Transcipt: April 08, 2008

Justin: Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Not since the days of the traveling circus side show carnival of conjoined contortionist, limbless, jugglers, and knife throwing micro-cephalic has the American imagination have been so enthralled with the bearded lady. And the pregnant one at that!

Still science assures though the imagination may wonder, the headlines may proclaim, and her beard may tickle, it is still not possible for a man to be pregnant. While the following freak show of programming does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the University of California Davies KDVS and it’s sponsors.

It does offer a look into a world of wonder and amazement. That will at once startle and astonish your senses. You won’t believe your own ears, when you peak behind the canvas curtain and witness for yourself, all the strangeness that awaits you in This Week in Science. Coming up next.

(Music Playing)

Justin: Good morning Kirsten.

Kirsten: Good morning Justin. How are you doing today?

Justin: Awesome.

Kirsten: Awesome. We’re getting into, hang, we already two weeks in the April. This is amazing!

Justin: This is incredibly…

Kirsten: This year’s going to be over before I knew it.

Justin: I know Kirsten.

Kirsten: Just last weekend I got to hang out with the experimental biology conference down in San Diego. Yes, it was pretty cool. I watched a movie while I listened to half of it. Because there was standing room only in the room.

The conference room, for this movie called Flock of Dodos. And I suggest everybody out there, if they have the opportunity, you know, if they come across this movie. It’s a great look from the evolution stand point of the intelligent design being taught in schools debate.

And there’s also– there’s just another movie that came out called Bernstein’s Expelled which is from the intelligent design side. So if you’re really interested in taking a look at how the two sides are putting their ideas forward…

Justin: Those are the two latest propaganda movies out there…

Kirsten: Yes, from both sides. And you know, that was one of the really interesting aspects of being able to listen to this film from the floor. Because I couldn’t see anything, I was like I was wearing heels, my back was hurting…

Justin: Wearing heels and being 5’4”.

Kirsten: (laughs) Exactly. Everybody is taller. I was trying, I was really trying. Yes, it was great! It was very interesting film put forward a lot of ideas, a lot of opinions, you know, why do they have to put that out there.

And so it’s – maybe useful and educational for people to take a look. Now that we have these two films on both sides of the issue. Maybe address it, maybe take a look at what people are saying, you know. Educate yourself people.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Yes. Well, this is This Week in Science. And we are going to be here for gosh!

Justin: Ever.

Kirsten: Ever and ever and ever (laughs)

Justin: Never leaving. We’ve blockaded all the entrances to stations. We’re taking over.

Kirsten: That’s right! You get science forever!

Justin: I might need more coffee though. I need very, very much.

Kirsten: (laughs) No. you’re going to have work on that last time.

Justin: I didn’t plan this.

Kirsten: No, didn’t plan it out very well.

Justin: Geez, spur of the moment take over.

Kirsten: (Laughs) Michael Stebbins will be joining us at 9 o’clock a little bit there after. And we’ll be talking with him about the weird going on in Washington.

Justin: There’s weird in Washington, but there’s weird in Kalimantan. Home of the monkey cat.

Kirsten: Kalimantan the monkey cats! Yehey!

Justin: The researchers have found a lung less frog. And lung less frog, a Barbourula kalimantanensis.

Kirsten: Of course it’s Kalimanta’s

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: The lung less frog and the monkey cats.

Justin: It’s like kalimantanensis are behind everything.

Kirsten: Kalimantan! It’s great!

Justin: It lives in cold fast moving highly oxygenated waters and can severely flatten its body to increase the surface area of it’s skin by which it’s pulling in the oxygen.

And apparently, the lungs, like the researchers heard about it, went and kept looking for the frog, brought kept finally found it. And even while doing the dissection, did not believe they’re going to open up the frog and find no lungs.

Kirsten: No lungs.

Justin: They were thinking maybe it was, you know, just maybe it had moved to different place.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Maybe looked funky, maybe there was just a mistake. Nope, no lungs. No lungs!

Kirsten: Well, it’s not difficult to believe that there would be an animal like this on the planet. While frog…

Justin: And amphibian animals.

Kirsten: And amphibian, exactly. Amphibians tends to respire through their skin in part. So, it’s not a big stretch for you know, if there’s enough oxygen in the surrounding environment and you know, if there’s – I think it would be a small enough size as well, for the oxygen to be able to diffuse from the environment through the skin, in to the blood stream. They probably have…

Justin: I unfortunately don’t know how big is it…

Kirsten: …pretty hefty capillaries at the surface of the skin. That’s what I would imagine .

Justin: But it says it severely flatten itself. So could be actually rather large…

Kirsten: Super flat frog!

Justin: And just make it super. But it also…

Kirsten: That frog could be no fun to play frogger with.

Justin: No.

Kirsten: (laughs) It’s already flat.

Justin: Well, it also without the lungs, it sinks to the bottom. Right?

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: It stops floating, right?

Kirsten: Oh, right.

Justin: So it’s always under the water.

Kirsten: The buoyancy.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Huh!

Justin: The only – I have here…

Kirsten: Is it really an amphibian then? If it’s always under water?

Justin: Yes. Salamanders can do this. The salamanders are the ones amphibian. A few variety…

Kirsten: Yes, they have gills, the ones – the salamander if have the big …

Justin: Oh, they’re gilled?

Kirsten: Yes, they’re like gills. They have those big fury like extension off the side of their necks. And those are gills. Like fish, so they grab the oxygen off it.

Justin: Fury gills?

Kirsten: Oh, it’s not fury. It’s just they look kind of fronded.

Justin: But they’re not gill. They’re not like slit in the side. Like a fish, they’re not like a fish gill though.

Kirsten: Kind of. Similar. Like yes, I mean they’re not exactly similar.

Justin: You’re on the outside.

Kirsten: You’re on the outside and I think there have – I haven’t reviewed my herpetology in recent history. So if there is any …

Justin: Damn you! With that…

Kirsten: (laughs) If there any Herp experts out there, give us a call at 752-2777 and school us on the anatomy of the salamander. And let us know, what a stretch it would be for this frog, to have no lungs.

Justin: Yes, lung less frog. Move over bearded lady, here’s lung less frog. That’s freak show.

Kirsten: (laughs) Oh, my goodness. What was the next article that I added in the story? Who kill the Woolly mammoth?

Justin: Oh. I know this one, I know this one.

Kirsten: You did? Shall I pick you?

Justin: Yes, pick me, pick me.

Kirsten: George.

Justin: Hey, I had…

Kirsten: Beth

Justin: I had predicted the answer.

Kirsten: (laughs)What’s the answer Justin?

Justin: People and global warming?

Kirsten: People and global warming, exactly. 42,000 years ago, there are woolly mammoths. And then there were humans. And in the middle of Holocene 6,000 years ago, the woolly mammoths was going extinct. And researchers are saying that it’s because of humans.

Justin: Hungry ones.

Kirsten: Hungry humans. They examined the most recent research on this, examined the factors that may have led to the death of the mammoths. They performed modeling of the climate, at the time that the mammoths existed during the last ice age.

They related the fossil record showing the distribution and the age, the population dynamics of the mammoths that what was left of the mammoths anyway? And then, that was related to maps of the mean high temperature and the mean low temperature and rainfall on the Eurasian super continent.

And they took three time points during the last glacial advance in the Pleistocene, 42,000 years ago. 30,000 years ago, and 21,000 years ago and at a point 6,000 years ago after the ice age was over.

They put all these things together, aligned their models on the Eurasian super continent 126,000 years ago, which is before the planet warmed, before the glacial advances, and it allowed them to build the estimate what the characteristics and the extent of the animals’ habitat happened to be at various time points.

Justin: And in turn, they are getting closer and closer to our or we were getting closer and closer to what they were and vice versa?

Kirsten: Right. So they found that as the planet warmed up the habitat just started disappearing. So they lost habitat that’s number one. It shrank from 7.7 million square kilometers 42,000 years ago, to .8 million square kilometers 6,000 years ago.

So climate change, as it went from glacial to inter glacial period, they just lost their habitat. The things that they preferred probably you know, the right temperatures, the right amount of rain fall, the right food sources, those all started disappearing. And they got squeezed into coastal areas in Eurasia.

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: Yes, and so.

Justin: Bad place if you’re a big piece of meat and you’ve got a bunch of hungry…

Kirsten: Exactly.

Justin: …carnivore people just figure out how to use a spear.

Kirsten: Yes. So there was point in time .3 million when they only had .3 million square kilometers a 126,000 years ago. And the species probably almost died out at that point. But the one thing that allowed them to survive was that they were not being hunted 126,000 years ago. Whereas, 6,000 years ago, they were being hunted.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Hunted to the brink, past the brink and…

Justin: That’s one of things I think, why people will survive forever. Like there “ Here and people” — I don’t think people ever not be on the planet. Because we hunt each other constantly, in different sociological ways. Not just like — not to eat each other.

Kirsten: Not to – (laughs) What are you talking about?

Justin: No. But we hunt each other economically, we hunt each other politically, we hunt each other for romance and what have you. So I think we’re always on guard for something to be trying to get us.

Kirsten: Trying to get us?

Justin: Yes. In a good way or bad way doesn’t matter – but I think we…

Kirsten: Well, I mean you weren’t hunting mammoths because we thought they were coming to get us.

Justin: No, no, no.

Kirsten: We were hunting mammoths because we were hungry.

Justin: I am talking about from the perspective about the mammoths not having the defense okay, if you’re not hunted, somebody watch right up to with the sphere, right? And you’re like, “Hey, what’s up?” you know, you don’t know any better.

Kirsten: No, you don’t know. And you see that in animals in an areas the behavior of animals in the areas where there are not people and animals are not hunted or where they don’t have any predators of any kind. The animals are much more precocious and willing to come up and say, “Hey, how is it going?” Yes.

Justin: But then go to a big city, right? And see how un-precocious people. (laughs)

Kirsten: Well, you know, there’s always the pigeons and the house birds and house finches…

Justin: House finches?

Kirsten: House finches in the cities. Oh yes, the one’s when you’re sitting outside, eating food, they come up and they’re like “Feed me, feed me.” They’re not afraid of being hunted.

Justin: Not afraid at all.

Kirsten: No. Yes, so their model suggest areas where in the final aspect of the study in addition to kind a giving us an idea of what really led to demise of these mammoths was also that the modeling and suggesting in their habitat, ended up in the end of their existence.

It suggest areas where we might be able to find more fossilized mammoth remains. So I kind of give researchers an idea of where to go hunting.

Justin: And perhaps some early men if we were pursuing this prey, to it’s last habitat, then there might be some early men. Let’s finds out where to be founded.

Kirsten: Yes. Founded?

Justin: Founded.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: We did just…

Kirsten: That’s a double past tense.

Justin: We did just find something, recently.

Kirsten: Hmmm.

Justin: DNA acts within to find the recently. They found this like 70 years ago. This cave that had all these artifacts in it in Oregon. But there was some correlation between some perhaps there was human activity, there was caves and lots of bones with large predators.

There was camels, horse, you know, I mean, this is in Oregon, right? This is before they all disappeared from our continent.

Kirsten: Really?

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Camels? In Oregon?

Justin: Yes. Camels, horses and bison.

Kirsten: I know about the bison, but I don’t know there were camels on the North American continent.

Justin: Camels and horses. They weren’t horses for a long time after this.

Kirsten: Ha!

Justin: Yes. This is a 14th – well, this is DNA they’ve now extracted from a 14,300 year old human poop.

Kirsten: They have. That’s right. The fossilized human feces.

Justin: Poop.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: Which is correct, I think poop is the correct term isn’t it?

Kirsten: Feces.

Justin: Well. It was recovered from a more Oregon’s Paisley caves making the oldest verified evidence of humans in the America’s to date. Now there’s other potential evidence, but this is the first one that they’ve gotten DNA out of, so they can sort of track where the human thing it was. They got the radiocarbon. It’s about 1200 years prior to Clovis culture. 1200 years.

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: That’s more than a millenium.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: (unintelligible)

Kirsten: I think – yes, what’s the term? Ancient feces, the fossilized feces is Coprolites.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Coprolites, that’s the term. I don’t know, I think that would be one area of paleontology that – I don’t know if I would …

Justin: Why not? That will be awesome. It will be awesome. I mean, one of the funny thing one of the articles I read pointed out that it was dried human feces.

Kirsten: To tell you a lot.

Justin: Like okay, after 14,300 – okay…

Kirsten: You’d hope so?

Justin: Yes. I mean, well, anyway, it’s nice for the writer to throw that dried in their , so were not having the wrong picture

Kirsten: Thank you.

Justin: Yes. DNA testing indicates that the feces belong to the Native American’s and haplogroups A2 and B2 meaning what? I don’t know. Except that these are groups that were common in Siberia and East Asia. So there we go, we’re still going in across the – in other words…

One of the kind a strange things though is this is before, this will put it just before the melt off of the glaciers and land bridge still being there. So it creates a tougher track for people coming over. To going there…

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Which is kind of a – exactly, who these people living in Oregon’s caves were? Is not known says Jenkin, one of the researchers involved here. Senior Archaeologist University of Oregon’s Museum of Nature and Culture history.

And the conclusion of the authors writes, “The Paisley caves lacks lithic tool assemblages, thus the cultural and technological association of the early sites occupants, and the relationship to the later Clovis technology are uncertain.” So they haven’t linked them to the Clovis, so they’re not absolutely sure…

Kirsten: Because they don’t any tools to go look if they had the same technology, as the said earlier…

Justin: Which is happen to be Clovis. Clovis have tools they don’t have any DNA certainly.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: So, it’s – they need to find a tool here or feces there to link the two. If there’s a link or then we could be talking about separate migration even if there’s a 1000 years’ separation.

Kirsten: It could be. Yes. Haplogroup in case you are wondering about the definition Haplo gene so it’s different genetically lineages.

Justin: Oh, it’s the maternal. It’s the …

Kirsten: The haplo type.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: The haplo type is…

Justin: Mitochondrial or something? Yes, mitochondrial DNA that they can track backwards through a ….

Kirsten: Yes. Exactly.

Justin: That could be in the freak show.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: World’s oldest feces of human!

Kirsten: (laughs) Human, that’s right. So some news, crazy news out of the UK at New Castle University this is published in the BBC thanks to Ed Dyer for sending in this story. Researchers have created part human, part animal hybrid embryos for the first time in the United Kingdom.

These embryos were allowed to survive for three days. And they’re looking at a research – the reason they’re being produced is to start looking at the disease formation and the genetics of disease.

They looked just like any other three day old embryos and they were created by injecting DNA from human skin cells that were put into cow eggs that were taken…

Justin: Interesting.

Kirsten: Yes, cow eggs. But the cow eggs that had…

Justin: I wouldn’t go right with the cow, I would think we be going something closer. I would think we would be going to a primate, but it’s interesting.

Kirsten: Yes, maybe that was – but I don’t necessarily need to tho. And so the most of the genetic material belong to cow had been removed. And – but they’re using cow ovaries, the cow eggs because human eggs, which come from donors are in very short supply.

And so it’s hard to get a hold of them number one. And once they are there, they probably want to be used for you know, fertility as oppose to this research. And when start getting into the question of eggs from donors, donors are usually donating them in return for money.

And then, you get into the conflict of interest whether or not people were coerced and women were coerced through financial incentives to give up their eggs. And what they plan…

Justin: I am coerced for financial incentives everyday that I go to work.

Kirsten: Yes. (laughs)

Justin: Okay? Coercion by financial is the way that our society operates.

Kirsten: The way of the world. Yes, so what they want to do is that they want to create the – I mean, we’re not going to say embryo. We’re going to call it Blastocyst. They want to create a ball of cells, from which they can take, stem cells.

And then use those stem cells to study diseases like diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. But I don’t believe that at this point, they are talking about ever letting the cells that are in the Blastocyst’s stage develop beyond that. So it not as though they’re saying we are going to create a human cow…

Justin: Cop out.

Kirsten: …Animal. You know, a full grown animal. (laughs)

Justin: Such a cop out.

Kirsten: And so this research…

Justin: Can you imagine though , if the commercials, like we have at least commercials in California with dairy cows who are talking. But see you got to hire the real talking cows actors.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: Like I wanted to be a vegetarian for that create over night, if your foods starts talking to you.

Kirsten: That’s really funny.

Justin: And the café at the universe.

Kirsten: It’s a funny idea with all of the stem cell research that goes on here in California.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Maybe we are going to create the cow actor of the future. No. That’s really not…

Justin: Great for dairy cows. They could tell you how they’re doing.

Kirsten: That’s really not the idea. The idea is really not to create an animal and I don’t even want to put that – you don’t even want to go there. I know there are lots of jokes that can we made and I hope that people understand that we are making jokes about this.

There’s a lot of resistance in the UK public to even allowing this type of research to take place. Because you know, they consider it an abomination based – there’s a lot of religious resistance.

And so, you know, that’s a question when we have to start addressing this you know, how far can we go with this recent research. What is acceptable and what is not? This needs to be a public conversation.

Justin: It should be but it’s also a negotiation.

Kirsten: It is a negotiation.

Justin: So here’s a thing. You hit them high, you always hit them high. We – science come out to say we are trying to create a talking cows that have a lot of human DNA.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: That people will like “No!” it’s like “Okay, okay I tell you what, we’ll just do Blastocyst, and we’ll do take some stem cell and do some research. People be like swwosh.

Kirsten: Every people say “Oh! We nearly miss the disaster!”

Justin: We keep those crazy scientist from creating human animal hybrid creatures. And that’s what we should – No really. Because the general public anybody listening to the show will know the difference. But general public won’t. They won’t. So …

Kirsten: Not necessarily.

Justin: …You hit them high, you tell them that’s what you’re doing. You let their people fund raise or what ever they’re going to do to combat that, and will settle on Blastocyst.

Kirsten: Hmmm.. Yes, and this research – this kind of research is I’m actually not sure if it has been – they had okay it through proper licensing channels. And all the right people said okay in the UK. But here on the United States I’m really not sure if they have allowed it.

Because they are numbers of researcher’s who have been wanting to create a chimeras and hybrids, you know, that I know of. But the last time I checked, it was still under ethical review.

So I don’t know if any of that research is being allowed here in the United States. At least within academic institutions. So you know…

Justin: Don’t you find it annoying about this? And this is the slam of the military. Disclaimer that are attempt…

Kirsten: What? You even start that.

Justin: No, no. But we have military bases where they’re allowed to use toxic materials, to do experimental things, to go outside of what chemicals can be used normally in anywhere else in our nation. Creating paints for the stealth planes is the great example.

That paint job is so secret and so toxic that they bury and burn the waste on site – the military bases. They have no EPA restrictions or anything like that.

Kirsten: Well, they are health restrictions with the military.

Justin: Yes. Right. On paper maybe? Maybe? And then there’s always a clause unless you need to or want to. Right? It’s always in there, trust me. Why not that for science? Why not have there be a science base? Like a science secret like “What goes on here, stays in here. Don’t worry about it out there …”

Kirsten: Because science is a public endeavor and we need to have the progress of science really be along I mean, we don’t want to go a pass the moral and unethical concerns of the public. And there had been lots of times in the past, where scientist had gone beyond what they really should have done to doing research on humans, on primates, on any number of animals that are completely unethical.

And that has to be watched and that’s part of all of the regulations and the work that has been done since the 70s here in the United States to validate the research before it gets going. So, no!

Justin: Right. No, you’re right that whole research on human. (unintelligible)

Kirsten: Give me another story. We have to go on (unintelligible)

Justin: Center – what is that center that had disease control and prevention report? Yes, it’s the CDC has found that a people 65 years and older, falls are the leading cause of non fatal injuries, hospital admissions for trauma and nearly 1/3 of older adults suffer from some type of fall each year. Each year.

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: So one possible solution to the topsy turvey world of elder tumbling? Leave the walker at home and do a little yoga.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: Yes. Turns out certain types of yoga can help improve stability and balance in women over age 65 called of the study which can then help prevent them from falling down and ending up in the hospital.

Kirsten: It’s great. It absolutely make sense.

Justin: Yes. So they did this- they created this yoga program for the study that was very basic they could use props, probably walkers all kinds of things were allowed in to allow them to serve learn the basic postures.

Kirsten: Hmmm.

Justin: It was I think it was six weeks yoga course. Where they would go how many times a week. It doesn’t specify here. But they’re very impressed with the progress of the participants. And the progress they’ve made by the end of the program.

Subjects demonstrated improved muscle strength, or extremities which help their stability. There’s also pronounced difference and help pressure with just distributed to the bottom of the foot, to help maintain balance.

They also found that a lot of participants who have unrelated back knee pains at the base line, reported being pain free from those at the end. So part of it is just exercise, I’m sure these people getting little sedentary and older the later stages of life.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: But practicing balancing and this really…

Kirsten: Absolutely. I mean yoga a lot of the postures do. I mean they involve the little tiny muscles. You know, you have the big ones that help you make big, what are called gross movements. Not in the grows disgusting way, but grows as in large.

And then there much more fine motor control muscles. And if you don’t practice very small movements, those muscles just kind of – they don’t work well and those are lot in the back?

Justin: Specially if there’s small muscle. Yes. Because you feel it quick.

Kirsten: Yes. And those a lot of the muscles that are involve in the fine control of balance. So just standing in place, putting one foot in front of the other. Trying to stand on one foot, raising your arms over your head you know. These are all very basic motions but if you try to hold back…

Justin: You haven’t done that in five to ten years?

Kirsten: Right. And if you’re trying to hold those movements for an extended period of time, they actually become quit demanding physically.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: So that’s great.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: I remember talking with my yoga instructor here in Davies, at one point she was saying that in yoga practice that she does the Iyengar yoga. And there’s actually…

Justin: That’s the one I’ve used actually for the starter. That modified version.

Kirsten: Right. They’re multiple this guru’s the iron guards one of them, who have created this series of poses. And basically you know, there’s one guy who created this stuff for like young people, when he was young. And then, he’s teacher when he got older modified a bunch of poses.

And now they called that yoga, a different kind of yoga. But it’s great for people who are a little older and must able to move and you know. But this still – so teacher’s as they’ve progressed in age have modified their movements themselves and created new forms of yoga along the way.

Justin: This is actually BKS Iyengar, crafted this yoga program for the study for the older folks. I did a double of Bikram yesterday.

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: Yes. I’m working up quadruple.

Kirsten: I can’t do Bikram. Bikram’s not good for people with back problems.

Justin: Oh no. It’s your mind I used to totally have back problems. You have to try it, you know, it’s great. I’m going to do a quadruple four in one day. Which is like how many, six hours in a day?

Kirsten: You have to be very careful Bikram. (laughs) It’s 9 o’clock I just want to get to (unintelligible) story…

Justin: No, I’ve got more stories! Some many more!

Kirsten: Yes, we’re going to talk to Michael but maybe for the whole second half of the hour.

Justin: Oh, yes. Here we go.

Kirsten: The milky way is gobbling up it’s neighbors. Are you hungry for a milky way bar? The milky way galaxy is hungry for more galaxies. Astrophysical journal reports, documents, the finding that the milky way, is ripping galaxies away from the Sagittarius dwarf galaxy, it’s next door neighbor.

Sagittarius is a light weight in cosmic terms weighing 10,000 times less than our milky way. So it got too close to our galaxy, and now it’s getting stretch out. And slowly torn apart a bit like spaghetti being round, round the fork.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: So says Dr. Stefan Keller from the Australian National University. So it’ll be great to take a look at how our galaxy is tearing other galaxies apart. To help us discover a little bit more about dark matter.

Justin: So glad we’re the big kid on the block.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: British Physicist Peter Higgs said there was a 90% chance the large Hydron Colliders, going to find his Higgs boson.

Kirsten: I thought you are going to say his keys.

Justin: His keys.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: I think I going to find my key, if it doesn’t he said, I shall be very, very puzzled. I’m going to place a bet, that they do not find it. Because I think the Universe works completely different than the Higgs Boson.

Kirsten: Don’t read them all. We’ll do this after Michael Stebbins.

Justin: No, I got more. I got so many more.

Kirsten: I know. We’ll do some stories after we talk to Michael. But we have to take a break right now. So (singing)

Justin: Few hours in a day for science. We need more.

Kirsten: Too few, too few hours. That’s right. Stay tune we’ll be back in just a few moments.

(Music Playing)

Kirsten: The world robot domination (singing)

(Music Playing)

Kirsten: And we are back. This is This Week in Science on the line we have Dr. Michael Stebbins.

Justin: The weird from Washington, with Dr. Michael Stebbins!

Dr Stebbins: Hi, kids!

Justin: Hey.

Kirsten: Hi. Welcome, welcome. How is it going?

Dr Stebbins: Oh, great. I have bad news for Justin though.

Justin: Oh, no.

Dr Stebbins: My ’91 Corolla?

Justin: Uhuh?

Dr Stebbins: Dead.

Justin: Yes! Yes!

Kirsten: (laughs) You don’t know how happy that makes him.

Dr Stebbins: And literally went up in flames.

Justin: Oh, my goodness, how did that happen?

Kirsten: (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: It was a rough weekend.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: Yes, obviously.

Justin: Well the good news is you can get a vehicle that has air bags.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: That’s true.

Justin: Yes. And maybe some crumple zone, maybe some force limiters and seat belt and it’s good stuff.

Dr Stebbins: Yes.

Kirsten: (laughs)You people. What do you have for us this week?

Dr Stebbins: Oh, there’s tons. But we’re going to start off with the EPA.

Kirsten: EPA.

Dr Stebbins: And actually department of home and security is going to be using its authority to bypass more than 30 laws and regulations to finished building the fence along with the southwest border of the United States.

Kirsten: It is.

Dr Stebbins: They’re invoking two legal waivers like Congress authorized. And to get through the Bureaucratic red tape that is associated with building fences in across protected lands.

Kirsten: Right, because animals in protected lands they wanted to keep it open so that animals can pass through their habitat. And so people tried…

Dr Stebbins: Right. Like you want to build a bridge across or something across the Rio Grande, you can. And as of now, as of March 17, there were 309 miles of fence in place.

At least 361 that they have to complete by the end of the year. So of course, they have to go around 30 Environmental State and Federal of Environmental laws. So….

Kirsten: Around 30. (laughs)

Justin: Isn’t one of the travel outset that they’re disrupting like a mountain lion or something like that?

Dr Stebbins: It’s going to disrupt quit a bit, the fences are going to be well impenetrable to wild life. So…

Justin: I mean the mountain lion, to me there’s somewhere in there. There’s win win situation, you know. You just …

Kirsten: Are you afraid of being eaten by mountain lions, is this where it comes from?

Justin: No, no. I’m going the other way around. I’m saying you help over populate the mountain lions along the boarder, suddenly less people wanting to trek out of the middle of nowhere. The night when there’s lots of mountain lions. Just seems like it could be … (laughs)

Kirsten: You and you’re logic is amazing.

Dr Stebbins: The mountain lions could be working as eventually custom and border patrol relations.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: (laughs) Got it? Violence wanted that, but we’re hungry one’s.

Justin: I’m so wrong. I’m sorry.

Dr Stebbins: That’s okay.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: Now last week there was whole hubbub over a pop line which is a data base that uses a evidence based information on reproductive health and family planning and is the world largest data base on those issues.

Kirsten: Hmmm.

Dr Stebbins: Okay. What they did, was they removed a word abortion from the search criteria. So if you’re actually search for abortion, any where in the reproductive health and family planning data base all of a sudden you’ve gotten no results.

Kirsten: Ha!

Dr Stebbins: This is actually hosted at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the reason for it, was that the United State – USAID so it’s the agency for the international development told them that they had to removed it because the are couple things in there that were inappropriate for the data base. So I get so much scanning through.

Kirsten: And they didn’t say what kind of inappropriate was? I mean this is just is inappropriate, just doctors who…

Dr Stebbins: They were just two pieces of information so some librarian actually, got Dr. Thomas and say “Hey, look your search engine is broken.” And they said actually it’s not we decided to make this change. But the dean of the John Hopkins School of Public Health reversed the decision as soon as she found out.

Kirsten: Yes.

Dr Stebbins: She thought was it was completely ridiculous that the concern was basically as the federal of the projects that they decided was the best. Because they afraid that they would lose their funding over it.

Kirsten: Right.

Dr Stebbins: But stood they up to it and changed it back. So now, it was a bunch of hubbub last week and it was…

Kirsten: That is a big hubbub.

Dr Stebbins: But USAID has actually witheld funding from developing from countries and if potential grantees provide abortion services or abortion referrals to women. So that’s a big problem.

Justin: Wait a second. You’re talking to me that there’s financial coercion going on in regards to a woman’s body? Biological – reproductive.

Kirsten: Didn’t we just talked…

Justin: Really? That’s legal?

Kirsten: Justin.

Dr Stebbins: (laughs)Well in most States, yes.

Kirsten: Yes. (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: So, representative Wynn Cooper of the Missouri – I believe that the Missouri house introduced legislation that would give teachers the “academic freedom” to offer alternative evidence to evolution. (laughs)

Justin: Why are we still having this conversation about this is just driving me nuts now.

Dr Stebbins: Quote from Wynn Cooper “ I believe it is packaged and sold under the label of science is not science, but is people’s personal world view.”

Justin: Hmmm.

Dr Stebbins: Okay.

Kirsten: So should that be taught in science classes? Why not put it in you know.

Dr Stebbins: They started talking about evolution, they believe in someone’s personal world view and also.

Kirsten: Oh, he’s going the opposite attack. I get it.

Dr Stebbins: So pass attempts by Cooper to get intelligent design into schools have failed. And now, the Governor’s office is now up for grabs actually in Missouri and so this is actually a pretty important year for intelligent design in that State.

In fact, one of the Governor’s candidate, gubernatorial Kenny Hulshof. He is US Congressman Columbia. In the district of Missouri favors intelligent design. And so there you go. We actually know how someone who might win the Governor’s race in Missouri who is in favor of teaching intelligent design in schools.

This is a bit – this problem is not going away. Every time there’s a major victory, scientist and like minded folks tend to brief their giant sigh of relief and then sort of hold back not realizing that that is exactly the type laws on that side that often empowers them to get more people involved. Texas and Florida have been dealing with the this issue again this year and it’s not going away.

Justin: Maybe we just allow it run it’s course and study it. You know, sort of like see what happens when you apply a third world education to a first world nation. See how those people doing later on in life. I mean, let’s just – maybe we should just study it, instead of you know, trying to prevent it from happening.

Kirsten: The thing about it is…

Dr Stebbins: You have a rare form today.

Kirsten: He is, isn’t he? All day he’s been like this. (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: The conflict of interest at EPA, the over sight sub-committee in the house are launching an investigation into nine scientists whose industry ties while working on EPA scientific panels reviewing chemical risks may constitute a violation of the agency’s conflict of interest rule.

Now this is all started this sort of brouhaha over this started after Deborah Rice who was the Chair of a review panel assessing a fire retardant had her testimony removed from a report. And she was removed from the committee itself. And so several environmental groups complained about this.

Now the House is investigating. Apparently, her removal was at the behest of the American Chemistry Council which is an the Industry Lobby Group. And so essentially, in this Lobby Group were getting scientists off these panels who disagree with them.

Kirsten: Wow.

Dr Stebbins: And scientists who have conflict of interest to work for some of these companies are actually on these panels and this House is going to investigate this. So that’s actually bad news good news.

Kirsten: What is the definition of having a conflict of interest for financial reasons? I was just having the conversation with a doctor this last week. And we were discussing how physicians maybe they’ll go talk or they’ll have the speaking fee of maybe of $500 once.

And you know, then they’ll go on years later to do study or be on a panel, and then somebody will come in and be like “Oh, you took money from this company and you shouldn’t be on this panel.” But it was like…

Dr Stebbins: Sure. Finger pointing is absolutely is something that’s been going on. And so, accusing someone of having a conflict of interest has been a sort of flavor of the day in terms of getting people off panels. And on both sides of the issue.

So yes, it depends on the nature of actual talk and I’ll give you an example, so Elizabeth Anderson was one of the egregious example cited by one of the groups. And she, Anderson, is from the consulting firm, Exponent. And chaired a 2006 review panel of the agency’s draft of DiButyl Phthalate assessment.

Now, it’s a plasticizer commonly found in food packaging and nail care products that was associated with a number of health risk. Now while she was chairing the panel, Exponent , her employer was simultaneously under contract with the American Chemistry Council.

With their Phthalate Ester panel to discredit key epidemiological data that were found everyday exposures Phthalates were linked with reproductive system damage in boys. So she was serving on a panel reviewing a particular chemical…

Kirsten: Then at the same time.

Dr Stebbins: …And her company was also representing the American Chemistry Council to discredit the worked that she was actually reviewing.

Kirsten: Right. That sounds a little like a conflict of interest. Yes.

Dr Stebbins: That’s one of the more probably clear cut examples. Now it’s not clear that she personally did but certainly working for this consulting firm and raised issues with it.

Justin: The one thing that always gets little tricky here though is then like, who do you look for an expert? She is already working for the company that’s been involved and looking at this. Granted that they’re being paid by the Chemistry Council. But if she’s already working on it, who else has been working on it? I mean…

Kirsten: Who is most qualified and most informed?

Justin: Right. It get so stinky. And then there’s also this whole thing of a sort of ghost writing or being a contributing writer? Or being a ghost, well basically it means ghost writing studies for pay.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: And so you have people doing a reviews of things for money, for different places who you know. It’s hard to tell how much they’ve actually contributed, how much they’re actually involved. It’s stinky world.

Kirsten: That it is. (laughs)

Dr Stebbins: Let me end with three bits of positive information.

Kirsten: Great.

Dr Stebbins: First one, sorry about that?

Kirsten: I’m saying great, go ahead.

Dr Stebbins: Okay, I thought you said “wait”. Senator Hillary Clinton unveiled a plan to find the cure for breath cancer including $300 million annually for research if she’s elected, she went to the Ellen De Generes show the other day.

Number two, Scientist and Engineers for America is going to be holding a campaign education workshop to train Scientists, Engineers and Health Professionals whoever would like to come to it, to actually how to run for office.

And that’s going to be on May 10th at Georgetown University. People can check that out at Scientists and Engineers for America’s website.

Kirsten: Cool.

Dr Stebbins: And it costs 20 bucks for students, if they’re interested doing it. And anyone else can also attend. And finally, anyone who wants to keep track of the science and policies stories that I talked here at every other week, can actually go to

And everyday there’s going to be – there’s a list of science policy on news stories from around country. So if they want to follow on daily basis they can setup an RSS feed or just visit there everyday.

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Great!

Dr Stebbins: Thank you all very much.

Kirsten: Thank you for joining us this week. I’m sorry about your car. But like Justin said it opens up a whole new opportunity.

Justin: I think it did you a favor. I think the car had loved you so much that it fell upon it’s sword and burned itself up.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: Just to prevent you from dying in the inevitable accident that was going to come.

Dr Stebbins: That or it ran out of oil. One or the other.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: Oh, my goodness. If you just change the oil especially on a car like, that it will run for ever.

Kirsten: Ever.

Dr Stebbins: Exactly.

Kirsten: Well, thank you, thank you very much.

Dr Stebbins: Very well.

Kirsten: It’s been Michael Stebbins with The Weird from Washington. Until next time.

(Music Playing)

Kirsten: I got the music my segs are good today.

Justin: Yes, you’re awesome right on the transitions.

Kirsten: Yes. I found – well I didn’t find this Jay Scott Bergs sent me this great story from Wired Science. A seismologist named Elizabeth Cochran at University of California Riverside is harnessing a computer technology that has been installed into laptop computers, to determine when they’re they are being dropped for the people who you know have to fix them later on.

And people say, oh I didn’t dropped it, but can you fix it under my warranty? Yes, there are these little accelerometers that are installed in laptops now that can determine time, the date, the speed of the movement.

Justin: Yes, but what they can’t tell – here’s the out tho…

Kirsten: I was going to say, before we get into too far away, as I going to finish my sentence. (laughs)

Justin: Am I interrupting a lot today? Is that what’s going on? I have no awareness of this

Kirsten: Just a little bit (laughs)

Justin: I can never tell.

Kirsten: And so, what she’s doing is taking these accelerometers and using them through a program called Seismac. And a new program called Quake-Catcher Network to see when earthquakes are taking place. I mean, people move their laptops around all the time, they’re typing a lot.

You know, you lift you laptop up and turn it on, you lift it up, you move it around laptops, portable, right? And what they’re hoping is that people will use this program kind of like SETI@home or folding@home, which is the protein folding distributed quantification network or distributed computational network.

And to use it like and actually, you turn your computer on, and leave it on a desk for a while. And then if shaking happens, then they can see that the accelerometers get turned on, for any reason.

And then they know that something’s going on. And they can determined the reliability of people’s measurements by just taking a look at certain measurements over time the probability of moving constantly for a long time.

Maybe you like put it on a desk but you’re a bouncer, and so you move you leg against – you bounce your leg against your desk and so there is a constant?

Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: Rumbling but…

Justin: What it will show too, in the case of big earthquake for instance, you could see a incredibly beautiful picture of distribution if you could find out where the computers were. That’s the only thing. So it’s like you have to know where that laptop actually was located when the trembling happened.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: That’s going to be the tricky part. Because in the end you’re going to need the GPS and the whole thing. Because if you have this computers distributed like throughout and entire city, like say you’re in Los Angeles from Pasadena to Santa Monica Glendale down to Huntington beach, you’ve got this computers out there.

Big earthquakes happens all the accelerators tumbling what have you. And then you’re get a read out of how much tumbling went on where, except that you don’t where the laptops are. That’s one very important data point that we kind a missing for the distribution.

Kirsten: I think you know, I’m sure that through the program that they’re using – I haven’t actually put it on my computer yet. But I think there is probably some way to determine where you are. He probably put in your – he probably enter your location.

Justin: Yes. I mean the whole point of laptop is…

Kirsten: And then you put your location…

Justin: You know why I never use my laptop? At home. It’s always when I’m going somewhere else that I’m using it.

Kirsten: That’s okay.

Justin: All right. All right.

Kirsten: I mean if you turn on …

Justin: It’s a good idea, it’s very smart.

Kirsten: …the program all you do …

Justin: And if anybody tries to nail you on the warranty? Just tell them that like “Yes, whenever I come home, I take my computer in it’s nice, safe, comfy, padded note book carrying case, and then I throw it on the couch.”

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: That’s why it looks like it was dropped even though it was not.

Kirsten: Right. Anyway, if you’re interested in being part of this new grid system for the checking out earthquakes the program is

Justin: Right. I’m going to do a story. Now you can interrupt me.

Kirsten: Oh, good.

Justin: (laughs) A study, which is the story is conducted by the researchers in the Center for the Injury research and Policy and published in the April electronic issue of Pediatrics examined data on children 6 to 17 years old of age, were treated in hospital Emergency Departments for Gymnastics related injury.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: You’re a gymnast for many years, aren’t you?

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: Were you ever get injured? Where you had to go to the hospital?

Kirsten: Yes, I did.

Justin: Ah. Okay. So this is between 1990 and 2005. According to the findings on average, nearly 27,000 injuries are reported each year. Yet, 600,000 children annually involved in paintastics, the chance of a child having a rush to the hospital and emergency room injury is about, 4.5% every year they’re involve in the sport. How many years do you do gymnastics?

Kirsten: Wow. I did it from about 10 or 12.

Justin: Okay. So you had it coming …

Kirsten: No, how old was I? Like 10 until I – no, 8 to 16.

Justin: So you’re like right in the study here.

Kirsten: 8 to 16.

Justin: My goodness. Say you pretty much had it coming.

Kirsten: I know.

Justin: We were putting all this like 50-50 chance you’re going to the hospital at least once.

Kirsten: And I did. (laughs)

Justin: (laughs) Okay. “Many parents do not typically think that of gymnastics as dangerous sport.” says Study Senior Author Lara McKenzie PhD, MA, Principal Investigator in the study. In fact, many parents consider an activity. Yet, gymnastics has the same clinical incidence of catastrophic injuries as ice hockey. (laughs)

Kirsten: Yes. Well, what happens at a very low level – at the very the beginning levels. When you’re learning how to cart wheel, or do a back walk over, or swing on the bars to a pool over that, kind of sure. It’s a very – it’s not incredibly – it isn’t an activity. It’s not a dangerous sport.

But I don’t know if they mentioned that in there is the numbers of years that you’re involve in gymnastics, is related to the level of difficulty at which you are performing. So the longer you’re in, the harder the tricks get.

The better you get, the more you progress and the harder – so instead of just doing a flip flop on the floor, you’re doing a flip flop on the balance beam. Instead of just doing a straddle jump off the end of that balance beam, you’re suddenly doing a full in double back. You know. (laughs)

Justin: Yes, and the thing is I was thinking about that was like oh, yes. Maybe it’s the beginning people who are getting injured. But yes, it make sense, that the stuff gets harder as you go on.

Kirsten: Yes, but you’re doing a fly way. Or you’re doing some kind of a release move on the uneven bars. You missed. You’re like 15, 18, feet in the air? I mean – you’re high in the air, you’re moving very quickly, if you hit the ground, something bad is going to happen.

Justin: Well here’s something interesting – the majority of the gymnastics injuries which is 40 % occurred at school or place of recreation. Like sports recreation. That’s 40 % which is the majority, which means the rest of the place is like where else?

Like in the bed room? I kind a do the triple back flip off the bed. I mean, where did this you know, is it the monkey bars. Where do the gymnastics it also happening. If 40 % is the majority is at school or place where you’re actually supposed to be doing gymnastics where’s all the rest of these things like in the park?

Kirsten: Private gyms?
Justin: Yes.

Kirsten: No.

Justin: No.

Kirsten: Or yes, maybe at the park, maybe kids going “I can do that.” And like…

Justin: Fractions and dislocations are most common for children 6 to 11 years old. See wait a sec. Fractures and dislocations are most common for kids 6 to 11.

Kirsten: Mm Hmm.

Justin: So that’s not a higher – that’s not the triple…

Kirsten: Sure it is.

Justin: Ha?

Kirsten: Sure it is.

Justin: They’ve got kids back flipping off of the high thing off the jumping over…

Kirsten: 11 year old. Definitely.

Justin: Strains and sprains for a…

Kirsten: Little brilliant gymnast…

Justin: …Most frequent between at the age of 12 to17.

Kirsten: So moving on, we’re running out of time. So I just wanted to say that thanks a lot. You think you’re smarter than a fifth grader? You’re probably not, a fifth grader actually discover an at the Smithsonian Museum recently.

And he looked at some little placard that was describing a scene somewhere and there’s a little thing in bold saying that the Paleolithic era, I believe and he said “Hey, Paleolithic, not an era”

And all of a sudden, they said “Opps, you got it right, we got it wrong.” and then sent him a letter. But the Smithsonian also got his name and address wrong.

Justin: Nice.

Kirsten: (laughs) Yes. So the fifth grader definitely smarter, than the Smithsonian. Thank you very much for listening. That’s it for TWIS today. I don’t know if we have a guest next week at the moment. We have to figure it out. Do we have Justin next week?

Justin: Maybe.

Kirsten: (laughs)

Justin: I hope so. If you want anything from today’s show, please remember.

Kirsten: It is all in your head.

(Music Playing)