Science... sort of
Conversations about things that are science, things that are sort of science, and things that wish they were science. A member of the Brachiolope Media Network.

00:00:00 - Thanks to Joe, it's the return of the Elon Musk Happy Hour! This time, Musk wants to send loads of people to Mars, probably forever. In traditional Science... sort of fashion we ask: is this a thing? And maybe more importantly, would you go? (Also, Ryan says go read Seveneves.)

00:31:03 - Mars is pretty dry, so it'll be important to stay hydrated once there. Kelly staves off feeling sick with water and Tums but manages to sneak in a plug for The Expanse series of books. Joe confuses everyone with his Fungal Fruit Soda. And Ryan has a beer called Bomb! because of integrity or something.  

00:41:50 - This summer 183 miles of the Yellowstone River because an animal related to jellyfish evolved into a parasite millions of years ago. Kelly is amazed by this and explains why it's cool. And a final book recommendation for the episode: I Contain Multitudes by (future guest of the show?) Ed Yong

00:55:54 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like future guests of the show, both are riddled with uncertainty. Things begin a bit somber with the death of Sharon Gray, a botanist killed while doing research in Ethiopia. The reasons surrounding her death are heartbreaking, but a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help young women succeed in science in her memory. As a complete about face, Joe thanks Angie RK for her recent iTunes review and Kelly thanks Simon L. for throwing some cash our way. Finally, Ryan expounds upon Colin from San Diego's theory about yawning and ends up doing a fair bit of research on the topic. Strap in.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Planetary (GO!) [Lags Gallows Remix]
- My Chemical Romance
We Are Sex Bob-Omb (Fast) - Beck and Nigel Godrich
I Told You I Was Freaky - Flight of the Conchords

Direct download: 253_-_Exploration_Big_and_Small.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:08am PDT

00:00:00 - We begin arguing about rabbits, as you do. Ryan rejects Ben's phony phylogeny and espouses the truth of Glires. Don't let Ben lead you astray.

00:00:54 - We're all happy with the four fundamental forces we know and love, but what if there was a fifth force? A Hungarian team is claiming they might have found one, which is a pretty big deal. You can read their paper now on the arXiv.

00:39:59 - If you made it through Ben's explanations in the first segment, you deserve a drink. Joe, back from his physics sabbatical, is refreshing himself with aTractor Soda Co. Cherry Cream Soda, with some confusing claims but good flavor. Ryan has an Elder Brett from Epic Brewing Co. in part so he can discuss an article about "wild beers" sent to him by Kendall in Denver. Ben has Jones Soda Cream Soda with a picture of a Moose on it. Also, Joe's car is free because we're a bit off the rails this week. And SpaceX has a little problem that Ryan gets excited about.

00:59:35 - Finally, weasels! Weasels are great and Ryan wants to talk about them. He learned a lot reading this article, but there's so much more to say. Including where their name comes from, and whether or not we can reform it as something more positive. You'll just have to listen for the rest of it.

01:32:23 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like weasels, they're great if you give them a chance. Ryan begins with a donation from Gerhardus R. in South Africa and a quick second mention of Jeff M. who donated again after catching up with Ryan on Steam. Ben's up next with a voicemail from Allie to thank us for doing the show. You're welcome! Joe wraps it up with a new 5-star iTunes review from Luke R. Edwards, who appreciates our tangents so much have loved this episode.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Use The Force
- Jamiroquai
Walk On The Wild Side
- Lou Reed
Weasal Face - Ramones

Direct download: 252_-_Weasel_Force_Five.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:22pm PDT

00:00:00 - Mezcal is a magical and misunderstood spirit. Abe, Jacob, and Ryan spend some time breaking down just what the spirit is, from the myths about worms to the economies of towns trying to use craft distillates to escape the horrors of the drug trade. It's complicated. What's a bit simpler, somehow, are the fluid dynamics at play in determining proof, known as the pearls of mezcal. A team has presented their findings on the phenomenon, and we try to explain the science at play.

00:31:58 - Abe, unsurprisingly, is enjoying an agave-based spirit, but in the form of an elixir that seems new yet familiar at the same time. Jacob is up next and braces for mockery with a beer he already had in episode 101. Abe and Ryan had no intentions for teasing, but when it's invited it's hard to resist. Ryan goes full hipster with a Multinational Horn-Dog Black Saison that he makes Abe describe because Abe made it in the first place. Delicious!

 00:44:17 - Moa were giant terrifying monster-birds from New Zealand. And they're extinct. Did they die because of climate or because of humans? A recent study suggests the latter. The team used genetics, which seems straightforward enough, but leads to a discussion about the potential problems with blaming native peoples for local extinctions. The boys seems to conclude that humans are just humans, no judgement needed beyond universal human foibles. 

01:05:52 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like moas, oversized and prone to destruction. Ryan begins with an overdue thanks to recurring donor Jeff E. Thanks, Jeff! Next up, Jacob has an e-mail from Matt M. pruporting to explaing the phrase "going commando" as referenced in our recent interview with Mary Roach. It's a fun explanation, but is it a "just-so story"? Trying to work backwards, it seems kilts may be to blame as the original source of eschewing underwear. This leads to pontifications on the nature of meta-skepticism, literally debunking the debunkers. Abe wraps things up with a question from Tyler V. about the possibility of a Spanish-language science podcast. Seeing as there are more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers, seems like a no-brainer, but not something we can quite pull off at this point, though we have talked internally about it.

Music for this week's show:
Another Pearl - Badly Drawn Boy
Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
The Bird That You Can't See - Apples in Stereo

Direct download: 251_-_Mezcales_y_Moas.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:01pm PDT

It's episode 250 and thus a fine time to return to form with Patrick, Charlie, and Ryan!

00:00:00 - Mars is dead, long live Mars! Mars used to have oceans, active volcanoes, maybe even tectonics. So what happened? The guys explore how it might have become a hunk of rock we keep having to rescue Matt Damon from. Also, there's a whole book series on how we might (fictionally) bring it back to life. 

0027:57 - However it got that way, Mars is now dry enough to leave one mighty parched. Let us quench. Patrick begins with a beer left behind in his fridge by Ryan, a Siamese Twin Ale from Uncommon Brewers located in the birthplace of the show, Santa Cruz, California. Charlie expertly extracts the hot bean juice from an exquisite Ganesha Espresso bean for 28 seconds at 201 degrees C at 9 bars of pressure. Ryan fires back with a Kerberos Tripel our of a double-walled growler, a three-headed beer for the three originals being back together.

00:34:50 - Is the Loch Ness Monster real? No. It's super not real. BUT, Google decided to play along and put some cameras in the loch. This somehow becomes a very deep conversation on the philosophy of science and the role technology plays in shaping our reality. Go figure.

00:59:34 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like unexpectedly deep conversations; most people skip them if able to. Ryan begins with a new recurring donation from Sonya P. Thanks, Sonya! Charlie fields an energetics question from Jacob M. about the stillsuits featured in the novel Dune. Patrick finished with a question from Graeme N. about the aquatic ape hypothesis of human evolution. Ryan and Patrick argue again because why agree on anything ever?

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Nothin' On You - B.o.B.
Straw Dog - Something Corporate
Get It Faster - Jimmy Eat World


Direct download: 250_-_Quarter_Quell.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:14pm PDT

00:00:00 - Do you eat food? If you do you probably appreciate the Maillard reaction even if you've never heard of it. We try to drop some science on your plate! Want even more food science? This book has you covered.

00:35:09 - Joe begins the drinking segment by tying things back to the Maillard reaction with a Lester's Fixins Bacon with Maple Syrup Soda, which sounds, and tastes, terrible. Chad and Ryan insist her finish it. Ryan has a Segua Red Ale, a Costa Rican microbrew based on a Costa Rican legend. Chad has a fruit smoothie because sometimes you just have to clear out the freezer.

00:45:05 - Archeologists have found many ancient subterranean cities. What happened to us all wanting to live underground together?  Joe explains some of the benefits and pratfalls of trying to make a go of putting a lot of people under the earth, including some more recent attempts. 

01:01:44 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like underground cities, they were sort of in vogue once upon a time. Joe begins by thanking Jeff M. for a donation. Thanks, Jeff! Ryan has an e-mail from Anne who wants to know if all her friends getting into the paleo-diet are onto something or not. Ryan, an actual paleontologist, is no great fan and lists some reasons why. For more info, check out this Scientific American article or go buy the book Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We LiveLast up, Chad has an article from Mike J. about another idea to get fuel from water, but this time with a twist. Chad and Ryan dive into the details, including trying to explain the entire ocean and how we're messing it up. Maybe a bit ambitious, but there you have it.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Heart Cooks Brain - Modest Mouse
Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

Direct download: 249_-_The_Maillard_Underground.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:20am PDT

00:00:00 - We are excited to announce the long awaited return of Jacob Stump! Jacob is back so we might as well start out with a poorly planned mission to Mars. Specifically, is Mars One a scam? If you believe one of their selected 'astronauts' then probably yes.

00:25:24 - Much like they're not actually going to Mars, Jacob spends some time telling us what he's not drinking before finally telling us that he's having some Spanish wine. Patrick is doubling down with another Get Elevated from Matty J. which prompts a discussion of handedness. Ryan advocates his left-handed lifestyle and recommends a book for those who want to learn more about his affliction. Ryan also is back to his beer roots enjoying a DirtWolf Double IPA from Victory Brewing. 

00:41:23 - Jupiter's wife Juno has come home in the form of a probe sent by NASA. Even President Obama was excited about it. Ryan gets excited just talking about Jupiter, but Patrick and Jacob have some pretty cool things about the probe and its science mission around our solar system's largest planet. 

01:18:14 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like wives, they deserve love and respect. Patrick begins with his favorite: a new recurring donation from Scott P. High fives to Scott! Ryan goes next and proceeds to put his foot firmly in his mouth talking about Creationism vs evolution thanks to this story from NPR submitted by listener Chris N. Thanks a lot, Chris. Fortunately, Patrick and Jacob are here to smooth things over. Phew. Jacob finishes things off with new 5-star iTunes review from dearknurl. Always appreciated.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Trouble Weighs A Ton - Dan Auerbach

Holiday In Spain - Counting Crows

Juno - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (written specifically for this NASA mission, so that's cool)

Direct download: 248_-_Trouble_and_Strife.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:22pm PDT

If you're interested in helping the people of West Virginia recover from some pretty horrific recent flooding, you can check out the list of options compiled by The Huffington Post

00:00:00 - Patrick and Ryan are joined by Daphne Pringle, who's a post-doctoral fellow at the Hunstman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah. She's sick of us getting epigenetics wrong like we did in episode 241, so she's here to sort us out. She uses mice to study oncogenes and tumors and cancer and all that. It's pretty far outside of our typical biology talk, so segment one is just trying to explain the basics. Here's some background reading: Raf/MEK/ERK, mouse models, and BRAF targeting

00:35:53 - Alcohol is a carcinogen probably. Oh well. Daphne represents Utah with her Uinta Detour Double IPA. Patrick was sent some cans of Elevated IPA by listener Matty J. Thanks! And Ryan classes up the joint with an Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. 

00:43:21 - Now that we have totally covered the basics of Daphne's research, let's talk about her recent publication in PLOS ONE. Will Daphne and her team cure cancer? Only if they can get through the FDA's 15 year approval process! Also, if you wanted to see a Tazzy Devil joey in a pouch, here you go

01:16:43 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like the FDA approval process; only the strong survive. First up, a new recurring donation from Mark H. Thanks, Mark! Next, Peter C. has a question about population genetics that we're hoping Daphne can help us answer. It involves space travel and maybe racism? Patrick presents a Facebook post from Brennen M. who wants us to know about his favorite book about food science called Modernist Cuisine. Finally, Ryan presents the winners of the iTunes review contest calculated using! The runners up: Kendh and Patrick in Des Moines. And our grand prize goes to Molec-bio! Thanks to everyone who participated. Be sure to follow Daphne on Twitter (@drpringleetal) to follow along as she saves us all. 

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music used in this week's show:

Morning New Disease - Jets to Brazil
The West Virginia Hills - Moastsville String Ticklers
Waiting - Green Day

Direct download: 247_-_The_Best_Laid_Plans.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:41am PDT

This was our first time recording since the tragic Pulse shooting in Orlando. We encourage our US listeners to share their thoughts with their elected representatives. You can find yours and their contact info here.

00:00:00 - We begin this week by talking about some literal bridge building. Because of things like physics and geology, engineers have to rethink how we build roads around bridges. Joe assumes Ryan and Abe know about soil science. He's wrong. But some researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington, have developed special giant foam blocks to help solve the bridge settling dilemma. All rivers in this segment referred to as Kwai for clarity. 

00:21:45 - Drinks, like bridges, get you where you're going. Abe pops the top off a Hop Savant from Crooked Stave. Ryan, thinking back on his afternoon at Corvus Coffee Roasters with Abe, has a Cold Brew IPA from Rogue. Joe B. bucks tradition with a Best Damn Cherry Cola, which while it may not sound like it, is actually an alcoholic beverage. It's not his first time having booze on the show, but it is rare. This leads to a discussion of choosing one's science specialty. 

00:29:31 - UPDATES. How often do you actually see follow-up reporting in science journalism? For us, it's rarely. To put our money where our mouth is here is some that. First, Abe is excited to announce that the newly discovered elements first discussed in episode 234 now have names! Next, that weird animal we talked about in episode 229 has finally found a place on the family tree of life (open access paper here), welcome to club Siphonophorae, buddy.

00:48:04 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like updates in that sometimes they really are just updates. Joe starts off complaining about vocal plosives with a new recurring donation from Pedro P. in Chile. Muchas gracias, Pedro! Ryan has an e-mail from frequent correspondent Tyler V., who corrects him about what Einstein won his Nobel prize for in episode 196. Abe finishes things up with an iTunes review, the final review from the Summer Solstice iTunes Review Challenge written by Cynthia. You can also go check out an interview with Joe on the Baja SAE Shop Talk podcast

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel
Campfire Kansas - The Get Up Kids
The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News

Direct download: 246_-_Bridging_the_Gap.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:20am PDT

This week is all about Game of Thrones and/or A Song of Ice and Fire featuring returning guest to the show Miles Traer! If you're not caught up on both the show and the books, consider this your all-purpose SPOILER WARNING.

00:00:00 - First up: time travel. How does time travel in a fantasy story work? Apparently, there are three options, and we mainly stick to one, but it's not without its paradoxes. Check out this nifty drawing from Ben for a diagram of just what we think happened in the already infamous Hodor episode.

00:37:53 - They drink a lot in Westeros, so to keep it authentic, we follow suit. Ben begins with a double shot of weird Sangaria brand soft drinks: carrot and traditional. Miles follows up with a 'Westerosi'-style cocktail, the Sazerac; even if he and Ryan disagree about the proportions. Ryan does what his wife does, and has a Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang. It makes sense in context.

00:44:15 - There's a lot more science to be done in Westeros than just time travel. Fortunately, Matt Shipman organized a blog carnival, featuring science posts from some of our favorite former guests such as Brian Switek, Jacquelyn Gill, and David Hone. If you want more info on the solar neighborhood of the planet and how that affects climate, check out this paper from the ArXiv. And finally a geology post from Miles Traer, which he tells us a bit about, but you'll need to read the whole thing for the details. 

01:08:38 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like open-ended epic fantasy series; they're both often long overdue. We being with Ben announcing a new recurring donation from Peter C. Thanks, Peter! Next up, Tyler V. wants to know, based on our previous hesitation to call the Anthropocene a thing, how future paleontologists might respond to the discovery of mass human graves as a feature of the debated epoch. That's pretty dark, Tyler, but we sort of have an answer, and it reminds Ryan in particular of a certain dinosaur site called Ghost Ranch. Ryan has an anniversary message from Cyn, who found the show thanks to Ben, because Ben is great. Finally, be sure to also check out Miles' excellent podcast Generation Anthropocene.


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Game of Throne theme on the Seaboard RISE - ROLI

Theme from Game of Thrones - New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

Game of Thrones Theme (Western Cover) - Benedikt Mendzigal

Direct download: 245_-_Science..._Hodor.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:28pm PDT

00:00:00 - This week Ryan is joined by his wife, Juliana Olsson, so they can talk with returning guest and author Mary Roach! We do drinks in the preamble so for all you completists out there: Juli had a Three Philosophers and Ryan had a Birthday Suit. Mary, given her druthers, likes a dry gin martini. But the actual point of our conversation is to talk about her new book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War and that's what we talk about (mostly). She's on tour promoting the book right now, so go see her if you can and tell her you heard about the tour from us!

00:52:34 - PaloePOWs are a lot like books; they contain a lot of words. Ryan begins with a donation from Liam B., a Canadian donating with US money. How thoughtful! Thanks, Liam. Next up, Todd B. wanted us to watch a video about naked mole rats, the official animal of the podcast. They're pretty cute in an ugly sort of way, and the science being done is pretty cool too. Finally, Ryan reminds y'all that we're running an iTunes review contest. Write a review for us on iTunes between now and the Summer Solstice and be entered in a drawing to win prizes! We've gotten some good ones so far, and feature one from treaest.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

A Soldiering Life - The Decemberists

Direct download: 244_-_A_Grunt27s_Life.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:19pm PDT