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 - Charlie and Ryan are joined by the one and only Tim Dobbs from the Encyclopedia Brunch podcast. In addition to being a fellow podcast and editor for our show, Tim is also a chemical engineer focusing on biotechnology. Our first subject talks about just what the heck biotechnology is, and how it's growing as a part of our economy.

00:29:43 - Biotechnology can apparently make milk, but that's weird so we're drinking other things. Tim is have kombucha. Whatever. Ryan is having a Southern Belle from 3 Stars made with pecans. Also, DC has a nice flag, get on board people. Charlie drinks some fancy espresso because he's fancy like that. We get a bit off track talking about how fruits are all just out to trick us into spreading their seeds. Kind of gross if you really think about it, but you might learn something anyways.

00:42:15 - And for our final topic as we all brace for Batman v Superman: BATS! Bats are great, and if you didn't know that then strap in for some knowledge bombs falling on your head like guano. Our first, more specific story is about a pitcher plant that has evolved to show up really well on echolocation. Why would the plant want to show up? Because it gives the bat a place to roost for the day and uses the guano for food. EVOLUTION IS SO COOL. Next up, bats eat insects. A lot of them. Insects that would eat food we're trying to grow to the tune of about a billion dollars every year. Thanks, bats! Our final story is directly related to the film. Turns out when Zach Snyder learned that North American bat populations were struggling to survive due to White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and decided to use leftover production materials to build bat houses. Regardless of how the movie turns out, that's downright decent. If you want to buy a bat house or learn how to build your own, check out They really do need your help.

01:15:54 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like bats, they make up roughly 20% of the diversity of the show. Tim thanks new (old) recurring donor Andrew G. This is especially relevant for Tim because we pay him a bit to edit the show. So thanks, Andrew! Tim is also looking for a job at the moment, so if you're hiring biotech people, consider Tim! Charlie has a photo from Shanna H. in which some ice has done something seemingly inappropriate. It's called a pingo, and it's a pretty cool process that forms them. Charlie explains. Ryan has a voicemail from Anne because Ryan was WRONG when he decried tungsten wedding bands as a safety hazard. Way to be misinformed, Ryan. Fortunately, Anne was there to help fix it. Thanks, Anne!


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


Music for this week's show:

Technology - Corey Smith

Espresso (All Jacked Up) - Todd Rundgren

Batman Intro (1966)


Direct download: Ep_238-_Science..._sort_of_-_Fiat_Guano.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:22am EDT

00:00:00 - This episode Ryan is joined by Jessica Glass and Matt Davis, who recently published an open-access paper exploring the claims of a 1950's Explorer's Club dinner with giant ground sloth (or mammoth) on the menu. What did they find with their fancy genetics? Listen and find out!

00:41:25 - Supposedly the Explorer's Club drinks were chilled with glacial ice, a thing we used to be pretty good at transporting, but our modern drinks are chilled with the power of refrigeration instead, and it's important for us to tell you what they are! Matt kicks things off with an Orange Lazarus in a tiki mug, leading of course to a discussion of all things tiki. Jessica's up next and Matt brought her a local beer called the Ginga' Ninja, a gingery red IPA for the wilds of Connecticut. Ryan rounds off the round with a new favorite of his: a dry manhattan. Just replace the sweet vermouth in your manhattan with dry vermouth, you dummy!

00:55:43 - Next up Matt forces Jessica and Ryan to team up for SLOTH TRIVIA. The stakes are high but you'll have to listen to hear the final scores. 

01:10:50 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like trivia in that some say they're trivial. They're wrong. First up, Ryan has a donation from Ryan J. Ryan J. was disappointed by a joke our Ryan made about the Gamergate movement a few episodes back. This leads to a brief and one-sided discussion and explanation of a particularly thorny internet issue. Enjoy! And thanks, Ryan J. for the donation! To end strong, Ryan also read a quick 5-star iTunes review from RLB633, which we're also thankful for!


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


Music for this week's show:

Dead Meat - Bush

Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald & The Buddy Bregman Orchestra

The Goonies 'R' Good Enough - Cyndi Lauper

Direct download: Ep_237-_Science..._sort_of_-_Taste_for_Exploration.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

00:00:00 - Ryan is joined this episode by Claire Lukens, a fellow Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. Claire is a geomorphologist who studies the evolution of the shape of mountains over time. In the first part, we talk about a bit about the basics of her field and some of the techniques she employs. See some photos of her field area at the bottom of the post.


00:18:01 - One of the primary drivers of erosion is water. Beer is mostly water, and it's also fuel for geologists. Ryan has brought a sampler pack from Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, a favorite from Claire's undergrad days. She has her old standby, a Laughing Lab, and Ryan has a Red Rocket Pale Ale.


00:20:48 - Next we discuss Claire's recent publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is open access so can go read the whole thing and see the pretty figures. Claire's research group has used two different techniques to trace the history of sediments in Inyo Creek coming from Lone Pine Peak. Much is learned, and future projects are discussed. Also, see their research featured by the University of Wyoming, with another brief audio snippet from Claire!


00:57:19 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like geomorphology, you have to be pretty cool to do it. Ryan is flying solo this week but that doesn't stop him from playing a voicemail from recurring donor Clay the Human and getting thanked by Moe S. for introducing him to the Machete Order so he could begin showing his son Star Wars. Though his son may have found some subversive material in his school library. It just so happens this episode roughly corresponds with Ryan's reappearance on the Star Wars Minute podcast to discuss a minute of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Go listen!



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



Music for this week's show:

I Melt With You - MEST

Going to Bristol - The Mountain Goats

Crystal Baller - Third Eye Blind

Direct download: Ep_236-_Science..._sort_of_-_Inyo_Science.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:09am EDT

00:00:00 - This episode Ryan and Patrick are joined by Samuel Hansen, who podcasts about math. The first part of the show is learning a bit more about Samuel, his ACMEscience podcast network, and most importantly his math show Relatively Prime, currently Kickstarting its third season. Also, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a movie Samuel heartily suggests you see.

00:39:24 - A brief break for drinks! Patrick is fighting a cold and drinking some herbal tea because he's off caffeine and alcohol for a bit. Ryan goes entirely the other direction based on some advice from Richard P. who provides a recipe for a beer cocktail called "Heart of Darkness":

  • 0.5 L of imperial stout (Ryan used this one)
  • 250 mL of cold brew coffee concentrate (Ryan used this one)

Take that health!

00:43:25 - Next up we have Samuel explain the concept of chaos and how it can be used in ecological modeling. While Samuel looks up something, Ryan plugs the graphic novel Strange Attractors, which is about math but is also interesting. The story claims the models are now equation free, which is nonsense, but is light on the math and Samuel explains why. Also, don't forget about his Kickstarter.

01:15:29 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like equations; you learned that they were important a while ago but can't quite remember why. Ryan receives a follow-up from Richard P. questioning the wisdom of his cocktail creation. Patrick has a smorgasbord from Cob W. who sent in a very generous donation, plus an e-mail, plus a voicemail, plus a drawing that brings the ephemeral concept of the Timer Duck to life! You can see it on our Flickr page. Thanks, Cob!


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


Music for this week's show:

In Our Prime - The Black Keys

When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer - Eric Clapton and B.B. King

Living In Chaos - Offspring

Direct download: Ep_235-_Science..._sort_of_-_Relative_Chaos.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:03pm EDT