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Ep. 498: Dwarf Galaxy Update

The Milky Way has gobbled up dozens of dwarf galaxies and added them to its structure. Today we're going to look at the ongoing hunt for the wreckage of past mergers. And what we've discovered about dwarf galaxies in general.

Astronomy Cast: On Hiatus until September 2018

Astronomy Cast will be on hiatus for July and August. Don't worry, we'll be back in September, and will be gearing up for our 500th episode!

Backchat June 2018: Lab health, email briefings, and CRISPR

In this month’s roundtable, we discuss lab health, email briefings, and how science stories can affect the stock market.

Increasing transparency in animal research to sway public opinion, and a reaching a plateau in human mortality

Public opinion on the morality of animal research is on the downswing in the United States. But some researchers think letting the public know more about how animals are used in experiments might turn things around. Online News Editor David Grimm joins Sarah Crespi to talk about these efforts. Sarah also talks Ken Wachter of the University of California, Berkeley about his group’s careful analysis of data from all living Italians born 105 or more years before the study. It turns out the risk of dying does not continue to accelerate with age, but actually plateaus around the age of 105. What does this mean for attempts to increase human lifespan? In this month’s book segment, Jen Golbeck talks with Simon Winchester about his book The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World. Read more book reviews at our books blog, Books et al. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: Chris Jones/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

27 June 2018: Air pollution, sick plants, and stress

This week, the relationship between air pollution and infant death in Africa, stressed brains, and diagnosing sick plants from afar.

Ep. 497: Update on Globular Clusters

Is it globular clusters or is it globeular clusters? It doesn't matter, they're awesome and we're here to update you on them.

New evidence in Cuba’s ‘sonic attacks,’ and finding an extinct gibbon—in a royal Chinese tomb

Since the 2016 reports of a mysterious assault on U.S. embassy staff in Cuba, researchers have struggled to find evidence of injury or weapon. Now, new research has discovered inner-ear damage in some of the personnel complaining of symptoms. Former International News Editor Rich Stone talks to host Sarah Crespi about the case, including new reports of a similar incident in China, and what kind of weapon—if any—might have been involved. Sarah also talks with Staff Writer Gretchen Vogel about the bones of an extinct gibbon found in a 2200- to 2300-year-old tomb in China. Although gibbons were often featured in historical poetry and paintings, these bones confirm their presence and the fact that they were distinct from today’s species.   Read the research. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: Pedro Szekely; Music: Jeffrey Cook] 

21 June 2018: Pancreatic cancer, silica cages, and AI bias

This week, pancreatic cancer-related weight loss, tiny silica cages, and bias in Artificial Intelligence algorithms.

Ep. 496: Update on Stellar Populations I, II, and III

Another update show, this time on the various generations of stars, let's get into it.

The places where HIV shows no sign of ending, and the parts of the human brain that are bigger—in bigger brains

Nigeria, Russia, and Florida seem like an odd set, but they all have one thing in common: growing caseloads of HIV. Science Staff Writer Jon Cohen joins host Sarah Crespi to talk about this week’s big read on how the fight against HIV/AIDS is evolving in these diverse locations. Sarah also talks with Armin Raznahan of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland, about his group’s work measuring which parts of the human brain are bigger in bigger brains. Adult human brains can vary as much as two times in size—and until now this expansion was thought to be evenly distributed. However, the team found that highly integrative regions are overrepresented in bigger brains, whereas regions related to processing incoming sensory information such as sight and sound tend to be underrepresented.  This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: Misha Friedman; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

14 June 2018: Baobab tree death, zebrafish stem cells, and ice in Antarctica

This week, the mysterious death of African baobab trees, Antarctica’s past, present, and future, and how zebrafish protect their stem cells.

Science books for summer, and a blood test for predicting preterm birth

What book are you taking to the beach or the field this summer? Science’s books editor Valerie Thompson and host Sarah Crespi discuss a selection of science books that will have you catching comets and swimming with the fishes. Sarah also talks with Mira Moufarrej of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, about her team’s work on a new blood test that analyzes RNA from maternal blood to determine the gestational age of a fetus. This new approach may also help predict the risk of preterm birth. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: William Warby/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]
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07 June 2018: Magnetic animal migration, cold enzymes, and mouse memory

This week, making enzymes work better in the cold, short-term memory production in mice, and magnetic detection in animals.

Ep. 494: Icy Moons Update 2018

Thanks to Cassini and other spacecraft, we've learned a tremendous amount about the icy worlds in the Solar System, from Jupiter's Europa to Saturn's Enceladus, to Pluto's Charon. Geysers, food for bacteria, potential oceans under the ice and more. What new things have we learned about these places?

The first midsize black holes, and the environmental impact of global food production

Astronomers have been able to detect supermassive black holes and teeny-weeny black holes but the midsize ones have been elusive. Now, researchers have scanned through archives looking for middle-size galaxies and found traces of these missing middlers. Host Sarah Crespi and Staff Writer Daniel Clery discuss why they were so hard to find in the first place, and what it means for our understanding of black hole formation. Farming animals and plants for human consumption is a massive operation with a big effect on the planet. A new research project that calculated the environmental impact of global food production shows highly variable results for different foods—and for the same foods grown in different locations. Sarah talks with one of the researchers—Joseph Poore of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom—about how understanding this diversity can help cut down food production’s environmental footprint and help consumers make better choices. This week’s episode was edited by Podigy. Listen to previous podcasts. [Image: Miltos Gikas/Flickr; Music: Jeffrey Cook]

31 May 2018: Boosting diversity in physics, and life after an asteroid impact

This week, boosting diversity in physics graduate programs, and life’s recovery after a massive asteroid impact.

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