Science Magazine Podcast (science)
Weekly podcasts from Science Magazine, the world's leading journal of original scientific research, global news, and commentary.

Daily news stories

A quick change in chickens’ genes due to a papal ban on eating four-legged animals, the appeal of tragedy, and genetic defects in the “sixth sense,” with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

In February of this year, one of the most regular phenomena in the atmosphere skipped a cycle. Every 22 to 36 months, descending eastward and westward wind jets—high above the equator—switch places. The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation, or QBO, is normally so regular you can almost set your watch by it, but not this year. Scott Osprey discusses the implications for this change with Alexa Billow.

 Read the research.

 

[Image: ValerijaP/iStockphoto/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160923.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on our earliest hunting companions, should we seed exoplanets with life, and finding space storm hot spots with David Grimm.

 From the magazine

Two years ago, 43 students disappeared from a teacher’s college in Guerrero, Mexico. Months of protests and investigation have not yielded a believable account of what happened to them. The government of Mexico claims that the students were killed by cartel members and burned on an outdoor pyre in a dump outside Cucola. Lizzie Wade has been following this story with a focus on the science of fire investigation. She talks about an investigator in Australia that has burned pig carcasses in an effort to understand these events in Mexico.

 

[Image: Edgard Garrido/REUTERS/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160916.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on magnetic waste in the brain, the top deal breakers in online dating, and wolves that are willing to “risk it for the biscuit,” with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

How do we track where we are going and where we have been? Do you pay attention to your path? Look for landmarks? Leave a scent trail? The problem of navigation has been solved a number of different ways by animals. The desert-dwelling Cataglyphis ant was thought to rely on stride integration, basically counting their steps. But it turns out they have a separate method of keeping track of their whereabouts called “optic flow.” Matthias Wittlinger joins Sarah Crespi to talk about his work with these amazing creatures.

 

Read the research.

 

[Image: Rooobert Bayer /Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160909.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on what words dogs know, an RNA therapy for psoriasis, and how Lucy may have fallen from the sky, with Catherine Matacic.

 From the magazine

In early 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft entered orbit around Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt. Over the last year and a half, scientists have studied the mysterious dwarf planet using data collected by Dawn, including detailed images of its surface. Julia Rosen talks with Debra Buczkowski about Ceres’s close-up.

 See the full Ceres package.

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160902.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Sarah Crespi takes a pop quiz on literal life hacking, spotting poverty from outer space, and the size of the average American vocabulary with Catherine Matacic.

 

From the magazine

You can already buy a quantum dot television, but it’s really just the beginning of the infiltration of quantum dots into our everyday lives. Cherie Kagan is here to talk about her in depth review of the technology published in this week’s issue.

 

[Image: Public domain; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160826_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on a humanmade RNA copier that bolsters ideas about early life on Earth, the downfall of a pre-Columbian empire, and how a bit of cash at the right time can keep you off the streets, with Jessica Boddy.

 

From the magazine

This story combines two things we seem to talk about a lot on the podcast: reproducibility and the microbiome. The big question we’re going to take on is how reproducible are mouse studies when their microbiomes aren’t taken into account? Staff writer Kelly Servick is here to talk about what promises to be a long battle with mouse-dwelling bugs.

 

[Image: Annedde/iStockphoto; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160819_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on using pets in clinical trials to test veterinarian drugs, debunking the Piltdown Man once and for all, and deciding just how smart crows can be, with David Grimm.

 

From the magazine

It’s really difficult to figure out how old a free-living animal is. Maybe you can find growth rings in bone or other calcified body parts, but in sharks like the Greenland shark, no such hardened parts exist. Using two different radiocarbon dating approaches, Julius Neilsen and colleagues discovered that the giant Greenland shark may live as long as 400 years.

 

Read the research.

 

[Image: James Howard McGregor/Wikimedia Commons/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: SciencePodcast_160812.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

News stories on bees that live perilously close to the mouth of a volcano, diagnosing arthritis in dinosaur bones, and the evolution of the female orgasm, with David Grimm.

 From the magazine

Rivers deliver water to the ocean but water is also discharged along the coast in a much more diffuse way. This “submarine groundwater discharge” carries dissolved chemicals out to sea. But the underground nature of these outflows makes them difficult to quantify.  Audrey Sawyer talks with Sarah Crespi about the scale of this discharge and how it affects coastal waters surrounding the United States.

 [Image: Hilary Erenler/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160805_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Stories on birds that guide people to honey, genes left over from the last universal common ancestor, and what the nose knows about antibiotics, with Devi Shastri.

 The Endangered Species Act—a 1973 U.S. law designed to protect animals in the country from extinction—may need a fresh look. The focus on “species” is the problem. This has become especially clear when it comes to wolves—recent genetic information has led to government agencies moving to delist the grey wolf. Robert Wayne helps untangle the wolf family tree and talks us through how a better understanding of wolf genetics may trouble their protected status.

 [Image: Claire N. Spottiswoode/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160729_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST

Stories on a lichen threesome, tremors caused by tides, and a theoretical way to inspect nuclear warheads without looking too closely at them, with Catherine Matacic.

 

Despite concerns about antibiotic resistance, it seems like antimicrobials have crept into everything—from hand soap to toothpaste, and even fabrics. What does the ubiquitous presence of these compounds mean for our microbiomes? Alyson Yee talks with host Sarah Crespi about one antimicrobial in particular—triclosan—which has been partially banned in the European Union.

 

 

[Image: T. Wheeler/Music: Jeffrey Cook]

Direct download: 160722_SciencePodcast.mp3
Category:Science -- posted at: 1:59pm EST