Dec 15, 2009

Justin: Disclaimer! Disclaimer! Disclaimer!

When we enter the world, we find it to be brand new. Regardless of the work, blood and struggle of ages that came before, our first encounter with life is always the brave new world into which we are born. The sum of all human history simply is the stage setting for this first day.

And once here, once we become comfortable with the world as we have found it, as we have learned it, as we believe it to be, any change to this is difficult to adjust to as though another new world is attempting to take the place of our own. We resist this change as though it were a death of our own past – our own brief past – our very life as its potential victim.

And while the reincarnating world much like the following hour of our programming does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the University of California at Davis, KDVS or its sponsors, if we look back to some point before we met the world, we find that the world has never stayed the same – has never allowed us to write our names permanently in stone and that in times the stone themselves will perish under the pressure of an ever changing planet.

What else can we take from the lesson of history is this. Survival on a changing planet requires above all other skills, the ability to identify, adapt and overcome the changes that put us in peril. So that no matter what new challenges we face, we will still be able to live well enough to hear This Week in Science coming up next.

Good morning, Kirsten!

Kirsten: Good morning, Justin!

Wow. You know it was a beautiful sunrise over Oakland this morning?

Justin: Mm Hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah. I was driving over the bridge I was highly moved by the sunrise. It’s gorgeous. Some days I get very lucky on the drive in with what I get to see.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: You know, being up early in the morning.

Justin: That’s usually what I feel about like living out in the farmlands, too because there’s lots of sky and lots of stars at night. And I see a shooting star, you know, a couple of times a week really.

Kirsten: That’s pretty amazing.

Justin: Yeah. Right now it’s just a piece of fog though. It’s like…

Kirsten: Fog. It’s going to be for the next three months.

Justin: …the whole world disappeared every morning.

Kirsten: What’s the name of that little town? Brigadoon. It’s like being in Brigadoon. The fog swallows it up at the end of the – do you have any idea what I’m talking about?

Justin: Uhmm… No.

Kirsten: No. Okay never mind.

Justin: Brigadoon.

Kirsten: Welcome – Brigadoon.

Justin: I’ve been to Brigadoon.

Kirsten: It’s a great old movie. I used to love watching it. Anyway this is This Week in Science. We’re here with all sorts of science. Yeah, Justin’s shaking all of his papers at it.

We’ve got so many stories. And we also have – we promised you a Twismas present of our point-by-point rebuttals to global warming – “climate change”.

Justin: “Climate yeah”.

Kirsten: “Climate yeah.” Yes, skeptic arguments. And so we came up with a few and we brought them. So in the second half of this show we’re probably going to hit those a little bit and you know, be an interesting conversation at least in this time of copin’ and hopin’ and Copenhagen-Hopenhagen.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah ask (covenhound)?

Kirsten: (Copenhagen?

Justin: You’re going to be asked about the Hopenhagen.

Kirsten: Yeah, you got? No?

Justin: You go. Nay. You go for havin’ it!

Kirsten: Really?

Justin: Oh we’re havin’ it at Copenhagen! Nay, nay, nay! But…

Kirsten: Wow.

Justin: …we’re going to get into a little bit of that.

Kirsten: We can get into that later.

Justin: There’s some looter mentality taking place in the world now.

Kirsten: Right. In the meantime, I have some stories about stem cells, gas and some unknown twins.

Justin: I’ve got cookies.

Kirsten: Cookies? I love cookies.

Justin: And I’m going to eat them.

Kirsten: Oh my gosh, it’s all I ate yesterday.

Justin: I got some moral dilemmas. We have the Earth – the space invaders on Earth.

Kirsten: Space invaders!

Justin: Space invasion of earth. Their early strike.

Kirsten: Atari. Atari is coming to get you.

Justin: I got a whole plethora of stuff. I got a bunch of stuff I’m not going to get into and I don’t know which ones I’m going to do.

Kirsten: I know. I know.

Justin: It’s going to come around here.

Kirsten: It’s just no fair when we have plans that the science happens. It’s just no good.

Alright. So, to get started let’s mix it up a little bit like with blood.

Justin: Hmm.

Kirsten: Yes, it’s Christmas time – time for a gift of blood.

Justin: Ah.

Kirsten: Stem cell blood. That – this news is coming out of NIH – the NIH – National Institute of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. A bunch of researchers working at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease; and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute; and the Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

This is a multi-group research project looking at a new treatment for Sickle-cell anemia. So Sickle-cell anemia is a disorder in which – it’s a disease in which there’s a gene that makes the red blood cells which are your oxygen-carrying cells in your body – that’s why “red blood”. The red blood cells are iron-containing the iron binds with oxygen and carries your oxygen around.

However, they have – in Sickle-cell anemia you have a genetic mutation that causes the red blood cells to carry oxygen to be misformed. And when they lose oxygen, they collapse into this sickle shape, kind of like a little moon shape. And when that happens, they can’t carry oxygen any longer and those cells die more quickly.

And so individuals with this disorder, their blood doesn’t carry as much oxygen so they become anemic.

Justin: So the blood cells actually look like sickle.

Kirsten: Yeah. They’re not round…

Justin: That’s why Sickle-cell…

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s actually named after the shape of what the blood cells look like.

Justin: Ah. (Unintelligible).

Kirsten: Yeah. So this disease is awful because people who have it, you know, they – the misshapen blood cells they get stuck to places and they actually cause people to have severe pain. People are admitted to the hospital all the time because they’ve got this clumping of sickle cells – sickle blood cells in various places in the blood vessels and…

Justin: Can it cause stroke?

Kirsten: It can. It causes a lot of – it can cause organ damage because blood doesn’t make it places that it should. There are a lot of problems and it’s not a nice disease to have. And so to be able to treat it would just be wonderful.

What they found with children, there have been some other studies that have shown that doing a complete bone marrow transplant with children is able to completely treat them and destroy the Sickle-cell…

Justin: Oh wow.

Kirsten: …anemia. And so – but what has to happen is the children have to go through chemotherapy to destroy their own bone marrow and then they get a transplant that has a whole new cells – stem cells – in it. And those cells go on to create healthy blood cells.

In the adults though, it didn’t work because the adults, they’ve already lived so many years with the Sickle-cell disease that they have a large amount of organ damage already. And there are a lot of problems that’s actually toxic – too toxic for them to go through the chemotherapy treatment the same way that children can.

So what they figured out to do recently is reducing the toxicity by partially replacing the bone marrow. So they are – they’re giving a low dose of radiation to individuals. It goes to the whole body and then they give them some immune suppressing drugs. And these immune suppressing drugs don’t affect the blood stem cells. So blood stem cells are still existing – are still alive within the body.

And then they give people a – they gave people in this test a transfusion of a matching donor blood type of these blood stem cells. So they got brand new blood stem cells from matching blood type, stem cell type donors that are most likely siblings.

Two and a half years after the treatment, nine out of ten of the patients – nine out of ten – it was a very small treatment sample size. So this definitely needs to have…

Justin: Only five people.

Kirsten: Ten people.

Justin: At least.

Kirsten: So there needs to be more study for sure. But in those ten people, all ten of them are still alive and nine of them still have the Sickle-cell disease completely eliminated.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: Nine out of ten, two and a half years later, the Sickle-cell disease is completely eliminated by this blood stem cell transfusion. So the reason it works is that the blood stem cells from the healthy donor live longer than the blood stem cells or the blood cells…

Justin: The radiated ones.

Kirsten: The radiated ones and also these sickle cells – these misshapen blood cells don’t live as long. And so when the transfusion took place, the donor’s blood stem cells could incorporate themselves into the bone marrow…

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: …and into the blood-forming tissues and actually replace the individual’s blood-forming stem cells. So it’s like a slow…

Justin: Centrifucation.

Kirsten: Yeah, centrifucation.

Justin: Run down that neighborhood.

Kirsten: Basically. Yeah. And it’s amazing. Nine out of ten, two and a half years later still working. It’s great. And they – the way that they did it, the recipients didn’t have large rejection issues. They didn’t have – I mean, possibly because they were getting donations of this blood stem cells from siblings that were a match to them. And immunologically a match as well, maybe it worked a little bit easier. But it worked better. Fascinating. Interesting.

And this is – I love finding out about research and treatments that have low rejection rates, low side effect rates and a high positive effectiveness. You know, diseases that affect a large number of people that don’t really have great treatments and then suddenly we find good treatments for them. It’s fantastic.

Justin: Excellent.

Kirsten: Yeah. So hopefully this is, you know, on the way to treating people, but I don’t know how many people will be able to be actually, you know, how many people will be able to be affected by it because the donor has to match you.

Justin: Most people have a relative, don’t they?

Kirsten: Yeah, you have a relative but that relative doesn’t necessarily match you.

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: They (sero) typed or they blood typed something like – what are the numbers here – 112 people with severe Sickle-cell disease and 169 siblings. Out of all of those, 10 patient-sibling identical matches were found.

Justin: Oh geez. What about that.

Kirsten: That’s why the sample size was so small.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: It was like, out of a 100 people, 10 matched.

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: You know, the…

Justin: That’s pretty low odds.

Kirsten: Yeah. To find a match.

Justin: But again, on the upswing, you know, what the donor has to go through. You know, the needle. It’s not like you’re going to give a part of your liver or something, you know. So…

Kirsten: It’s a nice needle.

Justin: At least that 10% is going to have like an easy time of donating.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Ah, moral dilemma.

Kirsten: Moral dilemma?

Justin: Moral dilemma!

Kirsten: What?

Justin: Yes. There’s a moral dilemma and moral dilemmas, apparently.

Kirsten: Oh.

Justin: I mean, that the moral dilemma has to do with the biases of language. So picture the following. It’s a hypothetical scenario.

A trolley is headed toward five helpless victims. The trolley can be redirected so that only one person’s life is at stake. What do you do? Who cares?

Kirsten: I don’t know. I don’t know what I’d do. These kinds of questions I never want to answer them.

Justin: Psychologists and philosophers have been using moral dilemmas like these for years asking, “Who would – would you redirect the train? Is it morally acceptable to do this?” Experts usually switch up the ideas to see how different sub-scenarios affect moral judgment. Many researchers have come to the conclusion that in individuals, their moral judgment in this type of scenario is strongly guided by abstract moral principles.

However, researchers have a study that appear in the upcoming issue of Cognitive Science. I need to get a subscription to Cognitive Science. They didn’t send me their magazine. There’s always interesting stuff in this.

In the upcoming issue of Cognitive Science you see a problem with this approach. Small changes in wording can affect judgments in ways that have nothing to do with differences in moral principles.

Psychologists that analyze judgment, decision-making in consumer behavior are aware of this fact. And they applied these same methods to the scenario that illustrate subjects’ responses could not possibly be attributed to any known moral principles. The study shows that it’s often hard to distinguish between influence of a moral principle and a moral general bias that’s basically coming from the language.

Like for instance in our scenario – in the example they gave us up here – the trolley is headed toward five helpless victims, you know.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Maybe he feels something already for the helpless victims. There’s five of them. But maybe the trolley has got like 200 people on it. Like, you know. It’s just that (unintelligible).

Kirsten: Maybe the five helpless victims are evil.

Justin: Maybe they are helpless and in the path of the train but maybe they were there protesting trains. I don’t know.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Maybe they were putting themselves in danger.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Let’s see, “When presented with moral dilemmas in which participants could sacrifice some people in order to save more. Participants were highly sensitive to the proportion of lives.”

Kirsten: Hmm.

Justin: So if you’re saving eight lives versus ten or eight versus 40 – that made the difference. It’s like just – you’re doing it by the numbers.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: More people. And in turn more lives will be saved when more lives were at risk even though the number sacrificed remained consistent. Oh, I see. So you’re doing – you could – oh…

Kirsten: You’re like figuring it out right there.

Justin: Yeah, they demanded that lives be saved when more lives were at risk even if the numbers sacrificed remained constant. Participants were also less likely to support taking a moral action if they were asked to do so to generate more – asked to generate more reasons for why they’re doing it.

They became less likely to make the moral decision if they were drilled down and asked like, “Okay now, why?”

Kirsten: Oh okay.

Justin: Well, you know, you’re right.

Kirsten: That’s funny. I wonder how this – I just read something this last week about betting. And oh, and figuring out when you’re haggling for a price with somebody. That the first price that is mentioned it’s the anchor price. You know, the first number…

Justin: Oh right.

Kirsten: …that is out there sets the tone for the entire negotiation from that point forward.

Justin: Correct.

Kirsten: So if you want to get a certain price, you either want to be the first person to set the anchor to get somebody to come to your price or to get somebody to say a number that you’re interested in getting them. So you know, you don’t want to be affected by the number that somebody else comes up with first.

Justin: Which is why the first pencil in any car deal is the full amount that you’re asked for – from the selling perspective.

Kirsten: That’s good to know.

Justin: The first – what your offer is, whatever offer they take up the first, the first piece of paper you’re going to get back is going to be for a full price. Every time.

Kirsten: Every time.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: I just wonder how that feeds in – if the same kind of psychology feeds into this idea of, you know, the numbers that you’re weighing for saving lives. If there’s – if somebody says whatever number is said first, if that actually has an influence and biases the way that you determine the situation. You think that you’re determining it in some kind of a moral framework but maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re just being influenced by the numbers themselves.

Justin: The problem with these moral dilemmas too is it’s, you know, you always do want to find out more about who does into this (unintelligible). Tell me more about these five people who are in the way of this trolley.

Kirsten: It’s never so simple. It’s never so simple!

Justin: Tell me more about them. How have they lived their lives? How old are they? What is the …

Kirsten: It came from outer space!

Justin: Tantantan….!

Kirsten: What came from outer space?

Justin: We did.

Kirsten: Well yeah, maybe we did. We don’t know that we did necessarily yet. But there are atmosphere, for sure. Well.

Justin: Our atmosphere?

Kirsten: Well it’s highly likely.

Justin: It’s in space.

Kirsten: It’s highly likely that our atmosphere came from outer space during a bombardment of meteors or comets.

Justin: Right. As opposed to having formed from the stuff that was already here on the earth and the volcanoes and then some stuff happening and suddenly we had water and gas.

Kirsten: Yeah, so I remember seeing these images growing up in textbooks and in, you know public television documentaries watching these images of volcanoes spewing gases out into the sky and the Earth bubbling with these gases that created our atmosphere. That’s what we learned, right? Our atmosphere came from the planet.

But a recent analysis by some researchers at University of Manchester and University of Houston has taken a look at proportions of Krypton and Xenon and looked at the isotopes of these two molecules in some samples they got from the earth’s mantle. So in actual stuff in I think in the Earth, in the mantle.

And so these isotopes suggest that the atmosphere that we have did not come from the Earth itself but actually came from meteorites from outer space. That these meteorites or comets – probably more like they be comets – that contained ice and gas impacted our planet during a late bombardment period after the Earth has started to cool and was less molten and dropped an atmosphere here. There you go.

Justin: Not just the atmosphere but the oceans as well. I mean…

Kirsten: Wait, we don’t know for sure…

Justin: …it was a hell of a bombardment.

Kirsten: …the oceans – that’s something that we reported on previously. This is an idea that’s kind of coming around. And we’re finding more – I guess researchers are finding more and more evidence that, wow, all of these gaseous, liquid to gas compounds are probably from outer space.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: And if they all came from outer space, what’s the likelihood also of molecules that are the building blocks for life coming from outer space as well; or even more formed than just building blocks. Who knows? Who knows?

Justin: And we did also know that – we figured out that a lot of the key elements are going to be out there in space as well as here on Earth. So I mean, it’s – what this is sort of establishing by finding out that the signatures of the elements that have made up our planet didn’t just start here in this planet but didn’t require us to be hit by comets.

It’s just two things: one, any Earth-like planet doesn’t have the chance of being Earth-like anymore because it also requires it being hit by a comet. Okay. So that’s the downer side.

The upper side though is like, comets are pretty abundant out there and if we didn’t have Jupiter and the Moon in such a way then we’d still be getting bombarded all the time.

So there’s – maybe there is more chances out there. I can’t tell if this is more chances or less chances of life on other planets. We’re finding that ice and water…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …are in other – lots of other places. That they’re not totally localized, that they can travel at least throughout the solar system if not throughout, you know, throughout the galaxy and to other solar systems. I’m not – I’m still not sure.

I can’t tell that if means that there’s a greater chance of that happening in lots of places; or if it means that it’s even more localized, random event of existence.

Kirsten: That’s an interesting point.

One of the researchers, Greg Holland, says, “We found a clear meteorite signature in volcanic gases.” From that we now know that volcanic gases could not have contributed in any significant way to the Earth’s atmosphere. They must have come from somewhere else.

Justin: Somewhere else. Hmm.

Kirsten: Now they have to figure out where. That’s the next step. Do it.

Justin: Oh my goodness. Killer cookies?

Kirsten: Cookies! I ate so many cookies yesterday.

Justin: This is Journal of Consumer Research – another journal that I must get pro bono copies sent to me.

Kirsten: Like, “I want these!”

Justin: So want these. These are just so interesting. Your ability to resist that tempting cookie depends on how big a threat you perceive it to be.

Kirsten: A threat.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Oh, man.

Justin: Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin studied techniques that enable us to resist food and other temptations. Four experiments show that when consumers encounter temptations that conflict with their long-term goals, one self-control mechanism is to exaggerate the negativity of the temptation as a way to resist. A process we call “counteractive construal”. Counteractive construal – that’s pretty cool.

For example, in one study, female participants were asked to estimate the calories of a cookie, half the participants were told they would have the option of receiving the cookie as a complimentary gift for participation and half were not.

The results show that consumers with a strong dieting goal construed the cookies having more calories and being more damaging to the attainment of their long-term goal of losing weight.

Another study demonstrated that counteractive construal is helpful in situations that involve self-control conflict. In a study of 93 college students, researchers found that the students with a high grade point average were more likely than other participants to estimate an upcoming party to last longer and take more time away from their studying.

Those students consequently reported lower intent to attend a party but only when their academic goal was made possible.

So you’re, you know,“Well, will I show up or not to that final? Well it’s not going to matter. The party’s probably going to take about 15 minutes, 20 minutes and it will wrap up anyway. Yeah, I think I’ll go.” This is kind of funny.

There’s another – this isn’t the study I was hoping – there’s another study out there too that showed that our resistance, our will power to resist like how this was just saying how the cookie was – they exaggerated the negativity of the cookie – I should find this day, too.

But it says that basically, once you resist – once you’ve resisted the cookie, all right…

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: … the next thing that comes along, your resistance is way lower. Like you’ve used up your resistance.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: And like…

Kirsten: Because it takes effort.

Justin: …it almost becomes a reward because now you’re countering it to that other thing you didn’t do. It’s like, “Well I didn’t eat that cookie. Therefore, you know, I guess I could eat this one because it’s not like I’ve eaten both. I resisted that one.”

Kirsten: There is something in that direction but there’s also the fact that any kind of resistance – so you have the – your reward pathway.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: And so if you are resisting your reward pathway you know that cookies taste good, cookies make you happy because they taste good. But you don’t want to have one because you’re trying to lose weight so you resist it, resist it, resist it. That takes energy and effort.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: And so by expending that energy and effort you have less energy and effort for the next item that you want that you have to resist.

Justin: Exactly.

Kirsten: So your reward pathway it starts telling you, “Mmm… it’s pretty good stuff there.” And you’re like, “Ah, no! Okay I’ll take it.” Which is why I ate so many cookies yesterday. I shouldn’t have cookies in my kitchen. It’s no good.

If you were an octopus, would you…

Justin: I’d love to be an octopus.

Kirsten: Yeah. You wouldn’t be able to resist coconut shells.

Justin: Huh?

Kirsten: Yeah, the coconut shells. So – oh I forgot to mention…

Justin: How often does that scenario come up? Octopus with a coconut shell? I know you’re…

Kirsten: Octopus with a coconut shell. Well, according to a recent study in current Biology, researchers went on – they undertook more than 500 diver hours day and night on subtidal, soft sediments, sub-straits. That should be a tongue twister – subtidal, soft sediments, sub-straits…

Justin: Sweet.

Kirsten: …off the coasts of Northern Sulawesi and Bali in Indonesia. They studied over 20 individuals of the veined octopus amphioctopus marginatus. And they encountered them doing all sorts of things – emerged, active on the sea floor and occupying empty gastropod shells, discarded coconut shell halves or other human refuse buried within the sub-strait.

If they were flushed, if the researchers scared the octopuses out of their shells, then the octopuses would grab their coconut shells. They’d scurry back, grab their coconut shells and then carry their coconut shells off with them.

Justin: Oh wow.

Kirsten: Yeah. There’s some great video actually. The story was sent in by Michael Johnson.

Justin: It’s their currency.

Kirsten: Coconut shell currency. What the researchers think is that this is actually – they’ve put this to a form of tool use in the octopus. This is really interesting because to date, no invertebrates have been recognized as having tool use capabilities. The octopus is an invertebrate species.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: So far, it’s mammals, birds – not, you know it’s – still, tool use is this benchmark for intelligent cognition, for intelligent use of object to achieve certain goals.

And what these octopuses are doing is collecting these empty shells. It’s not necessarily that it has to be a coconut shell. It’s just that’s what’s around in this area where there’s not much to protect them from predators.

So the octopuses are running around and going, “Ah, coconut shell! It’s like a hard hat!” or something. But they can fit right inside of it and they can take a half of a shell and get inside of it and put it…

Justin: Armor. Armor up.

Kirsten: …put it over themselves – it’s like an armor for this soft, soft creature that really would probably, you know, that’s all muscle and soft tissue. So it probably tastes really good to a sharp toothed predator.

Justin: That’s why you want a calamari.

Kirsten: Calamari. Yeah.

And so it’s – they’ve observed some really neat behaviors. These animals taking these shells not just shells of other shelled oceanic creatures but these coconut shells that are discarded – they’re human refuse but they litter the floors because coconuts are so tasty to people and we just toss those shells out there. I’m glad that the octopuses have been able to find a use for them.

Justin: Octopi. Isn’t it octopi?

Kirsten: No.

Justin: How come it’s not octopi?

Kirsten: We’ve gone over this before.

Justin: Did we?

Kirsten: We’ve gone over this several times. Octopuses.

Justin: It’s octopuses? Not octopi?

Kirsten: Yes. Octopodes.

Justin: Well. I think – haven’t I seen footage of them manipulating latches on tops of the (cranes) and that sort of thing? I mean…

Kirsten: Right. But that’s manipulating an object that is not necessarily a tool. A tool is…

Justin: It seems like it’s manipulating somebody else’s tool and not using their own. But…

Kirsten: Right. Right.

This though is taking the shells and using them themselves for protection…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …as an armor. They take two shell halves and close them up around themselves to create basically a coconut that contains an octopus.

Justin: I’m saying they’ve got the potential. They can manipulate objects. They have eight arms, right? I mean, come on now.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Come back in a couple of hundred of thousand years, visit the Earth and see who’s running things from their ocean cities.

Kirsten: Yeah. I have to set up the video. Get a link to the video of this. It’s hilarious this octopus has its half shell, I guess it got scared up…

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: …it sticks a few legs out, it holds on to the shell with a few – sucks a little half shell under its belly and scurries off with its other legs…

Justin: It’s so awesome.

Kirsten: …like a little spider except it’s an octopus. It’s very interesting. I don’t know.

The idea though that invertebrates – this – the main and interesting idea behind this though is the intelligence of invertebrates to have a tool use capability and what that implies for intelligence across the animal kingdom.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah. It’s all over the place – this intelligence. We have to take a break.

Justin: Oh. So we will be right back with more This Week in Science.

Kirsten: Yeah. Stay tuned. We have some arguments to make.

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Justin: Woo-hoo!

Kirsten: For your 10% discount, go to That’s to get your hands on some of the cutest science-y toys ever.

That’s right. May we introduce you to our friends, the elements. This is This Week in Science. That was They Might be Giants from their Here Comes Science CD and DVD just out this year. It’s really – I love it. So many great science-y songs.

They actually had a science adviser for their album, don’t you know that?

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: So they could write the most scientifically accurate songs they could – entertaining and scientific.

Justin: I’m just picturing like a total generic central casting German or Austrian-accented professor in a white lab coat in the studio.

Kirsten: No. You…

Justin: You cannot (unintelligible). Wait. I’m French. Why is everything coming – it’s a French scientist (unintelligible).

Kirsten: It’s because of your weird moustache.

Justin: Wait a second. Is that weird? Yeah, I just turned 37…

Kirsten: Whoa.

Justin: …in my last – a couple of days ago.

Kirsten: That’s right. Why don’t – happy birthday.

Justin: And – thank you. And…

Kirsten: Welcome.

Justin: …and I’ve tried – I’ve been trying now for a month I’m like, “Ah, 37! That’s got to be old enough to have a moustache,” right? So I grew this thing out – we’re going to have to actually go and investigate. I cannot grow a moustache. I’ve got like this pre-moustache thing going on. And I come from hairy people!

I come from people who can grow moustaches and facial hairs. All those Italians and such. So…

Kirsten: Too bad for you.

Justin: I’m going to have to – we’re going to have to go and do a DNA test to figure out if perhaps the Milk Man was an Inuit.

Kirsten: Oh dear. That’s right. We need the DNA.

Justin: Maybe there’s some Chinese in there. I’m not sure what’s going on. But I want to get the DNA checked. Because I think something fishy is going on up in the…

Kirsten: I’m going to look for your Genghis ancestor.

Justin: I think so.

Kirsten: The Genghis. The Khan…

Justin: Because I could do it a Fu Manchu.

Kirsten: Khan!

Justin: If given enough time I could have a total Fu Manchu thing going on here.

Kirsten: Great. All right.

We said we – we were going to get to some climate change arguments. We had a request last – the last show to come up with a point-by-point kind of rebuttals to – I guess the user’s guide for climate change and why things are happening the way they are happening.

Justin: And I – what I did is I went out and I talked to my Republican friend…

Kirsten: That’s good idea.

Justin: …who claims not to be a Republican. Probably isn’t actually, kind of a Libertarian type. And we’ve got…

Kirsten: You’re just going to call him that.

Justin: But I’ve got a couple of friends who are really on the doubter side which is, I mean…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah, okay. So – and I haven’t done my job apparently. But that’s the kind of conversations that go in a circle and then – with nobody convinced otherwise. But what I did was I took some of the top things that I have been hearing that they’ve obviously been hearing from somewhere else…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …about why it’s possible that global warming isn’t happening.

And I’ve kind of – I found those actually. I found them all pretty much on a website They’ve got the whole thing on global warming myths and lies which encompassed – it’s a list of ten here. But did I tell you about seven of them are what I’ve been hearing. So it’s – I’m going to read from that.

Kirsten: I went to all sorts of places. I looked at some original literature – is another website. I also looked at where some people were making arguments like I can’t remember that Tom Everett, I think, or John Everett is the name of the guy who developed that website.

So I’ve got a bunch of different places and a bunch of different kind of rebuttals and comments.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: I just wanted to go through a bullet point list…

Justin: Report.

Kirsten: …very quickly as to what we know, all right?

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that warms the planet. CO2 – carbon dioxide – is a small percentage of atmospheric gases but it has a very large impact due to its longevity in the atmosphere. Versus water vapor which can last hours to days, carbon dioxide will last a century or more. Fifty years I think is the half-life.

So carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can – what we’re putting in the atmosphere now will be there for years and years and years. And so that is part of the problem. It’s not a short-term effect. It’s a very long-term additive effect.

All data shows CO2 increasing in the atmosphere currently. The current increase strongly correlates to increases in fossil fuel use, emissions and deforestation.

What else – carbon isotope data – so, looking at different forms of carbon links carbon dioxide over the past 150 years to human fossil fuel use. The plant form of carbon is a different isotope than – holds a different isotope than other forms of carbon based on how the plants were taking the carbon from the atmosphere into themselves and then they die off and become fossil fuels.

And so there are isotopes that scientists can look at that have – they’ve been able to determine the differences in where carbon dioxide in the atmosphere came from previously to where it’s coming from now. And it’s strongly linked to human sources.

Caron dioxide is currently higher than at any point in at least the past 500,000 to 650,000 years.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Past carbon dioxide increases were not due to human activity but occurred at a slower rate and didn’t reach current levels the present rate is concerning.

Justin: And that is a key point because a lot of the talk of the planet being able to adjust, the life forms being able to adjust and that sort of thing to climate change. It’s true, they can. It’s been very rare in our planet’s history that we know of that we have to make this quick of a change.

Kirsten: Right. And that’s a point that we’ll – that I want to get to in a little bit.

Let’s see. Several years within the past decade are among the top ten warmest on record. I think within the last 15 years. We have 10 years in the top 10, something like that.

Justin: Yeah. Like ’98 is number one, 2005 – the whole last 15 years that was much higher than…

Kirsten: And the common thread that’s been presented in the media over the last six months of there being a cooling trend currently – that’s not happening. There’s no – if you look at the years and how warm they are, it’s – the trend is still increasing. That’s a media misnomer.

Recent warming is not linked to sunspot or solar activity as that has been low while temperatures and CO2 have risen. Sea level rise has increased from 1.5 to over 3 millimeters per year over the last 100 years. There has been a global temperature increase of around 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 100 years.

The majority of temperature and carbon dioxide data is available to the public. Some data sets are not made available immediately due to contractual obligations. But the majority are public domain and become public domain once the contractual obligations are met.

And so that’s where I wanted to start.

Justin: Okay.

Kirsten: So let’s see about your arguments. So let’s go back and forth.

Justin: Well, okay. Some of the things that I’ve been hearing – first of all, the planet is so big. The planet is so enormous that it can handle this, you know, whatever carbons we’re putting out there. The planet is very big, this is very true.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: It’s a big planet. But the part we live on is just on the surface. And we have an atmosphere. And our atmosphere isn’t nearly as big I think as people perceive it to be.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Because you look up, you see the stars at night not so far away and for all we know, you know, I think in people’s head our atmosphere goes well further up than it actually does.

You get your astronaut wings at 50 miles up, okay.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: So here’s what you do: you take a globe, one of those school globes and you look at the scale of the thing and you mark up 50 miles on one of these globes. Fifty miles won’t be very big…

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: …if you’re looking at the whole globe, not a map of just one area. But – the whole globe. And you mark up – tack up with 50 miles as base. It can be a couple of little hash marks. That’s our entire atmosphere up in the space.

The actual – I mean, there’s not a lot of oxygen at 80,000 feet. What’s that? Like 16 miles? I mean, our atmosphere ends much sooner than the 50 miles that you see here.

Kirsten: Yeah. That’s the troposphere.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: And above that, the stratosphere, where the stratosphere – the troposphere contains a lot of the clouds that – and it contains a lot of the green house gases…

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: …that are involved in the greenhouse effect. Whereas, above that, you have the stratosphere which, it still contains those gases but not…

Justin: Not in the same quantity.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: Most of it is closer to the surface. So really you’re probably talking about the first 10 miles up, if even that, right? Which is like, if you think of 10 miles up compared to the, you know, it would be – and I think it’s pointed out in Al Gore’s movie that that’s basically what the laminate on that globe would be. If you laminated that globe, that’s the size of our atmosphere – it’s that laminate.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: It’s not very much. So the idea that the world is so big is there but it’s not. The atmosphere that we’re dealing with on the surface of this planet is not as big as people think it is.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Another point that people bring up occasionally is like, “Well, volcanoes add a lot to it.”

Justin: They do not.

Kirsten: And they don’t. Actually…

Justin: They don’t.

Kirsten: …that is a myth that has been perpetuated throughout, basically because of the internet. The addition of what volcanoes add gaseously to the atmosphere is much less than what…

Justin: I got a hard number for you here.

Kirsten: You have a number?

Justin: Volcanic activity is .02 to .05 gigatons a year.

Kirsten: Don’t we produce like seven…

Justin: Eight.

Kirsten: …eight.

Justin: It’s worth eight gigatons.

Kirsten: Eight gigatons…

Justin: So it’s not a tenth…

Kirsten: …of carbon dioxide.

Justin: It’s not a hundredth, it’s not a thousandth. It’s like a millionth, less than a millionth of what we’re doing.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah.

And I mean, it would be – one thing if also if we had like volcanoes going off all the time.

Kirsten: But we don’t. One major…

Justin: And if we did…

Kirsten: …one major eruption like Mount Pinatubo, that can have a major effect for a short period of time.

Justin: But actually it would have a cooling effect.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: They actually have a cooling effect because what they do is the particulate matter that they go up blocks the sun and it actually kind of cools.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: If we had a bunch of them – and they put a lot of nitrogen out there. So that might actually be helping out to stop global warming is by setting off volcanoes.

Kirsten: Oooh, let’s set off some volcanoes! Yeah.

Justin: It’s true.

Kirsten: What else – what other arguments do we have?

Justin: Other arguments I’ve heard are things like the – it’s snowing a lot. There’s more snow on the ice caps. There’s more snow falling which actually is true in a lot of areas of Antarctica. There’s more snow falling.

Higher participate – the thing where it rains and snows…

Kirsten: Precipitation. Precipitation.

Justin: I think that came first.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: Or is that precipitating? I have no idea.

But that’s actually not – that’s not counted as a global warming scenario. Because…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: …part of this global warming thing is that we’re melting ice, we’re melting water – that whole process is happening faster. It’s – actually one of the major greenhouse gases is water vapor.

Kirsten: And as you add more water to the area…

Justin: Atmosphere. You’re going to get more rain…

Kirsten: …of the atmosphere…

Justin: …you’re going to get more snow.

Kirsten: …you’re going to get more rain. Yeah.

Justin: That’s just goes with it.

Kirsten: And it’s also going to change the different regions so some – it’s going to move as some areas become warmer and others cooler. There is going to be a shifting of precipitation.

Justin: Right.

Kirsten: Should we take this phone call?

Justin: In California, we could always hope for a drought. I mean, we can always hope.

Good morning, twisminion, you are on the air with This Week in Science.

Brad: Hi, good morning. This is twisminion Brad.

Justin: Hey, Brad!

Kirsten: Hi.

Brad: Hi, how are you guys doing today?

Justin: We’re good.

Kirsten: Great.

Brad: Just a couple of comments about both your stories especially the global warming. First of all, you had talked earlier about possible seeds of life being of extra-terrestrial origin. And leading on to your argument about the climate change and general global warming, what a lot of people discount is methane.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Brad: What most people don’t seem to realize is that a lot of these underwater volcanoes that belch nothing but methane, hydrogen and sulfur, you know, have warmed the life forms that are completely unreliant upon photosynthesis or oxygen.

And in much the same way that you can determine the carbon 13 versus natural carbon 12 or deficient carbon 11 isotopes in carbon dioxide…

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Brad: …today like you were saying in these fossils and in lipids is on the things we’re burning. What most people don’t realize I think is that methane is much more of a threat as a greenhouse gas especially when it’s released due to thawing of the permafrost. And now there’s a really great article…

Kirsten: Yeah.

Brad: …in this month’s Scientific American that expounds upon that.

Kirsten: Yeah. Yeah, I think you are right there.

There’s – what’s going to happen – methane is not as long-lived as carbon dioxide. So it’s not – there’s more methane being released into the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. The percentage is higher. But it doesn’t last as long. So it’s not going to have as long-lived an effect as the carbon dioxide that we put there.

That said, as temperatures increase, as more carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere, there will be warming. And warming will lead to that thawing of the permafrost. More release of methane from those land regions will also see more release of methane from the oceans and from other sinks and sources. So…

Brad: Right.

Kirsten: …all of these things are going to feed into together as a feedback loop – as a mechanism to just continue a warming trend.

Brad: Exactly. And when you consider that permafrost covers 20% of the Earth’s land surface and that methane has 25 times the heating power or greenhouse effect power of carbon dioxide. You know, they’re estimating, you know, very dramatic changes…

Kirsten: Yup.

Justin: …potentially from this release of methane. But then Justin’s point about the thawing of the permafrost goes not only to the water vapor and the carbon dioxide but also to methane.

So, you know, other than the cow arguments and they claim that, you know the cow – the output of methane by cows in the world contribute…

Kirsten: Ugh. That’s minimal considering…

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: …the other sources.

Justin: That’s nothing. Yeah. Absolutely.

But, you know, you’re absolutely right. I totally overshot the whole methane release from the ice. Absolutely.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Brad: You should check out that article. It’s a great article in Scientific American this month.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: Thank you.

Justin: I think we’ve reported on that before, too, on this show.

Kirsten: Yeah. A long time back.

Justin: This is like bringing out – was it (Alex Ramsey) who sent in on our show? We got an email from (Alex Ramsey). I think he was saying he was protesting the name Hopenhagen.

Brad: Yeah.

Justin: And they should have kept it – they should have just kept it Copenhagen so we could be coping with the problem and stuff…

Kirsten: As opposed to…

Justin: …instead of just hoping it wouldn’t be there.

Kirsten: I love it.

Brad: You guys were bringing it up here so I just thought I’d add that reference.

Justin: Thank you.

Kirsten: Thank you. Thanks so much. Have a great day.

Brad: Bye.

Kirsten: Bye, Bradley.

That was awesome. That was a very – that was a good point. Methane use…

Justin: Bradley’s always on point.

Kirsten: I know. He’s always on point.

Justin: He’s like that.

Kirsten: He’s paying attention. He’s got it.

One of the other things that people say is, “Oh, well, you know, isn’t water going to increase? Isn’t water the big deal?” Water vapor is a huge deal.

Justin: It is. It is actually because it is the number one greenhouse gas.

Kirsten: Yes.

Justin: But it’s also, you know, it’s the one that can be, I guess, controlled easier. The problem with the carbons is…

Kirsten: The issue…

Justin: …they’re going to be coming out of the oceans. What we’ve done up to date is cycling into the ocean and it’s going to come back out in like 50 years.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: So…

Kirsten: And the…

Justin: we’re – fifty – what we’ve got now is global warming 1960.

Kirsten: Right.

Justin: What we’ve put in basically up till 1960 is what we’ve got today. What we’re afraid of isn’t 1960…

Kirsten: Forty years from now.

Justin: …even. It’s when we catch up to today.

Kirsten: Yeah. So the water issue is something that – water is dependent on temperature. So the water-carrying capacity of – or the saturation point of the air changes with changes in temperature. And that’s something that can be – that is variable.

Whereas, carbon dioxide is it gets taken up by the sinks, by plants and by the oceans. But really, it does not vary according to temperature. It’s going to pretty much be there.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: It doesn’t precipitate out in the form of rain or snow. There’s no – it’s going to move a little bit as the oceans fill up more, as the oceans can’t – as the oceans reach their carrying capacity for carbon dioxide, the oceans are going to start releasing carbon dioxide back out into the atmosphere, which is suggested by some data that’s already starting to happen.

Justin: Mm hmm.

Kirsten: Yeah. We have to actually keep moving on because we only have about five minutes left in the show and I wanted to read our special Twismas…

Justin: Oh.

Kirsten: …tale. I don’t – did you have any last points, arguments, that you’d like to make?

Justin: Yeah. Oh and the other thing is he mentioned in the – about last week Al Gore’s profiteering.

Kirsten: Mm hmm.

Justin: Al Gore’s invested in something that I think is brilliant and it’s in Smart Grid Technology. Really has nothing to do with global warming and won’t solve it. I mean, it really won’t – conservation I don’t think at this point solves anything.

But Smart Grid is creating a new power grid that transfers more electricity from a power plant to the home. Right now, we lose 50%. The power plant produces energy. Half of that gets to homes, half of it.

Kirsten: Yeah. There’s a lot lost along the way.

Justin: Tons of it lost. So Smart Grid just makes that whole system more efficient. Even – if only does it by 20%…

Kirsten: And also the…

Justin: …it’s so enormous economically.

Kirsten: …the idea behind it also is that it will send energy to areas. It’s “Smart” because it go – it sends energy to areas that are needing it.

Justin: Minion (Elsa) wrote in today or yesterday, a couple of days ago saying that he disagreed with one of my points on last week about conservation not really solving anything.

But he does point out, which I totally agree with him, “It’s in your best interest to conserve electricity because you save money.”

Kirsten: That’s…

Justin: That makes sense to every individual. And I say that everybody go after their individual…

Kirsten: Think of your pocketbook.

Justin: …what works for you.

Kirsten: Exactly. All right. So it’s Twismas time, right?

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: It’s time of happiness and good cheer and science. And if you remember from last week, we have a special give away. Thanks to Evolvems.

Justin: She still forgot to bring me one.

Kirsten: We are giving away a special Evolvem plush toy this week to (Jason Quaid) for this amazing Twismas story.

Justin: Wow.

Kirsten: This is awesome. Seriously.

Justin: I’m ready.

Kirsten: Sit back…

Justin: I’m ready.

Kirsten: …enjoy, get your cook…

Justin: Get my eggnog ready…

Kirsten: That’s right. Your eggnog, your cookies and milk for this one, all right?

Justin: Put some new fuzzy slippers on I got last Christmas. Actually I haven’t looked at them since.

Kirsten: This is amazingly well done and I hope I can do it justice in reading it. That’s right.

Thanks, (Jason Quaid). This is “A Visit From Kirk Cameron”.

Justin: Oh dear. Is this Halloween?

Kirsten: “T’was the night before Twismas when all through the lab not a creature was stirring. Not even a rat. Post-it notes hung by the monitor with care, with hopes that my efforts would soon come to bear. I drove home my car while clearing my head. My children were nestled, all snug into bed. Robo Wife and Charging Doc, I had a night cap and settled into bed for a long winter’s nap.”

“When out in the garden there arose such a clamor! The missus warm booted and asked, ‘What’s the matter?’ Ran to the window and I could’ve sworn there was a tiny sleigh pulled by unicorns.”

“Cellphone in my hand as I dialed 911, I knew in a moment it must be Kirk Cameron. Creationist tunes seem to play from a band. But they came from Ray Comfort, a banana in hand. More rapid than the progress of science they came, they whistled and shouted and called unicorns by name, ‘Now, Young Earth, now Old Earth, now Usher and Malign! On Blinders, on Pseudo, on Intelligent Design!’”

“A shovel, my wife produced. I asked why. She said that weak arguments would soon pile high. Scientific proof they claim to come by, when they meet with an obstacle, they point to the sky.”

“So up to the housetop Kirk Cameron, he flew. Propelled by hot air from the conclusions he drew. As I put down my phone and was turning around, down the chimney Mike Seaver came in with a bound.”

“A bundle of books was flung on his back and he looked like a peddler just selling some (beep). His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry. A wink of his eyes soon gave me to know this midnight visitor would not readily go.”

“He tiptoed across like a man who was mad and proffered a book which he laid in my hand. His Hollywood mouth gave me the hibby jibbies. The book that he gave was ‘On The Origin of Species’! ‘Don’t worry’, he said with a sideways look, ‘There’s nothing to fear in my little book.’”

“’We’ve prefaced the thing with lies near treason. Sometimes you have to circumvent reason. We took out the worst parts that put holes in our theory – a chapter or four – they were rather dreary.’”

“My hackles were up but violence wasn’t a solution. The poor man, boy, needed an education in evolution. And I said, ‘T’is true, Darwin’s book is of public domain. To mar it with fairytales for that I say, ‘Shame!’”

“Individuals are variable. Variations are inheritable. Some offspring within a species are naturally perishable. Survival and reproduction is for the apt and the strong. And the history of the Earth is very, very long.”

“When I finished, he pulled his fingers promptly from his ears. First I thought he didn’t listen. And then I saw the tears. And it was at that moment that he had a choice – he could embrace the science, do good with his voice. Would his brains stay three sizes too small that Twismas eve? Or would he get excited, understand and believe?”

“He spoke not a word but went straight to work and ran out the window. It shattered. What a jerk. And laying his middle finger a side of his nose, he flipped me the beard, Ray Comfort was a-doze. He sprung to his sleigh, children still in their beds. His pony unicorns lost the cones from their heads. But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere they drove out of sight, ‘Just because it’s not true doesn’t mean it’s not right!’”

Justin: Woohh!

Kirsten: Bravo!

Justin: That was awesome!

Kirsten: Bravo!

Justin: That was awesome.

Kirsten: So we’re going to be sending (Jason) a plush Evolvem because of that fabulous story. Thank you for that Twismas tale. I’ll be telling it to my nieces and nephews.

I also want to thank (Angela Heinz) for sending in a Twismas submission. And if you are looking to try and get yourself or a friend a little plush Evolvem for Twismas, we’re going to be giving away one more toy next week. One more Twismas present from Twis.

Justin: Hmm.

Kirsten: Send us your Twismas story, songs, poems, anything fun. Festive, filled with evolution and the spirit of Twismas.

Justin: Including insider stock tips if you have them.

Kirsten: Right.

So on next week’s show we have one more week of Twis.

Justin: And then that’s it?

Kirsten: That’s it. Then it’s – then we’re…

Justin: It’s over?

Kirsten: …then we’re on to the new year.

Justin: Oh, okay. Yeah.

Kirsten: Yeah.

So is it next week that we have our year-end wrap up or…

Justin: Next week is the…

Kirsten: …or do we do that the week after?

Justin: …I think that should be the recap. Yeah. Recap of the year is next.

Kirsten: And the decade, right? Recap of the year and…

Justin: Decade in review already? Do we do the decade at the – I think we do the decade the next – no, this is it.

Kirsten: We should do the decade…

Justin: This is the end of the decade.

Kirsten: We’re going to be getting…

Justin: The last 10 years of what’s gone on here on this show.

Kirsten: I know, which has been quite a lot because this show’s been going for 10 years.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: So we’ve got a lot. I think maybe we’ll make – I don’t know if that’s going to be for Twismas this next week. But maybe the week after our Decade in Review. And, you know, then we’ll get into the new year’s we’ll do our, like, predictions and the like kind of stuff.

We’ve got some great shows. They’ll be fun. Fun shows lined up for the holidays.

Justin: I think you think there’s an extra week in this month that isn’t there. And we can keep having this conversation. Every time we do, suddenly December’s got 6 weeks in it. I’m not sure how you…

Kirsten: It’s a Twismas present from me. One more week and…

Justin: It’s a whole extra week.

Kirsten: One more week. It’s a leap week at the end of the year…

Justin: Oh my goodness.

Kirsten: …just for me.

Shoutouts to David in North Wales, (Minion Dale) and (Niles) – yes, (Steve Terisi), Western Florida, (Bobby) somewhere – somewhere. Twisminion Patrick wants to let the twisminions know that they can edit Conservapedia. (Rick Melot), thanks for the story you sent in. I didn’t get to it. (Michael Johnson), thanks for your story.

(Suzanne McGoff) from Durham, North Carolina suggests we take a look at horrible science – for some KidLit Twismas gifts. There’s some really fun, squishy science books that might be more Halloween-ish than Twismas-y but, you know, it’s always fun to mix your holidays.

(James Marshalls), Swinburne University has been working on a game portal for artistic kids called So it’s – I checked it out. It’s really pretty interesting. It’s been a student project that he’s been involved in.

And I guess that’s it.

Justin: Thank you for listening and we hope you’ve enjoyed the show. TWIS is available via podcast go to Click on the Subscribe to the TWIS Podcast. For more information on how to subscribe or just search for This Week in Science in your iTunes directory.

Kirsten: That’s right. And for more information on anything that you’ve heard here today, show notes are going to be available on our website

Justin: We also want to hear from you.

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: So email us…

Kirsten: Yeah!

Justin: …at or


Justin: Be sure to put TWIS somewhere in the subject line or…

Kirsten: …be spam filtered forever into oblivion.

Justin: And we love you!

Kirsten: And your feedback.

Justin: And if there’s anything you want us to cover on the show…

Kirsten: Or address, suggestion, interview…

Justin: Let us know.

Kirsten: That’s right. We’re going to be back here on KDVS.

Justin: Next Tuesday, right?

Kirsten: Yeah.

Justin: 8:30 am Pacific time.

Kirsten: Yeah. We hope you’ll join us again for more great science news.

Justin: Yeah.

Kirsten: That’s right.

Justin: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah! Yeah!

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

Kirsten: It’s all in your head. Merry Twismas.

Justin: Merry Twismas, everyone.

Link to Podcast: