Loch Screen

A global team of scientists plans to scour the icy depths of Loch Ness next month using environmental DNA (eDNA) in an experiment that may discover whether Scotland’s fabled monster really does, or did, exist. Whenever a creature moves through its environment, it leaves behind tiny fragments of DNA from skin, scales, feathers, fur, faeces and urine. This story has really left a mark on Jeff and Anthony.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Measuring a Cute Angle (W/ Mica Burton)

PATRONS GET A BONUS EPISODE WITH MICA. LISTEN TO IT HERE: https://www.patreon.com/posts/19007770/

There are roughly (or, if you prefer, ruffly) a billion dogs on the planet. Although dogs and humans have been existing alongside one another for tens of thousands of years, experts say 85 percent of the world’s dogs are feral. When pups are between two and three months old, their mothers will abandon them for any number of reasons. Without mothers, how are these abandoned pups supposed to survive? Science says that if they’re cute enough, puppies can make it by tricking humans into adopting them. Jeff and Anthony consider adopting one billion dogs.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Rice Guys Finish Last

How you behave in Starbucks may reveal something about whether your ancestors grew wheat or rice. That’s the conclusion of a new study in China, which finds that people descended from wheat farmers—who largely rely on themselves—typically drink coffee alone, whereas descendants of rice growers—who must work with their community to build complex irrigation fields—tend to sip in groups. Jeff and Anthony wonder where Pumpkin Spice Latte drinkers came from.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Been Taught Stealin’

The number of self-check out terminals around the world is predicted to reach 325,000 by 2019 and some stores have even become fully self service. But for some supermarket customers, the removal of store clerks has been a green light for dishonest behaviour. Customers are now relatively autonomous in the picking, payment and packing of goods they wish to purchase, but trusting them to process an honest and correct transaction is not without problems. Jeff and Anthony have an unexpected item in the bagging area and need some help.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Memories For Snail

Biologists report they have transferred a memory from one marine snail to another, creating an artificial memory, by injecting RNA from one to another. This research could lead to new ways to treat traumatic memories with RNA — perhaps a traumatic memory could be altered — and perhaps new ways to restore lost memories. Jeff and Anthony wonder if this technique could be used to help them forget their awkward teenage phases.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Working Like a Dog

If you’re a dog lover, just being with your pet feels good. So it’s no surprise that therapy dogs are healing companions for people with health conditions. Research confirms that the benefits of pet therapy are real—but what do dogs think about helping humans? Science has considered this question too, and the results are reassuring. Jeff and Anthony discuss whether or not these findings apply to Anthony’s perfect prince.  More Details/Download MP3 →

High Blood Treasure

James Harrison, an Australian man whose blood contains a rare antibody that can create a treatment that saves babies’ lives, has donated plasma one last time. Harrison, known as “the man with a golden arm,” has donated blood and plasma regularly for more than six decades, from age 18 to age 81. The service estimates that over the course of his life, he has helped save some 2.4 million babies. Jeff and Anthony want to try some of that sweet, sweet blood.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Balloonacy

The words “balloonfest” and “disaster” don’t necessarily seem to go together – except in the case of the 1986 Cleveland Balloonfest, which really did end in disaster for the city. The Cleveland Balloonfest was a fundraiser that attempted to beat Disneyland’s previous record of most balloons released at once. Although the photos are beautiful, the results were disastrous for the environment and the city. On the bright side, Jeff and Anthony think that Cleveland will hold the record for quite a while.  More Details/Download MP3 →

Alchemical Intelligence

Ali Rahimi, a researcher in artificial intelligence (AI) at Google, took a swipe at his field last December—and received a 40-second ovation for it. Speaking at an AI conference, Rahimi charged that machine learning algorithms, in which computers learn through trial and error, have become a form of “alchemy.” Researchers, he said, do not know why some algorithms work and others don’t. Without deep understanding of the basic tools needed to build and train new algorithms, he says, researchers creating AIs resort to hearsay, like medieval alchemists. Jeff and Anthony are ready for the 24k gold robots.  More Details/Download MP3 →

The Space Between

In the beginning, the rules of the space bar were simple. Two spaces after each period. Every time. Easy. That made sense in the age of the typewriter. Letters of uniform width looked cramped without extra space after the period. Typists learned not to do it. But then, at the end of the 20th century, the typewriter gave way to the word processor, and the computer, and modern variable-width fonts. And the world divided. Jeff and Anthony try not to space out during this very interesting episode.  More Details/Download MP3 →