Blue Streak Science Podcast


Science, opinion, conversation and community...what more could you ask for? It's the Blue Streak Science Podcast!


  • 122 Searching for Mars Fossils and Finding Lost Species

    122 Searching for Mars Fossils and Finding Lost Species

    22/11/2019 Duração: 35min

    Life on Mars! No? Yes? Maybe? Now we’ve learned that the Mars Rover 2020 will be looking for fossils. And JD wants them to bring a hammer and smash some rocks.   On This Week’s Show Science News with Chris MacAlister Science News with Chris MacAlister Mars 2020 Rover is Going to a Place on Mars That’s Perfect for Preserving Fossils Chris MacAlister Life on Mars! Bloody life on Mars! People keep on going on about it. It may be living on Mars? Okay it isn’t. But it may be living in Mars! Can we have a look? No, not yet. But it may have been living on the surface in the past. Great, have we found any signs of it yet? We’ve found signs of water. Brilliant, any signs of past life? Nope, not yet. It feels like we are so close to somewhat confidently saying that Mars had life on it at some point in the past despite the not unsubstantial fact that we have precisely zero evidence for the existence of life on Mars. Okay, maybe that is a tad unfair, but the level of evidence that we are dealing with here is akin t

  • 121 Cosmological Crisis

    121 Cosmological Crisis

    16/11/2019 Duração: 01h01min

    The more you know, the more you don’t know. Ain’t that the truth! The more we know about the universe the more confusing and contradictory it seems to get. Nevena talks about this crisis in cosmology in today’s episode of Blue Streak Science. Oh, there’s so much more than that. Join us.  On This Week’s Show Good dogs (there’s no such thing as bad dogs) The Shape of Things...of everything Scientists speak, they scream out at the top of their collective lungs on the climate crisis Science News with Nevena Hristozova, and Chris MacAlister Brains of girls and boys are similar, producing equal math ability Nevena Hristozova Jessica Cantlon at Carnegie Mellon University led a research team that comprehensively examined the brain development of young boys and girls.  Their research shows no gender difference in brain function or math ability. The results of this research are available online in the November 8 issue of the journal Science of Learning, and was funded jointly by NIH and NHS. Cantlon and her

  • 120 Wildfire...again!

    120 Wildfire...again!

    08/11/2019 Duração: 44min

    In California we’ve noticed that winegrape harvests have shifted to earlier and earlier due to a warmer climate over the past few decades. Along with this shift in agriculture we’ve also experienced extended and more catastrophic fire seasons.  Last week the huge Kincade fire swept through Sonoma County, and threatened several towns, including a neighborhood that was incinerated only two years ago.  In today’s episode we learn of JD’s experience in this “new normal” of climate change.  On This Week’s Show Mini black holes Genetically modified rice The California wildfires Science News with JD Goodwin and Chris MacAlister Astronomers Just Found the First Evidence That ‘Mini Black Holes' Exist Chris MacAlister This is a story about a fascinating new discovery about a less extreme, extreme of the universe’s extremities. Todd Thompson and his colleagues theorised that there may be smaller black holes existing as a part of binary star systems. Too far away to be sucking in material from the other sun, but sti

  • 119 The Blob!

    119 The Blob!

    25/10/2019 Duração: 45min

    On This Week’s Show A new land speed record Are we alone? Are we intelligent life? A brainless blob Science News with Nevena Hristozova, and Chris MacAlister Scientific integrity bill advances in U.S. House with bipartisan support Nevena Hristozova The US House of Representatives' science committee has advanced bills promoting scientific integrity policies with bipartisan support. The Scientific Integrity Act would codify principles of scientific integrity for federal agencies that fund, conduct or oversee scientific research. If adopted into law, the bill would require the head of each agency would have to develop, adopt and enforce their own policy for dispute resolution and integrity code and submit it both to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and to Congress. The agencies would also be required to appoint a scientific integrity officer, who would be charged with posting annual reports on the agency’s misconduct record. It would prevent agency officials from interfering with scie

  • 118 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Paleo Soup Cans, and Good News from the UK

    118 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, Paleo Soup Cans, and Good News from the UK

    17/10/2019 Duração: 34min

    As science news went this week, it was all over the map. Continuing from last week's Nobel Prizes, we moved to Pleistocene food storage, and a green milestone for the UK. On This Week’s Show Nobel Prize in Chemistry Prehistoric Cans of Soup Good news from the UK regarding energy consumption Science News with Chris MacAlister, and JD Goodwin Nobel Prize in Chemistry Chris MacAlister Science Nobels are traditionally awarded to 3 people and the 3 people accepting this award are Stanley Whittingham of the State University of New York in Binghamton; John Goodenough of the University of Texas in Austin; and Akira Yoshino of Asahi Kasei Corporation in Tokyo.  Stanley Whittingham was the first person to show that the concept of a Lithium battery could work. John Goodenough realised that the problem with Whittingham’s battery was the materials that he was using. By switching the materials around he managed to create a lithium ion battery that was almost twice as powerful as Whittinghams. Despite the improvement,

  • 117 In Praise of the Negative

    117 In Praise of the Negative

    10/10/2019 Duração: 30min

    On This Week’s Show We have negative results The war on science Some yummy primordial soup And it’s Nobel Prize week! Science News with Chris MacAlister, and JD Goodwin Highlight Negative Results to Improve Science Chris MacAlister Devang Mehta spent 4 years attempting to use CRISPR gene-editing technology to establish viral resistance in cassava, a tropical root crop and staple food for almost a billion people. What he ended up demonstrating was an increased level of viral resistance to CRISPR. The methodology of this work was considered solid in peer review, but it soon became clear that there was precious little interest from potential publishers.  Now, you may think that Mahta’s position is simply a case of sour grapes, and it may be, but regardless of motivations, he backs up his position with evidence. Mehta cites a 2012 paper by Daniele Fanelli. This paper was a review of over 4000 published papers. It found that between 1990 and 2007 the proportion of papers that confirmed positive results to hypo

  • 116 A Bad Case of the Vapers

    116 A Bad Case of the Vapers

    03/10/2019 Duração: 42min

    On This Week’s Show Giant Planets Bad news for the vapers Planet Nine from Outer Space Some really old bugs Science News with Nevena Hristozova, and Chris MacAlister Giant planet around tiny star ‘should not exist' Nevena Hristozova Scientists from the Autonomous University of Barcelona in Spain have discovered a planet almost half the size of Jupiter orbiting a star much smaller than our Sun. They used the so called radial velocity method – if a star is orbited by an object like a planet, due to the gravity of that object it will also wobble in space as the two bodies – the planet and the star will have their gravity forces working in opposite directions of each other. However, the ratio of the planet to star size was so big, that they originally thought that it’s a system of two stars orbiting each other that they are detecting. Usually planets form gradually when a mass of material due to its gravity collects more and more materials, dust and debris from interstellar collisions and by doing so forms it

  • 115 How Dare You!

    115 How Dare You!

    28/09/2019 Duração: 38min

    On This Week’s Show New ideas on why we move around on two feet instead of four A story about a missing link I bet you didn’t even know was missing Climate activist Greta Thunberg delivers a powerful and critically important speech at the United Nations Science News with Chris MacAlister, and JD Goodwin Chris MacAlister Mystery of why humans walk upright may be explained by surprise fossil New Scientist Missing Link Between Simple Cells and Complex Life-Forms Possibly Found Chris MacAlister Live Science Greta Thunberg: “How Dare You!” JD Goodwin United Nations Global Climate Action Summit Greta Thunberg's speech: “This is all wrong. I shouldn't be up here. I should be back in school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! “You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words. And yet I'm one of the lucky ones. People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction, and all you

  • 114 Going Bananas!

    114 Going Bananas!

    04/08/2019 Duração: 37min

    On This Week’s Show Scientist who can’t agree Were humans really in Europe 210,000 years ago? Really? And if you think that’s bananas then you’ll love the first story World experienced hottest June on record in 2019, says US agency Massive, Human-Size Jellyfish Stuns Divers Off the Coast of England Ebola Outbreak in Congo Is Declared a Global Health Emergency

  • 113 Apollo 11

    113 Apollo 11

    31/07/2019 Duração: 45min

    Fifty years since Apollo 11 first brought humankind to the Moon? No, it doesn't seem like yesterday. It's been way too long since we've left the comfort and safety of Earth orbit. Let's go back to the Moon and beyond! On This Week’s Show A recent visit to an asteroid Why catching a cold may not be such a bad thing after all And a not-so-recent visit to the moon Science News with Chris MacAlister and JD Goodwin Hayabusa-2: Japanese spacecraft makes final touchdown on asteroid Science News, The New York Times, Science It was only a few years ago that we were getting so excited by NASA’s Rosetta mission which orbited a comet, and its Philae lander which (kind of) successfully landed on it. As if this isn’t impressive enough, Haybusba-2 is basically showboating now because it’s not just gone down to the asteroid once, it’s now done it twice!  On its first landing (in February) it collected some surface material; and this was pretty much the best that could be hoped for since the asteroid turned out to be mu

  • 112 We Go to the Dogs

    112 We Go to the Dogs

    11/07/2019 Duração: 45min

    Do we love our pets, or what? Today’s episode is sure to please many of our canine family members. It may also annoy more than a few felines in the audience, though I suspect their reactions will be more toward haughty indifference.  On This Week’s Show Why people seem to match up so well with their pets How we can tell if someone or some thing is conscious Why our dogs are so frightened of fireworks Science News with Nevena Hristozova and Chris MacAlister Why pet people's personalities match those of their pets Nevena Hristozova First, using online questionnaires to establish the main traits of one’s personality, Sam Gosling from the University of Texas established, that there is partial truth in the common conception that there are dog-people and that there are cat-people and that in general, the personalities of dog people differ from those of cat people. “Compared to cat people, dog people tend to be more extroverted, agreeable and conscientious, and less neurotic and open,” says Gosling. That means t

  • 111 Limits of Human Endurance

    111 Limits of Human Endurance

    06/07/2019 Duração: 34min

    On This Week’s Show A weird star just rapidly dimmed and we don't know why Trump administration doubles down on anti-science Study of marathon runners reveals a ‘hard limit’ to human endurance Science News with Chris MacAlister, and JD Goodwin Crazy Star Chris MacAlister Little green men were being given the credit for some brief and irregular dips in luminosity of a star in the Cygnus constellation: the fetchingly named KIC 8462852. Maybe I should call it Kate for short.  Whilst we don’t know for sure what caused these dips, the leading theory is that some interstellar dust may have been the culprit. Which is slightly more probable than extraterrestrial spacecraft. But it seems that Kate hasn’t finished bamboozling astronomers just yet. Anecdotal accounts of this star dimming between 1890 and 1989 lead Josh Simon and Ben Montet of Carnegie and Caltech to perform a review of data from this star using a series of Kepler calibration images that had not previously been used for scientific measurements. What

  • 110 Summer and Science!

    110 Summer and Science!

    06/06/2019 Duração: 50min

    Summer is here. The pool is finally warm enough, and the barbecue grill is doing its magic. Time for some grillin’ and chillin’! Plug in your earpods as you flip those shrimp on the barbecue, drink that ice cold beer, and listen to this awesome episode of Blue Streak Science! On This Week’s Show Lessons learned from the mole rat We’re talking about fungus again Also, some interesting news on the Ebola front A report on eastern European universities…from an eastern European Science News with Dr. Amrita Sule, and Nevena Hristozova A type of African mole rat is immune to the pain of wasabi Amrita Sule Almost all animals including mice, flies, flatworms will try and naturally avoid allyl isothiocyanate (AITC), the compound responsible for wasabi’s pungent taste. Study published in Science last week reported that a species of mole rat, the highveld mole rat, a native of South Africa were completely insensitive to AITC. Numerous species have evolved from the naked mole rat species in various parts of Africa. Th

  • 109 Rocks, Fungi, Fish, Satellites, The Climate Lounge, and Pub Quiz

    109 Rocks, Fungi, Fish, Satellites, The Climate Lounge, and Pub Quiz

    30/05/2019 Duração: 51min

    Dateline: United Kingdom, Belgium, Washington, and California. Chris, Nevena, Tom, and JD bring you the latest science and discussion from around the world. Seriously, how cool is that? On This Week’s Show Old rocks Old fungi Tiny fish Internet satellites The Climate Lounge Pub Quiz Science News with Chris MacAlister, and Nevena Hristozova Organic matter from space preserved in 3.3 billion year old rocks Chris MacAlister The mountains of South Africa and Swaziland contain 3.3 billion year old volcanic rock which contains carbon filled layers. Geologists from France & Italy have been examining these layers and were surprised to find a thin layer where the profile of the carbon was consistent with an extraterrestrial origin. Whilst finding extraterrestrial organic matter is not unprecedented, to detect it 3.3 billion years later means that there must have been a lot of it there in the first place. If this can happen on Earth then it can happen elsewhere. So if we find it, will we know if it is native t

  • 108 New Form Of Water Discovered, Iterative Evolution, and Sea Otters

    108 New Form Of Water Discovered, Iterative Evolution, and Sea Otters

    24/05/2019 Duração: 24min

    “How can anybody in his right mind be against science?” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Cat's Cradle On This Week’s Show Ice-nine? A case of iterative evolution Sea otters are bouncing back Science News with Amrita Sule, and JD Goodwin A Bizarre New Form Of Water Is Discovered It’s been long known that ice exists in two solid forms – an amorphous one and a more ordered crystalline one. Now scientists have created a new form of water called the supersonic water/ice, which exists in a solid and liquid state. Water molecules consist of two hydrogen atoms attached to oxygen, which forms V shape. All these Vs can connect to form an airy structure. When squeezed the oxygen and hydrogens shuffle around to form other crystal structures. In order to make supersonic ice, scientists compressed water between two diamonds by subjecting it to very very high pressure. This squeezes the water into a type of ice known as ICE VII (60% denser than normal water). This compressed water was then zapped with a pulse of laser – heating it to t

  • 107 From the Challenger Deep to the Moon

    107 From the Challenger Deep to the Moon

    16/05/2019 Duração: 31min

    Tom and JD once again take the helm of the U.S.S. Blue Streak Science (DD-981). Our voyage takes us down to the Challenger Deep, and all the way up to the Moon. Along the way we make port calls in England and New Zealand. Permission to come aboard? Permission granted! On This Week’s Show The Challenger Deep Moonquakes Killer Frog Virus Parrot gets its noggin patched up The Climate Lounge Science News with JD Goodwin Deepest dive ever finds plastic bag at the bottom of the Mariana Trench Explorer and businessman Victor Vescovo descended 10,927 meters (35,853) feet into the Pacific Ocean, breaking the record for deepest dive ever 3.5 to 4 hours to reach the record-breaking depth The pressure at that depth is about 1,100 kg/square cm Total of five dives Observed many species including four possible new species of amphipods, like crustaceans without shells Also, a plastic bag This journey to the Challenger deep spent hours in that extreme environment and not only was there life, there is a thriving ecosystem

  • 106 United Nations Report on Extinction

    106 United Nations Report on Extinction

    10/05/2019 Duração: 22min

    It’s just Tom and JD today. Can they keep the most awesome science podcast off the rocks? Tune in and find out! Oh, the suspense! On This Week’s Show Blue Streak Science News The Climate Lounge Humans Are Speeding Extinction at an Unprecedented Pace On the heels of a report earlier this year that shows insect populations worldwide are crashing we have new summary report from United Nations that finds more than a million plants and animals are facing extinction as a result of human activity. One in four known species are at risk of extinction. Human suffering will increase as a consequence of our actions Loss in biodiversity is putting our food and water resources at risk, as well as human health The report was compiled by hundreds of international experts and was based on thousands of scientific studies Is the most comprehensive report on the decline in biodiversity on the planet Summary was released in Paris on Monday Full report to be published later this year Native plant and animal life has fallen by

  • 105 The Latest Buzz on DEET, and Measles Cases Spotted Again

    105 The Latest Buzz on DEET, and Measles Cases Spotted Again

    02/05/2019 Duração: 37min

    And you thought measles had been eradicated in the United States, and that it was a harmless childhood annoyance. Guess what? Not so much. Measles kills, as does science illiteracy. On This Week’s Show Science news of the week The Pub Quiz  More than 1,000 quarantined amid measles fears at Los Angeles universities Do you remember a few weeks ago when we spoke about flat Earthers? And we agreed that whilst they pay be as potty as a pantry, at least they aren't doing anyone any harm. We'll we can't say the same for anti-vaxxers and this as been demonstrated in LA where over 1000 people have been quarantined or sent home over measles fears in universities. The U.S. is experiencing a 25 year high in measles cases Quarantine was imposed on people who were at risk of exposure to people with confirmed measles cases based on shared study spaces. It was also legally binding. Quarantine also covered no travel on public transportation, including planes, trains, buses or taxis. 38 cases have been confirmed. Over 3x mo

  • 104 Happy Earth Day to You

    104 Happy Earth Day to You

    25/04/2019 Duração: 37min

    Happy Earth Day (week), everyone! It was back in 1970 that the first ever Earth Day was celebrated at over two thousand colleges and universities, even more primary and secondary schools, as well as hundreds of cities and towns across the United States. Today more than 190 countries take part in Earth Day activities. Celebrate our beautiful Earth! On This Week’s Show Science News Pub Quiz Science News with Chris MacAlister and Dr. Amrita Sule The Significance of Significance Chris MacAlister So, it appears the statisticians have significant concerns over the significance of significance. So much so that they have decided that our old measures of significances are no longer significant. And I have decided that this story will work much better if I significantly increase my vocabulary for the remainder of it. Statistics has been the bane on many a student’s life. I for one studied biological sciences for 2 reasons; 1 I love it and 2 it involves much less maths than any of the others. So you can imagine my jo

  • 103 HPV Vaccine, Fossil Death Pit, Superbug Fungus, and so much more

    103 HPV Vaccine, Fossil Death Pit, Superbug Fungus, and so much more

    11/04/2019 Duração: 37min

    We welcome back our very own Amrita Sule. Hey, that’s Doctor Sule to you, buddy! She was out there in the world doing all that science-y stuff like traveling, going to conferences, socializing, networking. Oh, and doing science. It’s our privilege to present Amrita, Nevena Hristozova, and Tom Di Liberto for our 103rd episode. On This Week’s Show Walking whales New Yorker article carks it in fossil death pit Planet survives death of its sun…barely Public health success story in Scotland Science News with Dr. Amrita Sule and Nevena Hristozova Fossil of ancient four-legged whale found in Peru Amrita Sule Researchers have found well-preserved bones of an ancient whale along the coast of Peru. This is a 42.6 million-year-old fossil of a whale, which had legs with hooves and was a land-dwelling mammal. Olivier Lambert, from Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels and his team, had been digging around the barren coastal regions of Peru. His team found a jawbone with very large teeth. They kept di

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