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Learner’s Hermit (LIVE from PAX South 2017!)

The Austrian town of Saalfelden in the state of Salzburg is looking for someone to live in a nearby hermitage which was built more than 350 years ago in steep, rocky cliffs. So they put out an ad for a hermit. Meanwhile, a hermit in Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town deserted since the 1920s, spent the last 40 years recording all sorts of data, from daily snowfalls, temperatures, snow melting, animal sightings, and became one of the best resources scientists have to better understand global warming. Jeff and Anthony discuss these 2 hermit stories and decide whether the hermit life is for them.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Pig Me (LIVE from PAX South 2017!)

Scientists have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. Anthony, Jeff, and special guests Mikey Neuman and Kris Straub from Chainsawsuit discuss the pros and cons of creating human animal hybrids in the lab.

This episode was recorded LIVE at PAX South 2017 in San Antionio. Thanks to everyone who came out to the live performance!  More Details/Download MP3 →

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True to Your Self

Why do we, as humans, have a sense of self?  One new theory is that a “self” actually contributes to a stronger and more robust group dynamic.  In order for a group to be more capable of surviving, it needs to be made up of specialized individuals who are drawn to disparate tasks.  Anthony and Jeff selflessly tackle this subject, and try to figure out if being one is better for the many.  More Details/Download MP3 →

DNA Activation Codes

DNA to Z

Scientists have created bacteria that thrive using an expanded “genetic alphabet”. The blueprint for all life forms on Earth is written in a code consisting of four “letters”: A, T, C and G, which pair up in the DNA double helix. But the lab organism has been modified to use an additional two, giving it a genetic code of six letters.  Jeff and Anthony try to figure out why they are doing this, and discuss what this might mean for the future.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Fully Operational

During WWII, there was a mathematician named Abraham Wald. Wald had an idea about allied bombers. Essentially, bombers were coming back after bombing runs with a lot of damage. Engineers were saying “okay, there’s a lot of damage in the wings and tail, so that’s where we should put the armor.” Right? Not so much.  Wald’s analysis of where they should really be putting armor became the fundamentals of Operational Science.  Jeff and Anthony discuss this idea and what it means today.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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O2 Joy

It’s generally thought that the evolution of complex life was a rare, once-in-4.5-billion-years event. But new research suggests that conditions were right for complex cells to evolve and die off at least once – or perhaps several times – before our lineage even got started.  The reason? New evidence that there was enough oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere between 2.4 and 2 billion years ago before it dropped off again suddenly.  This suggests that the ingredients for complex life were present before the first fossil evidence of complex life.  Jeff and Anthony discuss the uses for oxygen, and propose some reasons why it may have fluctuated.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Thirst World Problem

Everything we eat is flooded with “virtual water,” or water used indirectly to produce food from cradle to grave. In fact, 70% of the world’s water consumption feeds the agriculture industry, and demand for fresh water is increasing at a rate of one trillion liters a year. The GRACE Communications Foundation wants people thinking more critically about the water in their food, and has released a report that includes the average global water footprints for some of our most beloved—and resource-hogging—foods.  Anthony and Jeff step through these findings and try to decide what to do with the information.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Headset Mindset

After exploring a virtual world, some people can’t shake the sense that the actual world isn’t real, either.  Does the new technology of VR bring with it a new kind of depression?  Anthony and Jeff discuss a world where real life is a let down compared to VR.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Goos of Egypt

Plastic surgeon Stanley Jacobs was obsess with an ancient Egyptian text about surgery known as the Edwin Smith Papyrus.  Particularly,  a recipe at the back of the book, titled “Transforming an Old Man Into a Youth.”  His investigation into what this particular recipe was revealed that ancient Egyptians were far ahead of their time in unexpected ways.  Jeff and Anthony discuss moisturizers,  skin care, and lost knowledge.  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Append and Cite Us

Scientists have never been certain what the appendix used to do — and if it is still, in fact, useless. On Jan. 9, a team of researchers led by scientists at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine published a review study proposing an answer: the appendix is a secondary immune function that both catalyzes immune cell responses and floods your gut with beneficial bacteria when they’ve been depleted. And it still plays that role, in a limited fashion, in human body function.  Anthony and Jeff come to terms with their own fear of appendicitis and if knowing the organ’s function changes their view.    More Details/Download MP3 →