Ants vs Zombies

We’ve known about zombie ants for some time. These are ants infected with the parasitic fungus, O. unilateralis, which takes over their bodies amd moved them around like a zombie. This fungus is often referred to as a “brain parasite,” but new research published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the brains of these zombie ants are left intact by the parasite, and that O. unilateralis is able to control the actions of its host by infiltrating and surrounding muscle fibers throughout the ant’s body. Jeff and Anthony wonder if these new revelations are better or worse for the ants… or us.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Dinky is the Brain

Scientists can grow miniature versions of human brains — called organoids — in the lab, but during the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience two teams of scientists presented previously unpublished research on how these human mini-brains can grow inside other animals. Namely, rats. Jeff and Anthony discuss the idea of rats with human brains and what that might mean for the ethics of science.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Fooly Manmoth

Swallowed by a sinkhole. Washed away by a mudflow. Drowned after falling through thin ice. These are the fates that many unlucky mammoths suffered in Siberia thousands of years ago. Their well-preserved fossils have provided paleobiologists with insight into their prehistoric lives. Now, after performing a genetic analysis on the remains from the furry victims of natural traps, a team of scientists made a striking discovery: Most were male. Jeff and Anthony discuss whether this strange statistical anomaly tells us something about the male version of the species.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Daylight Salving Time

Nathaniel Hoyle of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, and his team have been investigating how the time of day affects wound healing, after they discovered that cuts and burns seem to heal twice as fast if sustained during daytime hours rather than at night. Jeff and Anthony discuss this phenomenon and try to decide if it is even worth being Wild Boyz anymore.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Pyramid Seam

Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Giza—one of the wonders of the ancient world, and a dazzling feat of architectural genius—contains a hidden void at least a hundred feet long. The void is the first large inner structure discovered within the 4,500-year-old pyramid since the 1800s—a find made possible by recent advances in high-energy particle physics. Anthony and Jeff discuss the mysteries of Egypt and if this discovery is worth getting excited about.  More Details/Download MP3 →



Brain scans have revealed that when your mind wanders, it switches into “autopilot” mode, enabling you to carry on doing tasks quickly, accurately and without conscious thought. Jeff and Anthony discuss this internal autopilot mode and how they can harness it to be better at stuff.  More Details/Download MP3 →


I’ll Have What She’s Having

Marine biologists from the Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Portsmouth in the UK published a study on the feeding preferences of nudibranches, a kind of sea slug that might be targeting prey with full bellies. They coined the term “kleptopredation” to describe the behavior, but there is some uncertainty about it. Anthony and Jeff dive into the details to see if eating a animal that has just eaten is better.  More Details/Download MP3 →


500 Ways of Bummer

Behold! It is the 500th episode of We Have Concerns! Since that is a nice, round number, Anthony and Jeff take an episode to answer some listener questions and reflect on how the hell they got here.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Death Becomes Sure

According to researchers in New York, a person’s brain is still active after death, meaning in many cases they can be aware that they’ve passed away. Anthony is, of course fascinated with this, and forces Jeff to once again deal with his own mortality.  More Details/Download MP3 →


Do Not Pass Go

AlphaGo the AI developed to play the ancient board game, Go, crushed 18-time world champion Lee Sedol and the reigning world number one player, Ke Jie. But now, an even more superior competitor is in town. AlphaGo Zero has beaten AlphaGo 100-0 after training for just a fraction of the time AlphaGo needed, and it didn’t learn from observing humans playing against each other – unlike AlphaGo. Anthony and Jeff discuss how it did it, and what it means for the future of AI.  More Details/Download MP3 →