Surgical oncologist Max Buttarelli (C) carries out intraoperative radiation therapy on a breast cancer patient on November 2, 2017, in the surgical unit of the Paoli-Calmettes Institute overall cancer care centre in Marseille, southeastern France.
Intraoperative radiotherapy is the application of a single dose of therapeutic levels of radiation using an Intrabeam device to the tumor bed after the cancerous tumor has been extracted and while the area is exposed during surgery. / AFP PHOTO / ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT        (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Sign on the Clotted Spine

It’s usually OK to be proud of your work and lend your name to it. But most people would draw the line at signing their initials into the flesh of internal organs. Not Dr. Simon Bramhall of the UK, apparently. He pleaded guilty to charges that he etched his initials, “SB,” onto the livers of two transplant patients with an argon beam in 2013. Jeff and Anthony discuss whether this should be a crime at all, and what kind of person does it.  More Details/Download MP3 →


The Nutty Processor

Squirrels can bury up to 10,000 nuts annually, many of which they do go back and find. A recent study on cognition in the journal Royal Society Open Science examines how fox squirrels keep track of their nuts, and whether those techniques can be used by humans. Anthony and Jeff discuss the finding in hopes of learning to chunk like squirrel.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Have a Tat Habitat

Engineers at MIT have developed a temporary tattoo that’s 3-D printed with living ink. The tattoo is made up of bacterial cells that are genetically programmed to light up when exposed to different types of stimuli. Jeff and Anthony discuss the usefulness of a living tattoo and whether they’d want to get all inked up for science.  More Details/Download MP3 →


School Injection

Two neuroscientists at the University of Rochester say they have managed to introduce information directly into the premotor cortex of monkeys. Anthony and Jeff discuss the idea of injecting information directly into the brain, and what it could mean for monkeys – and humans.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Ground Control to Major Germ

According to a new study in the journal PeerJ, the interior surfaces of the 17-year-old, 250-mile-high, airtight International Space Station harbor at least 1,000 and perhaps more than 4,000 microbe species. Jeff and Anthony discuss germs in space, and the very real society of Cheerleader Scientists.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Shake, Rattle, and Roil

In a study published in Geophysical Research Letters earlier this year, Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana predict that, because of Earth’s slowing rotation, the world will see a significant spike in large earthquakes in 2018. Jeff and Anthony take a look at their findings to decide whether they should start to panic.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Die Hardly

Rather than go with realistic methods of death, many films contain unbelievable movie death scenes that viewers accept as possible because they have been shown so many times. These movie death myths have become tropes that are used throughout the industry but that no one questions. Time to question them! Jeff and Anthony run down 11 movie deaths that don’t hold up to science.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Public Dowsing

Ten of the 12 water companies in the UK have admitted they are still using the practice of water dowsing despite the lack of scientific evidence for its effectiveness. Jeff and Anthony discuss why a public utility would use such a debunked and decidedly unscientific method.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Endeavor Young

A small cluster of stem cells in the brain seems to help mice stay young, and injecting extra stem cells helps them live longer. The hypothalamus, which releases hormones that affect other organs, seems to affect how mice age. By interfering with a molecular pathway in the hypothalamus, a team pf scientists has extended the lifespan of mice by 20 per cent. Anthony and Jeff discuss this event, and wonder if they can be forever young.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Understanding Know

According to new linguistic analysis published in the journal Public Understanding of Science, even scientists who write about public comprehension of scientific ideas overwhelmingly conflate the terms “knowledge” and “understanding.” The researchers argue that this linguistic imprecision is problematic—not just for scientists, but for all of us. Jeff and Anthony discuss the distinction, and try to understand what they know.  More Details/Download MP3 →