increases our concern about what the future may hold.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44470208">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62811-antarctica-3-trillion-tons-ice-lost.html"> Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antarctic-melt-rate-has-tripled-in-the-last-25-years/"> Scientific American</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/13/climate/antarctica-ice-melting-faster.html"> New York Times</a>,</p> <h3><strong>Mars Rover Opportunity Hunkers Down for the Big Dust Storm</strong></h3> <p>Did you guys ever see the Martian, with Matt Damon? Despite the lead character being a botanist and the wealth of good science that is in the film; the main event that triggers the plot of the film, the big Martian storm is not so scientifically accurate. Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth so Martian storms don’t reach anything like the severity of our storms. That said, this story is about the Mars rover, Opportunity being put at risk by a Martian storm. And not just any Martian storm but the biggest one ever recorded!</p> <p>The threat to Opportunity isn’t from the physical impact of the storm itself, but from the Martian dust that is getting blow around in it. Opportunity is solar powered and a big storm like this will seriously reduce the amount of sunlight that makes it down to planet’s surface. Now, this storm was predicted so Opportunity has been put into maximum power saving mode and now all that the guys at NASA can do now is hope that the batteries can outlast the storm.</p> <p>This isn’t the first time the Opportunity has had to endure a storm like this but there are two crucial differences on this occasion. First, as I said earlier, this is the biggest storm seen to date on Mars, and second; Opportunity is no spring chicken anymore. It is staggering to think about what Opportunity has achieved in its time on Mars. The rover’s mission was initially given a duration of 90 days; this mission is now at well over 5000 days and counting! No other rover has ever covered more distance off world. Opportunity completed a Martian marathon 3 year ago and then kept going!</p> <p>Opportunity will remain in hibernation for a few weeks so we won’t know anything until the time comes to rouse it from its slumber. But even if this does spell the end for the opportunity mission, that little rover owes nothing to anyone. It has vastly outperformed anything that anyone ever expected of it and it will have deserved a very well earned rest.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62817-will-mars-rover-survive-dust-storm.html"> Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62810-mars-dust-storm-opportunity-falls-silent.html"> Live Science</a>, <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-opportunity-mars-dust-storm-20180613-story.html"> LA Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.space.com/40888-mars-dust-storm-2018-and-opportunity-rover-images.html"> Space.com</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/mars-rover-opportunity-dust-storm-nasa-space-science/"> National Geographic</a></p> <h3><strong>Humans Forcing Animals To Become Nocturnal</strong></h3> <p>Coming back to earth, let’s see what are WE up to and by WE... I mean human beings. Looks like we have now managed to annoy some animals to an extent that they rather sleep through the day and stay up at night just to avoid us.</p> <p>Count me in too. We “humans” have now  impacted about 75% of earth’s land surface and therefore animals have opted to adapt to a different lifestyle especially when they are in proximity of cities or areas buzzing with human activity. Many animals fear humans and we do come across as noisy and dangerous to them. So they often try to avoid us. But it is becoming more and more difficult for them to migrate to a human free space. Why? Because WE are everywhere.</p> <p>A study published in Science this week pointed out that mammals across the globe not just limited to coyotes, elephants and tigers have altered their sleep schedules and are becoming <strong>increasingly</strong> nocturnal to avoid increased human presence.</p> <p>This kind if behavioral activity has been tracked over last couple of decades by satellites, GPS telemetry or camera traps. This study is a result of meta-analysis of 76 papers about 62 different species spanning six continents.</p> <p>They looked at a share of nocturnal activity that was conducted by animals  living in regions with low and high levels of human impact or disturbance. Regions with higher human activity correlated with increased nocturnal activity. And theses observations or trends were <strong>consistent</strong> across continents, habitats, types of animals and even types of human activity.</p> <p>The author of this study makes a point that, this kind of behavioural shift could have large impacts on ecosystem thus reshaping species interaction. Competitions between predator species could threaten their survival. Also, the animals that are not opting for nocturnal lifestyle could be endangered due to human presence.  </p> <p>It's important to remember that we are not alone on earth, and more effort should be made to conserve human disturbance free zones especially for most vulnerable and sensitive mammal species.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mammals-active-at-night-20180614-story.html"> LA Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/15/science/animals-human-nocturnal-study.html"> New York Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05430-4">Nature</a>,</p> <h3><strong>Stephen Hawking buried in Westminster Abbey, between Darwin and Newton</strong></h3> <p>In the preparation for this show, JD shared his recollection of a biography on Charles Darwin. It contained a chapter about his burial in Westminster Abbey and was entitled “The Agnostic in the Abbey”; well, it would appear that Darwin has now been trumped as the atheist, Stephen Hawking was also interred there last week.</p> <p>The best way to explain what a privilege it is for Hawking to be buried here is to consider who else has also been bestowed the honour. He rests alongside 18 past monarchs, Geoffrey Chaucer, Oliver Cromwell, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Rudyard Kipling and Laurence Olivier there are 5 other people from a scientific background; Margaret Cavendish, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, J. J. Thomson and now Stephen Hawking.</p> <p>Now there may be critics who say that Hawking doesn’t deserve to be laid to rest with the likes of Newton and Darwin. The established works of those two men still form significant pillars within our body of current scientific understanding whereas Hawking’s work is still to have its accuracy verified and he hasn’t even won a nobel prize. Well guess what, neither did Newton or Darwin! By the time that Darwin died, <em>On the Origin of Species</em> had only been published for 20 years; not nearly enough time to test the theories that he presented. This puts Hawking’s ideas very much at the same level.</p> <p>But we can’t just look at the science here. The true power of Stephen Hawking was as a communicator. It’s seems so poetic that a man who spent half of his life without a voice has been one of the greatest science communicators of all time. Regardless of his scientific credentials (which are pretty phenomenal) the people honoured in Westminster Abbey are people who have created a lasting legacy in the UK and I can’t think of anyone who I have met who has not been inspired by the life of Stephen Hawking.</p> <p>But I think that we can only end a piece like this by sharing a few pieces of classic Hawking dialogue, like: “I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road”, and “Next time someone complains that you have made a mistake, tell him that may be a good thing. Because without imperfection, neither you nor I would exist.” And finally, “However bad life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at. While there's life, there is hope”. And even though Stephen Hawking’s life may now be over, the hope that he has brought to so many people lives on.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62836-hawking-buried-between-newton-darwin.html"> Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/15/stephen-hawking-ashes-interred-westminster-abbey"> The Guardian</a>, <a href= "https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-news/ashes-of-stephen-hawking-buried-in-the-abbey/"> Westminster Abbey</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Patreon</strong></h2> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast is a listener-supported podcast.</p> <p>And we would like to thank those listeners who understand that science and science communication are more important today than they have ever been.</p> <p>Science denialism and scientific illiteracy are huge problems, and it’s because of the financial support of our listeners that we’re able to present the latest discoveries in science, and to illuminate those who stand against science.</p> <p>So, thank you.</p> <p>And if you’d like to support our podcast all you gotta do is head over to bluestreakscience.com and you’ll find several options there.</p> <p>Yes, we do have a lot of fun doing this, but it’s also important work. And we thank you for supporting us.</p> <p>Thank you!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Effin' Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Dropping the f-bombs today are the fittingly fashionable Amrita Sule, and the fabulously flamboyant Chris MacAlister!</p> <p>Here’s how it works. I ask a science question and our faction of fantastic friends furnish their flashy answers along with some fanciful feedback.</p> <ol> <li>This fine fellow was born in Danzig, Poland in 1686 and invented the alcohol thermometer in 1709, and the mercury thermometer in 1714? What was his name?</li> <li>While writing the above question I learned of a word that just may soon become my favorite word in the English language. And that brings me to question 2. I mentioned that Fahrenheit used a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride to determine his first temperature reference point. What is that type of mixture called?</li> <li>What do we call the emission of light by a substance following the absorption of light or other energy by the substance?</li> <li>The preserved impression or remains of an animal or plant whose living tissue has been replaced by minerals is better known as a?</li> <li>Who is this person? An English biophysicist and X-ray crystallographer born in London in 1920 and discovered that DNA crystallizes into two forms.</li> <li>Where might I find the Tevatron?</li> <li>What is a facula?</li> <li>In the human body this is the longest bone. What is it?</li> <li>What do we call a nuclear reaction in which atomic nuclei of low atomic number fuse to form a heavier nucleus with the release of energy?</li> <li>Sleeps on one leg, filters its food, and is pink. What is it?</li> </ol> <p>How did YOU do?</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Last week I took a trip out to Point Reyes National Seashore again. I trundled over to the Fish Docks on the beautiful Drake’s Bay. Met up with some other birders and searched for the Lawrence’s Goldfinches. No dice. I did get great views of many other birds such a lesser goldfinches, a soaring peregrine falcon. The highlight was a large male California sea lion emerging at the surface with a fat chinook salmon in its mouth. It then shook the salmon, tearing it apart, with salmon roe flying everywhere. It was immediately joined by a host of western gulls to help clean up the mess.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Nothing on the agenda, but more birding. I may go back to Point Reyes on Wednesday to give the Lawrence’s Goldfinches another shot. I hope to be up to speed by then on the new gimbals I have for taking smooth video with my iPhone. I may even do some audio recording as well.</p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> Camping in the Lake District.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In the Blogosphere</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chris</strong>: I’ve been doing some homework following last week’s show. Sunlight takes 5.3 hours to reach Pluto. JD, you are correct; it takes 8 minutes for light to get to Earth and my figure of 8 minutes is actually the time that it takes light to reach Mercury.</p> <p>I’ve also been investigating Space Suit malfunctions. It appears that the worst spacesuit malfunction occurred in 2014 and it was not necessarily what you may have expected as the danger to astronaut Luca Parmitano was of drowning! Now the use of this word isn’t some technical definition of suffocation; it actually means drowning in water, in space!</p> <p>A blocked filter in the space suit caused a leak and his helmet started filling with water from the suit’s cooling system during a spacewalk. This eyes, ears, nose and parts of his mouth all filled up with water. He could barely see and had to feel his way back to the air lock.</p> <p>Why does the suit hold so much water and why a cooling system is needed when it is -270 Celsius outside, but this is because spacesuits need a lot of insulation to protect astronauts so it can get pretty toasty in there so they even have clothing that draws sweat away from the body and then cools it.</p> <p>Even though NASA have never seem to figure out what caused the failure, they have taken protective action by installing snorkels into helmets now!</p> <p>This week I am writing about a subject very close to me, sunburn. Not just why it happens but also why its red, when nothing else ever goes red when it gets burnt.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Thanks to our intrepid hosts, Amrita Sule and Chris MacAlister!</p> <p>But most of all, thank you, our wonder audience.</p> <p>That concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and any number of podcast directories, or you can listen to us directly on the Blue Streak Science website where you can check out the show notes for links and other good stuff for each episode.</p> <p>That website is at bluestreakscience.com.</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team, and edited by Pro Podcast Solutions.</p> <p>Thank you for joining us</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
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072: Organic molecules on Mars, slowing hurricanes, dogs and influenza
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>New Horizons wakes up to explore the Kuiper Belt</li> <li>Hurricanes are slowing down</li> <li>Dogs and the flu virus</li> <li>The Climate Lounge</li> <li>The Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Nevena Hristozova and Chris MacAlister</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Organic molecules found on Mars</strong></h3> <p>Mars stinks. Or at least it ought to, based on the fact that in has methane in its atmosphere. Truth is though, that the concentration of methane in the martian air is almost 2000 times lower than the one on earth. But why methane is of interest to scientists is because, on earth at least, it’s existence is related to the activity of living forms. Now, methane comes again in the spotlight of researchers, because they’ve finally had a breakthrough - they’ve finally detected a pattern in the concentration variations of the gas in the martian atmosphere. Curiosity observed changes in the methane content when travelling cross the planet from north to south. The original hypothesis was that this change is due to chemical conversion of molecules with the help of the strong radiation of the Sun. The counter argument is that while this is possible, its not plausible, or at least not explaining the phenomenon in full. The models predict only about 20% increase in methane if the conversion is due to only sun-catalysed chemical conversions in the summer, while the practically observed increase is with up to 300%. Alternative hypothesis is that there might be methane deposits in the deep ice on Mars, which gets released once the ice and soil get warmed up by the summer sun. It is still very interesting to find out though where did this methane came from in the first place and future ESA missions will look exactly into that - they will be able to drill much deeper in the martian soil and analyze the carbon composition of the methane found there to establish if there’s a chance it was made/left behind by living forms.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44405658">BBC Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mars-methane-seasons-20180607-htmlstory.html"> LA Times</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/curiosity-finds-mars-methane-changes-seasons"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/mars-organic-compounds-methane-curiosity-space-science/"> National Geographic</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/07/science/mars-nasa-life.html">New York Times</a></p> <h3><strong>New Horizons wakes up to explore the Kuiper Belt</strong></h3> <p>Last week I spoke about the discoveries coming from New Horizons’ 3 year old data and before we’ve even finished with all of that data; here comes some more!</p> <p>After the success of the Pluto flyby the mission was extended for further studies in the Kuiper belt, and why not; after the 9 years getting there?</p> <p>Pluto’s home, the Kuiper belt may be less famous than asteroid belt between Mars & Jupiter but it is a damn sight bigger! Despite covering some 3.5 billion kms to get to Pluto, its taking New Horizons a further 3 years and 1.6 billion miles to complete this leg WITHIN the Kuiper belt!</p> <p>The new target is called Ultima Thule (much catchier than its official title 2014 MU69). The name, given in March of this year, means; beyond the borders of the known world.  Ultima Thule is exciting for a couple of reasons. It could be both the most distant oldest object ever studied, it is believed to have been orbiting since the very early days of the solar system some 4.6 billion years ago.</p> <p>A 20km wide rock may not seem too exciting. But if Pluto has taught us anything t is that surprises are waiting out there to be discovered. And who doesn’t get excited about exploring a new world?</p> <p>I’m ready to get excited again. As with your own tech, if you’re not going to use it for some time you may switch to standby mode and this is exactly what’s happened to New Horizons. Waking it up means that it’s time for the discovery to start again. I think the mission’s principal investigator Alan Stern summed it perfectly when he simply said “IT’S HAPPENING, IT’S HAPPENING!”]</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/new-horizons-wakes-begin-kuiper-belt-exploration"> Science News</a>, <a href= "http://www.spaceflightinsider.com/missions/solar-system/new-horizons-exits-hibernation-to-prepare-for-kbo-flyby/"> Space Flight Insider</a>, <a href= "https://www.space.com/40832-new-horizons-wakes-up-for-historic-kbo-flyby.html"> Space.com</a>, <a href= "https://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2018/06/new-horizons-leave-hibernation-january-mu69-flyby/"> NASA Space Flight</a></p> <h3><strong>Hurricanes are slowing down</strong></h3> <p>I’m getting into deep waters here - this is entirely Tom’s turf but my name’s not Nevena if I don’t do my best so here goes nothing!</p> <p>Yes - a paper published recently in the journal Nature shows that  hurricanes are moving slower and that seems to be a very very bad thing. Here’s why - having both typhoons and hurricanes move slower means that they drag along for longer in a specific area and respectively cause more damage. The warmer air and water also pump more water into the storm so they tend to be much more prominent and drop much more rain for prolonged periods one one place causing more frequently and worse floods. Another research paper published by the NSF analysed 22 storms and modeled how would they develop if they were to happen in the climate conditions of the late 21 century. And it was <em>not</em> pretty! The predictions showed that the rising global temperatures will only cause cyclones to slow down further, making them even more deadly and devastating for the areas affected by them, calculating as much as 25% more rainfall for all the biggest storms analysed in this study. Now you might think - ok rain would be worse but since it’s travelling slower at least the damage from the winds will be significantly smaller, but you’d be very wrong - the winds in the storms apparently remain with comparable speed to the ones today. And according to some estimations, this slowing down of storms transitions is very significant, some calculating as much as a third loss of speed for just over half a decade.</p> <p>These two publications both point to the same outcome using two very different methods - one is analysing historical data, and the other one is making predictions based on computer modeling. The fact that both have similar disturbing conclusions is a hint at the much more versatile unexpected negative effects of global warming we are yet to discover in full.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-slower-hurricanes-cyclones-20180606-story.html"> LA Times</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/hurricanes-cyclones-move-slower-drop-more-rain-climate-change-science/"> National Geographic</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05324-5">Nature</a>, <a href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/06/climate/slow-hurricanes.html">New York Times</a></p> <h3><strong>Dogs and the flu virus</strong></h3> <p>You’ve got your bird flu, your swine flu, now get ready for dog flu!</p> <p>Bird flu made the case that flu is not just what you called in sick with when you have a bad cold but could actually be a serious, life threatening disease. I could talk all day about the complexities and risks of the flu virus but I won’t. Instead we’ll focus on the headline points.</p> <p>Is your dog in danger? No. This story is about discovering that dogs already have many different types of flu virus in them, including some novel ones; not that dogs are dying. Are you in danger? No. So why are we even talking about this?</p> <p>The reason why people get a flu shot every year is because the flu virus is eternally changing. Antibiotic resistance is not a patch on the flu virus. Flu is a pandemic on a never-ending migration and as flu season sweep around the globe it keeps on changing. It mutates, swaps genes with its hosts and it swaps genes with other varieties of flu. All of this genetic bodging means that the flu that hits you one season can be significantly different from the one that hit you last season, dodging your immune system. So your flu vaccine is guesswork, predictions of what strains will be doing the rounds in the coming season.</p> <p>The reason this dog story is big news is that all these flu strains together makes for a breeding ground for new strains as they all go about swapping genetic material; increasing the chance of something dangerous like bird flu emerging. Bird flu never transferred directly between humans and was rare as you had to live closely alongside infected birds to get it. But dogs live very close with us, not only raising the potential for infection, but also giving the virus more chance of adapting to infect humans. This has led to claims that we should start vaccinating our dogs for flu, not to protect them but to reduce the number of strains that they are carrying and minimise all this mixing.</p> <p>JD: This winter we had our dog, Amy, vaccinated against canine flu. It seems there was some of it going around here on the west coast of North America, and it is quite serious if your dog is unlucky enough to contract it. Also, our veterinarian told us that the series of two injections should protect her for life.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/dogs-carry-surprising-variety-flu-viruses"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62770-dog-flu-pandemic.html">Live Science</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/06/dog-flu-pandemic-explained-health-science/"> National Geographic</a></p> <p>Thanks to Nevena Hristozova, the mastermind behind the incubatorium blog. All things sciencey, at <a href= "http://www.incubatorium.eu">incubatorium.eu</a>.</p> <p>And Chris MacAlister who is the creator of <a href= "http://www.matildaslab.wordpress.com">Matildas Lab</a>, whose most recent post is about strapping fake tails to chickens.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></h2> <p>Did you know that according to a new paper in Nature, hurricanes are slowing down because of climate change? You do? Because Nevena already covered it really well? How about that science huh? Let me look at my watch...Ok that was only 20 seconds. Give me a word!</p> <p>Which connects me to... CARBON DIOXIDE. Let’s talk CO2! Because we did it guys! Woo! We are number 1! Humans Humans Humans!</p> <p>This April and May, the amount of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere measured at Mauna Loa in Hawaii reached 410 parts per million. The highest monthly averages ever recorded. May’s average was 411.25 ppm, which is like super high.</p> <p>How high is that? Well it’s likely the highest since the Pliocene around 3 million years ago. What’s the Pliocene? It’s an era of time. What’s time?Dudeeee that’s deep. Anyway, the pliocene was known to have sea levels 16 to 131 feet higher (5 to 40m), the poles were 10 C or 18F higher with global temps more like 3-4C warmer (5-7F). And giant ground sloths and mastodons roamed the planet, not 7.6 billion humans.</p> <p>Suffice to say, yikes.</p> <p>Now this is where I usually get into some super sciency details but I’d like to end with a story instead, if you guys don’t mind. Around 3.5 years ago I was lucky enough to get invited to give a talk at a climate resilience conference in Hawaii focusing on the Pacific Islands. And like any normal person, I extended this trip to do some sightseeing with my then pregnant wife (we had just found out a month earlier that we were expecting our first child). Our travels took us the big island, the youngest of the islands and the one that’s currently erupting. Now when you are there, the suggestions on things to do usually boil down to 1) see the volcano and 2) Get to the top of Mauna Kea to see the stars and telescopes that peer out into space. We did #1 but thought, Psshhhht space. We instead did the much less traveled adventure and drove up Mauna Loa. Because we wanted to see where the famous Keeling Curve observations (the co2 measurements that i mentioned earlier) were taken. So beforehand, I emailed the NOAA scientists up there and said “Hey, can we come visit?” They said Sure! And gave us the code to the front gate. So on a sunny typically beautiful hawaiian day, my pregnant wife and I drove a rented 4wheel drive jeep up switchback roads to the Mauna Loa observatory. We walked around the machines by ourselves for a little bit before running into one of the scientists. He showed us around making sure to stop at the old famous machines,then pointing out where the steady stream of data was coming in and finally making us sign their guestbook (which contained all sorts of more famous names). But then he surprised us and took us out onto the roof, he grabbed an air sample bottle that they obviously kept for situations like this, when random visitors show up and he let us take air samples on Mauna Loa ourselves and seal the jars. We then went back down and wrote down the current CO2 levels in ppm. 401.23 ppm. A terrifying number back then. It was a time when breaking 400ppm seem unfathomable. And now 411.25ppm, rising and my son is now 2.5 years old</p> <p>I often get asked how I keep going in such a field like climate science. Communicating it can be so tough. Things can seem so polarized, hopeless. And nowadays, I don’t think we alone own that hopeless mantle. But I always say, you have to remind yourself why you keep doing what you are doing</p> <p>Yes it can be tough, and on some days it can seem impossible to keep going. But on those days, I look to the shelf right above my computer at work, to the photo of my wife and I on our wedding day, to the image of my son showing off the world’s largest grin. And smack dab in between them is that little glass tube, full of that brilliant hawaiian air with ugly amounts of CO2 in it.</p> <p>And as I say these words, at any minute I could get a call telling me my wife is in labor with boy #2. So even though things can seem depressing. Remember, there’s A LOT worth fighting for. Keep those things close and let’s get to damn work.</p> <p>Also, don’t be afraid of bringing tourist dollars to Puerto Rico and definitely don’t forget to keep talking about the island. It’s hurricane season and lots of places still don’t have roofs.</p> <p><a href= "https://research.noaa.gov/article/ArtMID/587/ArticleID/2362/Another-climate-milestone-falls-at-NOAA%E2%80%99s-Mauna-Loa-observatory"> NOAA</a>, <a href= "https://e360.yale.edu/digest/co2-levels-break-another-record-exceeding-411-parts-per-million"> YaleE360</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <ol> <li>What is the study of biological processes that have or could have evolved outside or away from the planet Earth?</li> <li>What do we call a global event that arises from large-scale interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere between the southeastern tropical Pacific and the Austral-Indonesian regions?</li> <li>What is the branch of biology that deals with the interactions and relationships between organisms and their environment?</li> <li>What do we call a subatomic particle that carries a negative charge in atoms or molecules?</li> <li>Microorganisms belonging to the domains Bacteria and Archaea that can live and thrive in extreme environments are called what?</li> <li>In thermodynamics, a closed system evolves toward a state of maximum what?</li> <li>Published in 1859, Darwin’s “On The Origin of Species”, probably the greatest writing in the history of the biological sciences. What was the final word of the final chapter?</li> <li>What do we call organisms who have relatively large cells that have internal membrane-bound structures called organelles, including a cell nucleus?</li> <li>When a species that once existed no longer exists anywhere it is said to be?</li> <li>The study of the inheritance and regulation of gene expression that is independent of the DNA sequence of an organism is called?</li> </ol> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by the Team</strong></h2> <p>We highly recommend a great podcast called “Death in Ice Valley”. It’s a co-production of BBC’s World Service and Norway’s public radio service, NRK.</p> <p>In 1970, in a remote valley in Norway two girls found the body of a woman, badly burnt and surrounded by some strange objects. Her identity has remained a mystery ever since.</p> <p>Investigative journalist, Marit Higraff, and British BBC radio documentary maker, Neil McCarthy, have spearheaded this most recent investigation, and their goal is to find answers that have evaded police, journalists and crime novelists for the past 47 years.</p> <p>This is a wonderful podcast and I urge you to have a listen.</p> <p><a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/death-in-ice-valley/id1357695290?mt=2"> Death In Ice Valley</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> Last week, here in Brussels, was held the yearly international forum on food and nutrition from the BCFN foundation. It is an event founded to provide an open space for interdisciplinary discussion on issues of nutrition and sustainability. Experts, international opinion-makers and young research fellows met to share evidence, scientific data and best practices, with the goal of creating a model of sustainable food to reach the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.</p> <p>The talks and keynotes tried to lay out effective solutions on urgent issues such as the relationship between hunger and obesity, the proper use of natural resources, the reduction of food waste, the promotion of sustainable diets, the environmental impact of agriculture and the effects of climate change.</p> <p>And the best part of this event was that it was free to register so anyone who wanted to attend and was fast enough could go (obv they had a somewhat limited number of seating). But talk about open science that was really it!</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Last week I spent a morning at Point Reyes National Seashore. This is truly a remarkable piece of land. It’s about 280 square kilometers and its peninsula juts about 15 kilometers out into the Pacific.</p> <p>From the Outer Point you can see the Farallones, an archipelago that’s about 50 km away. On a clear day you can also see the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, also about 50 km distant.</p> <p>There are lots of black-tailed deer, huge tule elk, bobcat, coyotes and mountain lions. I was doing some birding there and saw several peregrine falcons soaring and then swooping around the lighthouse, driving the common murres crazy. I only learned afterward that a pair of Lawrence’s Goldfinches are nesting in the area...quite rare for this location.</p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> This week I have been building. I am building a LIMS (Laboratory Integrated Management System). Our lab records are on old Microsoft Access databases that are slowly grinding to a standstill. A colleague and I visited another lab to look at their off the shelf LIMS and we thought; there’s nothing going on here that we couldn’t build ourselves, in MS Access. So that is what we are doing; building an all-singing-all-dancing bespoke database system from scratch. Whilst this has been going on for more that the last week, last week we did build some parts of the system that we feared would be the most difficult so I’m feel remarkably chuffed with myself at the moment.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> Another interesting event which I hope to be able to attend is a meeting called Antitrust and competition issues in the life science sector on July 3rd here in the European Parliament, in Brussels. DG COMP organises a panel to provide an overview of recent developments by DG COMP and the National Competition Authorities in the life science industry, including excessive pricing, market definition, pay-for-delay, and mergers.</p> <p>This event follow the launch of DG COMP’s Pharmaceutical Sector Inquiry in 2008, in which inquiry was the interplay between competition law and the life science sector. A broad range of investigations have taken place, and a number are on-going. DG SANTE will be reporting on biologicals and biosimilars from a regulatory perspective. The event is virtually free since it's 25 euros per person but it also includes a lunch served as it's a lunch meeting followed by the report presentation.</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Summer is a slow time of year for lectures and such, so I have nothing planned this week. However, there’s a lot of wildlife to be seen in the area and I’m certainly going back to Point Reyes to have a look at those goldfinches, and anything else that wanders in front of my binoculars.</p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> This week I am writing about spacesuits and the full range of jobs that they perform. Some functions of them are obvious but some are less so, which is something that is not helped by the less than rigorous application of scientific principles in the television and movie making industry.</p> <p>I will also start turning some attention to this medium myself. I’ve long planned on producing video content to go alongside my blog and as yet never quite got around to it. I plan to start trying to be more active in pushing this project forward which is leaving me both inspired and full of dread in equal measures.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Follow the science!</p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

071: Pluto Has Dunes!
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Evidence for a new fundamental particle</li> <li>Pluto has dunes</li> <li>CRISPR Gene-Editing Pioneers Win Kavli Prize for Nanoscience</li> <li>Oldest Known Lizard Fossil Discovered</li> <li>This Week in Science History</li> <li>Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Listener feedback</strong></h2> <p>We heard from our good friend, Sam Danby, in Norway. Sam is a new father, a cancer researcher, and a footballer. Sam writes, "Once again, great to have you back with the podcast, and there’s something interesting every week. The new ‘where you been, what you doing’ feature is great!"</p> <p>Sam also asked about what to do all summer to entertain his 1 year old. Make it a science summer! Two of the best virtual and real places we know of for that are <a href= "http://www.matildaslab.wordpress.com">Matilda's Lab</a>, <a href= "http://www.atom.club">Atom Club</a>, and the <a href= "https://atom.club/dorset-science-technology-centre/">Dorset Science and Technology Centre</a>!</p> <p>Science on!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Amrita Sule and Chris MacAlister</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Evidence Found for a New Fundamental Particle</strong></h3> <p>Time for some news from the world of Particle physics. Since past couple of days news headlines have been flashing about – evidence of a new fundamental particle or how an experiment just detected a particle that shouldn't exist.</p> <p>What is all this fuss about and what particle is this? The MiniBooNE which is short for Mini Booster Neutrino Experiment carried out at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago have detected “sterile neutrinos”.</p> <p>Sterile neutrinos are particles that only interact via gravity and not via any other fundamental interactions of the standard model.</p> <p>Neutrinos in general are part of matter particles and are nearly massless. They interact through weak nuclear forces and barely interact with matter. They oscillate between three known types or flavors, electron, muon and tau.</p> <p>In the MiniBooNE experiment, a beam of muon neutrinos was shot towards a giant oil tank. On its way some of these muon neutrinos transform into electron neutrinos and are detected when they interact with oil molecules. These have different masses which allows their detection. In its 15-year run, MiniBooNE has registered a few hundred more electron neutrinos than expected.</p> <p>This could be because some of the muon neutrinos oscillate into the heavier 4 kind of neutrino – sterile nuetrino (which never interact with anything that isn’t a neutrino) and some of these got transformed into electron neutrinos which were detected by the MiniBooNE.  A neutrino excess like this was 1st recorded in the 1990s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico with a different apparatus however the count wasn’t as big as miniboone.</p> <p>This is very exciting as it has been long thought that sterile neutrinos make up the dark matter. Detection of sterile neutrinos could take us a step forward in the direction of understanding dark matter. However, several physicists remain apprehensive and are not fully convinced as sterile neutrinos have not been detected in many other experimental set ups and the evidence of their existence has been weak.</p> <p>I guess we should let the physics world mull over this.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/mysterious-neutrino-surplus-hints-existence-new-particles"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.quantamagazine.org/evidence-found-for-a-new-fundamental-particle-20180601/"> Quanta</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62721-sterile-neutrino-detected-fermilab.html"> Live Science</a></p> <h3><strong>Pluto Has Dunes</strong></h3> <p>This story gets really interesting when you understand how dunes are made and that is that tiny, individual grains of sand get blown around in the wind until they run into something that stops them. Whatever stops them will likely stop many other grains of sand causing a mound. This mound then stops even more sand until you end up with full blown dune. So to distill this down to an equation that even can understand; sand + wind = dunes; and this is what has made it so surprising that dunes have now been discovered on the dwarf planet Pluto.</p> <p>Pictures from NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft taken 3 years ago have seen dunes on Pluto. This is confusing for a couple of reasons. Firstly, no one expected anything to be moving on Pluto due to the extreme cold there. Pluto is so cold that even the water there is frozen harder than rock; it’s certainly far too cold to have sand lying around. We also have a problem with the wind, or lack of. Wind is just our atmosphere moving around, but Pluto doesn’t really have an atmosphere. It has 0.0001% of the atmosphere that Earth has which means that winds on Pluto are weaker than the beer in a student bar!</p> <p>To put this into context, if you were to fart on Pluto this would create a hurricane the likes of which that dwarf planet has never seen; at least it would if the fart didn’t freeze the moment it left your arsehole. Pluto is so cold that it can freeze farts. And really, this is the solution the puzzle. As any school child will tell you, farts contain methane; and this is what Plutonian dunes are made of. Even if you freeze methane into individuals grains, they are still as light as air; so even Pluto’s meagre winds can shift them to create dunes.</p> <p>So there we have it: Pluto’s fart dune created by the lightest breezes known in the solar system.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44317367">BBC News Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/never-seen-dunes-pluto-spotted-new-horizons-images"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/pluto-has-dunes-but-theyre-not-made-of-sand/"> Scientific American</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05320-9">Nature</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/pluto-dunes-methane-winds-new-horizons-space-science/"> National Geographic</a></p> <h3><strong>CRISPR Gene-Editing Pioneers Win Kavli Prize for Nanoscience</strong></h3> <p>Do you guys know about the World Science Festival (WSF)? Happens around end of May every year. I attended it 2 years ago and was a lot of fun. It’s an excellent opportunity to hear about cutting edge research from the scientists itself. The Kavli prize which recognizes scientists for their contributions in three research areas; astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience and is announced every year at the WSF.</p> <p>This year the nanoscience committee awarded the Kavli prize for. Any guesses?? It’s CRISPR-Cas9, a precise nanotool for editing DNA; to  Emmanuelle Charpentier at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Jennifer Doudna at the University of California, Berkeley (UC-Berkeley), and Virginijus Siksnys at Vilnius University in Lithuania.</p> <p>CRISPR system, - is primarily used by microbes as a defense against invading viruses. The microbes record and target the DNA sequences of these invading viruses. Teams lead by duo Charpentier and Doudna and separately by Šikšnys first showed that this CRISPR system  from bacteria can be used with an enzyme Cas9 to alter free floating DNA in test tubes – thus making them molecule scissors for tailoring genes. This system, has now evolved into a modern day tool for gene editing.</p> <p>Charpentier and Doudna were first to publish in Science hence received more attention. Bad luck for Šikšnys, whose paper was rejected by Cell even though it was submitted before those two. Nevertheless, work from all three labs set a foreground that Cas9 can be used as nano-sized scissors to selectively cut pieces of DNA.</p> <p>The CRISPR/Cas9 system has since then been exploited by scientists around the world to explore its potential in avenues ranging from biomedical sciences to agriculture.</p> <p>I came across a comment from Cori Bargmann who is a scientist at Rockefeller and a Kavli prize winner herself.  She compares such prizes/awards to winning an Oscar which will push people to see that particular movie. Here a prize for CRISPR could tell the non-science community to be more informed about this as it could very well be a part of their life soon. I am sure I am not the only one rooting for a Nobel prize for CRISPR!!</p> <p><a href= "https://www.quantamagazine.org/crispr-gene-editing-pioneers-win-kavli-prize-for-nanoscience-20180531/"> Quanta</a>, <a href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/three-crispr-scientists-win-prestigious-award-fanning-controversy-over-credit/"> Scientific American</a>, <a href= "https://www.genomeweb.com/scan/kavli-prize-crispr-researchers#.WxIoElZKjUI"> Genome Web</a></p> <h3><strong>Oldest Known Lizard Fossil Discovered</strong></h3> <p>In creationist news this week; evolutionists have once again changed their mind about the theory of evolution. This time they’ve change the date that they think reptiles first appeared. By how much you may ask? 10, 15 years? No, by 75 million years! Can you believe it?</p> <p>Well, back in the world of rational and responsible science reporting  we can justify this change because we have a reptile fossil that is 75 million years older than anything previously discovered. To put this into context, it’s moved the date back from 168 million years ago to 240 million years ago.</p> <p>This is not a new discovery. This fossil of Megachirella wachtleri has been on the books for about 20 years already. What is new is the lizard classification. Small fossils can be trickier to work with than large ones. They are more fragile, harder to find and seem to occur less often. This fossil is half concealed in rock stopping full examination, CT scanning has finally allowed paleontologists to see the full creature.</p> <p>It’s not widely appreciated outside of taxonomic circles how precise the distinctions between some pretty major categories of animals is {Insert Chris’ Quiz here}. The divide between reptiles and amphibians is complicated due to the sparse fossil record at this time, that’s why the lizard classification is so important.</p> <p>It suggests that reptiles were around during the mass extinction that ended the Permian period. Forget dinosaurs, this was the big daddy extinction wiping out 96% of all life. There could be parallels with mammals. The dinosaur extinction paved the way for the mammals to diversify, maybe the Permian-Triassic extinction did the same for reptiles?</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/oldest-known-lizard-fossil-pushes-origins-back-75-million-years"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62693-mother-of-lizards-fossil.html">Live Science</a>,</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Patreon</strong></h2> <p>I have fantastic news. We have our very first Patrons!</p> <p>They are John and Louise Richardson, are hereby declared official Blue Streakers, with all honors and benefits accorded thereof.</p> <p>A national holiday will be declared in their honor, and I request that all governments of the world follow suit, and give everyone a day off.</p> <p>Thank you, John and Louise.</p> <p>If you also want to help support our podcast and keep this thing rolling you can do so.</p> <p>We need it. We owe people money! And the way we’re getting support is through <a href= "https://bluestreakscience.com/patreon">Patreon</a>.</p> <p>We’ve crafted the campaign to give you different levels at which you can give us some support. You can donate as little as a dollar per episode at the Patron Level, all the way up to the Associate Producer Level. Any amount of support that you can give us will help tremendously!</p> <p>I encourage you to check out our Patreon page at bluestreakscience.com/patreon</p> <p>On behalf of the Blue Streak Science Team</p> <p>Thank you!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>This Week In Science History</strong></h2> <p><strong>...in 1859,</strong> T.H. Huxley gave his first public defense of Charles Darwin’s “On The Origin of Species” when he presented <em>his</em> paper to the Royal Institution titled 'On the Persistent Types of Animal Life'. Later when asked why he chose <em>this</em> scientific theory to defend, he replied, “It was the natural selection”.</p> <p><strong>...in 1965</strong>, In a classic case of Cold War one-upsmanship American astronaut Ed White spent 20 minutes on a spacewalk outside his Gemini 4 space capsule only 3 months after Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov took a <em>10 minute</em> stroll outside <em>his</em> space capsule.</p> <p>Six weeks after astronaut Ed White’s spacewalk cosmonaut Ivan Yurkenov took his Siberian husky Misha for a spacewalk and a frisbee toss. However, a malfunction in one of the Soviet’s poop bags cut short the otherwise pleasant outing.</p> <p><strong>...in 1942</strong>, Owing to the ongoing Second World War silk was in short supply, so the U.S. military needed a suitable alternative for the manufacture of parachutes. Fortunately, the newly invented material Nylon was available. And so was pilot and stunt parachutist Adeline Gray. Making her 33rd jump Miss Gray convinced the army and the navy that nylon parachutes were safe and durable.</p> <p><strong>...in 1975</strong>, the discovery of imprints of large, soft-bodied, toothless marine worms radiometrically dated to be 620 million years old, was reported in the <em>New York Times</em>, making them the oldest fossils in the United States. The fossils held their place until recently when <em>another</em> even <em>older</em>, toothless, soft-bodied fossil was discovered in the both the swamps of Washington, D.C., and Mar-a-Lago in Florida.</p> <p>And the rest is science history.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Today it’s the letter D.</p> <p>Joining us are the delightful Amrita Sule and debonaire Chris MacAlister.</p> <p>Here’s how it works. I ask a science question and our denizens of deduction deduce the answers.</p> <ol> <li>Name an English naturalist and geologist born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1809.</li> <li>This molecule is a linear polymer of four building blocks called nucleotides arranged in a double helix.</li> <li>What is a substance or entity that is derived from the breakdown or division of another. For example, a product of the radioactive decay of an element; or cells that are derived from the division of a parent cell?</li> <li>What type of matter can only be inferred only by it gravitational interactions?</li> <li>What is another word for mass per unit of volume?</li> <li>What do we call a region where rivers reach lakes, seas, or the ocean, and deposit their sediment in a broad, flat plains?</li> <li>The change in observed frequency due to relative motion between the source and the observer is also known as?</li> <li>The bending or spreading of light waves when they meet a change in density. What’s that called?</li> <li>He was a mathematician and philosopher born in France in 1596, and invented analytical geometry and developed a system which describes geometry in term of algebra. Who is he?</li> <li>Another word for ancestry or heritage?</li> </ol> <p>How did YOU do?</p> <p>Answers available in the episode.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> The most interesting thing that happened to me in the las week is that the big ISO17025 assessment that I talk about last week didn’t happen, so I have another 2 months to wait for that to come around again.</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> On Monday I was supposed to attend an event at the California Academy of Science on exoplanets. A busy schedule and heavy traffic intervened, so I had to give that a miss.</p> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> I’m going to start investigate the bizarre cases that we talk about off-air last week. Nevena has inspired me to follow up my leads so I will be writing about the people who strapped a fake tail onto a chicken, for science. I also need to build a new rain catch for my daughter’s rain station as I seriously underestimated the amount of rain that falls in the UK!]</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> I’m heading to the Bodega Marine Lab once again for a lecture titled “Primary drivers and consequences of ecological change in marine communities of today and tomorrow” by Tye Kindinger, Postdoctoral Scholar from the University of California, Santa Cruz. As usual it will be preceded by some birdwatching on the Sonoma Coast and a crab sandwich.</p> <hr /> <h2>In Closing</h2> <p>Until next time...follow the science!</p>
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070: The Nipah Virus, Scientific Reports Retracts HPV Paper, Stolen Asteroid, and Survivor Birds
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>The Nipah virus</li> <li>The journal Scientific Reports retracts a paper...oops!</li> <li>The mysterious case of the stolen asteroid</li> <li>Speaking of asteroids, we learn how birds may have dodged the one that rubbed out the rest of the other dinosaurs</li> <li>The Blue Streak Science A**hole of the Month</li> <li>And the Pub Quiz</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Listener feedback</strong></h2> <p>NeilNextGen from London: “nice to see you guys back and podcasting every week. This is my favorite science podcast all time. I gotta say my favorite part has been the pub quiz. Keep up the good work.”</p> <p>Neil, thank you so much for those words of encouragement.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Chris MacAlister and Nevena Hristozova</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Introducing the Nipah Virus</strong></h3> <p> </p> <p>Last time I covered an amphibian pandemic, this time we have a possible human one. There’s not much room for a jovial attitude for this story.</p> <p>In the wake of health scares such as HIV, bird flu, Ebola and Zika there is a reason why governments consider a pandemic as one of the top threats to their population.  The new virus on the block is Nipah. Discovered just before the turn of the century in Malaysia and Singapore, and is on the WHO priority list of emerging diseases.</p> <p>Recent case in Southern India: 11 fatalities & 25 hospitalisations.</p> <p>The symptoms: fever, vomiting, disorientation, mental confusion, encephalitis and fatal in up 70% of cases.</p> <p>How likely are you to catch it? Mercifully not very. The primary source of the virus is fruit bats. Other risks are from infected pigs and humans. Unlike Ebola, Nipah does not vertically transmit that easily.</p> <p>Why is the WHO so concerned? Due to the range of fruit bats and the potential for mutation. The risk is heightened by the lack of any cure or vaccine.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/here-is-what-we-know-about-deadly-nipah-virus"> Science News</a>, <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62664-nipah-virus-how-do-outbreaks-happen.html"> Live Science</a></p> <h3><strong>Scientific Reports</strong> <strong>retracts paper claiming neurological damage from HPV vaccine</strong></h3> <p>That’s the type of story I really like seeing - it’s about a retracted study allegedly showing that the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine causes neurological damage.</p> <p>The paper is question was submitted and published by a group led by Toshihiro Nakajima of Tokyo Medical University, and became available online in November 2016. It describes impaired mobility and brain damage in mice given an enormous dose of HPV vaccine along with a toxin that makes the blood-brain barrier leaky.</p> <p>After many complaints by peers that the experimental setup of the study is flawed and the conclusions are not of sound scientific integrity, the publisher decided to retract the paper despite the disapproval of the original authors.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the damage might already be done, since the generally low HPV vaccination rates in Japan, had further plummeted since the conclusions made the headlines in the country. Much like what happened with the MMR vaccination rates and the retracted many years ago paper by the practice-banned MD Andrew Wakefield, whose antivax movement is single handedly responsible for the death of many people, including many children from vaccination-preventable diseases.</p> <p>The main opponents of the Japanese paper are currently criticizing the publishers for taking so long to investigate the publication and retract it, since its publication it’s been unfortunately already cited over 20 times and has made the rounds in public madia scaring needlessly many away from a vaccine that is able to save numerous lives from cervical cancer - a very aggressive form of the disease which is reported to affect more than half a million new subjects every year.</p> <p>Proud to say that one of the leading experts trying to debunk the paper is a professor from the University of Antwerp here in Belgium. Prof. Vorsters also pointed out that since there doesn’t seem to be a working method yet to counteract the antivax scare tactics, may be researchers and health professionals should rather focus on pointing out the usefulness of vaccines, rather than wasting efforts to disprove antivax claims.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/journal-retracts-paper-claiming-neurological-damage-hpv-vaccine"> Science</a></p> <h3><strong>Asteroid: Stolen From Another Sun?</strong></h3> <p>Another month, another intergalactic visitor. But whereas Oumuamua was a tourist just passing through, asteroid 2015 BZ509 appears to be a bona fide immigrant to our solar system.</p> <p>I want to take you on journey with me, of skepticism. When faced with a headline like this, my first thought is “How can anyone possibly draw that conclusion about a piece of rock orbiting our Sun?” Oumauamua was fine; it came from outside the solar system a swiftly pissed off again, but a resident asteroid?</p> <p>My doubts were not helped when I found out that this conclusion is based on the asteroids retrograde (i.e backwards) orbit around the sun that seems to last the same time as Jupiter’s. That doesn’t seem like much to go off.</p> <p>Now comes the modern day black magic; computer modelling. These models attempted to recreate the conditions that would allow this kind of orbit to form. The most surprising result from this model is that it suggests that the orbit has most likely been established for about 4.5 billion years.</p> <p>4.5 billion years ago the planets themselves were only newly formed and as such it is not expected that there would be any resident retrograde orbits. Put all of this together and the most plausible explanation appear to be that a passing visitor has been caught in the gravity of our young solar system and has remained here ever since.</p> <p><a href= "https://academic.oup.com/mnrasl/article/477/1/L117/4996014">Royal Astronomical Society</a>, <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-solar-system-immigrant-20180521-story.html"> LA Times</a></p> <h3><strong>How birds may have escaped the dinosaur-killing asteroid impact</strong></h3> <p>This story is a tribute for ‘the ones who made it out’. Recent re-evaluation of plant residue and fossil data shows that the birds might have escaped a narrow mass-extinction when the asteroid which killed off most dinosaurs hit Earth. We know that the Cretaceous era asteroid wiped out most dinosaurs, but we don’t rly think that it actually killed off 3/4s of life in general - including plants.</p> <p>This new look into the data led Daniel Field at the University of Bath in the UK to hypothesise that the birds that made it out of the extinction were in fact the ground-dwelling ones - ancient ancestors of ducks, chickens, and ostriches for example, while the ones whose species perished were the ones relying entirely on vegetation for food, shelter, nesting… Two types of data hinted to the conclusion - one showed that the lineages of today's ground-dwelling birds are much more vast than the ones living in/on vegetation, but also the fact that in fossils layers laid immediately after the asteroid impact, almost entirely seeds of plants belongs to only a small number of species of ferns.</p> <p>Once the forests developed gradually again, they presented a massive free ecological niche, which was taken once more by birds choosing to make use of these new habitats.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44226534">BBC News Science and Environment</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05228-4">Nature</a>, <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/dinosaurs-asteroid-birds-forests-fires-paleontology-science/"> National Geographic</a>, <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-birds-may-have-escaped-dino-killing-asteroid-impact"> Science News</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>A**hole of the Month</strong></h2> <p>When I first got the idea for the A**hole of the Month for the month of May I initially had one person in mind, a member of the United States House of Representatives.</p> <p>Specifically, a member of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.</p> <p>But the more I read about this, the more I realized that the entire Republican-side of this committee is one colossal, flatulent asshole.</p> <p>To be fair, there are Democrats on the committee, but they lack any real power since they’re the minority party, are probably as aghast and incredulous as I am.</p> <p>It’s the Republicans on this committee...let me repeat the name of that committee. It’s the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. These Republicans wouldn’t know science if it came up behind them and bit them on their collective ass.</p> <p>One thing I can guarantee, by the way, is that if we continue on the path recommended by this committee..science will indeed bite us all on the ass, for many generations.</p> <p>Last week this committee held a hearing on how technology could be used to help us adapt to climate change.</p> <p>One of the experts at the hearing was Philip Duffy, who is the president and executive director of the venerable Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts. His is also a former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.</p> <p>Dr. Duffy served as a Senior Advisor in the White House National Science and Technology Council, and as a Senior Policy Analyst in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He’s held senior research positions with the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. And he holds a Ph.D. in applied physics from Stanford.</p> <p>The guy has science chops, in a big way.</p> <p>So, a lot of the questions and comments at this hearing were directed toward Dr. Duffy.</p> <p>Representative Lamar Smith of Texas showed a chart which showed that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use.</p> <p>To which Dr. Duffy pointed out that the chart was from a single tide gauge station somewhere near San Francisco, and that sea levels worldwide rise at different rates.</p> <p>Strangely enough, Representative Smith somehow forgot to show any charts or graphs that reveal rising atmospheric CO2 levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed at a steady rate in recent decades, right in line as fossil fuel emissions have increased.</p> <p>So in response to the chart Dr. Duffy replied, "The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago.”</p> <p>A smug Representative Smith asked."Is this chart inaccurate, then?"</p> <p>To which Duffy replied, "It's accurate, but it doesn't represent what's happening globally; it represents what's happening in San Francisco."</p> <p>Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California said <em>he</em> was concerned that established climate science (read that as actual science, and not made up bullshit)... he said he was concerned that science has not been questioned more by the committee.</p> <p>This is a committee, by the way, which has accused federal climate scientists of fraudulently manipulating climate data and has even subpoenaed their records.</p> <p>But the biggest blast of antiscience flatulence came when Representative Mo Brooks of Alabama questioned Dr. Duffy on the various factors that cause sea level rise, you know, peer-reviewed, testable, and repeatable science.</p> <p>Instead he offered his own ideas as the why sea levels are rising.</p> <p>Brooks actually put forth the proposition that erosion is a key factor in sea-level rise.</p> <p>He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world's major rivers contribute to sea-level rise.</p> <p>"Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up."</p> <p>Duffy responded: "I'm pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects."</p> <p>I might add that we <em>know</em> the seafloor spreads at the mid-ocean ridges, and that seafloor is dragged back into the mantle at subduction zones.</p> <p>Mountains rise, they get eroded, the earth’s crust spreads and it gets drawn back inside the mantle. Oh, and the earth is billions of years old...not 6,000 years.</p> <p>Brooks doubled-down on his ignorance. Remember, this guy is a member of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.</p> <p>He doubled-down by saying that Antarctic ice is growing.</p> <p>To which Dr. Duffy replied, "We have satellite records clearly documenting a shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage,"</p> <p>Brooks, arguing with the scientist countered, "I'm sorry, but I don't know where you're getting your information, but the data I have seen suggests…”</p> <p>Duffy interrupted, informing Brooks of his sources,  "The National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration."</p> <p>As an aside, earlier this year, NASA researchers determined that Antarctica's ice loss has accelerated in the last decade. Sea ice extent at both poles were at record lows last year.</p> <p>There was another representative that brought up the notion that scientists in the 1970’s believed the earth was cooling.</p> <p>This is a widely believed meme by the antiscience fringe that’s based on a <em>fake</em> Time Magazine cover from the 1970’s. That’s right I said FAKE. It was fake. It didn’t happen. It was a fake cover that suggested scientists were really concerned about global COOLING back then.</p> <p>They weren’t.</p> <p>Other media outlets picked this up and and ran with it like it was real. It wasn’t. It never was.</p> <p>And there are even <em>more</em> morons today who cite that as evidence. The only thing it’s evidence of is science illiteracy, an abject failure of basic education.</p> <p>Actual science from the 1970’s — certainly not as comprehensive today’s science on the subject  — in reality was sounding the alarm about just the opposite idea, that global warming is what we need to be concerned about. Even in the 1970’s the idea of global warming was not new. It was already decades old.</p> <p>Yet in 2018 there are members of the, I still can’t get over it, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology that lack even the most basic understanding of science.</p> <p>In fact, they are unabashedly hostile to science.</p> <p>And for that, you, the Republicans on the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology are the Blue Streak Science A**holes of the Month.</p> <p><a href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/republican-lawmaker-rocks-tumbling-ocean-causing-sea-level-rise"> Science</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></h2> <p>Today it’s a cacophonous celebration of the letter C</p> <p>Joining us in this cheerful ceremony are the chisel-chinned Chris MacAlister, and the captivating and convivial Nevena Hristozova.</p> <ol> <li>A group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body is also known as?</li> <li>We all know of the technology known as <strong>CRISPR</strong> or CRISPR/Cas9.  It’s a family of DNA sequences in bacteria and archaea, and this technology is used to edit the genomes of even more complex organisms. Question: What does the C in CRISPER stand for?</li> <li>Carcinology is the study of what?</li> <li>What is the largest living rodent in the world?</li> <li>What is the name of the very large flightless birds that live in tropical forests of northeast Australia and New Guinea?</li> <li>Who was the only person to win two Nobel Prizes in two different sciences?</li> <li>What space mission ended on 15 September, 2017 with the so-called Grand Finale as it plunged into the atmosphere of Saturn?</li> <li>What island-filled ocean basin is bordered by Mexico and Central America to the west and south west, the Greater Antilles to the north, to the east by the Lesser Antilles, and to the south by the north coast of South America?</li> <li>Diamond and graphite are different allotropes of what element?</li> <li>What is the geologic period that spans 79 million years from the end of the Jurassic Period to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 million years ago?</li> </ol> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Are We Going?/Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Last week I attended a lecture at the University of California Davis’ Bodega Marine Lab. It was titled “Developing and evaluating solutions-based approaches for mitigating global change impacts in aquatic ecosystems”. The speaker was David Koweek, Postdoctoral Researcher, Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution for Science. It presented some interesting strategies for dealing with issues such as apoxia, and lowered pH as a result of anthropogenic global warming.</p> <p>They have these lectures on Wednesday afternoons at the Marine Lab, which is located in a stunning setting on the Sonoma coast. I may attend these a lot more often. Go birding in the morning. Crab sandwiches at Spud Point Marina for lunch, a little more birding, attend a lecture. Sounds like retirement to me.</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> Next week I’m attending a talk at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco titled  “Are We Alone in the Universe?” The speaker is Lisa Kaltenegger of Cornell University. She’s gonna discuss exoplanets and  how we can determine which ones might be suitable for life, as well as techniques and future missions that could detect life on these worlds.</p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> I visited a laboratory trade show for the first time last week which was a truly eye opening experience. I’ve been celebrating practical microbiology by running a charity beer festival and I’ve been exploring the rather trivial question of whether God exists on the blog.</p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> This week I have an ISO17025 assessment at my lab, this is the international standard for testing and calibration laboratories. I will also be getting ecological with Matilda. We joined the RSPB at the weekend and we shall be making the most of their support to explore the living world around us.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Until next time...follow the science!</p>
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069: Talking LOUDLY About Sea Level Rise
<h2>On This Week’s Show</h2> <ul> <li>Megafauna</li> <li>Also, Mount Kilauea is still at it...<em>now</em> with a another thing to worry about</li> <li>Ebola is back in the news</li> <li>I gotta a gut feeling about one of these stories</li> </ul> <p>And let’s not forget the Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</p> <hr /> <h2>Science News</h2> <h3>Diverse and abundant megafauna documented at new Atlantic US Marine National Monument</h3> <p>Did you know today is the International Biodiversity day? And this story touches on the biodiversity of our vast oceans and deep seas.</p> <p>To my understanding, documenting deep-sea marine life can be extremely challenging. Often times, marine biologists have to go aboard an airplane to survey some of these regions.</p> <p>One such hotspot which was surveyed recently, lies on the edge of the continental shelf, where the shallow seas off New England drop sharply into the deep waters of the northwestern Atlantic.</p> <p>This region is called as Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and is the first American marine national monument in Atlantic waters. this status was designated by President Obama in 2016. I think of it as when a park or a forest area is given a national park status. So it’s seems pretty important to me.</p> <p>Scientists from the Anderson Cabot Center for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium have surveyed this region aerially three times, since the Summer of 2017. On their latest survey they observed hundreds of Bottlenose dolphins, dozens of whales including the rare Sowerby's beaked whales and dolphins of various species.</p> <p>These scientists find that such abundance of marine fauna is extraordinary for such a small area. These aerial sightings will help them to study how different species use this biodiverse habitat at different times of the year. These waters, which harbor wide diversity of corals, deep water fishes, and invertebrates FORM a FRAGILE ecosystem which needs to be well protected.     </p> <p>But you see, new policies recommend that such waters should be opened for offshore drilling which is NO GOOD for  the precious marine life in waters like Northeast canyons.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180516172249.htm">Science Daily</a></p> <h3>Hawaiian volcano spews ballistic blocks</h3> <p>I first read this story title as ‘Hawaiian volcano spews ballistic bollocks.’ I did. My first thought was, therefore, oh. Is that literal? What does that even mean? My second thought was ‘ah, I can’t read! Wonderful! Writing my thesis is going to be so much fun!’</p> <p>But what are ballistic blocks? (And ballistic bollocks). They are, terrifyingly, just massive chunks of rock the size of appliances. Not ideal. These are being chucked out by Kilauea, the volcano that has been in a state of continuous eruption on Hawaii since the 80s.</p> <p>The caldera (bowl where the lava pools) is deflating, increasing stress at the volcano base. There have been 4.4 magnitude earthquakes. The ash plume can be seen from the ISS. This ash can obviously cause health issues when it’s breathed in. The locals also have to contend with VOG. That’s some sort of horrible gas mix that has sulphur dioxide - highly toxic - mixed in.</p> <p>So we spoke about Kilauea recently but the Hawaiians’ problems are going nowhere for now!</p> <p><a href= "http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44152515">BBC</a>, <a href="https://www.popsci.com/kilauea-mount-st-helens">Popular Science</a></p> <h3>Congo confirms first urban Ebola case, raising possibility of ‘explosive increase in cases’</h3> <p>Ebola, a word that we wish to hear no more. But it has resurfaced again, this time in Congo in the city of Mbandaka, home for 1.2 million people. Congo health officials reported that so far there have been there have been 44 suspected cases of Ebola since April and 25 people have died.</p> <p>The disease causes internal bleeding and is transmitted to humans through the consumption of contaminated meat or close contact with an infected person.</p> <p>This makes it extremely difficult to contain Ebola in an Urban setting like Congo, as the number of contacts can amplify much quickly.</p> <p>Also, the city of Mbandaka lies on the bank of the Congo River which is frequently used by the local people for transportation, increasing the chances of the virus spreading down the river over long distances.</p> <p>Ebola epidemic which first started in 2014 in West Africa was worst ever recorded and resulted in infecting more than 28,000 and killing more than 11,000. The WHO was blamed then in part for not acting on time.</p> <p>However, this time WHO is doing everything to contain this outbreak before it gets out of proportion.  A vaccination drive has begun on Monday in the city of Mbandaka. More than four thousand doses of an experimental Ebola vaccine developed by Merck have been shipped to Congo. This is an experimental vaccine which proved quite effective in Guinea in 2015-2016.</p> <p>Their game plan is that, Whenever a new Ebola case is diagnosed, all the people who might have a made recent contact with the affected individual will be traced and vaccinated so the disease remains contained. We’ll just have to wait and watch how this plays out.</p> <p>But most importantly we should take a pause and appreciate the health workers and doctors without borders who are volunteering in this hard hit area for all their hard work.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/first-confirmed-urban-ebola-case-is-a-game-changer-in-congo/2018/05/17/430babce-5890-11e8-9889-07bcc1327f4b_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.5e7f2a1e2dd0"> Washington Post</a>, <a href= "https://www.npr.org/2018/05/18/612240853/who-and-congolese-officials-scramble-to-contain-ebola-outbreak"> NPR</a></p> <h3>How the gut influences neurologic disease</h3> <p>We don’t give our guts nearly enough thought. I am not talking about those awful yoghurt adverts. Your gut is a hugely complex organ system which also has effects on your brain - the crosstalk between the brain and the gut is still being unravelled.</p> <p>A new study in Nature regarding the link between neurological disease and the gut - using a combination of human cells and animal models. There is a growing body of work on how byproducts can influence the brain - the context for this group in particular is MS.</p> <p>The new research, from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, focuses on the influence of gut microbes on two types of cells that play a major role in the central nervous system: microglia and astrocytes. Microglia are part of the body's immune system, responsible for scavenging the CNS - they are a sort of cleaner cell, hoovering up plaques, dead cells and other rubbish in the brain. But microglia can also secrete compounds that can damage the astrocytes - another type of brain cell, also key to maintenance and support in the brain, in different manners to the microglia. This damage to astrocytes from microglia is apparently thought to contribute to many neurologic diseases, including multiple sclerosis.</p> <p>However, in this paper, the team reports that byproducts that microbes produce when they break down dietary tryptophan -- an amino acid found in turkey and other foods -- may limit inflammation in the brain through their influence on microglia. So the gut *MAY* be helpful in mitigating inflammatory damage in the brain - at least in the mouse models they used, which had MS. They found evidence for the same sort of pathways in human brain samples.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180516131209.htm">Science Daily</a>, <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0119-x">Nature</a></p> <hr /> <h2>The Climate Lounge</h2> <h3>National Park service quietly releases Sea level Rise projections.</h3> <h3>Let’s talk LOUDLY about it!</h3> <p>Earlier this year, drafts of a report on sea level rises impact on national parks became public mainly for what had been taken out of them... The one thing just so happened to be the main thing that was causing sea level rise in the first place. Climate Change. Yup, every mention of human caused climate change was removed. It’s like taking a running leap into thorn bushes thinking that if I just close my eyes at the end, the thorns will disappear. The thorns won’t disappear. Because that’s a stupid way of thinking.</p> <p>Fast forward a month and a half and the report has finally been released… quietly with all of the mentions of climate change kept in it but without all of that silly little thing like publicity from outlets such as... the agency it came from…</p> <p>Ok, so what was this report about again that led to its “odd” treatment? It was a write up created to help 118 coastal parks across the United States prepare for the impacts a changing climate will have on the natural resources and history within those parks. How horrible right? UGH!</p> <p>Anywaysss, what did the report find? Not surprisingly, as global temperatures heat up, sea levels are expected to rise. And that means for many national parks located along coastlines, problems could quickly worsen over the next century.</p> <p>The worst hit parks are along North Carolina’s outer Banks. In particular, near the Wright Brothers National Memorial, if we continue to keep emitting greenhouse gases, sea levels could rise 2.7 feet by 2100. Nearby, large portions near the Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout seashores would also be underwater. But that is just one park and one area. Many parks from Historic Jamestowne and Assateague Island, Big Thicket National Preserve in Texas, the Florida Everglades and Jean Lafitte National Historic Park in New Orleans and even the national parks, right here where I live in Washington DC would be pretty vulnerable.</p> <p>The Parks service even included a graphic of what Roosevelt Island in the middle of the Potomac River in Washington DC would look like if a category 3 hurriane made landfall. Hint, the park looks blue… because it’s covered in water.</p> <p>This report is just another in a long list of studies that show just how vulnerable our coasts are to a rising sea because we continue to belch greenhouse gases in the air and do little to change our ways.</p> <p>For instance, NOAA (in full disclosure I work there but had no hand in this report) issued a report earlier this year that simply looked at how nuisance flooding, minor floods that do little damage but are annoying and occur simply during high tides, would change in various emissions scenarios. The results were pretty shocking. For many places including San Francisco, Boston, New York, Miami, nuisance flooding, that is flooding only due to the tides could happen EVERY DAY by the end of the century if we keep emitting greenhouse gases. And these numbers could increase to over 100 days by 2040-2050, a mere 20-30 years. That’s effectively NOW for planning purposes.</p> <p>We’ve already done enough damage to ourselves. Hows about we finally stop it, and start getting to work on the healing process.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.revealnews.org/blog/national-parks-report-finally-released-uncensored/"> Reveal News, </a><a href= "https://www.nps.gov/subjects/climatechange/sealevelchange.htm">National Park Service</a></p> <hr /> <h2>Pub Quiz</h2> <h3>Speaking words of wisdom, letter B</h3> <ol> <li>Africanized bees, also known as killer bees, first arrived in the Americas in what country?</li> <li>What is the class of subatomic particles in which <strong>protons</strong> and <strong>neutrons</strong> are included?</li> <li>Calculated in bits per second, this is the amount of data that can be sent through a connection. What is it more commonly known as?</li> <li>This principle in fluid dynamics states that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy. What is the name of this principle?</li> <li>A solution consisting of a weak acid and its conjugate base, or vice versa, that is used to maintain the pH value constant in many chemical application is also known as a?</li> <li>A genus of gram-positive, rod-shaped bacteria that is a member of the phylum Firmicutes is a?</li> <li>What Beatles album was released on the 8th of May in 1970?</li> <li>Insects of the Order Coleoptera are better known as?</li> <li>Where would you find the nearest corpus callosum?</li> <li>What word in the English language contains the greatest number of the letter “B”?</li> </ol> <p>Did you enjoy this bookish badinage?</p> <hr /> <h2>In Closing</h2> <p>Thank you, everyone.</p> <p>And remember, follow the science!</p>
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068: Amphibians, Solar Panels, Transitional Fossils, and Richard Feynman
<h2>On This Week's Show</h2> <h3><strong>Science News</strong></h3> <ul> <li>Origins of amphibian-killing fungus uncovered</li> <li>How California becomes the first US state to mandate solar on new homes</li> <li>New discoveries about some ancient reptiles</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2>Science News</h2> <h3>Origins of amphibian-killing fungus uncovered</h3> <p>This is a detective story. The chytrid fungus, also known as Bd (<em>Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis)</em> has been decimating amphibian populations globally for a good 20 years now after it was first discovered in dying frogs in Queensland, Australia.</p> <p>The fungus causes excessive skin shedding which makes the animals die of ‘thick skin’. Skin is such an essential organ to amphibians with many processes such as absorbing additional oxygen and releasing toxins. It’s a bit like amphibian eczema.</p> <p>The impact of the disease has been so great due to the huge amount of global trade of amphibians. With animals moving before people realised that there was a problem, by the time people noticed the problem it was already everywhere. This has made tracking its origins hard. So far the origin has been narrowed down to Asia, Africa, North America or South America.</p> <p>This mystery is now getting solved thanks to the combined global efforts of 10 years of field and lab work by 35 institutions. The conclusion is that the disease originated between 50 to 120 years ago in East Asia.</p> <p>They figured this out by sequencing the fungal DNA from within amphibian genomes. Over 200 samples were used to draw this conclusion but sometimes less than 1% of sample material gave any usable results. Understanding the origin of this disease and how it links to other similar fungi could help plan for future risks.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/deadly-frog-killing-bd-fungus-probably-originated-east-asia"> Science News</a>, <a href= "http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44075687">BBC</a></p> <p> </p> <h3>California becomes first US state to mandate solar on homes</h3> <p>California first US state to mandate solar panels on new construction homes built after 1 January, 2020. That includes apartment buildings as well.</p> <p>Already state law that requires that 50% of electricity to come from non carbon-emitting sources by 2030. </p> <p>Critics point out that mandate to add between $8,000 and $12,000 to the cost of a home. Average cost of home in California is about $440,000, about 2 ½ times the national average. According to Energy Commission homeowners will only see an additional $40 to monthly mortgage payments.</p> <p>Californians pay some of the highest electric rates in the country already. However, residential customers’ monthly average bills are about $96, among the lowest in the country.</p> <p>How?</p> <p>Because California ranks 49th in the nation in per capita electricity consumption. Largely driven by the state’s strong commitment to energy efficiency, and the climate. Few people near coast have air conditioners. Cool summers.</p> <p>Nearly 16% of California’s electricity last year came from solar.</p> <p>Mandate still has to get through the Building Standards Commission. Decision later this year.</p> <p>Remember when I said that there already exists a state law that requires that a full 50% of all electricity to come from non carbon-emitting sources by 2030? According to the Public Utilities Commission the state will likely meet goal of 50% generation of non-carbon electricity about 10 years ahead of schedule.</p> <p>Currently rebuilding our home that was destroyed in the October 2017 wildfires.</p> <p>Are we putting solar on it? Hell yes.</p> <p><a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-44059865">BBC News</a></p> <p> </p> <h3>Jurassic fossil tail tells of missing link in crocodile family tree</h3> <p>The latest missing link that has been discovered links crocodiles with the pelagosaurus genera. Pelagosaurus were reptiles of the open seas that lived for about 8 million years before going extinct about 175 mya. Whilst they would have resembled crocodiles they were more like whales and dolphins in their overall body structure.   </p> <p>The new species is called <em>Magyarosuchus fitosi</em> after the amateur collector who discovered it, Attila Fitos. It is estimated to have been about 5m long. The first signs that a new species was on the cards were unusual vertebrae; these turned out to be a part of its tale fin, a feature previously only found on the Pelagosaurus. But unlike a Pelagosaurus, the creature also had heavy armour, more associated with land going crocodyliforms.</p> <p>Sometimes with fossils it can be challenging to work out when you genuinely have a new species on your hands, but when you have discoveries as apparent as this one there leaves very little room for debate.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180511123231.htm">Science Daily</a>, <a href= "https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/2018/jurassic-fossil-missing-link-crocodile-family-tree"> University of Edinburgh</a>, <a href= "https://peerj.com/articles/4668/">PeerJ</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>What The Hell Was That?</strong></h2> <p>This is where I’d normally put the conclusion and answer to last week’s WTHWT</p> <p>Since we don’t have a quorum we are going to delay the fun until next week!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>This Week In Science History</strong></h2> <p>In a slight departure from our usual TWISH format I’m gonna to talk about one of the greatest scientists in history.</p> <p>100th anniversary of the birth of Richard Feynman</p> <p>Was an American theoretical physicist, known for his work in quantum mechanics as well as in particle physics</p> <p>For his work quantum electrodynamics, Feynman, along with Julian Schwinger and Shin'ichirō Tomonaga were award the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965.</p> <p>He developed the Feynman diagrams which were used as a representation for the mathematical expressions describing the behavior of subatomic particles. Feynman was also one of the great popularizers and spokespersons for science.</p> <p>So today I’m gonna to rattle off four selected quotes from an article this week in Science News celebrating Richard Feynman</p> <h4><strong>1. “There is nothing that living things do that cannot be understood from the point of view that they are made of atoms acting according to the laws of physics.”</strong></h4> <p>An expression of the importance of atoms from the opening pages of Feynman’s lectures.</p> <h4><strong>2. “From my knowledge of the world that I see around me, I think that it is much more likely that the reports of flying saucers are the results of the known irrational characteristics of terrestrial intelligence than of the unknown rational efforts of extra-terrestrial intelligence.”</strong></h4> <p>That comes from a set of lectures compiled in book form as <a href= "https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/character-physical-law"><em>The Character of Physical Law</em></a>,</p> <h4><strong>3. “I think I can safely say that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”</strong></h4> <p>Perhaps Feynman’s sentiment might better be expressed by saying that anyone who claims to understand quantum mechanics, doesn’t.</p> <h4><strong>4. “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.”</strong></h4> <p>The best advice to scientists and anybody else who seeks the truth about the world. The truth may not be what you’d like it to be, or what would be best for you, or what your preconceived philosophy tells you that it is. Unless you recognize how easily you can be fooled, you will be.</p> <p><strong>Bonus quote:</strong></p> <p>“<em>Physics is like sex: sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.</em></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Promotion</strong></h2> <p><a href="https://matildaslab.wordpress.com/">Matilda’s Lab</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>Until next time...follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco, California; and Chester, England.</p> <p> </p>
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067: Volcanos, Bird Beaks, Glass Houses, and the Multiverse
<h2><strong>Coming up on this week’s show</strong></h2> <p>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</p> <p>The return of the What the Hell Was That game!</p> <p>Science News:</p> <ul> <li>Kilauea Volcano Erupts</li> <li>How birds got their beaks</li> <li>Kew Gardens Glasshouse Reopens</li> <li>Stephen Hawking's Final Theory About The Multiverse</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2> </h2> <h2>Science News with Sophie McManus and Nevena Hristozova</h2> <h3><strong>Kilauea Volcano Erupts</strong></h3> <p>Can you imagine living on top of an active volcano?! I am sure you are aware, but Kilauea has been kicking off lately. Nearly 2000 people have been evacuated around the south side of the island. They will probably move back soon, depending on developments, obviously. Move back to live on top of their active volcano.</p> <p><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2891" src= "http://bluestreaksci.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/kilauea1-350x350.png" alt="" width="350" height="350" />So, what happened?</p> <p>A series of small earthquakes was recently followed by a quake with mag 6.9 last Friday. A new fissure then opened up and started letting out hot lava. Kilauea is one of the world’s most active volcanoes and has been in a state of eruption for the past 35 years.</p> <p>Tropical Visions video (co. Paradise Helicopters) is amazing to watch. It is like the cartoons of volcanoes you see as a child. Spectacular bright red lava fizzing everywhere and engulfing cars. Less appealing, by the sounds of it, are the emissions of sulphur dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. Kinda toxic. That’s why the people have been evacuated. Also the lava.</p> <p>A nice quote by the excellently-named Mika McKinnon, volcanologist and disaster researcher, “Hawaiian volcanoes can be extremely deadly, but it’s a hazard you can walk away from.” This explains the footage of people strolling away from the lava flows. I mean strolling as a relative term.</p> <p>In other Hawaiian news, Hawaii became the first state to ban sunscreens that contain chemicals harmful to marine life. Let’s hope that Kilauea calms down a bit - and that other places follow the lead on the sunscreen front.</p> <h3><strong>How Birds Got Their Beaks</strong></h3> <p>This story comes from Yale University and it’s telling us how scientists were able to reconstruct a missing link. Not between apes and humans, but between dinosaurs and birds. This bird-like dinosaur had wings and a breastbone which look very much like the ones of modern birds and it had a beak too, but very much like reptilian dinosaurs. It’s mouth was apparently full of teeth.</p> <p>This species is not new. It’s been known to scientists for over 150 years, but due to the bad condition of the fossils it was hard to reconstruct its head to get more details. In 2014 though, a new fossil of the <em>Ichthyornis dispar</em> was found and this time it had a perfectly preserved skull. A 3D reconstruction showed that it could move its upper part of the beak independently, like birds today can and reptilian dinosaurs definitely can't. The fossils also showed these indentations on the surface of the skull, which are were a rather strong set of muscles were attaching, to allow the ancient dino-bird to grab, hold on to and chew its food with the help of its sharp teeth. Having such strong muscles operate a beak that is also capable of performing some of the tasks a hand sound have also probably played a role in freeing the front limbs to be used for flight.</p> <h3><strong>Kew Gardens Glasshouse Reopens</strong></h3> <p>This is great news! A few days ago, Kew gardens reopened its glasshouse (Temperate house). It houses 10,000 plants from the ‘Goldilocks’ zone - some of these are exceedingly rare and the glasshouse represents a final refuge. I remember going to Kew a long time ago to the glasshouses. Temperate house is the world’s LARGEST glasshouse, and it is beautiful.</p> <p>In an interview with the BBC, the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough said he had first visited Kew Gardens "back when it cost a penny...When I had an office job at the BBC, when I used to be stuck in the office and get really depressed, I would come here at the weekend and take a deep breath, because there was a smell of the tropics.” He reiterated the importance of such institutions in avoiding extinctions.</p> <h3><strong>Stephen Hawking's Final Theory About The Multiverse</strong></h3> <p>One of the last (so far) legacies of Prof Hawking is an article submitted just days before his passing. He has worked on this for almost 40 years and it’s a theory which tries to explain how is it possible for the Big Bang to have created an infinite number of Universes, more or less similar to ours.</p> <p>Originally, his work with James Hartle worked out how, based on principles of quantum mechanics the Big Bang could have potentially created an infinite number of universes; some very similar to our and others so different that even the laws of physics wouldn’t be the same.</p> <p>Later on, further developing the math to solve this problem, Hawking with the help of Professor Hertog from Belgium, used principles from String Theory to work out the math. By doing so, the two physicists came up to a solution according to which the Big Bang created a bunch of parallel universes, but they all have distinct similarities. Meaning that there might be a universe out there where I’m skinny and can sing, another one where dinosaurs still exist and yet another one where Professor Hawking never went to grad school but became a world famous tap-dancer!</p> <p>One of the implications of the theory that parallel universes emerging as a result of the Big Bang exist based on the String Theory principles rather than the quantum physics ones, is that we might be able to actually detect parallel universes, since their basic physical laws will be very similar. It’s still doubtful though that we’d be able to travel through them.</p> <hr /> <h2> </h2> <h2>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h2> <h3><strong>Thwaites Thwaites Don't Tell Me!</strong></h3> <p>Welcome to the Lounge! Of course, the first thing anyone gets to hear when they enter the lounge is an update on Puerto Rico. Less than 50,000 people are still without power a month before the hurricane season starts. And every week stories come out that are shocking but get completely overlooked due to the ongoing madness. For instance, did you know that the Puerto Rico Department of Public Health found that the overall suicide rate in Puerto Rico increased 29% in the first months after hurricane Maria? Or how about this quote about rebuilding Puerto Rico’s power grid from a former energy executive whose has dealt with natural disasters from hurricane Sandy, to severe storms in Jamaica to earthquakes in California, “I’ve never seen anything like that--not in a developed nation” said Ed Muller. So yeah, still a disgrace.</p> <p>Lately I’ve been talking about interesting research, new papers that have come out, and that has been fun. But I wanted to take you this week on a little journey to a story about getting the data needed to make cool new studies. On April 30, the largest American/British joint science expedition to Antarctica in 7 decades was launched to look at the Thwaites glacier, a terrifying “what if” glacier which if it completely melts would raise global sea levels by 10 feet. As David Holland, one of the principal researchers on this project said in an article in the Washington Post “For global sea-level change in the next century, this Thwaites glacier is almost the entire story,”. Right now, basically, scientists fear only a bump in the sea floor is helping to hold the glacier in place. But it’s hard to know how precariously things are because well...</p> <p>The one issue with the Thwaites glacier is that, like, Antarctica, is like, super hard to get to. This expedition will fix that. So who’s going? There will be 6, count’em 6 field expeditions going along with two computer modeling studies. And they are pulling out all the celebrity stops. One of the submersible research vessels will even be BOATY MCBOATFACE!</p> <p>They are going to study this glacier from all directions. Holland will be drilling holes near the grounding line (where the ocean, bedrock and ice meet), and put a remotely operated vehicle in see whats going on.</p> <p>Sridhar Anandakrishnan, a Penn State geoscientist will be doing seismic surveys detonating small explosive devices within the Thwaites glacier to measure the echoes of the sound waves. This will help determine what the glacier is flowing over and help figure out the glaciers rate of retreat.</p> <p>There will also be ships and planes with radars, and remote sensing, ocean gliders, subs and more drilling. This research expeditions will come back with an absolute treasure trove of data which can then be fed into computer models to determine better projections for what lies ahead.</p> <p>It’s a daunting task, in one of the most inhospitable places on the planet. But over 100 scientists are heading out because they know just how dire things will be for humanity if the Thwaites glaciers retreats all the way back to the south pole. So you know, not a heavy research trip at all. Just another walk in the glacial park….  </p> <hr /> <h2> </h2> <h2>What The Hell Was That?</h2> <p>We rummaged through the hallway closet and found an old game. Listen next week to see who can guess what the hell that sound was.</p> <hr /> <h2> </h2> <h2>In Closing</h2> <p>In 2004 when asked about his IQ, Professor Stephen Hawking replied, “I have no idea. People who boast about their IQ are losers”.</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco, California; Cambridge, England; Washington, D.C.; and Brussels, Belgium.</p>
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066: The Heart of Mars
<p><strong>Coming up on this week’s show</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mysterious ice holes, INSIGHT into the interior of Mars, Early Grants are the Ticket, The Climate Lounge, and This Week in Science History</span> </p> <p>  </p> <p><strong>Listener feedback</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Regarding our story last week on plastic-eating bacteria, SC on Twitter writes:</span></p> <p><strong>There was a scifi play on BBC tv in the 70’s which featured a bacteria that eats plastic.</strong> <strong>In the story it got loose from a lab and accelerated destroying all sorts of stuff including bringing down aircraft.</strong></p> <p><strong>Careful what you wish for..!</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thank you, SC</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He brings up a good point because when it comes to grand ideas of introducing species to counter a human-caused problems our history is not so good.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Examples: kudzu, the vine that ate the American south, and cane toads in Australia</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m all for tackling this critical problem in our oceans, but let’s do be cautious when it comes to unleashing microorganisms into our oceans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">you</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">have any questions or comments you can do like SC and hit us up on Twitter, or you can email us at <a href= "mailto:feedback@bluestreakscience.com">feedback@bluestreakscience.com</a></span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Science News</strong></p> <p><strong>Scientists’ early grant success fuels further funding</strong> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We are back with some super cool science stories to share.  </span><strong>But wait</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">! Do you know who are some of the show-runners who make this science possible. Grad Students and post docs definitely make it to the top of the list. As a postdoc myself I can</span> <strong>strongly</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">attest that, to do amazing science you need funding. So today I am going to talk about a study, which compared the career trajectory of early career scientists or post docs who are funded early on in their career versus</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> the ones who miss out on these initial grants</span> <strong>ONLY</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">by a small margin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This study was led by a Dutch sociologist, Thijs Bol at the University of Amsterdam. They compiled a data set, which consisted information on funding scores as well as the grants funded from two organizations - The  European Research Council and Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research. Their analysis revealed that researchers who were funded, CONTINUED to gain more than TWICE as much research funding in the next 8 years relative to their peers who weren’t funded at an early stage. And let me repeat this, the scientists who failed to secure grants - just missed it by a small margin. Similar studies have been done in the past which also had similar conclusions, but Bol claims they were not as thorough as this one.</span> </p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The group reasoned that this drift in the funding acquisition could be</span> <strong>partly</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">because researchers who lost out on the initial grant were less likely to apply for future funding. I would like to say here that, many post doctoral positions are funded through their labs/mentors/institution - that is they are not always required to apply for funding. HOWEVER, they should very much be encouraged to do so. Having you independent funding, can definitely set you up for subsequent funding in future. Which has also been shown by the study under discussion.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This study only looked at data from two funding agencies, more information from other funding agencies world wide is needed to see the whole picture. I believe that a much bigger problem</span> <strong>is,</strong> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">rejection of funding at an early career stage can dissuade one from pursuing science, which is a bad news for the WHOLE SCIENCE community. So what can be done? Funding agencies should be made aware of this. Also, more academic mentoring wrt to grant applications should be made available to postdocs and early career researchers. So yes -- KEEP APPLYING FOR GRANTS!</span></p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04958-9?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20180426&utm_source=nature_etoc&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180426&spMailingID=56487811&spUserID=NzE3MDU3OTQ1MDYS1&spJobID=1383950517&spReportId=MTM4Mzk1MDUxNwS2"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Nature</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Mysterious Ice Holes in the Arctic</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Living here on the west coast of North America means that whenever I travel to Europe I get to fly over the Arctic.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The land and ice up there are incredibly beautiful even from 11 kilometers up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Glaciers on Greenland. Ice flows in Baffin Bay. Icebergs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I imagine all the wildlife down there...</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">News story about some interesting phenomena up there in the ice. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">According to NASA, weird holes have begun to appear in the ice.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They have no idea what’s causing them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">John Sonntag, a scientist with NASA’s Operation Ice Bridge </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">took some photos and found these strange holes. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some researchers have suggested these holes were created by seals. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">That makes a lot of sense until we find out many of the holes are quite large.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to Sonntag the holes are several meters, even tens of meters in size, making it unlikely that seals are the cause.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Some have suggested that bowhead whales may be punching up through the thin ice to breathe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">NASA has a monthly contest on their site called Earth Observatory, and a picture of these holes appears in their April Puzzler.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Head over to the show notes for a link to this site, and perhaps you can help NASA figure out what the hell this is!</span></p> <p><a href= "https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/blogs/earthmatters/2018/04/17/april-2018-puzzler/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">NASA April Puzzler</span></a></p> <p><a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/arctic-ice-hole-photos-science-spd/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">National Geographic</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/04/23/nasa-baffled-by-mysterious-ice-circles-in-the-arctic/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.ecc8556c8d0d"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Washington Post</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/a20055205/icebridge-ice-holes-arctic/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Popular Mechanics</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>NASA InSight Lander To Get First Look At ‘Heart’ Of Mars</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All this news about planet EARTH, guess who is feeling left out? Yes! You guess it right it’s planet MARS. But not to worry Mars because you will be getting a new visitor in November. A spacecraft designed to study i</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">nterior structure, composition as well as Mar’s</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">seismic activity is scheduled to lift off on May 5</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">th</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">and land on the red planet, Mars in November. This spacecraft is called INSIGHT, which is short for</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img src= "https://assets.libsyn.com/secure/show/50742/MarsINSIGHT.jpg" alt= "" width="400" height="225" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">INSIGHT will be the</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">first spacecraft to land on Mars since Curiosity in 2012. The lander, rovers and orbiters that have visited mars before investigated</span> <strong>MOSTLY</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the surface history by studying features like</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">canyons, volcanoes, rocks and soil. INSIGHT will be digging in deeper to learn about the RED planet’s formation and give us more “</span><strong>Insight</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">” about what lies under it’s surface.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lets’ what what exactly will be the job of this spacecraft.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The INSIGHT mission will operate for approximately two earth years and during that time it will use primarily 3 instruments.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A seismometer will pick up the vibrations from</span> <strong>marsquakes</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;">, which are Mars equivalent of earthquakes. Insight will also hammer a heat-flow probe upto</span> <strong>16 feet deep</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">into Martian surface, which is deeper than any of the probes used before. This will reveal how much</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">heat is flowing out of the deep interior of the planet. And the third instrument known as RISE will track the</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">location of the spacecraft and monitor minor variations in its position, to determine just how much Mars' North Pole wobbles as it orbits the sun.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These experiments will tell us about</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">things like; if Mars formed from the same stuff as Earth and the Moon, what is it’s core made up of and also give a sneak peek into how the planet evolved. In the coming months we will hear more about this mission as the lift off takes place later this week from WEST coast of United States. Just a note – this is the 1</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">st</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">time an interplanetary mission is being launched from the WC.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, if you are in the area and would like to lean more about MARS INSIGHT mission, you should check out the MARS road show this week as well as next week in California where you chat with NASA scientists and engineers, and learn about INSIGHTS MARS mission in detail.</span></p> <p><a href= "https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/participate/roadshow/"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Mars Roadshow</span></a></p> <p><a href= "https://scienceblog.com/500527/nasa-insight-lander-to-get-first-look-at-heart-of-mars/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scienceblogrssfeed+%28ScienceBlog.com%29"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">ScienceBlog</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">NASA.gov</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mars-insight-20180330-story.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">LA Times</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Puerto Rico still suffers from occasional island wide black outs. The hurricane season officially begins in a month. Hurricane Maria hit the island on September 20… This continues to be awful.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sometimes we all just have one of those days, you know. Just BAD days. Where nothing seems to be going in your favor. Then you turn on the news and you realize that things are going in ALOT of people’s favor. Ugh, just bad days. Maybe you’re like me when those days happen, and you close your eyes tight and try of think of anything else.  Like what would time period would I go to if I could time travel. Or What would the world be like if we still were just one big super continent? Or better yet, what would life be like if I was 6 feet tall? THESE ARE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Well, some scientists from the Max Planck Institute just lived my dreams. They presented their findings recently at the annual meeting of the European Geosciences Union on what earth would look like if it spun the other way. I sincerely hope my excitement is coming across to everyone listening right. THIS IS SUCH A COOL THING.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We often talk about our climate as latitudinally dependent because that’s sort of an easy way to look at things. It’s warmer near the equator and colder near the poles. Or we talk about it with regards to elevation The higher you are, the colder it is. But we don’t talk about just how important the earth’s rotation is in causing the regional climates all across the world. But these scientists did just that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Florian Ziemen of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany was the lead scientist on the work and he and colleagues tweaked some parameters in a climate model that effectively turned the planet around. They then watched to see what climates developed as the model ran for 7,000 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This meant that they stopped the movement of air and water then reversed the direction of the Coriolis force which essentially reflects the impact a spinning earth would have one the movement of liquids and gases on our planet. They even reversed the direction of the sun so that, for instance, NY is 5 hours ahead of London in this bizarro world.  The result, things got crazy!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The world’s deserts completely shifted. The Sahara desert was gone. It was now much wetter along with the Middle East. Instead, deserts reigned over the southeast United States and Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Australia also became much wetter as a reversal of the winds brought more moist air onshore. In total, a backwards earth had 11 million square km’s LESS desert than our current earth.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For me on the Atlantic coast of the US, our climate became more mild and wet. While severe winters slammed western Europe. But it wasn’t all great. Huge blooms of cyanobacteria took over northern Indian ocean.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s a whole new world. But this doesn’t explain why scientists do this. Well, looking at a retrograde planet earth allows scientists to see if our understanding of the earth is actually correct. For instance, scientists use these experiments to look at this like the huge ocean circulations on the planet. There is ongoing research looking into just how deep water forms that is waters that sinks to the bottom of the ocean which currently occurs in the north Atlantic. In prior backwards moving planet experiments, this formation of deep water either broke down or continued, leaving scientists perplexed. If this formation didn’t stop, then the shape of the ocean basin might be playing a role. If it did collapse so does that argument. This most recent research did in fact have deep water formation collapse, similar to work done in 2008.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So would the earth be better if things turned backwards? Well, it would be greener, less desert-y but it all sort of depends on where you live. And truth be told, it’d still be full of humans and for all of the amazing things humanity has accomplished, we still have a knack for screwing things up.</span></p> <p><a href= "https://eos.org/articles/reversing-earths-spin-moves-deserts-reshapes-ocean-currents"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">EOS</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>This Week In Science History</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>This week in science history on 26 April in 1986</strong>, in</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">Pripyat, in the </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">northern Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, now thankfully called just Ukraine,</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">one of the four reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear plant exploded during a safety test, launching a cloud of radioactive dust over Europe. The Soviet Union, always concerned with public health and transparency, announced the explosion two days after it happened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Did you know I’ve been to Chernobyl? Yep, I can count on the fingers of my left hand how many times I've been there. Seven times.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>This week in science history on 26 April in 1884</strong>, the</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">New York Times</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">reported that “sending mails by electricity” was to be investigated by the Post Office Committee of the United State House of Representatives. The article suggested it could lead to ten cent telegrams, million dollar offers from Nigerian princes, and pills to enhance your manhood.</span></p> <p><strong>This week in science history on</strong> <span style= "font-weight: 400;"><strong>27 April In 1887</strong>, surgeon George Morton performed the first appendectomy in the United States, saving the life of a 26-year-old man suffering from a toothache.</span></p> <p><strong>This week in science history on</strong> <span style= "font-weight: 400;"><strong>30 April in 1878</strong>, Louis Pasteur lectured at the French Academy of Science to promote his germ theory of disease. Predictably, he still met with opposition from some scientists, and he replied that their skepticism was “fatal to medical progress”, thus proving that old microbiologists never die, they’re just put out to Pasteur.</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Shout out!</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’d like to thank Thomas at SecondLine Themes for helping us with our website.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I was having trouble centering the podcast player on our theme…</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A theme is kind of like the structure, the bones, the template, of a website. And we purchased the Gumbo theme from SecondLine themes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More often than not I need assistance with the techy stuff, and Thomas came through and helped me straighten things out.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So, if you’re building a website, especially one for a podcast, I highly recommend SecondLine Themes.</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.secondlinethemes.com">Secondline Themes</a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Closing</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We leave you with these words from American anthropologist Margaret Mead who said, “</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goodbye everyone, and until next time...follow the science!</span></p> <p> </p>
Listen: podcast - audio/mpeg

065: Plastic-eating Bacteria to the Rescue
<p><strong>Plastic-eating Bacteria to the Rescue?</strong></p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">[Ladies and gentlemen, we are at war! I’m not talking about a war on terror, a rogue state or even drugs, I’m talking about something much closer to home. I’m talking about plastic. Plasti-phobia is very popular at the moment; in the last week alone the UK government have announced a policy to ban the use of plastic straws in pubs, clubs and restaurants as the national still reels from the images shown in the stunning Blue Planet 2 series. And right here on Blue Streak Science we spoke a couple of weeks about a giant island of plastic adrift on the ocean, spreading micro-plastics far and wide and into the food chain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reason that this war on plastic is so hard to win is that, despite these increasingly apparent environmental impacts, we just can’t quit it. It’s a bit like a guilty affair; we know that it’s reckless, irresponsible and hurts others but it’s just so convenient and easy. Especially for us in the world of science and laboratories; with our disposable pipettes tips, Petri dishes, deep well plates and culture loops. We’ve been as much a part of the problem as we have the solution.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Up until now that is. The biggest problem that plastic presents is also its greatest asset; its resistance to biodegradation. But this resistance is starting to be ground down. In 2011 a single-celled fungus called pest-alo-tiopsis microspora was discovered which can digest polyurethane and in 2016 a strain of Ideonella Sakaiensis bacteria was identified that eats PET.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This bacteria was found outside a plastic recycling plant in Japan. What amazes me about this is just how quickly these organisms have evolved to exploit this new food source. We talk about antibiotic resistance as being a fast process but antibiotics are, for the most part, still going strong 100 years after their discovery. Plastics have been with us for half of that time and we’re already seeing this shift in our microflora.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So how are scientists helping with this? Well, if you give scientists the novel enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of PET (rather imaginatively called. PETase, we don’t mess around with naming here. We call a spade a digging tool and a rose by any other name would be Rosa kordesii and it would not smell so sweet as the cross breed known as Louise Odier because science is complicated enough without adding a bunch of artsy-fartsy names to the mix that don’t mean anything).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But I digress; if you give scientists a novel enzyme (like PETase) then they will do what scientists do and dick around with it. Prof. John McGeeham and Dr. Gregg Beckham of the university of Portsmouth and NREL, respectively, have managed to not only make PETase more efficient but have also widened the range of plastics that it works on.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They didn’t initially set out to tweak the enzyme in this way; they were merely attempting to look at its crystal structure. Knowing this would allow the enzyme to be synthesised in the same way as ones that are already being used in your laundry detergent. It was during this synthesis that the error was made, resulting in a more efficient enzyme that can now be produced to aid the plastic recycling process.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Where will this take us in future years? With the microbial world churning on, who knows, maybe one day plastic will end up being no more durable than cardboard. We’ve certainly left enough of it around for the bugs to practice on!]</span></p> <p><a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/16/scientists-accidentally-create-mutant-enzyme-that-eats-plastic-bottles?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Guardian</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/plastic-gobbling-enzyme-just-got-upgrade"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Science News</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/04/16/1718804115#ref-17"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> PNAS</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>“Warm Transplants” Save Livers and Lives</strong></p> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">[Few months ago we spoke of artificial womb and how the first lamb which was carried to term in one was the proof of concept that we might be well on the way to assisted pregnancies, when for health reasons the mother might not be able to carry the fetus to the end of the necessary period.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This story, published in Nature, is about slightly different type of womb-like device. One that can help transplantation organs to reach the patient in better condition and increase the chance of the transplantation procedure being successful.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are many hurdles to a successful transplantation of organs - often times the storage of the organ between the donor and the recipient ends up damaging the organ to an extend which increases the risk of it failing and being rejected by the patient.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now a new device which has been tested in the randomized clinical trial described in the nature paper authored by Dr David Nasralla and his colleagues, was shown to increase the success rate of liver transplantations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the main differences with previous storage devices is that in keeps the organ at 37 degrees C (the body temperature of a healthy human). So far, transplant organs are always kept on ice (4 degrees C). While there are many rational reasons keeping on ice organs taken out of the body of donors makes sense, it might actually not be the most optimal way to do it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Putting tissues and organ on ice for example can reduce the development of bacterial contaminations, it also is thought to induce the cellular chaperones - types of proteins which have the sole purpose of protecting the cells against stress (and if removing organ from its place is not stress, I don’t know what is). But it might appear that at least in the case of liver, putting it on ice it might damage the organ more than protect it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The machine that was developed to try and remedy this actually supplies the liver with blood saturated with oxygen - lack of oxygen is one of the main reasons that tissues and cells fail. It also filters out immunogenic cells so as little as possible risk there is for immune response in the receiver of the organ and rejection. Additionally, the machine is equipped with a bunch of sensors which measure the performance of the organ and if by any chance, for whatever reason, it starts under performing before the procedure has taken place, the doctors can decide based on this information whether or not they should discard the liver or if it is safe to proceed with the transplantation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At this point the downside of the machine is its price - soaring to as much as 8000 euros, this is virtually unachievable tag for most patients and it can hardly be covered by national health insurance programs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But like all other tech, the hope is that the price tag will quickly start showing lower numbers as ways are established to use more sustainable and cheaper materials without sacrificing the performance of the machine. ]</span></p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-04816-8?utm_source=briefing-dy&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20180301"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Nature</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0047-9"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Nature (original abstract)</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Ibuprofen and acetaminophen (paracetamol) reduce dental pain more effectively than opioids</strong></p> <p><strong>Chris:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">[Elvis Presley, Prince, Hank Williams, Heath Ledger, Sigmund Freud; these are just a few examples of high profile people who we have lost as a result of opioid abuse. These tragedies occur because these highly addictive substances are available, legally, as they are such effective painkillers; but a new study has concluded that they are not as effective as their less dangerous alternatives, ibruprofen and paracetamol. Could it be that these celebrities’ lives could have been saved if we had known this earlier? Well, only if they had been suffering from toothache.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This unexpected discovery comes after a wide literature review. Anita Aminoshariae is one of the study’s authors and explained that the aim was to create a compendium detailing both the benefits and harms of these medications as a resource for dentists to use in their clinical decision-making, and this resources says, don’t get your patients high!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Considering the consequences that opioid use can have, it is somewhat less surprising to find that the use of ibruprofen (either with or without paracetamol to assist) produces less adverse side effects as well as being more effective at managing the pain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reason why opioids are such a big problem is that they a part of the same family of chemicals as endorphins and dopamine that our bodies naturally create anyway. Medicinally, this is great because they can act on the brainstem and spinal cord like an endorphin (but much more powerfully) where they can suppress pain. The downside of this that it also affects the limbic system. If you have heard of endorphins or dopamine before then you’ve probably heard that they are the thing that makes us feel good; like chemical happiness. On the face of it, this may not seem like a bad side effect, to feel happy and relaxed about everything but the consequences are all too real.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It has been said that humanity only ever suffers from one addiction, opioids. Everything that we get addicted to, be it gambling, alcohol, sex, chocolate or building spreadsheets (maybe that’s just me) these things all prompt our body to make these chemicals. All these other addictions are just the lengths that we go to to feed our opioid habit. The problem with these medicinal opioids is that you cut out the middle man and just provide the brain with an artificial alternative much more potent than anything than your body can make. Just think about it; once you’ve got used to the experience of an opioid high, a genuine, natural feeling of euphoria would just feel lacklustre.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ibruprofen, on the other hand, is an anti-inflammatory drug. Swelling is a normal response of the body to trauma but it can also be painful. Whilst the swelling is functional and can aid the healing process, it is possible to use these drugs to reduce the swelling and relieve the discomfort. Their effectiveness can be further improved by combining them with paracetamol. Also known as acetaminophen, it may come as a bit of a shock that no one actually knows exactly how it works. The leading theory is that it blocks the brain’s ability to detect prostaglandins which are a bit like anti-opioids; they make us feel pain rather than elation. This is the same chemical that causes swelling, so ibruprofen inhibits its production and then the paracetamol limits the brains ability to pick up on what’s left.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maybe this is why this result has been discovered. There are no nerves within teeth themselves, but they are attached to some. Dental pain is often associated with swelling and pressure on these nerves. Whilst opioids will dull this pain and make you feel a bit better about it, ibruprofen will actually do something to ease the source of the pain. But not the pain in your soul; for that that I’m afraid that you’ll just have to stick with opioids and all of the risks that they entail.]</span></p> <p><a href= "https://scienceblog.com/500389/ibuprofen-acetaminophen-more-effective-than-opioids-in-treating-dental-pain/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scienceblogrssfeed+%28ScienceBlog.com%29"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">ScienceBlog</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://thedaily.case.edu/study-ibuprofen-acetaminophen-effective-opioids-treating-dental-pain/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Case Western</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://www.sci-news.com/medicine/paracetamol-ibuprofen-opioids-acute-dental-pain-05931.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Sci-News</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>TESS in the search of exoplanets</strong></p> <p><strong>Nevena:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">[It seems like yesterday when the SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket blasted Elon’s red Tesla roadster into space, but in the meantime the Falcon 9 (it’s smaller buddy) is busy with to serious space business delivering payloads into Earth’s orbit and beyond for various private and public programs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It most recently brought to space a NASA probe which will search for exoplanets. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite or for short TESS is expected to deploy its solar panels as we speak and to start performing a number of internal checks before it starts collecting data.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unlike other satellites before it, TESS will orbit Earth on a never used before orbit with a complex geometry, making two orbits around us for each orbit the Moon does. While this might seem a very random orbit to choose, surely you don’t think NASA didn’t choose it very carefully! The trick with this orbit is that it’s very stable - if for some reason the satellite goes slightly out of its way, the moon’s gravity will pull it back in place and allow it to keep doing it’s thing without having to do much maneuvering itself - talk about being sustainable in space. Also, in this orbit there’s much less space junk - something we unfortunately we have plenty of (and the cleaning of which Sophie talked about in our previous episode - go have a listen if you haven’t yet!).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once in its place, the expectation for TESS are soaring - its equipment is building up on the Kepler telescope’s sensors and the hope is that it will discover even more exoplanets than Kepler ever could. Whatever TESS discovers, it will feed into the science that the James Webb telescope is expected to perform once it’s launched in 2020 and it reaches its sweet spot in space - the Lagrange point where the gravity of Earth and the Sun balance out so it can stay there and observe the deep space with the most powerful sensors we have ever made for space exploration. ]</span></p> <p><a href= "https://www.space.com/40346-nasa-tess-exoplanet-mission-whats-next.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Space.com</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-tess-launch-nasa-20180418-story.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">LA Times</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/launch-tess-nasa-boost-search-exoplanets"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Science News</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>A**hole of the Month</strong></p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The Blue Streak Science A**hole of the Month is governor Rick Snyder of the state of Michigan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let’s go back a few years to 2014 to Flint, Michigan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That’s when officials, in order to save money, switched the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unfortunately, water from the river is 19 times more corrosive than that from the lake, according to researchers at Virginia Tech University.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That sounds bad, but in and of itself it really isn’t, unless you’re piping that water through antiquated pipes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And it didn’t take long for the water started to look, smell and taste bad.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The more corrosive Flint River water caused lead to leach from pipes into the city's drinking water.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The immediate result was people getting rashes and hair loss from the lead in their water.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The long-term effects are well-known and far more dire, especially for children.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the EPA, had to intervene.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, a class-action lawsuit followed against the state’s Department of Environmental Quality alleging that they failed to properly treat the water before it was pumped through the city’s old pipes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since that time it has been a mess in Flint.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Children with astronomically high levels of lead in their blood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Residents forced to use bottled water for virtually everything.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Stop for a moment, and imagine what it would be like for you to shut off your taps, all of them, and rely on water that you have to drive somewhere and physically pick up.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Your drinking, cooking, bathing and showering, brushing your teeth, and even watering your garden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All of it. Water you had to schlep from a distribution center to your home.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But thankfully that water was being paid for by the state of Michigan.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Until now.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last week the Michigan government announced it would no longer provide free bottled water to residents of Flint four years into this public health debacle.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The closure of the state-funded water distribution centers, or free PODs, happened abruptly and surprised Flint Mayor Karen Weaver.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At a press conference this week she recalled her conversation with the governor, “When we talked about the PODs, the governor said we need to get over it. He said the water is testing well and we need to move on,”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Incidentally, is it any surprise that Flint, Michigan is majority African American and has a median household income of about $28,000?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you think this would be allowed to happen in West Palm Beach or Aspen, Colorado?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Flint still has about 12,000 homes with tainted lead service lines that need replacing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mayor Weaver stated, “They gave us their word that they would see us through this lead and galvanized service line replacement and that we would have PODs stay open until then, and they backed out on what they said,”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to ReWire News, locals are taking matters into their own hands as the Snyder administration once again turns its back to the plight of Flint.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Local celebrities and organizations like Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation are fighting for water rights and advocating change; a young activist called Mari Copeny, started an online campaign that has raised more than $22,500 in seven days.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Flint officials are threatening to sue the state, and so are residents looking for continued bottled water distribution.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I don’t blame them.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And for turning your back on the good citizens of Flint, Michigan...governor Rick Snyder, you are the Blue Streak Science A**shole of the Month!</span></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> U<span style="font-weight: 400;">ntil next time...follow the science!</span></p> <p> </p>
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064: Astronomy Meets Biology, Harpoons and Nets
<p><strong>Science News</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Conservationists use astronomy software to save species</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An astrophysicist and a conservation biologist walk into a bar… No, this is not that kind of story, but a real one on how collaboration is the second name of Lady Science.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A work showing how space science can be used in conservation efforts for endangered species was presented at the European Week of Astronomy and Space Science in the UnKi last week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In it, Dr Serge Wich of the Liverpool John Moores University, described how, through the power of words (!!!) he was able to land a collaboration which as a conservation biologist he never thought he would - with an astrophysicist, namely Dr Claire Burke.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What happened is that, the biologist was talking to his neighbour, explaining the troubles of this research - as you do. His main issue was that protecting animals who are active at night is even harder than the ones active when there’s light. They had to rely only on secondary clues - abandoned nests, feces, leftover food etc. But this is extremely inefficient and imprecise way to estimate the number of animals from a species for many reasons. Sometimes animals migrate to new habitats (may be due to climate change) and that’s why they leave behind nest, burrows and hideaways, meaning that they are simply not there, not necessarily that they are dead. Also, it’s not always super obvious which heap of smelly poop was left by which exactly species of giant mammal for example. And counting animals with infrared cameras is often hindered by the vegetation around, which - newsflash - also emits light in the spectrum, and you also have to be rather close to be able to detect them like that, which kind of defeats the purpose. And even if you did detect something, half of the time you can’t even tell if that warm blob you see with the infrared cam is a rhino or a hippo.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What happened next is called serendipity - the moment when scientists smell the word “Eureka” in the air, but know there’s a ton of work to be done before they get there! The neighbour, who unlike most neighbours in this case was actually</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">listening</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">to the story, had an idea. He knew that his colleagues use these types of softwares which actually could identify the size and age of far away stars from their heat signatures!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So they got to work, they mounted a special infrared cam on a drone and started flying it through zoos and nature reserves and teaching the software behind it to identify one animal from the other, injured animals from healthy and recently deceased from for example asleep ones. And it worked! And it can be now used for that purpose in the wild. And this is why science is awesome!</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">]</span></p> <p><a href= "http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43546429"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">BBC Science and Environment</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/thermal-infrared-cameras-drones-poaching-conservation-animals-spd/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">National Geographic</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Scientists find signs of new brain cells in older adults</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We spoke about neurogenesis a few episodes ago when we discussed a paper that suggested we lose the ability to make new brain cells as we age. Today, the tables have turned...a new paper is hot off the press that contradicts that March publication in</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Nature</span></em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">, saying that, indeed, we can make new neurons throughout the ageing process! The new paper is published in</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cell Stem Cell.</span></em><span style= "font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style= "font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">SO what’s going on here? Research papers often contradict each other and our understanding of natural phenomena is a result of appraising all this different evidence. At the moment, the consensus seems to be that there is some capacity for the hippocampus to produce new neurons throughout life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Both papers involved use of post-mortem brain samples. Yet the results differ. Maura Boldrini, the lead author, suggested this may be due to different preservation techniques, as well as the fact the brains in the</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nature</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">study came from a wider variety of patients, some of whom had had conditions such as epilepsy.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To look for signs of neurogenesis, the researchers hunted for specific proteins produced by neurons at particular stages of development. Proteins such as GFAP and SOX2, for example, are made in abundance by stem cells that eventually turn into neurons, while newborn neurons make more of proteins such as Ki-67. In all of the brains, the researchers found evidence of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus, the part of the hippocampus where neurons are born.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There were some differences between young and old brains, notwithstanding the abundance of new neurons in each sample - old brains had fewer new blood vessels and apparently there was less evidence of new connections between neurons (synapses).</span></p> <p><a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-new-brain-cells-20180405-story.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">LA Times</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/human-brains-make-new-nerve-cells-and-lots-them-well-old-age"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Science News</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.livescience.com/62227-aging-brain-new-cells.html"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Live Science</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Hybrid swarm in global mega-pest</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So this is a story from the journal PNAS (which for some reason Americans pronounce totally weird) and got covered in Science Daily. It’s about genetic mutants! OW YEAH! But not really… Well yeah, but not like the teenage ninja turtles, more like the hulk and not in a good way!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Do you know which is one of the main pests against which genetically engineered crops were created? It’s the cotton bollworm, which is a b*tch of pest because it feeds on more than 100 species of plants, many of which agriculturally important and is the sole reason why some years cotton farmers in India for example loose up to 80% of their harvest and in consequence - their income. It is resistant to</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">every pesticide</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">in the world which is why the darned GMOs are so needed in the developing world and why some denim companies (which I will not name) are total tools for refusing to buy from Indian farmers growing GMO cotton because their western clients don’t want GMO jeans on their sorry asses!</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">ANYHOW</span></em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">, the damage control only for this pest costs billions of dollars every year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The other pest in this story is the corn earworm, which is not</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">as</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">bad, but is still a major agri-pest. The damage it does is estimated to be only about 100 mln dollars per year, which is peanuts to what the cotton bollworm does.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here’s the horror of this story though - recently, scientists from Australia had realised that the two species of pests had met, hybridised and gave birth (figuratively speaking) to a mega-pest, which unlike the two original species who have generally different areas of spread, is both super-mean to our crops</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">and</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">potentially able to live just about anywhere in the world where there’s arable land! They’ve found the mega-pest hybrid in Brazil (which by the way is one of the worst places for us for this to happen as Brazil is one of the world’s biggest producers and exporters of Coffee, Soybean, Soybean, Wheat, Rice, Corn, and Sugarcane).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And if this wasn’t horrible enough, it turned out that from the hybrids they studied, there were not just one new hybrid, but rather many many different hybrids between the two species. In some cases, the new hybrid had gotten almost entirely the pesticide resistant genes from the bollworm and other than that was genetically mostly earworm. Which, if we draw the short straw from this, might mean that on hybrid will be susceptible to our pesticides, but 2 will not be, and that math even I can do - it does not look good for our agricultural produce.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And if Brazil does not sound concerning enough, I’m just going to say that 65% of the major crops in the USA are potential dinner for the pests and having such plethora of super-pest hybrids coming your way can be really,</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">really</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">bad!</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">]</span></p> <p><a href= "http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/29/1718831115"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> PNAS</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-06/hybrid-mega-pest-risk-to-global-food-crops/9623306"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">ABC</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180406100544.htm"><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Science Daily</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>This Space Junk Removal Experiment Will Harpoon & Net Debris in Orbit</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We have a rubbish problem in space. Literally - the atmosphere is full of space junk. Now there’s a new project to try and reduce this - time for a bit of spring cleaning of space.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A Japanese experiment in space trash removal, called KITE, had to be scrapped last year due to a technical failure. The new project, RemoveDEBRIS satellite was funded half by the European Commission, and half by a consortium of 10 companies. Lots of interest in clearing the junk! But how? Fishing, basically - the project will trial nets and harpoons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The idea is that the net, as a way to capture debris, is a very flexible option because even if the debris is spinning, or has got an irregular shape, to capture it with a net is relatively low-risk compared to, for example, going with a robotic arm,” said Guglielmo Aglietti, RemoveDEBRIS principal investigator, and director of the Surrey Space Center. He adds “The harpoon is maybe simpler...but then one might think that maybe it’s a bit more risky because you have to hit your debris in a place that is suitable to be captured by the harpoon. Clearly, you have to avoid any fuel tanks.” Clearly.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trial involves cleaning up junk the team introduced to space themselves, rather than touching existing stuff up there, for legal reasons. Tests should be complete by the end of the year. If promising, RemoveDEBRIS will be incorporated into a big cleaning mission scheduled for 2024. We have 7500 tons of space junk (40,000 fragments, estimated) circling the Earth at the moment and this seems likely to increase without concerted clean-up efforts. There have been collisions in the past and these do pose major risk to spacecraft.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Funny, we humans really are messy - not just on our planet, but beyond. Not something you tend to think about.</span></p> <p><a href= "https://www.space.com/40221-space-junk-debris-sweeper-experiment.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Space.com</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.nextbigfuture.com/2018/04/removedebris-satellite-will-test-space-junk-removal-methods.html"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Next Big Future</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href= "https://www.airspacemag.com/daily-planet/first-test-space-debris-cleanup-about-get-under-way-180968631/"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Air and Space</span></a></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Climate Lounge</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>The Sahara is getting bigger… boo.</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Welcome to the climate lounge, where, just like our planet, I’ve programmed the thermostat to get increasingly hotter and told the servers to randomly douse some people with a bucket of water, while removing all drinks from others. You thinking that doesn’t sound like a fun place to hang out…. That’s the point.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But first, PUERTO RICO. Not much more to add besides what I’ve said in the past. It’s a travesty that some people in Puerto Rico are STILL without power. Making matters more infuriating recently, was an article in Politico which went through the double standards in relief efforts between those in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey and those in Puerto Rico impacted by Hurricane Maria. I’m sure you can guess how. But here are some numbers from the article. Nine days after Harvey, FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) approved almost 142 million in individual assistance to Harvey’s victims. That number was 6.2 million for Marias victims. It took 10 days for FEMA to approve permanent disaster work for Texas. It took 43 days for Puerto Rico. Grrrrrrrrrr. So don’t forget!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Moving onto this episodes climate story, we are staying the tropics...somewhat and talking about that big giant desert in Africa called the Sahara.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a recent article in the Journal of Climate, scientist Natalie Thomas and Sumant Nigam looked at how climate changed over Africa during the 20th century with a focus on seasonal trends over Africa.  That’s the boring way of saying it. Said another way. They looked to see what’s the deal with the Sahara desert and how it’s changing. And they found some things *cue ominous music*</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They found that the Sahara has been getting bigger. Not only was it creeping farther NORTH but it has also been creeping southward! Even worse, the farthest creep south has been occuring during the summer season, when the bulk of the rains come to areas just south of the Sahara in a region known as the Sahel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why is this interesting? Time to talk how deserts form. First, an important and obvious fact. Different places get different amounts of the suns energy. The equator gets the most, the poles get the least. I’ve just described for you in the simplest way possible why air moves across the planet. The earth likes to keep things in balance so it is in a everlasting battle of moving warm air to the poles. But physics makes things a bit more complicated. And we get deserts as a result.</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;"><br /></span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In general, alot of the world’s deserts are located at the latitude of the downward branch of a huge atmospheric circulation known as the Hadley Cell. The Hadley cell as has a couple of components. The first is rising air in the tropics along the equator, think lots of rin. The second is sinking air farther north and south of the equator around 30 degrees in latitude. As the air rises in the tropics, it hits an atmospheric wall and spreads north and south where it eventually sinks by 30 degreeds latitude. As it sinks, it heats and drys. And thus you find alot of the worlds deserts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As we warm the planet, we are expanding the Hadley Cell, meaning that the downward branch of the Hadley cell is moving north. So the northward expansion of the Sahara makes perfect sense… but it doesn’t explain the southward creeping.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That goes into another oscillation known as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation called Billy for short….Just kidding, making sure you are paying attention. It’s called the AMO and refers to ocean temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean. They can change from warm to cold in the north atlantic ocean during phases. The warm phase (one of which lasted from 30s to 60s) brings wet conditions to sub-Saharan Africa including the Sahel and West Africa. And the cold phase which means drier conditions (one of which last from the 70s through 2000s and included an horrible West African drought in the 1980s. This cold phase AND ties to increasing greenhouse gases likely both played a part in the drought. The signals are intertwined . If this is true, it would account for the southward creep of the Sahara into West Africa.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why is this bad? In a previous life, I used to provide weather and climate forecasts for the Famine Early Warning Network or FEWS-NET for Africa, so I am a bit familiar with this area of the world’s climate. In the summer months, West Africa sees its rainy season as the rains progress increasing northward through the summer until peaking in latitude at about 19 N in August. This peak position is located in the Sahel, an area that is “on the edge” when it comes to rainfall as it. Sometimes seasons are good, but if they are just a bit late or lower than normal, disaster can strike for farmers. It’s very very vulnerable. This research suggests that rains just aren’t making it as far north as normal during the summer, which if it continues could be devastating to those countries in the Sahel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now here is a BIG scientific caveat with this article. And serves as a useful example of how just because a paper passed peer review doesn’t mean it’s right. Other scientists have pushed back on these results, noting how sparse and inconsistent datasets are in Africa and critiquing just how the authors calculated the AMO.  This is how science works. Nothing is taken as gospel. And regardless of whether these results stand the test of time. Northern and subsaharan Africa remains incredibly vulnerable to changes in precipitation and climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And Africa as a continent is the least responsible for all this climate change. It’s not fair. It never will be fair. And we should help out considerably. Any other choice would be a major dick move.</span></p> <p>Links:</p> <p><a href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/29/the-sahara-is-growing-thanks-in-part-to-climate-change/?utm_term=.3ea9bb3e57b4"> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/03/29/the-sahara-is-growing-thanks-in-part-to-climate-change/?utm_term=.3ea9bb3e57b4</span></a></p> <p><span style= "font-weight: 400;">https://earther.com/so-uh-whats-going-on-with-the-sahara-desert-1824220231</span></p> <p><span style= "font-weight: 400;">https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0187.1</span></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Pub Quiz</strong></p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Today's topic: antelopes</strong></p> <p> </p> <p> </p> <p><strong>Thank you, and follow the science!</strong></p>
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063: Introducing Cheddar Man!
<p>[caption id="attachment_2519" align="alignright" width="350"]<img class="size-medium wp-image-2519" src= "http://bluestreaksci.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Cheddar-Man-350x350.png" alt= "Image courtesy of Paul Townsend https://www.flickr.com/photos/brizzlebornandbred/" width="350" height="350" /> Cheddar Man<br /> Image courtesy of Paul Townsend[/caption] Seriously, Cheddar Man?  What's next, Homo hummus? How about Jazz Man? We had a lovely science session today and talked about the aforementioned Fromage Fellow as well as how tree rings can be studied to determine future wildfire risk. In the Climate Tom Di Liberto tells us about what may be lurking in the melting permafrost. You ain't gonna like it!</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News Roundup with Nevena Hristozova and JD Goodwin</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast <a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01686-y"><span style= "color: #ff0000;"><strong>Tree Rings Reveal Increased Wildfire Risk for Southwestern US</strong></span></a> <a href= "http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-42939192"><span style= "color: #ff0000;"><strong><strong>Cheddar Man: DNA shows early Briton had dark skin </strong></strong></span></a> <a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/scicurious/wikipedia-science-reference-citations"> <span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>Wikipedia Has Become a Science Reference Source</strong></span></a></p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>Wait, there is WHAT in permafrost?</strong></span></p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Washington; and Brussels.  </p>
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062: Wine and Woodpeckers
<p>Enjoy that glass or two of Cabernet. More evidence keeps coming in that wine, in moderation, is beneficial to human health. Besides, is there anything more sublime with that tarragon trout than a nice flinty Sancerre. No. The correct answer is no!</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News Roundup with Nevena Hristozova, Sophie McManus and JD Goodwin</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/grapevines-are-more-drought-tolerant-thought?tgt=nr"> <strong>Grapevines Are More Drought-resistant Than We Thought</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2018/02/05/can_you_get_the_flu_twice_in_one_season.html"> <strong>Can You Get the Flu Twice In One Season?</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180202140910.htm"><strong> Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Concussions?</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/blood-test-could-predict-risk-alzheimers"> <strong>A Blood Test Could Predict the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/5268/in-wine-theres-health-low-levels-of-alcohol-good-for-the-brain.aspx"> <strong>In Wine, There's Health</strong></a></p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Better to have a bottle in front o' me than a frontal lobotomy!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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061: New Blood Test for Cancer, and so much more!
<p>Slowly getting back in the podcasting groove. Sophie and JD rant and rave about the latest science news, as Tom is calm, cool, and collected while discussing the natural disasters of 2017. How does he do it?</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News Roundup with Sophie McManus and JD Goodwin</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p><a href="http://www.bbc.com/news/health-42736764"><strong>Cancer Blood Test "Enormously Exciting"</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-00661-x?WT.ec_id=NATURE-20180118&spMailingID=55794956&spUserID=NzE3MDU3OTQ1MDYS1&spJobID=1322936986&spReportId=MTMyMjkzNjk4NgS2"> <strong>Maths Strikes a Blow for Democracy</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/01/animals-snakes-climate-change-oceans/"> <strong>Sea Snake Found Off California - How'd It Get There?</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-01001-9"><strong>Science After a Year of President Trump</strong></a></p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><a href= "https://www.climate.gov/news-features/blogs/beyond-data/2017-us-billion-dollar-weather-and-climate-disasters-historic-year" target="_blank" rel="noopener"><strong>2017 Was One Hell of an Expensive Year for Weather and Climate Disasters in the USA</strong></a></p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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060: From the Ashes We Rise
<p>In the very early hours of 9 October, 2017 the Tubbs Fire raced down from the Mayacamas Mountains and destroyed my neighborhood, including our home of 21 years in beautiful Santa Rosa, California. My wife and I escaped with our dog Amy, and not much more. When we were finally able to return a few weeks later there was nothing to salvage. Our home, and everything in it was incinerated.</p> <p>Our little podcast has been off the air since then. There was never a doubt in my mind that Blue Streak would return. Seriously, it'll take a lot more than a firestorm to keep us from bringing you the science!</p> <p>So here we are. Yes, it took some time and a lot of effort to get to this point, but this is only the beginning...a new beginning.</p> <p>Thank you for all your support and kind words during this ordeal.</p> <p>Now...let's science!</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News Roundup with Sophie McManus and Nevena Hristozova</h3> <p><a href= "https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/genetics-rewrites-history-early-america-and-maybe-field-archaeology-180967745/"> <strong>Ancient DNA Rewrites Settlement Story of the First Americans</strong></a></p> <p><a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-sugar-c-diff-20180103-story.html"> <strong>A popular sugar additive may have fueled the spread two superbugs</strong></a></p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><strong>It's Cold...Global Warming is Fake!</strong></p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>No time for messing about! There's work to be done.</p> <p>Oh, and remember...follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Santa Rosa; Cambridge; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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059: Interview with Dr. Milan Chheda - Targeting Brain Cancer with the Zika Virus
<p><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2495" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/braintumor-350x350.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="350" />Today we welcome Dr. Milan Chheda of Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Chheda is a senior co-author of a paper published earlier this month in the Journal of Experimental Medicine titled "Zika virus has oncolytic activity against glioblastoma stem cells". </p> <p>Not only is the research truly exciting, but it also illustrates some of the greatest characteristics of science and scientists. For example, thinking differently and quite unconventionally; in this case to attack such a complex and deadly form of cancer with a dangerous virus.</p> <p>In the news this week we talk about an antibody that kills 99% of HIV strains, a new subspecies of sea snake that is like a venomous seafaring banana, and why owls don't wear hearing aids.</p> <p>In the Climate Lounge host Tom Di Liberto explains that we may be entering a new era of rapid hurricane intensification because of climate change.</p> <hr /> <h3>Mail Bag</h3> <p>We received an email from Chris Ryu of the Atom Club, part of the Dorset Science and Technology Centre. Chris wrote, “Well done on a great first episode back. Haven’t got a clue on pub names, but I guess:”</p> <ul> <li>Atomic 49 (as in Indium / In)</li> <li>The Particle and Wave</li> <li>Science on Tap</li> <li>CH3CH2OH</li> </ul> <p>A note about the Atom Club: When it comes to science their mission is critically important, and that’s to inspire the next generation of scientists and coders.</p> <p>Essentially, they aim to make both science and coding fun and enjoyable.</p> <p>We encourage you to visit the Atom Club website at <a href= "http://www.atom.club" target="_blank" rel="noopener">Atom Club</a>.</p> <p>MauiWowie2010, also know as Bob, writes"Episode 58 was great. Really liked the eulogy to Cassini. Keep on fighting for science guys". </p> <p>Got somethin' to say? Want us to share it on the podcast? Then please email us at podcast@bluestreakscience.com</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News</h3> <p>For more than just these little summaries go listen to the podcast!</p> <p><strong>Title New Antibody Attacks 99% of HIV strains</strong><br /> New research has developed an antibody that kills 99% of HIV strains. It is composed of a triplet of three antibodies and may be more effective at knocking off HIV than any naturally occurring antibody. </p> <p><strong>New Subspecies of Yellow-bellied Sea Snake is a Venomous Banana!</strong><br /> A new and very yellow subspecies of Hydrophis platura was described from the Golfo Dulce. This unique serpent also employs a hunting strategy very different from the nominate subspecies.</p> <p>[caption id="attachment_2498" align="aligncenter" width="1000"]<img class="size-full wp-image-2498" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/YellowSeaSnake1.jpg" alt="" width="1000" height="480" /> Credit: Brooke L. Bessesen; CC-BY 4.0[/caption]</p> <p><strong>The Ageless Ears of Barn Owls</strong><br /> One of the most predictable hallmarks of growing older is a gradual loss of hearing, especially at higher frequencies.  However, new research finds that barn owls have self-repairing ears, which retain their acute ability over time.</p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><strong>Global Warming and the Rapid Intensification of Hurricanes</strong></p> <p>Today we get into the nuts and bolts of how global warming can put the pedal to the metal when it comes to hurricanes. Recent hurricanes have intensified incredibly rapidly. Is this the new normal?</p> <hr /> <h3>Interview: Dr. Milan Chheda</h3> <p><strong>Zika Virus as a Treatment for Brain Cancer</strong></p> <p>We welcome Dr. Milan Chheda of Washington University. Dr. Chheda explains his exciting and fascinating work using the Zika virus to kill brain cancer cells.</p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Thanks to Dr. Milan Chheda for sharing his exciting research with our audience. Finding treatments and therapies for cancer is always a great thing, but to use such a novel weapon puts this in the category of "badass"!</p> <p>Thanks to the Blue Streak Science team of dangerous intellectuals without whom this would be dead air and quite pointless.</p> <p>Most of all, thank <em>you</em> for listening to our little ol' podcast! It's not that we couldn't do it without you. We could. But we <em>wouldn't</em> do it without you. You rock!</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Washington; and St. Louis.</p>
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058: Museum Wars, Snow Leopards, Ig Nobel Awards, and Environmental Justice
<p> </p> <h3>From the Mail Bag</h3> <p><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2486" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/YeOlWateringMole.png" alt="" width="400" height="278" />Several listeners gave us props for our return and a great show last week. Many thanks to those listeners. You'll receive your bitcoin payments when Donald Trump releases his tax returns. You didn't read the fine print, did you?</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News with Nevena Hristozova and Sophie McManus</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p><strong>Eulogy for Cassini</strong><br /> Nevena reflects on the great achievements by the teams who made the Cassini mission one of humankind's greatest leaps forward into the universe. <a href= "http://www.latimes.com/science/la-sci-cassini-oral-history-20170912-htmlstory.html"><strong>LA Times - "OK. Let's do it!"</strong></a></p> <p><strong>Museum Wars</strong><br /> Last week a Twitter user sparked a social media battle between two of London's greatest repositories of science, the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. Sophie and JD make a silly attempt to re-create the battle of the nerds.</p> <p><strong>Snow Leopards Taken Off Endangered Species List</strong><br /> Is this good news for this beautiful ghostly cat of the south Asian highlands? Or are we putting this imperiled species in even greater danger?</p> <p><strong>The 2017 Ig Nobel Awards</strong><br /> The Peace Prize as given to a Swiss team who discovered that taking up the didgeridoo reduces snoring (perhaps by reducing sleeping?). Another research team found that contact with a live crocodile affects a person's willingness to gamble. They were awarded the Economics Prize. Of course they were.</p> <p>Listen to the episode as Sophie gives you the full story of this most prestigious of science awards.</p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><strong><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2487" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/episdoe58.png" alt="" width="450" height="450" />Hurricanes, Climate, and Environmental Justice</strong></p> <p>As the world watches aghast as yet more hurricanes ravage the Caribbean, Tom Di Liberto talks about an issue that has been neglected for far too long. </p> <p>Environmental inequality and environmental justice.</p> <p>From Houston to Barbuda low-income communities and communities of color have taken the brunt of these climate change fueled storms, and receive relatively little aid to put their lives back together.</p> <p>My favorite site for diving deep into climate science is the one operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.</p> <p>It’s called climate.gov.</p> <p>Our very own Tom Di Liberto writes on the blog there and you can find his posts at climate.gov/tom-di-liberto</p> <p>To make it easier just visit the Blue Streak Science website and we’ll put a link to it in the show notes for this episode</p> <p>That’s at bluestreakscience.com/58</p> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz</h3> <p>The score stands at Sophie and Nevena tied for the lead with 7, and Tom trailing with 4. Will our climatologist extraordinaire surge ahead like high tide in a hurricane?</p> <p>Join us and find out as we imbibe virtual pints of beer and actual bouts of fun!</p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Tell your friends about Blue Streak Science. Tell your enemies. Tell your frenemies! And whatever you do, follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Sydney; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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057: The Return of Blue Streak Science
<p>Long time, no see! After a long hiatus the Blue Streak Science Podcast has returned with the most dangerous team in podcasting; Sophie McManus, Tom Di Liberto, Nevena Hristozova, and JD Goodwin. We look forward to reconnecting with <em>you</em>, too.</p> <p>We are certainly a little rusty, but still this episode hits all the marks. Gene therapy for cancer, crashing space probes, body farms, and even a story about puppy dogs. And of course, Tom connects the dots between the past weeks' horrifically destructive weather and the reality of anthropogenic global warming.</p> <p>Oh, and Pub Quiz!</p> <p>It's good to be back, and even better to reconnect with our awesome audience.</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News with Sophie McManus and Nevena Hristozova</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p><strong>U.S. Food and Drug Administration Approves First CAR-T Cancer Drug</strong><br /> The American FDA has approved a treatment for a type of leukaemia, or blood cancer, in young people. This is a treatment with a difference - it’s been termed a ‘living drug’.</p> <p>How exactly does a ‘living drug’ work?<br /> <br /> It isn’t the typical pill or injection route. It uses the patient’s OWN cells - in effect, taking T cells (highly specialised cells which are involved in the body’s immune response - warriors of the immune sys) and ‘supercharging’ them before injecting them to fight the patient’s cancer. The T cells are harvested from the sick person, they are then modified in the lab - they are programmed to recognise and kill cancer cells. They are grown up in the lab and subjected to rigorous QC testing before injection into the patient. The hope is then that the genetically modified T cells will kill the patient’s cancer.</p> <p>88 patients with relapsing, treatment resistant leukaemia (specifically, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia), were given this treatment, receiving injections of their own modified T cells. They were eligible for the trial because they really had no hope of a cure otherwise. Of course there has to be understanding in the patients that this therapy could cause severe side effects, basically from these modified T cells running riot in the body and doing things they shouldn’t. 88 patients were treated and 73 are in remission - their cancer has receded.</p> <p>This treatment, Kymriah, was developed by Novartis. They hope to have 32 treatment centres running by 2018’s end. “I think this is most exciting thing I’ve seen in my lifetime,” said Dr. Tim Cripe, an oncologist with Nationwide Children’s Hospital, at an FDA meeting on Kymriah in July.</p> <p><strong>Cassini's Last Moments</strong><br /> Today we seem to know a lot about the universe, at yet very little about our own solar system. In the case of Saturn, we don't even know much about its structure - is it really an entirely gassy giant or does it have a dense liquid core like the other giants we know? Or may be even a solid one? How long is a day on the planet? How old are the rings? What’s their origin?</p> <p>For the past 10 years the Cassini has been orbiting the gas giant and observing its moon to try and answer some of these questions.</p> <p>[caption id="attachment_2476" align="alignright" width="500"]<img class="wp-image-2476" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/cassini.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="360" /> Cassini and Saturn[/caption]</p> <p>Today, Cassini is going strong on the path to its inevitable death - excitedly expected and at the same time heartbreaking.  The scientists from NASA's JPL made sure that the Grand Finale (as this final stage is now called) is as spectacular and as dramatic as it possibly could. The spacecraft will take photos for the last time of Titan - the biggest moon of Saturn, whose gravity will be instrumental for the final plunge into Saturn's atmosphere. And just a day before it touches the giant planet's atmosphere, Cassini will turn to Earth one last time in an emotional goodbye, taking one last photo with its camera of everything that has ever existed and still exists today on this Pale Blue Dot. The picture of Earth will be the last Cassini takes, so be sure to look up a wave goodbye!</p> <p>Once all cameras are off, other sensors and measuring devices will remain functional until the spacecraft inevitably burns into the planet's atmosphere. This was the planned ending of the mission. The reasons to crash it into the planet are mainly practical and of safety considerations. Cassini is running low on fuel and keeping it going for longer will pose a palpable risk of it going out of the control of JPL and possibly crashing into one of Saturn's moons. This would be the last thing any scientist would want to see.</p> <p>Cassini discovered the hydrocarbon lakes of Titan or the pristine ice of Enceladus. Since we cannot be 100% sure that this will not contaminate either one with Earthly chemicals, the engineers and scientists behind the mission decided it's safest to let it burn up in the atmosphere of its ultimate target - Saturn. Once it touches the top layers of Saturn, Cassini will turn its antennae to Earth to transmit as fast as possible for as long as possible the measurements its detectors are recording. Just over 60,000km above the planet's center, the atmospheric pressure will be higher than the one of Earth and the thrusters of the craft will probably not be able to compensate. Cassini will start to tumble and we will lose contact with it for good.</p> <p>Within 4 minutes of the point at which we have lost contact, Cassini will melt and disintegrate in a flash of hydrogen plasma (the term burn up is technically incorrect, since Saturn's atmosphere doesn't have oxygen). Since Saturn is so far from Earth, we should receive its final radio transmission only an hour and half after it had ceased to exist.</p> <p><strong>'Body Farm' In The U.K.?</strong><br /> So our next story is about a body farm. Yes. A dead body farm. In the UK. No, this isn’t Shaun of the Dead. Please stop eating.</p> <p>Side note, this BBC article starts with ‘you’re dead. Now what?’... Anyway, the question presented here is whether we need a human body farm to get up and running to help us learn more about decomposition, the processes that allow dead tissue to break down (taphonomy is the sciencey word).</p> <p>You may well wonder why we would really want to know about this. It isn’t just a gruesome curiosity, there are practical applications, e.g. in helping the police in solving murders. Yes, we know about processes like rigor mortis and forensic scientists can work a lot of info out from a corpse, but there are gaps in our knowledge and this of course can impact a murder investigation.</p> <p>BBC quote: "Exciting new data published last year in the journal PLOS One suggests that the succession of bacteria that come and go, feeding on the decaying body, may help scientists to more accurately pinpoint post-mortem interval. This discovery was made by analysing bacteria scraped from the nose and ear canals of decomposing cadavers at the world's first body farm in Tennessee."</p> <p>Scientists such as Dr Anna Williams of Huddersfield are pushing for a farm to help with this. She argues that forensic sciences are underfunded and says crowdfunding might be an option.</p> <p>Other countries, mainly the US and Australia have body farms. In the UK up until now the scientific study of taphonomy has mainly been conducted on pigs. There are obvious advantages to this, namely the fact we can get hold of more pigs to study, we can replicate conditions easily, and it’s no small matter asking a community to accept a human body farm.</p> <p><strong>Doggy Sniff Test</strong><br /> For years now, we know that the great apes do also know if they are looking at themselves in the mirror or at another ape (if they have seen themselves in a mirror before). At the same time, monkeys do fail the mirror test and so do other animals we've tested. Yet, some researchers were convinced that some animals must possess a sort of self-recognition as it was indirectly implied by some behavioral studies in the past - they just didn't know how to prove it.</p> <p>Now, a study was published from the Department of Psychology of the Barnard College which may have found the ultimate test for self-awareness of dogs. It does not rely on images, but on smell.</p> <p>While we have up to five million scent receptors, dogs can have as many as <strong>300 million</strong>, though this varies depending on the breed. So in other words, there are certain dog breeds that have a sense of smell that is ten million times stronger than that of humans! Thus, it's no surprise after all that they'd rather rely on their better senses.</p> <p>The new study showed that a dog would "investigate" for longer its own smell if a certain additional odour has been added to it. In other words, if a dog is presented with its own smell only, it did not feel the need to sniff extensively to figure out where or from whom this smell came from - it knew it as its own and didn't need to look into it any longer. But if the odour was modified even slightly, the dog would spent much longer "investigating" it, allowing the researchers to conclude that it grabbed its interest more than its own pure smell.</p> <p>These results come as confirmation that a paradigm shift is needed when scientists conduct studies regarding animals and especially their behavior - we can no longer afford to apply human-bound standards to animals who use very different sets of sensations to go about their day. Keeping this in mind for the development of future study protocols and for the reworking of some of the already established ones will certainly bring much more interesting and relevant data when we study animals from now on. It will allow us, after all, to truly understand them better.</p> <hr /> <h3>The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><strong><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2475" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/HurricaneIrma.png" alt="" width="400" height="400" />Hurricanes, Climate Change, and The Week That Was</strong></p> <p>In the US alone, the western half of the country is shrouded in smoke from over 60 wildfires, while the eastern half is either dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Harvey or Hurricane Irma. Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose is just doing a loopy-loop out there in the Atlantic. “But Tom… that’s weather” you say. “This is the climate lounge not the weather vestibule", you murmur.  Ahh, but we live in a climate-changed world already. And its fingerprints are all over the place.</p> <p>Hurricanes by themselves don’t necessarily have anything to do with climate change. They are a natural by-product of our spinning planet and warm, moist tropics. Climate change did not CAUSE Harvey or Irma. But that is completely the wrong way to think about it. It’s like reading a book where all the characters are mentioned but at no point do you have any idea of where they are or why they are doing what they are doing. The world in which our natural climate works is one that has been changed by climate change. These storms weren’t caused by climate change, but they were made worse.</p> <p>Let’s start with Harvey. Harvey is one of the wettest storms to have ever impacted the US, if not the wettest. Over 48 inches (1220mm) of rain fell around Houston, Texas, flooding a third of the city. This is after Harvey caused catastrophic damage when it made landfall as a major Category 4 storm with 130mph winds, the first major hurricane to hit the US since 2005. It dropped so much rain because after landfall it stalled, barely moving for several days, opening a firehose of water onto coastal Texas. 3-day rainfall totals in Houston were larger than the previous 65-day wettest period in the city’s history!</p> <p>How did climate change play a part? For one, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, which means heavier rain. It’s a pretty basic equation to determine this. It’s called the Clausius Claperyon equation.  From it, we know that for every 1C of warming, the air can hold 7% more water vapor, which can be turned into rain. But it wasn’t just the air that was warm, but the oceans. The warmer than average oceans also provided a steady supply of water to be squeezed out onto the coast. The warm oceans also helped increase the strength of Harvey since warm water provides the fuel for these heat engines known as hurricanes.</p> <p>The same story goes for Irma. Irma was by some measures the strongest hurricane the Atlantic Ocean has ever seen. It was a category 5 storm with 185mph winds for over 30 hours straight, the longest ever...anywhere on the planet. It took advantage of warmer than average waters throughout the entire tropics, which exist in no small part to our climate-changed planet. One of the big stories with Irma will also be the storm surge. This is basically how much water is pushed by the wind and is calculated by taking the water levels at the shore and subtracting the tide. The storm surge itself may not be impacted by climate change but the sea levels surely are. Rising sea levels along the coast of Florida has already led to Miami flooding during high tide normally. Add a huge storm and you can see places flood that you just normally don’t see flood. And with huge amounts of coastal development… not good.</p> <p>So the next time you hear someone try to say these storms weren’t caused by climate change? Casually remind that is a horrible way of framing the question. Because these events already have happened in a climate-changed world, and climate change made things worse.</p> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz</h3> <p>Today's raucous installment of the Pub Quiz resulted in a tie between the two winners! Who were those winners? Who was the spoiler?</p> <p>Have a listen to this episode and find out!</p> <p>Since we have a Pub Quiz we think it's right to give a proper name to our virtual watering hole. Please send in your suggestions to name our pub to podcast@bluestreakscience.com.</p> <hr /> <h3>In Closing</h3> <p>Follow the science!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Brussels; Cambridge; Washington; and San Francisco.</p>
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056: Jumping genes, quantum microscopes, and another clueless Trump administrator
<p>We somehow survived the time change in North America. Seriously, why won't everybody just get on the same page and change time in every country at the same time. Or, perhaps everybody not change the time at all. Either way, in the spirit of international cooperation I propose that we all do it at the same time. Okay? Okay!</p> <hr /> <h3>Science News Roundup with Nevena Hristozova and Ivy Shih</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-03/du-gm030817.php" target="_blank">"Jumping genes" may set the stage for brain cell death in Alzheimer's, other diseases</a></strong></span><br /> Recent findings by scientists at Duke University have revealed that "jumping genes" may be responsible for the molecular mechanism that causes Alzheimer's Disease.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.nature.com/news/quantum-microscope-offers-mri-for-molecules-1.21573" target="_blank">Quantum microscope offers MRI for molecules</a></strong></span><br /> Diamond-based imaging system uses magnetic resonance of electrons to detect charged atoms and peer at chemical reactions in real time.</p> <hr /> <h3><img class="alignright wp-image-2458" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Scott-PruittAdministrator-of-the-U.S.-Environment-Protection-Agency-1.png" alt="" width="450" height="450" />The Climate Lounge with Tom Di Liberto</h3> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/09/on-climate-change-scott-pruitt-contradicts-the-epas-own-website/?utm_term=.2ecd2f3a3381" target="_blank"><strong>On climate change, Scott Pruitt causes an uproar — and contradicts the EPA’s own website.</strong></a></span></p> <p>Scott Pruitt, in his responses to questions in an interview with the CNBC television network, once again demonstrated that he is unqualified to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.</p> <hr /> <h3>University of Cambridge Science Festival</h3> <p>Next week JD will be recording the podcast from lovely Cambridge, England!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Sydney; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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055: News Roundup, Climate Lounge, Earliest Life, and Coral Bleaching
<p><img class="alignright wp-image-2439" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/newandimproved.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="453" /></p> <p>Today's episode marks the beginning of a new format.</p> <p>Sophie McManus, Ivy Shih, and Nevena Hristozova will bring us up to speed with the latest science news in our Science News Roundup segment.</p> <p>The single most important science issue of our time is climate change. In our Climate Lounge segment Tom Di Liberto of NOAA will alert us to the latest findings and predictions for this world-changing phenomenon.</p> <p>In future episodes we will be interviewing scientists from a wide variety of disciplines, from field herpetologists to infectious disease specialists. There is a world full of science stories out there and we will bring them directly to you from the scientists themselves.</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2122016-worst-ever-coral-bleaching-event-continues-into-fourth-year/" target="_blank">Worst ever coral bleaching event continues into fourth year</a></span></strong><br /> Will the Great Barrier Reef have enough time to recover? Or will climate change doom this World Heritage Site?</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/are-these-the-earth-s-earliest-lifeforms" target="_blank">Are these the Earth's earliest lifeforms?</a></span></strong><br /> Possible evidence that life began on Earth in a geologic instant after its formation. Really?</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2121979-exercise-reduces-death-from-breast-cancer-relapse-by-40-per-cent/" target="_blank">Exercise reduces death from breast cancer relapse by 40 per cent</a></span></strong><br /> This miracle drug is good for what ails ya. It's everywhere and it's free!</p> <hr /> <h3>Climate Lounge</h3> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://mashable.com/2017/02/23/february-heat-records/#VTuIHFfPY5q0" target="_blank">Why is it so fricking hot?</a></span></strong><br /> Hot enough for ya? What is really going on here?</p> <p>Tom Di Liberto of NOAA walks us through the data on the latest heat wave.</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from San Francisco; Cambridge; Sydney; Washington; and Brussels.</p>
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054: Alien Species! Huge Volcanic Eruptions! Trump's Travel Ban!
<h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Loyal listener Sam Danby, an Englishman living in Norway, was the first listener to get the answer correct when he answered with: <strong>(insert answer here).</strong></p> <p>What? You thought we'd reveal the answer here in the show notes? As if!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style= "color: #ff0000; text-decoration: underline;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23331110-600-how-new-zealand-hopes-to-get-rid-of-its-pests/" target="_blank">The great extermination: How New Zealand will end alien species</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The government of New Zealand is embarking on an ambitious project to rid the country of many alien invasive species, particular predators, by 2050.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Project is called Predator Free 2050 and if successful it would eradicate the introduced species of rats, stoats and possums nation-wide in just 33 years.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://phys.org/news/2017-01-fossilised-tree-ice-cores-date.html" target="_blank">Fossilised tree and ice cores help date huge volcanic eruption 1,000 years ago to within three months</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From Phys.org on 24 January, a fascinating story of scientific detective work that utilizes clues from a variety of disciplines.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">An international team of researchers have determined, to within three months, a medieval volcanic eruption in east Asia. They have also shown that the so-called "Millennium eruption" of Changbaishan volcano, one of the largest in history, cannot have brought about the downfall of an important 10th century kingdom, as was previously thought.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/01/scientists-retrieve-80-million-year-old-dinosaur-protein-milestone-paper" target="_blank">Scientists retrieve 80-million-year-old dinosaur protein in ‘milestone’ paper</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Two new studies suggest that it is possible to isolate protein fragments from dino­saurs much further back in time than ever thought possible.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">One study, led by Mary Schweitzer, a paleontologist from North Carolina State University in Raleigh who has chased dinosaur proteins for de­cades, confirms her highly controversial claim to have recovered 80-million-year-old dinosaur collagen.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The other paper suggests that protein may even have sur­vived in a 195-million-year-old dino fossil.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2119910-trumps-travel-ban-is-already-stopping-scientific-collaboration/" target="_blank">Trump’s travel ban is already stopping scientific collaboration</a></strong></span><br /> L<span style="font-weight: 400;">ast week</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">President Donald Trump signed an executive order that denies Syrian refugees entry to the US, suspends all refugee admissions for 120 days, and blocks citizens of seven countries from entering the US for at least 90 days.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Those affected by the travel ban include scientists, some of whom are speaking out about how the order will affect their work and the broader scientific community.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And I do have an update on this article. The ban has been temporarily stayed by a federal judge in the state of Washington and the decision is now being considered by the 9th Circuit Court.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wetlands-can-help-fight-climate-change/" target="_blank">Wetlands Can Help Fight Climate Change</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Coastal wetlands are among the best marine ecosystems to fight climate change, new research confirms. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">A study </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">published this week in the journal</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">compared the carbon sequestration potential of a handful of marine ecosystems and found that mangroves, salt marshes and seagrass meadows have the greatest impact on climate change.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.nature.com/news/physicists-doubt-bold-report-of-metallic-hydrogen-1.21379" target="_blank">Physicists doubt bold report of metallic hydrogen</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Two physicists say that they have crushed hydrogen under such immense pressures that the gas became a shiny metal — a feat that physicists have been trying to accomplish for more than 80 years. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">But other researchers have serious doubts about the claim, the latest in a field with a long history of failed attempts.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz!</h3> <p>Enjoy your favorite adult beverage while we test the brain trust of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>Please, no wagering.</p> <hr /> <h3>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain, and Australia.</h3>
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053: March For Science
<p>As scientists and people who value science we are too often reluctant to brave the maelstrom of politics. It drains us of energy and time, resources that are in everlastingly short supply. We value our reputations as open-minded and neutral arbiters for evidence, so taking sides on political issues just doesn't feel right.</p> <p>But why does the current situation make us so angry and unnerved?</p> <p>It distresses us because we are passionate about science!</p> <p>As scientists and scientific thinkers we understand that we must be dispassionate about the data. However, that requisite detachment is limited only to the evidence. Science itself, the vocation, the way of thinking, the calling, permeates our lives and our existence. If there ever was anything worthy of fighting for it is science and reason.</p> <p>Here's our chance to get out of the lab and on to the streets.</p> <p>On Earth Day, 22 April will be the March For Science. Mark you calendars and make your reservations early.</p> <p>It's game on!</p> <div class="o-article_block pb-15 pb-5@m- o-subtle_divider"> <div class="grid@tl+"> <div class="grid@tl+__cell col-8-of-12@tl+"> <div class="article-text c-gray-1"> <p>The main march will be held in Washington, D.C., but satellite demonstrations will take place worldwide. These protests give us an opportunity to collectively voice our opposition to the silencing of scientists, funding freezes, and other White House attempts to censor climate science. The demonstrations also represent a broader call for politicians to make decisions based on evidence, rather than ideology or corporate agendas.</p> <p>From the March for Science website:</p> <div class="shadow-box-blue"> <blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 16px;">The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The politicization of science, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.</span></p> <p class="main--text__accent"><span style="font-size: 16px;">ON APRIL 22, 2017, WE WALK OUT OF THE LAB AND INTO THE STREETS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px;">We are scientists and science enthusiasts. We come from all races, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities. Our diversity is our greatest strength: a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process. What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 16px;">Science is often an arduous process, but it is also thrilling. A universal human curiosity and dogged persistence is the greatest hope for the future. This movement cannot and will not end with a march. Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with marches worldwide and a teach-in at the National Mall, but it is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels - from local schools to federal agencies - throughout the world.</span></p> </blockquote> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="js-notMobileReferredByFbTw"> <div class= "o-article_block pb-15 pb-5@m- mt-n35 mt-n25@m mt-n15@s"> <div class="grid@tl+"> <div class="full-width@tp- grid@tl+__cell col-8-of-12@tl+"> <div class="article-text c-gray-1 no-review"> <p>ScienceDebate.org is the fiscal sponsor of The Science March. Science needs your support. Any donation would help.</p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit down, and play the What The Hell Was That Game!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2379" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href= "http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=137908&picture=folsom-lake-susza-84" target="_blank"><img class="wp-image-2379 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/folsom-lake-drought-84-350x263.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="263" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Folsom Lake, 2015</dd> </dl> </div> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2017/01/25/before-and-after-the-rains-impact-on-three-california-reservoirs/"> Before and After: The Rain's Impact on Three California Reservoirs</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">On more than one occasion I’ve made reference to the severe drought we’ve been experiencing here in California.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">But we’ve had a little rain this winter, which is our normal rain and snow season.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">And by “a little rain” I mean a lot of rain, and crazy snowfall in the mountains.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Current statistical reports on rainfall and the water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack show that so far, we’re in the midst of one of the wettest California rainy seasons on record.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">All the precipitation has transformed a state that suffered through five years of severe drought.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most visible effects: high levels of the state’s major reservoirs. Ah, but the drought isn't quite over yet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Still, what a difference a few drops of rain make!</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/nmmf-iea011717.php"> International Effort Announced to Save the World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal</a></span></strong><br /> There’s species of porpoise in Mexico called the vaquita, but sadly there are less than 60 of them left.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">n emergency plan to help save this lovely little porpoise from extinction in the northern Gulf of California has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita.</span></p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2370" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2370" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/vaquita-350x229.jpg" alt="https://www.flickr.com/photos/semarnat/5931901236" width="350" height="229" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Vaquita</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The plan involves relocating some of the remaining vaquitas to a temporary sanctuary, while crucial efforts aimed at eliminating threats from their environment continue.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For more information about this plan to save this wonderful creature please go to:</span> <a href= "vaquitaCPR.org"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">VaquitaCPR.org</span></a><span style= "font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://phys.org/news/2017-01-mechanism-tsunamis-tracks.html">Researcher Proposes Novel Mechanism to Stop Tsunamis In Their Tracks</a></span></strong><br /> Devastating tsunamis could be halted before hitting coastlines by firing deep-ocean sound waves at the oncoming mass of water. That’s according to Dr Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University's School of Mathematics.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He believes that lives could ultimately be saved by using acoustic-gravity waves (AGW) against tsunamis that are triggered by earthquakes, landslides and other violent geological events. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">AGWs are naturally occurring sounds waves that move through the</span> <a href= "https://phys.org/tags/deep+ocean/"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">deep ocean</span></a> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">at the speed of sound and can travel thousands of meters below the surface.</span></p> <p>Is this a plausible idea, or is it sharks with frickin' laser beams?</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/uob-rvr011917.php"> Rabies Viruses Reveal Wiring In Transparent Brains</a></span></strong><br /> <img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1005" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/brain-350x292.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="292" /><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn have harnessed rabies viruses for assessing the connectivity of nerve cell transplants: coupled with a green fluorescent protein, the viruses show where replacement cells engrafted into mouse brains have connected to the host neural network.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A clearing procedure which turns the brain into a 'glass-like state' and light sheet fluorescence microscopy are used to visualize host-graft connections in a whole-brain preparation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The approach opens exciting prospects for predicting and optimizing the ability of neural transplants to functionally integrate into a host nervous system.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The results have now been published in the journal</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Nature Communications</span></em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz!</h3> <p>Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three (plus seventeen), ere the other side he see.</p> <p>How did Tom and Sophie do? Did they make it to the other side, or were they cast into the Gorge of Damnation?</p> <p>Uh, I don't know that!</p> <p>AHHHHHHhhhhhhh!!!!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><strong>March for Science!</strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The science community in the United States, under threat from a new Presidential Administration whose prides itself on willful ignorance, is speaking out. The time for silence is ended. </span></p> <p>And now, the March for Science. Upon its inception on 23 January this idea grew quickly to over 800,000 members of their Facebook group, and 300,000 followers on Twitter.</p> <p>This movement emerged as a response to the Trump administration’s stifling of scientists and the outright hostility to open scientific inquiry.</p> <p>The March for Science website states that they are a “diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.”</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The date for the march is <del>not yet set, but are awaiting word.</del> 22 APRIL, 2017! We'll be sure to inform you on the next episode of this podcast.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We encourage you to join us as we support the many Marches for Science that will be held around the world.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;"> </span></p> <p><a href="http://www.twitter.com/sciencemarchdc">March for Science on Twitter</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.marchforscience.com">March For Science Website</a></p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Washington, D.C.; San Francisco, California; and Cambridge, England.</p>
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052: Earth Sets Another Temperature Record, Scientists Reprogram Embryonic Stem Cells, Women's March on Washington
<p>2017 is shaping up to be a pivotal year in so many ways. Basic research is suffering funding cuts, government agencies are being silenced, and changes in immigration laws threaten to drive away our best and brightest scientists.</p> <p>Yet suddenly there has emerged a glimmer of hope.</p> <p>The Women's March on Washington started on social media with those words so important in scientific inquiry, "What if?". What followed was a groundswell the likes of which have never been seen in the United States. In a few short weeks this idea morphed into the largest demonstration in the history of the nation, dwarfing the Presidential inauguration held one day prior.</p> <p>A few weeks ago some asked that question again on social media, this time about science. Once more the reaction was breathtaking in its speed and immensity. In just one day the March for Science Twitter account gained over 100,000 followers. Just a few days later it stands at nearly 300,000 followers.</p> <p>The science community, not known for its activism, is planning a march on Washington, D.C..  The date has yet to be set, but the interest is strong.</p> <p>Watch this space, and science on.</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Seriously, what the hell was that? An ape, a reptile, or indigestion? Have a listen!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-01/uoc--sre011317.php"> Scientists reprogram embryonic stem cells to expand their potential cell fate</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">UC Berkeley researchers found that by blocking a specific microRNA, pluripotent stem cells can regain the ability to become extra-embryonic tissue, providing a way to expand the developmental potential of iPC cells with implications for regenerative medicine and stem cell-based therapies.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/science/earth-highest-temperature-record.html?_r=0"> Earth sets a temperature record for the third straight year</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">For the third year in a row, the Earth has set a record for warmth, according to three analyses just released from three government agencies. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">The findings were released just two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back Barack Obama’s efforts to cut emissions of greenhouse gases.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The planet's mean surface temperature in 2016 was 0.99 degrees Celsius above the late 20th-century average, topping the previous record set in 2015 of 0.87 degrees above average, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">Gadget boom sees e-waste in Asia spike 63 per cent in 5 years</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A United Nations University report found the amount of e-waste in Asia has risen by 63% in just five years.</span></p> <p>The report warns of the need to improve recycling and disposal methods across the region to prevent serious environmental and health consequences.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/01/16/british-antarctic-survey-abandons-polar-base-worrying-crack/"> British Antarctic Survey abandons polar base worrying crack grows in ice</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">S</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">cientists at the British Antarctic Survey are abandoning their research station for the first time ever this winter after a new worrying crack developed in the ice sheet.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The renowned Halley VI ice base, from which the</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">hole in the ozone layer</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">was first detected, was already scheduled to be relocated</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">14 miles across the Brunt Ice Shelf</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">because of an encroaching fissure in the ice. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">But a new crack has been steadily growing to the north of the base, and computer modeling suggests that it could cause a large iceberg to calve away from the sheet, which could destabilize the area.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Game Segment</h3> <p>Pub Quiz! Tom starts strong, but on the home stretch Sophie begins to close the gap. Who'll cross the finish line first?</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><strong>Women's March on Washington</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An historic event took place in Washington, D.C. last week.</span></p> <p>The Women’s March on Washington.</p> <p>Hundreds of other sister marches took place around the world.</p> <p>The goal of this march wass to "send a bold message to our new administration on their first day in office, and to the world that women's rights are human rights."</p> <p>It was estimated that over 200,000 people could participate in this important statement of solidarity and democracy. As it turns out, estimates of attendance in Washington were about 500,000 people.</p> <p>According to an article in Fortune Magazine the nationwide total attendance of this march range from 3.3 million to 4.6 million. <span style="font-weight: 400;">No other single protest event comes even close to this number in the history of the republic.</span></p> <p>Are we witnessing the beginning of a new populist movement?</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from California, Washington, D.C., and Cambridge, England.</p>
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051: It's 2017!
<p>Tom Di Liberto and JD Goodwin attempt to steer the U.S.S. Blue Streak (DD-981) into the New Year while the rest of the crew is on shore leave. Set sea and anchor detail, we're on our way!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/real-life-red-nosed-reindeer-faces-climate-change-threats/"> <img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2346" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/HappyNewYear2017.jpg" alt="happynewyear2017" width="450" height="450" />Run, run Rudolph!</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Way up in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, not too far from where Santa Claus is currently having a well-deserved rest, a thin layer of soil above the permafrost thaws for just three months each year.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">When it does, the tundra verily bursts into bloom.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The flowers are a favorite food of the Peary caribou,</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Rangifer tarandus pearyi</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is a rather small, white-bearded subspecies of reindeer. With their noses stained red from the flowers of purple saxifrage, they are truly red-nosed reindeer, at least in the summer.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">But foraging for flowers under summer’s midnight sun is a short-lived luxury.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Finding food in winter has always been harder, and climate change is only making the problem worse.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/26/us/california-climate-change-jerry-brown-donald-trump.html"> California, at Forefront of Climate Fight, Won’t Back Down to Trump</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Foreign governments concerned about climate change may soon be spending more time dealing with Sacramento than Washington. </span>Donald Trump has packed his cabinet with nominees who dispute the science of global warming. He has signaled he will withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement. And he has belittled the notion of global warming and attacked policies intended to combat it.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But California — a state that has for 50 years been a leader in environmental advocacy — is about to step unto the breach.</span></p> <p>We discuss this article in the New York Times written by Adam Nagourney and Henry Fountain.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href="http://phys.org/news/2016-11-theory-gravity-dark.html">New theory of gravity might explain dark matter</a></strong></span></p> <p>Fighting above our weight class, Tom and JD do their best to knock out this interesting, but oh so-hard-to-wrap-one's-brain-around topic. We went the distance. Now it's up to the judges scores.</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><strong>Vera Rubin</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On December 25, Vera Rubin, o</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ne of the world’s great astrophysicists died at the age of 88.</span> She discovered actual evidence of dark matter.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 60’s and 70’s she, along with astronomer Kent Ford, discovered that the stars on the outside of spiral galaxies were moving as fast as the inboard stars.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rubin, a strong advocate for women in science, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and awarded the National Medal of Science. </span></p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Washington, D.C., and Santa Rosa, California.</p>
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050: Happy Holidays!
<p>Chestnuts are roasting on a something-something, Jack Frost is nipping at whatever. Yes, it's that time of year!</p> <p>Keep your Xmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa because there's Festivus for the rest of us. Let us sit around the aluminium Festivus Pole and tells stories of Festivi past. Feats of Strength, Airing of the Grievances, and peculiar feasts.</p> <p>It's a Festivus Miracle, boys and girls!</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Have a listen to this week's WTHWT!</p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2F2bqPEqC_ofI" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/2bqPEqC_ofI?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-12/s-dhc121516.php">Dental hygiene, caveman style</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Unlike the fictional character Austin Powers, it seems that humans living more than a million years ago in northern Spain had some idea of dental hygiene.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The authors of this study, published in The Science of Nature, </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">made this discovery by examining some of the earliest ancient hominin fragments ever found in Europe. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">These fragments, discovered in Sima del Elefante, Spain, are about 1.2 million years old.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/07/thousands-of-snow-geese-die-in-montana-after-landing-on-contaminated-water"> Thousands of snow geese die in Montana after landing on contaminated water</a><a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/dec/07/thousands-of-snow-geese-die-in-montana-after-landing-on-contaminated-water"><img class="alignright wp-image-2334 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/snowgeese-350x263.jpg" alt="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfwsmtnprairie/25511417264" width="350" height="263" /></a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">On 28 November a huge flock of snow geese flying south encountered a body of water in Butte, Mont.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">However, this wasn’t an ordinary pond. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It was the 280 hectare Berkeley Pit, a former mine now submerged in water as acidic as distilled vinegar.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2116364-woman-gives-birth-thanks-to-ovary-removed-when-she-was-8/"> Woman gives birth thanks to ovary removed when she was a child</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A woman in the UK is thought to be the first person in the world to have given birth after having the ovary removed and cryopreserved before she entered puberty. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">She was eight years old when she had her ovary removed before having chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant for the inherited blood disorder Beta Thalassaemia.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://time.com/4592866/greenland-ice-sea-level-rise-climate-change/"> New studies suggest Greenland's ice sheet could melt far faster than currently thought</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From Time.com, s</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">cientists find that rocks in Greenland now buried under 3,000 meters of ice were ice-free for long periods of time during the past 1.4 million years. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">This has led the scientists to predict that the Greenland Ice Sheet could melt much more rapidly than previously understood.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Current projections for sea level rise over the next few centuries would have to be revised upward, way upward, and that includes the recent predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, according to a new study published last week in the journal Nature.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Pub Quiz</h3> <p>The Blue Streak team is on fire as they demolish this week's questions! Join in the fun, but you gotta be quick!</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain, and Australia.</p>
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049: Virtual liver model, extreme tornadoes, and melting permafrost!
<p><img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-2326" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/tweettrump-350x160.png" alt="tweettrump" width="350" height="160" /></p> <p>Holiday shopping? Get your priorities in order! You can put that off until the last minute because you must now listen to episode 49.  Join Sophie, Tom, and JD as we discuss the science stories of the week and play stupid games!</p> <p> </p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Have a listen to this week's WTHWT!</p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FcFWA4lHQncs" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/cFWA4lHQncs?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-11/iu-vlm112916.php"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2320" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/virtualliver-350x261.jpg" alt="virtualliver" width="350" height="261" />Virtual liver model could help reduce overdose risk from acetaminophen, other drugs</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Researchers at Indiana University's Biocomplexity Institute have developed a virtual model of the human liver to better understand how the organ metabolizes acetaminophen (paracetamol), a common non-prescription painkiller and fever-reducer used in over-the-counter drugs such as Tylenol.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/extreme-tornado-outbreaks-are-becoming-more-extreme/"> Extreme tornado outbreaks are becoming more extreme</a></strong></span><br /> Outbreaks of tornadoes—where multiple tornadoes form over an area in just a few hours or days—are responsible for most of the devastating destruction caused by severe weather, and a new analysis has reached a worrying conclusion about the worst of these outbreaks.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114761-worlds-first-city-to-power-its-water-needs-with-sewage-energy/"> World’s first city to power its water needs with sewage energy</a></strong></span><br /> A city in Denmark is about to become the first in the world to provide most of its citizens with fresh water using only the energy created from household wastewater and sewage.</p> <p class="article-header__title t_article-title"><span style= "color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/melting-permafrost-could-affect-weather-worldwide/"> Melting Permafrost Could Affect Weather Worldwide</a></strong></span><br /> Melting permafrost is causing significant changes to the freshwater chemistry and hydrology of Alaska’s Yukon River and could be triggering global climate impacts, according to a recently released U.S. Geological Survey report.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114775-uks-first-three-parent-babies-likely-to-be-conceived-in-2017/"> UK’s first three-parent babies likely to be conceived in 2017</a></strong></span><br /> Women whose children are doomed to develop fatal mitochondrial diseases should have a chance of having healthy babies come the new year. Methods for replacing the abnormal mitochondria in their eggs might not always work, but are safer than existing techniques for selecting embryos and so should be allowed, says a key scientific report.</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Pub Quiz</h3> <p>Sophie and Tom were killin' it today!</p> <hr /> <h3><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/cafe">Science Cafe'</a></h3> <p>Join Nevena and JD every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7:00AM Pacific for your daily dose of coffee and science.</p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain, and Australia.</p>
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048: Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season
<p>It just keeps getting better! The process of sorting through the week's science, reading up on it and then talking about it is the best part of doing the Blue Streak Science Podcast. And it's such a privilege to bring this to you, our wonderful audience. We hope you enjoy the show.</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2F9EFeGv1eBJI" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/9EFeGv1eBJI?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This recording comes to us courtesy of the YouTube channel “The Voice of Nature”. Thank you! Please click the YouTube link to check out "The Voice of Nature" channel. </span></p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href="http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6314/900">A Synthetic Metabolic Pathway That Fixes Carbon Dioxide</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Typically when we think about reducing atmospheric CO2 we look to reducing energy use or going toward non-polluting carbon neutral resources like solar, wind, or geothermal energy.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">What we don’t often consider is utilizing plants to do the job.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The problem is that plants are really slow and inefficient at doing this, and aren’t able to keep pace with humankind’s capacity to foul up the atmosphere.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What if we could make plants more efficient, artificially?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">An article from Phys.org this week discusses the recently published  paper in the journal</span> <a href= "http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6314/900"><em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> Science</span></em></a> <span style="font-weight: 400;">by a German research team led by</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Tobias Erb at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This paper demonstrates</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the feasibility of</span> fixing CO2 <span style="font-weight: 400;">using an</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">artificial</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">type of photosynthesis that the team developed.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/dna-collected-seawater-may-solve-mysteries-about-world-s-largest-fish"> <img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2307" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/whalesharktinypng-350x233.jpg" alt="whalesharktinypng" width="350" height= "233" /></a></span></strong></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/11/dna-collected-seawater-may-solve-mysteries-about-world-s-largest-fish"> DNA collected from seawater may solve mysteries about whale shark</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Imagine a little kid at a beach somewhere.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">She takes her bucket and fills it with water and then pours it through a sieve, or perhaps she swishes a small net through the water, catching any number of small invertebrates, small fish, just about anything.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Besides beginning a career as a marine biologist what she is doing is taken an inventory of the water that passed through her net.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">At this stage she has no way of knowing that her inventory is limited by the size of the holes in that net. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, when she grows up she’ll have a much more powerful tool to learn about what’s in our oceans.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">DNA, in this case environmental DNA or eDNA</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seawater contains molecular evidence of the plants and animals that inhabit our oceans—tiny pieces of skin and scales, body waste, or any other cellular debris they slough off. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just like a crime scene, organisms can’t but help leaving a trace of themselves behind.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When our future marine biologist sequences that eDNA she can figure out exactly what’s living in a given volume of water, without ever having to see or locate the creature which kindly donated it.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In August 2007 an oil worker in the Persian Gulf saw something remarkable.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And our discussion begins.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2016/11/25/alex-to-otto-2016-was-the-year-long-hurricane-season/#b374ca8677e7"> <img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-2312" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Hurricane_daniel_2006-1-350x350.jpg" alt="hurricane_daniel_2006-1" width="350" height= "350" /></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.forbes.com/sites/marshallshepherd/2016/11/25/alex-to-otto-2016-was-the-year-long-hurricane-season/#b374ca8677e7"> Alex to Otto, 2016 was the year long hurricane season</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">What starts with an “A” and ends with an “O”, is from the tropics, made us nervous from June to December, and often left a big mess wherever he or she went?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Answer: The 2016 Hurricane Season</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://scienceblog.com/490043/mutant-protein-linked-spread-lung-cancer-within-body/"> A mutated protein is responsible for the migration of lung cancer cells and metastasis</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Lung cancer. That’s a truly scary thought.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">It should be. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because more often than not, a diagnosis is made</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">after</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">it has metastasized to other parts of the body. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">This makes lung cancer very difficult to eradicate and is a big reason why it’s the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the United States.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a new study led by University of California San Francisco scientists, lung cancer’s ability to spread is often because of the inactivation of a single protective protein within the tumor cells.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2114056-brain-stimulation-guides-people-through-an-invisible-maze/"> Brain stimulation guides people through an invisible maze</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">You’re stuck in a maze.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">You can’t see the walls, or the floor.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">All you have to navigate is a device on your head stimulating your brain to tell you which way to go.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In an experiment at the University of Washington in Seattle, participants solved a maze puzzle guided only by</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">transcranial magnetic stimulation</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">(TMS).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The findings suggest that this type of brain prompt could be used to augment virtual reality experiences or help give people who are blind “visual” information about their surroundings.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/11/21/things-are-getting-weird-in-the-polar-regions/?utm_term=.474c2c1fa27e"> Things are getting weird in the polar regions</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Extraordinarily warm temperatures continue in the Arctic — we’re talking temperatures tens of degrees Fahrenheit above normal for this time of year in some locations. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Arctic sea ice is responding as one would expect in this strangely warm late autumn</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Antarctic sea ice on 19 November also represented a record low for this time of year, based on data from National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz</h3> <p>Join us for twenty questions and a pint! Or is that twenty pints and a question? Who cares!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><strong>Blue Streak Science Cafe'</strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Join Nevena and JD on the Blue Streak Science Cafe’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When you watch the cafe, you can try to guess how long JD has been awake before he turns on the camera. Make a game out of it. Fun for the entire family!</span></p> <p>Please, no wagering.</p> <hr /> <p>This Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Belgium, Australia, and the United States.</p>
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047: COP22, Dinosaur-killing asteroids, Pub Quiz and so much more!
<p>The atmosphere during COP22 was decidedly gloomy after the result of the US election. One would expect the mood to only get worse as the realization that the United States elected a President who considers climate change to be a worldwide conspiracy created by the Chinese, and promised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. </p> <p>Our host Tom Di Liberto, who attended COP22 in Marrakech, informs us that there was a change of mood after the initial shock. Despair was soon replaced by an attitude of resistance and a resolve to fight this new threat to the world.</p> <p>Join us for this discussion, and the rest of episode 47 of the Blue Streak Science Podcast!</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FslE2i0O0pDY" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/slE2i0O0pDY?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><img class= "alignright size-medium wp-image-2283" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/dinosaurasteroid-350x350.jpg" alt="dinosaurasteroid" width="350" height="350" />Dinosaur-killing asteroid turned planet Earth inside-out</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From New Scientist on 17 November. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">An expedition to the Chicxulub Crater at the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has drawn a new timeline of how the cataclysmic impact that</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">probably killed the dinosaurs</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">happened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The article also explains how this impact may have carved out new niches in which life could flourish, even in the face of utter destruction.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>An Unreliable Sink: how much longer can the Southern Ocean delay global warming?</strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The waters of the world’s oceans have been absorbing the excesses of humankind for many decades; from billions of tons of plastic pollution, chemical pollution, all the way to the CO2 exhalations of our civilization.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Much of the heat generated by the burning of coal and other fossil fuels gets absorbed up by the oceans, too.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the 16 November issue of the journal Nature is an article titled “</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">How much longer can Antarctica’s hostile ocean delay global warming?” </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">This article takes a deep look at past and present research of the Southern Ocean to see if its waters will continue doing us the favor of moderating global warming, and will it continue doing so in the future.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href="http://phys.org/news/2016-11-fiji-ants-farm.html">Fiji Ants Are Plant Farmers</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m sure some of you have heard of different species of ant and termites that farm fungi.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">But now, for the first time ever researchers have observed and documented ants farming plants in a mutually beneficial relationship.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">From Phys.org on 21November, t</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">he ant – known as</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Philidris nagasau</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">– grows and harvests fruit plants that grow on the branches of various trees.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">Geneticists hope to unlock secrets of bats’ complex song</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From Nature on 18 November. A project called Bat 1K was recently announced at the</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">Its organizers hope to learn how bats’ learn their songs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yes, they sing, but most of the time their melodies are out of human hearing range. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The researchers also want to learn about bats’ ability to navigate in the dark through echolocation, and how their strong immune systems that can tolerate Ebola so well</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;">US launches GOES-R weather satellite</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Again, from the journal Nature we have news of the launch of a satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The article was dated on 14 November and the launch was scheduled for Saturday 19 November, which was last Saturday.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m pleased to report that the launch was a resounding success.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">What exactly did they put into orbit?</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Only</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the most scientifically capable weather satellite the United States has ever launched, that’s what.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From 35,800 kilometres above the earth and nearly a tenth of the way to the moon — the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is going to take pictures of weather and atmospheric phenomena as they roll across North America.</span></p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FFDhJYgcHDX8" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/FDhJYgcHDX8?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://thescienceexplorer.com/nature/worrying-traces-resistant-bacteria-detected-beijing-air"> Worrying Traces of Resistant Bacteria Detected in Beijing Air</a></strong></span><br /> Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From The Science Explorer.com on 21 November. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Polluted air in Beijing has now been identified as a possible means of transmission for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Researchers have shown that air samples from the city contain DNA from genes that make bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotics we currently possess.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Air pollutions itself kills many ten of thousands of people without the help of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Now we have these superbugs in the air, too? </span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2113145-watch-some-of-the-most-endangered-seals-caught-napping-underwater/"> Watch some of the most endangered seals caught napping underwater</a></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From New Scientist on 17 November.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Some of the most endangered seals in the world, Mediterranean Monk seals,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">have been caught on video</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">snoozing underwater.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There were six separate observations of seals sleeping at sea from 2011 to 2016, across different Greek coastlines. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">In most cases, the seals were documented by speargun fishers who happened upon them at depths of approximately 7 meters or shallower.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here's a terrific video of a sleeping monk seal that New Scientist has put up on YouTube.</span></p> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2Futgt5zGMm8A" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/utgt5zGMm8A?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <hr /> <h3>Pub Quiz!</h3> <p>Today we introduced the newest contest in our gallery of games. It's Pub Quiz! Very simple. It's just science trivia, rapid fire. Grab a pint and join in the fun!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><strong>Blue Streak Science Cafe'</strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Still building the Patreon page. The official launch will be on Monday, 5 December. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just bought a video camera so that Blue Streak can bring you a visual element to science and nature.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">We're going to record short features on nature, wildlife and science.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For instance, in a few weeks we'll be filming elephant seals on the beach as the battle one another for rights to claim their harems. We</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">’ll be taking you along to the largest geothermal power generation field in the world. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can join us in our quest to find the California Condor, a</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">nd more. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">These will be posted up on our YouTube channel.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, Blue Streak will also be going to Facebook Live, and YouTube Live. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">The Blue Streak Science Cafe’ is already there, but we’re working on doing this podcast LIVE in those venues, as video. Watch this space. </span></p> <hr /> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On behalf of Ivy, Tom, Nevena, and Sophie, I’m JD Goodwin saying “follow the science”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Goodbye everyone!</span></p> <hr /> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain, and Australia.</p>
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046: Standing With You For Science
<p>After the shocking events of last week it has become imperative that we stand together as strong, forceful defenders and champions for science.</p> <p>Blue Streak Science is committed to being a powerful voice for science and scientists on the issues that have been threatened by recent events. Those issues include, but aren’t limited to science policy, STEM education, climate research, women in science, basic science, biomedical research, research funding and more.</p> <p>This is no time to retreat. Too much is at stake.</p> <p>We can change this. We can put this to right.</p> <p>We are with you.</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FfgGSlCot3Qw" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/fgGSlCot3Qw?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/11/161110125203.htm">DNA-based Zika vaccine showed protection from infection, brain damage and death</a></strong></span><br /> We have some optimistic news regarding the Zika virus. Yes, it's still very much with us, but amazing progress is being made to shut it down.</p> <p>New research published in the journal NPJ Vaccines shows how a synthetic DNA vaccine approach successfully protected against infection, brain damage and death caused by the mosquito-borne Zika virus <em>in vivo</em>.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href="http://science.sciencemag.org/content/354/6313/722">Your birth year influences which flu strain you can catch</a></strong></span><br /> From the esteemed journal Science, we learn that our birth year may influence which flu strain we catch as adults.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2112476-uk-red-squirrels-are-carrying-leprosy-and-have-been-for-decades/"> UK red squirrels are carrying leprosy and have been for decades</a></strong></span><br /> It appears that our little furry friends in the park, the red squirrels of United Kingdom are carrying leprosy. This finding comes from a study of 110 dead red squirrels from around the UK and Ireland</p> <p>The pathogen in question is Mycobacterium lepromatosis, and that’s closely related to a virulent form of human leprosy endemic in Mexico and the Caribbean.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2260" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 750px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href= "http://www.earthtouchnews.com/discoveries/fossils/the-nasty-eating-habits-of-prehistorys-meanest-fish" target="_blank"><img class="wp-image-2260 size-full" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/dunkleosteus.jpg" alt="dunkleosteus" width="740" height="647" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Dunkleosteus</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.earthtouchnews.com/discoveries/fossils/the-nasty-eating-habits-of-prehistorys-meanest-fish"> The nasty eating habits of prehistory's meanest fish</a></strong></span><br /> How can a creature named Dunkleosteus, nicknamed Dunk, be anything other than a complete nincompoop or a basketball star? Ivy Shih explains the nature of this fearsome beast with the not-so-fearsome name.</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2112319-giggling-rats-reveal-the-most-ticklish-part-of-our-brains/"> Giggling rats reveal the most ticklish part of our brains</a></strong></span><br /> Who could resist a story about giggling rats? Neither could we.</p> <hr /> <h3>"Who Says?"</h3> <p>Quote: "I've been thinking about the distorted view of science that prevails in our culture. I've been wondering about this, because our civilization is completely dependent on science and high technology, yet most of us are alienated from science."</p> <ul> <li>Neil deGrasse Tyson</li> <li>Ann Druyan</li> <li>David Baltimore</li> <li>Jocelyn Bell Burnell</li> </ul> <p>If you know the answer then leave a voice mail with the Speakpipe widget on the right side of the page, or email us at feedback@bluestreakscience.com. Be sure to tell us your name!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/cafe">Blue Streak Science Cafe'</a></strong></span><br /> Be sure to check out the Blue Streak Science Cafe' with JD Goodwin and Nevena Hristozova at 7:00AM Pacific every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.</p> <p>It's never too early to talk about science!</p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/learn-to-podcast-editing-audio-files-tickets-29248126935?aff=erelexpmlt"> Learn to Podcast: Editing audio files by Australian Science Communicators - NSW</a></strong></span><br /> On December 14th the Australian Science Communicators organisation are hosting an interactive course in audio editing in Sydney Australia, which is perfect for beginners who want to start a podcast but find the idea of editing audio a little intimidating. Also it’s a great chance to meet fellow science communicators!</p> <p>The course is led by Ian Woolf, independent producer and host of the weekly radio show and podcast <a href= "http://www.diffusionradio.com/">Diffusion Science Radio</a>, which has been running for 7 years. In one of his more recent episodes he interviews a researcher who was inspired by making bone out of stem cells by observing coral! You learn how to edit interview audio and uploading!</p> <p>You can book tickets at: <a href= "https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/learn-to-podcast-editing-audio-files-tickets-29248126935?aff=erelexpmlt"> Learn to Podcast Event</a></p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain and Australia.</p>
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045: A World War Against Science Has Begun
<p>The war against science just got very real. But please don't despair. We now have a common mission and our goal is crystal clear. To be sure, this a major setback to science and portends some dark days ahead, but we will overcome this if we re-double our efforts to communicate science through this and every other available medium. We pledge to always be your podcast and your voice.</p> <p><strong>What The Hell Was That?</strong></p> <p>Have a listen to this week's WTHWT!</p> <p><br /> <strong>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</strong></p> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong>Researchers Clear "Patient Zero" From AIDS Origin Story</strong><br /> The man known as "patient zero" and long thought by many to have set in motion the HIV/AIDS epidemic in North America very likely had little to do with the spread of the virus, according to a new study published the journal Nature.</p> <p>This study goes further and gives us a clearer picture on how HIV emerged in the United States and Canada.</p> <p><strong>Why Weather is Unlikely to Significantly Affect This Year's Election</strong><br /> From the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang comes an article titled “Why weather is unlikely to significantly affect this year’s election”.</p> <p>We are recording this episode on Tuesday, 8 November, Election Day in the United States. Yes, we're nervous.</p> <p><strong>Male Contraceptive Pill Works, But Side Effects Halt Trial</strong><br /> A recent study on male birth control has made headlines, especially in social media, and for good reason.</p> <p>The success rate for the contraceptive is 96%.</p> <p>Unfortunately, the trial was cut short even though most of the participants were willing to go on with it.</p> <p><strong>World's Largest Marine Reserve Hailed As Diplomatic Breakthrough</strong><br /> Last week we got news that the largest marine reserve in the world, protecting much of Antarctica’s Ross Sea, has been created through an agreement signed by 24 nations and the European Union.</p> <p>This is the first time in history that countries have come together for this type of agreement.</p> <p>The Ross Sea is a deep Antarctic bay encompassing 1.55 million square kilometers and has been designated as a protected zone from commercial fishing and mineral exploitation.</p> <p>This international agreement is scheduled to take effect in December of 2017.</p> <p><strong>Wildlife in Decline: Earth's Vertebrates Fall 58% In Past Four Decades</strong><br /> Worldwide populations of fish, amphibians, mammals, and birds have plunged by 58% percent since 1970 as human activities overwhelm the environment, according to a World Wildlife Fund conservation group.</p> <p>The index is predicted to continue falling to 67 percent by 2020 if current trends hold.</p> <p><strong>Bacteria Can't Get a Grip on Self-healing Slippery Surface</strong><br /> In a report published in the journal Biomaterials, a team of scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University have demonstrated that an innovative, ultra-low adhesive coating prevented bacteria from attaching to surfaces treated with it, reducing bacterial adhesion by more than 98 percent in laboratory tests.</p> <p><strong>Game Segment</strong></p> <p>Today we played "What's My Phobia" and "False Positive".</p> <p><strong>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</strong></p> <p><strong>Blue Streak Science Cafe'</strong><br /> Join us Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 7:00AM (Pacific).</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Santa Rosa, California; Cambridge, England; Sydney, Australia; and Marrakesh, Morocco.</p>
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044: Who volunteers to milk the Tasmanian Devil? Hello? Anyone?
<div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2209" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2209" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/tasmaniandevil-350x233.jpg" alt="C'mon, give us a kiss." width="350" height="233" /></dt> </dl> </div> <p>In this installment of the Blue Streak Science Podcast we have expanded the Science Roundup from three to six topics. It's so much fun talking about the latest science that even the expanded version seems to end way too soon. How can one not like it? We talked about newly discovered antibiotic properties of Tasmanian Devil milk, and wondered aloud about who is the unfortunate person tasked with milking the little devils. A new technique has been developed in Japan to coax mouse stem cells, both embryonic and induced pluripotent, all the way through to oogenesis! More ominous news from Antarctica regarding the instability of unimaginably huge glaciers. And what podcast would be complete without a story about monkeys making knives, right? It's all here, and more!</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <div class="wpview wpview-wrap" contenteditable="false" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FCohJksnlT1g" data-wpview-type="embedURL"><iframe src= "https://www.youtube.com/embed/CohJksnlT1g?feature=oembed" width= "500" height="281" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen= ""></iframe></div> <p>Have a listen to this week's WTHWT! Walruses make some of the most varied sounds of any mammal. Some of the sounds are downright rude!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style= "font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Reconstitution in vitro of the entire cycle of the mouse female germ line</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">For the first time ever, scientists have reprogrammed mouse embryonic stem cells and induced</span> pluripotent <span style="font-weight: 400;">stem cells to become fully functional</span> oocytes.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This paper was published in the 17 October issue of the journal Nature and describes this technique, the process of oogenesis, and may open an avenue for a similar technique using human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Tasmanian devil milk fights superbugs</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From BBC Health. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a Sydney University research team, Tasmanian devil milk apparently contains important peptides that appear to be able to kill hard-to-treat infections, including MRSA. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">It’s believed the devils evolved this cocktail to help their young grow stronger.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In this post-antibiotic era the scientists are looking to make new treatments that mimic the peptides.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They’ve scanned the devils' genetic code to find and recreate the infection-fighting compounds, called cathelicidins.</span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong>West Antarctica glacier unstable</strong></span><br /> From the Washington Post. There was an article that talks about a moment in history, 2014, when when two separate research papers said there was reason to think a frozen sector of West Antarctica, called the Amundsen Sea region, may have been destabilized.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Hurricane Matthew exposes civil war cannonballs</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From LiveScience.com. A day after Hurricane Matthew lashed the South Carolina coast with tidal surge, torrential rain, and high winds</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">a resident walking along the east end of Folly Island found a pile of 16 corroded cannonballs resting on the sand.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">ExoMars Schiaparelli lander likely lost</span></strong><br /> Regarding the ExoMars mission landing vehicle, named Schiaparelli. Well, we have some good news and some bad news.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2215" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2215" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/schiaparelliexomars-350x308.jpg" alt="Creative Commons - Wikimedia" width="350" height="308" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">ExoMars Schiaparelli Lander</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">First the good news, it hit near the target zone!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bad news, it hit the target zone like it was shot out of a cannon!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There is actually some good news for real.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From Scientific American, The ExoMars 2016 mission is in business despite the apparent failure of its lander to touch down softly on the Red Planet. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The lander seems to have</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">deployed its parachute too early</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">and fired its thrusters for an insufficient amount of time as it streaked through the Martian atmosphere like a bat out of hell.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But in spite of the loss of the lander the the Trace Gas Orbiter is gearing up for spectacular science at Mars.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Monkeys making stone knives</span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Another one from Scientific American, monkeys with knives!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Picture this.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A monkey picks up a potato-sized rock in his little hands, raises it above his head and smashes it down with all his might on another stone embedded in the ground.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">As the monkey bashes away flakes fly off the rock he is wielding.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">They’re sharp enough to cut meat or plant material.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The monkey does not pay much attention to the flakes, save to place one on the embedded rock and attempt to smash it, too.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">But he has unintentionally produced artifacts that look for all the world like stone tools found at some human archaeological sites.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now a new study has examined the capuchin monkey-produced stone flakes and compared them to human-made artifacts, and it turns out that the chips meet criteria used to distinguish human tools from naturally broken rocks.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>Name That Phobia!</h3> <p>Today we introduced another new game to the podcast. It's called "Name That Phobia". Don't be scared! Give it a try.</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <h4><strong>Blue Streak Science Cafe'</strong></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Monday morning of Halloween we are rolling out the <a href= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/cafe" target="_blank">Blue Streak Science Cafe’</a>! E</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">very Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am Pacific time on the Smiletime live streaming platform as well as Facebook Live.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hosting the show with me will be Nevena Hristozova broadcasting from Brussels. Belgium. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’re gonna talk about the latest science news that crosses our desks. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’ll talk about the Blue Streak Science Podcast, and</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;"> play the "What The Hell Was That?" game</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But here’s the best part.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">YOU can join us live! Talk in the chat or dust off your webcam and join in with us.</span></p> <h4><strong>James Young</strong></h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href= "https://www.gofundme.com/titaniumjames?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cta_button&utm_campaign=upd_n" target="_blank">James Young</a> is a 25 year old biological scientist who lost his left arm and left leg following a horrific train accident.</span></p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2222" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 455px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-2222" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/jamesyoung-350x233.jpg" alt="James Young" width="445" height="296" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">James Young</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Next year the Ministry of Defence will be doing trials on a technique called direct skeletal fixation, or osseointegration (OI). </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">This procedure is the best and latest technology, and so the military are trialling it first in order to do the best for their service men and women.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">However, it's not available on the NHS.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">OI is a modern procedure that would implant James’ bones with titanium implants which would allow him to bolt on an artificial limb in seconds, with potentially zero discomfort once healed.</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">This could provide him with the ability to bear weight directly through his skeleton and allow accurate control and placement of his foot by being linked firmly to his bones instead of clinging on his skin.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This is where you can help. James is not a member of the military, so he must raise the funds himself to get a shot at getting this surgery.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">James has set of goal of £95,000 through a <a href= "https://www.gofundme.com/titaniumjames?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cta_button&utm_campaign=upd_n" target="_blank">GoFundMe</a> campaign. The Blue Streak Science online community has always been there for us, and we love you for it. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">We now ask that you share your generosity and contribute whatever you can to help James toward his goal of having near normal mobility and less pain.</span></p> <p>YOU are the best!</p> <p><span style= "font-family: 'trebuchet ms', geneva, sans-serif;"><strong><span style="font-size: 28px;"> <a class="orange btn" href= "https://www.gofundme.com/titaniumjames?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=cta_button&utm_campaign=upd_n" target="_blank">Thank you!</a></span></strong></span></p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England;</strong><strong> and Washington, D.C.</strong></p>
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043: Trillions of galaxies, a virus that steals spider venom genes, ancient human footprints and so much more!
<div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2188" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2188" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Black_widow_spider_reduced-350x235.jpg" alt="Black Widow Spider - Latrodectus mactans" width="350" height= "235" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Black Widow Spider - Latrodectus mactans</dd> </dl> </div> <p>It was one of those weeks in science; an embarrassment of riches. And talk about abundance, our universe may contain upwards of 2 trillion galaxies! You know, a trillion here, a trillion there and soon we're talking big numbers here. Okay, follow along with me. A virus that incorporates a gene from a spider. First, that's cool because it's a virus using the DNA of a complex organism. The gene happens to be a gene that codes for black widow venom. That's right. Black widow venom. Now this virus, a bacteriophage, uses that gene to poke holes in bacteria. Whoah! Then we talk about 5,000 to 19,000 year old human footprints, lots of 'em, in volcanic sediment. These footprints tell numerous stories about ancestors and it is just so fascinating. It's so easy to visualize them and imagine who they were, and what they were doing. </p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>We reveal the answer to last week's terrifying and disturbing sound. No, no listener or host got the correct answer, but some were close.</p> <p>This week's sound is a good one. Sounds somewhat like me snoring while suffering from a bad cold, after eating lots of cabbage. Lovely.</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">There are 10 times more galaxies in our universe than we'd estimated</span></strong></p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2190" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2190" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/galaxy-350x350.jpg" alt="Pretty galaxy. Seems there's loads of 'em. " width="350" height="350" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pretty galaxy. Seems there's loads of 'em.</dd> </dl> </div> <p>Astronomers led by Christopher Conselice at the University of Nottingham converted “pencil beam” images of deep space into 3-dimensional maps, allowing them to calculate the density of galaxies in that volume.</p> <p>Using mathematical models to infer yet to be observed galaxies they concluded that the universe contains at least 2 trillion galaxies</p> <p>They combined data from many ground- and space-based telescopes to look at how the number of galaxies in a typical volume of the universe has changed over much of cosmic history.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Virus steals black widow poison gene to help it attack</span></strong><br /> A type of virus that only infects bacteria, a bacteriophage, has apparently nicked the DNA of black widow spiders to attack bacteria. This virus is actually using the genes that code for the spider’s venom! It is the first time we’ve seen a virus take genes from such a complex organism.</p> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;">Treasure Trove of Ancient Human Footprints Found Near Volcano</span></strong><br /> A massive set of more than 400 human footprints found by geologists is thought to date back to between 10,000 and 19,000 years ago.</p> <p>It was previously thought that the footprints dated back as far as 120,000 years, and that they had been preserved by ash falling from the sky, following the eruption of a nearby volcano.</p> <p>But the research team has now been able to date them more accurately after discovering that a muddy flow of debris and ash from the volcano's sides was responsible.</p> <hr /> <h3>Says Who?!</h3> <p>Sophie answers correctly! The choices were Carl Sagan, Leonard Nimoy, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov.</p> <p>Oh, you haven't heard the quote? Well, you're just going to have to listen to the podcast for that!</p> <p>I'm a mean s.o.b., ain't I?</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <h4>The <a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/cafe">Science Cafe'</a></h4> <p>Blue Streak Science has a new show! It’s called Science Cafe’ and our first show will be on Halloween.</p> <p>The Cafe’ opens every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 7am (Pacific time) on the Smiletime live streaming platform as well as Facebook Live.</p> <p>Hosting the show with JD will be Nevena Hristozova broadcasting from Brussels, Belgium.</p> <p>We’re gonna talk about the very latest science news, the Blue Streak Science Podcast and play the What The Hell Was That game, too.</p> <p>The best part is that you can join in the fun with us. You can make sarcastic comments from the text chat on the side. But we will also bring you right into the show.</p> <p>Don't miss it!</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia, and Washington, D.C.</strong></p>
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042: Hurricane Matthew, more water worlds, mind-reading apes and "Says Who?"
<p>It has been a tumultuous week in American politics! Wow! But Blue Streak Science stays above the fray as we deliver the latest science to the world in our own special way.</p> <p>We talked about birds in hurricanes and bat-shit crazy conspiracy theorists. Did you hear the one about the chimp who could read minds? We talked about new research that shows our close cousins to possess similar "theory of mind" as humans, including the ability to anticipate when someone is about to do the wrong thing. It involved a guy in a King Kong suit. You can't make this stuff up!</p> <p>We also talked about Saturn's moon Dione and how it has an ocean. How many moons are there now with oceans? I lost count.</p> <p>"If everybody had an ocean/Across the U. S. A./Then everybody'd be surfin'/Like Californi-a"</p> <p>Put on your baggies and wax your board 'cause surf's up in the solar system!</p> <p>What The Hell Was That?</p> <p>Nobody got last week's sound because it was freakin' difficult. No, you'll never get. But you can try! Just have a listen.</p> <p>All the hosts were very creeped-out by this week's sound. You're welcome for the nightmares it may cause.</p> <p>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</p> <p>These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>Hurricane Matthew<br /> The remnants of the storm still causing havoc and destruction in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As bad as that is Hurricane Matthew has also caused huge amounts of property damage in Florida. But the greatest tragedy is in Haiti where the death toll has already surpassed 1000 while disease and starvation in its aftermath threaten many more.</p> <p>However, a hurricane’s effects aren’t limited to people. Radar observations of Hurricane Matthew showed that birds were traveling inside of the eye the storm.</p> <p>There was also an article in the Huffington Post that talked about some conspiracy theories regarding hurricanes put forth extreme right commentators Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh.</p> <p>Drudge suggested the government has a “monopoly on data” and is fudging its forecasts to make an “exaggerated point on climate.”</p> <p>Saturn's moon Dione may harbor an underground ocean<br /> So say researchers reporting online on 28 September in Geophysical Research Letters. This club of watery worlds in our solar system include Saturn's moon Enceladus, several moons of Jupiter and the dwarf planet Pluto as we reported last week.</p> <p>Dione’s ocean is about 100 kilometers below the surface and is about 65 kilometers deep. The researchers used measurements of Dione’s gravity made by the venerable Cassini spacecraft.</p> <p><br /> Can great apes read minds?<br /> This study published in “Science” on 6 October. Over the decades we’ve learned that non-human apes possess many aspect of the “theory of mind”. We are able to think about others’ thoughts and emotions (except orange-haired apes, such as an American Presidential candidate). We form ideas about what beliefs and feelings are held in the minds of others – and recognize that they can be different from our own.But this common trait seems to drop off when it comes to non-human ape’s understanding that someone else’s belief may be false, and that’s what this new research looks at.</p> <p>New game! It's called "Says Who?"</p> <p>Congratulations to host Tom Di Liberto for giving the correct answer on the inaugural "Says Who?" game! Well done.</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Santa Rosa, California; Sydney, Australia, and Washington, D.C.</p>
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041: It's Nobel Prize Week!
<p><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1526" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/nobelprize-350x341.jpg" alt="nobelprize" width="350" height="341" />No, none of the Blue Streak Science team received that phone call from Sweden. But the week isn't over yet!</p> <p>In the meantime, we had another great episode talking about a new "3-parent" technique that circumvents inherited mitochondrial disease. We also discussed some ominous news from the Antarctic, as well as this year's Nobel Prize winners (so far).</p> <p>Of course, what episode of the podcast would be complete without playing the "What The Hell Was That?" game and "False Positive"? That was rhetorical, by the way.</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Another week and I've again stumped our panel of experts! This one was pretty difficult, and really weird, too.</p> <p>And the answer is...what? You think I'm going to tell you here? Stop it. You're killin' me! No way! You have to listen to the podcast for that!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science Roundup</h3> <p>Join us as we have a lively discussion on the science news of the week.</p> <p>This week we talked about:</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2152" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-2152 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/mitochondria-350x350.jpg" alt="mitochondria" width="350" height="350" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Mitochondria</dd> </dl> </div> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2107219-exclusive-worlds-first-baby-born-with-new-3-parent-technique/"> World's first baby born with new 3-parent technique</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The team of John Zhang from the New Hope Fertility Center in New York traveled to Mexico City to assist a Jordanian couple who carry a rare mitochondrial mutation, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Leigh Syndrome, which is a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/09/20/scientists-may-have-just-solved-a-riddle-about-antarctica-and-youre-not-going-to-like-the-answer/?utm_term=.94a2d4c17d03"> Scientists may have solved a key riddle about Antarctica — and you’re not going to like the answer</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A new study co-authored by Rob Deconto of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and David Pollard of Pennsylvania State University describes a new ice sheet model of Antarctica that predicts that the continent can melt and raise sea levels by nearly a meter, on its own, during this century.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/deciphering-cell%E2%80%99s-recycling-machinery-earns-nobel"> Nobel Prize!</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Yoshinori Ohsumi, a biologist at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, won this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his work uncovering how cells break down and recycle old materials — a process critical for keeping cells healthy.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the disconcerting name!</h3> <p>Congratulations to both Sophie and Tom for also getting the correct answer! Amazingly, Ivy's weekly "stab in the dark" failed to find its target this week.</p> <p>You think you have what it takes? Give it a try!</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia, and Washington, D.C.</strong></p>
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040: Introducing our new host, Tom Di Liberto!
<p><img class="alignright size-full wp-image-2133" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/TomDiLiberto.jpeg" alt="Tom Di Liberto" width="334" height="334" />Today we welcome the newest member of the Blue Streak Science team, <a href= "http://www.tomdiliberto.com" target="_blank">Tom Di Liberto</a>! Yes, we now have our very own meteorologist and climate guru! Tom joins us with nearly a decade of research experience in climatology, meteorology, and oceanography. In 2013 he was named America's Scientist Idol at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Seriously, how cool is that?</p> <p>Tom has been an invited speaker and/or writer at the Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang, Climate Desk, 2014 Green Biz Forum and Verge conferences, NAS Science and Entertainment Exchange, Nerd Nite DC, and Thirst DC. To top it all off Tom is a writer for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's climate.gov ENSO and is the sole author of climate.gov's Event Tracker Blog. Wow!</p> <hr /> <h2>What The Hell Was That?</h2> <p>Congratulations to our host <strong>Sophie</strong> for nailing the correct answer! Boo-yah! And that answer is...what? You think I'm going to tell you here? Stop it. You're killin' me! No way! You have to listen to the podcast for that!</p> <hr /> <h2>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h2> <p><img class="alignright wp-image-2142 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/zuckerberg-350x233.jpg" alt= "famous mark zuckerberg from madame tussauds, siam discovery, bangkok" width="350" height="233" /></p> <h3><a href= "http://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/here-s-reality-check-mark-zuckerberg-s-3b-plan-end-n652301"> Can Zuckerberg's $3 Billion Plan End All Disease?</a></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On 22 September, from NBCNews.Com we have an article titled “Here’s a Reality Check on Mark Zuckerberg’s $3 Billion Plan to End Disease”.</span></p> <p>The article states that the couple have made big headlines with their “Chan Zuckerberg Initiative”, and it seems to take issue with its goal of spending the aforementioned sum over the next 10 years "to cure, prevent, or manage all disease within our children’s lifetime".</p> <p>However, as <span style="font-weight: 400;">Priscilla Chan stated, "That doesn't mean no one will ever get sick...but it means our children and their children should get sick a lot less.</span></p> <h3><a href= "https://scienceblog.com/488103/biological-dark-matter-molecule-plays-surprise-role-heart-failure/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+scienceblogrssfeed+%28ScienceBlog.com%29"> Biological ‘dark matter’ molecule plays surprise role in heart failure</a></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">From the Science Blog on 21 September, s</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">cientists at UCLA have identified a molecule that looks like it may play key role in the development of heart failure. The molecule is called CHAER. They found that blocking this molecule in animal studies prevents them from developing heart failure.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, the research is in early days. However, down the road future drugs that target CHAER or related pathways could be used for treating or preventing heart failure. The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Medicine.</span></p> <h3><a href= "http://www.universetoday.com/130998/100-km-liquid-water-beneath-plutos-surface/"> More than 100 km of liquid water beneath Pluto's surface</a></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">More news from New Horizons, the planetary explorer that sailed by pluto in July of 2015. </span>From the Universe Today on 23 September, new research indicates there could be a salty ocean on Pluto more than 100 kilometers thick.</p> <p>This research looked at Sputnik Planum, a 900 kilometer wide basin. At least part of this basin looks like it was formed by an impact. The researchers examined the impact area and also looked at the dynamics between Pluto and its moon Charon.</p> <p>They concluded that the rebound from this impact area rebounded and brought up denser material from below. It appears that water, which is denser than ice, welled up from below to even out the impact zone.</p> <p>The researchers modeled different  scenarios that would best explain Sputnik Planum’s observed size depth, while also producing a the type of crater observed. The best scenario is one of an ocean layer more than 100 kilometers thick, with a salinity of around 30 percent.</p> <hr /> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Every week I tell our blue streak science team 4 science news items or facts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Three of these items are true, but one is total crap.</span></p> <p>Do you think you have what it takes?</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Item 1.</strong> Research shows that riding roller coasters can help one pass kidney stones.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Item 2.</strong> The so-called 5-second rule has been confirmed to be valid, study shows.</span></p> <p><strong>Item 3.</strong> Five wild lionesses grow a mane and start acting like males.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><strong>Item 4.</strong> DNA reveals giraffes are 4 species--not one.</span></p> <p>And the answer is? You'll have to listen to the podcast to find out! Better yet, subscribe so you don't miss any episodes.</p> <p>Oh, and way to go, Sophie! That's two for two today.</p> <p>What? You think it's easy? You think <em>you</em> can do any better? Not bloody likely!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Blue Streak Science launching a live streaming video show! </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">It’s going to be hosted on <a href= "https://smiletime.com/smilecasts">Smiletime.com</a>, a</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">nd it’s called Science Cafe’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best part is that I’m being joined from Brussels, Belgium by our wonderful live streaming host <a href="https://incubatorium.wordpress.com/">Nevena Hristozova</a>!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’re going to do these Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Bring your hot cup of coffee or your beverage of choice. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">After all, it’s after 5pm somewhere, right?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">We’ll talk about the latest science and even play the What The Hell Was That Game.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So come join us in the chat on 3 October!</span></p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia, and Washington, D.C.</strong></p>
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039: Introducing "Science Roundup"!
<h3>Opening Word</h3> <p>We're back! After an extended hiatus the Blue Streak Science Podcast has returned. We still have listener favorites the What The Hell Was That game and False Positive. But we've shelved the Blue Streak Science News and are hitching up the News Roundup! Sure, we're a little rusty, but we're itching (chafing?) to get back on the saddle and on down the trail. </p> <p>Yee-haw!</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Today's science sound is a tough one. Do you think you have what it takes to identify it? Give it a try. Have a listen!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News Roundup</h3> <p><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><img class= "alignright size-medium wp-image-2129" src= "http://bluestreaksci.staging.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/39_hacker-350x233.jpg" alt="ha" width="350" height="233" /></strong></span></p> <p><span style="color: #ff0000; font-size: 10pt;"><strong>Eureka! I have found it! Or, Eurekalert! Where the hell is it?</strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">The news release service known as Eurekalert, was subject to "an aggressive attack" by hackers beginning on 9 september.</span></p> <p>This site is administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS, the publishers of the top-tier journal “Science”.</p> <p>The hack wasn’t discovered until 11 September and by then the damage had been done. User id’s and passwords were compromised.</p> <p>As a result of the hack, Eurekalert was taken offline on 11 September.</p> <p>On 18 September in an offline notice Eurekalert said, “significant progress has been made toward a full recovery. The entire Eurekalert system environment has now been rebuilt, and we have subjected it to multiple rounds of cyber-security testing to ensure that it meets the highest standards of security.”</p> <p>As of Monday, 19 September the site was still down.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><strong><span style= "color: #ff0000;">Scientists Watch as Bacteria Evolve Antibiotic Resistance</span></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From Science News on 8 September, scientists watch as bacteria evolve antibiotic resistance.</span></p> <p>A giant petri dish coated with variable concentrations of antibiotics is allowing scientists to view e. Coli as they adjust to ever higher levels of antibiotics, reports microbiologist Michael Baym in the 9 September issue of Science.</p> <p>The freakishly large petri dish was more than a meter long instead of a standard palm-sized dish. The researchers created a gradient of antibiotics on the plate with low concentrations at the edges, and increasing as you go toward the middle of the plate. They then put the e. Coli at each end of the plate, sat back, placed wagers and watched the race unfold before their eyes...over the next week and a half.</p> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt;"><strong><span style= "color: #ff0000;">Arctic Summer Sea Ice Melts to Second Lower Level Every Recorded</span></strong></span><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">From New Scientist on 16 September we learn that, coming out of the planet’s hottest August in recorded history, Arctic sea ice has melted to the second lowest level on record.</span> This, despite a relatively cool summer up there – and the loss of ice may already be having ecological consequences.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Measurements taken by the Snow and Ice Data Center in the U.S. found that levels of Arctic sea ice tied 2007 for the second lowest on record. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Again, this was with a relatively cool summer in the arctic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With more typical warmer conditions, the Arctic could see very dramatic losses of ice in the coming years, the scientists warned.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>Ivy scores a whale of a victory! You think you know all about whales? Give it a try!</p> <hr /> <h3>Announcements</h3> <p>W<span style="font-weight: 400;">e have a new live streaming show! </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s called the Blue Streak Science Cafe’, or just Science Cafe’.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It will be hosted on the Smiletime live streaming platform on</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;"> Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday mornings, 7AM to 8AM (PDT), beginning on 3 October.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The best part is that I’m being joined by a new host! </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Nevena Hristozova, a molecular biology graduate student from Sofia, Bulgaria, who is now studying in Brussels.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I can’t wait to get that started!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But wait, there’s more!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Next week we’re welcoming a new host to this very podcast! T</span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">hat’s all i’m gonna tell you about that!</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">That’s right, a cliff hanger.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You’ll have to tune in next week to welcome our awesome new host.</span></p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>and </strong><strong>Sydney, Australia.</strong></p>
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038: Science and the Brexit. The UK votes and JD gives his scientifically biased opinion on the matter
<h3><img class="alignright wp-image-2115 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/brexit-350x247.jpg" alt="brexit" width="350" height="247" /></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This week the people of the United Kingdom will be making an enormously important choice. The result of the "Brexit" vote will profoundly affect the lives of Britons for decades. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To leave or not to leave?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That is the question.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last week in the closing I mentioned that “science is a team sport”.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">Some of the most valuable and productive collaborations are the ones that cross borders.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">The UK now produce 62% of its scientific output as international collaborations, and that proportion is growing rapidly. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EU has facilitated those collaborations for decades making the European Union the science powerhouse of the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">No, it’s not the United States.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The EU has 34% more scientific output than the United States, and they’re increasing that lead year after year.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So let’s be clear, if the UK vote to leave there will be consequences.</span> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">The UK will lose its currently prominent, even dominant role on forming science policy in the EU.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scientific discovery drives industry and health care. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">If the UK leaves then they’ll not only lose their influence in shaping European Union science, but both academia and industry will be big losers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The vast majority of scientists in the United Kingdom are dead-set against leaving the E</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">uropean Union.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So when you go to the polls this week, think about that.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And by all means, go to the polls this week.</span></p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Kevin O'Sullivan</strong>, a listener from <strong>Ithaca, New York</strong>,<strong> </strong>was the first to answer correctly last week's mystery sound. Congratulations. You have earned the undying admiration of the Blue Streak Science <a href= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/podcast-hosts/">team</a>.</p> <p>Also, congratulations to host <strong>Ivy Shih</strong> for also getting the correct answer! Another stab in the dark finds its mark! And that answer is...what? You think I'm going to tell you here? Stop it. You're killin' me! No way! You have to listen to the podcast for that!</p> <p>Well done, everyone!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://news.mit.edu/2016/second-time-ligo-detects-gravitational-waves-0615"> A Second Gravitational Wave Signal Detected</a></span></strong><br /> For the second time, scientists have directly detected the elusive ripples that vibrate the fabric of spacetime. A new observation of gravitational waves in the distant universe, announced by scientists with the Advanced Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), follows their first detection, reported earlier this year. The incredibly faint ripple that eventually reached Earth was produced by two black holes colliding at half the speed of light, 1.4 billion light years away. </p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.universetoday.com/129444/470-million-year-old-meteorite-discovered-swedish-quarry/"> Mystery meteorite found fossilised in quarry rocks</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">A mysterious meteorite was found in Swedish quarry; a unique fossilized find from the early universe that lay hidden for 470 million years. The discovery is thought to be the remains of an asteroid in pulverized in an ancient collision.</span> </p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; and <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>.</p>
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Homo floresiensis ancestors, turning CO2 into stone, and keeping the mozzies away
<h3><img class="aligncenter wp-image-2082 size-large" style= "height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;" title= "Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_promesaartstudio'>promesaartstudio / 123RF Stock Photo</a>" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/rainbowflag-1024x683.jpg" alt="rainbowflag" width="1024" height="683" />Opening Word</h3> <p>After last weekend's horrible news - another mass murder perpetrated by one man with a legally purchased weapon of war - it makes this website and podcast seem a little silly. We have a wonderful time doing this, but I cannot help but think of the many funerals, the suffering, and the plight of the survivors.</p> <p>For purely political reasons the Centers for Disease Control are forbidden from doing epidemiological research on gun violence in the United States. Science is a powerful weapon and those who favor unfettered trade in weapons of war have fought to keep one weapon, science, away from us all.</p> <p>No amount of prayer, moments of silence, or hand wringing will bring back the dead or prevent future victims from being cut down. The only thing that can reduce the carnage is brave action.</p> <p>Will they forgive us if we do nothing?</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Camille Corra</strong>, a listener from <strong>Santiago, Chile</strong>, was the first to answer correctly last week's mystery sound. Congratulations. You have earned the undying admiration of the bonehead team of Blue Streak Science.</p> <p>Also, congratulations to host <strong>Ivy Shih,</strong> a proud member of the aforementioned team of geeks,<strong> </strong>for also getting the correct answer! And that answer is...what? Listen to the podcast already!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2069" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 325px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-2069 size-medium" title= "By Ryan Somma - originally posted to Flickr as Flores, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5311593" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Homo_floresiensis-315x350.jpg" alt= "By Ryan Somma - originally posted to Flickr as Flores, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5311593" width="315" height="350" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Homo floresiensis by Ryan Somma</dd> </dl> </div> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/gu-nfs060816.php">Jawbone and teeth reveal hobbit’s 700,000-year-old ancestors</a></span></strong><br /> An international team of scientists have excavated the hominin fossils — attributed to a population ancestral to <em>Homo floresiensis</em> — from layers of sedimentary rock at the early Middle Pleistocene site of Mata Menge in the So’a Basin of central Flores, in Indonesia.</p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/gu-nfs060816.php">Experiment 'turns waste CO2 to stone'</a></span></strong><br /> <span style="font-weight: 400;">For the first time ever scientists and engineers in Iceland are pumping co2 gas into the earth and changing it chemically into solid rock. </span><span style= "font-weight: 400;">And they’re doing this much faster than anyone had predicted, taking only months.</span></p> <p><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style="color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/taac-ndm061316.php"> New discovery may improve future mosquito control</a></span></strong><br /> A new paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a potential strategy by which to repel female mosquitoes.  </p> <hr /> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>Once again, our crack panel of experts were foiled! You think you can do any better? Give it a try! </p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <h4><span style="color: #ff0000;"><strong><a style= "color: #ff0000;" href="http://www.scienceclubforgirls.org">Science Club for Girls</a></strong></span></h4> <p>There’s an organization in the state of Massachusetts called science club for girls. They’ve been around since 1994.</p> <p>Science club for girls connects girls from kindergarten through 12th grade, especially those from underrepresented groups, with female scientist-mentors. Those critically important role models that inspire children to believe in themselves, that they can be scientists and engineers, too.</p> <p>They do this by providing free science, technology, engineering and math programs in a fun, nurturing and interactive environment. This is the kind of locally based organization that can often have the greatest and longest lasting positive effect on a child’s life.</p> <p>Science club for girls also has teen leadership programs to give girls the chance to be role models and to teach the younger children, to develop the kind of valuable skills they’ll need when they go on to college and beyond.</p> <p>I encourage everyone listening to check out science club for girls. It’ll just make you feel go to know that such programs exist.</p> <p>More importantly, if you like what they’re doing then please send them a donation. These programs are free for the children, but science club for girls depends on the generosity of people like you who understand the value of a science education.</p> <p>And if you have kids and you live in eastern Massachusetts then by all means contact them!</p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>; <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; and <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>.</p>
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Expanding universes, supercharged blood, and where do dogs come from?
<h3>Opening Word</h3> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_2031" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-2031" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Amy-350x280.jpg" alt="This is Amy, JD's dog." width="350" height="280" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Amy!</dd> </dl> </div> <p>It's election day here in California, but the Blue Streak Science Podcast isn't going to be stopped by such trivial matters. No, we are going to have our usual fun time of talking about the latest science stories and playing a few games for good measure.</p> <p>During the recording a neighbor knocked on the door and my dog Amy went ballistic! So thankful for the editing capabilities of Adobe Audition. She's a good pup, but damn, it's just the neighbor. Relax.</p> <p>It was another fun episode and we hope you enjoy it.</p> <hr /> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Karen Ha</strong>, a listener from Vancouver, British Columbia, <strong> </strong>was the first to answer correctly last week's mystery sound. Congratulations. You have earned the undying admiration of the Blue Streak Science <a href= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/podcast-hosts/">team</a>.</p> <p>Also, congratulations to host Ivy Shih for also getting the correct answer! And that answer is...what? You think I'm going to tell you here? Stop it. You're killin' me! No way! You have to listen to the podcast for that!</p> <hr /> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <p><strong><span style="font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000;"><a style= "color: #ff0000;" href= "http://news.berkeley.edu/2016/06/02/universe-expanding-faster-than-expected/"> Universe expanding too fast - is it dark radiation?</a></span></strong><br /> New research discovers that the universe is expanding significantly faster than earlier work suggested. Are the precise measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation are wrong? Perhaps it could be another as yet discovered particle such as the hypothesized fourth flavor of neutrino? Or is Einstein's Theory of General Relativity not up to the task? (gasp!) Maybe there's a new force or phenomenon at work here?</p> <p>Listen to this episode and find out...or not!</p> <p><span style= "font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000; background-color: #ffffff;"><strong> <a style="color: #ff0000; background-color: #ffffff;" href= "http://biodetectives.co.uk/news/supercharged-blood/"><img class= "alignright size-medium wp-image-2029" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/platelets-350x262.jpg" alt= "A picture of a blood clot with red blood cells, platelets, and fibrin" width="350" height="262" /></a></strong></span></p> <p><span style= "font-size: 16px; color: #ff0000; background-color: #ffffff;"><strong> <a style="color: #ff0000; background-color: #ffffff;" href= "http://biodetectives.co.uk/news/supercharged-blood/">Supercharged Blood?</a></strong></span><br /> Cambridge researchers recently moved closer to mass-production of platelets – tiny blood cells with vital roles throughout the body. This ‘forward programming’ method was <a href= "http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160407/ncomms11208/fig_tab/ncomms11208_F6.html"> reported in the journal Nature Communications</a>. This work could result in changes to many lives, enhancing current options in transfusion medicine.</p> <h2><strong><span style="color: #ff0000;"><a style= "color: #ff0000;" href= "http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/06/dogs-may-have-been-domesticated-more-once"> Where did dogs come from? Asia or Europe?</a></span></strong></h2> <p>For years, scientists have debated where dogs came from. Did wolves first forge their special relationship with humans in Europe, or in Asia? From the journal <em>Science</em>, researchers report that genetic analysis of hundreds of canines reveals that dogs may have been domesticated twice, once in Asia and once in Europe or the Near East, although European ancestry has mostly vanished from today’s dogs. The findings could resolve a rift that has roiled the canine origins community—but the case isn’t 
closed yet. </p> <hr /> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>Once again, our crack panel of experts were foiled! You think you can do any better? Give it a try!</p> <hr /> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <h4>SciStarter</h4> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last week I discovered a terrific organization.</span> It’s called SciStarter, and their website is located at <a href="http://www.scistarter.com" target= "_blank">SciStarter.com</a>.</p> <p>SciStarter is a way for people to connect to citizen science projects around the world. I’m not talking just a few citizen science projects. This is the real thing with over 1,600 citizen science research projects and activities for people, regular people, to join.</p> <p>It’s constructed as a database on their website so you can search by the category of the project, and by the location. Just scroll through and we are sure you'll find a great science project you can be an integral part of.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Also, if you’re a scientist or a representative of a citizen science organization then make sure your project is listed on this website.</span></p> <hr /> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; and <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>.</p>
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Bad-ass bacteria arrives in U.S., forests making their own rain, and so much more!
<h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <h4><a href= "http://www.nature.com/news/cloud-seeding-surprise-could-improve-climate-predictions-1.19971"> <span class="contentBold">C</span><span class= "contentBold">l</span><span class= "contentBold">o</span><span class="contentBold">u</span><span class="contentBold">d</span><span class="contentBold">-</span><span class="contentBold">s</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">d</span><span class="contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">n</span><span class="contentBold">g</span> <span class="contentBold">s</span><span class= "contentBold">u</span><span class= "contentBold">r</span><span class="contentBold">p</span><span class="contentBold">r</span><span class="contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">s</span><span class="contentBold">e</span> <span class="contentBold">c</span><span class= "contentBold">o</span><span class= "contentBold">u</span><span class="contentBold">l</span><span class="contentBold">d</span> <span class="contentBold">i</span><span class= "contentBold">m</span><span class= "contentBold">p</span><span class="contentBold">r</span><span class="contentBold">o</span><span class="contentBold">v</span><span class="contentBold">e</span> <span class="contentBold">c</span><span class= "contentBold">l</span><span class= "contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">m</span><span class="contentBold">a</span><span class="contentBold">t</span><span class="contentBold">e</span> <span class="contentBold">p</span><span class= "contentBold">r</span><span class= "contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">d</span><span class="contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">c</span><span class="contentBold">t</span><span class="contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">o</span><span class="contentBold">n</span><span class="contentBold">s</span></a></h4> <p>The cooling effect of pollution may have been exaggerated.</p> <p>Fossil fuel burning spews sulfuric acid into the air, where it can form airborne particles that seed clouds and cool Earth’s climate. But that’s not the only way these airborne particles can form, three new studies suggest. Tree vapors can turn into cooling airborne particles, too.</p> <p>The discovery means these particles were more abundant before the Industrial Revolution than previously thought. Climate scientists have therefore overestimated cooling caused by air pollution, says atmospheric chemist Urs Baltensperger, who coauthored the three studies.</p> <p>Simulating unpolluted air in a cloud chamber, Baltensperger and colleagues created microscopic particles from vapors released by trees. In the real world, cosmic rays whizzing into the atmosphere foster the development of these particles, the researchers propose in the May 26 <em>Nature</em>. Once formed, the particles can grow large enough to form the heart of cloud droplets, the researchers show in a second paper in <em>Nature</em>. After sniffing the air over the Swiss Alps, some of the same researchers report in the May 27<em>Science</em> the discovery of the particles in the wild.</p> <p>“These particles don’t just form in the laboratory, but also by Mother Nature,” says Baltensperger, of the Paul Scherrer Institute in Villigen, Switzerland.</p> <p>Airborne particles, called aerosols, are microscopic bundles of molecules. Some aerosols start fully formed, such as dust and salts from sea spray, while others assemble from molecules in the atmosphere.</p> <p>Since the 1970s, scientists have suspected that sulfuric acid is a mandatory ingredient for aerosols assembled in the air. Sulfuric acid molecules react with other molecules to form clusters that, if they grow large enough, can become stable. Human activities such as coal burning have boosted sulfuric acid concentrations in the atmosphere, subsequently boosting the abundance of aerosols that seed clouds and reflect sunlight like miniature disco balls. That aerosol boost partially offsets warming from greenhouse gases.</p> <p>A cloud chamber at the CERN laboratory near Geneva allowed Baltensperger and his collaborators to simulate the atmosphere when sulfuric acid was scarce. The researchers added alpha-pinene, the organic vapor that gives pine trees their characteristic smell, to pristine air and watched for growing aerosols. Previous, though inconclusive, work suggested that the pine vapors might form aerosols.</p> <p>Alpha-pinene molecules reacted with ozone in the air and formed molecules that reacted and bundled together to form aerosols, the researchers observed. The researchers added an extra layer of realism by using one of CERN’s particle beams to mimic ions from the cosmic rays bombarding Earth’s atmosphere. The “rays” led to the formation of as many as 100 times the number of aerosols. The added ions help stabilize the growing aerosols, the researchers propose.</p> <p>Further testing showed that the newborn aerosols can rapidly grow from around 2 nanometers wide — roughly the diameter of a DNA helix — to 80 nanometers across, large enough to seed cloud droplets.</p> <p>At a research station high in the Swiss Alps, researchers observed aerosol formation during atmospheric conditions with low sulfuric acid concentrations and abundant molecules akin to alpha-pinene. The researchers couldn’t confirm the rapid growth seen in the lab, though.</p> <p>Quantifying the overall climate influence of fossil fuel burning in light of the new discovery will be tricky, says Renyi Zhang, an atmospheric chemist at Texas A&M University in College Station. “Atmospheric processes are complex,” he says. “They had a pure setup, but in reality the atmosphere is loaded with chemicals. It’s hard to draw direct conclusions at this point.”</p> <h4><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/bacteria-resistant-last-resort-antibiotic-appears-us"> Bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotic appears in U.S.</a></h4> <p>For the first time, a US patient has been infected with bacteria resistant to an antibiotic used as a last resort, scientists said Thursday.</p> <p>The patient, a 49-year-old woman in Pennsylvania, has recovered but health officials fear that if the resistance spreads to other bacteria, the country may soon see supergerms impervious to all known antibiotics.</p> <p>“It is the end of the road for antibiotics unless we act urgently,” Dr Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said in Washington.</p> <p><img class="alignright wp-image-1648 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/bacteria-350x350.jpg" alt="A color enhanced photo of cocci type bacteria. " width="350" height="350" /></p> <p>Other countries have already seen multidrug-resistant superbugs that no antibiotic can fight. So far, the US has not. But this sets the stage for that development, CDC officials said.</p> <p>The woman had gone to a military clinic in Pennsylvania in April and was treated for a urinary tract infection. Initial tests found she was infected with E coli bacteria, a common variety of germ seen in the gut that often makes its way to the bladder.</p> <p>But the tests showed this E coli was resistant to antibiotics commonly used first for such infections. She was successfully treated with another kind of antibiotic.</p> <p>But while she has recovered, further testing completed in the last week confirmed the E coli was carrying a gene for resistance against the drug colistin.</p> <p>Colistin is an old antibiotic. By the 1970s, doctors had mostly stopped using it because of its harsh side effects. But it was brought back as other antibiotics began losing their effectiveness.</p> <p>It is used against hard-to-treat bacteria that resist one of the last lines of defence, antibiotics called carbapenems. If those germs pick up the colistin-resistance gene, doctors may be out of treatment options, health officials say.</p> <p>“This is another piece of a really nasty puzzle that we didn’t want to see here,” said Dr Beth Bell, who oversees CDC’s emerging infectious diseases programs.</p> <p>The CDC is working with Pennsylvania health officials to interview the woman and her family to try to figure out how she might have picked up the strain. The woman had not travelled outside the country recently, officials said.</p> <p>The colistin-resistant gene has been seen in animals and people in China, Europe and Canada. Federal officials said on Thursday that colistin-resistant E coli has also been found in a pig in the US, but there was nothing to link the finding to the Pennsylvania case.</p> <p>Researchers at Walter Reed national military medical center, who did the confirmatory tests, reported on the Pennsylvania case on Thursday in a journal of the American Society of Microbiology.</p> <h4><span class="contentBold"><a href= "https://cosmosmagazine.com/space/rosetta-finds-ingredients-life-comet-67ps-halo"> <span class="contentBold">R</span><span class= "contentBold">o</span><span class= "contentBold">s</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">t</span><span class="contentBold">t</span><span class="contentBold">a</span> <span class="contentBold">f</span><span class= "contentBold">i</span><span class= "contentBold">n</span><span class="contentBold">d</span><span class="contentBold">s</span> <span class="contentBold">i</span><span class= "contentBold">n</span><span class= "contentBold">g</span><span class="contentBold">r</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">d</span><span class="contentBold">i</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">n</span><span class="contentBold">t</span><span class="contentBold">s</span> <span class="contentBold">f</span><span class= "contentBold">o</span><span class="contentBold">r</span> <span class="contentBold">l</span><span class= "contentBold">i</span><span class= "contentBold">f</span><span class="contentBold">e</span> <span class="contentBold">i</span><span class= "contentBold">n</span> <span class= "contentBold">C</span><span class= "contentBold">o</span><span class="contentBold">m</span><span class="contentBold">e</span><span class="contentBold">t</span> <span class="contentBold">6</span><span class= "contentBold">7</span><span class= "contentBold">P</span><span class="contentBold">'</span><span class="contentBold">s</span> <span class="contentBold">h</span><span class= "contentBold">a</span><span class= "contentBold">l</span><span class="contentBold">o</span></a><br /></span></h4> <p>The theory of panspermia posits that life on Earth may have been seeded by meteorites and comets carrying hardy spores of microorganisms. This possibility is what makes studying comets such an exciting area of research for scientists seeking to understand the origin of life on our planet and the evolution of the solar system.</p> <p>Now, a new study, based on data gathered by instruments on board the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft — which is currently following the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — further bolsters the possibility that the building blocks of life on Earth may have come from outer space.</p> <p>Researchers have detected the amino acid glycine, commonly found in proteins, and phosphorus, a key component of DNA and cell membranes, in the coma of the comet.</p> <p>“This is the first unambiguous detection of glycine at a comet,” lead author Kathrin Altwegg, principal investigator of the ROSINA instrument that made the measurements, said in a statement. “At the same time, we also detected certain other organic molecules that can be precursors to glycine, hinting at the possible ways in which it may have formed.”</p> <p>A coma is the fuzzy, nebulous envelope of dust and gas that usually surrounds a comet’s nucleus. The shape and size of the coma vary depending on the comet’s composition and its distance from the sun.</p> <p>According to the study, “the presence of glycine, phosphorus, and a multitude of organic molecules, including hydrogen sulfide and hydrogen cyanide ... supports the idea that comets delivered key molecules for prebiotic chemistry throughout the solar system and, in particular, to the early Earth, drastically increasing the concentration of life-related chemicals by impact on a closed water body.”</p> <p>Scientists believe that life on Earth originated nearly 3.7 billion years ago, bubbling out of a “primordial soup” rich in organic compounds. While we now have a clear picture of the evolution of life from its most ancient single-celled form to the present-day complexity we see around us, what is less clear is how the seeds of life came to exist on Earth.</p> <p>“There is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the chemistry on early Earth and there is of course a huge evolutionary gap to fill between the delivery of these ingredients via cometary impacts and life taking hold,” co-author Hervé Cottin said in the statement. “But the important point is that comets have not really changed in 4.5 billion years — they grant us direct access to some of the ingredients that likely ended up in the prebiotic soup that eventually resulted in the origin of life on Earth.”</p> <p>With the discovery of glycine — the simplest of all amino acids — and phosphorus, the theory of panspermia has been lent further credence.</p> <p>“Demonstrating that comets are reservoirs of primitive material in the Solar System and vessels that could have transported these vital ingredients to Earth, is one of the key goals of the Rosetta mission, and we are delighted with this result,” Matt Taylor, ESA's Rosetta project scientist, said in the statement.</p> <h4><a href= "https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/31/stephen-hawking-donald-trump-popularity-inexplicable-and-brexit-spells-disaster"> Trump's popularity inexplicable and Brexit spells disaster, says Stephen Hawking</a></h4> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1970" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-1970 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/trump-350x233.jpg" alt="trump" width="350" height="233" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Donald Trump. Small hands. Huuuge ego.</dd> </dl> </div> <p>Stephen Hawking has said that he fails to understand the popularity of Donald Trump, the presumptive US Republican presidential candidate.</p> <p>ITV’s Good Morning Britain asked the man who has widened the world’s understanding of time, space, stars, galaxies and black holes if he could explain the popular appeal of the billionaire tycoon.</p> <p>Hawking, perhaps the world’s most famous living scientist and the author of one of the world’s best-selling books, replied: “I can’t. He’s a demagogue who seems to appeal to the lowest common denominator.”</p> <p>He also ventured once again into political issues, appealing to British voters to back the remain campaign in the EU referendum on 23 June – not just for economic and security reasons, but for the sake of science as well. In March, he pronounced the prospect of Brexit “a disaster” for science.</p> <p>“Gone are the days when we could stand on our own, against the world,” he said on the television breakfast show. “We need to be part of a larger group of nations, both for our security and our trade. The possibility of our leaving the EU has already led to a sharp fall in the pound, because the markets judge that it will damage our economy.”</p> <p>Hawking also addressed the biggest concern of many: immigration.</p> <p>“There are two obvious reasons why we should stay in. The first is that it promotes the mobility of people. Students can come here from EU countries to study, and our students can go to other EU universities. More importantly, at the level of research, the exchange of people enables skills to transfer more quickly, and brings new people with different ideas, derived from their different backgrounds,” he said.</p> <p>“The other reason is financial. The European Research Council has given large grants to UK institutions, either to foster or promote exchanges.”</p> <p>The Cambridge scientist, like Isaac Newton 350 years ago, was once Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University. Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 and given two years to live. Instead he wrote A Brief History of Time and became one of the world’s bestselling authors, and one of the world’s most instantly recognised scientists: he has appeared in his wheelchair in both Star Trek and the Simpsons.</p> <p>Because he communicates fairly slowly, using a computerised voice that pronounces words he must spell out using assistive technology, all his opinions must be counted as carefully considered.</p> <p>And over the years, he has been unapologetically opinionated, not just on behalf of his fellow scientists, and on behalf of Britain’s disabled, but on wider matters: he joined an academic boycott in protest against Israeli treatment of Palestinians; he backed a recent $100m project to accelerate a tiny spacecraft to a fifth of the speed of light and send it to the nearest star system; he has spoken in favour of assisted suicide for the terminally ill; he has spoken up for atheism; he has made ominous pronouncements about artificial intelligence research; and he has even invited the fans of One Direction to imagine an alternative universe in which Zayn Malik was still with the band.</p> <p>His latest return to referendum politics is less of a surprise: many of Britain’s most senior scientists have backed the remain campaign.</p> <p>The exit enthusiasts however, are not swayed.</p> <p>“The EU has been bad for science – increasing costs and bureaucracy. The clinical trials directive, for example, acted to double the cost of cancer research – as leading scientists and medical practitioners have acknowledged,” said the Vote Leave chief executive, Matthew Elliott.</p> <p>“In the internet age, it is patently ridiculous to suggest that the referendum will have an impact on the exchange of information between scientists. And with our world class universities, the calibre of scientists wanting to study here is unlikely to do anything except grow.</p> <p>“We give more money to the EU than we get back – meaning we could spend more on science if we vote to leave.”</p> <p> </p> <p>This episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; and Santa Rosa, California.</p>
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The Cephalopods That Took Over the Earth!
<h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Today’s mystery sound, or rather, a “<em>WHO</em> the Hell Was That?” stumped the panel and the audience! However, word has it that Sophie knew it all along. What? You know who it is? Then you should have emailed us with your answer to have your name and website announced on the podcast.</p> <p>Not to worry, you can try again with this week’s mystery sound. And if you have any idea what the answer is, or even if you don’t, email your answer/guess. Who knows…maybe you’ll get it right! Oh, and it’s not a cephalopod.</p> <div id="attachment_1951" class="wp-caption alignright"><img class= "size-medium wp-image-1951" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/octopuselvis-350x289.jpg" sizes="(max-width: 350px) 100vw, 350px" srcset= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/octopuselvis-350x289.jpg 350w, http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/octopuselvis.jpg 450w" alt= "Cartoon of an octopus with Elvis hair, playing electric guitar, drumming and drinking a beer" width="350" height="289" /> <p class="wp-caption-text">Cephalopods misbehaving</p> </div> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/u-s-reviews-plan-to-infect-mosquitoes-with-bacteria-to-stop-disease/"> U.S. reviews plan to infect mosquitos with bacteria to stop disease</a></li> <li><a href= "http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/fm-ssr051916.php">Strange sea-dwelling reptile fossil hints at rapid evolution after mass extinction</a></li> <li><a href= "http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-05/cp-ico051716.php">Cephalopod opulations on the rise as our oceans change</a></li> </ul> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>This weeks winner is Ivy. Does she know her cephalopods or what?!</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Atlanta,</strong> <strong>Georgia; Santa Rosa, California;</strong> and <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>.</p>
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Spiders, mozzies, and microbes!
<h2>Uh, that's a big spider!</h2> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1901" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style= "width: 460px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-full wp-image-1901" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/goldenorbweaver.jpg" alt="Golden orb weaver spider" width="450" height="450" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Golden Orb Weaver</dd> </dl> </div> <h3>What The Hell Was That? (pssst...it's not a spider)</h3> <p><strong>Reid Nicewonder</strong>, a listener from<strong> </strong>Blab live video streaming platform<strong> </strong>was the first to answer correctly last week’s mystery sound. Congratulations. You have earned the undying admiration of the Blue Streak Science <a href= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/podcast-hosts/">team</a>.</p> <p>Oh, but that is so last week. In today’s episode we have a new mystery sound. Do you think you can figure out what it is? If you do then contact us at bluestreakscience@gmail.com or leave us a voice message on Speakpipe, the orange tab on the right side of this page (Send Voicemail).</p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2016/05/11/1602451113">How spider webs stay tense</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/scientists-wrestle-possibility-second-zika-spreading-mosquito?tgt=nr"> A second Zika-spreading species of mosquito?</a></li> <li><a href= "http://phys.org/news/2016-05-eukaryote-lacks-mitochondria.html">Newly discovered microbe without mitochondria</a></li> </ul> <div class="wpview-wrap" data-wpview-text= "https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FgJZ65BgFTIo" data-wpview-type="embedURL"> <p class="wpview-selection-before"> </p> <div class="wpview-body" contenteditable="false"> <div class="wpview-content wpview-type-embedURL"><span class= "embed-youtube"><iframe class="youtube-player" src= "http://www.youtube.com/embed/gJZ65BgFTIo?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent" width="640" height="390" allowfullscreen="true"></iframe></span> <div class="wpview-overlay"> </div> </div> </div> <p class="wpview-selection-after"> </p> </div> <p> </p> <div class="video-wrap"> </div> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>This weeks winner is Sophie, proving that even a broken clock tells the correct time twice a day! Harsh?</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>;<strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; and <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>.</p>
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The Great Barrier Reef in Peril, and more
<h3>Announcements</h3> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1878" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1878" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/greatbarrierreef02-350x263.jpg" alt="Diagonal banded sweetlip. Great barrier reef. Queensland" width="350" height="263" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Diagonal banded sweetlip. Great barrier reef. Queensland</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Monday morning, 9 May we launched the <a href= "https://blab.im/jd-goodwin-last-week-tonight-with-john-oliver-scientific-studies"> Science Café</a> on the Blab live streaming platform.</span></p> <p>Three days per week I’m going to cam up on Blab with a cup of coffee and the most recent copies of science magazines and journals and talk about the latest news in the world of science.</p> <p>Essentially, the Science Café has 3 parts:</p> <ul> <li>keep the audience up to date on what’s going on with the Blue Streak Streak Science Podcast</li> <li>share science news and to decide which stories would be a good fit for the next episode</li> <li>play the What The Hell Was That game with a live audience</li> </ul> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays at 7:00AM Pacific</span></p> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>BovineBob from Bristol, England got the answer correct! And he wasn't the only one, but he was the first one. Congratulations, BovineBob!</p> <p>How did our crack team of science professionals do? Let's not talk about that, okay? :)</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1856" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-1856 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/greatbarrierreef-350x233.jpg" alt="Heart Reef Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays Australia" width= "350" height="233" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Great Barrier Reef, Whitsundays Australia</dd> </dl> </div> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "https://www.sciencenews.org/article/rainwater-can-help-trigger-earthquakes?tgt=nr"> Rainwater can help trigger earthquakes</a></li> <li><a href= "http://www.nature.com/articles/srep25263?dom=pscau&src=syn">Silk used as edible coating to preserve fruit!</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160510103121.htm">New route of TB transmission identified</a></li> </ul> <h3>Special News Item</h3> <ul> <li> <h4><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2087532-adding-rocks-to-oceans-could-de-acidify-water-and-save-coral/"> Great Barrier Reef in Peril</a></h4> <ul> <li><a href= "http://www.coralcoe.org.au/media-releases/only-7-of-the-great-barrier-reef-has-avoided-coral-bleaching"> Only 7% of the Great Barrier Reef has avoided coral bleaching</a></li> <li><a href= "http://www.theguardian.com/environment/planet-oz/2016/mar/30/link-between-fossil-fuels-and-great-barrier-reef-bleaching-clear-and-incontrovertible-say-scientists"> Link between fossil fuels and Great Barrier Reef bleaching clear and incontrovertible</a></li> </ul> </li> </ul> <p>If you are interested in learning more about the Great Barrier Reef, or opposing the Carmichael mine, there is a petition led by the Wangan and Jagalingou people in Queensland's Galilee basin.</p> <p><a href= "https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/don-t-let-adani-build-their-huge-coal-mine-on-our-traditional-land"> Petition: Stop Adani Destroying Our Land and Our Culture</a></p> <p>Also check out <a href="http://fightforthereef.org.au/">Fight For The Reef</a>  and Greenpeace, which is also leading a campaign against the mine.</p> <p>Don't think petitions can work? 180,000 people in Germany signed a petition which stopped Deutschbank investing in the mine, so if you care about this issue, it doesn't matter where you are in the world! Of course, if you're in Australia, your voice may count for more.</p> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>This weeks winner is <strong>Ivy!</strong> Way to go!</p> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <ul> <li> <h4><a href="http://www.pintofscience.com.au">Pint of Science - Australia</a></h4> </li> </ul> <p class="font_8">New scientific discoveries are happening all the time - fascinating developments which will change the future of the human race. But how often are you given the chance to really understand how these discoveries are made and what they mean?</p> <p class="font_8">The Pint of Science Festival sees some of world’s best scientific researchers and science communicators go to pubs in cities around the globe to discuss their latest findings with you. This is your chance to get face-to-face with the people involved in carrying out current research. You can listen to them talk, join in games and quizzes, or just enjoy a chat over a pint.</p> <p class="font_8"> The festival runs from the 23rd to the 25th May 2016 in 60 cities across 12 different countries - including Australia! Check out the <a href= "http://www.pintofscience.com.au/#!events/c1y9y" target= "_blank">Events</a> pages to find out more about Pint of Science happenings across the country.</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; and <strong>Atlanta, Georgia</strong>.</p>
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Interview: Sharon Stiteler of the Birdchick Podcast
<p>Sharon Stiteler is living the dream. She's getting paid to do what she loves. Birding. She travels the world as a birding field trip guide. She's also a birding consultant, keynote speaker, and a bird bander. She has written several books including "<a href= "http://www.amazon.com/1001-Secrets-Every-Birder-Should/dp/0762447346">1,001 Secrets Every Birder Should Know</a>".</p> <p>Sharon is #32 on the "<a href= "http://geekaweek.net/2011/02/sharon-stiteler-trading-card/">Geek-a-Week</a>" trading card set!</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1869" class="wp-caption alignright" style= "width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="wp-image-1869 size-medium" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Birdchick-Bath-350x245.png" alt="Sharon Stiteler taking a bath" width="350" height= "245" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">In the birdbath with Sharon Stiteler</dd> </dl> </div> <p>You'd think that Sharon wouldn't have time for anything else, but she is a full-time (!) ranger for the National Park Service at the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. She has been on National Public Radio's All Things Considered and the NBC Nightly News answering bird questions.</p> <p>Sharon and her husband Non-birding Bill are hosts of the best birding podcast on the planet, the <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blog-birdchick/id578996693?mt=2"> Birdchick Podcast</a>. If you're a birder then you <em>must</em> check out this podcast. If you're not a birder I still recommend it because it's that good. And they don't limit themselves to the topic of birding. Birding news, great humor, witty repartee, and a tumbler of Scotch. Yeh, that's the ticket. </p> <p>Sharon and I discussed topics ranging from birding to citizen science. This was tons of fun and I hope you enjoy it, too.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a full list of</span> Sharon's<strong> </strong>publications you can visit her website at <a href= "http://www.birdchick.com/">birdchick.com</a>. </p>
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Destroy alien carp! Spontaneous French accents, and new Earths discovered
<h3><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1831" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/frenchboy-350x350.jpg" alt="frenchboy" width="350" height="350" />What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Chris Cowans</strong>, a listener from<strong> Sydney, Australia</strong> was the first listener to get last week's What The Hell Was That correct. Congratulations, Chris!</p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2086635-australia-to-destroy-alien-carp-by-releasing-herpes-into-rivers/"> Australia to destroy alien carp by releasing herpes into rivers</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2086509-the-teenager-who-cant-help-speaking-in-a-french-accent/"> The teenager who can't help speaking in a French accent</a></li> <li><a href="Three%20Earth-like%20Planets%20discovered">Three Earth-like Planets discovered</a></li> </ul> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>JD stumps the Blue Streak brain trust once again! Do you have what it takes?</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>; and <strong>Atlanta, Georgia</strong>.</p>
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Prions in plants, Cassini's fiery plunge, and super-gonorrhea! Yikes!
<h3><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1826" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/prionprotein-350x311.jpg" alt="prionprotein" width="350" height="311" />What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Nobody was able to guess what this week's sound was! Can you, smarty pants?</p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "http://www.nature.com/news/plant-protein-behaves-like-a-prion-1.19824"> Prions in Plants?</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2085745-cassini-gears-up-for-final-fiery-plunge-into-saturns-atmosphere/"> Cassini's fiery plunge into oblivion</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2084801-why-super-gonorrhoea-is-spreading-and-may-soon-be-untreatable/"> Why super-gonorrhoea is spreading and may soon be untreatable</a></li> </ul> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>None of our team of brilliant scientists were able to answer this correctly, either! Am I being too tough on them? Oh, you think YOU can do better?</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>; and <strong>Atlanta, Georgia</strong>.</p>
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Minimalist cells, brain shock therapy, and explosive anger!
<h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Alexzander Samuelsson</strong>, a listener from<strong> </strong>Toronto got last week's What The Hell right when he<strong> </strong>answered with <strong>(classified: top secret)</strong>.</p> <h3><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1820" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/brainshock-350x350.jpg" alt="brainshock" width="350" height="350" />Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href= "http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6280/aad6253">Minimalist cell whittled down to 473 genes</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2082420-brain-shocking-therapy-may-work-by-boosting-calcium-in-the-brain/"> Potential mechanism found for 'brain shock' therapy</a></li> <li><a href= "https://www.newscientist.com/article/2082105-explosive-road-rage-like-anger-linked-to-parasite-spread-by-cats/"> Explosive road rage-like anger linked to parasite spread by cats</a></li> </ul> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>This weeks winner is <strong>Sophie!</strong> Have a listen to see if YOU get the right answer!</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>; <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; and <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>.</p>
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Alexa Erdogan of the Synapse Science Podcast
<h3>Conversation with Alexa Erdogan</h3> <p><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1816" src= "http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/alexaerdogan-350x350.jpg" alt="alexaerdogan" width="350" height="350" />Alexa’s scientific background includes experience as a molecular and cellular biologist and training as a molecular neuroscientist. During her time as an undergraduate researcher, she worked to contribute to a better understanding of the role that microglial cells play in ischemic preconditioning. Now, as a Master’s student in Space Studies, she is actively combining her experience in neuroscience with the realm of outer space to better understand the impacts of long term spaceflight on neurological systems.</p> <p>Outside of academia, she writes and produces the <a href= "http://synapsescience.com/" target="_blank">Synapse Science Podcast</a>, which has recently wrapped up its first season. Thanks to positive feedback and support for the show, the podcast is gearing up for a second season in the near future. More of her science communication work can be found on her <a href= "http://alexaerdogan.weebly.com/">online portfolio</a>.</p> <p>In this episode Alexa and I discussed her studies in neuroscience and space studies, and how she has applied them to science communication. We talked about the Synapse Science podcast, her personal scicomm project, an excellent science podcast that has remarkably professional production quality.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a full list of Alexa's</span> publications you can visit her website at <a href="https://neuronstonebulae.wordpress.com/about/">Neurons to Nebulae</a>.</p>
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Peer Review with Dr. Peter Chahales
<h3>Talking Peer Review with Dr. Peter Chahales<img class="alignright size-full wp-image-1735" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/peter-chahales.jpg" alt="A picture of Dr. Peter Chahales" width="200" height="200" /></h3> <p>Peter is a newly minted Ph.D. from the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University. Peter is an enthusiastic and skilled science communicator and loves everything science.</p> <p>Our topic today was peer review. We talked about what peer review is and how it works, and why it is fundamental to science. </p> <p><a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/peterchahales">List of Peter's publications</a></p> <h3> </h3> <h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p><strong>Leon Letkeman</strong>, a listener from<strong> Islamabad, Pakistan</strong> got last week's What The Hell right when he<strong> </strong>answered with <strong>"earthquake"</strong>. In this case, <span style="font-weight: 400;">the sound was the horrific earthquake that devastated Fukushima, Japan. The sound was captured on a hydrophone in the Pacific 1,500 kilometers away in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Oregon State University recorded the temblor using the U.S. Navy’s Sound Surveillance System. This portion of the recording was 16 times normal speed.</span></p> <p>The great majority of guesses and answers were some kind of rocket. The space shuttle getting the top spot in the number of guesses.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Way to go Leon!</span></p> <p> </p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <p> </p> <p><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/first-dengue-fever-vaccine-gets-green-light-in-three-countries/">First Dengue Fever Vaccine Gets Green Light in Three Countries</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/jan/04/periodic-tables-seventh-row-finally-filled-as-four-new-elements-are-added">Newcomers to Periodic Table!</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160104131249.htm">Virgin births may be common among snakes</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/upending-daily-rhythm-triggers-fat-cell-growth?mode=topic&context=87c">Upending daily rhythm triggers fat cell growth</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/01/poachers-using-science-papers-to-target-newly-discovered-species JD's stories">Poachers using science papers to target newly discovered species</a></p> <p><a href="http://news.sciencemag.org/plants-animals/2016/01/orchids-give-human-body-odor-attract-mosquitoes">Orchids give off human "body odor" to attract mosquitoes</a></p> <p> </p> <h3>False Positive, the science game with the scary name!</h3> <p>This week"s winner is <strong>nobody! </strong>Our crack team of science professionals were nil for one when both guessed wrong. Better luck next time!</p>
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Philandering voles, headbanging bees, COP21 and ever so much more!
<h3>What The Hell Was That?</h3> <p>Gabriel Owen of Los Angeles, California answered correctly with "red fox". Shockingly to everyone, including herself, our esteemed host Sophie McManus answered correctly (guessed) as well! She received a smattering of applause while Gabe received a nod of approval.</p> <p>Next week's sound? Listen to the podcast or tune in to "Science Sunday" on Blab.im for a live replay of the What The Hell Was That sound! Don't miss it.</p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1714" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 460px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><img class="size-full wp-image-1714" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Vole_Microtus-arvalis.jpg" alt="This is a pic of a common vole, Microtus arvalis" width="450" height="337" /></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Common Vole, Microtus arvalis</dd> </dl> </div> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/forgetful-male-voles-more-likely-wander-mate">Forgetful male voles are more likely to wander from mate</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/12/151214092726.htm">Headbanging Aussie bee takes a heavy metal approach to pollination</a></li> <li><a href=" https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28666-first-official-uk-astronaut-tim-peake-takes-fast-route-to-iss/">Ground control to Major Tim (Peake)</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830524-100-prodigal-gas-cloud-was-born-in-milky-way-and-is-crashing-back-in/">Prodigal gas cloud was born in Milky Way and is crashing back in</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/virus-spread-mosquitoes-linked-rare-birth-defect?mode=topic&context=69">Update on Zika disease: virus linked to rare birth defect</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22830523-800-paris-climate-deal-is-agreed-but-is-it-really-good-enough/">COP21 agreement reached!</a></li> </ul> <h3>A$$**** of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Martin Shkreli </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">is at it again!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Remember him? He’s the asshole who bumped up the price of a 62 year old drug against toxoplasmosis from $13.50 per pill to $750.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He once again has plans to sharply increase the price of a decades-old drug for a serious infectious disease.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This time it’s a drug that treats Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that can cause potentially lethal heart problems.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The plan also is upsetting some organizations that supply drugs for neglected diseases because Shkreli has said he wants to take advantage of a federal program intended to encourage companies to develop such drugs. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The program awards vouchers that can be sold to other companies for hundreds of millions of dollars.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This story comes from the New York Times.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shkreli has said he hopes to obtain such a voucher by getting the Chagas disease drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for sale in the United States. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Critics say that it would be another case of the system being abused by awarding a voucher not for developing a new drug but merely for obtaining F.D.A. approval of a drug already used in tropical countries.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mr. Shkreli declined to comment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last month, Shkreli led an investor group that took control of a failing California biotechnology company, buying a majority of its shares on the open market at an average price of about $1.50 a share.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As one of his first moves at KaloBios, Shkreli agreed to license the worldwide rights to one version of benznidazole, a standard treatment for Chagas Disease in South and Central America. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Benznidazole has never been approved for sale in the United States but is provided free to patients by the CDC on an experimental basis.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shkreli said on a conference call with KaloBios investors last week that if the company won F.D.A. approval for benznidazole, it would have exclusive rights to sell it in the United States for at least five years. He said the price would be similar to that of hepatitis C drugs, which cost $60,000 to nearly $100,000 for a course of treatment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Latin America, benznidazole costs $50 to $100 for the typical two-month course of treatment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is estimated that 300,000 people in the United States have Chagas disease, virtually all of them immigrants from Latin America who were infected before they came.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Chagas is caused by a parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, that is in the feces of an insect called the kissing bug, because it often bites people on the face and lips.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, few of the cases in the United States are acute cases, and the actual demand for the drug would be very small.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">So it seems that the voucher itself could be the real prize. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The only reason for him to do this is to get the voucher and turn around and sell it,” said Dr. Caryn Bern, a Chagas disease specialist at the University of California, San Francisco.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Critics say that the award of a voucher for F.D.A. approval of a drug already used in tropical countries is more a get-rich-quick scheme than a benefit to people with neglected diseases.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Martin Shkreli, for your plans to raise the price of benznidazole from $100 per course to over $60,000 per course AND for your intention of stealing money from the taxpayers of the United States, you are the Blue Streak Science A$$**** of the Week!</span></p> <p> </p>
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COP21, Dinosaurs that left quite an impression, Wimpy eagles, and shilling for Coke
<h3>What The Hell was That?<img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1686" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/cop21-217x350.jpg" alt="An image of the COP21 Climate Summit logo" width="217" height="350" /></h3> <p>Kaitlyn Thomas of Cape Town, South Africa correctly answered last week's WTHWT challenge with the answer of: bald eagle</p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li>Round up of the COP21 Summit</li> <li><a href="Hundreds of giant dinosaur footprints found in Scottish lagoon">Hundreds of giant dinosaur footprints found in Scottish lagoon</a></li> </ul> <h3>A$$#*\& of the Week</h3> <p>Coca-Cola’s top scientist is stepping down after it was revealed that the company was funding scientific research that minimized the role of their products in the spread of obesity.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Coke’s chief science and health officer, Dr. Rhonda Applebaum, created a group called the Global Energy Balance Network. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">This group consisted of university scientists, and they encouraged the public to focus on exercise and not so much about how what we eat and drink contributes to the epidemic of obesity.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Coca-Cola spent $1.5 million last year to support the group, which included a $1 million grant to the University of Colorado medical school, where the nonprofit group’s president, James O. Hill, a prominent obesity researcher, is a professor. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Coke’s financial ties to the group were first reported in an article in The New York Times in August, which prompted criticism that the soft drink giant was trying to exert undue influence scientific research on sugary drinks.</span></p> <p>This story appeared in the New York Times on 24 November, 2015.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The university returned the money to Coca-Cola this month after public health experts raised concerns.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Applebaum, who is a food scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology, had been Coke’s chief scientific and regulatory officer since 2004. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In that role she helped spearhead the company’s efforts to work with scientists as a way to counter criticism about sugary drinks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At a food industry conference in 2012, Dr. Applebaum gave a talk about Coca-Cola’s strategy of “cultivating relationships” with top scientists as a way to “balance the debate” about soft drinks.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Balance the debate”? I call that doing what you can to create the impression of false equivalency...something we often see with climate science deniers, too.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Coca-Cola has said that while it offered financial support for the Global Energy Balance Network, the company had no influence on the group or the scientific research it produced. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">But reports show that Dr. Applebaum and other executives at Coke helped pick the group’s leaders, create its mission statement and design its website, findings first reported this week by The Associated Press.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The AP also published a series of emails between Dr. Hill and Coke executives that revealed the initial strategy of the Global Energy Balance Network. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Hill proposed publishing research that would help the company fend off criticism about its products by shifting the blame for obesity to physical inactivity. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Hill told executives at Coca-Cola that he wanted to work on the company’s behalf to improve its public reputation. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He also wrote to executives at the company that it was “not fair” that Coca-Cola was being singled out as “the No. 1 villain in the obesity world.” </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He added: “I want to help your company avoid the image of being a problem in people’s lives and back to being a company that brings important and fun things to them.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In an interview in August, Dr. Hill insisted that Coca-Cola did not speak for him or his organization. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They’re not running the show,” he said. “We’re running the show.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In a statement on Tuesday, the University of Colorado School of Medicine suggested it did not see any problems with Dr. Hill’s relationship with Coca-Cola. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The school of medicine does not prohibit faculty members from communicating with governmental, for-profit or nonprofit entities that provide funding for initiatives intended to improve individual and public health. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The school does expect such efforts to be hypothesis-driven and designed to answer questions and not to advance a specific point of view.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group, said it was concerning to see “how a major corporation is using a professor to propagate their views.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It is tempting to give this week’s award to several people in this rogue’s gallery. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, I’m sticking with just one, and it is Dr. James Hill of the University of Colorado.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You are Blue Streak Science A$$#*\& of the Week!</span></p>
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How to have fun and keep up with the latest science - listen to this podcast!
<h3>What The Hell was That?</h3> <p>Cody White correctly answered last week's WTHWT challenge with the answer of: baby alligator</p> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1670" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 310px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/africangreyparrot.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-1670" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/africangreyparrot.jpg" alt="This is a picture of an African Grey Parrot perched on a tropical plant." width="300" height="450" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">African Grey Parrot</dd> </dl> </div> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.nature.com/news/gene-drive-mosquitoes-engineered-to-fight-malaria-1.18858" target="_blank">'Gene drive' mosquitoes engineered to fight malaria</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/nih-to-retire-all-research-chimpanzees/" target="_blank">NIH to retire all research chimpanzees</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/new-superbug-gene-found-in-animals-and-people-in-china/" target="_blank">New "superbug" gene found in animals and people in China</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28538-african-grey-parrot-numbers-plummet-by-99-per-cent-in-ghana/" target="_blank">African grey parrot numbers plummet in Ghana</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/blue-origin-succeeds-in-vertically-landing-spent-rocket-back-at-texas-launch-site-1448372666" target="_blank">Blue Origin Succeeds in Landing Spent Rocket Back on Earth</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/350/6263/970" target="_blank">Having parasites can boost fertility</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/snakebite-antivenom-development-is-stuck-in-the-19th-century-what-s-next/" target="_blank">Snakebite antivenom development stuck in 19th century</a></li> </ul> <h3>A$$#*(& of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our A$$#*(& of the Week is </span><strong>Jenny McCarthy</strong>.</p> <p> </p>
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7 Science News Stories You MUST Know About!
<h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li>Birth Control for men?</li> <li>Tapeworm spreads cancer to human</li> <li>Sonic screwdriver opens the brain</li> <li>Secretive speartooth sharks snagged for science... <ul> <li>whilst selling seashells by the seashore</li> </ul> </li> <li>Solar wind stripping Martian atmosphere</li> <li>WHO officially declares Sierra Leone Ebola-free</li> <li>Wine tasting is junk science</li> </ul> <h3>A$$#*(& of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last week I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. Tucked in among the cat videos and “here’s what I’m having for dinner” pictures was a piece from the Daily Express written by James Delingpole.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">James Delingpole is an English columnist who has written for the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Mail</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, the aforementioned </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Daily Express</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Times</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Daily Telegraph</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Spectator</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He’s also the executive editor for the London branch of the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Breitbart News Network</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a radical right wing news blog founded by the late Andrew Breitbart.</span></p> <p>It seems like every week on the A$$#8(& of the Week I’m talking about some anti-science blowhard who denies that anthropogenic climate change is real. This is becoming not unlike trying to convince people that the earth is a sphere and not as flat as a pizza.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Last week a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">new NASA study came out that shows there’s been a net increase in land ice in Antarctica in recent years, despite a decline in some parts of the continent.</span></p> <p>The study's lead author predicted that climate science deniers would distort this study for their own agenda.</p> <p>Although the conclusions from this study do nothing to contradict the worldwide scientific consensus on climate change this didn’t stop James Delingpole from doing just that.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In this piece, titled </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">MELTDOWN MYTH: Antarctic ice growing is just the first EVIDENCE global warming is NOT REAL, Delingpole even brings up the instance in 2013 where an Australian research ship was trapped in sea ice. He ignores that this phenomenon of increased sea ice was predicted to occur because of the measurably less saline seas in that region...less saline because of the increased level of meltwater from that part of the Antarctic continent. As most of you know, saltwater has a lower freezing temperature than fresh. Result, increased sea ice for a while.</span></p> <p>But don’t let the science get in the way, James Delingpole.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He once wrote, "I am not a scientist and have never claimed to be,"</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">and that he does not have a science degree. </span>That’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you read the scientific literature and just follow the evidence, wherever it leads, and look at the entirely of it, then fine.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">However, In a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">BBC</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Horizon</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> documentary called "Science under Attack", Delingpole responded to a question as to whether he had read any peer-reviewed papers. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He replied that as a journalist "it is not my job" to read </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">peer-reviewed</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> papers, but rather to be "an interpreter of interpretations".</span></p> <p>That is exactly what he did with this article. He interpreted interpretations and ignored the peer-reviewed science...again.</p> <p>For this unresearched hit piece, James Delingpole, you are the Blue Streak Science A$$#*(& of the Week.</p> <h3> </h3> <p> </p>
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Yay! E-skin feels the heat, jellyfish suck, molten metal storms, and cancer's secret tunnels (boo!)
<h1><strong><span style="font-size: 24px;">Blue Streak Science News</span></strong></h1> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Electronic skin feels the heat, hears the sound. Yay!</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Dinosaurs used nasal passages to keep brains cool</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Cancer cells use secret tunnels to communicate, smuggle cancer signals their neighbors</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Jellyfish suck!</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">New class of DNA repair enzyme discovered</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Molten metal storms rage on orphan planet that lost its star</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Tuberculosis now rivals AIDS as leading cause of death, says WHO</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 20px;">Ireland to legalise supervised heroin injection.</span></li> </ul> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1624" class="wp-caption aligncenter" style="width: 282px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Bondi_bio_photo_crop.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1624 size-medium" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Bondi_bio_photo_crop-272x350.jpg" alt="Picture of Pam Bondi, the Attorney General for the State of Florida and the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week" width="272" height="350" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Pam Bondi, A$$#*(! of the Week</dd> </dl> </div> <h1><strong><span style="font-size: 24px;">A$$#*(! of the Week</span></strong></h1> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;">This week’s Blue Streak Science A$$#*(! of the Week is <strong>Pam Bondi</strong>, the Attorney General for the state of Florida.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Who is Pam Bondi?</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pam Bondi was appointed to her office by Governor Rick Scott, who is infamous for </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">when he said "I'm not a scientist" in response to questions about climate change prior to his re-election. I</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">n the bizarro world of Governor Rick Scott no state employee is permitted to address or say things like “climate change” or “global warming”. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Pam Bondi, being the loyal foot soldier in the Rick Scott administration, is doing her part in their war against science and the environment.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">In 2014 she legally challenged a Chesapeake Bay water cleanup plan that most of the states around the bay had agreed to but industry and agriculture groups opposed. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also is challenging federal wetlands rules that agricultural groups and stormwater utilities are opposing.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Incidentally, she was the lead state attorney general among 26 in an unsuccessful lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">She has also fought tooth-and-nail against equal marriage.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">What has Pam Bondi done this time?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">She's now joined a challenge to President Obama's Clean Power Plan</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">What’s the Clean Power Plan?</span></p> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s a set of rules implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency that will reduce carbon emissions from power plants for the first time. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Previously, power plants were allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the atmosphere. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">These regulations have been developed under the Clean Air Act, an act of Congress that </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">requires </span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">the EPA to take steps to reduce air pollution.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">But Pam Bondi is fighting it!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Bondi told reporters,</span></p> <blockquote> <h4><span style="font-size: 20px;"><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Let me tell you who we are looking out for: We are looking out for consumers. And we will continue to look out for our consumers and our businesses, especially when this affects their finances. That's what this is about.</span></em></span></h4> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;">Make no mistake about this. <span style="font-weight: 400;">She has no interest in protecting consumers. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s the power companies that matter.</span></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">On Tuesday a reporter asked if she believes climate change is man-made, and she replied,</span></p> <blockquote> <h4><span style="font-size: 20px;"><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">I'm not going to get into a philosophical discussion with you about climate change.</span></em></span></h4> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-size: 20px;">That was a  slight breach of etiquette when she actually used the term “climate change”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Not to worry!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Climate scientists have offered to talk with her about climate change and the damage that could be done if the Clean Power Act were blocked.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Her response was no response. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">Pam Bondi, for fighting against the Clean Power Plan, and for fighting it from a state that will be the first and worst to suffer from climate change...</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400; font-size: 20px;">You are the Blue Streak Science A$$#*(! of the Week!</span></p>
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Ebola reemerges, Ethanol on a comet, Magnets can reduce religiosity, Buzzing bees and government ministers
<div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1600" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/brainmagnet.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1600 size-medium" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/brainmagnet-350x350.jpg" alt="A graphic of a magnet pointing toward a person's head" width="350" height="350" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Can magnets can reduce religiosity and xenophobia?</dd> </dl> </div> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/ebola-reemerges-in-guinea-with-2-new-cases/" target="_blank">Ebola reemerges in Guinea with 2 new cases</a> (go away Ebola!)</li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28382-booze-and-sweets-officially-found-in-nearby-comet-for-first-time/" target="_blank">Ethanol and sugars found on a comet. Bring limes, Cointreau, and salt!</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2015/research/psychologist-brian-magnetic/" target="_blank">Magnetic Energy Directed Into Your Brain Can Reduce Your Religious Beliefs</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151022124349.htm" target="_blank">Vibrations tell bees where mates are from</a> <ul> <li><span class="name"><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28381-bees-found-farming-fungus-for-first-time-to-feed-larvae/" target="_blank">Bees farming fungus among us</a></span></li> </ul> </li> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/where-could-the-first-crispr-baby-be-born/" target="_blank">Where could the first CRISPR baby be born?</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28390-lion-populations-to-halve-in-most-of-africa-in-next-20-years/" target="_blank">Lion populations in decline</a></li> <li><span class="name"><a href="http://www.space.com/30855-alien-life-search-kepler-megastructure.html" target="_blank">Search For Intelligent Aliens Near Bizarre Dimming Star Has Begun</a></span></li> <li><span class="name"><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28379-self-sacrificing-immune-cells-spew-out-dna-nets-to-trap-invaders/" target="_blank">Self-sacrificing immune cells spew out DNA nets to trap invaders</a></span></li> </ul> <h3>The Return of the A$$&*(# of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our A$$&*(# of the Week is Australian Minister for the Environment, </span><strong>Greg Hunt</strong>.</p> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <h4>The Matter of the Meat</h4> <p>We close the show with a discussion on the recent WHO report on cancer and processed meats; a case of media misunderstanding science once again.</p> <p><a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/why-is-the-world-health-organization-so-bad-at-communicating-cancer-risk/412468/" target="_blank">Great article by Ed Yong in The Atlantic regarding the WHO report</a></p> <h4>Shout out to our Blab.im followers:</h4> <p>Michael Hernsin</p> <p>Kylie Smith</p> <p>Peter Chahales</p>
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Blue Streak Blab-up, first in utero stem cell trial, supercoiled DNA, Zika Disease, Elephants and cancer, and more!
<h3>Announcements</h3> <p>On Monday, 19 October, 4:00PM EDT Blue Streak Science is hosting its first weekly "Blab-up"! Blab is a new platform that enables a public video chat. Viewers come in to watch the livestream and they can participate by leaving comments.</p> <p>If one of the four seats is open you can join in with the other talking heads. We're having these Blabs to engage with our listeners, and get ideas and suggestions for the next episode. Your input would be greatly appreciated, and we invite you to join in.</p> <h3><a class="orange btn large" href="http://ow.ly/TrGrB" target="_blank">Blue Streak Blab!</a> </h3> <h3> </h3> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1548" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/mosquito.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1548 size-medium" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/mosquito-350x350.jpg" alt="Close-up of a mosquito biting someone." width="350" height="350" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Zika Disease, another reason to hate mosquitos.</dd> </dl> </div> <h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28325-worlds-first-trial-of-stem-cell-therapy-in-the-womb/" target="_blank">First <em><span class="contentItalic">i</span><span class="contentItalic">n</span> <span class="contentItalic">u</span><span class="contentItalic">t</span><span class="contentItalic">e</span><span class="contentItalic">r</span><span class="contentItalic">o</span></em> stem cell trial</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.livescience.com/52456-supercoiled-dna-shapes-revealed.html" target="_blank">Beyond the Helix: 'Supercoiled' DNA Twists into Crazy Shapes</a></li> <li><a href="http://scienceblog.com/80647/breast-cancer-drug-tamoxifen-beats-superbug-mrsa/?" target="_blank">Breast cancer drug tamoxifen beats superbug MRSA</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/zika-disease-another-reason-to-hate-mosquitoes/" target="_blank">Zika Disease: Another reason to hate mosquitos</a></li> <li><a href="http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2015/10/homosexuality-may-be-caused-chemical-modifications-dna" target="_blank">Homosexuality may be caused by chemical modifications to DNA</a>...or not</li> <li><a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151008152953.htm" target="_blank">Wet paleoclimate of Mars revealed by ancient lakes at Gale Crater</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28306-elephants-almost-never-get-cancer-thanks-to-multiple-gene-copies/" target="_blank">Elephants almost never get cancer thanks to multiple gene copies</a></li> <li><a href="http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/frog-mass-extinction/" target="_blank">Frog mass extinction on the horizon</a></li> </ul> <h3>The Jackass of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our Jackass of the Week is </span><strong><a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/azeenghorayshi/famous-astronomer-allegedly-sexually-harassed-students" target="_blank">Geoff Marcy</a></strong>, exoplanet hunter and astronomer of the University of California, Berkeley.</p> <h3>Closing stuff</h3> <p><a href="http://www.livescience.com/52399-doomsday-revised-world-will-end-october-7.html" target="_blank">Doomsday Revised: New Prediction Claims World Will End on Oct. 7</a>, or The Continuing Saga of the End of the World.</p>
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Foam hearts, Nobel Prizes, Mini brains, Virus detection, Death by Worm Star, and Tales of Epigenetics
<h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li>Foam artificial heart</li> <li>Nobel Prize week</li> <li>A 'working' miniature brain</li> <li>New test detects all viruses that infect people</li> <li>Death by worm-star</li> <li>Tales of epigenetics</li> </ul> <h3>The Jackass of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our Jackass of the Week is </span><strong>Dr. Ben Carson</strong></p> <p><strong>Ben</strong> <strong>Carson</strong><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a retired </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Johns Hopkins</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">neurosurgeon</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> and </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican Party</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> candidate for </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">President of the United States</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">He has become popular figure in the right-wing political media for his views on social and political issues after a speech at the 2013 National Prayer Breakfast.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This year on the 4th of May at a rally in Detroit Carson announced he was running for the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Republican nomination</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in the 2016 presidential election.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On 30 September, last week, Carson was asked by a voter in New Hampshire to explain his disbelief in climate change.</span></p> <div class="mceTemp"> <dl id="attachment_1529" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 360px;"> <dt class="wp-caption-dt"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dr_Ben_Carson_at_the_Citizens_United_Freedom_Summit_in_Greenville_South_Carolina_May_2015_by_Michael_Vadon_06.jpg"><img class="wp-image-1529 size-medium" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Dr_Ben_Carson_at_the_Citizens_United_Freedom_Summit_in_Greenville_South_Carolina_May_2015_by_Michael_Vadon_06-350x350.jpg" alt="A photo of Dr. Ben Carson at the Citizens United Conference" width="350" height="350" /></a></dt> <dd class="wp-caption-dd">Dr. Ben Carson</dd> </dl> </div> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The question was: "You don't believe in evolution or climate change, I believe. And I was just wondering, do you seriously not believe that climate change is happening?"</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The New Republic</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">’s Rebecca Leber reported on Carson’s response, and it was: </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Is there climate change? Of course there’s climate change. Any point in time, temperatures are going up or temperatures are going down. Of course that’s happening. When that stops happening, that’s when we’re in big trouble.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He then added, “Just the way the Earth rotates on its axis, how far away it is from the sun. These are all very complex things. Gravity, where did it come from?”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dr. Carson seems confused about what is weather and what is climate. Weather is temperatures going up and down, i</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">s it raining or not, and will it rain today. Climate, especially global climate, is a long-term phenomenon that cannot be observed directly in the short term.</span></p> <p>That fact seems to be lost on him.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Carson continued, “As far as evolution is concerned, you know, I do believe in micro-evolution, or natural selection, but I believe that God gave the creatures he made the ability to adapt to their environment. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Because he’s very smart and he didn’t want to start over every 50 years.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a neurosurgeon, Dr. Carson hold some remarkably unscientific views. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">In fact, in his view science itself  is just another religion, and one that he rejects. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Regarding science, he stated, “I just don't have that much faith. But they are welcome to believe whatever they want to believe. I'm welcome to believe what I want to believe.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This rejection of the foundation of science would be unacceptable for anyone holding public office, let alone the Presidency.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Oh, and we actually do know where <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_relativity" target="_blank">gravity</a> comes from. It comes from the bending of space-time by massive objects. I don't see a Nobel Prize in your future. Just sayin'.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ben Carson, you are the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week.</span></p> <h3><br />Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><a href="https://notscishy.wordpress.com/" target="_blank">NotSciShy blog</a><br />Twitter: @Ivyhish<br />Email: notscishy@gmail.com</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Cambridge, England</strong>; <strong>Sydney, Australia</strong>; and <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>.</p>
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Amyloid-forming proteins, 'snakeskin' on Pluto, Supermoon, Viruses as tools to fight bacteria, and the incredible shrinking bee tongues
<h3>Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li>Biologists find unexpected role for amyloid-forming protein</li> <li>New duck-billed dinosaur found in Alaska</li> <li><a href="http://www.space.com/30678-supermoon-stunning-in-us-monument-park-dark-skies.html">Supermoon!</a></li> <li>The Associated Press style change gives 'climate skeptics' the boot</li> <li>Perplexing Pluto: New ‘Snakeskin’ Image and More from New Horizons</li> <li>Early Life infections may be a risk factor for Celiac disease in childhood</li> <li>Liquid water on the surface of Mars!</li> <li>Viruses join fight against harmful bacteria</li> <li>Flower declines shrink bee tongues</li> </ul> <h3>The Jackass of the Week</h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Our Jackass of the Week is </span><strong>Martin Shkreli</strong>.</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shkreli is a 32 year old hedge fund manager specializing in healthcare companies. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shkreli’s company, Turing Pharmaceuticals bought the rights to the toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim last month, and from his responses to the outrage it seems he is embracing his title as the most hated man, and the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He’s taken to Twitter and hurled insults, calling people “morons”, criticizing Twitter itself by saying that it “seems to be a great medium for socialist and liberal rage”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On 28 September he took to the news shows and argued that Daraprim was grossly underpriced. </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">On Bloomberg he stated, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The price per course of treatment to save your life was only $1,000 and we know these days, [with] modern pharmaceuticals, cancer drugs can cost $100,000 or more, rare-disease drugs can cost half a million dollars.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He seems outraged that the drug was affordable!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A reporter reminded him that the pill costs about $1 to manufacture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hillary Clinton tweeted: "</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Price gouging like this in the specialty drug market is outrageous. Tomorrow I'll lay out a plan to take it on. -H"</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Shkreli also has a checkered past with a previous company he was the CEO of...even alledgedly harassing the wife and children of former employee of that company.  </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">A sworn affidavit was submitted by this employee to the Supreme Court of the State of New York regarding the alleged harassment.</span></p> <h3>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p><a href="http://www.phdcomics.com/movie">The PhD Movie 2: Still In Grad School </a><br />phdcomics.com/movie</p> <p>This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from <strong>Sydney, New South Wales</strong>; <strong>Atlanta, Georgia</strong>; and <strong>Santa Rosa, California</strong>.</p>
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Conversation with William Shafer, Ph.D. of Emory University - antibiotic resistance
<p>Conversation with William S. Shafer, Ph.D. Host Kellie Vinal discusses antibiotic resistance, its history, current state and future implications with Dr. William Shafer of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.</p> <div> <p>William Shafer received his PhD degree in Microbiology from Kansas State University in 1979 where he studied the genetics of enterotoxin synthesis by Staphylococcus aureus. After postdoctoral studies with P.F. Sparling  at the University of North Carolina where he studied the genetics of antibiotic resistance expressed by Neisseria gonorrhoeae, he moved to Emory University School of Medicine where he now Full Professor. He is also a Senior Research Career Scientist at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. He has been continually funded by the NIH and VA since 1984, has published over 115 manuscripts, serves on multiple Editorial Boards and served on several NIH, VA and international study sections.</p> </div> <p>For more information about Dr. Shafer please visit his <a href="http://www.microbiology.emory.edu/faculty/shafer_william.html">faculty page</a> at the Emory University Department of Microbiology and Immunology.</p> <p>Dr. Shafer's <a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=search&term=Shafer%20WM%5BAU%5D">publications</a>.</p> <p>Blue Streak Science News</p> <p><a href="http://m.livescience.com/52165-earths-largest-continental-volcanic-ring-discovered.html?cmpid=514627_20150919_52494086&adbid=10153009763011761&adbpl=fb&adbpr=30478646760">Hidden Superchain of volcanoes discovered in Australia</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.sciencemag.org/content/349/6254/1310">Making 3-D objects disappear</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/antibiotic-use-and-resistance-rise-dramatically/">Dramatic Rise seen in Antibiotic Use</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.livescience.com/52196-megaraptorid-lightning-claw-fossil.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Livesciencecom+%28LiveScience.com+Science+Headline+Feed%29">My, what big claws you have</a></p> <p><a href="https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28181-huge-relative-of-first-fish-to-crawl-on-land-has-a-lung/">Huge relative of first fish to crawl on land has a lung</a></p> <p><a href="http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-vaccine-to-shield-threatened-honeybees-from-disease/">A vaccine to shield threatened honeybees from disease</a></p> <p><a class="contentLink" href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jl_txxYQEA" target="_blank">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jl_txxYQEA</a></p> <p><br />The Jackass of the Week</p> <p>Our Jackass of the Week is Volkswagen</p> <p>Volkswagen and Audi are brands that have sold many Americans on the idea that “clean diesel” is a viable alternative to other green technologies such as hybrid engines.</p> <p>Consequently, Volkswagen, who owns Audi, has taken the lion’s share of the market in the U.S. for diesel cars.</p> <p>For the owners of these cars I have some bad news.</p> <p>They have been pumping 40x the legal amount of nitrogen oxide into our atmosphere. This is all because of software that Volkswagen installed in these cars to intentionally cheat on emissions tests.</p> <p>VW will have to recall all the vehicles and modify the emissions systems at its own expense, regulators said. Additionally it could face a fine of about $18 billion, or $37,500 per car, according to environmental officials.</p> <p>Nitrogen oxide is nasty stuff. It’s one of the primary components of photochemical smog.</p> <p>Smog is not just something that ruins the view of the city. Smog is deadly, and deadly in a big way. It’s particularly harmful for the elderly, children, and people with heart and lung conditions such as asthma. Photochemical smog has been linked to greatly increased rates of low birth weight babies, birth defects, various cancers and the overall death rate.</p> <p>In the province of Ontario, according to the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Medical_Association">Ontario Medical Association</a> smog is responsible for an estimated 9,500 premature deaths in the province every year.</p> <p>It’s bad stuff, that is bad for all of us.</p> <p>But Volkswagen thought they could get away with cheating their customers and the rest of us into have their pollution machines running right under our noses.</p> <p>Here’s what VW did:</p> <p>They rigged the car’s on board computer and sensors to detect the exact conditions of when an emissions test is occurring. Then the computer changed the performance of the car to behave itself during the test and not be spewing pollution as it does in normal operation.</p> <p>Volkswagen is already on record admitting that the cars had “defeat devices”. But this was only after the EPA and California air regulators demanded an explanation.</p> <p>For deceiving your customers, regulators, and wantonly harming the health of millions of people, Volkswagen, you are the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week.</p> <p></p> <p>Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</p> <p><a href="http://www.sciencegenderequity.org.au/">SAGE</a> Initiative (Science in Australia Gender Equity ) is a program that recently launched involving decreasing gender inequality in the Research sector in Australia.</p> <p></p>
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New Human species, eliminating HIV, new pics from Pluto, and Plasma Tornado
<p>Fossils of a new species of human, Homo naledi, discovered in South Africa. Ivy gives her expert view on a story about researchers who reawaken sleeping HIV in patient cells to eliminate the virus. Hawk species invisible force shield protects hummingbirds from jays...very nice of them. A new robot has crown of thorns star fish in its sights. Great news in conservation: sea turtles set new nesting record in the United States! Physicists show 'molecules' of light may be possible...whaaaat? 5-Million-Degree Plasma 'Tornado' Rages on the Sun (Video). The wait for more Pluto data is almost over. </p> <p>The Shout Out goes to the makers of the <a href="http://www.foldscope.com" target="_blank">Foldscope</a>.</p> <p> </p>
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The Completion Backward Principle
<h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Announcements</h3> <h4 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Absences</h4> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Our two esteemed hosts, Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus are not with us for this week's podcast.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Kellie is currently in the beautiful Black Rock Desert of Nevada attending the annual Burning Man festival. We are looking forward to her return and a report of this year's happenings on the playa.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Sophie is pulling up roots and moving from sunny Sydney, Australia to the green lawns and hallowed halls of the University of Cambridge. We expect to hear back from Sophie in early October.</p> <h4 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">New Co-host!</h4> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><dl id="attachment_1397" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 323px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt" style="-webkit-user-drag: none;"><a style="-webkit-user-drag: none;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Ivy-Shih-Profile_bluestreak-1.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1397" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; -webkit-user-drag: none;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Ivy-Shih-Profile_bluestreak-1-313x350.jpg" alt="Ivy Shih" width="313" height="350" /></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 14px; padding-top: 0.5em; margin: 0px; -webkit-user-drag: none;">Ivy Shih</dd></dl></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">We are proud to introduce our new co-host, Ivy Shih.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Ivy is an HIV researcher based in Sydney, Australia, studying early events of HIV infection in immune cells and capturing those events with high-resolution microscopy. After completing her Honours Thesis, she is now completing a PhD at The Kirby Institute about HIV infection in skin. Ivy loves writing about science with articles in Riaus and Biodetectives.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">A self-confessed bibliophile and dinosaur enthusiast, in her spare time Ivy enjoys watching science fiction movies and drawing cartoons.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Read her Science Communication adventures at her blog Not Science Shy</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Capturing cancer: 3-D model of solid tumors explains cancer evolution</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Stephen Hawking Hasn't Solved the Black Hole Paradox Just Yet</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">These microscopic fish are 3-D-printed to do more than swim</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Giant Sea Scorpion Fossil Discovered</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Life after Pluto: New Horizons to head for Kuiper belt boulder</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Oliver Sacks</span></li> <li><span style="font-size: 10pt;">Researchers use DNA 'clews' to shuttle CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing tool into cells</span></li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The Jackass of the Week</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Our Jackass of the Week is <strong>Governor Bobby Jindal </strong>of Louisiana.<strong> </strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">It has been ten years since the flooding of Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. The storm made landfall in southeast Louisiana as a category 3 hurricane. And although there have been many stronger storms to strike the Gulf Coast states Katrina exposed decades of neglect of the infrastructure. Levees failed and people died, over 1,200 people. Katrina also exposed the incompetence of a Presidential administration who was more interested in appointing unqualified cronies to emergency management jobs than serving the people of the United States when they most needed their help.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Ten years later and it’s been a week of cable news retrospectives and analysis. In the Big Easy it was a week of remembrances and mourning.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In a letter to President Obama on 26 August, Governor Bobby Jindal wrote, “This week is a time to mourn the loss of loved ones and the passing of a period in our history. It is also a time to celebrate those whose future has become brighter in the storm’s terrible wake.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">There is a time and a place for politics, but this is not it.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">It is therefore with disappointment that I read of the White House’s plans to make this visit part of a tour for your climate change agenda. Although I understand that your emphasis in New Orleans will – rightly – be on economic development, the temptation to stray into climate change politics should be resisted.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">While you and others may be of the opinion that we can legislate away hurricanes with higher taxes, business regulations and EPA power grabs, that is not a view shared by many Louisianians.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">I would ask you to respect this important time of remembrance by not inserting the divisive political agenda of liberal environmental activism.”</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Oh, where to start.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">First, climate science is not politics.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">It was politics that left Louisiana defenseless against a category 3 hurricane. If it wasn’t for the all-too-human failure to have basic preparation in place then the name Katrina would only be associated with walking on sunshine.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">But that’s not climate science. That’s politics.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">You know what else is political?</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Doing nothing about climate change when the world’s climate scientists are doing everything in their power to warn us. We’ve been shown the evidence over and over again. Anthropogenic global warming is real. It is happening now, and our children are going to pay dearly for our inaction.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Climate science is not politics. It is science. What we do or don’t do about it is politics.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Telling the President to shut up about science?</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Bobby Jindal, you aren’t fooling our listeners here at Blue Streak. You’re running for President in a crowded field for the GOP nomination. And as such you need to appeal to the Republican voters who have become fodder for your party’s elite. If you can get those mouth-breathers who listen to Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage on your side then perhaps those deep-pocketed GOP donors may take notice and begin writing checks. And what better way to do that than to take an anti-science stance and admonish the President. Red meat for the low-information voters you need for the GOP nomination.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">So, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, for taking a cynical and anti-science position on climate change you are the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Episode Title</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><em><strong>The Completion Backward Principle</strong></em> is the sixth studio album from the rock group <a title="The Tubes" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Tubes" target="_blank">The Tubes</a>.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This was The Tubes' first album for Capitol/EMI and paired the band with producer and songwriter, David Foster in search of a more commercial sound. Many of their A&M albums had been very strong but failed to ignite the charts or build much fan interest beyond their rabid cult. The Completion Backward Principle changed all that with "Talk To Ya Later" (an AOR radio smash) and the chart success of the single "Don't Want To Wait Anymore."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">A favorite of many Tubes fans, this is a unique album in their catalog in that it married their quirky songwriting and stage persona with a commercial appeal that would be emphasized more heavily on their next project. The breakout that the band had been searching for with their backs to the wall had finally arrived.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Sources:<br /><a href="http://www.iconoclassicrecords.com/catalogue/tubes/completion.html" target="_blank">Iconoclassic Records</a><br /><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Completion_Backward_Principle" target="_blank">Wikipedia</a></p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The hashtag <strong>#scienceamoviequote</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The origin of the hashtag dates back to a November 2014 tweet by neuroscientist Ben Saunders.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><span class="name" data-wfid="62b27326a3c4">It is the beautiful combination of hard truths of science delivered through famous movie lines (twitter really has become the perfect outlet for hilarious and wry commentary of science truths)</span></p> <div class="wpview-wrap" style="width: 1395.86px; position: relative; clear: both; -webkit-user-select: none; margin-bottom: 16px; border: 1px solid transparent; color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;" data-wpview-text="https%3A%2F%2Ftwitter.com%2Fsciliz%2Fstatus%2F636964673125019648" data-wpview-type="embedURL"> <div class="wpview-body" style="-webkit-user-select: none;"> <div class="wpview-content wpview-type-embedURL" style="-webkit-user-select: none;"><strong>Tribute</strong></div> </div> </div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><strong>Oliver Sacks</strong></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Oliver Sacks, the renowned neurologist and author of over a dozen books including <em>The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat</em>, died of metastatic uveal melanoma in New York on 30 August. He was 82.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">His most famous book, <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awakenings_(book)"><em>Awakenings</em></a>, published in 1973 was a memoir on his experiences using the new drug <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levodopa">l-dopa</a> on <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encephalitis">post-encephalitic</a> patients who survived the encephalitis epidemic of 1917 to 1928, but remained in a persistent catatonic state .</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/31/science/oliver-sacks-dies-at-82-neurologist-and-author-explored-the-brains-quirks.html?_r=0">The New York Times</a> writes:</p> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><dl id="attachment_1395" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 272px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt" style="-webkit-user-drag: none;"><a style="-webkit-user-drag: none;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Oliversacks.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1395" style="height: auto; max-width: 100%; display: block; -webkit-user-drag: none;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Oliversacks-262x350.jpg" alt="Oliver Sacks" width="262" height="350" /></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 14px; padding-top: 0.5em; margin: 0px; -webkit-user-drag: none;">Oliver Sacks</dd></dl></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">"As a medical doctor and a writer, Dr. Sacks achieved a level of popular renown rare among scientists. More than a million copies of his books are in print in the United States, his work was adapted for film and stage, and he received about 10,000 letters a year.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">"Dr. Sacks variously described his books and essays as case histories, pathographies, clinical tales or 'neurological novels.' His subjects included Madeleine J., a blind woman who perceived her hands only as useless 'lumps of dough'; Jimmie G., a submarine radio operator whose amnesia stranded him for more than three decades in 1945; and Dr. P. — the man who mistook his wife for a hat — whose brain lost the ability to decipher what his eyes were seeing."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Dr. Sacks treated his patients with dignity. To him they weren’t merely just patients with neurological deficits. Each one was a human being with a life, rich in experience and memories, stories of love, of triumphs and tragedies.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In February Dr. Sacks announced in the New York Times that the melanoma in his eye had spread to his liver and that he only had months to live.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">"It is up to me now to choose how to live out the months that remain to me. I have to live in the richest, deepest, most productive way I can,"</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">And, in an opinion piece published in the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/16/opinion/sunday/oliver-sacks-sabbath.html?smid=tw-nytimes">Times</a> earlier this month, Sacks wrote:</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">"[N]ow, weak, short of breath, my once-firm muscles melted away by cancer, I find my thoughts, increasingly, not on the supernatural or spiritual, but on what is meant by living a good and worthwhile life — achieving a sense of peace within oneself. I find my thoughts drifting to the Sabbath, the day of rest, the seventh day of the week, and perhaps the seventh day of one's life as well, when one can feel that one's work is done, and one may, in good conscience, rest."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; and Santa Rosa, California.</p>
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Interview with Dr. Sarah Moffitt of the Bodega Marine Lab
<h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Interview with Sarah Moffitt of the Bodega Marine Lab</h3> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><dl id="attachment_1368" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 360px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt" style="-webkit-user-drag: none;"><a style="-webkit-user-drag: none;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/sarahmoffitt.jpeg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1368" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; -webkit-user-drag: none;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/sarahmoffitt-350x350.jpeg" alt="Dr. Sarah E. Moffitt" width="350" height="350" /></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px; padding: 0px 4px 5px; margin: 0px; -webkit-user-drag: none;">Dr. Sarah E. Moffitt</dd></dl></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Sarah Moffitt is an ocean and climate scientist with the University of California at Davis’ <a href="http://bml.ucdavis.edu/" target="_blank">Bodega Marine Lab</a> in Bodega Bay, California. Dr. Moffitt is an expert in the marine ecological consequences of abrupt climate warming. She received her doctoral training in paleoceanography, climate change, geochemistry and marine ecology from the University of California at Davis. Dr. Moffitt is interested in using past events to understand modern anthropogenic climate change.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">We talk about how scientists study the global climate and how they build robust theories on how and why the planet warms. We then move to Dr. Moffitt's research in paleoceanography and marine ecosystems in the context of abrupt warming.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">For a full list of her publications you can visit her website at <a href="http://www.sarahmoffitt.com">sarahmoffitt.com</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><a href="http://bml.ucdavis.edu/" target="_blank">Bodega Marine Lab</a></p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li><a href="http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/08/150824110556.htm" target="_blank">Major advance toward more effective, long-lasting flu vaccine</a>!</li> <li><a href="http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-08/bc-cft082015.php" target="_blank">Chimpanzees found to survive in degraded and human-dominated habitats</a></li> <li><a href="https://www.sciencenews.org/article/vomiting-device-sounds-gross-it-helps-study-infections" target="_blank">Vomiting device sounds gross but it helps study infections</a></li> </ul> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> </p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The A------ of the Week</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Our A------ of the Week is President Barack Obama.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The Obama Administration has given final approval for Shell Oil Company to drill in the Chukchi Sea. Say it ain’t so!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This comes just two weeks after the release of the Clean Power Plan, a strong plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions. The President is also going to visit Alaska later this month to highlight the impacts of climate change, which he recently referred to as "one of the greatest challenges we face this century."</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">And now this. I don’t get it.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The United States is more self-reliant on energy now than it has been for many decades. The price of oil is bottoming out. There is a glut of oil on the world market. What is the impetus to drill in the Arctic?</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Again, I don’t get it.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Hillary Clinton said in response, “The Arctic is a unique treasure. Given what we know, it’s not worth the risk of drilling.”</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Exactly, it’s just not worth the risk.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">President Obama, your record on protecting our natural heritage has been the greatest in the history of the United States. But like the Arctic itself, it can all be spoiled with a bad decision...just one bad decision.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">So, for putting the once pristine Arctic at risk for no good reason at all, President Obama you are the Blue Streak Science A------ of the Week.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The <a href="http://www.maximumfun.org/shows/can-i-pet-your-dog">Can I Pet Your Dog Podcast</a>!<br />Twitter: @CIPYDPodcast<br /><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/can-i-pet-your-dog/id1014752742?mt=2" target="_blank">iTunes</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Every Tuesday, dog owner Allegra Ringo, dog wanter Renee Colvert, and producer Travis McElroy talk to guests about their dogs, discuss dogs they met this week, and brief you on dogs news. They go on assignment to dog events and report back with what you need to know. If there's a dog, they're gonna pet it!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Seattle, Washington; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p>
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Never Mind the Bollocks
<h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="2cf42f848f16">Australia’s emissions target panned both home and away (boo!)</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="f0f3217dd400">Scientists protest Scotland’s ban of GM crops</span></li> <li><img class="alignright wp-image-1342 size-medium" style="float: right;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/What-me-worry-.-350x233.png" alt="What, me worry-." width="350" height="233" />Retinal changes may serve as measures of brain pathology in schizophrenia</li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="9f34c0b6be00">Octopus genome reveals secrets to complex intelligence</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="7865874391e9">Matter and antimatter are mirror images</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="7fe48409550d">Do bears freak out when they see a UFO?</span></li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The Jackass of the Week</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In the United States there is a war going on. This time it’s the war against science.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">It’s no secret that among American conservatives scientific illiteracy has become a source a pride. When faced with science that runs contrary to their cherished views the default position is belligerent denial. From former Senator Todd Akins’ infamous “legitimate rape” statement to virtually anything pumped out by the Heritage Foundation, conservatives have turned the anti-science position from a liability to a winning political strategy.[read more]</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">When you think of a typical science denier, who comes to mind? For me, it’s a conservative who toes the party line on anthropogenic global warming. But the greatest distance between science and the general public is actually over one of the far left’s favorite causes, genetically modified organisms, GMOs.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Last January a survey was released by Pew Research that showed 88% of AAAS scientists, think that GMO food is safe to eat, but only 37% of the public agrees with that.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Let’s look at a few other places where the extreme left have checked their brains at the door and put on the tin foil hat. I mentioned anti-GMO. There’s also the infamous anti-vaccine crusade, acupuncture, biodynamic agriculture, even most organic agriculture, and homeopathy.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">One very broad form of science denialism embraced by many in the far left is “chemophobia”. Think The Food Babe. But this chemophobia can have deadly consequences for its adherents.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Ariane Forster, better know as Ari Up, of the influential punk band The Slits died in 2010 from breast cancer. According to her stepfather, John Lydon, who himself fronted Sex Pistols. Yes, her stepfather was Johnny Rotten. Lydon told Sky News, “Ariane didn’t need to die. She knew she had cancer and she deliberately ignored it and went for lunatic left-wing crackpot theories. And that will kill you stone dead every single time.” </p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">There are countless more examples where innocent, but scientifically illiterate people have suffered terribly and died needlessly because they eschewed the science and instead opted for what some celebrity or website told them. They did their research on the Internet.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Is there a progressive war on science? No, not really, insofar the anti-science sentiments on the left are disorganized and have little influence on public policy like it does among conservatives.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Climate science denial carries great weight in national Republican politics as evidenced by its prominence in the GOP platform. No equivalent anti-science stance exists in the national Democratic platform.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">But don’t be fooled. Science denialism and willful ignorance are alive and well on the liberal side. It’s up to us to go where the science leads us, wherever it lead us./read]</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Today the Blue Streak Science Jackass of the Week, another collective JOTW, are the anti-science moonbats of the political left, wherever you may be.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/never-mind-bollocks-heres/id266317242" target="_blank">"Never Mind the Bollocks"</a> by the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_Pistols" target="_blank">Sex Pistols</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The Story Worthy Podcast at <a href="http://www.storyworthypodcast.com">www.storyworthypodcast.com</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Please visit <a href="http://www.biodetectives.co.uk/" target="_blank">BioDetectives</a> as they track life science stories from Down Under to Up North.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p>
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Frogs and Surfers
<h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="1aebec3230e3">Ebola survivors face difficult road ahead</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="5bcda6ce19c5">The tree of life expanding</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="8871b70527af">Charting the slow death of the universe</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="2b4433fc4a2f">First known venomous frogs discovered</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="68d2810cd7fe">Coca-cola assures us coca-cola isn't bad for us</span></li> <li><span class="name" data-wfid="1a1d57f616e3">Making a mouse brain more primate-like</span></li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The A------- of the Week are the surfers of Byron Bay, New South Wales</h3> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Please visit <a href="http://www.biodetectives.co.uk" target="_blank">BioDetectives</a> as they track life science stories from Down Under to Up North.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">See you again next week!</p>
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Be Silent No More!
<p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">I just read a piece by John D. Sutter on CNN’s website titled, “Woodward County, Oklahoma: Why do so many here doubt climate change?” This county has among the highest rates of those who do not accept climate change as real.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">From his conversations in Woodward County Mr. Sutter assumed that between 70-90% of residents believed climate change is a myth. Most of the residents of the county believed that number, too...that the great majority of their neighbors just don’t buy into the idea that climate change is happening.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The reality on the ground is that according to Yale research only 30% of people there think climate change is bogus. But because the anti-science voices tend to be the loudest, the average person, the majority, stay silent. When you remain silent you give the impression of agreement, of complicity. And nationally, only 18% of people refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">What we have here is a tin-foil hat wearing, conspiracy-believing minority...a small minority. A radical fringe. Like anti-vaxxers.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><em>You </em>are the majority. <em>You</em> understand how science works and <em>you </em>understand the consequences of doing nothing.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">So it’s time to talk about climate change around the dinner table. Take the initiative. You are surrounded by others who will be inspired by your courage to take on the tin foil hat brigade. <em>You</em> can raise your voice. <em>You</em> can shout down that crazy uncle of yours. Silence is no longer an option. <em>You</em> have science.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Now go out there, tiger and go get ‘em!</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li>Bonobo baby talk</li> <li>California 'rain debt' equal to average full year of precipitation</li> <li>How do you vaccinate a baby bee?</li> <li>What doesn't kill you makes you stronger...and our sweet tooth is making us puny!</li> <li>A new Ebola vaccine offers 100% protection in an African trial</li> <li>Ear implants might be effective to relieve vertigo</li> <li>Potential facial recognition abilities identified in dogs</li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The Jackass of the Week is Ted Nugent</h3> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Thomas Arnold @_ThomasArnold</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Please visit <a href="http://www.biodetectives.co.uk" target="_blank">BioDetectives</a> as they track life science stories from Down Under to Up North.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">See you again next week!</p>
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Climate Science with Greg Laden
<p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Recently NASA announced the discovery, for the first time, of an Earth-like planet orbiting a star like our own Sun 1,400 light years distant. The planet is a bit larger and older than earth, and it occupies the “habitable zone”, where conditions are optimal to make life a possibility.</p> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><dl id="attachment_1305" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 410px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt" style="-webkit-user-drag: none;"><a style="-webkit-user-drag: none;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Kepler-452b_System400x282.jpeg"><img class="size-full wp-image-1305" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; -webkit-user-drag: none;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/Kepler-452b_System400x282.jpeg" alt="Kepler 452b system" width="400" height="282" /></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px; padding: 0px 4px 5px; margin: 0px; -webkit-user-drag: none;">Kepler 452b system</dd></dl></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Right now I’m sure that spectral analysis is being conducted to see if this planet has an oxygen-rich atmosphere, a strong indicator of life. Moreover, I’d bet good money that radio telescopes are being pointed toward Kepler 452b in hopes that maybe, just maybe there’s an intelligent species there who are using radio signals for communication.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Perhaps these creatures are like us in many ways...just a little more than a century from the discovery of broadcast radio and now maybe they’re enjoying technologies similar to our satellites, Internet, and smartphones. Perhaps they’ve sent astronauts to their moon or nearby planets, and have a space probe that has recently made a flyby to their outermost planet, even arguing about whether it’s a real planet or not. And perhaps, just perhaps, they’re analyzing data from one of their space telescopes and have just announced the discovery of planet similar to their own, only smaller, a bit younger, and 1,400 light years distant.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In other words, they’re looking right back at us.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Right now their scientists are pointing radio telescopes to listen for radio signals to determine if a civilization exists on Earth. What’ll they hear? Crickets. And what will we hear when we listen to them? Space crickets.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Those radio signals, even if we both have the technology to hear them, won’t reach our respective planets for almost 1,300 years. We could be staring right at each other and never know it.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Mind blown.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li>Small oxygen jump helped enable early animals take first breaths</li> <li>Biomarkers higher in binge drinkers</li> <li>Smart mirrors</li> <li>Chemists start website pointing out substances that ruin experiments</li> <li>Veteran genome project serves as early test bed for customized care</li> <li>Antibody to fight MERS found</li> <li>An asteroid didn't wipe out the Ichthyosaurs - so what did?</li> <li>Scientists have developed an eye drop that can dissolve cataracts</li> </ul> <h2 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Featured Interview: <a href="http://www.gregladen.com" target="_blank">Greg Laden</a></h2> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/gregladen400x548.jpeg"><img class="alignright wp-image-1301 size-medium" style="float: right;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/gregladen400x548-255x350.jpeg" alt="gregladen400x548" width="255" height="350" /></a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Greg Laden was born in Albany, New York and subsequently lived in the Boston area and Milwaukee and spent a total of several years in Zaire (now Congo) and South Africa. He now lives in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Greg is trained as an archaeologist and biological anthropologist, has taught at Harvard University, Boston University, the University of Minnesota and elsewhere. He writes about climate science, human evolution, science education, and politics at <a href="http://www.scienceblogs.com/gregladen" target="_blank">Greg Laden's Blog</a> on National Geographic's Science Blog network and elsewhere, and maintains a website at www.gregladen.com</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Last week the discussion paper by James Hansen,  <a href="http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/15/20059/2015/acpd-15-20059-2015.pdf" target="_blank">"Ice melt, sea level rise and superstorms..."</a> was published to the Internet. Greg shares his expertise to help us interpret this complex and critically important paper.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The A------ of the Week is Oliver Darcy of The Blaze</h3> <h4 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h4> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Please visit <a href="http://www.biodetectives.co.uk" target="_blank">BioDetectives</a> as they track life science stories from Down Under to Up North.</p> <h4 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Closing</h4> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">See you again next week!</p>
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The Blue Streak Bucket List
<p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The desire, the yearning for answers lies within each of us. The discomfort of not knowing the answers can lead us down many paths of beliefs and behaviors.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Our discomfort at not knowing everything immediately has given us 24 hour cable news, and smartphones never outside of our reach. It’s given us our social media, news websites…one more peek at the smartphone before we drift off to sleep…only to reach for the smartphone the very moment we awake.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">When a major tragedy happens in the world this discomfort of not knowing everything about it can result in obsessive media watching. And when the news outlets have repeated ad nauseam every known detail about the tragedy, and fill in the gaps with gratuitous speculation still they continue on. Conspiracy theories, cultural bigotry, meteors, terrorist plots…no amount of speculation is too outlandish, ugly, or improbable to breathlessly blather while the ever-believing public look for answers...any answers.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">We must accept that when we don’t know, we just don’t know. Conjecture, religion, superstition and conspiracy theories may fill the void, but you must consider what you are being filled with.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Don’t get comfortable with not knowing. Scratch that itch, feed that jones, but feed it with rationality. Nourish it with science.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The answers may be a long time coming. They may never come at all.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">But the comfort that science and reason provide the curious mind will always be more satisfying and fulfilling than the emptiness of ignorance.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;"><a href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/bucketlist01.png"><img class="alignright size-medium wp-image-1293" style="float: right;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/bucketlist01-350x350.png" alt="bucketlist01" width="350" height="350" /></a>Announcement of the Blue Streak Bucket List</h3> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li>Pentaquark discovered by LHC</li> <li>Catalog of DNA modifications produces surprises</li> <li>Metal Foams Can Shield Against Gamma, X-rays?</li> <li>Enormous quantities may soon be called 'genomical'</li> <li>As Climate Warms Hawaiian Forest Birds Lose More Ground to Mosquitoes</li> <li>Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner Announce $100M Initiative to Seek ET</li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">The A$$---- of the Week is Fran Drescher</h3> <h4 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><a href="http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com/2015/07/that-time-fran-drescher-tweeted-about-gmos.html" target="_blank">That Time Fran Drescher Tweeted About GMOs</a></h4> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">We have a guest on the A$$---- of the Week!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Our guest is Amanda Zaluckyj. Amanda runs a terrific and informative website called The Farmer’s Daughter USA. You can visit the website at <a href="http://www.thefarmersdaughterusa.com">thefarmersdaughterusa.com</a></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In addition to writing for her own blog, Amanda also contributes to other websites and blogs dedicated to educating consumers about modern agriculture.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Those other blogs are: <a href="http://www.geneticliteracyproject.org/" target="_blank">Genetic Literacy Project</a>, <a href="http://www.askthefarmers.com/" target="_blank">Ask the Farmers</a>, and <a href="https://gmoanswers.com/" target="_blank">GMO Answers</a>.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Amanda and I discuss her recenter encounter with Fran Drescher, outspoken celebrity opponent of science-based agriculture.</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Shout-outs and Acknowledgments</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Please visit <a href="http://www.biodetectives.co.uk" target="_blank">BioDetectives</a> as they track life science stories from Down Under to Up North.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The Squirrel Census is expanding. We're seeking Squirrel Census Ambassadors at colleges across the eastern United States. Ambassadors will:</p> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li><span class="name">serve as a contact person/liaison between the Squirrel Census and the institution</span></li> <li><span class="name">organize squirrel counts on their college campus in October of this year</span></li> <li><span class="name">probably do other cool stuff</span></li> </ul> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><span class="name">It's not a paying position, but "Squirrel Census Ambassador" certainly looks good on a resume and is a guaranteed conversation starter. No experience counting squirrels necessary, but a strong curiosity about life and a desire to be a positive member of your college community are required. Email <a href="mailto:ambassadors@squirrelcensus.com">ambassadors@squirrelcensus.com</a> if interested.</span></p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This episode of Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Atlanta, Georgia; and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">See you again next week!</p>
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Citizen Science
<p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Citizen Science. Sounds good, but what is it?</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Citizen science happens when a member of the general public, a person who is not a professional scientist, collects or analyzes data relating to the natural world, and most importantly shares it with the science community and the public. There are so many ways each of us can participate.</p> <div class="mceTemp" style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"><dl id="attachment_1197" class="wp-caption alignright" style="width: 360px;"><dt class="wp-caption-dt" style="-webkit-user-drag: none;"><a style="-webkit-user-drag: none;" href="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/birders.jpg"><img class="size-medium wp-image-1197" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px none; -webkit-user-drag: none;" src="http://www.bluestreakscience.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/birders-350x233.jpg" alt="Citizen Scientists" width="350" height="233" /></a></dt><dd class="wp-caption-dd" style="font-size: 11px; line-height: 17px; padding: 0px 4px 5px; margin: 0px; -webkit-user-drag: none;">Citizen Scientists</dd></dl></div> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Possibly the largest and oldest example of a citizen science project is the Christmas Bird Count administered by the National Audubon Society in North America. It has been held since 1900 and now has over 50,000 citizen scientists making observations. The purpose of the bird count is to provide population data for use in conservation biology.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">You amateur astronomers are amazing! New comets are being discovered all the time, stars even. Those mysterious plumes seen rising from Mars last February probably would have been missed completely if it weren't for amateur stargazers.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In episode nine of the podcast, that’s next week, Blue Streak Science is going to start its own citizen science project in which you, our dear listeners and blog readers, can participate. It’s going to be all about observation, participation, and sharing.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">In the meantime...clean lenses and quick focusing. You won’t want to miss anything!</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Blue Streak Science News</h3> <ul style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;"> <li>Man with 90-minute memory</li> <li>World will enter Mini Ice Age by 2030?</li> <li>Under the sea: from baby lobsters to ancient volcanoes</li> <li>Forget The Matrix, now we're talking about The Mesh!</li> <li>Mobile phones used by medical staff may spread infection</li> <li>Sex divide seen in mechanism that produces persistent pain</li> <li>Resistance to antibiotics found in isolated Amazonian tribe</li> </ul> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Asshole of the Week</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Marilyn Bodnar, A Sydney naturopath allegedly told a mother to stop medicating her eight-month-old baby</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Naturopathy: a system of alternative medicine based on the theory that diseases can be successfully treated or prevented without the use of drugs, by techniques such as control of diet, exercise, and massage</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Sounds benign enough. However, when naturopathy is put in place of science-based medicine the results are often harmful, even deadly. The baby boy lost more than a kilogram and was near death.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">New South Wales police arrested Bodnar, a 59 year old registered nurse and midwife, and are investigating her Leppington practice over her treatment of children.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The mother was seeking alternative healthcare for her baby boy who was suffering from eczema. Bodnar advised the mother to cease all of the baby’s medical treatment. The child was admitted to hospital in May and was near death from malnutrition and now has developmental issues. The boy was released from hospital 8 July.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Child Abuse Squad detectives arrested Bodnar on 9July in Leppington and have charged her with reckless grievous bodily harm in the second degree, and aiding and abetting failing to provide for a child causing danger of death. The mother is also facing the same charges.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">A statement from NSW Health stated that naturopaths are unregistered health practitioners and are subject to a code of conduct under the Public Health Act and Regulation. They are required to provide services in a safe and ethical manner, and not to attempt to dissuade clients from seeking or continuing with treatment by a registered medical practitioner.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">This is another example of how an adult's scientific illiteracy can be deadly. In this example, it is a child..a baby...that has suffered so grievously.</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">Marilyn Bodnar, you are the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week</p> <h3 style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif;">Closing</h3> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia, and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p style="color: #333333; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', 'Bitstream Charter', Times, serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 24px;">See you again next week!</p>
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006: Implausible Denial
<p>Science denial. It’s nothing new. Pope Urban VIII imprisoned Galileo out of anger and fear; a denial of the truth. Two and a half centuries later Charles Darwin publishes The Origin of Species and the fundamentalist shit hits the biblical fan. One-hundred fifty years later there are still those who deny the scientifically undisputed fact of biological evolution.</p> <p>There are many other examples, but let me get to the big one.</p> <p>Climate change.</p> <p>That seems to be the denial du jour.  In the face of a near unanimous worldwide consensus among climate scientists the denialists are stalwart. Hands over ears and screaming la-la-la-la-la.</p> <p>And that leads me to what all of these instances of science denial have in common. A challenge to a strongly held belief, or worldview. These beliefs were once the only way of coming to terms with nature and the universe. But then science came along and ruined everything.</p> <p>As a valid way of looking at nature these beliefs are dead. They have ceased to be! Bereft of life, they rest in peace.</p> <p>And what happens when someone or something dear to you dies. You mourn it. It’s a natural human reaction. We then go through the five stages of grief until we come to terms with the new reality. What’s the first stage of grief? Yep, denial. “No, no, my mother didn’t just run off to Tahiti with the postman!” No. We reject the idea. We find alternatives. “Oh, she’s at the grocery store…she’s been gored by a bull in Pamplona”. Anything other than the unacceptable truth.</p> <p>See the parallel?</p> <p>The global warming denialists are going ape-shit. They can’t accept the truth. So they are coming up with crazy, insane ideas like, “ooh, it’s a big conspiracy by lefty climate scientists all over the world to destroy America,” or “Al Gore is a commie pinko and this is an evil plot to take away our freedom...and our guns!” Anything but the reality that upsets their long-held belief.</p> <p>But just like someone who is mourning the death of a loved one, they know. They know deep inside that they have to face a new reality. It’s too painful, so no justification is too insane for them to grasp on to.</p> <p>Then they’ll vacillate between anger and denial for a while before moving on to bargaining. “If only I hadn’t put the recyclables into the trash," or “If only I had listened to the Blue Streak Science Podcast and sent them lots of money, the polar bears would be saved!”</p> <p>When the climate denialists see the futility of bargaining they will get depressed. Who the hell wouldn’t?</p> <p>In a journal article this week a group of scientists warned that because of global warming, sea levels will rise so much that parts of Florida will be under water. The bad news? Parts of Florida won't be under water.</p> <p>As all of us know who’ve ever experienced a tragedy or major setback in life there comes a point of acceptance.</p> <p>Don’t expect the deniers to join Greenpeace, buy a Prius, or even sort their recycling. Acceptance of an inconvenient truth is often a quiet and personal realization.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Mmmm...split bee soup!</li> <li>Dental pulp cell transplants help regenerate peripheral nerves</li> <li>Sailing spiders</li> <li>Shearwaters find their way home by scent</li> <li>Spit test could provide early warning of head, neck cancers</li> <li>Cuba named 1st country to end mother-to-child HIV transmission</li> <li>Lion facial recognition debuts in Africa</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Asshole</strong> <strong>of the Week</strong></h2> <p>Canadian-American actor and comedian and one of the most popular comic actors today is the recipient of Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week award.</p> <p>I first noticed Jim Carrey in the 1988 film "Earth Girls Are Easy" in which he and Damon Wayans had relatively minor roles.</p> <p>Jim Carrey's resume includes:</p> <ul> <li>Sketch comedy show In Living Color (1990) in which he rejoined Damon Wayans along with the Wayans family</li> <li>Ace Ventura series of films</li> <li>The Mask (1994)</li> <li>He played the Riddler in Batman Forever (1995)</li> <li>The Truman Show (1998)</li> </ul> <p>Mr. Carrey was in a relationship with the infamous anti-science, anti-vaccination celebrity Jenny McCarthy from 2006 until 2010.</p> <p>Celebrities like Jim Carrey often use their visibility and high profile to push their causes. Right or wrong, they have influence on legions of fans.</p> <p>In response to epidemics of measles and whooping cough the California state assembly put together a bill that makes vaccinations mandatory for all school children, public and private. The "personal belief" exemption was eliminated.</p> <p>Last week Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, and Jim Carrey has taken Twitter to vent his anger regarding these new protections for California's children, uninformed as it may be.</p> <p>The star of the Dumb and Dumber films has been a vocal opponent of vaccinations since his relationship with Jenny McCarthy. In spite of overwhelming scientific evidence against it Carrey and McCarthy believe her son developed autism from vaccinations.</p> <p>On 30 June Carrey proved that he's still talking out of his ass when he wrote on Twitter:</p> <p>"California Gov says yes to poisoning more children with mercury and aluminum in manditory [sic] vaccines. This corporate fascist must be stopped." He followed up with "they say mercury in fish is dangerous but forcing all of our children to be injected with mercury in thimerosol [sic] is no risk. Make sense?"</p> <p>Firstly, according to the Centers for Disease Control: Since 2001, no new vaccine licensed by FDA for use in children has contained thimerosal as a preservative.</p> <p>Exercising an abundance of caution, the FDA eliminated Thimerosal as a vaccine preservative based on methylmercury studies. However, upon injection Thimerosal is metabolized into ethylmercury. It has since been found that ethylmercury is eliminated from the body and the brain significantly faster than methylmercury, so the late-1990s risk assessments turned out to be overly cautious.</p> <p>These are biochemical details that seem lost on the anti-science celebrities and those who give credence to what they have to say. Unfortunately, there's no vaccine for stupidity.</p> <p>Carrey's Twitter invective continued and we finally got to the real motivation behind it. In one of the tweets Mr. Carrey promoted a 2014 anti-vaccination movie, which will remain unnamed. It seems the producers of the film have taken advantage of the publicity surrounding the signing of the vaccination law to do some promotion. They've targeted celebrities like Jim Carrey who were more than willing to go along with it.</p> <p>Let's say you're a comic actor and a celebrity whose best years are behind you. You desperately want to stay relevant. So you reprise a film role from more than 20 years ago. You keep yourself in the public eye by going on social media diatribes with an anti-science rant.</p> <p>No more Golden Globes.  An Oscar? You can forget about that now.</p> <p>Let me show ya somethin', Jim Carrey. Here is an award you can place on your mantle. For you've won the yet-to-be designed statuette for being the Blue Streak Science Asshole of the Week!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>From the Blogosphere</strong></h2> <p><strong>Sophie:</strong> We have an up-and-coming writer called Ivy Shih, a virology Ph.D. student here in Sydney, and should see a post we wrote get published on Amphibians.org later this month! We've begun writing again after a busy few weeks, so watch this space!</p> <p>So, look up <a href= "http://www.amphibians.org">amphibians.org</a> and <a href= "http://www.biodetectives.co.uk">biodetectives.co.uk</a></p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Shout Out!</strong></h2> <p>Liberated Syndication is the media host for Blue Streak Science. Their point person is Elsie Escobar whose official title is Podcast happiness expert. She is the voice and the face of Libsyn. If you are making contact with Libsyn then you're probably communicating with Elsie. They are the largest podcast network on the planet, hosting and publishing podcasts since 2004.</p> <p>Very reasonable pricing starting at $5 per month. Always fast, thorough and friendly.</p> <p>There are many aspects and details to podcasting. One that I never worry about is the media hosting on Libsyn. It just works. Period.</p> <p>Also, check out their podcast called <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/feed-official-libsyn-podcast/id668413144?mt=2"> The Feed</a>, hosted by Elsie Escobar and Rob Walch. It's my favorite podcast about podcasting. The Feed is on iTunes. If you're thinking about starting your own podcast, then Libsyn is the place to start.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> Spotify</a> and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>That website is at bluestreakscience.com</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Sophie McManus, Kellie Vinal, and JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>This week's Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia, and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p>Thank you for joining us.</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
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005: Free Education
<p>From kindergarten through 12th grade every child in the United States has the right to attend school free of charge. But should we have a right to a college education?</p> <p>I assert that every child and every person has the right to higher education.</p> <p>This year President Obama proposed to make community college free for many students. But even this small, incremental step toward free education has virtually no chance in the harsh reality of a do-nothing Congress. Still, I do believe that opening the topic for discussion is beneficial. After all, we will one day return to having a Congress who puts the interests of the people first. It will happen.</p> <p>Why would we even want to foot the bill for higher education? It’s expensive and what benefit would it confer on the betterment of American society?</p> <p>Per capita income rises sharply in regions that have a higher rate of college graduates. This means better and higher paying jobs, higher property values, lower crime, lower rates of incarceration and the associated expenses of that, and more taxes paid to local government. In other words, greater wealth for both the individual and for the state in which they live.</p> <p>Also, those with a college education often become lifetime learners, willing and eager to keep up with the latest training in their fields, and much more able to pivot to another career in a rapidly changing world economy.</p> <p>It’s a highly competitive world out there, and the overall benefit of free college is a citizenry who are more competitive with other nations.</p> <p>There are hundreds of thousands of American high school students with so much untapped potential, the potential to make their lives and our country a better place. They are unable to continue on to a college or university because they and their families cannot afford the prohibitive costs, or take on the crippling debt. These students will likely never reach their full potential.</p> <p>But we can change all that.</p> <p>Ah, but the cost.</p> <p>Beyond the states and nation as a whole, and the individual student, who benefits the most from an educated citizenry? Who stands to profit the most?</p> <p>Large Corporations.</p> <p>Large corporations often gain a financial benefit off the backs of students and their families. It’s time they pay their fair share and they must play a substantial role in funding the higher education from which they gain so much profit.</p> <p>The federal government, the states, and large corporations can make this a success</p> <p>But until then, get out and vote! Because these progressive changes can only happen if we elect real leaders who are willing to make it happen.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Evidence in support of medical marijuana? Schwag, bro'!</li> <li>Super Earths not a good place for plate tectonics</li> <li>Chemists crowdsource new compounds to speed the fight against antibiotic resistance</li> <li>Programmed bacteria can detect tumors</li> <li>Do coral reefs have any fight left in them?</li> <li>Dutch court rules inaction over climate change is illegal</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>A***ole</strong> <strong>of the Week</strong></h2> <p>WHO IS BELLE GIBSON? Gibson is an Australian 'alternative health' 'wellness' advocate who reportedly squirreled away hundreds of thousands of dollars that she's earnt from her app and cookbook.</p> <p>So far, so celebrity food culture?</p> <p>Not quite. Belle Gibson has for years claimed to have brain cancer that she 'self-treated' with such gold as 'the power of fruits and vegetables', colonic irrigation etc, eschewing traditional cancer treatments.</p> <p>She also claimed she had two heart operations, that her heart had stopped on the operating table, and she had had cancer of the blood, uterus and spleen.</p> <p>Around March/April this year it became apparent that this was complete and utter bull*%#t only AFTER it was revealed she had failed to donate 25% of her profits to charity. She reportedly kept all of the cash to fund a lavish lifestyle.</p> <p>Speaking of cash, Gibson made a fortune - some estimates put the sum around about a cool million dollars - she has made her money by flogging her 'wellness' theories to people who actually have cancer, encouraging patients to adopt her recipes and shun radiotherapy</p> <p>When her donation claims were investigated, so was her health - her publisher never fact-checked her story as they took her on good faith...</p> <p>Last year she said she had been diagnosed with a third and fourth cancer: 'One is secondary and the other is primary. I have cancer in my blood, spleen, brain, uterus, and liver. I am hurting'</p> <p>In a turnaround she now claims to have been 'misdiagnosed' and to have suffered trauma from this....(the heart bleeds). In April she said 'none of it's true' after first insisting that her brain cancer was genuine, but the other cancers were a figment.</p> <p>Cancer sufferers are angry that she received money (disputed sum?) for an interview on Australian TV show 60 minutes aired this weekend, during which she refused to apologise - she appears to be a very confused individual, but that's no excuse as she is someone who may well have damaged patients' health through peddling her twisted agenda. It seems doubtful that she should have been on TV in the first place.</p> <p>So Belle is awarded the glittering tiara of the A***ole of the Week. It seems worth noting that her publishers should surely have done some basic story checking before offering her a book deal. Shoddy work all round!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Where Have We Been?</strong></h2> <p><strong>Sophie:</strong> 'round the pub for a pint. Microbiology in a glass. Oh, and I have been busy editing our upcoming blog articles for <a href= "http://www.biodetectives.co.uk">BioDetectives</a>.</p> <p><strong>Kellie:</strong> Working hard in the lab in the name of science and the advancement of humankind.</p> <p><strong>JD:</strong> <a href= "http://www.calacademy.org">California Academy of Sciences</a>, one of the largest museums of natural history in the world, housing over 26 million specimens!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Shout Out!</strong></h2> <p>Jill Pruetz and the <a href= "http://savannachimp.blogspot.com/">Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project</a></p> <p>The following is from the Iowa State University Department of Anthropology's website:</p> <p>Dr. Jill Pruetz, Walvoord Professor of Liberal Arts and Sciences, specializing in Biological Anthropology. As a primatologist, Dr. Pruetz has studied the behavior of non-human primates such as chimpanzees, spider monkeys, howler monkeys, tamarins, patas monkeys, and vervets in various locales. Countries in which she has conducted fieldwork include Peru, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Kenya, and Senegal. She currently has a research project in southeastern Senegal which has been funded by National Geographic Society and the National Science Foundation, the aforementioned Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project.</p> <p>The goal of this ongoing project is study or conduct research on chimps in a habitat similar to that of early hominids.</p> <p>Please visit the <a href= "http://savannachimp.blogspot.com/">Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project website</a> and Dr. Jill Pruetz's <a href= "https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1p_ebHTaACo_nNbCkiaDQQ">YouTube channel</a>.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>And that concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</p> <p>If you have any suggestions or comments email us at <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</a></p> <p>You can subscribe to our show on <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> Apple Podcasts</a>, <a href= "https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> Spotify</a> and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</p> <p>This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team.</p> <p>And our hosts today were Kellie Vinal, Sophie McManus, and JD Goodwin.  </p> <p>This week's Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sydney, Australia; Atlanta, Georgia, and Sonoma County, California!</p> <p>Thank you for joining us.</p> <p>And remember...follow the science!</p>
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004: Are Children Born Scientists?
<p>We romanticize childhood in so many ways. For example, we look at our children and see little scientists. After all, they’re naturally curious and they even conduct basic experiments that help them to understand their surroundings.</p> <p>Most of us can remember our own childhoods and how the novelty of almost everything in our world fascinated us. Why is the sky blue? How deep is the ocean? Why do boats float and planes fly?</p> <p>Our childhood experiments often delved into biology. You toss the fly into the spider’s web and see what happens. The spider dashes across its web for a tasty meal. Can’t find a fly to lob into the web? You throw in a small twig and wait, but nothing happens. A few repetitions of this experiment and the child version of you is already submitting a paper to the Journal of Arachnology.</p> <p>But that’s where the similarities end.</p> <p>The real reason that children are not natural scientists is because of their unfortunate, but natural tendency to believe what adults tell them.</p> <p>But the scientific mind always reserves some doubt for what it observes. Becoming a scientist requires that we overcome our natural tendency, our childish tendency, to just believe. Kids may start off on the right track with their curiosity, but they must learn and practice some counterintuitive abstract skills before they can enjoy the benefits of a life of scientific thinking, maybe even becoming a scientist herself</p> <p>Most adults struggle with scientific thinking, but that’s not because they’ve lost any natural ability they once had. It’s because they never progressed in their education, or were never required to, or were even discouraged from learning these analytical and abstract skills that are the hallmark of the scientific mind.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>New Guest Blogger, Louise O'Regan</li> <li>Blue Streak Science News</li> <li>Asshole of the Week</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Why some Ebola strains are more dangerous than others</li> <li>Antibiotics an alternative to surgery for appendicitis</li> <li>Kangaroos are southpaws</li> <li>A smart insulin patch for diabetes</li> <li>The rise of multi-cellularity</li> <li>Facebook can recognise us even when we shield our faces! Yikes!</li> <li>The Thai delicacy that causes liver cancer</li> <li>Rodents Of Unusual Size</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>A***ole of the Week</strong></h2> <p>This story comes to us from Right Wing Watch.</p> <p>Ann Coulter, the conservative mouthpiece and author of the new anti-immigration book whose title I will not divulge, because I cannot in good conscience, promote what she does. I get queasy even mentioning her on Blue Streak. She recently voiced her disdain for both immigrants and female voters on the radio show called “Free Speech” with Gavin McInnes.</p> <p>Interesting is that McInnes himself is an immigrant from Canada</p> <p>So, McInnes brought up the topic of women voters and this prompted Coulter to share her view that “women should not have the right to vote.” She went further to state that while women should not vote, “We can still write books! We can run for office.”</p> <p>Why is a person who holds such backward views even relevant?</p> <p>The sad reason that she is still on the conservative talk circuit is because she is one of the primary voices of American conservatism, and the Republican Party.</p> <p>Ann Coulter, you are the Blue Streak Science A***ole of the Week!</p> <hr /> <h2>Where Have We Been?</h2> <p>Kellie: Nowhere scientifically notable :/ I've been cycling my legs off at the Atlanta Cycling Festival for the past week!</p> <p>JD: Nowhere! I had planned to visit the California Academy of Sciences, but I couldn't find anyone to go with me! Yes, I need to "buck up" and go alone.</p> <p>Sophie: I have been to the Blue Mountains! Narrowly avoided falling on face in mud, so it was an all-round stellar success on my part. Beautiful scenery! Did not see snakes. Failing big time on the wildlife front. Went wandering around a bit in the 'winter weather' (about 10 degrees) and ate all the food at the Winter Magic local festival. Maybe next time I will eat less and walk more..?</p> <h2>Where Are We Going?</h2> <p>JD: I plan to muster up the courage and go to the California Academy of Sciences all by myself!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Espresso Science</strong></h3> <p>I recommend a great science blog, <a class="contentLink" href="http://espressoscience.com/" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">espressoscience.com</a> - when I found this I thought it was very cool - the founder, Professor Jenny Martin, is also involved in the Big Roo Count here in Oz! A sort of citizen science biodiversity initiative: <a class="contentLink" href= "http://www.pozible.com/project/195117" target="_blank" rel= "noopener">http://www.pozible.com/project/195117</a>).</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>That’s it for this edition of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sonoma County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and Sydney, Australia!</p> <p>See you again next week!</p> <p> </p>
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003: The Distractingly Sexy Episode
<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">On the day of his inauguration in 1961 President John F. Kennedy proclaimed that the torch of American idealism had been passed to a new generation. He called on Americans of all walks of life to come together in self-sacrifice to fight tyranny, poverty, disease, and even war itself.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And growing up I thought</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">my</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">generation was going build upon those brave efforts...that</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">we</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">would be a generation to lead the world by example. We could have ridden that wave of the 1960’s...the successes of civil rights legislation, desegregation, environmentalism, gender equality, and sexual and reproductive rights.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But something happened in the 1980’s.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just as my generation began embarking on their careers our country took a hard turn to the right, to the religious right. It was the goal of Reverend Jerry Falwell and his self-anointed Moral Majority to elect right-wing Christian politicians to evangelize in the halls of Congress, the White House, and even in the Supreme Court</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And</span> <em><span style= "font-weight: 400;">boy howdy</span></em> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">did they succeed</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And so it has been for over 30 years, a new brand of conservative, standing against and sometimes rolling back the hard-won progress of American idealism. Efforts by the religious right to use public institutions to do their proselytizing came one after another. Often times it has been</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">only</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">the Constitution that has protected us from the tyranny of an American-born theocracy</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Here we are in 2015. A new generation is here.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Millennials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Born from from about 1982 to 2004, Millennials are already the largest living generation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But are they really any different from the generations that came of age during the forging of America’s alliance between politicians and the religious right?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to a Pew Research Center study released in March of 2014, the fastest growing religious cohort in America are those who check the box for “no religious affiliation”. These numbers have been rising steadily since the 1990’s, when they were in the single digits, to the present 23 percent of adults of all ages with no religious affiliation. Also, there’s been a 7% jump just since 2007. And here come our Millennials. Fully 34 percent put themselves in the “none of the above” category when it comes to religion.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Pew study also found that they’re the best-educated segment of young adults in American history, and 49% of millennials think America’s best years are ahead of it. They are much more optimistic that my generation has ever been.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That’s amazing to me since we’ve passed on to them a world choking on the excesses of our unbridled consumerism, stripping and polluting the world for short-term gains</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Better educated, more optimistic, embracing science and shunning superstitions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now more than ever, and</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">because of them</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">I share their optimism for the future, to see the world and universe as it really is, not as they hope it will be or how some Bronze Age text tells them it is. I admire the Millennials' willingness to make the changes and the sacrifices we and previous generations refused to make. So that</span> <em><span style="font-weight: 400;">they</span></em> <span style="font-weight: 400;">can proudly pass the torch of American idealism to the next generation along with a world that is healthier than the one they inherited.</span>  </p> <h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Millennials</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Blue Streak Science News</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">A***ole of the Week</span></li> </ul> <h2><strong>Science News with Sophie McManus and Kellie Vinal</strong></h2> <ul> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">A rat forelimb has been grown in the lab! Lovely!</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Poor sleep associated with cardiovascular risk</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Philae wakes up to discover it's on a comet hurtling toward the sun!</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Greater Farallones Marine Sanctuary is created</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Genetic mutation found to block prion disease in tribe that once practiced ritual cannibalism</span></li> <li style="font-weight: 400;"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">Hepatitis E vaccine shows strong coverage</span></li> </ul> <p> </p> <h2><strong>A***ole of the Week</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sir Tim Hunt,</span> <span style="font-weight: 400;">is a British biochemist who was awarded the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for the discovery of protein molecules that control the division of cells.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Let me tell you about my trouble with girls. Three things happen when they are in the lab: you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticise them they cry."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Those are the words of Sir Tim Hunt to the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Why do we even give a crap about Tim Hunt?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Tim Hunt received the Nobel Prize in 2001 for his discoveries in cell division</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But we’re not going to talk about that now, because Tim Hunt has stepped in some deep shit</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I’m sure he’s backed off his statement...maybe he had just finished binge-watching Mad Men or just momentarily thinking of himself as the Hugh Hefner of Nobel laureates</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nope!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It looks like Timmy has doubled down instead.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sure he told BBC Radio 4 that he apologizes for any offense that was taken, but he said he had "meant to be honest".</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">It’s the classic “I’m sorry you’re offended” apology seemingly purloined directly from the playbook of conservative American politicians after they give their expert opinions on female anatomy and reproduction.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He has stated that the remarks were "intended as a light-hearted, ironic comment" but had been "interpreted deadly seriously by my audience".</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I did mean the part about having trouble with girls," he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He continues, "It is true that people - I have fallen in love with people in the lab and people in the lab have fallen in love with me and it's very disruptive to the science because it's terribly important that in a lab people are on a level playing field.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I found that these emotional entanglements made life very difficult.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Putting aside the content of his initial statements, and his lack of genuine apology.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Level playing field? Really? You are calling your female colleagues “girls”. Do you call your male colleagues “boys”?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">My guess is that you don’t.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Is that what you mean by a level playing field?</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You have earned yourself a spot in the newly created male chauvinist douchebag wing of our hall of shame.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You, Sir Tim, have been knighted the Blue Streak Science A***ole of the Week</span></p> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Quanta Magazine!</strong></h3> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Our work often resembles journalistic alchemy — we mash together the complexities of science with the malleable art of storytelling in an attempt to forge a precious new alloy. It can be a mind-bending enterprise, but we relish the challenge."</span></p> <p><a href="http://www.quantamagazine.com"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">www.quantamagazine.com</span></a></p> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That concludes this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">If you have any suggestions or comments email us at</span> <a href= "mailto:podcast@bluestreakscience.com"><span style= "font-weight: 400;">podcast@bluestreakscience.com</span></a></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">You can subscribe to our show on</span> <a href= "https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/blue-streak-science/id815309082"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Apple Podcasts</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">,</span> <a href="https://open.spotify.com/show/6jYepU8bgbSyaXj5qx8gqu?si=yi526eBCTbqcy5BJiZ7U2A"> <span style="font-weight: 400;">Spotify</span></a> <span style= "font-weight: 400;">and any number of podcast directories. And if you have an iOS device like an iPhone or an iPad you can get the new Blue Streak Science app from the App Store.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">That website is at bluestreakscience.com</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This show is produced by the Blue Streak Science team.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And our hosts today were Sophie McManus, Kellie Vinal, and JD Goodwin.  </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Thank you for joining us.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">And remember...follow the science!</span></p>
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002: Because Science
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Because Science</li> <li>Blue Streak Science News</li> <li>A***ole of the Week</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Paleontologist announces discovery of dinosaur and proposes marriage in same paper</li> <li>New blood test reveals your lifetime viral exposure, and you thought what happened in Vegas stayed in Vegas</li> <li>Global warming hiatus goes up in a puff of CO2</li> <li>Box jellyfish go fishing</li> <li>Tracing the path of South Korea’s MERS “Patient Zero”</li> <li>Mosquito sperm may sense smells</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>A***ole of the Week</strong></h2> <p>Alice Huang, microbiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science</p> <p>You’re a scientist. You’re female. Your adviser can’t seem to stop looking at your boobs.</p> <p>What do you do?</p> <p>There’s an advice column in the Science Careers section of the journal Science – It’s called “Ask Alice”. Their advice? You should probably “just put up with it”. That’s right, Alice Huang suggests you just put up with it.</p> <p>This is Dr. Alice Huang, a microbiologist and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.</p> <p>Let’s go to the original question asked in the column: “I’ve just joined a new lab for my second postdoc. It’s a good lab. I’m happy with my project. I think it could really lead to some good results. My adviser is a good scientist, and he seems like a nice guy. Here’s the problem: Whenever we meet in his office, I catch him trying to look down my shirt. Not that this matters, but he’s married. What should I do?”</p> <p>Here’s part of the reply: “Imagine what life would be like if there were no individuals of the opposite—or preferred—sex. Well, like it or not, the workplace is a part of life. As long as your adviser does not move on to other advances, I suggest you put up with it, with good humor if you can. His attention on your chest may be unwelcome, but you need his attention on your science and his best advice.”</p> <p>Thankfully, Science retracted the column, and replied with, “We regret that the article had not undergone proper editorial review prior to posting. Women in science, or any other field, should never be expected to tolerate unwanted sexual attention in the workplace.”</p> <p>Good on you, Science, for retracting that awful advice and responding quickly and unequivocally. However you, Dr. Alice Huang, there’s just no excuse for such awful advice. None. – And for that, you have earned yourself a place as the Blue Streak Science A***ole of the Week.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <h3><strong>The Book Diva’s Reads</strong></h3> <p>Find this great website at <a href= "http://www.thebookdivasreads.com/">www.bookdivasreads.com</a></p> <p>“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it”.  -Oscar Wilde</p> <p>If you love to read for the pure joy of it then you must bookmark this website.</p> <p>First rate.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>That’s it for this edition of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sonoma County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and beautiful Sydney, Australia!</p> <p>See you again next week!</p> <p> </p>
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001: Science and Poetry
<h2><strong>On This Week’s Show</strong></h2> <ul> <li>The Poetry of Science</li> <li>Introducing new host Sophie McManus</li> <li>Blue Streak Science News</li> <li>Asshole of the Week</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Science News with Kellie Vinal and Sophie McManus</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Ebola gatekeeper protein identified</li> <li>How to rewire the eye</li> <li>Does urine relieve the pain of jellyfish stings?</li> <li>Evidence indicates that dogs and wolves diverged 40,000 years ago</li> <li>A gene for pain sensing discovered</li> <li>A new species of chameleon discovered in Madagascar turns out to be 11 species!</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>A***ole of the Week</strong></h2> <p>Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and as-yet-to-announce Republican candidate for the Presidency of the United States</p> <p>Jeb Bush: It’s ‘Arrogant’ To Say Science Is Decided On Climate Change.</p> <p>Who is Jeb Bush? He may not be too well-known outside of North America, but he is the former governor of Florida and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate. Oh, and he’s the brother of former U.S. President George W. Bush, the one that got us into two wars, destabilized the Middle East, and precipitated the Great Recession.</p> <p>Remember? Yeh, his brother.</p> <p>Jeb Bush is now acknowledging that the climate is changing, but claims that whether or not humans have caused this is still unclear. Bush made these comments at a house party in New Hampshire, and not long after President Obama urged the government to act toward mitigating the immediate risk of climate change.</p> <p>Jeb Bush stated, “Look, first of all, the climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural. It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you.” He went on to say that this “intellectual arrogance” was preventing people from having a conversation on anthropogenic climate change.</p> <p>Let’s step back and have a brief look at the science. According to NASA nearly all climate scientists agree that global warming over the last century is “very likely” caused by human activities. This statement by NASA cites 18 different scientific institutions. Nine out of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, with 2014 being Earth’s warmest year on record.</p> <p>Holly Shulman, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee said, “Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that human activity has led to climate change. Ninety-seven percent. But Jeb Bush thinks they’re wrong. Who’s being intellectually arrogant now?</p> <p>Hot enough for ya, Jeb Bush?</p> <p>You have earned the honor of being the Blue Streak Science A***le of the Week.</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>Recommended by The Team</strong></h2> <p>The Bold Signal Podcast, hosted by John Borghi. Catch this terrific podcast on <a href= "http://www.soundcloud.com/bold-signals">Soundcloud</a> and <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/s0-e3-antibiotic-resistance/id993499022?i=343209104&mt=2"> iTunes</a>.</p> <p>John had a very special guest last week, our very own Kellie Vinal!</p> <p>How cool is that?</p> <p>Kellie talks about antibiotic resistance and gives us a view of the daily life of a scientist</p> <p>Don’t miss it!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>That’s it for this edition of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</p> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sonoma County, California; Atlanta, Georgia; and beautiful Sydney, Australia!</p> <p>See you again next week!</p>
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000: A New Beginning
<h2><strong>An Introduction of the Blue Streak Science Podcast</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Introduction of new host Kellie Vinal</li> <li>Blue Streak Science News</li> <li>Kellie’s news stories</li> <li>JD’s news stories</li> <li>Asshole of the Week</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Blue Streak Science News</strong></h2> <ul> <li>Earliest known stone tools discovered in Kenya</li> <li>Republican lawmakers introduce America COMPETES Act of 2015</li> <li>‘Home-brewed heroin’ could be the next big thing</li> </ul> <h2><strong>Kellie’s News Stories</strong></h2> <ul> <li>"Highly contagious, antibiotic-resistant food poisoning establishes U.S. presence"</li> <li>"Microbial DNA in human body can be used to identify individuals"</li> <li><a href= "https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/catbiome/kittybiome-kitty-microbiomes-for-cat-health-and-bi"> "kittybiome" kickstarter campaign: citizen science project</a></li> </ul> <h2><strong>JD’s News Stories</strong></h2> <ul> <li>First warm-blooded fish discovered</li> <li>First quasar quartet discovered</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Asshole of the Week</strong></h2> <h3><strong>Michael LeCour</strong></h3> <ul> <li>Falsified data and got caught!</li> </ul> <hr /> <h2><strong>Shout Out</strong></h2> <p>This week's shout out goes to <a href= "http://www.biodetectives.co.uk">BioDetectives</a>, a great website run by two life science graduates from Oxford University, now working in England and Australia respectively. They've written for several other blogs and have appeared as guests on podcasts. It's a first rate site that has both breadth and depth. Check it out!</p> <hr /> <h2><strong>In Closing</strong></h2> <p>The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Sonoma County, California and Atlanta, Georgia.</p> <p>See you again next week!</p> <p> </p>
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