Transcript: TWIS.ORG April 28, 2009

Justin: Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer!

It is said that a little knowledge can be dangerous. By this logic, having no knowledge at all may make you safe. Well, the following hour of our program is potentially lethal. More accurate perhaps is to say that too little knowledge can be an annoying thing — like finding a subtype strain of human-swine-avian flu that had not been previously documented and freaking out based on zero information, assuming that it can persist to a pandemic proportion.

While fear of such scenarios may be warranted, action out of that fear is not. And we attribute to the unknown the properties that lurk within our worst case scenarios our worst fears and then act on that fear without any true information, we spread the fear, incubate misinformation, making the potential or false fear and ignorant actions become a global pandemic freak out.

Enough with the surgical masks already! With patient to patient observations, we will learn that this flu is likely just a flu and therefore defeat-able. Fear served no purpose in solving such things. And then our best solution is soap and water, covering mouths while coughing, not leaking fixtures in public places and to avoid kissing pigs.

While licking fearful farm animals in public, much like the following hour of our programming, does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of California at Davis, KDVS or its sponsors.

We live in a world with the mysteries of disease are few. A world with a source and transmission of most illness is generally well known, identifiable and preventable, a world in which science has concurred many mortally challenging ailments and will continue to do so into the future. We will do so by seeking a lot of dangerous knowledge by gathering a lot of dangerous information and by acting out of reason, not fear.

While science is busy making us safer, it’s time to make you more dangerous here on This Week in Science, coming up next.

New music! Hey, good morning Kirsten!

Kirsten: Good morning, Justin! It’s all a little crazy because I wanted to queue some music, queue the music, and I guess I’m crazy.

Justin: Huh!

Kirsten: I’m crazy this morning.

Justin: Yeah, I think (you are).

Kirsten: That’s because I’ve had my coffee.

Justin: And I haven’t.

Kirsten: I took the crazy juice.

Justin: I don’t need coffee anymore. My brain is permanently awake now. It doesn’t sleep anymore.

Kirsten: Welcome everybody to This Week in Science and we have a fabulous show coming up.

Justin: We have an amazing guest (unintelligible).

Kirsten: Mm hmm. We have Dr. Michio Kaku joining us via telephone.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah, at 9 o’clock. So, at the half hour we’ll be talking with theoretical physicist and popular science writer, and just general, all around cool science popularizer, Dr. Kaku.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: It’s going to be great.

Justin: He’s written a book. Basically, that is a primer for anybody who wants to write science fiction. It’s really good.

Kirsten: Pretty much. And I want to thank everybody who donated to KDVS in the last week. Thank you so much for donating. I believe that all of the 2009 TWIS CDs that were made available as premiums have been claimed and snatched up.

So there are 50 of you out there wherever you are who are going to be at some point in the near future being sent these wonderful premiums as our special thank you gift for donating.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t donate anymore. The Fundraiser website is still up and there are all sorts of amazing premiums still available that have not been claimed. So, you know, you can keep on giving to KDVS but I just want to say big THANK YOU.

Justin: Thank you Minions. So, we got the wild card. It’s probably not a real call.

Kirsten: I know. It’s a little early in the show for the phone call.

Justin: Yeah. Let me hit it just to get to clear out of here. Good morning! You’re on the air with This Week in Science.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: Yeah, okay.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: So, here’s the thing…

Kirsten: No, no, no, no. So, on today’s show, in addition to Michio Kaku, we’re going to be talking about Swine Flu. We’ve got some Obama science. We’ve also got some – I’ve got some stem cell business and evidence against death of the dinosaurs by asteroid. And also, some actual science that goes in to that old 2012 Mayan prophesied apocalypse.

Justin: What?

Kirsten: Yeah. We’re actually – I got some crazy stuff that’s getting into the pseudo science. So somebody really did want to call us.

Justin: No, no, they don’t. This is some…

Kirsten: And we kind of – yes. All right. Do you really want to talk to us?

Justin: Good morning TWIS Minion. You’re on the air with This Week in Science.

Man: Hey, the lady cut in and said, “Your party is not answering. I will now disconnect your call.”

Justin: Oh, no!

Man: Yeah, that’s what happened.

Justin: Yeah, she’s a thug.

Man: That’s what happened. Hey! Won’t you guys get a new theme song?

Kirsten: We just got a new theme song. Thanks to Unbalanced Wheel. And it’s part of the 2000 – who did…

Justin: Perpetual Motion Machine.

Kirsten: …Perpetual Motion Machine on last year’s compilation.

Man: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: He created this wonderful song for this year’s compilation and for the show. And we also have another theme song that was created by Neil Shirley and yeah.

Justin: They serve on rotation like any moment one of them can get knocked on to the minors

Kirsten: I know.

Justin: And fighting for the same ballpens back.

Kirsten: Vying for this.

Man: You egg heads are so damned fickle. Yeah. You know what? I haven’t listened to your show for so long because I had a really bad case of the Bush Flu where the symptoms are generally I just don’t want to learn the truth. I don’t want to learn science. I just want to stick my head up like (uh-oh) and then go on life. But I think I’m over now.

Kirsten: You’ve over it? You’re ready to learn something?

Justin: Oh, you kick me out.

Man: Yeah. Yeah, I’m certain.

Justin: Oh, it’s a brand new world, my friend.

Man: I’m really excited.

Justin: Yeah, you can even read in newspaper now.

Man: What I heard the sun is so bright. The future is so bright. My eyes hurt but I heard that somebody’s new in the White House too.

Justin: Yeah, yeah.

Kirsten: You hear? You think?

Man: Yeah. That’s what I hear. So maybe that has something to do with getting over the Bush Flu.

Kirsten: It’s very possible but we do have a lot of noise – no – news.

Justin: News. We got news.

Kirsten: News. We have a lot of noisy news.

Justin: Thanks for checking in Minion.

Man: A lot of noisy news.

Kirsten: Yeah. Thanks for calling.

Justin: We got to get rolling.

Man: Hey, you’re welcome. You guys keep up a good work.

Kirsten: Thank you.

Justin: Thank you.

Man: Lear me, will you?

Kirsten: We’ll give you some good learning.

Man: All right, thanks. Bye.

Kirsten: Bye.

Justin: All right.

Kirsten: All right, moving on to the news. So, the big story, normally I try and start off with the big story but I think this week it’s like the trilogy of big stories, the trifecta, Swine Flu, Obama science and stem cell-gulation.

Justin: They all link together?

Kirsten: No, they’re not link together at all.

Justin: I just want to – I will rant about the Swine Flu thing like…

Kirsten: Is it short?

Justin: What? I will talk it out. Go ahead. No, no. I will say nothing.

Kirsten: You go ahead. I was just going to say that the news is completely full of Swine Flue stuff. So I wanted to keep the Swine Flu brief because everyone’s getting it everywhere else.

Justin: Right. But here’s the thing. The news is full of Swine Flu where you have like the head of the World Health Organization is saying, “At this time, containment is not a feasible option. And they’re raising alerts and they’re talking about the spread and the thing.

Look, here are some numbers. We did reduction to the ridiculous last week. Here’s some numbers to just throw at you, to mill around and thinking about this Swine Flu thing. According to the CDC, this is the statistics in the United States for 2006, 56,249 people died from the flu.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Okay? That’s about 19 out of every 100,000 people. And it was actually a 12% drop from the year before. So, year before it was like 21 something people, 200,000.

Kirsten: Yeah, there are usually tens of thousands of people…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …who die from the flu.

Justin: If you are very generous enough for the Greater Mexico City area where the outbreak is supposedly originating from, which has about 22 million people in its greater area, there should be at least 4,200 people a year dying from flu, which is 11.5 people per day.

Now, people don’t die neatly along a statistical time bar. They tend to do so in bunches around flu. That’s how the flu kills people is not just one every couple.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: So, the numbers actually confirmed dead from the actual Swine Flu virus right now – confirmed is about 20.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: They have a lot of suspected cases.

Kirsten: No.

Justin: No, unconfirmed. Everything else is unconfirmed. They have suspected cases. They say maybe thousands of people have it. It’s a maybe, they don’t know. They suspected 150 deaths of…

Kirsten: In Mexico City.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: But they’re not still – they’re still not confirmed. Confirmed, it was about 20.

Kirsten: Okay.

Justin: That’s what they’ve actually tested to see that it was this strain of the flu.

Kirsten: Right, right.

Justin: So, we’re way out ahead. The virus – there’s a little bit about it, thus seem to be more lethal to ages were not usually in jeopardy. It seems to be most…

Kirsten: Like the teens through 30s.

Justin: Yeah or 20 to 40 is the one number they put out.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: Where it’s typically more children and the elderly that are affected by the flu.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: So either this is a child-friendly virus, or we’re missing a lot of the data points about why people are actually dying and where they are long the transmission.

Kirsten: What’s happening with the people in their middle ages who are basically in the prime of their life who – the reason of flu doesn’t normally affect them is because people in those age ranges usually have a very strong immune system.

And that’s actually what is causing the trouble where the flu is not actually killing these people. It is a result in cytokine storm. So the immune system takes offense.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: And goes on the offense in a major way creating such a response to the flu that it actually ends up shutting down the body systems.

Justin: Right. But what I’m saying is that data point is missing because we don’t really even know very much information about the confirmed dead.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Because one of that Mexican health officials was asked what was the percentage of male to female. They didn’t even know which one’s were or weren’t.

Kirsten: Yup, yup.

Justin: There’s a lack of information.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: Lack of information even in their entire health care system to where people who are trying to go to the hospital are being turned away by ambulance drivers who are afraid of catching the flu from them. This is how bad the situation is.

So, okay, because these children are surviving and there’s nothing to indicate that the flu strain is unusually virulent.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Because otherwise it should be affecting them harder, right?

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s definitely contagious.

Justin: It’s contagious. But that’s…

Kirsten: So, I mean the fact that within two weeks, we’re already seeing it spread to a point where all of the World Health Organization and all the health organizations of independent countries are saying that there’s no chance of containment.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: So, contagion is there. However, the virulence or the actual cause of – you know, the trouble that it causes.

Justin: But that’s always – yeah. And with the thing is it’s always this case with the flu.

Kirsten: They’re not.

Justin: And a typical flu is most dangerous – a typical Swine Flu is most dangerous at the original contact, even Swine or Avian. Contact with an infected bird or pig is most – where it’s going to be the most virulent. That’s the first generation, all right, full virulence for humans.

Second generation contact is where a person gets the flu from another person, much less virulent, much less lethal.

Kirsten: It all depends on the mutations. That’s an assumption. It all depends on the mutations.

Justin: Right. But this is a typical – I’m giving a typical Swine Flu scenario.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: The third generation is the person who got it from the person who got it from a pig, right, or from the animal contact. And that’s usually the last stage.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Usually, you can’t really get sick beyond that third generation because the virulence does not continue.

Kirsten: And also at that point, enough people have been exposed to the virus that there is a natural immunity that’s built up within the population that keeps it from becoming more of a pandemic.

The problem right now is that we’re dealing with this H1N1 flu that hasn’t been around since the 70s. It’s the same strain as the 1918 Spanish Flu which was a pandemic that killed a significant percentage of the population.

And what we’re dealing with is understanding that there is a majority of the population that does NOT have natural immunity to this flu. And the flu shot is not – wasn’t mixed up for this particular strain. So the flu shot they might have gotten has nothing to do with protecting you from the strain of the flu.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: So, you know, yeah. Right now, there’s nothing you can do. There’s nothing you can worry about. The fact – I mean we don’t know whether it’s going to be – I mean, here in United States, our health system so far, we’ve only had two people hospitalized as for what they’re reporting and that’s here in California. But – and those people had other health issues that put them in the hospital.

So, yeah the virulence, the actual effect on people maybe because of our health system here in the United State, it’s not going to – maybe it won’t grab on because we have a really good health system and they’re doing – the CDC is doing a really great job of dealing with what they’re seeing as a potential pandemic. It’s not a pandemic yet. We don’t have to worry about it yet.

Justin: I don’t think it’s a really potential pandemic.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: I mean it just seems to me that there’s a massive over reaction to it.

Kirsten: Part of it also – I mean it’s the news.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: We have the 24-hour news cycle that’s reporting, reporting, reporting because it’s something different.

Justin: They can sell a newspaper finally.

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s something different than the economy or politics. So, this is a huge story. So that’s a media over reaction.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Secondarily, the CDC is getting out there and reporting all these stuff and they are making it like this is a really high threat level because what it allows them to do is to get all of the pieces of their response teams, like all their different pieces of who would help contain it, all of the governmental agencies in action, in readiness so that if something does happen, they’re ready.

If they responded as if it were no big deal, they could potentially make it worse because then if it is a big deal, nobody is ready for it. So, there’s part of this, this is just a preparedness activity.

Justin: Absolutely! No, no. And that part I understand. But then you have nations who are not allowing pork to be purchased which I don’t care about. That is ridiculous.

Kirsten: That is ridiculous because you’re not going to catch this virus. It’s a flu virus. You’re not going to catch from a meat product.

Justin: Right. You have the – health workers in Mexico afraid to go and bring people to the hospital for this.

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: I mean this is ridiculous. By the way, surgical masks don’t do any good. Those are pointless.

Kirsten: If you’re sick, they help keep you from spreading stuff to the other people because they catch little air slice particles as you sneeze or cough. But you can also cover…

Justin: If you’re the infected one.

Kirsten: …wash your hands, cover your mouth when you sneeze and, you know, go on with your business.

We’re going to move on.

Justin: We got another blinking light.

Kirsten: There’s a lot more news to talk about.

Justin: Oh, nope. We’re not taking the phone call?

Kirsten: Yeah, we’ll take it.

Justin: Good morning, TWIS Minion. You’re on the air with This Week in Science.

(Mike): Hey, good morning.

Kirsten: Good morning.

Justin: Good morning.

(Mike): Hey, you guys are great. Justin, I think that we done a radio theater together. This is (Mike). I work with (Les Light).

Justin: Oh yes, absolutely. Hey, (Mike).

(Mike): Hey, this is great. You guys have – I think handedly justified KDVS forever in my mind because the first rational discussion of this Swine Flu I’ve heard anywhere since this thing began.

And I think you’re doing a gigantic public service. I had the same thoughts of, you know, “Am I the only one that just thinks like a crazy panic for I get little premature.”

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: Yeah. And I think…

(Mike): So, thank you. We really need that kind of rationality to calm people down.

Kirsten: Thanks.

Justin: And I think what started all of this wasn’t that it was a Swine Flu because we have this. These aren’t that uncommon.

Kirsten: Mm hmm. Yup.

Justin: I think what started off was because the subtype of it was an unknown configuration, a one that hadn’t been discovered. It doesn’t even actually mean that this subtype hasn’t been out there and people haven’t been getting this particular flu.

Kirsten: They hadn’t been discovered previously.

Justin: And hadn’t been recorded.

(Mike): Well, thank you for catching me in house. It’s just about the kiss of pig of (unintelligible).

Justin: Yeah, that’s so NOT advisable.

(Mike): Yeah. All right.

Kirsten: There are other reasons maybe you shouldn’t be kissing pigs too.

(Mike): I think from being an alternatively to the mainstream media which had nothing but fear in unknown and run in panic in the headline.

Justin: It sells.

Kirsten: You’re welcome.

Justin: It sells but thank you.

Kirsten: Have a great day.

(Mike): Keep up the great work.

Kirsten: Thanks (Mike).

(Mike): Bye.

Kirsten: Bye.

Justin: Yeah, we don’t have a product to sell. Otherwise it would be like, “Oh, run for the hills!”

Kirsten: I also wanted to talk about just very briefly, Barack Obama, our president promising the National Academy of Sciences yesterday that he’s going to devote more funds to research and science and development.

He quoted in his speech to the National Academy of Sciences or he is quoted as saying, “I believe it is not in our character, American character, to follow but to lead. And it is time for us to lead once again. I am here today to set this goal. We will devote more than 3% of our gross domestic product to research and development.”

Three percent is about $420 billion.

He also goes on to say, “We will not just meet but we will exceed the level achieved at the height of the space race.”

And he’s put forward a wish list that has solar cells as cheap as paint, green buildings that produce all the energy they consume, learning software, prosthetics so that you could – so advanced that you could play the piano again and “an expansion of the frontiers of human knowledge about ourselves and world around us.

Scientific integrity has been undermined and scientific research politicized in an effort to advance predetermined ideological agendas. I want to be sure that facts are driving scientific decisions, not the other way around.”

And he’s planning to double the budget of key science agencies including the NSF, the DOE Science and National Institutes of Standards and Technology. And he’s launching the Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -Energy that’s modeled on DARPA.

So hopefully, we’ll be seeing a lot of really interesting advances coming out with this new focus on science and research and development because basic science does go into creating technologies that make it into the business sector, that eventually go on to fund and forge ahead with a vibrant economy. And so, that’s where his focus is.

Justin: Yeah. I’m totally for it. I think he did lift the entire speech off in one of my disclaimers.

Kirsten: It’s very possible.

Justin: It sounds like it’s a forward thinking…

Kirsten: I’m sure. You know, well, now that Stebbins is there as part of the whole, you know, whole team in Washington is there. I’m sure that there’s…

Justin: A lot of forward-looking science going on.

Kirsten: I’m sure he’s gotten Obama listening to This Week in Science. And Obama is probably paying a lot of attention to your disclaimers.

Justin: Oh, wow!

Kirsten: Yeah, pressure.

Justin: No, delusion.

Kirsten: Also, at April 17th, the National Institute of Health announced its preliminary regulations for stem cell research and where US federal dollars are going to go – said that, “Stem cell lines that are eligible must be derived from embryos created for reproductive purposes that are no longer needed for those purposes.

So, they’re not going to fund research on those lines that are derived from embryos created via In-vitro fertilization for research purposes that I think will make a lot of people happy.

Go on to say that Raynard Kington, the Acting NIH Director, he said that he has defended this decision not to fund research on embryos created explicitly for research or that kind of work.

“We don’t believe there is consensus yet, even within the scientific community,” on whether the type of research the guidelines forbid should be conducted. “We do not know of any human embryonic stem cell lines that were created from somatic nuclear transfer or that were created just for stem cell purposes.”

An interesting point on this, they think that there are probably about 700 stem cell lines that have been reported in the literature. And it’s impossible to estimate how many are going to meet these new criteria. So, we don’t know how many lines researchers are now going to have to be able to work with based on the new guidelines.

But it should increase the number of lines that they have available. And there is this ban – the ban on using federal funds to derive new lines is going to remain in place because if they did lift that ban to use federal funds to create new lines of stem cells just for research purposes, it would violate an amendment known as the Dickey Wicker amendment. It’s a law that prohibits federal funding of research involving the creation or destruction of a human embryo.

Justin: But there’s no…

Kirsten: So, because of the amendment, the NIH can’t do anything about it.

Justin: There are no embryos involved.

Kirsten: Well, according to the definition, yeah, the Blastocyst. Yeah.

Justin: A Blastocyst is not an embryo. A Blastocyst is a Blastocyst. An embryo is an embryo that comes later at a later stage. It’s pre-embryonic.

Kirsten: Mm hmm. Yeah. This is the argument.

Justin: Words mean things.

Kirsten: Words do mean things. Yeah.

Justin: They put a word – they made allow with words. Let’s go show them what the words mean that they used. I don’t know.

Kirsten: It’s very interesting. So, these guidelines are in the federal register and open for public comment in the final version of the guideline is going to be released around July 7th. So, you can go take a look at those guidelines if you haven’t seen them already.

But it’s an interesting development we’ll see. You know, it open things up a little bit more. It doesn’t open them up terribly. But it does allow that some lines that have been created those leftovers from In vitro fertilization, you know, that maybe we can go.

And there are a lot of – because of that, there are potentially some really good lines that have really interesting genetic mutations that can be used to study various disorders.

Justin: Not enough.

Kirsten: Yeah, not enough.

Justin: I want more. I want more. I’m not satisfied.

Kirsten: More. If you just tuned in, you’re listening to This Week in Science. Give us some news.

Justin: Oh, parasites maybe good for you.

Kirsten: I always thought so…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …especially toxoplasma.

Justin: No, no, no. Not that one. That’s one bad. That’s a bad parasite. No, this is – they’d studied some wild mice in the UK and found a correlation between a little parasite that they had on them and compared them to lab mice. They found a correlation between immunoresponses…

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: …not over reacting with mice that have this parasite versus lab mice that were having problems.

Kirsten: Right. The lab mice that are fairly sterile…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: …in terms of the living conditions and…

Justin: Yeah. And so, it’s sort of – because, you know, a lot of health problems are caused by an over active immune system. Your immune system actually being too strong and not having enough…

Kirsten: Which is one of the things that cytokine storm that is possibly taking down people in their prime of their life, you know…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …and over reacting to a virus.

Justin: Attacking the virus and then attacking your own body.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Like that’s what the arthritis, asthma, diabetes and multiple sclerosis are all, you know, auto immune diseases where the response is attacking the body. So as allergies, all the sneezing and hey it’s over reaction to mild irritant.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: So, you know, one of the solutions might be in getting some parasites, maybe lice. Maybe humanity…

Kirsten: Maybe we need lice.

Justin: Maybe we need to get lice or something because that sort of what this – I believe this was a little like – yeah, a little louse that was on the mice. And they think that they don’t know exactly how it was exerting this immunosuppressive effect.

They think it may have been secreting substances in their saliva into the mouse or may have a bacteria of some sort that they contain that they were transferring.

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: But I might need to look into it. Maybe we got rid of lice too soon. I don’t know.

Kirsten: We haven’t completely gotten rid of them, talk to any or you’ve probably dealt with issues like that with your kid, preschool and kindergarten stuff.

Justin: Oh, up in Greenland, we apparently – everybody got lice from the dogs up there, from the (Canice arborealis), the crazy-looking , cool looking unique species of husky-looking working animal that they have up there.

Kirsten: Mm hmm. I got mine from chickens.

Justin: From chickens?

Kirsten: When I was little. Yeah, I grew up out in the country. Chickens, I was – yeah, my one case. Yay! I admit it.

Justin: I was actually disappointed. I didn’t actually get them. I was really bummed because everybody else got to like, you know, use all the cool things and pull off those little pods in there. I have none. I was actually…

Kirsten: So, there’s evidence potentially from a researcher, Paleontologist and Geologist named Gerta Keller who has been looking at the meteor or asteroid impact, the meteor impact around the K-T boundary of 65 million years ago that’s supposedly the commonly held idea is that it caused a huge mass extinction around the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary.

Keller and her colleagues have looked at sandstone sediment in Northeastern Mexico about 600 kilometers from the crater where the Chicxulub Crater in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula where the asteroid landed. But 600 kilometers away, there was ejectile debris that landed that far away.

And so, they were checking out the sandstone in that area. They looked at the deposit and they found by dating them that the ejecta and the stuff that they found there pre-dated the K-T boundary by about 300,000.

Justin: Huh?

Kirsten: So they are suggesting that this meteor actually impacted significantly before the actual mass extinction where suddenly in the layers of Earth that a whole bunch of different species just disappeared.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: And so, she is suggesting – she’s published in the Journal of the Geological Society. She’s also published in Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, and a couple of other places.

She’s been doing a bunch of different studies looking at this stuff and demonstrating that looking at the abundance of marine zooplankton also that the 52 species she found below the ejecta debris were still present after the asteroid impact.

So not only was the impact BEFORE the K-T boundary, but it was also at the time that it happened it didn’t kill things off right away. So, she’s suggesting that it’s not related at all to the mass extinction.

However, other researchers are saying, “Well, everything’s kind of connected.” And so, even if it happened 300,000 years previously, the asteroid impact could have affected volcanic activity, could have affected material in the air that over time led to this.

Justin: Over time, that’s 300,000 years. It’s an awful long time. That’s a couple of – you got ice ages and warm ages again through. It can happen. You got all kinds of stuff that can happen in 300,000 years.

Kirsten: It’s seems like – yeah. This article – yeah. Well, this article written in The Scientist by Elie Dolgin. Hello Elie, if you’re listening. She also got a quote from a Johns Hopkins researcher who says that, “Keller is making a mountain out of the molehill and it’s quibbling. And that when you think about geological time even a few hundred thousand years isn’t a long time.”

I don’t know. Hundreds of thousands – I mean if we’re maybe like 10,000 years, I would say not so much. But 300,000 years is starting to be significant in the sense of organisms surviving.

Justin: Yeah. Also, I don’t know, the ejecta that the…

Kirsten: Chained environmental changes. That’s a long time.

Justin: …ejecta from the impacts were looked at though?

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Because I mean if it’s a big enough meteor and it’s sitting the ground, wouldn’t the ground that’s coming up from underneath like blasting out, wouldn’t that be from underneath the ground, wouldn’t that be older ground, wouldn’t that be 300,000 years old maybe? I mean maybe that’s why the ejecta was so old because the big meteor slummed into the Earth and throw all that stuff in the air.

Kirsten: That’s a good point.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: I’m not the scientist.

Justin: Neither am I.

Kirsten: I’m sure they’re looking at it. I don’t know.

Justin: I’m just here to go “yeah”.

Kirsten: Anyway, was it an asteroid or not? It’s 9 o’clock.

Justin: It is.

Kirsten: We have an interview. So we will be back in just a few moments. Stay tuned for more This Week in Science.

Justin: Oh yeah. Oh yeah.

Kirsten: Oh yeah. Oh yeah. The Double Helix will make us lots of money. That’s what a lot of those genomics companies are thinking right now.

Justin: That’s from Little Tin Frog who’s a band who apparently is not still out there performing. But that sounds supernatural.

Kirsten: Super. And on the line we have Dr. Michio Kaku. He is the author of Physics of the Impossible. He is a theoretical physicist specializing in string field theory and a futurist. He’s a popularizer of science and the host of two radio programs and the best author. I feel intimidated.

Justin: Does he ever have time to do physics anymore with all these activities?

Kirsten: I don’t know. Good morning, Dr. Kaku.

Michio: Good morning. Hi!

Kirsten: It’s wonderful to have you on the show.

Justin: Welcome to This Week in Science.

Michio: Okay. Well, thank you for letting me be on.

Kirsten: Yeah. And we’re very excited to be speaking with you. So, you are – you’ve written a book. It’s out now in Paperback. And it’s – what is it, number 7 or number 10 on the New York Times?

Michio: Number 10 on the New York Times Best Seller List, which means there’s a real hunger out there. People want to know whether any of these fantastic schemes you see in the movies are possible.

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s so fantastic. Congratulations on doing so well in writing a book that has become so popular. I think it’s fabulous. Can you even think of the last time that science, a physics book was that high on the New York Times Best Seller List?

Michio: Yeah. People told me when I put the word “Physics” on the title that it’ll never become a best seller this way. But, you know, I prove them wrong, you know, because people really want to know. They see all these dazzling special effects in the movies.

They read about in science fiction. They wonder about it at night. They really want to know about time travel and warp drive, and teleportation, and force-fields, and all that good stuff you see on the silver screen.

Kirsten: Yeah. And I think the other part, not just “Physics”, but the other part of the title “Impossible”. So, you know, are these things – the question of are these things impossible or are they actually possible?

Michio: Right. When I was a child I used to watch the old Flash Gordon series and I would see these rockets and ray guns and aliens from out of space. And even as a child I asked the question, “Well, is any of this real?”

And I decided that in order to settle that question, I had to become a physicist because it was the physicist Dr. Zarkov in the TV series, he was the one who built the starship. He was the one who built the city in the sky. It was physics that made Flash Gordon work.

Kirsten: Absolutely. Are you currently – I mean, we’re looking at your list of activities — two radio shows, you’re writing books. Are you still currently working on any string theory aspects?

Michio: Yes. In fact this summer, our machine gets turned on, finally the Large Hadron Collider outside Geneva, Switzerland. It is impossible that it will create a black hole to eat up the Earth. However, the machine will, we hope, find proof or evidence for a string theory, which is what I do for a living. That’s my day job.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: And in string theory we hope to find an equation no more than 1 inch long that will allow us to quote, “Read the mind of God.” That’s what Einstein’s dream was all about.

And I found out about that dream when I was a child of eight. Everyone was talking about the fact that a great scientist had just died. It was Albert Einstein of course.

And I still remember very clearly on the evening news. They flashed the picture of his death with the unfinished manuscript of his greatest unfinished work. And even as a child I asked myself a question. “What could be so difficult that the greatest mind of our era could not finish it?” Well, we now know it was the theory of everything and we have to test aspects of string theory this summer with the Large Hadron Collider.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: So, why under an inch? I mean, what if the mind of God, so to speak, is highly un-elegant and takes several pages of an equation to put – I mean, do you discount it at that point and go, “Oh well, maybe that’s not what we’re looking for?”

Michio: Well, believe it or not we can put all the laws of physics which in turn will explain teleportation and visibility force-fields on one sheet of paper. Einstein’s equations were about an inch long.

But the quantum theory is horrible. The quantum theory if stretched that would be several yards long, very inelegant. And we would like to summarize this all in terms of just an equation 1 inch long perhaps in terms of the music of vibrating strings.

And once we do this, we may be able to settle the question about time travel, about warp drive, about what happen before the big bang. All these delicious questions, I think, can be solved once we have a theory of everything.

Kirsten: In this theory of everything, there are people, you know, trying to come up with this theory. And you’ve actually written an article with guidelines for people to follow if they have a proposal for this unified field theory to be able…

Michio: Yes. Look, I get a lot of emails from people who’ve seen flying saucers, people who have been abducted by aliens from outer space, and also people who claimed to be the next Einstein and THEY have solved the theory of everything that can explain time travel and warp drive, and so and so forth.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: Well, I tell them something very simple. “If you have a proposal for the grand unification of all physical knowledge, it at least has to contain all of Einstein’s theory and all of the quantum theory inside of it.”

And that eliminate almost all of these proposals. Most of these proposals are simply words, very fancy words like “time is space, is energy, is dimension, is matter. I just said something that sounds very profound but it’s actually rather meaningless.

Kirsten: So, it’s a matter of taking it out of the words and actually putting it into the mathematical language of proof — proving the way that things would work and…

Justin: There goes my analogy for everything.

Michio: Yes. You know, for example, take a look at time travel, right? Everyone says that, “Well, you can’t go faster than light. You can’t go backwards in time.” But if you look at Einstein’s equations very carefully, there’s a loophole. There’s a loophole in Einstein’s equations that do allow for time machines.

Now, of course, don’t expect anyone to build it in their basement anytime soon. We’re talking about the energy of a black hole, the energy of a star. But in Einstein’s equations it is possible to bend time into a pretzel. The river of time may fork into two rivers, which means that you can reanalyze all the science fiction movies via Einstein’s equations.

Justin: And isn’t there something that I think you mentioned in the book even called the “Tachyon” which is a particle that is thought to be able to travel back or a theoretical particle that could travel backwards in time?

Michio: Yeah. Well, we don’t think there aren’t any tachyons today. If you watched Star Trek, you’re a fan of the tachyon beams that they always use on Star Trek.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: We don’t think there aren’t any tachyons today. However, the big bang we think was destabilized by a tachyon. So we think that at the instant of creation, space time was unstable and that’s why it ripped. That’s why the big bang took place as a quantum fluctuation in the fabric of space and time.

So we think that tachyon had a purpose which was to die to give birth to the big bang. But we don’t think there aren’t any tachyons living today.

Kirsten: So, they were all destroyed early, early on.

Michio: That’s right. And THAT we think created a big bang.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: And then of course the question is what happened before the big bang. Well, string theory is a finite theory. It’s a theory that takes you before the big bang. And so, we physicists are now contemplating a multiverse of universes. Not just one universe but a multiverse of like soap bubble.

We live on one soap bubble. We live on the skin of an expanding soap bubble. But there are other bubbles out there. And they bump into each other. They can fission in half and create baby soap bubbles. This is called the multiverse or what Stephen Hawking calls baby universes.

Kirsten: Now, I think that you have just an amazing gift in using the English language to describe these physical possibilities, you know, in a way that people can really understand a very visual way.

So when you’re thinking about this stuff, when you’re doing your research and thinking about the next equation or how things are going to work together, are you thinking about it mathematically or are you thinking about it in this visual manner?

Michio: Well, my favorite quote is from Einstein. And Einstein once said that, “Unless a theory can be explained to a child, that theory is probably useless.” That means that the greatest theories of all time are pictorial. They can be explained by using rocket ships and elevators and analogies.

And if a great theory cannot be explained this way, then it says pure mathematics and bookkeeping and is probably useless. And therefore, immediately, when you start to talk about relatively, immediately you’re talking about rocket ships.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: You’re talking about clocks. You’re talking about space and time being ripped. These are very visual metaphors because that’s what Einstein’s said that at the very fundamental the laws of nature are all pictorial.

Kirsten: Are you going to…?

Justin: So easy a four-year old could understand it. Somebody get a four-year old. We need a four-year old in here right away.

Michio: No, I’ve had ten-year old kid asking about string theory. And I think I get across most to the basic concept of string theory to ten-year old children.

Kirsten: I think that’s something that’s really important, being able to get the idea across and also get it across in a way that’s not dry but is something that people can really sink their teeth into and enjoy, understand it.

Michio: Right. And that’s why the book, Physics of the Impossible is going to made into a twelve episode TV series for the Science Channel…

Justin: Very cool.

Kirsten: Oh fun.

Michio: …in November of this year. We’re about 1/3 away filming. In fact, I’m leaving for Los Angeles this week to film at the Robotics Factory in L.A. Twelve episodes, each episode will talk about force-fields, warp drives, time travels, starships, teleportation. Every chapter of the book becomes a 30-minute episode airing in fall on the Science Channel.

Justin: Excellent.

Michio: The bottom line is we want to make physics sexy again.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: That’s what Einstein did. That’s what Stephen Hawking did. They made physics exciting and dynamic.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: Not dry and boring. You know, when you take physics in high school, it’s all twinning forks, levers, friction, pulleys – I mean, you know, your mind goes dead thinking about this but that’s how they teach it in high school. So, no wonder kids get turned off to physics when they learn it for the first time in high school.

Kirsten: Have you ever thought about the physics first – method of teaching physics where you start with kind of the conceptual physics first and then…?

Michio: Oh that’s by Leon Lederman, the Noble Laureate.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: Yeah. He was a graduate of my college. He got his bachelors degree just about a block from here where I’m sitting here in Manhattan right now. Yeah, he has the idea that if you revolutionize physics training and make it more pictorial, more accessible with analogy…

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: …you could teach it earlier.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: Right now, most people learn physics when they were in senior in high school or never at all. And that’s a shame because physics is everywhere. Think of MRI scans, PEP scans, think of X-Rays, television, internet, iPods, laser beams, fiber optics, satellites, all of that is physics. And none of that is taught to high school kids.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Right. I mean, physics really is the fundamental underlying – you know, all these fundamental forces underlying the way everything is held together, the way everything works.

Michio: Yeah, just think about it. Go to a hospital and count all the fantastic devices that we physicists have created like MRI scans and PEP scans and X-Rays. Then go to any child’s living home and look at the internet, the iPods, look at all the fiber optic capabilities and satellites uplinks and you realize that we are surrounded by physics.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: It is never taught that way. It’s always taught with lever, twinning forks and pulleys.

Justin: Yeah, (that is a little outdated). Although, I have to say I have fight with my six-year old who is a huge fan of the Walter Lewin’s demonstrations from his MIT courses. And he’s actually taking a way a few concepts from there that blew me away.

We went down to science exhibits down in San Francisco recently. And there was an experiment where you drop – it was showing a magnetic EDIS and metals and how you can have some slots around it. And he identified the experiment. Recognized it first and then told me why. And that’s when I was like “Wow! My six-year old just explained the magnetic EDIS to me.”

Michio: Yeah. I think when your child turns ten, that’s when they have this ex-potential shock. I’ve interviewed 300 top scientists from my radio show over the years.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: And many Nobel laureates. I asked them one question to begin with. I always asked them, “When did it happen? When did you decide to become a scientist?” Every single one, without exception, says, “When I was ten…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Michio: …something happened with a chemistry kit. It was a telescope. It was a visit to the planetarium. It was an astronomy book.” That’s when people make a transition. Kids make a transition from mommy and daddy, and mommy and daddy all the time to finding out how big the world is outside mommy and daddy.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: That’s when they get this epiphany when they realize, “Oh my God! The world is huge! The world is wonderful! It’s gigantic! It was full of splendorous things.” That’s what happens. And then by the time they’re 16, 17, it’s all over. It’s crushed out of them.

Kirsten: It’s been crashed, yeah, beaten out of them with the educational system.

Michio: (Unintelligible), you’re called the geek. You know, you have to be part of the in-crowd and it’s taught in a very boring way, memorization of science.

My daughter had to take the New York State Regents Exam. It’s all memorization of the crystals and minerals out there.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: And I looked at the book. It’s awful, the book that tells you how to prepare for the exam. And then she comes up to me one day and says, “Daddy, why would anyone want to become a scientist?”

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: Ouch.

Michio: I felt so humiliated. Never in my life have I felt so humiliated. It’s when my own daughter says, “Why would anyone want to become a goofy scientist if you have to memorize hundreds of crystals, minerals that you simply look up on the internet?” At that point I felt like ripping that exam book in half.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: That’s what we do our kids. We crush it out of them. And that’s why I wrote Physics of the Impossible, like I said, to make science sexy again.

Kirsten: What do you enjoy more — the writing, the research, the being a TV star, going out, you know, on the road? What’s your favorite part of being author?

Michio: Well, my favorite part is research. All the time, I have equations dancing in my head.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: My wife thinks I’m kind of goofy because I stare out the window. But all my friends have the same ability. They see blocks of equations dancing in their head and they play with equations in their head when they have spare time.

Now, this is how musicians work. This is not just for a scientist. Musicians have melodies dancing in their head all the time. And then when these melodies kind of like come together, they get on the piano and plank a few notes. And then they stare out the window again and play with more melodies.

That’s how we physicists operate. We spend most of the time staring out the window, playing with blocks of melodies, until these melodies fit together, and then we say “aha”.

Kirsten: You have that “aha” moment. Have you ever had that, you know, there are stories of, you know, the dream in the middle of the night or going out for a walk or in the shower, suddenly that moment of realization of understanding? Have you ever had a moment like that?

Michio: Yeah, I had a moment like that once. When I started with string theory years ago, I’m one of the early pioneers in string theory, it was a mess. I mean, all hundreds of these equations, they didn’t make any sense, no rhyme or reason. There was no one inch equation that unified all physics.

And then I was teaching Freshmen Physics one year. And I was drawing the field lines of electricity, you know, magnetism field lines look like a spider web. And then I realize that the spider web of magnetic field lines mimic exactly the evolution of strings. That was my “aha” moment.

And then I went back and I checked it. And I said to myself, “Oh my God. That’s right! I can summarize all of string theory consisting of hundreds of equations into one equation one inch long. That’s my equation.

Kirsten: Wow!

Michio: That’s called string field theory. And I’m the co-founder of string field theory.

Kirsten: Well, I think that’s really neat. That must have been an exciting moment to just suddenly be like, “Wow! Did you just run? Wait, I need to write this down.”

Michio: Yeah. I think I’d stayed up all night checking the details, working it out in all possible forms. I spent all night just checking and checking, checking all the details.

You know, that’s one thrill of being a scientist, that you realize that on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy, there’s probably an alien out there who is discovering the same principle, the same concept with different notation that this is universal.

You know, if you’re an authority on Shakespeare, that’s well and good. That’s okay. But, you know, you can’t be an authority outside the English language. You can’t be an authority outside the planet Earth. In outer space, they never heard of Shakespeare.

But if you do Physics, you write an equation that’s eternal, that you hope describes the universe that somebody on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy will also discover. And that’s a thrill of a lifetime.

Kirsten: Yeah. That seems like it’s something that would be so – such a lasting understanding of the way things work would just be, you know, fabulously exciting and thrilling to be able to be a part of.

Do we ever wonder? I mean, as we as reporters, we read through different science stories and physics news. There’s usually a caveat at the end of this. “Oh well, you know, this is the way it works in, you know, the universe around us at least.”

You know, is that kind of caveat? I mean is it possible that physics works differently in another point in our own universe or is it, you know, the idea in a different soap bubble it’s all going to work differently?

Michio: Well, yeah. We think that in our soap bubble, the laws of the universe are the same. And we know this by looking at light from distant galaxy that was emitted 12 billion years ago. And the light is identical to the light that we have today, except shifted in time.

So we know that the laws of physics haven’t changed in 12 billion years in our bubble.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: But in other soap bubbles, we do believe that there could be other laws of physics. All these soap bubbles are governed, we think, by string theory. String theory has many solutions. Each solution is an entire universe. And so, we think that all these universes are governed by a Metaphysics.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: Each bubble has a physics. But there’s a Metaphysics that governs all the physics of these many bubbles, and that’s string theory. The thing there we think is the physics beyond physics.

Kirsten: The Physics beyond — that’s a different show all together. So, we’re getting to the end of our hour here. And I’d love to know – I know you’re working on these TV series. You’re touring probably for the book right now. And do you have – in addition to thinking about your equations, do you have other stories popping up in your mind, different book ideas or are you going to focus on research for a while?

Michio: Well, I’m always focusing on research. But, you know, sometimes you get stuck.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: And that’s when Einstein grabbed the violin, you know, the joke is you get four mathematicians together and you get a string quartet. Well, many Physicists look in a string theory like to mountain climb for some – there’s a hard reason I can’t understand. I don’t like mountain climbing. Two of my friends actually died. Physicist Heinz theoretical physicist actually died in mountain climbing accident.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Michio: And so, I like to engage to public instead. So, when I get stuck I get energized by reaching out to people to explain to people the fantastic ideas that we physicists are playing with. I mean, who would have thought that a time machine could have a blueprint that we would publish in the Physics Journal?

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Michio: Who would have thought that warp drive just like you see in Star Trek would be fair game for a physics article? But that’s all true.

So, when I get stuck, I like to interact with people because when I was young, I learned about Einstein’s unified field theory. I learned that it was unfinished. But everywhere I went I couldn’t find any book on it.

And I said – I made a promise to myself as a child. I promised that when I grow up to become a theoretical physicist. I would write books. I would get on radio to explain to young people what all the excitement was all about because back then it was so frustrating.

Nothing! Nothing out there written by another fellow physicist to explain the fantastic concepts of antimatter, higher dimensions, warp drive. Nothing!

Kirsten: And now there is you and there are other physicists who are doing their part to try and educate the public and tell the story of the way that our universe works, and try…

Justin: As a group, I think, doing a very good job.

Kirsten: Yeah. I think it’s the entire scientific community is becoming more and more adapt at getting information out.

Justin: More media savvy.

Kirsten: Yeah, which is fabulous.

Michio: Yeah. It wasn’t always that way.

Kirsten: No.

Michio: In 1993, our machine was cancelled, the SuperCollider, three times bigger than the Large Hadron Collider.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Michio: It was humiliating.

Kirsten: Yup.

Michio: Because we, physicists, could not talk the American tax payer. And as a consequence, Congress cancelled our machine in 1993. And so, it’s going to go to Europe instead.

Kirsten: Yeah, (unintelligible) here.

Justin: Is there a back-up plan though?

Kirsten: A back-up plan?

Justin: Is there a back-up? I’m only just saying, if the Large Hadron doesn’t, you know — excuse me — the Higgs boson is not found, is there, you know, a back-up plan?

Michio: Well, you know, at the last day of hearings in 1993, a Congressman asked a physicist. And this is true story. He said, “Will we find God with this SuperCollider? To be built on site Dallas.”

And the physicist was floored. He didn’t know how to answer that question. So he came back and said, “Higgs boson” — well, you can hear all the jaws hit the floor in the United States Congress — “$11 billion to be spent finding another God damned sub-atomic particle.”

Well, the machine was cancelled the next day. And ever since then, we physicists have gone over that same thing, over and over and over again. What should we have said?

I would have said something like this. I would have said, “God, by whatever signs or symbols you scribe to the deity, this machine, the SuperCollider, will take us as close as humanly possible to his greatest creation, Genesis. This machine will unravel the mysteries of the greatest event in the history of the universe, its Birth.”

Justin: Mm hmm.

Michio: Unfortunately we said, “Higgs boson.” And the machine was cancelled. And ever since, we’ve regretted it.

Kirsten: It’s all about framing. We’re all having to learn the wonders of politics and framing your speech and using the words that are going to get things across the best.

Michio: And next month, CERN in Geneva is again going to be in the news. Tom Hanks, the star in Angels and Demons.

Kirsten: Right.

Michio: And one of the bad guys are physicists who manipulate antimatter to blow up the Vatican.

Kirsten: There’s always the bad guy scientist.

Michio: Yeah. But first of all, you cannot…

Kirsten: We need bad woman scientist, no.

Michio: You cannot create an antimatter bomb. And Tom Hanks is barking up the wrong tree. But Geneva, Switzerland was swamped. A CERN was swamped with telephone calls, demanding to know whether antimatter bombs are possible or not.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: Oh dear. Well, that’s another story. Thank you so much for joining us this morning, Dr. Kaku.

Michio: Okay. It was my pleasure, any time.

Kirsten: Thank you. It’s been great speaking with you. I wish you more luck with your Physics of the Impossible.

Justin: I cannot wait to watch the book that I read.

Kirsten: Yes, exactly. It will be fun to watch you on TV.

Justin: (Unintelligible) graphics.

Kirsten: And hopefully, we’re waiting to see all these impossibilities become more and more possible.

Michio: Right. Yeah, watch for it in fall, November on the Science Channel.

Kirsten: Thank you.

Justin: Oh, we’ll be shouting all about it. Don’t worry.

Kirsten: Bye.

Michio: Bye.

Justin: Bye doctor. Although, you know, I think he did evade my question. I said, “Is there a back-up plan?” And he went into a story about God.

Kirsten: He’s good at turning the questions.

Justin: He said Higgs boson. So, maybe not so much.

Kirsten: Yeah. Well, next week we are going to be interviewing the author of our TWIS Bookclub, Book of the Month, Dr. Leonard Mlodinow. Yeah. So we’re talking about probability in randomness as opposed to physics. It’s going to be an exciting interview next week.

I would like to make a few shout outs to some people who wrote in during the last week. Daniel, thanks for writing in. Sorry, we didn’t get to your story this week. (Shane Arteum), Jared, Erin, David, Oliver, Oliver Field, thank you, Jeff Randall, Ed Dyer, (Steven Kelit).

We have Eva Snider, (Philip Fujiyoshi) who’s here in Davis. I didn’t get to his fun story either. There’s so much science. Unfortunately, we can’t get to everything. (Sky Logan), Zorro.

And today is “Save the Frogs Day”.

Justin: So don’t do anything bad to frogs today.

Kirsten: Don’t do anything bad to frogs.

Justin: You should avoid it.

Kirsten: And you can also go. There’s a website for Save the Frogs. It’s And you can – they have an icon. You can change your Twitter or Facebook profile icon if you’re interested. Change it for the day. Spread the message of saving the frogs.

On the website, the Save the Frogs, they’ve got lots of great information about, you know, how frogs really are kind of like the canary in the coal mine. There are a lot of things affecting them in their viability in the environments around the world.

Justin: They too must too effectible to the plant where you don’t know why they’re being affected because they’re always growing a fourth leg, a fifth leg, a third eye, a fourth. I mean, like it could be anything to this thing. They’re too susceptible.

Kirsten: So, that means we should just ignore them. Is that what you’re saying?

Justin: If every time you go into the mine the canary dies, you’ll never get any work done. That’s what I’m saying.

Kirsten: Maybe you shouldn’t go in the mine. Maybe that’s the whole point.

Justin: Okay. So, we hope you enjoyed the show. We’re available via the podcast, Follow the details in that they’re referring. You can email us if you like. It’s or

Kirsten: We love your feedback. If you have a topic you want us to cover or address, a suggestion for an interview, let us know. And we will be back here on KDVS next Tuesday at 8:30 am, Pacific Time. And we hope you’ll join us for more great science news.

Justin: And remember, if you’ve learned anything from today’s show…

Kirsten: …it’s all in your head.

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