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.
Ep 117: Science... sort of - Wrapped Up In Science

00:00:00 - Kepler (the satellite, not the dude, who would be a zombie at this point) done found us a planet within the habitable zone of a star a mere 600 light years away. THANKS KEPLER!

00:13:08 - Drinks are like planets, wait long enough and one of them goes away. Ryan has some holiday cheer with Mikkeller Santa's Little Helper 2010. Patrick is double-fisting an unimpressive Guinness black lager and a more palatable Lagunitas, even if they messed up their holiday schedule. And finally Charlie savors a cab sav from Napa Valley, perfect for a winter's night.

00:17:53 - Are you ready for some adventure Belgian-style? If so then you might enjoy The Adventures of Tintin, even if it crosses the uncanny valley.

00:33:24 - Humans and snakes. A feud as old as time itself. But have snakes always been the aggressors or do humans give as good as they get? A tribe in the Philippines may hold the answer. 

00:48:23 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like snakes, they get longer and more aggressive as time goes on. Patrick thanks the recurring donors , Bendan M. Buddy W., and Christopher V., for being awesome on a consistent basis. Ryan helps out Mike G. and Tommy G. (no relation, probably) who were having problems with episode 44. Ryan provides tech support. And Charlie ends the year with a short sweet iTunes review from lamotteskiddalyboomboom.

Thanks for listening! See y'all next year for loads more SCIENCE... sort of

Music for the show provided by:

Up In the Sky - Oasis

Every Day Should Be a Holiday - The Dandy Warhols

Belgium - Bowling For Soup

Here Comes the Snake - Cherry Poppin' Daddies

Direct download: Ep_117_Science..._sort_of_-_Wrapped_Up_In_Science.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:18am EDT

00:00:00 - Naked mole rats are even more awesome than previous thought: their sperm is terrible. Doesn't sound like a good thing? Well how come their awful sperm still works just fine? Because mole rates cannot be stopped, that's why.

00:11:53 - Like it or not, drinks are a part of the show and thus require a moment of discussion. Charlie has an old standby in the form of a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Patrick has a nondescript merlot, he can assert that it is in fact red. Ryan has a hot buttered whiskey based on a recipe he is happy to share from the book And A Bottle of Rum. And Jacob has spicy cinnamon vanilla eggnog, if that's what you're in to.

00:18:20 - This week trailer trash talk heads north to Scandinavia whilst the Paleopals try to breakdown the many incarnations of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

00:32:32 - Last year several circular holes opened up in Guatemala city, and while it may be tempting to call them sinkholes, according to an article Patrick found they should actually be called piping features. But there is still heated disagreement over karst.

00:43:43 - A man was arrested at CERN for messing with vending machines as an attempt to disrupt Higgs-Boson detection. He claimed to be from the future. A very "sort of" story as relayed by several exited Paleopals. Can they uncover the truth within the course of the segment?

00:52:41 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like time travelers, their existence is hotly debated and likely nothing more than a prank. Patrick has an extremely generous donation from John P. THANKS, JOHN! Ryan has a short sweet tweet from Sharon about painting frogs. Ryan is concerned for amphibian well-being, but hopes he's misreading things. Charlie has an iTunes review that seems have written by an SEO expert in Philippe. And Jacob explores the Facebook page for a messsage from Kendal about using our Amazon affiliate link to help the show out while doing one's holiday shopping.

Thanks for listening! It's not to late to order winter solstice gifts based on the guides written by Ryan and Patrick both available at!

Music for this week's show:

Born Normal - Dispatch

You're So Damn Hot - OK Go

Last Tattoo - Rehab

Endless Column - Blue Man Group

I'm a Fool - American Hi-Fi

Direct download: Ep_116_Science..._sort_of_-_Subnormal.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:09am EDT

00:00:00 - Who knew crustaceans could be so crafty? An amphipod has evovled the ability to spin silk like a spider, except under water! Fraught with awesome imagery and potential medical applications to be sure.

11:11:11 - Every week we consume something on air and this week those consumables varied more than usual. Kelly has crafty Norwegian chocolate with an unexpected surprise. Ben has homo milk from a bag? We don't know either, Canada is even weirder than previously imagined. Ryan descends into a bottle of Hades from Great Divide Brewing in anticipation of this week's trailer. Charlie has bubbly water and explains it's morbid origins.

00:19:23 - This week for we have the divisive trailer for The Divide. Will the Paleopals be divided on their opinions? Or will the threat of impending apocalypse unite them all?

00:29:48 - Willpower, does it even exist? If so, how much have you got? These are the pressing questions vexing the Paleopals this week. Everyone brings something different to the table, including the concept of whether or not willpower is a worth 'scientific' inquiry. Hal Jordan, eat your heart out.

00:50:35 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like silk spinning crustaceans, unexpected but ultimately they make sense. Kelly has cash from Summer in Seattle. THANKS, SUMMER! Ben has a question from Roberta about the demarcation line for calling one's self a scientist. There's no fine line, but there are some good stories. Ryan updates all on the #SciFund poll from Episode 113. Charlie has an iTunes review from Sumo in Seattle who might be drinking on the job.


Thanks for listening! Check out Ryan's Winter Solstice geek gift guide on our blog, The Paleocave!


Music for this week's show:

Crab - Weezer

Across the Great Divide -  Semisonic

The New Underground - Guster

All In My Head - Shawn Mullins

Direct download: Ep_115_Science..._sort_of_-_Feeling_Crabby.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:59pm EDT

It's time for the annual Thanksgiving Science... sort of special! Each year the Paleopals pick an extra-long PaleoPOW and cover it in a little more detail than usual. Just like the pilgrims did.

00:00:00 - Charlie starts things off with an e-mail from Michal about our dismissal of Evolutionary Psychology. Maybe the PaleoPOWsevolved to think that it's just not up to snuff?

00:24:56 - Ben has a question from Liz about anti-gravity. He answers it with his usual aplomb, while artfully plugging his own new podcast: The Titanium Physicists!

00:34:09 - Since it wouldn't sound very good for the Paleopals to eat on air, they settle for some drinks instead. Ryandouble-fists cider post a Thanksgiving-meal pregame. Ben drinks water like a fish. Charlie goes on rant about the realities of tryptophan and post-holiday meal torpor. Patrick is having a very old (possibly fishy) pale ale. And Charlie jumps the holiday gun with some eggnog.

00:43:32 - Trailer Trash Talk follows it's Thanksgiving tradition by reviewing a weird fantasy movie. This year we're going with Snow White and the Huntsman. Will be it be the fairest film of them all? Probably not. And where the heck are thedwarves?

00:56:57 - Patrick has some hairy snail mail from Micah admonishing our dismissal of creationism. Rather than rant and rave, the guys try to legitimately address Micah's point. See? It's possible for disagreements to be civil!

01:15:27 -And finally Ryan has a voicemail from Caroline about the difference between regular and anti-bacterial soap. Ryan actually did some research for this one so hopefully his answer sounds good.

Thanks for listening, this week more so than usual! Check out our blog for our other annual tradition: Winter Solstice Gift Guides! Available at soon.

Music for this week's show:

Change Your Mind - The All-American Rejects

Defying Gravity - Kristin Chenoweth in Wicked

We Should Be Sleeping - Eddie Money

Heigh-Ho - The Seven Dwarves

Charlie Darwin - The Low Anthem

Direct download: Ep_114_Science..._sort_of_Giving_Thanks_II_The_Thankening.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:49pm EDT

00:00:00 - Jai Ranganthan joins Paleopals Charlie, Jacob, and Ryan to update everyone on the #SciFund Challenge. First and foremost, congrats to our own Kelly Weinersmith on being the very first project to get fully funded! Yay! But the Paleopals go one further and actually highlight a few projects that caught their eye.

Jacob was intrigued by the dolphin with the backwards fin, mostly because he lives near a beach and this was the closest to an engineer project he could find.

Charlie really liked the idea of domesticating bacteria to create petroleum products and other goodies suit our needs. If yeast can make beer, why can't bacteria make oil?

Ryan wants to use social networks and cell phones to help children in Tanzania get the vaccinations they need. It's ambitious, it's complicated, and it just might be crazy enough to work!

And finally, we have to give a shout out to the project that wants to investigate methods for artificially aging red wine. A very Science... sort of, kind of project.

After a bit of discussion the Paleopals decide on donating to a particular project LIVE ON AIR! We won't spoil the results, be we will provide a poll on the website for you to vote for your favorite. And be sure to head over to RocketHub to donate to a project your own self!

00:34:34 - Charlie tries his best to introduce the drinks segment. Jacob offends us all with his Smirinoff Ice (Raspberry and Lime flavor). Charlie's curiosity overrides the date leading him to try Sierra Nevada's holiday IPA. And Ryan needs an extra kick so he has a Hitachino Espresso Stout.

00:38:42 - Trailer Trash Talk is out to solve a mystery. Namely, the mystery of whether or not the movie Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows will be any good. And their only clue is the trailer.

00:48:01 - Mind Myths abound in our culture and the BBC has posted a few of their favorites ripe for debunking. The Paleopals break down the myths and discuss just why these ideas about our brains have been so pervasive.

01:05:34 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like #SciFund projects. You never know if it's going to work until the last minute. Jacob congratulates TheFrenzyofTongs on finishing a 5k. Even better that he did so while listening to the show and posted about it our Facebook wall

Thanks for listening! Not that you don't have enough links already, but we don't a have a blog at


Music for this week's show:

Challengers - The New Pornographers

Iced Lightning - RJD2

Watching the Detectives - Elvis Costello

Where is my mind? - Pixies

Direct download: Ep_113_Science..._sort_of_-_Mo_Money_Mo_Science.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

Brian Switek is fast becoming the arbiter of the special edition. This time Ryan and Brian sit down in person at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas to opine on the goings on of the 71st Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. They discuss some of the cool talks and posters they saw, the benefits of socializing science, and even the very reasons meetings like this exist. Enjoy!

And as always, be sure to follow Brian on Twitter (@Laelaps), subscribe to his blog, and buy his book, Written in Stone!

00:00:00 - The Paleopals are joined by Massimo Pigliucci, of Rationally Speaking, to talk about philosophy, science, and philosophy of science. This here is the bulk of the episode, so enjoy as Dr. Pigliucci waxes poetic about the deep inner workings of the scientific system we all hold so dear.

01:06:07 - After we say goodbye to Massimo (and his glass of chianti), we say hello to our own Birra Artiganale, peppermint tea, and Abita, respectively.

01:09:55 - It's time to get inspired and literate with this week's trailer, the German (i.e. not funny) film Young Goethe in Love.

01:19:25 - Ryan starts with a mole rat from James C. (available for viewing on the Art... sort of page!), Kelly has an e-mail about philosophy of science (how appropriate!) from David H., and Charlie follows up on the difference between his voice and Patrick's(with a startling revelation!)


Thanks for listening. Our blog may not be as rational as our guest's, but we do try:


Music for this week's show provided by:

Thinking Loudly - El Ten Eleven

Demons - Guster

Young, Dumb, and In Love - Mat Kearney

Direct download: Ep_112_Science..._sort_of_-_Philosophy..._sort_of.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:55pm EDT

00:00:00 - Ben begins the show this week talking about Jacob. Eventually Ryan and Patrick force him into talking about the agreed up topic: The 100 Year Starship symposium which took place recently in Orlando, FL. Which happens to be near Jacob. Big ideas about how to get off this tiny planet abound, and the Paleopals break down a few but encourage you to read up on the details yourself!

00:26:11 - What the Paleopals lack in rocketry they more than make for in 'jet fuel', if you know what I mean. Patrick celebrates with a Jubelale, Ben has a whole island of new juice opportunities, and Ryan pans a Las Vegas 2-for-1 bruised dry gin martini.

00:31:51 - Trailer Trash Talk this week feels better than ever as the guys break down the newest in the long-lived Greek war-epic genre: Immortals.

00:41:23 - New research suggests that saurpods (the dinos with the big long necks) may have migrated. Patrick and Ryan discuss isotopic particulars while Ben pesters about dinosaurian generalities.

00:59:43 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like Sauropods. At one point hard to miss, but now increasingly rare. Ben has an iTunes review from Ed Lolington. Ryan thanks Brian Switek for mentioning us at the SVP science communication meeting (more from Brian in a future show). And Patrick has both e-mail and loot from Elizabeth S. Thanks, Elizabeth!


Thanks for listening! Ben remixed his post from last week, and Juliana has another great exhibit write-up, both of which are available at!


Music this week provided by:

Ship of Fools - The Doors

Rock Island Line - Johnny Cash

Battleflag - Lo Fidelity Allstars

Movin' Right Along - Alkaline Trio

Direct download: Ep_111_Science..._sort_of_-_Land_of_the_Lost_in_Space.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:47pm EDT

00:00:00 - Jorge Cham, of PhD Comics, joins the Paleopals to discuss his comic, his time in academia, and the path he took to transition to full time artist.

00:27:27 - Scholastic achievement makes people thirsty. Thus the Paleopals imbibe. Patrick pulls out a rye beer he'd been saving. Ryan thinks his Sour Apple Saison is thematic. Kelly eschews alcohol for Italian sodas and rockets. While Charlie is back on the IPA wagon with Widmer Falconer.

00:33:48 - In a first for Trailer Trash Talk, we cover a film not just with our guest, but by our guest. Jorge Cham sticks around to talk about his new indie movie based on his very own comics: The PhD Movie. Potentially screening at a university near YOU!

00:52:22 - We 'end' the show with an extended PaleoPOW featuring questions regarding school from the Paleoposse! Kelly reads an e-mail Catherine asking how we each entered our respective fields. Ryan talks for too long. No one is surprised. Chad read an article in the NY Times about how we teach math in the US and wants to know what the Paleopals think. Ben's answer is available on the blog. And finally, Steve wants to know if the Paleopals are worried about over-specialization in science.

Thanks for listening, our blog has content which you can get at!

Music for this week's show:

Lessons Learned - Matt & Kim

The Season - Matt Costa

Dropping Out of School - Brad Sucks

Direct download: Ep_110_Science..._sort_of_-_Back_To_School.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:20pm EDT

00:00:00 - This week the Paleopals are joined by Giacomo Bernardi from UCSC. He filmed fish using tools for the very first time, and is happy to tell us all about just why that's so awesome. Make sure to watch the video on our site and experience the glory for yourself!

00:34:04 - Tool use is not just required for cracking clams, but also for cracking open cold ones, even if Patrick is the only one with a beer. Charlie and Ryan bourbon each other while Kelly tries to make due without her usual bartender.

00:40:33 - It's all for one and every Paleopal for themselves with this week's trailer, The Three Musketeers in 3D! Will it live up to the 1993 classic?

00:53:49 - Patrick reports on his trip to the annual meeting of the GSA (not Gamers Sitting Around), the Geological Society of America (though some would argue it should be Geologic Society of America). He gave a talk, but you listen to him talk just about every week, so we thought we'd give some other people a chance. He mixed it up in the poster sessions and interviewed a bunch of undergrads and grad students about their research in a range of topics, from the timing of glacial retreat in the Himalaya to the best way to paint rodent teeth. Small warning: audio quality is maybe not all that it could be given that Patrick is waking around a giant concrete floored hall with geologists drinking and talking in the background.

01:36:43 - PaleoPOWs are lot like poster sessions. Crowded, loud, and full of lingering doubts. Patrick has a website comment from Hannah concerning last week's Kraken discussion. Kelly has an e-mail from John about catching up on the show and collective nouns for mascots. Ryan has a tweet from @DocBuckets about the Podcast Awards (still some time left to vote!) concerning conflicting podcast interests. And Charlie has a voicemail from the Pangster who still can't tell the difference between Charlie and Patrick.

Charlie is going to be on The Weekly Weinersmith! Ryan did an iFanboy special edition show! We're everyone! But our home is the Brachiolope Media Network, so stop by anytime.


Music for this week's show:

Come Together - Blur

Big Eyed Fish - Dave Mathews Band

The Night and the Liquor - Elvis Perkins

No I in Threesome - Interpol

Posters - Jack Johnson

Direct download: Ep_109_Science..._sort_of_-_Clam_Slams_and_Poster_Jams.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:23pm EDT