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 - The Paleopals are pleased to be joined by Dr. Nicholas Pyenson to talk about his research into Gray Whales, possibly the dirtiest of the baleen whales. He thinks the Grey Whale might have been more adaptable than previously thought, which has implications for the future, which is the most epic type of paleontology one can do.

  • Be sure to visit the Smithsonian Institution, where Dr. Pyenson is a curator for fossil mammals, and see this stuff in the bone-y flesh!

00:42:28 - While some whales gulp dirt the paleopals sup liquids. And what liquids they are! Charlie indulges in the summertime treat of a Seattle Margarita! Patrick keeps things nautical and keeps everyone happy with a Scrimshaw from North Coast. And Ryan tries to beat the heat with a Red Brick 16th Anniversary Ale aged in "bourbon" barrels.

00:46:09 - Fortunately a bit of ethanol can keep the germs at bay because this one Trailer Trash Talk the Paleopals are at risk of a serious Contagion.

00:56: 18 - Some statisticians have gone and pulled the rug out from under the alien hunters at SETI. Can the Drake equation pass muster? Should we keep looking for aliens? How long until Ryan and Charlie get philosophical? All important questions that will be answered... sort of.

01:08:06 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like whales. They've been hunted nearly to the point of extinction, and may never fully recover. Patrick has an e-mail from Moe about his adventures being a science cabby and a call to arms for the show to join Stitcher (which we're still working on, but stay tuned). Charlie has some commentary from this very website concerning experiences with corn based ethanol, the health and the fuel. And Ryan has an e-mail from  Josh in Montana who's studying geology, presumably to reconnect with his mountain home of West Virginia. Ryan empathizes.


Thanks for listening! Go see the random etching on our cave-wall based blog: The Paleocave!


Music for this week's show:

Shades of Gray - Robert Earl Keen

Little White Lies  - Deer Tick

Virus Human - The Ponys

Radio, Radio - Elvis Costello

Direct download: Ep_97_Science..._sort_of_-_Finding_Flukes.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:29pm EDT

It's a special edition show! These rare treats come about every now and again when an unusual opportunity to record arrives. This incident occurred during the PaleoPosse meetup at The Midnight in Gainesville, Florida on Friday May 13th, 2011. It includes a few familiar voices as well as a few new ones.

Extra special guest is Jason Burchfield, PaleoPosse member and fellow podcaster on the Oklahoma Atheists Godcast.

No real time-stamps for this mess. I know we at least mention superconductors in alcohol (as explained by ben while sober in Episode 48) and some study strategies to help you ace that upcoming test!

Thanks for listening and come back Monday for a more regular episode!

Direct download: Special_Edition_3_Science..._sort_of_-_Midnight_in_Florida.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

00:00:00 - The Paleopals have returned to America and they've brought a show with them! The first topic on the chopping block is the US Senate putting corn-based ethanol on the chopping block. Some of you might know it as maize, others as a solution to oil, but the Paleopals try to set the record straight.

00:18:53 - Speaking of ethanol, the Paleopals are each consuming some. Charlie, having returned from France, is having some vermouth on the rocks as an apertif, whatever that is. Patrick has no treats from Alaska, but he's slogging through a Sommersault from New Belgium. And Ryan both has and explains his Mezcal Reposado con Gusano straight out of Mexico!

00:27:09 - It wasn't out when we recorded so Captain America, the latest in the string of summer comic book movies, takes center stage for Trailer Trash Talk. Will the Paleopals support their homeboy hero? Or will taste overcome patriotism?

00:41:44 - Charlie has gotten all excited about bacteria that claim to have things in common with Batman. Ryan tries to explain the science behind it. And then things get a bit philosophical before moving on to...

00:56:30 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like ethanol, humans smell them better than dogs. Patrick is excited for some Australia hair from Beck and plugs his project one last time. Charlie has a comment from Steve left at the Brachiolope gallery asking about mammal coloration. And Ryan was e-mailed an explanation for Jeff Sykes' behavior when he was a guest on the Conspiracy Skeptic!


Thanks for listening! The blog has more than just the Paleopals, it has guests too! Find it at the


Music for this week's show:

The Engine Driver - The Decemberists

Señorita - Los Lonely Boys

America - Fozzie Bear (Available on Vinyl!)

Hangingaround - Counting Crows

Direct download: Ep_96_Science..._sort_of_-_Hanging_on_by_a_Thread.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:56am EDT

00:00:00 - Daniel H. Wilson joins the Paleopals to talk about the science of robots and the sort of novels. Namely his new one, the highly enjoyable Robopocalypse!

  • Be sure to check out the rest of Wilson's literary catalog (including some very practical survival books) at his Amazon page.
  • Keep an eye on thePaleocave Blogf or Ryan's review!

00:52:51 - How can you prove you're not a robot? Ingest some alcohol and hope Futurama has been wrong all these years. Ben eschews that test (very suspicious) in favor of some foreign Philippine nectar that we're waiting on authenticity confirmation from Pang. Ryan, after talking horrors of the future, sips on a Monster Ale from the past (2007) in the form of a Barleywine from the Brooklyn Brewery. And Jacob heads north with a Latitude 48 IPA from Samuel Adams, which is an IPA for everyone to enjoy!

00:58:34 - While you may have been underwhelmed in the theaters the second trailer for Real Steel with Hugh Jackman et al. looks far more promising, at least that's what the Paleopals say in this week's Trailer Trash Talk!

01:08:14- PaloePOWs are a lot like robots, they have no regards for our feelings. This week Ben brings us a kanji iTunes review from Japan, Ryan has an e-mail from Seth E. about the joys of the Cincinnati-based culinary treat: Skyline Chili, and Jacob has a voicemail from Cameron of Minnesota asking our thoughts on the technological Singularity.


Thanks for listening! Our blog promises to spare you in the event of the Singularity, so thank it by visiting the Paleocave!


Music for this week's show:

Robots - Flight of the Conchords

(I know I used this song before in Episode 67 but that was the live version so this still counts.)

We Could Be The Same - MaNga

Brooklyn Blurs - The Paper Raincoat

Mr. Roboto - Styx

Direct download: Ep_95_Science..._sort_of_-_Robots_could_be_people_too.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:20pm EDT

00:00:00 – Julia Saltz rejoins Paleopals Ryan, Kelly and Jacob after her enthralling debut in Ep 87 to talk more about her own research and less about messy Hox genes. Her paper on social effects of aggression drive in male fruit flies pushes it way to the front of the discussion.

00:25:40 - Social situations are often distorted by alcohol, and while the Paleopals are of age and choose to imbibe, they hope it doesn't distort the discussions. Our guest Julia is cooling down with some white wine, while Jacob cools down with an In Heat Wheat. Kelly is prepping her tongue for SDCC with a Green Flash Double Stout Black Ale and Ryan is enjoying some rum that was made long before he could even consider drinking it.

00:34:01 –Jacob hijacks Trailer Trash Talk this week to talk about a video game! This week its Uncharted 3 but this all still ties into the theme because the Supreme Court just ruled that videos games are protected speech. The question then becomes: did they use sound science to draw their conclusion?

01:07:34 – Our second topic of the week is still Julia and how interesting her work is. This time, we're discussing a paper on genetic variation in social environmental choice using... that's right! Fruit flies.

01:28:16 – PalePOWs are like Kelly, they get some people very excited. Speaking of, Kelly has an e-mail from Jordan, a Mormon who is upset about alternative medicine (which somehow got us talking about Miss USA and evolution). Ryan then fumbles his was through an Aussie iTunes review from Wednesday D. and lastly Jacob has an e-mail from Brad providing some followup on human echolocation in the form of Ben, an amazing young man who was able to "see" the world just by clicking his mouth.


Thanks for listening! Check out our blog: The Paleocave!


(Punk) Music this week provided by:

The Story of My Life – Social Distortion

Cool Under Heat – The Clash

Violence – blink-182

Reach for the Sky – Social Distortion

Direct download: Ep_94_Science..._sort_of_-_Social_Distortion.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:52am EDT

00:00:00 - This week Paleopals Ryan, Kelly and Ben are joined by a special guest Beverly Walker! She's come to us straight from Antarctica. Bev was down there last "summer" to do research but before we dive into the water and the science the Paleopals want to know just what life near the South Pole is really like, and Bev is happy to fill them (and YOU) in on the details!

00:19:21 - Thoughts of the cold and dry lead one to the warming and the wet. Kelly stays on the lighter side of dark with a beer not recommended by previous guest of the show Charles Bamforth. Ben has a weird chunky aloe-vera and honey concoction, and the less said about that the better. Whereas Bev has been given a summer beer which Ryan had previously and Ryan keeps things frosty with a winter Rye IPA from Saranac.

00:24:33 - Kelly introduces this weeks Trailer Trash Talk: 50/50 but doesn't have much positive to say. And the movie could very well be a downer, but it's too soon to tell. What say you noble, Paleoposse?

00:38:14 - Finally we find out what exactly Bev was doing in the deep deep south. And it was exploring the taphonomy ofophiuroids! (Don't worry, she explains what all that means.) So while her divers were making holes in the ice, and fighting off sea lions, Bev was solving the mysteries of the cold dark deep.

01:02:29 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like Antarctica, they've both had Bev on them once. And obviously Bev has no PaleoPOW other than her own opinion having just been on the show, which she enjoyed. Ben has an e-mail from Eirik about proper octopus plurals from way back in episode 17. 8 times the pendantry! Kelly has a truly awful iTunes review. And Ryan has an update from Steve on the Shackleton whisky expedition first reported on in the early days of episode 13. Since we still haven't gotten any we'll just have to send Bev off to get it for us!


Thanks for listening! Kelly has been (literally) parasitizing the blog all week so be sure to check it out at the Paleocave!


Music provided by:

Terra Nullius - DJ Spooky aka Paul D. Miller

who has also created the Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica based on field recordings from his time on the Antarctic continent which compliments his new book, The Book of Ice (get it on Amazon), with a mixture of essays, musics, photographs, interviews, architectural plans and even propaganda. I've had a chance to check out the book and it's really cool, I'll be posting a full review on the Paleocave soon!