Transcript:TWIS.ORG Dec 22, 2009

Justin: Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer!

Hold on. Now is not the moment for faith or doubt. Now is not the moment for contemplation or belief. Now is not the moment for hesitation or an action of any kind.

Now is the moment in which you can do. And while what choice of action you take – much like the following hour of programming – will not represent the University of California, Davis, KDVS or its sponsors, what you do now has more importance, more meaning than any theory or consideration of thought.

The sum total of the universe’s past has led to this now. The future flow of possibility will be forged by this now. This now is yours to master, yours to act upon, yours to set in motion. And in this now, the future is yours for the taking which is why we are so honored that you have chosen to dedicate this now to This Week in Science, coming up next.

Justin: Good morning, Kirsten.

Kirsten: Good morning. I’m playing with the volume on you.

Justin: Huh?

Kirsten: Like, “Loud? Too loud? Too loud? Too soft? Too loud? Too soft?” Yeah. I’ve got the controls.

Justin: Good morning, Kirsten.

Kirsten: I have the power. Good morning! Here we are – another week of science and not enough sleep. I’d like to welcome you all to one of our final TWISmas episodes.

Justin: Yeah. The final TWIS before TWISmas. It actually goes down.

Kirsten: Before TWISmas, exactly. I know. TWISmas is on its way. Ho, ho, ho.

I have stories about Santa follies which is, you know, what come – the “Ho, ho, ho” reference. That’s where it came from. Santa. Ho, ho, ho!

Justin: Wait. What are you saying? You confuse me entirely.

Kirsten: We’re going to be talking about Santa.

Justin: The origin of Ho, ho, ho in terms of Santa, is that what it is?

Kirsten: Mm hmm. Yeah. No.

Justin: No.

Kirsten: Dark evidence – I got dark evidence – and a few TWISmas ghosts will join us today.

Justin: Ghosts on the show today. It’s going to be awesome.

Kirsten: Yeah. And we also have a giveaway – our final giveaway, TWISmas giveaway – for the Evolvems. We’ll be doing that later.

Justin: Where’s mine? Did you bring mine?

Kirsten: No.

Justin: I thought I was getting one of these.

Kirsten: No. You were. You are.

Justin: Where is it?

Kirsten: At home on my desk.

Justin: Oh, that’s going to be great in time for Christmas. “Oh, sorry. Christmas has been canceled on account of Kirsten.”

Kirsten: TWISmas should be all year every day. That should be the gift of science that gives and gives on and on and on. There should not be just one day of TWISmas. What are you saying? What are you saying?

Justin: I’m saying that I have got – I have figured out the golden rule or the golden ratio. Somebody has.

Kirsten: You’ve what?

Justin: Somebody just got a new theory about the golden ratio.

Kirsten: Awesome.

Justin: Yeah. I’m going to give you some real life advice on whether to choose bourbon or vodka.

Kirsten: Hey, that was one of my stories.

Justin: Oh, then you could do it. I didn’t look at what you brought. So you can do that one.

Kirsten: You’re helpful today.

Justin: Okay and then I’ve got this – oh, study that claims only 10-15% of women suffer from eating disorders.

Kirsten: Only 10 -15%.

Justin: That’s what it says. It says it’s like startling me. I’m like, “Really? Only 10-15%?” But I still…

Kirsten: I say, that’s a lot of women. That’s huge.

Justin: I still – and I will still claim that 100% of women who study nutrition have an eating disorder.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: It’s just a guess. I have that feeling for some reason. And then – oh, yes, some memory stuff that just bodes poorly for my future. My goodness.

Kirsten: Great.

Justin: Sure, we got a lot of – oh, LHC did some science.

Kirsten: We love that. We love that.

Justin: Mm hmm. And I guess that’s the show. Thank you for joining us. If you learned anything…

Kirsten: All right. Dark matter detected in a dark mine.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: Underground. Yes, in Michigan. Was it Michigan? I don’t know. One of the states that starts with an M.

Justin: Oh, there’s a lot of those.

Kirsten: And scientists from the cryogenic dark matter search experiment managed by the Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory have found two – count them– one, two – potential events that have the correct characteristics of dark matter.

Justin: Wait. Wait. Wait. Potential events? How could they’ve identified something and say it’s potentially an event?

Kirsten: Well, they do…

Justin: It was either an event or it wasn’t an event and then they…

Kirsten: So they have a detector, the CDMS 2 experiment that’s underground in this mine. I think it’s Minnesota.

Justin: Isn’t that a city?

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s Minnesota, Minessota – the half-mile – this mine is a half-mile underground – the CDMS experiment – a mine in Northern Minnesota. So they took over this mine shaft that used to be for mining. And they now use it for science for detecting these WIMPs which are…

Justin: Weak interacting…

Kirsten: …massive particles. So they’re massive particles, they’re at the same size as hydrogen or even larger.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: But they don’t interact. They hardly interact with anything. So we’re looking for these particles that are supposedly really big but just aren’t there. And there’s the suggestion that there are enough of them around all the time, all around us that there’s at least one of these WIMPs in a can of soda at all times.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: So if you have a can of soda, you can look at it and go, “Hi, can of soda. You probably contain a WIMP.”

Justin: Interesting.

Kirsten: Yes. “I will drink you.”

Justin: And what is the caloric value of a WIMP?

Kirsten: That, I think – I don’t know. That’s a very good question. I don’t know.

Justin: It has mass, but it has no flavor.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: That’s a great product.

Kirsten: So these – the CDMS experiment has been going on for years and years and years but they really haven’t found anything. But they recently looked at the data set taken from 2000 to – 2007 to 2008. And they did a statistical analysis of the data.

And after doing a special statistical analysis of the data, they found out of hundreds of thousands of interactions, two with their detector. Two and only two actually had the characteristics that fit within the parameters that they’re looking for that they think make up dark matter.

But the thing is they only found two. So this is a really small data – number of data points. And so to say, “Hey, we discovered dark matter based on two interactions,” that doesn’t really fly.

So what they’re saying is, “Possibly, we found dark matter. But it’s only two. So there is a 23% chance that we didn’t really find dark matter. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to keep doing more research. We’re going to keep detecting. We’re going to keep looking for this information and see if we can find other events that have these characteristics.”

And so this is really exciting. Because this is sitting on top of a lot of data and evidence from the past several years that suggest that scientists, physicists are getting closer and closer and closer to discovering and actually isolating these dark matter particles and figuring out much more about them and how to detect them in the first place.

It’s like, “Whoa! What are they? How do you detect them if you don’t even know what they are?”

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: And…

Justin: It’s an amazing thing when you have something that doesn’t interact much with matter.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: And you have nothing but matter at your disposable – at your disposal with which to try to detect this thing. It’s quite a difficult process.

Kirsten: Weakly interacting, but at the same time, really liking. It helps to hold things together. Dark matter is pretty important for holding the universe together. I mean, they’re a large – pockets of mass and gravity in the universe that we’ve seen that don’t really appear to have a lot of visible matter. And so it has to be this dark stuff that we can’t see.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: What is it?

Justin: I think they should have called it – my picture in my head of what dark matter is, is basically packing foam, like Styrofoam, like peanuts that you would put into a package when you ship it, taking up regions of space, filling in.

Kirsten: I don’t think that works. I don’t think that analogy works because it doesn’t – because it’s not interacting, it doesn’t necessarily take up a lot of space. I mean, there’s these big particles, but who cares? If it doesn’t interact with stuff, who cares if it’s there, right?

It’s something much different from that. I don’t know. I think of it as like tar. I don’t know. It’s heavier than packing peanuts. It’s got to be, you know, it’s got – packing peanuts are like light and fluffy and don’t hold anything together.

Justin: But see, there’s no – yeah. Well, it does. It holds everything in place in a way. But because there is no heavy, the heavy is – I think it’s an illusion. But nothing’s heavy.

Kirsten: It’s all an illusion.

Justin: The heavy is not – the heavy isn’t like later down the road of an effect of gravity. It’s not actual kind of any…

Kirsten: Yeah. So Fermi Lab says in 2010 this coming up year, they’re going to be installing an upgraded detector. They’re calling it Super CDMS. It’s not just CDMS, it’s Super CDMS. Because every time something is bigger and better, it becomes super.

Justin: And the next one is extra super.

Kirsten: Extra super.

Justin: Double extra super secret (unintelligible)…

Kirsten: Yeah. And this new detector will have three times the mass and lower backgrounds. The backgrounds are all the other stuff that we want to try and get rid off and not see then the present detectors.

“If these two events are indeed a dark matter signal,” says the Fermi Lab director, Pierre Odon, “then the upgraded detector will be able to tell us definitively that we have found a dark matter particle.”

So maybe coming up in the next couple of years, we will have definitive evidence of dark matter.

Justin: That’s hot.

Kirsten: Super hot! It’s exciting.

Justin: And dark matter is just, I mean, we’re still like – we’re like, that was – when we started doing this show or when I started with the show like five years ago, it’s like, “What is this dark matter that people are speaking of?”

Kirsten: Right. Right. When we started ten years ago, dark matter was, I mean, who was talking about dark matter?

Justin: It didn’t even exist.

Kirsten: Nobody was talking about dark matter. I mean, black holes have become a much bigger deal. We’ve, in the last ten years, figured out way more about how black holes work and what’s going on with them. Dark matter has become this huge thing.

I mean, there’s so much stuff that as technology progresses, as the detectors become more and more advanced as the science comes in and they look at these datasets, we have more and more evidence and information to help us understand what’s around us.

And it’s just – it’s going to keep speeding up. It’s amazing. It’s amazing.

Justin: Yeah. There is that weird statistic that I don’t know where I got from, so I might just be making it up. But…

Kirsten: I could believe that.

Justin: …maybe I’m making it up here. But I did hear it somewhere else, so somebody else is making it up. That in 50 years, 90% of human knowledge will have been gained in that 50 years.

And when you look at like the last ten years, you can kind of start to see why that’s possible. Because we have broken so much ground in science in just this last decade. It’s been one of the most…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …most impressive runs, I think.

Kirsten: Hugely.

Justin: And now, now we’re just getting into one of the older ones. See if you can Google up there the – or you can play along at home – the golden ratio because I don’t think I’ve got the full description of it here.

But according to this article, the Egyptians used it potentially to construct the pyramids. The architecture of ancient Athens is thought to have been based on it and a fictional Harvard symbologist, Robert Langdon, tried to unravel its mysteries in the novel of the Da Vinci Code.

Kirsten: Oh, yes.

Justin: It is the golden ratio.

Kirsten: You made up a story.

Justin: A geometric proportion that has been theorized to be the most aesthetically pleasing to the eye and has been the root of countless mysteries over the centuries.

Now, Duke University Engineer has found it to be a compelling springboard to unify vision, thought and movement under a single law of nature’s design.

So, it’s also known as the divine proportion.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: It describes a rectangle with a length of roughly 1.5 times its width. And there’s some interesting ways where you can apply this to serve, like the human face or some other things that’s – it’s like this ratio that repeats and repeats.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: You’re looking very – you got like a curled lip over there.

Kirsten: I know, I do.

Justin: What’s going on? You’re like sneering.

Kirsten: Oh, well it’s – yeah. The divine ration is, as applied to like the human body, is not as accurate as everyone makes it out to be because that’s a myth.

Justin: That’s because humans are messy.

Kirsten: That’s a myth.

Justin: Well, many artists and architects have fashioned their works around the proportion.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: The Pantheon in Athens, Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting Mona Lisa are cited as examples of…

Kirsten: It is very balanced. There’s good balance.

Justin: It’s just, you know, I mean, people like balance. I think that you could just, like…

Adrian Bejan, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering thinks he knows why the golden ratio pops up everywhere, the eye scans an image the fastest when it is shaped as this golden ratio – as this golden ratio rectangle.

So the natural design that connects vision to cognition is the theory of flowing systems from airways in the lungs, to formation of rivers and the deltas. It just seems like it’s describing a path of least resistance – least resistance ratio.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Let me get a caller. I think it’s more interesting than what I’m saying. Hang on a second.

Kirsten: I was interested in your story. I wanted to hear you finish your story.

Justin: I was – I got done. But I got bored.

Kirsten: This interrupting the story is just not happening – here…

Justin: I don’t know. If somebody disagree…

Kirsten: …finish your story.

Justin: Okay.

Kirsten: Finish your story. I’m not having it. Finish your story.

Justin: So in a sense, arguing that the world, whether it is human looking in a painting or gazelle in the open plane scanning the horizon, is basically oriented on horizonal. And for the gazelle, danger primarily comes from the sides or from behind, not from above or below.

So the scope of the vision is devolved to go from side to side. As the vision is being developed, he’s arguing that the animals got smarter by seeing better and moving faster and more safely.

So basically, what he’s saying is that our – the way we’re trained to see being on a planet surface is this sort of rectangle shape. And then – it’s sort of like a check down, you know, like playing football.

Kirsten: That’s interesting. So the idea is that because we see in a particular way and based on the horizon and our field of view with these forward facing eyes…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: …that field of view is based on the golden mean, the golden ratio.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: And then from there, everything is balanced in that direction that we have a predilection for…

Justin: That we – to balance things that way because…

Kirsten: Yeah, that we prefer it because that’s what our visual system has evolved to see.

Justin: It’s the quickest check down, right.

Kirsten: Mm hmm. Interesting. Interesting idea. I wonder if (Mark Tianggeze) would have something to say about that.

Justin: Good morning, TWIS minion. You’re on the air with This Week in Science. Oh, no! You’re not.

Kirsten: Or not.

Justin: Where did you go?

Kirsten: Somehow, you’re hanging up on him, maybe. I don’t think it’s your fault. It’s not your fault. But that’s – yeah. That’s a fascinating idea. I bet you will hear from (Mark Tianggeze) at some point about that story.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Our vision scientist – a neuroscientist who just recently – what was the book he wrote? Something vision – The Vision Revolution.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: I think it’s what’s it’s called. Good book. So is Santa bad for our health?

Justin: Huh?

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s TWISmas time so I’ve themed up a little bit with some holiday stories. I’ve got this one here. Is Santa bad for our health? There was a story sent in by (Alexander Ramsey).

And he said, “TWISmas is upon us. Isn’t climbing up and down those chimneys and through those heating vents exercise enough? Obviously, the good doctor has never had to drive an eight-reindeer sleigh through blizzards and tropical hurricanes. Next time he’ll be wanting Santa to use Parcel Express so he can go use that time at the gym. All the best to you and to all you TWISy minions.”

So the story really came from a press release from EurekAlert!, which is one of the major scientific PR sources out there. The story was from a journal and a story – a paper written by Dr. Nathan Grills – wow. You almost fell out of your chair – that was pretty good – from Monash University in Australia.

And the story that the journal article he wrote suggested that the current image of Santa promotes obesity, drunk driving, speeding and generally, unhealthy lifestyle.

Justin: Drunk driving?

Kirsten: Yeah. Well, we all leave…

Justin: Is that why he’s got the rosy cheeks?

Kirsten: We all leave brandy and stuff out for Santa at night. I mean…

Justin: What?

Kirsten: …you leave a little alcohol out for Santa when he – and cookies.

Justin: Who does that? Wait. Who does that? It’s milk.

Kirsten: It’s milk. Usually, I leave milk out, right?

Justin: I bet your house is all grown up. “Oh, we’re leaving a bottle of Jack out for that jolly old fellow.”

Kirsten: Anyway, Santa is supposedly a bad influence because also he has the real potential to spread infectious diseases.

Justin: He wears gloves.

Kirsten: And all the children who sit on his lap might end up with swine flu.

Justin: I don’t care.

Kirsten: As long as there are Christmas present. Grills argued all sorts of angles of how Santa’s really not that good for our children, our society. And maybe he needs a new image. Maybe slim down on a treadmill. And so, this is the press release that came out.

But what happened in the media actually is that this story, this press release was grabbed and ran with in just about every media outlet out there. You’ll see the story, “Is Santa bad for our health?”

But I actually found a really great blog post from NewsWeek. They emailed Dr. Grills and said, “What’s up with this Santa bashing? What’s going on?” And they found out that really, nobody actually went to the original journal article to see what it was all about.

It turns out, the original journal article was written in a spoof part of the journal that was special for the holiday season. It was a spoof article. The entire article was a joke. And it was a humorous…

Justin: And it picked up so much traction and became so successful that from now on…

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: …they’re just going to make up – there’s no journal.

Kirsten: Just – it’s going to – yeah. So it’s like, Dr. Grills said that of all the research, the articles he’s ever written, this has gotten the most attention of any story he’s got. And now he gets hate mail…

Justin: Of course.

Kirsten: …because people are upset at him for Santa bashing. So people are tearing him apart.

It’s really hilarious though that actual, you know, the – what ended up happening with the story is he wrote a funny, “Haha! Look, I’m going to pretend to have scientific research about how Santa promotes obesity. And I’ll pretend to actually have real data that isn’t real at all.”

It’s all – everything was made up. Nothing was cited. He wrote the paper with an illustrator, made up some funny cartoons of Santa on a treadmill. So he’s laughing at the fact that, hey, this was supposed to be joke. And then all the media picked up the press release and ran with it as if it were actually a real scientific study.

And so I think this is a real lesson as to how the media reacts.

Justin: On the upside though, yeah, it’s a lesson that you have like, say, a book to sell or something.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: How to get some really good attention to yourself or…

Kirsten: Yeah. Serious. I don’t know if anyone will be able to bash Santa the same way again. But I think, you know, people are sensitive to this kind of stuff. And it’s, “Oh, the image. What are these things that people look up to?”

I mean, they’ve changed the image of Smokey the Bear.

Justin: What?

Kirsten: Smokey the Bear is no longer, you know, this cuddly kind of like, “You can prevent forest fires,” you know. Smokey the Bear, they’ve…

Justin: Oh, they’ve gotten like, CGI them or something.

Kirsten: Yeah. He’s all buff and he’s – Smokey the Bear is a completely different bear these days. And he has a completely different message from what he used to have. And so we look at these images, these icons, our cultural icons and what do they portray to the public.

And I think maybe there’s a sensitive spot here these days because obesity has become an issue, because, people – you know, all these things they bring up – drunk driving, speeding, breaking into people’s houses – all these things that Santa does are not positive things.

But he’s supposed to be this really good guy, bearing gifts and everything. I don’t know. So, I understand why people jumped on it. But at the same time, it’s kind of funny.

Justin: Yeah. I like the fact that something, you know, just mildly controversial like that could get so much traction in the press that it gets repeated everywhere.

Kirsten: Yes. So much. And repeated and repeated and repeated and repeated with nobody going back to check the original source.

Justin: And for my next story, “Working women destroy the world economy,” “Why we should get rid of all cats – because cats are possessed by the devil” and “Mickey Mouse, communist?”

Kirsten: You are hilarious.

Justin: My goodness. It was that easy? Really?

Kirsten: That was right.

Justin: Beat up Santa Claus, that’s what I have to do for worldwide attention?

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: Oh! Oh, my goodness.

Kirsten: Well, so what Grills says, he wrote an email to this NewsWeek reporter/blogger. He says, “I am a Santa lover, not a hater. But I believe in the true meaning of Santa. The true Santa, St. Nicholas, was a very generous man who gave all of his wealth to bless others who were in need. And this was a reflection of some of the greatest gifts given to humanity. We need to reclaim Christmas for the beauty of giving and loving.”

Justin: St. Nick though – after having given away all his money to those needy people – is also I think the one who came up with the quote, oh, geez, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If teach him to fish, you feed him for life.” And yet they go back and start over again because all the needy people are needy like a week later. It just ended badly for him.

Kirsten: Are you sure that’s who said that?

Justin: I have no idea. I’m making up stuff now.

Kirsten: You make things up all the time. Give me a story. Tell me some science.

Justin: More science stories? I’ve got actually a big minion mailbag brewing over here. I don’t know if we’re going to get to all these things.

Kirsten: Tell me a story.

Justin: Well, I can’t do that one because you took that one away from me. Oh! Yeah.

Kirsten: Okay. I’m getting Santa drunk.

Justin: Yeah. Let’s get to – let’s do the drinking.

Kirsten: Yeah. Ed Dyer sent in a lot of great stories this week. But of course, this is the one that got my attention. Thank you, Ed.

While you might enjoy leaving a brandy out for Darwin on TWISmas eve, maybe think twice and get him some vodka to help him avoid that hangover.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: So, you know, you can get Santa drunk. But, you know, maybe pick your liquor based on the color.

A new study has come out looking at brown liquors versus clear liquors and which one gives worse hangovers.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: The brown ones, unfortunately, lead to the worst hangovers than the clear. So bourbon – not going to make you feel good the next day compared to drinking vodka. So maybe the Russians have it right. I don’t know.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Damaris Rohsenow of Brown University and their colleagues published this work in alcoholism, clinical and experimental research. He recruited 95 healthy young adults, aged 21 to 33 – over the drinking age, so it’s all legal – gave them a caffeine-free cola mixed with bourbon, vodka or tonic and then got them drunk up to an average blood alcohol level of .11 or breath alcohol level of .11.

And then they let them sleep and wake up. And then they gave them some tests in the morning. They found out that the drinkers slept really poorly compared to non-drinkers.

And the brown liquor drinkers had the worst headache or hangover than the vodka or tonic drinkers. But on tests of performance, the non-drinkers performed better than the drinkers. But there was no difference in attention and reaction time between the brown and clear liquor drinkers.

So just the feeling of the hangover that was worse. And this makes sense because there’s something like 35 more toxic chemicals in brown liquors than there are in clear ones.

We have a phone call. Let’s see if we can get it this time. I think we – maybe press that button. Let’s get it. Let’s get it.

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

Man: Yeah. Hi.

Kirsten: Hello.

Man: I’m on the air?

Kirsten: Yeah, you are in the air.

Justin: Yeah. You called a radio station during programming at the actual thing where the microphones are.

Man: Okay. But you put me on air?

Kirsten: You’re on the air.

Justin: You’re on air right now. You’re speaking…

Man: Oh, wow.

Justin: …entertaining greatly our audience.

Man: Wow. We were just calling to see if we could get – let in to the radio station because we’re outside and we wanted to check it out.

Justin: No.

Kirsten: I don’t know about – if the door is not open…

Justin: I’m not letting you in. I don’t know anything. You could be an axe-wielding – like, how do I know? How do I know? I need references. All right.

Kirsten: Wonderful. Wonderful. Bring me more science.

Justin: Okay. So, famous mugs do more than prompt us into buying magazines, according to new Université de Montréal recherche. In the December issue of Canadian Journal on Aging, a team of scientists explain how the ability to name famous faces or access biographical knowledge about celebrities holds clues that could help in early Alzheimer’s detection.

Kirsten: Ooh. That’s cool.

Justin: Now, this is frightening. “Semantic memory for people triggered through name, voice or face is knowledge we’ve gathered over the course of our lifetime on a person which enables us to recognize this person,” says this senior author, Sven Joubert, professor at Université de Montréal Department of Psychology and researcher at the Centre de recherche de I’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal.

Kirsten: Okay. You’re very not French.

Justin: I know. Anyway, the goal is to determine whether the ability to recall names of famous people decreases with age. Since the condition named “anomia” ranks among the most common complaints of the elderly, to investigate, they did this big study.

And they showed these people faces of famous people such as Albert Einstein, Celine Dion – the ones in Canada, right – Catherine Deneuve – yeah, they picked all these French – these Canadian people. Wayne Gretzky. They were first asked to name the famous faces and then questioned them their professions, nationality and specific life events.

The second test: weeks later, subjects were shown the names of the same 30 celebrities and were questioned again on biographical knowledge. The result, our ability to recall the name of someone we know upon seeing their face declines steadily in normal aging. Semantic memory for people however seems unaffected by age.

So this is what they’ve sort of elicited out of all this study is that…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …your ability to remember a name can be horrible and gets worse and worse and worse, except your ability to know the information around this individual, around the name will stay sharp.

So for instance, like when we meet some 30 years from now, I’ll be like, “Oh, hi. How are you doing, girl? Because I have lost your name.”

Kirsten: “I recognize you. I know you.”

Justin: It’s like, “Oh, but you ran that science media center down there at the, you know, the big building.”

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Like, you remember all the – like you remember that the person is a hockey player…

Kirsten: The details, yeah.

Justin: …or a singer and that they did this great album or you saw him in a movie. But you won’t be able to recall their name as well.

Kirsten: Yeah. Well, I find – definitely as I get older, I run into those people at the grocery store where I go, “Hi. Oh, it’s so great to see you. How are your kids? Yeah. What’s going on? Oh, that’s great.”

And then you never get their name and you leave and you go, “That was a great conversation with somebody I know I know. But I have no idea who they are.”

It’s great.

Justin: That’s really interesting. So – but they’re also saying that this, you know, if the sooner that somebody is having this problem with name recognition, the more likely that it’s indicating future Alzheimer’s problems.

Kirsten: Sweet.

Justin: I am in trouble. I’ve never remembered a name. I can never remember who’s – what doing when.

Kirsten: That’s all – that’s – studies like these still though are just correlative. I mean, this is just, you know, one indicator possibly. I mean – and there are other things that maybe you can do things during your life to strengthen your brain, to strengthen neural connections, to maintain memory or even keep something like Alzheimer’s at bay for a longer period of time.

We still don’t understand enough about why Alzheimer’s happens in the first place to be able to make these kinds of judgments. So – I mean, this is still just one of those studies where it’s like, “Okay. I’m not really going to be concerned about it right now.”

I mean, maybe if I were 12 and having those problems, it might be indicative of some issues in the future. But, you know, I’m old enough. Whatever.

I mean, what I’m looking for are the blood markers, the thing, you know, where you can go get a blood test at your doctor. You know, they stick your blood in a little testing array. And they, “Okay, we’re looking for all these different things. And hey, there’s a chemical in your blood that says you have – you probably have more amyloid plaques in your brain than you should right now. Here’s a chemical marker that suggests that oh, you’ve got some damage to you – at the myelin sheath on your nerves. Here’s a chemical marker that’s,” you know…

That’s what I’m looking for. I want real like downstream connected markers, you know, something that’s a real, real suggester as opposed to, “Oh, yeah. I can’t remember a name very easily.”

Justin: Oh, gosh. I heard an amazing – let me tell you about an amazing science-y story that I heard that I don’t have anything on. But it’s on osteopenia. I listened to it on one of the national public radio shows last night.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: It’s just an amazing tale about how a major drug company created a quick bone density test.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: And everybody using the test gets printed out basically with their, you know – basically, it prints out a suggestion that they have osteopenia which is not an actual disease.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: And people have been subscribing medicines for it to help with bone density and to the point where people – like researchers think it’s a disease because the test result comes up with a…

Kirsten: We have to go to a break.

Justin: But it might be…

Kirsten: We have to go to a break. It is TWISmas time. And thanks everyone for listening. We’ll be back in a few more minutes with more This Week in Science.

Justin: Thank you for listening to TWIS. If you rely on this show for weekly science-y updates, please understand that we rely on your support to keep bringing those to you.

Donate. Keep the science-y good news on the air. We’ve made it very easy for you. Go to our website, Click on the button that will allow you to donate $2, $5, $10. Or if you like, you can donate any amount of money you choose as many times as you like.

Again, just go to and donate today. We need your support. And we thank you in advance for it.

Kirsten: Science. Science. Science. Merry TWISmas! In the name of TWISmas, for a limited time, TWIS has teamed up with Evolvems to bring you a special TWISmas deal.

Evolvems are the cutest, cuddliest evolving plush toys out there. Evolvems are offering all TWIS minions a 10% discount on orders of the little plush toys until December 25th.

You can see a Coelacanth evolve into an Ichthyostega, a Cynognathus derive from a Dimetrodon, a Styracosaurus from a Yinlong. These cute evolving critters make gifts that are great for kids and adults and help spread science through play, which is something that we at TWIS always love to do.

For your 10% discount, go to www.evolvems – E-V-O-L-V-E-M-S – .com/twis. That’s to get your hands on some of the cutest science-y toys ever.

Kirsten: And we’re back.

Justin: With more in This Week in Science.

Kirsten: That’s right. This Week in Science has lots of science. And it’s TWISmas, not Halloween. But the ghosts of mountains past are being explored.

Justin: Mm hmm?

Kirsten: Yeah. The story was sent in by (Artiam Dio) – I can’t pronounce his last name. I’m really sorry – in the Ukraine. And this story was on BBC website.

Michael Studinger from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, LDEO, of Columbia University in New York, they’ve been looking at – he’s been looking at the Gamburtsev Mountains in Antarctica which are actually under a whole bunch of ice. They exist miles below the surface of the Antarctic icecap.

And what Dr. Studinger says, is, “If you have a linear structure it makes them appear more like the Alps or the Appalachians. These are mountain ranges that formed by the collision of tectonic plates.”

And they’ve been able to use a radar technology to take a look underneath. They’ve done a survey, flying back and forth and back and forth and back and forth over this area where the Gamburtsev exists and actually been able to image them and created a 3D map of what these mountains look like under the surface of the ice.

They were – this effort was organized around International Polar Year in 2007-2008. And they had a full-scale aerogeophysical survey with two instrumented Twin-Otter aircraft.

And they flew a total of 120,000 km. They got information about gravity, magnetic and ice thickness information, radar images of the rocks underneath, the layers within the ice; and then also made – from all that information made a map of the ice sheet’s surface. Oh, this is – additionally, they made a map of the ice sheet’s surface with a laser.

And Dr. Studinger says, “We have now reached a point in the data processing that allows us to start scientific work with the data.” And this linear trend, this defined linear trend in the mountain formations, as opposed to previously mapped circular feature, suggests that there’s some differences to the mountains than what they saw before and that the formation of these mountains occurred differently.

And another researcher says, “Before we had this data we couldn’t see the valleys and therefore we had no way of being able to quantify the role of glacial and fluvial processes which is key to understanding cryosphere and climate evolution.”

And they’re also going to be interested in looking at the ice in this icecap because – over these mountains because there could be ice older than 1.2 million years old. And looking at that ice will give us a really great idea of what’s going on in our climate history.

Here we have a phone call.

Justin: And good morning TWIS minion. You are on the air with This Week in Science.

(Bradley): Hi. Good morning guys. This is TWIS minion (Bradley).

Justin: Good morning, (Bradley).

(Bradley): Hey. It’s actually not looking too good out here. It looks like we’re going to have a heavy white Christmas in the Midwest. We got about 4 to 5 inches on the ground already this morning.

Kirsten: Sounds like fun. Good TWISmas.

(Bradley): It is. Well, you know, from that standpoint, yeah. Yes. That’s going to be white. But I just wanted to call in and wish you guys the best. And I also wanted to make a quick comment with regard to your earlier comment that Kirsten regards seeing the want or desire for the not – only neurochemical but systemic and genetic chemical biomarkers that are going to be available for us in terms of diagnostic medicine.

Most people don’t realize that these methods are being developed. And most of them unfortunately use isotopic technology speaking from, you know, experience, with radioactive isotopes and fluorescent isotopes.

The technology is there. And it is evolving. And someday, you are correct, we will have chemical markers for diagnosing certain molecules that are agonist, antagonist or reverse agonist that bind to mechanisms that are implicit or tied to certain diseases.

And I, you know, I think your comment was dead on that those chemical markers will be arriving soon. I mean, the technology is there.

Kirsten: Yeah. It is – it’s still, you know, in development. And a lot of it has to do with understanding the diseases that were – and the progression of diseases and the mechanisms that underlie them.

You know, once we understand mechanisms, we’ll understand more why certain biomarkers are important and indicative of certain disease progression, you know. So there’s going to be a lot of information that we have to get to make these things really useful. But it’s definitely coming.

(Bradley): Well, yeah. The mechanism of disease is critical not only from a biomarker standpoint, but also from a target standpoint. Now, that these are how – once you understand the mechanisms, you can inhibit it. Or you can, you know – it’s somehow attenuated.

This is where science is going in terms of treating and diagnosing these diseases. And, you know, I think you’re right. You know, this is a – it’s really going to be interesting to see what happens five to ten years down the road.

Kirsten: Yeah.

(Bradley): So, it’s great. I’m glad you brought it up. And I just wanted to call in to wish you and Justin both a very happy TWISmas. And as for the New Year, I’m not sure if you guys are having a show next week or not.

Kirsten: Oh, yeah.

Justin: Oh, we never take a week off. We’re always here.

Kirsten: Next week’s going to be fun.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: We have – the next two weeks are going to be our fun shows.

Justin: Yeah.

(Bradley): Thank you.

Kirsten: We have a lot of fun with them, so – we have fun…

Justin: We do the yearend in review, we went through a decade in review. We’ve got our prediction show coming up…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …where we’re going to predict for you what – the future of the next year in science in advance.

Kirsten: That’s right. That’s right.

(Bradley): Great. Well, I got the cabin door nailed shut, so you guys are definitely an outlet and it’s great…

Kirsten: Excellent.

(Bradley): …that I actually listen to the news in science that you bring.

Justin: Thank you, (Bradley).

Kirsten: Thank you so much. Thanks. Have a Merry TWISmas.

Justin: Merry TWISmas to you, too.

Kirsten: And Happy New Year yourself.

(Bradley): Same to you both. Bye.

Kirsten: Bye. That was sweet. Very sweet. Now, more science or should we go to minion mailbag?

Justin: Oh, we have a contest thing we got to take care of here.

Kirsten: We do.

Justin: And I don’t know…

Kirsten: We do. Do you want to read a couple of things for us? So we have a contest going on. So – I don’t know if anyone out there on Twitter is listening right now if you’re near your computer and able to Twitter.

But I couldn’t decide between – we have two entries for our giveaway this week. And so we’re going to read them on the air. And I just – if you’re out there and Twittering, you can twitter tweet to Dr. Kiki, @d-r-k-i-k-i your vote for who should win our giveaway.

So Justin, if you want to go ahead and read the first and the second and…

Justin: I got to read both of them?

Kirsten: Okay, you can give me one of them.

Justin: Okay.

Kirsten: You can give me one of them. I’ll read one.

Justin: I’ll…

Kirsten: Don’t say names as to who these are.

Justin: No. No. No.

Kirsten: But we’ll just read them and then we’ll get a vote from people out there. If you’re listening, vote on your favorite and who should win the giveaway for our TWISmas giveaway.

Justin: What’s – I don’t know how to pronounce this, but I’m going try.

Kirsten: Oh, dear.

Justin: “Dashing through Cagoma?”

Kirsten: Cagoma.

Justin: Cagoma. I don’t know where – where is Cagoma?

Kirsten: Japan.

Justin: Oh. “Dashing through Cagoma, chasing after chimps. Trying to find the fecal sample so I can gather it. Collecting all my data each minute that tick-tocks. Man, it can be grueling, but science really rocks. Oh, grad student, grad student, making science waves! Working on some new research for TWISmas day. Grad student, grad student, future science nerd! Making sure the messages of evolution or biology are heard.”


Kirsten: Grad student, grad student.

Justin: I’ll let you do the long one. It continues on to this next page.

Kirsten: That’s like – that’s through the “dashing through the snow,” huh?

Justin: Is that what it is?

Kirsten: Yeah. I think so.

Justin: I couldn’t tell the reference…

Kirsten: “Dashing through Cagoma. Chasing after chimps. Trying to find a fecal sample so I can gather it.”

Justin: Oh, yeah. Totally.

Kirsten: “Collecting all my data.”

Justin: I couldn’t read the song.

Kirsten: It was nice to the lyric, to the tune.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Here’s our second entry that we’re going back and forth with Darwin of TWISmas past.

“I didn’t want a lot for TWISmas. There was just one thing I dreamed about. I didn’t care about the fossils or anything that science found. I just wanted the red-bellied Claus to slide my chimney at night and turn me into a flying unicorn so I could join his deers in flight.”

“To my defense, it can be said that it was many years ago. And nothing much was yet in my head, but I had the desire to grow into a shiny flying unicorn. And so I went to school to learn how only in the new light to be born into a scientist to be somehow.”

“And then the glorious star of education started shining like an energy-save light bulb. It started following it – I started following it with no vacation for my hungry brain. I joined the club. I followed Newton, Mendel and Einstein. But still my dream lived on.”

“While all the knowledge was fine, I wanted to be a unicorn. But everyone would say – less and less patiently to a varying degree – that there was no way.”

Justin: Talk about the dream.

Kirsten: “But I needed the argument explained to me. And I was told that it was how people were created and nothing would ever change. I thought that there were things to be debated. But the bell rang ‘TWISmas break.’”

“And so I went home on the night before TWISmas, snuggled up in bed and was fast asleep when I heard a wishing sound. And sitting up, I saw the grandfather Darwin from the deep of TWISmas past.”

“He explained how species came to be and how evolution works. And I listened, my breath bated, waiting to find out if I could be a unicorn. But grandfather Darwin went on to tell how every individual is born with slight variations and they survive more or less well.”

“That those that reproduce pass on their adaptations which takes years and years and years. And that is how species change and form. The evidence is all around out there. To survive, you have to be strong and to adapt to the conditions. And that is how useful traits remain.”

“Some have the predisposition to become another’s prey. And so a new picture appeared in my mind – species fell in their places on the huge Earth family tree.
Grandpa Darwin vanished without traces. I cuddled up and fell asleep, happy that it was all in my head.”

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: Yeah. So those are our entries. And if you are out there on Twitter with your computer near, you can vote for number one or number two for the…

Justin: Short one or for the long one.

Kirsten: Dashing through Cagoma or Darwin of TWISmas Past to @drkiki, a-d-r-k-i-k-i. And the winner will get our wonderful Evolvem giveaway.

Justin: Cool.

Kirsten: Our TWISmas present to them. It’s very cool.

Justin: At least they’re getting one. I sure didn’t…

Kirsten: You will. You will.

Justin: Every week, every week, it’s promise.

Kirsten: I know.

Justin: Oh, don’t worry, Christmas will happen next year.

Kirsten: It’s just – it’s one my problems with waking up in the morning and driving here.

Justin: No, it’s…

Kirsten: My brain doesn’t work so well at…

Justin: I know I’m on the naughty list.

Kirsten: …5:30, 6 o’clock in the morning. Bah, bah. You have more stuff there?

Justin: I’ve got a mailbag thing over here somewhere.

Kirsten: We have mailbags. I have some mailbag stuff, too. While you’re searching for your mailbag, I want to tell everybody to remember why we need science in this TWISmas time.

From Ars Technica website, according to an AP, the Associated Press report, “A state legislator from Maine has attached a bill – introduced a bill that would attach a warning label to cellphones for…”

Justin: Oh, yeah. Ridiculous. This is insane.

Kirsten: Watch out. “They would have bold text warning of the risk of brain cancer and featuring an image of a small brain.”

Justin: Please don’t. Yeah, for like, electricity on it.

Kirsten: Yeah. But the reality is that there’s really not a lot of evidence out there.

Justin: Zero.

Kirsten: Yeah, pretty much zero.

Justin: In fact, it defies physics.

Kirsten: In every large scale study, nothing – they haven’t found anything. Small studies have found a few things. But there’s nothing that suggests how or why this would work – cellphones work at a radiation level that does not interact with biological cellular material.

The thing is that the heat possibly could heat things up. But that…

Justin: No. No, it can’t.

Kirsten: No. But if…

Justin: If you wear a baseball cap, you’re producing a thousand more times heat to your brain than you will produce with a cellphone.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: It’s ridiculous.

Kirsten: So this is where people with political, you know, something…

Justin: What, Luddites? Like, cave people?

Kirsten: Yeah, I don’t know.

Justin: Who’s against this?

Kirsten: They’re trying to do things that are not scientifically supported at all. And interesting also, another thing, there’s another bill that’s being introduced in San Francisco by Gavin Newsom. Very interesting.

We have a phone call. Could you bring him on really fast?

Justin: Yeah, okay. It’s on the wildcard line.

Good morning TWIS minion. You are on the air with This Week in Science.

Woman: Oh, hi. I don’t Twitter, but Dashing Through Cagoma.

Kirsten: Dashing through Cagoma.

Justin: Oh, okay. Well, let’s cast the vote in there. Excellent.

Woman: Well, thank you. Bye bye.

Kirsten: Wonderful. Yeah. Thank you so much for calling.

Justin: Thank you for calling.

Woman: Happy holidays.

Kirsten: Happy holidays to you, too. Have a great day.

Woman: Bye bye.

Kirsten: Bye bye. That’s great.

Justin: So there’s something – if I can use the word – cover your children’s ears for a moment – if I can use the world like, “idiotic,” I guess that’s not that bad.

There’s like – okay, in a – at the car lot, there is a sticker on every single car from this – I think it’s 65 or 64 or something like that, that tell people that, you know, oils contain percentages of gasoline, fumes, like not to suck like tail pipe.

But you have to put this big, like 3×3 inch sticker on every car. You have to post it like all over the place. I mean, we live in a world where we – I mean, some warnings are useful in life, I suppose, that messages need to get out. Like, I understand, you know, sometimes like that can be helpful.

But this is a warning label that would go on phones…

Kirsten: It just – it promotes fear.

Justin: …that would be ugly on the phone, would promote fear. It’s an urban myth.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: It’s an urban legend that they’re attempting to put on to the…

Kirsten: Yeah. I mean, Gavin Newsom’s defense though at the – what he – the warning label that he would like to post on cellphones, it’s not on the cellphone, it would be on the box. And it wouldn’t be warning of any kind of risk, it would actually just be saying what the radiation exposure level is. So, that you can know, be informed about…

Justin: That’s not – no. That doesn’t help.

Kirsten: I don’t know if does necessarily. But it still – that’s what they’re doing. So…

Justin: Here’s what it is. It’s like that result for osteopenia. It sounds like it’s something.

Kirsten: But it’s nothing.

Justin: “You’re getting some kind of radiation from the phone? I’ve got ostopenia?” It sounds like something to be concerned about, but it’s totally bogus.

Kirsten: Totally bogus.

Justin: The greatest description of this I’ve ever heard was the chances of getting damaged by the radiation from a cellphone is the chance a Mack truck has of being damaged by throwing a frisbee at it.

That’s about, I mean, you get more photons from the sun. You create more heat in your brain by wearing a hat.

Kirsten: There’s more radiation, you know, more radiate – yeah.

Justin: This is so ridiculous.

Kirsten: You’re exposed to all sorts of radiation on a daily basis.

Justin: Absolutely ridiculous.

Kirsten: It’s very ridiculous. So, you know, if you’re in Maine or even San Francisco, this is legislation that you should potentially be aware of and maybe write to your representative if this concerns you.

A couple of minutes left for our minion mailbag. We have a great, great letter from Francisco who wrote in and said, “I am a regular Brazilian listener in Brasilia. And I love listening to TWIS every week since 2006 via podcast.”

So you’re a long-term listener. Thanks for listening. Stick in with us.

“I recently started playing the show in the car while I’m driving with my 7-year-old and my 8-year-old sons Gabriel and Benjamin. They speak English and Portugese.” Bilingual kids.

Justin: Hi, Gabriel! Hi, Benjamin! How are you doing?

Kirsten: Hello. Hello.

“The two boys just love everything about the show – the songs, the topics, the jokes and especially Justin’s crazy talk. Of course, I often have to explain some of the topics to them. But I think it’s great that they’re also interested in the content. Actually, Justin is very helpful in translating the meaning of the topics into simple language for 7-year-olds. No offense Justin, really.”

Justin: Oh, no. It’s – sometimes, there are things that are only – are so simple that only a 7-year-old can understand them and therefore, we must find ourselves a 7-year-old to translate it.

Kirsten: That’s right.

“But as soon as the kids are in the car, they now ask, ‘Can you please play the This Week in Science podcast?’ What a great way to get the kids – get kids to start feeling comfortable with discussion on science topics. So Justin, could you please give a shout out for Gabriel, 7, and Benjamin, 8. I’m sure they would be absolutely thrilled.”

Justin: No, I can’t. I’m not going to – look, it’s a great letter and I understand we’re getting buttered up here.

Kirsten: You already did.

Justin: I did? Oh.

Kirsten: You already did.

Justin: Okay. Hi, kids!

Kirsten: Hi, kids. Too late. You already shouted out.

Justin: You’ve got awesome parents letting you listen to science in the car.

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: That’s very cool.

Kirsten: That’s very cool.

Justin: I didn’t get to do that. I had to listen to jazz and like got dragged to like art gallery.

Kirsten: Tough life for you.

Justin: It was brutal. I mean, at that time, it was just not that interesting.

Kirsten: Right. My parents…

Justin: It’s all abstract, you know, art.

Kirsten: …we didn’t go to art galleries, but there was a lot of John Hartford. And, yeah, a lot of folk music when I was growing up.

Some miscellaneous rantings from the minion (Jim Dauldry) of Raleigh, North Carolina.

Justin: Actually banjos. Was there banjos involved?

Kirsten: There were banjos involved. Absolutely.

Justin: Oh, nice.

Kirsten: Absolutely. “Regarding global climate change, in the winter of 1775-76 when George Washington’s army wished to transport cannon from upstate New York to Massachusetts, they waited for the Hudson river to freeze over and pulled the cannon over on sleds. The Hudson hasn’t frozen solidly enough to walk on at that location since the 1820’s.”

“And regarding fuel cell cars, a car of useful size requires a 50kW fuel cell to get adequate performance at 0-60 in 20 seconds. This fuel cell costs…”

Justin: Adequate? Why is that adequate?

Kirsten: Adequate.

Justin: Why is that the adequate performance?

Kirsten: “This fuel cell cost as much as a small house. Since most electricity in the US is produced by burning coal, it helps to substitute the words ‘burning coal’ for electricity. Thus, instead of saying, ‘Make hydrogen by passing electricity through water,’ you say, ‘Use burning coal to separate hydrogen from oxygen.’”

Justin: Or natural gas.

Kirsten: “Also, since just any water won’t do, you can’t use sea water. Substitute the words ‘drinking water’ for water. Of course, since we have a super abundance…”

Justin: Flush the toilet once and you’ve gone like a several 100 miles.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Like, okay.

Kirsten: “Since we have a super abundance of drinking water, if it gets scarce, we can use burning coal to separate it from sea water or use burning coal to separate it from mountain rivers.”

“Where does hydrogen come from for a fuel cell? I don’t know about your planet. But on this one, it’s made by reacting drinking water with liquefy – drinking water with natural gas.”

“And it takes a lot of energy to separate hydrogen and oxygen that you can make cargo further and produce less CO2 by simply simplifying the natural gas and burning it in internal combustion energy – engine.”

Justin: This is – the natural gas is probably the best middle step between what we’ve got now and an efficient way to do hydrogen fuel cells in the future.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: It is the in-betweener that should be being pushed harder.

Kirsten: Yeah. He goes on to saying, “As a bonus, you get vastly more range on a fill-up if you compare the amount of energy burning coal that it takes to make a kilowatt hour of electricity from a fuel cell to the amount of electricity it takes to charge a battery to produce kilowatt hour, you’ll find it takes 30% less coal to move a battery car.”

“The battery car also has vastly better performance unless crippled by General Motors. The battery car have to find…”

Anyway, he goes – it’s an interesting idea. I like the idea that maybe we should, when we’re talking about electricity and using water and stuff, we should maybe substitute these words of, “Hey, burning coal and drinking water” instead.

So we’re using drinking water to produce our “burning coal” electricity energy.

Justin: But then you can say it about anything electricity. And they’re…

Kirsten: But it’s – maybe that’s a way people need to get the message to, you know, understand what’s going on.

Justin: I don’t know. I think when we’re talking about like we could be using burning coal, I just got – I have to do it – burning coal…

Kirsten: I know, I had to say it…

Justin: …in a laboratory and research for, you know, ways of getting alternative energy or alternative fuel sources. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I think that’s the energy that we’re using for everything right now.

Kirsten: Everything.

Justin: And until we actually start building these vehicles, we won’t be able to make them more efficient than our current, you know – yeah, it cost a house to build one.

If you built one of any kind car that’s on the market today, it would cost you millions and millions of dollars. That’s why you don’t build one. That’s why they make millions of every car that they can so that it brings the costs down and becomes production line. And it’s been doing that since Ford.

Kirsten: Yeah. Well, we are pretty much out of time, but did you find the things you wanted to read?

Justin: No, I’m fine. I’m good. I don’t need any more of these. I need – I’m going to go get Ulli.

Kirsten: Ulli? Time to get Ulli?.

Justin: It’s time to get a little bit Ulli.

Kirsten: So we have a completely tied vote.

Justin: Do we really?

Kirsten: We really have a completely tied vote, even including the phone call.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: We have a tied vote for our two entrants…

Justin: Okay. Well, Kirsten, which one would you vote for?

Kirsten: I don’t really compose. I vote…

Justin: Waiting. Waiting. Anticipating for…

Kirsten: Darwin. The second.

Justin: Okay, I’ll vote for the other one.

Kirsten: We still have a tied vote. We still have a tied vote. This is not helping at all. Oh well, so we’ll – I’ll keep an eye out on Twitter. If you guys out there are voting, I’ll keep an eye out over the next few days and figure out who our winner is.

So don’t stop your votes now. We’ll get a winner. I know we will. We won’t be tied forever.

Justin: Well, what do we got? I still got one of these, right?

Kirsten: You still get one, yes.

Justin: All right, we’ll split mine up. Throw mine in there. We’ll take care of both of them.

Kirsten: If that’s the way it turns out.

Justin: Yeah. Let’s do that.

Kirsten: Okay. On next week’s show, we have our annual rundown of the top 11 science stories of the year.

Justin: Wow. That’s going to be an exciting show. I got to tune in.

Kirsten: Why 11? Well, didn’t you always want to know what was almost on the list but didn’t quite make it?

Justin: I always want the 11th on the list…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …because you got the ten, you know something got cut off there and kicked out.

Kirsten: And what was that thing that got kicked out?

Justin: And we’re going to bring it on to see, you know, what’s the one that didn’t make it.

Kirsten: Yeah. We’re going to give you the inside scoop next week. So let us know what you think should make the list. Be sure to put TWIS Best of 2009 in your email subject line.

Justin: Yeah, TWIS 2009, your favorite story – science-y story of 2009.

Kirsten: Yeah. What do you think should make the list? Yeah. And we have shout outs going out to Patrick Ford, Tony Steele, Ed Martin, Doug Perry, Rob Maskrey, Rob McCabe, James Hulsey, Travis Hale, Stu Sotozaki-Leech, Brian Chance, Mark Sherman, Ed Dyer, Jeff Peterson, Louis Bookbinder, Logan Waterman, Shannon Mortimer, Dylan Combelick and Dale Fisher – and they sent in a story about movies of photons; unfortunately, we didn’t get there – Sherman Dorn and Leif Andersen.

All the best and many, many, many more this TWISmas season.

Justin: As well as Gabriel and Benjamin.

Kirsten: Yeah. And Francisco.

Justin: Merry TWISmas, Francisco.

Kirsten: Merry TWISmas. Yeah.

Justin: Okay. Well, you know, it’s at the end of another great year already. And I’m like, I don’t want it to end. But I want to thank everybody very sincerely for spending all these hours of listening to podcasts of us rambling on about the science-y goodness in the world.

We hope you’ve enjoyed the show. We’re available via podcast. If you haven’t found it yet, the website is And you can find a way to subscribe there or you could just look us up in the iTunes directory.

Kirsten: That’s right. And for more information on anything you’ve heard here today, our show notes are always available on our website We also want to hear from you, so email us at kirsten or

Justin: Put TWIS in the subject or you’ll get spam filtered. We love to hear your feedback. If there’s a topic you would like us to cover, address or suggestion for an interview, let us know.

Kirsten: That’s right. And we’re going to be back here on KDVS next Tuesday at 8:30am PST. And you hope – we hope you’ll join us again for more great science-y news.

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

Kirsten: It’s all in your head. Merry TWISmas everyone.