Transcript:TWIS.ORG Jan 05, 2010

Justin: Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer! It’s a new day, a new year and a new decade. A time of resolutions and commitments to a better you in the future to come. With all of the things real or invented that we worry about in the course of making our way through a day, this year, let’s agree together – that the best way in which we can improve ourselves is to create a balance between the need for survival and the act of enjoying our lives.

Let us dedicate the coming year to doing those things that bring us joy, pleasure and peace of mind. While the Epicurean philosophy of tempered enjoyment much like the following hour of programming does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of California at Davis, KDVS or its sponsors, we hope that you enjoy your time with the conversations to come on This Week in Science. Coming up next.

Good new year, Kirsten.

Kirsten: Happy, happy new year, Justin. Yes, it is a new year, 2010, 2010, I don’t know.

Justin: I’m calling things, 010. So…

Kirsten: 010. Yeah, we are in the double Os, maybe.

Justin: No, we’ve lost the – we had the double odds for a while. Now we’re…

Kirsten: Double digits.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Anyway.

Justin: 010.

Kirsten: Into a new idea, although some people will argue with me because they have been arguing with me that, yeah, we’re – because there was no year zero. We really can’t be having a new decade or a new millennium. Yeah, that okay.

Justin: What do you mean there’s no year zero?

Kirsten: There’s no year zero.

Justin: 2000 was zero, zero and I…

Kirsten: Yeah, that’s what I think, that’s like what? This is how it works for me.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah, ’99 to 2000, change millennium.

Justin: Okay.

Kirsten: 2009 to 2010, change of a decade for me. That’s the way my brain is working. It seems to make sense.

Justin: That’s right, you know, that’s right.

Kirsten: We’re now into the almost teen’s, you know, it’s just – that’s carrying us forward and it’s a new decade for me.

Justin: Okay.

Kirsten: It’s working.

Justin: I believe you.

Kirsten: It’s working. This is how my brain works. Welcome everyone to This Week in Science.

Justin: (Unintelligible) I can follow your brain. Now I’m having difficulty.

Kirsten: Yeah. Yeah, good luck following my brain this year. That – this is the challenge I put to everyone. Follow the bouncing brain.

Justin: Follow my brain.

Kirsten: That’s right, follow my brain.

Justin: No, with your eyes. Follow my brain with your eyes. Quit moving.

Kirsten: Stop moving. On this week’s show, we’re going to predict the future.

Justin: Yeah. This is our big prediction show. We do one of these every year.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: Where we look…

Kirsten: Into the crystal ball of science.
Justin: And see what may come. Plus, we take a little glance back at last year’s predictions.

Kirsten: Yeah. Look at the past, look at the future.

Justin: And see how we did. See if we came close on anything.

Kirsten: Did we come close to predicting anything last year?

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: That’s what I’d like to see and it really, I mean, you might say, “Oh, predictions, it is very, you know, crystal ball-like, not very scientific.” But really, making predictions is a part of science.

Justin: Huge part, yeah.

Kirsten: Huge part, you know, you observe the world and make hypothesis about how you think the world works and then you go, “Hey, I got a test to come up and I’m going to test it this way.”

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: And then you make predictions…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: …as to how you think your tests are going to come out based on your alternative hypothesis, like what the different ideas are. And then, you’ll get your conclusions. So, really what we’re doing is we’re letting other people do the testing.

Justin: Yeah. We’re letting the world do the testing.

Kirsten: We’re observing. Yeah, we’re observing what’s going on and so we’re going to make our predictions here today.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: So, also, if there’s time, we have a few science-y stories and we also are going to be joined in our predictions by a forecasting reporter extraordinaire, Mr…

Justin: Psychic.

Kirsten: Yeah. Maybe a psychic, no.

Justin: Isn’t that what psychics do? They predict the future?

Kirsten: Kind of, but he’s more of a reporter.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah, for CNET.

Justin: Well depends on what kind of reporter you are, too.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: For one thing it’s always fascinated me about if you just watch the local news, they’re all telling you about things that happened that day or earlier in the day, right. And then, even the sports guy is telling you what’s already happened in sports. Maybe what games are coming up but what’s already happened, what the scores are, who’s – what the play is – what the big plays were.

The weather person is the only one that attempts to predict the future. Telling you what the weather will be because if he came on and told you what the weather was for the last five days…

Kirsten: Well, duh.

Justin: It wouldn’t be…

Kirsten: That didn’t help me at all.

Justin: …but that’s what the rest of the news is. It’s telling you what did happen.

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s very interesting. So, anyway, Tom Merritt of CNET, and also the forecast podcast is going to join us. In the forecast podcast, they predict the future. And so, he has a lot of experience in this prediction realm.

So, we’re going to bring him in. He’s calling in from the airport today. He’s on his way – where is he going today? I think he’s on his way to see the future of consumer electronics.

Justin: Must be a good day to fly.

Kirsten: Must be.

Justin: Well, I’m guessing because, you know, the predictor is flying, so.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: A day for air travel. So, how do we start this thing?

Kirsten: So, oh yeah.

Justin: Do we jump right in to last year’s stuff or?

Kirsten: No, no, let’s first, let’s jump into last year, we, you know, – it’s kind of last year. Last year we highlighted a story – not a study – but a story that came out from the Sense About Science group, it’s a UK organization that publish a yearly list of celebrity comments relating to science and medicine that just don’t make sense. And as I was checking out last year’s show, it reminded me about that I was like, “Oh, hey, I wonder who said weird things this year?”

So, I went to Sense About Science and they have a new report this year with new wonderful celebrity scientific offenses. So, who do we have on the list? Sense About Science has highlighted Heather Mills, a former model, who stated that, “Meat sits in your colon for 40 years and eventually gives you the illness you die of. And that is a fact.”

That’s a quote.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: That’s a quote…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …from former model Heather Mills.

Justin: Well, there is…

Kirsten: Meats sits in your colon for 40 years and…

Justin: Correct.

Kirsten: …and gives you the illness you die of.? That’s a fact?

Justin: That is a fact to people who believe – if you look at any literature…

Kirsten: No, not a fact.

Justin: Wait, listen. I agree.

Kirsten: Not a fact.

Justin: I agree with you sideways. Let me finish agreeing with you snarkily…

Kirsten: Okay, all right – oh, sideways.

Justin: …and then you can – if you read any literature on – with the colonics.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: They all claim to be removing stuff that’s been in there, that cheeseburger you ate when you were ten, is still there.

Kirsten: Still there.

Justin: And the only way to get it out is with this colonic flushing of your…

Kirsten: It’s like somehow that the old wives’ tales or the children’s tales of when you’re like in fifth grade or something and that that the gum that you swallowed is going to sit in your stomach and collect into a ball for the rest of your life.

It’s like somehow those weird beliefs or that apple seed that you swallowed or the cherry pit that you swallowed is going to turn into a tree in your stomach. Somehow, those beliefs, they stayed.

Justin: Stay. Yeah.

Kirsten: And you never grew out of them like, you know, socks.

Justin: But there’s, I mean, there’s enough adults that are really preaching this. And, you know, saying that like as though this is a known fact that, you know, meat can stay for decades in your intestines and enlines the lining of it and keeps you from getting nutrition out of the food that you eat. I mean, it’s…

Kirsten: Our body is made to digest and we also share our body with a lot of bacteria that help us digest.

Justin: Oh, yeah.

Kirsten: And we have these wonderful cells with what are called cilia that move things out of our body. Our body is a lean, mean filtering machine.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: And it just it’s like, “I’m going to take whatever nutritional stuff is in that food. I’m going to suck it out and I’m going to spit the rest out.”

Justin: It’s not…

Kirsten: That’s what our body does.

Justin: It’s not the example that they will use as like a plumbing pipe.

Kirsten: It’s not a plumbing pipe that can get clogged.

Justin: It can’t just get gunked up and – well, I don’t have diverticulitis but that’s different.

Kirsten: It’s a little different. It’s an infection – that’s illness and an infection that leads to a secondary problem. All right, so Megan Fox, Ms. Fox from the movie Transformers and also, the Black Eyed Peas Fergie, singer Stacy Ferguson – they both have extolled the virtues of vinegar this year as a dieting and detox aid.

Ms. Fox said, “It just cleanses out your system entirely. It will get rid of, for women who retain water weight from your menstrual cycle and all that, it just gets rid of fat really fast.”

Justin: Wow, that’s cool. I’ll have to recommend…

Kirsten: Yeah. And then she said, “I’m not one for dieting or exercise because I’m lazy and I have a really big sweet tooth, so I have to do cleanses every once in a while because of the amount of sugar I take in.” Mm hmm.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah, vinegar may have – I mean, does have nutritional value in some ways. It’s not bad for you.

Justin: It’s good on a deli sandwich.

Kirsten: That’s great, it’s great on a salad dressing…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …involved in salad dressing. But really, these vinegar diets, there’s no scientific evidence that two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar a day is going to…

Justin: Soaks up the sugar.

Kirsten: …soak up the sugar or change the way that your body ingests sugar in any way that is going to change your metabolism. The two tablespoons of vinegar is going to change your entire metabolism or – yeah, there are a lot and in doing – so Fergie says, she does vinegar shots. It has to be organic and apple cider unfiltered. So whether or not apple cider vinegar is filtered or unfiltered is not going to necessarily affect anything.

And there’s no one food per se that’s known to have this magic pill-like effects. I mean, if there were a magic pill, everybody would know about it. The thing is…

Justin: Sshh, Kirsten, Kirsten…

Kirsten: And hey…

Justin: …I’ve got something.
Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: But let’s just keep it amongst us. There’s not that many of them.

Kirsten: All right, all right. Let’s see, who else, what else did people say. Roger Moore, the actor, the old 007 guy said that, “There are even surveys suggesting that eating foie gras can lead to Alzheimer’s, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis. In short, eating foie gras is a tasty way of getting terminally ill.”

Not necessarily, you know, just one food foie gras – if you would only eat foie gras and nothing else, I mean, it’s high in fat, so it’s not necessarily the most – the best food for you but…

Justin: I’m going to have to – what the heck is a foie gras? Or maybe I’m just closer to where…

Kirsten: Foie gras, I mean, that – it could be another way of people trying to get people not to eat.

Justin: Is that French?

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: For what?

Kirsten: Foie gras – duck liver…

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: …pate or goose liver, goose liver.

Justin: Oh, liver pate is so good.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah. I mean, it’s something a lot of people decide to eat or not to eat.

Justin: It’s good stuff, high in iron.

Kirsten: High in iron, right.

Justin: Yeah. Isn’t it?

Kirsten: Shilpa Shetty, a Bollywood actress, avoids carbonated drinks because they sap all the oxygen from your body and make your skin wrinkly and dehydrated. There’s no proof that drinking a carbonated beverage changes the way your skin – has water as hydrated.

Justin: I’ve had many carbonated beverages and I love them.

Kirsten: And you’re just cracked.

Justin: And I’m – and I haven’t shriveled up yet.

Kirsten: Yeah. Suzanne Somers, an actress, claims chemotherapy helped to kill cancer sufferer Patrick Swayze. She said, “They put poison in his body. Why couldn’t they have built him up nutritionally and gotten rid of the toxins?”

Justin: Yeah. Well, they’re right. I mean…

Kirsten: Because nutrition is not the only thing that will help in a situation where you have cancer.

Justin: No. But…

Kirsten: And we don’t know…

Justin: …but very likely the chemotherapy did kill him. I mean, it’s like…

Kirsten: Not necessarily. No, chemotherapy saves a lot of lives.

Justin: Oh, yeah absolutely it does.

Kirsten: It’s very – we’ve talked about it before. It’s a blunt instrument, it is a chemical treatment. It kills all sorts of cells aside from the cancer cells. It kills cells that are dividing and reproducing.

Justin: Absolutely, it kills a lot of cells. But I think this statement would have been more accurate.

Kirsten: Very inaccurate.

Justin: The chemotherapy killed him, they shouldn’t have put that poison in his body and just let the cancer get him. That’s what, I mean, that’s the alternative.

Kirsten: Right. Just let the cancer hit them.

Justin: They shouldn’t have let him be eaten alive by the cancer, instead. I mean there’s…

Kirsten: What are your options, oh dear. Yeah, anyway, there’s some – oh, here’s another one Annabel Croft, a TV presenter probably in the UK, treated her daughter for food poisoning. She said, “I gave her arsenicum album, a homoeopathic product derived from arsenic, which worked very quickly. She went from throwing up all night to dancing at the party.”

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: That’s not necessarily – the arsenic isn’t necessarily the thing that helped food poisoning – can sometimes clear up really quickly.

Justin: In 12 hours, 24 hours, yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah. Sometimes it can – food poisoning is not something that lasts a terribly long time especially if it’s a mild case. And also, if you’re – she’s also drinking fluids which homoeopathic products usually are lots of fluid-based. Fluids can help to flush things out and to help your system rehydrate especially when you’re throwing up a lot and dehydrating yourself. The fluids can be very beneficial.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: If you can keep them down in treating food poisoning. So, yeah, that one – arsenic? Arsenic is a poison. Sorry.

Justin: Oh, what’s the alternative, Kirsten? Just let the food poisoning get them?

Kirsten: Yeah, yeah. Finally, the final one on this list here that I think is hilarious. Robin Van Persie, a footballer – that means soccer player to the Europeans and everybody not in the United States – footballer, on treating his ankle injury he said, “She is vague about her methods but I know she massages you using fluid from a placenta. I am going to try it. It cannot hurt and if it helps, it helps.”

Justin: What?

Kirsten: Yeah. Rub placental fluids on your ankle that hurts and you’ll get better faster. That’s basically what he’s saying or what the – what his naturopathic or whatever treatment, yeah.

Massage can help ankle injury. It can help to move fluids around. Yeah, massage can really be beneficial but…

Justin: You didn’t want to move fluids when you’re swollen.

Kirsten: When you’re swollen you’ll probably just leave it alone for a little while. But if you’re in recovery, massage helps to loosen things up. It helps move fluids around get toxins that are building up in there, it helps to get, you know, if your fluid – if you do have fluid…

Justin: Toxins building up? Wait a second, that sounds like mumbo jumbo talk.

Kirsten: No, if you do have fluids…

Justin: Toxin buildup.

Kirsten: No, it has to do…

Justin: You know, everybody’s going to get kicked.

Kirsten: Yeah, I know, they kick you.

Justin: I’ve seen this in a lot of people.

Kirsten: If you don’t have good blood flow, fluid flow through an area your lymphatic system is backing up or not, getting picked up and carried back to be filtered by the organs in your body that filter things, then you can have toxins build up in certain areas.

Justin: What are the toxins that build up? I mean, I’ve never…

Kirsten: It’s just metabolites, it’s, you know, salts and…

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: …you know, protein products and…

Justin: Really? Protein and salt – that’s all the toxins that people are supposed to be detoxing out of their bodies? Like, salt?

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Go sweat it out. Come on, people.

Kirsten: From acids, maybe. I don’t know. Yeah. It’s all chemicals, it’s all chemicals. And I think that’s the final note on this. I mean, they’re not – the comments that are made in this are not, you know, terrible horrible things to say but at the same time they are not accurate and the – what these celebrities are saying about medicine and health.

And when they tell you to do things like rub placentas on your ankles or drink cider vinegar or whatever it happens to be, they’re not necessarily coming from places of education.

Justin: Or that vaccines cause autism or anything…

Kirsten: Right, right. And so…

Justin: That’s probably the most popular public example I can think of.

Kirsten: Yeah, and so two things here that Sense About Science are trying to do. They’re trying to get scientists to think before they speak so if they are going to extol the virtues of a certain nutritional supplement or treatment or whatever it happens to be, that maybe they get expert advice before they go about doing it. Or just don’t talk about it. But that’s hard to do, it’s very hard to do it.

Justin: And remember, remember people, it’s the celebrities that sold us on smoking.

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: So don’t trust your celebrities.

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: They don’t know what they’re talking about.

Kirsten: Yeah, not necessarily. And the second thing is also, just if – maybe, yeah, don’t take the word of a celebrity necessarily. Maybe do your own research and try and find your own way in the world and, yeah.

Justin: Hi, you recognize me from a job I had where I was pretending to be somebody else. My words were written by somebody else, so they weren’t my own words. And now, I’m being paid to tell you something based on the association of you think you have known me from somewhere. And I think I’m familiar to you and you trust me but you don’t know why and I’m getting paid now to tell you why this product is fantastic.

Kirsten: Fantastic. You’re listening to This Week in Science and in just a second, we have a phone call. I guess we’ll take this call and then we’re going to go on to our predictions from last year.

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

Bradley: Hi, good morning guys. This is TWIS minion Brad calling from the Midwest.

Kirsten: Hey, Brad.

Justin: Hey, Bradley from the Midwest.

Kirsten: Happy New Year!

Bradley: Hey, hi! Happy New Year! I just wanted to make a quick comment, you know, regarding your topic of cider vinegar and this so-called untested, unproven home cures or remedies.

You know, and you made the comment that a lot of these celebrities are promoting the stuff and that, you know, it’s wise to go to an expert. And I couldn’t help but think of Linus Pauling and vitamin C and, you know, they tried to capture later in his life whether he made a real push for vitamin C as this cure-all that’s a perfect example of a Nobel prize winner…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Bradley: …that wasn’t really on. And most people really don’t know the story behind that.

Kirsten: Yeah. I think that’s a great example, actually. I mean, anybody can come up with a cure-all or I think, you know, promote something that they think is going to, you know, cure everybody for whatever it is.

And I think that’s the first alarm bell that should ring for you. No matter who is telling you something, if it is going to cure all your ills…

Justin: It has to be hydrogen peroxide because it’s the only thing that can do it.

Kirsten: Right. No.

Bradley: The rate is 30%, of course, yeah. But, yeah, you’re right.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: The rest are all wrong.

Kirsten: It’s just, it’s all about going and finding different sources. There’s a great – what is – there’s some great websites out there if you’re – even people who are purported experts which can confuse you a lot.

I mean, I go to visit family and they’re like, “Oh, did you hear about such and such a doctor? This doctor tells us to do this and not get vaccines and blah, blah, blah. And they’ve written up – they’ve written all these books and they’re really well respected,” and all those stuff. And you go and you can look them up online, Quackwatch is a very…

Bradley: Oh, yes.

Kirsten: …it’s a great resource to find out whether or not the credentials that somebody says they have are actually real.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: And whether or not they have any past problems or what they’re doing, you know, it’s a great resource.

Bradley: It’s a great resource and I would highly recommend it as well and, you know, but I just want to chime in on that because sometimes not even the, you know, the experts have the stories straight up. Like you said, the most important method that they give, if somebody claims that cure-all, you really need to scrutinize it.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Because if it’s not – again, if it’s not hydrogen peroxide that they’re using to cure everything, it couldn’t possibly work. Thank you, Bradley.

Bradley: Okay. Yeah, thanks guys. Have a great day.

Justin: Bye bye.

Kirsten: You too, have a great one. It was a really great point.

Justin: Yeah. And doctors, you know, don’t automatically trust your doctor. Do you automatically trust your mechanic? No…

Kirsten: Is it like everywhere…

Justin: …I think if it’s a big job you go get a second opinion.

Kirsten: …like for everything.

Justin: There’s no difference between a doctor and a mechanic.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: They trust diagnostic advice from their troubleshooting guides and they are sometimes just following that advice. And it depends on where that advice came from and a lot of times it turns out it’s not from a reputable source that they’re getting their information, in the first place.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Researchers, people who are out there in the field testing stuff. If you can get your information from that source, you’re a lot closer to the truth, to the reality of it.

Kirsten: Yeah, probably. So, how did we do last year on our predictions?

Justin: Well, we did some hit and a miss.

Kirsten: Some hit and miss?

Justin: Some good stuff.

Kirsten: Well let’s see. My first prediction was that the Boeing airborne laser would test successfully this year.

Justin: Yeah, and also take out a flock of endangered warblers.

Kirsten: That didn’t happen.

Justin: No?

Kirsten: No.

Justin: Are you sure? There seemed to be a little revenge later.

Kirsten: Revenge of the warblers.

Justin: The baguette. It’s not – let’s see. I’m not sure that those two events are not connected.

Kirsten: Hilarious. Yeah, they did a test firing of a surrogate laser in the Boeing craft – not the actual laser – but they were flying around and they did test fire their surrogate laser which doesn’t actually heat the surface of the missile or during the – at the missile and they were successful. So it’s good.

Justin: So I guess my prediction was right because I said they will hit it with a laser and it would do nothing.

Kirsten: You’re right. You win. Justin won.

Justin: Where is my bell? This used to be…

Kirsten: Ding ! Ding! Ding! Your bell is gone.

Justin: …I don’t know. Somebody stole my bell.

Kirsten: Stole the bell. I predicted the Large Hadron Collider was going to power up to experience another setback before the year’s end. And that we wouldn’t see the Higgs boson.

Justin: You predicted yes. LHC online and then, right before the end of the year, off again, which is exactly what happened.

Kirsten: Yes! And…

Justin: And that’s one for Kiki. Ding! Ding! Ding!

Kirsten: No Higgs boson, no gravitons, no black holes so you were there, too.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: So that’s another one for you. What did you say about the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, LIGO?

Justin: LIGO would continue not to find gravity waves. And I predicted this all the way out, past 2013…

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: …when the new advanced LIGO comes online.

Kirsten: So, we’re going to keep an eye on that. Still no gravity waves.

Justin: I’m straight up claiming that gravity waves do not exist and therefore, will never be found.

Kirsten: Even though people predict them. So…

Justin: Yes, people predict them, smarter people than me. Let’s see who’s right.

Kirsten: We’ll see, we’ll see. We will see who’s right, hilarious. Let’s see, researchers analyzing data from the satellite known as PAMELA…

Justin: Yeah. Yeah.

Kirsten: …were finally – published their results confirming dark matter…

Justin: You predicted that that would happen.

Kirsten: …but I also said that the detection would quiet the minds of physicists around the globe. You said their minds would be…

Justin: Loudened.

Kirsten: …loudened. So there was data published and it loudened the minds.

Justin: They’ve got loudened their….

Kirsten: So we both kind of we got half got one then.

Justin: We got both – ding! And – how do you half things?

Kirsten: I don’t know.

Justin: How do you half things? You predicted that starving Norwegians were going to raid the world’s seed bank.

Kirsten: Were going to raid the seed bank.

Justin: And not so that they can plant stuff, but so that they could eat the seeds.

Kirsten: That’s right so that they could toast them over an open fire. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

Justin: Mm hmm, not yet.

Kirsten: The seed bank is actually – this year on its one year anniversary. There were 90,000 more seeds – seed species, I think added to the seed bank just a couple of days ago.

Justin: You predicted that the nano technology will be up regulated in 2009. And I believed instead of up regulating, they’ve just been hush, hush. That’s what they’ve done.

Kirsten: Hush, hushed. There wasn’t much hubbub with the nano tech this year. Not too grand.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah. I also said that Japanese researchers working on the invisibility cloak were going to give it up in favor of the invisibility necktie.

Justin: Invisibility necktie. I don’t know if that one happened?

Kirsten: No. They’re actually, they’re still going strong on the invisibility cloak and there was actually more research this last year on the cloak.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: So they came out, they’re pushing the envelope, ever pushing.

Justin: You predicted that Venter would become a synthetic papa.

Kirsten: And he didn’t do that.

Justin: No. You said so.

Kirsten: But he did switch one bacterial genome into another bacteria by way of a yeast.

Justin: So he’s a surrogate synthetic.

Kirsten: And added – and added – added a gene in there in the process.

Justin: Synthetic surrogate papa.

Kirsten: Synthetic – that works, that works. Here we go, that the – oh, the international moon race with Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and the LCROSS mission would go really well.

Justin: Mm hmm. They did.

Kirsten: And they did…

Justin: It was phenomenal.

Kirsten: …phenomenally.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: I also said that I thought that the Russians were going to launch a Mars mission which would be a return mission to…

Justin: Because they’ve already done that?

Kirsten: …a sample return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars.

Justin: Oh, yeah they might.

Kirsten: But they aren’t – but they aren’t there yet. They haven’t launched and the date has been pushed out till next year, 2011. So, we’ll see if that’s going to happen. They’re going to team up with the Chinese to do that. Let’s see an update for that.

Justin: Right. I predicted that they would find water on the moon.

Kirsten: And? Yey!

Justin: I didn’t predict that…

Kirsten: You didn’t? Oh.

Justin: …I was just making that up now. It sounded like a great prediction though.

Kirsten: I know like, hey, awesome. Good job, Justin.

Justin: No, I predicted that Dr. Michael Stebbins would win a Nobel prize in the tradition of former TWIS interns and peoples of the year. Not TWIS interns for the – in the tradition of former persons of the year.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Every person of the year that we’ve named has gone on to win a Nobel prize in the following year.

Kirsten: Right, right. So why not Stebbins.

Justin: So I said, Dr. Michael Stebbins. Looks like his boss got it, though. I mean, it was close, right?

Kirsten: It’s very, very close…

Justin: …he’s right in there.

Kirsten: …you know, just off the bull’s eye.

Justin: Yeah, I mean, I think he probably did the ground work for it, apparently somebody did. And his boss, you know, he lets his boss take credit. That’s a mensch right there.

Kirsten: That’s all right.

Justin: That’s the kind of…

Kirsten: That’s a mench…

Justin: …that kind of guy you need to, you know, put on the team.

Kirsten: It’s funny.

Justin: And let you claim the Nobel for him. It’s amazing.

Kirsten: Let’s see, finally – oh, Kepler with stem cells and Kepler. So stem cells, I said that there was going to be – that we were going to see reprogramming of adult stem cells without the use of viruses. And that actually happened this last year.

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: I predicted a big one. I was good.

Justin: Yeah, that’s good.

Kirsten: And then also, I predicted that Kepler – the space telescope – would find evidence of many more earth-like planets, inhabitable zones around distant stars and that it was going to do some really great work in 2009. Well, nothing was really published on Kepler until four days ago which is like – or just two days ago actually which is in January 2010. So, I missed it, I missed it by four days.

Justin: Yeah, a couple of days. That’s – it’s – before we did the recap.

Kirsten: But the research that it’s based on was done in 2009 and Kepler has found five new planets. One of them is a Neptune-sized planet. They’re all pretty hot around distant stars. This is very exciting and we’ll see what more it does this year.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Mm hmm, it’s 9 o’clock.

Justin: It’s 9 o’clock. We still have to make predictions for the next year.

Kirsten: We have to – we do. And so, we are going to come back after the break with Tom Merritt from CNET and the future cast – or no, I’m sorry. The forecast – that’s what it’s called, forecast podcast – to talk about what we think 2010 holds.

Justin: I hope that’s not a mix-up. I’m just here to talk about the weather?

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And we’re back with more in This Week in Science.

Kirsten: We are back and…

Justin: About to be joined by NostraThomas.

Kirsten: NostraThomas. Oh, I like it, I like it. Yes, Tom Merritt from the forecast podcast and CNET is joining us today for a little 2010 predicting. Let’s see if we can bring him on the line.

Justin: NostraThomas, are you there?

Tom: Yes, hello.

Kirsten: Hi.

Tom: NostraThomas?

Kirsten: Yeah, NostraThomas, your new nickname for the show.

Justin: We hear that you have the ability to see the future, events that have yet to unfold before the eyes of man. Is this true?

Tom: Yes. Yeah, it’s absolutely true. All my predictions are 100% accurate in some reality not guaranteed for this universe.

Justin: Well, there is always a margin of error.

Tom: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah. Excellent.

Tom: They’ll be truth somewhere…

Justin: Or someday. If the world lasts long enough, those predictions will come true.

Kirsten: It’s good to have the disclaimer. We do it at the beginning of the show but it’s going to disclaim again, you know.

Justin: We don’t need anymore disclaimers. Now we can claim everything as fact.

Tom: Great.

Kirsten: If you don’t know it by now.

Tom: Oh no, I hope I haven’t eliminated the disclaimer.

Kirsten: All right. So, we invited you on because you have a podcast called the forecast podcast where you predict the future on a regular basis. We figured, you know, you’d be experienced in this area, the scientific technological crystal ball gazing. So, let us know, tell us – give us one of the first images that appeared to you when you gazed into that ball of science?

Tom: Yes, well the thing about forecast podcast is I usually have other people on the call predicting. So it’s easy, I just surf along on other people’s predictions but I do have a few actually, you know, I’ve soaked up a lot of knowledge from all those smart people we’ve had on.

And I received a story yesterday about how they’ve discovered that the estimate of the age of the solar system appears to be wrong. And I was like, “Why is this a big controversy? Why is there, you know, protest in the streets and people faking emails,” and, you know, all of this hullabaloo. And I realized, oh, because, you know what, science does that all the time – it thinks it has something right, it goes with it for a long time then every once in a while until new evidence comes up.

And so, I think for sure in the next year, a major scientific principle will be proven incorrect but it won’t be considered a big deal because it’s not evolution or climate change.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: Right. It’s not one of the controversial social issues necessarily.

Tom: Exactly. You know, something chemistry or something where, you know, nobody gets their knickers in a twist over that.

Justin: Yeah, the universe gained at least a billion years of age over and like sometime in the last year or two. We got like an extra billion years of time that we’ve been here. And like yeah, nobody notices.

Tom: I’ll be insulted if I were the universe or flattered I guess. We thought it was so much younger or…

Justin: We thought you were a billion years younger.

Kirsten: I would be insulted. Wait, what? I’m older.

Tom: Also, I think the Large Hadron Collider is going to go into full swing, obviously. They’re going to start finding stuff. I don’t think they’re going to find the Higgs boson yet. I know, it’s going to take a while for that. But I think, I’ve got a gut feeling that this year they’re going to find something possibly even more extraordinary.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Tom: And if I’m going to narrow – go out on a limb, I’m going to say that it’s something that would point us away from dark energy being the solution for cosmic acceleration.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Oh, that’s an interesting twist on it.

Justin: That’s a good prediction. I’ll back you up. I’ll go with you on that one.

Kirsten: Yeah. Definitely – I mean, they are already at the end of 2009. They exceeded any energies at which particles have been smashed into each other previously. So we’ve got all this next year to increase the energy even above that and maybe reach the maximum of the Large Hadron’s capabilities. And when that happens – if that happens, or even along the way – the possibility of finding new predicted particles, things that we didn’t expect to be there, it’s all very possible.

So, I think, you’re on there. And we’re even kind of saying for the last year that the Higgs is maybe not the thing that’s going to be found, that there might be something else.

Tom: Yeah, I got this posted in this prediction is that the LHC will stay online.

Kirsten: Yeah, no more baguettes.

Justin: Yeah. My prediction is that it continues to be one of the most heavily covered scientific research experiments even though it is continually producing no new science.

Tom: That’s probably more accurate.

Kirsten: It’s the world’s most expensive scientific PR machine.

Justin: Yeah. It’s gotten so much coverage and then there’s all these smaller projects and experiments that are actually producing results. They’re going unnoticed because, you know, you can only teach the public apparently about one large experimental project at a time. One per decade even, maybe.

Tom: Yeah. It’s got to have good PR like, “Oh, it might destroy the earth. Oh, it could get taken out by a baguette.”

Justin: You know, that’s fantastic stuff.

Tom: Yeah.

Kirsten: All right, give us some more.

Tom: I think, okay, so we had recently the news about the five exoplanets.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Tom: The new exoplanets that were discovered. So, I’m going to go out on a limb and say, this year we will find the first exoplanet that shows signs of an Earth-like climate.

Kirsten: Climate.

Tom: Not just got water on it but we’ll be able to tell there’s some sort of atmosphere there. I don’t know exactly how this is going to take shape. Because I know there’s a limit on what we can know.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: But somehow they’re going to be able to tell like, “This is the closest planet to Earth that we’ve ever found.”

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: I think that’s definitely possible. I had a very similar prediction as well saying that the Kepler space telescope is going to this year find more – I don’t know necessarily more Earth-like but we’ll find more planets that are on the way to being similar to Earth.

Tom: That’s right.

Justin: I’m predicting that we not only find an Earth-like planet with an Earth-like atmosphere, but that moments later we witness it being destroyed by a large asteroid.

Tom: Oh, I thought you’re going to say like it is clear why a couple of those stuff don’t last a week.

Justin: No, as we’re watching we’ll be like, “Look, we found a twin to the Earth!” right as the large asteroid goes and pummels it. Just, “Ooh.”

Tom: We’re jumping up and down.

Justin: Keep looking, keep looking.

Kirsten: No.

Justin: Must keep looking.

Kirsten: Yeah, I was thinking also the WISE space telescope – that’s the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Expedition space telescope. It looks at – in the infrared spectrum and so it kind of – it sees things that you don’t necessarily – that we don’t see, that the Hubble doesn’t see.

So like that visible light, out side of the visible light spectrum, that it’s going to take a look at the sky and it’s going to find new asteroid threats to Earth that we’ve never seen before it’s just because they were dark.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: My prediction is we’re going to see one headed our way and then stop looking. Or, see another one after that and just at some point we’ll be like, you know…

Kirsten: I just don’t want to know.

Justin: Better not to know.

Tom: Yeah, you know, it’s the effect of human race covering their eyes.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: I’ve got it sideways in there – I’m predicting that a five-star orbiting solar system is discovered.

Kirsten: Five-star orbiting.

Justin: There was a four-star, which is good. We discovered a four-star solar system this year. Four stars in orbit of each other.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: We discovered that last year.

Tom: It’s not just a rating of the solar system. But hey, yeah…

Justin: Exactly. I’m looking – I still, you know, four stars is nice, it’s okay, it’s not bad for most people and the pinch it would do but I’m really looking to be, you know, finding this five-star solar system out there – that’s my taste.

Kirsten: That’s where I want to stay.

Justin: Yeah.

Tom: I think NASA is going to take a dip in popularity as the shuttle’s winding down here.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Tom: But I think space exploration overall in 2010 or 2010 is going to benefit. I think we’re going to see lots of cool stuff coming out of ISA, even China and India and Japan and private space efforts are going to become real businesses. Like Virgin Galactic and all of that stuff.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: I think they’re going to take off right now.

Justin: I would absolutely go along with that one.

Kirsten: Yeah. I think that’s right on there. I’m not going to argue with you.

Tom: All right, I mean, I think we’re going to totally fail.

Justin: Aha! I’m predicting that a lab rat is genetically modified for its intelligence. So that it becomes so intelligent that it can in fact Twitter updates about its day in the lab.

Kirsten: Oh. I know there’s a grad student right now working on that. I know it.

Tom: There’s a fun in there.

Kirsten: I know there’s some kind of Twitter squeak? I don’t know.

Tom: Ratter?

Kirsten: All right, give us some more Tom.

Tom: I think we’re on the steps of a major breakthrough in the fight against cancer and neurodegenerative disease. You’ve got to talk about all of those advances on This Week in Science.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: And I think, we’re going to see a major awesome breakthrough against one debilitating or fatal disease. And I think – if I had to pick, you know, to put a little more money on the line, I’m going to say it’s got to be in that area of either Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or some, you know, joint cause.

Kirsten: Yeah. I think that’s a definite possibility. I think we’re getting to a point where we’re understanding so much more than we used to. If I were to pick one, I think it’s going to be the disease that’s killing all the Tazmanian devils.

Justin: Oh, yeah, they did some location on there.

Kirsten: They just sequenced that – yeah, they sequenced the genome. They figured out what it is that’s actually causing the pathogen that’s causing the inflammation in the nerves that’s causing the problems for these Tazy devils.

Justin: I’m going with sort of along that vein. I’m saying that this is the year that we finally cure stuttering.

Tom: Oh, wow.

Kirsten: Interesting.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Tom: Wow.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Tom: See, I’m always bleary of cure because like…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: …cure is hard. But maybe, that’ll be cool.

Justin: Well, cure is in, you know, it’s like a – they have been narrowing down a neurological reason for it. So, if you’re thinking, you know, zap a couple neurons, you know, maybe people don’t stutter anymore.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: Yeah. That’s actually…

Justin: And then in the next year, we get rid of the word “um”.

Kirsten: That would be good for all of us radio people.

Tom: Anti-um pill.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah, I wonder with cancer and neurodegenerative diseases I definitely think with – we sequenced a cancer genome this last year. Cancer, we’re going to be looking at more targeted cancer treatments, I think. So, in terms of cure, not necessarily a cure, but I think we’re going to see – I’m with you on a major awesome breakthrough.

Tom: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: I think we’re going to see it there. Maybe human trials.

Tom: Right.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: Yeah, and it’s possible that we’ll start to divide cancer up into separate diseases. You know, and cancer will start to sound like it’s calling something consumption where…

Kirsten: Right.

Tom: … well, there’s so many different types of cancer already. I think they’re starting to find out, “Well, some cancers are caused by this,” but some are totally different, though.

Kirsten: Right. And they…

Tom: Just to make a clarification there, I think.

Justin: Depends on their projection, you know…

Kirsten: Yeah, and they – depending on where it is or what type of cancer it is, it could have a completely different genetic basis. Totally different.

Tom: Yeah. Or it could be, you know, some of them – we might find that some are viral and caused by certain agents while others are mutation when they start.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: It’s a big tent to cancer cure.

Kirsten: Yeah, the big cancer tent.

Tom: You want more?

Kirsten: I want more. We like them.

Tom: Someone named Phil discovered something incredibly important.

Justin: Hmm.

Kirsten: PunxsutawneyPhil? I don’t know.

Tom: You know, if somebody’s named Phil, it could be – is he a hedgehog? What would it be?

Kirsten: I think I’m going to…

Tom: Groundhog.

Kirsten: …put a call out to the TWIS minions to keep an eye out for discoveries…

Justin: Name is Phil.

Kirsten: Yeah. Discoveries by someone named Phil, if you…

Tom: You got to have some predictions. Some of my predictions are fairly broad, like, “Something awesome’s going to happen.” This one, very specific.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: I’ve got a specific one.

Kirsten: Yes?

Justin: The Superbowl will be played by the Saints and the Colts. This one isn’t very science-y but it’s…

Kirsten: That’s not science-y at all.

Justin: …the most specific one I have. Saints and Colts, late in the fourth quarter the score is 27 to 24. Colts are driving and moving up the field and oh, last minute interception coming all the way back by Sharper. It’s touchdown! Put the game out of reach. Saints win, 34 to 24.

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: And that’s – that’s a very specific prediction.

Kirsten: That’s a very specific…

Tom: It’s a scientific prediction, it’s not a prediction about science.

Justin: No.

Kirsten: Exactly. I predict that the National Ignition Facility which is in Livermore is going to achieve full fuel fusion this year.

Justin: Hmm.

Tom: That would be cool.

Kirsten: Yeah. They’re starting experiments this year and so I think that they’re going to go to – I think this year they’re going to do it. I don’t see why not, just go for it. If you’re starting it, do it.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Fusion.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: Yeah.

Justin: Quit messing around.

Tom: That will turn California around.

Kirsten: I also think that the Mars rovers are going to retire this year. Spirit and Opportunity…

Tom: Yeah.

Kirsten: …I think this is it, this year, last year.

Tom: Stuck in the sand?

Kirsten: Yeah, stuck in the sand, solar panels not really working anywhere, I don’t know, maybe we’ll get some blips and bleeps from them occasionally. But in terms of really useful tools on Mars, I think that they’re going to be retired.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: It’s pretty crazy how long past their expected lives they’ve lasted and I don’t think that’s a good enough credit.

Justin: No, they’re supposed to go six months.

Tom: Yeah.

Justin: You know.

Kirsten: Here we are six years later.

Justin: Yeah. I’m saying that they’re just going to keep going. They’re just going to keep going.

Kirsten: It’s forever.

Justin: They’re too plucky, they’ll never quit.

Kirsten: Wall-e! Eva! Yeah, I’m sorry.

Justin: A new pocket-sized e-book will be released that is so small, that monocles will come back in style.

Kirsten: Nice, that one is a good one.

Justin: Geologist will find that not only did our oceans and our atmosphere come from outer space, but so did all the rocks and dirt.

Tom: All of it.

Kirsten: All of it. All of it.

Justin: All that thing.

Kirsten: Hey that – very good. Give us another one, Tom.

Tom: A new hominid will fill in an important space in the chain. I don’t know if it’s going to be in Africa or Java but they’re going to uncover another species.

Justin: But is it going to be a predecessor or it’s just going to be a new one?

Tom: Yeah, predecessor yeah.

Justin: Okay.

Tom: You understand.

Kirsten: Brand new hominid, hey.

Justin: And the next one.

Tom: Hey, where do you come from?

Kirsten: That would be cool. We did have…

Justin: Taller and doesn’t need to shave.

Kirsten: Yeah. We had a couple of big, paleontological human and just generally mammal ancestors last year. So let’s get some other big ones. I’ll add, I’ll go one more, this new hominid is going to have been found in a basement.

Justin: It’s already been discovered and it’s…

Kirsten: It’s already been discovered…

Justin: …being rediscovered.

Kirsten: …but rediscovered because…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …you know…

Justin: Yeah, that’s good.

Kirsten: They’re just dusting off old pieces and going, “Hey…”

Tom: Like a sort of identification, I get it.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah, it happens quite a bit. We hear about this at least two or three discoveries a year come from the basements of museums or universities by some grad student whose job it was to slog through all these dust and dust the boxes for…

Kirsten: Kind of label the things in those boxes. See, I think we’re also going to see a $1000 genome sequencing this year. And I’m going to bet that by the end of the year, $100 sequencing before the end of 2010…

Justin: Whoa.

Kirsten: …maybe not 24-hour results but the price is going to drop.

Tom: Wow, $100.

Kirsten: That’s my bet. It came down this year from like 10,000 to 5,000 in one year. I’m just – it’s going to go down even more.

Tom: It worries me, though if it gets too cheap how many shysters will get in the game and start telling people things that aren’t true. You know, like the genome sequencing part will be right but then the interpretation is where all the difference is.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: There’s already some talk that some of the ways you can go to get your testing done. The results about where your family’s been and such is a little questionable.

Kirsten: Yeah, I think that’s going to become a big issue. So information, knowledge, education, educating the public on who – on how to trust people in relation to your genetic information. Who to talk to, that’s going to be a big issue.

Justin: I’ve got a couple of Twitter predictions.

Kirsten: Twitter?

Justin: From the minions.

Kirsten: Oh, great.

Justin: From – just two, atthatneoguy is predicting personal jet packs, world robot domination, toxoplasma gondii infected zombies, domed cities under the sea for SEALAB 2020. That would be awesome, cities under the sea.

Tom: Same hopes every year.

Kirsten: I know, one of these years we’re going to be right, right?

Justin: Epicanis says entropy will increase.

Kirsten: Entropy will increase? That’s a reasonable prediction. And let’s see, Ed Dyer said, the LHC…

Justin: I think entropy is decreasing but, you know.

Kirsten: …LHC will collide stuff, evolution will evolve, climate will change.

Justin: Safe predictions.

Kirsten: Safe, he went safe this year. Last year he was out on a limb, this year he’s going safe, you know, we’ll go back and forth. You had one more Tom, right?

Tom: I do. I got one more if you want it. Quantum computing will make a big step forward. I think it will be related to the entanglement and maybe it will take the form of showing one or two bits of information being set at a really far distance, like maybe cross-continent or something like that. Really fast, really far-using entanglement to send information between quantum computers.

We’re not – to where we could use quantum computers on our laptops or anything yet but it kind of reminds me of when the internet was first tested and they sent like a word…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: …from UCLA up to Silicon Valley. And I don’t know if UCLA might have that long but, you know, they just sent a word and that was the best test. I think we’re going to see that with quantum computers this year.

Kirsten: I think that would be huge. That would be huge. I love the idea of quantum computing becoming more – more and more close to actually coming to be. That’ll be so great.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: I love it.

Tom: And of course, robot domination, zombies and all that.

Kirsten: Right, right. Right, yeah.

Justin: World robot domination. Well, maybe this year. It will be this year.

Kirsten: I want a Hover skateboard. Give me a Hovering…

Justin: Hover skateboard? Wow.

Kirsten: Yeah, Hover skateboard, hover board.

Tom: Actually, somebody sent me a link once reporting that that had been invented but it wasn’t economical. So they never marketed it. I don’t know if it’s true.

Kirsten: Darn it.

Justin: Well, you know, we have the flying cars. They’ve been developed actually in this local area. It’s just out in the back fields of UC Davis.

Kirsten: That’s not very economical.

Justin: Well it’s not that, I mean, it’s – yeah, it’s probably not the most economical. They’d still sell – the problem is, do you really want people flying cars in your neighborhood? You know? No.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: You really don’t, you really don’t want the age of the flying car, it would be a complete disaster. And that’s why we never going to get them it’s because of people. We’d still have human beings flying them who’ll be crashing into roofs and, you know, it’s totally destructible.

Tom: You let people drive on the highway, though, I mean a lot.

Justin: Barely, just barely we let that happen. We just barely let that happen.

Kirsten: How’d that car get in the roof of your house? Oh, I don’t know.

Justin: It was late, I was backing up.

Kirsten: Oh my goodness. Let’s see, what do I have? Oh, my funny one for the show, we will learn that dolphins really are non-human people. Yeah, there was a – just a story that I saw. There’s some British organization that is having – thinks that dolphins should be classified as non-human people.

So, well maybe this year we’ll really find out that they are.

Justin: Hey, yeah, they can go along with that. If you are going with the…

Kirsten: What does that mean? Non-human people?

Justin: Well it means that they think they’re near sentient…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Tom: Yeah.

Justin: …because they use tools and have language and everything that we used to call “the separation between human and animals”.

Kirsten: How about just calling them dolphins? They’re dolphins.

Justin: Because that’s not – you have to make a point when you’re in an organization, otherwise, you don’t have reason to get together and get drunk. My final prediction – oh, go ahead.

Tom: Oh, no, I just realized based on our earlier conversation that I’m hoping by the end of the year, if Kirsten is right and it goes down to a $100 per genome that maybe I could get my dog genome sequenced and like, totally find out the breed and like speech centers and find out if my dog is a person.

Kirsten: That would be great.

Justin: Yeah, I bet the scam there is all dogs come back as wolf. I mean, that’s like, how generalized this is.

Kirsten: Your dog is a wolf.

Tom: I am going to start a business because of that. “We’ll sequence your genome.” And then I’ll get dog hair and I’ll just say like, “Wolf.”

Justin: Yeah. Exactly, that’s it. Mm hmm, it’s from the dog.

Kirsten: What was your last one?

Justin: The world accepted the fact that America has stopped manufacturing anything and ends its line of credit. America wakes up to the fact that its economy has been 100% driven by borrowed dollars. The dollar falls. Rights ensue. Justin immigrates to France.

There he’ll speak languages, mistakenly deported to Italy where he will meet a wealthy heiress who has been desperately deprived of science-y conversation, takes him on as her own personal assistant. They have seven children. That’s my prediction for this coming year.

Kirsten: Really, that’s going to happen this year?

Justin: This coming year. Dollar falls. I move to France, get kicked to Italy, meet the heiress.

Tom: Fifty-two percent chance.

Kirsten: Yeah, that’s going to be a big year there.

Tom: Yeah, will you still do TWIS?

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Oh, absolutely. Oh, yeah.

Kirsten: From Italy.

Justin: From Italy, from our Tuscan Villa near the Alps or wherever it is…

Kirsten: Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. Mr. Merritt, thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Justin: Our true pleasure.

Kirsten: It was a pleasure and your predictions, we will be keeping track.

Justin: We’ll follow up.

Kirsten: We’re going to follow up.

Tom: I know that’s the worst part of making predictions.

Kirsten: I know. Yeah. We’re going to come back to this. Maybe in a year but we’re going to come back and see how we all did, so…

Tom: Yeah, actually I like to follow up in all my predictions at the end of the year and do a little score card. And thank you guys for having me on. I’m a big fan, I listen all the time so it’s been a pleasure.

Justin: Yeah, nice one.

Kirsten: Yeah. Well and I hope you have a great time. I know you’re headed to see the technology of the future by 2010, the consumer electronic show. So, have a great time and find some future-y stuff.

Tom: Yeah. I can’t wait. I’ll be out there.

Kirsten: Okay. Have a great day. Have a safe flight. Bye.

Justin: I’m telling you bring – somebody needs to set up a booth and sell monocles there because all the technology is getting so small.

Kirsten: Marshall and I came up with this hilarious – he came up with this hilarious observation that, you know, how laptops, we now have these e-books…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: …these little netbooks that are really small. So laptops are getting even smaller and they took away all sorts of characteristics so that they could get smaller. Now, they’re starting to put them back in and so netbooks are starting to get bigger.

So basically, it was a laptop and then it was a netbook. And now the netbook is going to turn back into a laptop.

Justin: What I’d really like them to do is just make a larger phone…

Kirsten: And then you’re going to have a desktop computer.

Justin: …just a really big phone.

Kirsten: Just a big phone.

Justin: Make the phones bigger.

Kirsten: That’s what the Apple Tablet idea. People are predicting the Apple Tablet this year.

Justin: Mm hmm, over sized…

Kirsten: It’s going to just be a big phone, yeah. I can’t put it in my back pocket. But it fits in my brief case.

Justin: We’ll just make the pockets bigger. I mean, really what’s more important – the technology or like, textiles? Let’s make bigger pockets people.

Kirsten: Yeah. So we are looking forward to 2010. There are hopefully many, many more things than what we’ve predicted that will happen. We had a great, great year last year. I’m sure we’re going to have a great year ahead. I wanted to say thank you to give our shoutout this week to one person, Hiroshi Wada.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah. On this first show of the year, his letter this past week is an inspiration for us to keep bringing you the science-y goodness. He wrote in, “Hi, Dr. Kiki and Jacksonfly. Please let me thank you for helping me obtain my Ph.D. degree. You are in fact my English teachers especially to improve my listening skills. And I believe I couldn’t finish my Ph.D. without TWIS. Listening to political and business news is boring for me and I couldn’t make it my habit.”

“However, TWIS is really different. I’ve been listening to TWIS since right after coming to the US in 2005. I sometimes listen to the same program several times and even wrote down what you two were talking about. Sometimes I stole some phrasings from your conversations, I really enjoy it and at the same time, it really helps me improve my English.”

“I got a researcher position in Australia and we’ll immigrate there soon,” congratulations, Hiroshi. “But I definitely will continue listening to you. My next goal is that my research work is discussed on TWIS.”

Justin: That’s so cool.

Kirsten: Yeah. So, yeah, keep up the work. We’re going to try and stick around so we can help you with your goal of having your research discussed on our show.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: That will be great. We love it. So, we wish you all the best and we hope that your research in Australia goes well. Thanks everybody for listening. This year it is time again to announce that we are starting our search for…

Justin: Music.

Kirsten: …music for the 2010 science music compilation. So if you are a musician, if you know a musician, if you have science-y music – it has to be original, it has to be yours, we have to get it licensed. It has to be an official thing to be able to allow us to use it and play it and all. That kind of stuff.

Justin: So, we want your music. It’s really what we’re looking for.

Kirsten: We want your music. We want minion music on this CD. So, send us an email, send me an email at And we’ll be back next week, back to the science-y grind. We’re bringing you more science news, next week and all year long, actually.

Justin: Yeah. For more information of anything you’ve heard on the show here today. Show notes will be available on our website we want to hear from you. So email us at or . Put TWIS somewhere in the subject line or your email will be spam filtered.

We want your feedback. If there’s a topic you would like us to cover this year, something you want us to address, a suggestion for an interview or if you have insider stock tips – let us now.

Kirsten: Let us know. Yeah, and we would back here on KDVS next Tuesday at 8:30 am Pacific time. And in the meantime, if you want to know more stuff, shows notes, that kind of stuff they’re on for more information.

And we hope you will join us again right here at KDVS for more great science news.

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

Kirsten: It’s all in your head.