Science... sort of

Science... sort of


Conversations about things that are science, things that are sort of science, and things that wish they were science. A member of the Brachiolope Media Network.


253 - Exploration Big and Small  

00:00:00 - Thanks to Joe, it's the return of the Elon Musk Happy Hour! This time, Musk wants to send loads of people to Mars, probably forever. In traditional Science... sort of fashion we ask: is this a thing? And maybe more importantly, would you go? (Also, Ryan says go read Seveneves.)

00:31:03 - Mars is pretty dry, so it'll be important to stay hydrated once there. Kelly staves off feeling sick with water and Tums but manages to sneak in a plug for The Expanse series of books. Joe confuses everyone with his Fungal Fruit Soda. And Ryan has a beer called Bomb! because of integrity or something.  

00:41:50 - This summer 183 miles of the Yellowstone River because an animal related to jellyfish evolved into a parasite millions of years ago. Kelly is amazed by this and explains why it's cool. And a final book recommendation for the episode: I Contain Multitudes by (future guest of the show?) Ed Yong

00:55:54 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like future guests of the show, both are riddled with uncertainty. Things begin a bit somber with the death of Sharon Gray, a botanist killed while doing research in Ethiopia. The reasons surrounding her death are heartbreaking, but a GoFundMe campaign has been set up to help young women succeed in science in her memory. As a complete about face, Joe thanks Angie RK for her recent iTunes review and Kelly thanks Simon L. for throwing some cash our way. Finally, Ryan expounds upon Colin from San Diego's theory about yawning and ends up doing a fair bit of research on the topic. Strap in.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Planetary (GO!) [Lags Gallows Remix]
- My Chemical Romance
We Are Sex Bob-Omb (Fast) - Beck and Nigel Godrich
I Told You I Was Freaky - Flight of the Conchords

252 - Weasel Force Five  

00:00:00 - We begin arguing about rabbits, as you do. Ryan rejects Ben's phony phylogeny and espouses the truth of Glires. Don't let Ben lead you astray.

00:00:54 - We're all happy with the four fundamental forces we know and love, but what if there was a fifth force? A Hungarian team is claiming they might have found one, which is a pretty big deal. You can read their paper now on the arXiv.

00:39:59 - If you made it through Ben's explanations in the first segment, you deserve a drink. Joe, back from his physics sabbatical, is refreshing himself with aTractor Soda Co. Cherry Cream Soda, with some confusing claims but good flavor. Ryan has an Elder Brett from Epic Brewing Co. in part so he can discuss an article about "wild beers" sent to him by Kendall in Denver. Ben has Jones Soda Cream Soda with a picture of a Moose on it. Also, Joe's car is free because we're a bit off the rails this week. And SpaceX has a little problem that Ryan gets excited about.

00:59:35 - Finally, weasels! Weasels are great and Ryan wants to talk about them. He learned a lot reading this article, but there's so much more to say. Including where their name comes from, and whether or not we can reform it as something more positive. You'll just have to listen for the rest of it.

01:32:23 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like weasels, they're great if you give them a chance. Ryan begins with a donation from Gerhardus R. in South Africa and a quick second mention of Jeff M. who donated again after catching up with Ryan on Steam. Ben's up next with a voicemail from Allie to thank us for doing the show. You're welcome! Joe wraps it up with a new 5-star iTunes review from Luke R. Edwards, who appreciates our tangents so much have loved this episode.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Use The Force
- Jamiroquai
Walk On The Wild Side
- Lou Reed
Weasal Face - Ramones

251 - Mezcales y Moas  

00:00:00 - Mezcal is a magical and misunderstood spirit. Abe, Jacob, and Ryan spend some time breaking down just what the spirit is, from the myths about worms to the economies of towns trying to use craft distillates to escape the horrors of the drug trade. It's complicated. What's a bit simpler, somehow, are the fluid dynamics at play in determining proof, known as the pearls of mezcal. A team has presented their findings on the phenomenon, and we try to explain the science at play.

00:31:58 - Abe, unsurprisingly, is enjoying an agave-based spirit, but in the form of an elixir that seems new yet familiar at the same time. Jacob is up next and braces for mockery with a beer he already had in episode 101. Abe and Ryan had no intentions for teasing, but when it's invited it's hard to resist. Ryan goes full hipster with a Multinational Horn-Dog Black Saison that he makes Abe describe because Abe made it in the first place. Delicious!

 00:44:17 - Moa were giant terrifying monster-birds from New Zealand. And they're extinct. Did they die because of climate or because of humans? A recent study suggests the latter. The team used genetics, which seems straightforward enough, but leads to a discussion about the potential problems with blaming native peoples for local extinctions. The boys seems to conclude that humans are just humans, no judgement needed beyond universal human foibles. 

01:05:52 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like moas, oversized and prone to destruction. Ryan begins with an overdue thanks to recurring donor Jeff E. Thanks, Jeff! Next up, Jacob has an e-mail from Matt M. pruporting to explaing the phrase "going commando" as referenced in our recent interview with Mary Roach. It's a fun explanation, but is it a "just-so story"? Trying to work backwards, it seems kilts may be to blame as the original source of eschewing underwear. This leads to pontifications on the nature of meta-skepticism, literally debunking the debunkers. Abe wraps things up with a question from Tyler V. about the possibility of a Spanish-language science podcast. Seeing as there are more native Spanish speakers than native English speakers, seems like a no-brainer, but not something we can quite pull off at this point, though we have talked internally about it.

Music for this week's show:
Another Pearl - Badly Drawn Boy
Home - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes
The Bird That You Can't See - Apples in Stereo

250 - Quarter Quell  

It's episode 250 and thus a fine time to return to form with Patrick, Charlie, and Ryan!

00:00:00 - Mars is dead, long live Mars! Mars used to have oceans, active volcanoes, maybe even tectonics. So what happened? The guys explore how it might have become a hunk of rock we keep having to rescue Matt Damon from. Also, there's a whole book series on how we might (fictionally) bring it back to life. 

0027:57 - However it got that way, Mars is now dry enough to leave one mighty parched. Let us quench. Patrick begins with a beer left behind in his fridge by Ryan, a Siamese Twin Ale from Uncommon Brewers located in the birthplace of the show, Santa Cruz, California. Charlie expertly extracts the hot bean juice from an exquisite Ganesha Espresso bean for 28 seconds at 201 degrees C at 9 bars of pressure. Ryan fires back with a Kerberos Tripel our of a double-walled growler, a three-headed beer for the three originals being back together.

00:34:50 - Is the Loch Ness Monster real? No. It's super not real. BUT, Google decided to play along and put some cameras in the loch. This somehow becomes a very deep conversation on the philosophy of science and the role technology plays in shaping our reality. Go figure.

00:59:34 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like unexpectedly deep conversations; most people skip them if able to. Ryan begins with a new recurring donation from Sonya P. Thanks, Sonya! Charlie fields an energetics question from Jacob M. about the stillsuits featured in the novel Dune. Patrick finished with a question from Graeme N. about the aquatic ape hypothesis of human evolution. Ryan and Patrick argue again because why agree on anything ever?

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:
Nothin' On You - B.o.B.
Straw Dog - Something Corporate
Get It Faster - Jimmy Eat World


249 - The Maillard Underground  

00:00:00 - Do you eat food? If you do you probably appreciate the Maillard reaction even if you've never heard of it. We try to drop some science on your plate! Want even more food science? This book has you covered.

00:35:09 - Joe begins the drinking segment by tying things back to the Maillard reaction with a Lester's Fixins Bacon with Maple Syrup Soda, which sounds, and tastes, terrible. Chad and Ryan insist her finish it. Ryan has a Segua Red Ale, a Costa Rican microbrew based on a Costa Rican legend. Chad has a fruit smoothie because sometimes you just have to clear out the freezer.

00:45:05 - Archeologists have found many ancient subterranean cities. What happened to us all wanting to live underground together?  Joe explains some of the benefits and pratfalls of trying to make a go of putting a lot of people under the earth, including some more recent attempts. 

01:01:44 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like underground cities, they were sort of in vogue once upon a time. Joe begins by thanking Jeff M. for a donation. Thanks, Jeff! Ryan has an e-mail from Anne who wants to know if all her friends getting into the paleo-diet are onto something or not. Ryan, an actual paleontologist, is no great fan and lists some reasons why. For more info, check out this Scientific American article or go buy the book Paleofantasy: What Evolution Really Tells Us about Sex, Diet, and How We Live. Last up, Chad has an article from Mike J. about another idea to get fuel from water, but this time with a twist. Chad and Ryan dive into the details, including trying to explain the entire ocean and how we're messing it up. Maybe a bit ambitious, but there you have it.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Heart Cooks Brain - Modest Mouse
Smooth Criminal - Alien Ant Farm
Subterranean Homesick Blues - Bob Dylan

248 - Trouble and Strife  

00:00:00 - We are excited to announce the long awaited return of Jacob Stump! Jacob is back so we might as well start out with a poorly planned mission to Mars. Specifically, is Mars One a scam? If you believe one of their selected 'astronauts' then probably yes.

00:25:24 - Much like they're not actually going to Mars, Jacob spends some time telling us what he's not drinking before finally telling us that he's having some Spanish wine. Patrick is doubling down with another Get Elevated from Matty J. which prompts a discussion of handedness. Ryan advocates his left-handed lifestyle and recommends a book for those who want to learn more about his affliction. Ryan also is back to his beer roots enjoying a DirtWolf Double IPA from Victory Brewing. 

00:41:23 - Jupiter's wife Juno has come home in the form of a probe sent by NASA. Even President Obama was excited about it. Ryan gets excited just talking about Jupiter, but Patrick and Jacob have some pretty cool things about the probe and its science mission around our solar system's largest planet. 

01:18:14 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like wives, they deserve love and respect. Patrick begins with his favorite: a new recurring donation from Scott P. High fives to Scott! Ryan goes next and proceeds to put his foot firmly in his mouth talking about Creationism vs evolution thanks to this story from NPR submitted by listener Chris N. Thanks a lot, Chris. Fortunately, Patrick and Jacob are here to smooth things over. Phew. Jacob finishes things off with new 5-star iTunes review from dearknurl. Always appreciated.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Trouble Weighs A Ton - Dan Auerbach

Holiday In Spain - Counting Crows

Juno - Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (written specifically for this NASA mission, so that's cool)

247 - The Best Laid Plans  

If you're interested in helping the people of West Virginia recover from some pretty horrific recent flooding, you can check out the list of options compiled by The Huffington Post

00:00:00 - Patrick and Ryan are joined by Daphne Pringle, who's a post-doctoral fellow at the Hunstman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah. She's sick of us getting epigenetics wrong like we did in episode 241, so she's here to sort us out. She uses mice to study oncogenes and tumors and cancer and all that. It's pretty far outside of our typical biology talk, so segment one is just trying to explain the basics. Here's some background reading: Raf/MEK/ERK, mouse models, and BRAF targeting

00:35:53 - Alcohol is a carcinogen probably. Oh well. Daphne represents Utah with her Uinta Detour Double IPA. Patrick was sent some cans of Elevated IPA by listener Matty J. Thanks! And Ryan classes up the joint with an Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon. 

00:43:21 - Now that we have totally covered the basics of Daphne's research, let's talk about her recent publication in PLOS ONE. Will Daphne and her team cure cancer? Only if they can get through the FDA's 15 year approval process! Also, if you wanted to see a Tazzy Devil joey in a pouch, here you go

01:16:43 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like the FDA approval process; only the strong survive. First up, a new recurring donation from Mark H. Thanks, Mark! Next, Peter C. has a question about population genetics that we're hoping Daphne can help us answer. It involves space travel and maybe racism? Patrick presents a Facebook post from Brennen M. who wants us to know about his favorite book about food science called Modernist Cuisine. Finally, Ryan presents the winners of the iTunes review contest calculated using! The runners up: Kendh and Patrick in Des Moines. And our grand prize goes to Molec-bio! Thanks to everyone who participated. Be sure to follow Daphne on Twitter (@drpringleetal) to follow along as she saves us all. 

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music used in this week's show:

Morning New Disease - Jets to Brazil
The West Virginia Hills - Moastsville String Ticklers
Waiting - Green Day

246 - Bridging the Gap  

This was our first time recording since the tragic Pulse shooting in Orlando. We encourage our US listeners to share their thoughts with their elected representatives. You can find yours and their contact info here.

00:00:00 - We begin this week by talking about some literal bridge building. Because of things like physics and geology, engineers have to rethink how we build roads around bridges. Joe assumes Ryan and Abe know about soil science. He's wrong. But some researchers at the University of Texas, Arlington, have developed special giant foam blocks to help solve the bridge settling dilemma. All rivers in this segment referred to as Kwai for clarity. 

00:21:45 - Drinks, like bridges, get you where you're going. Abe pops the top off a Hop Savant from Crooked Stave. Ryan, thinking back on his afternoon at Corvus Coffee Roasters with Abe, has a Cold Brew IPA from Rogue. Joe B. bucks tradition with a Best Damn Cherry Cola, which while it may not sound like it, is actually an alcoholic beverage. It's not his first time having booze on the show, but it is rare. This leads to a discussion of choosing one's science specialty. 

00:29:31 - UPDATES. How often do you actually see follow-up reporting in science journalism? For us, it's rarely. To put our money where our mouth is here is some that. First, Abe is excited to announce that the newly discovered elements first discussed in episode 234 now have names! Next, that weird animal we talked about in episode 229 has finally found a place on the family tree of life (open access paper here), welcome to club Siphonophorae, buddy.

00:48:04 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like updates in that sometimes they really are just updates. Joe starts off complaining about vocal plosives with a new recurring donation from Pedro P. in Chile. Muchas gracias, Pedro! Ryan has an e-mail from frequent correspondent Tyler V., who corrects him about what Einstein won his Nobel prize for in episode 196. Abe finishes things up with an iTunes review, the final review from the Summer Solstice iTunes Review Challenge written by Cynthia. You can also go check out an interview with Joe on the Baja SAE Shop Talk podcast

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

Bridge Over Troubled Waters - Simon & Garfunkel
Campfire Kansas - The Get Up Kids
The Power of Love - Huey Lewis and the News

245 - Science... Hodor  

This week is all about Game of Thrones and/or A Song of Ice and Fire featuring returning guest to the show Miles Traer! If you're not caught up on both the show and the books, consider this your all-purpose SPOILER WARNING.

00:00:00 - First up: time travel. How does time travel in a fantasy story work? Apparently, there are three options, and we mainly stick to one, but it's not without its paradoxes. Check out this nifty drawing from Ben for a diagram of just what we think happened in the already infamous Hodor episode.

00:37:53 - They drink a lot in Westeros, so to keep it authentic, we follow suit. Ben begins with a double shot of weird Sangaria brand soft drinks: carrot and traditional. Miles follows up with a 'Westerosi'-style cocktail, the Sazerac; even if he and Ryan disagree about the proportions. Ryan does what his wife does, and has a Three Philosophers from Brewery Ommegang. It makes sense in context.

00:44:15 - There's a lot more science to be done in Westeros than just time travel. Fortunately, Matt Shipman organized a blog carnival, featuring science posts from some of our favorite former guests such as Brian Switek, Jacquelyn Gill, and David Hone. And our course a geology post from Miles Traer, which he tells us a bit about, but you'll need to read the whole thing for the details. 

01:08:38 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like open-ended epic fantasy series; they're both often long overdue. We being with Ben announcing a new recurring donation from Peter C. Thanks, Peter! Next up, Tyler V. wants to know, based on our previous hesitation to call the Anthropocene a thing, how future paleontologists might respond to the discovery of mass human graves as a feature of the debated epoch. That's pretty dark, Tyler, but we sort of have an answer, and it reminds Ryan in particular of a certain dinosaur site called Ghost Ranch. Ryan has an anniversary message from Cyn, who found the show thanks to Ben, because Ben is great. Finally, be sure to also check out Miles' excellent podcast Generation Anthropocene.


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Game of Throne theme on the Seaboard RISE - ROLI

Theme from Game of Thrones - New Orleans Swamp Donkeys

Game of Thrones Theme (Western Cover) - Benedikt Mendzigal

244 - A Grunt's Life  

00:00:00 - This week Ryan is joined by his wife, Juliana Olsson, so they can talk with returning guest and author Mary Roach! We do drinks in the preamble so for all you completists out there: Juli had a Three Philosophers and Ryan had a Birthday Suit. Mary, given her druthers, likes a dry gin martini. But the actual point of our conversation is to talk about her new book is Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War and that's what we talk about (mostly). She's on tour promoting the book right now, so go see her if you can and tell her you heard about the tour from us!

00:52:34 - PaloePOWs are a lot like books; they contain a lot of words. Ryan begins with a donation from Liam B., a Canadian donating with US money. How thoughtful! Thanks, Liam. Next up, Todd B. wanted us to watch a video about naked mole rats, the official animal of the podcast. They're pretty cute in an ugly sort of way, and the science being done is pretty cool too. Finally, Ryan reminds y'all that we're running an iTunes review contest. Write a review for us on iTunes between now and the Summer Solstice and be entered in a drawing to win prizes! We've gotten some good ones so far, and feature one from treaest.

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!

Music for this week's show:

A Soldiering Life - The Decemberists

Ep 243 - Science... sort of: Science Carols  

00:00:00 - This episode Ben and Ryan chat with Cosmologist Sean Carroll about his new book, The Big Picture. Presented here is the first part of our conversation about a number of topics presented in the book.

00:40:58 - Drinks are like the universe in that they exist. Sean enjoys a gin martini or a Gibson depending on his mood. Sometimes he adds both garnishes and we're just not sure about anything anymore. Ben has some guanabana nectar. Ryan explains what that fruit looks like. And Ryan rounds things out with a Celestial Garden from DC Brau.

00:49:51 - The second half of our interview we continue talking about the book, particularly the contributions of Ibn Sina and Rev. Bayes to momentum and probability, respectively. You can keep up with Dr. Carroll on his website or by following him on Twitter.

01:17:32 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like cosmology; they can take some time to wrap your head around. Ryan begins by thanking Jennifer G. (?) for setting up a new recurring donation. Thanks, Jennifer! Ben has a question from Kenneth B. about which would win: the sun, or a water balloon the size of the sun. Ben, of course, has an answer.


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Princes of the Universe - Queen

Onions - The Mountain Goats

Time Won't Let Me Go (Sun Version) - The Bravery

Ep 242: Science... sort of - The Little Slothologist That Could  

00:00:00 - Few quick announcements in lieu of a PaleoPOW for this episode. First, thanks to Robert M. (not the guest) and John P. for repeating their generous donations to the show. Also, there are still a few hours left to donate to Ryan's crowdfunding campaign: Lastly, we're running an iTunes review contest. Leave a new review between now and the Summer Solstice and be entered in a drawing for some sweet prizes!

00:01:01 - Ryan heads to Ohio to sit down for a chat with Doc Sloth aka Robert McAfee. When he was on the show before, the talk was of carnivorous sloths and the Ice Age movies, but this time, we're talking about his actual research and the first to be discussed is his work trying to suss out the taxonomy of the diverse fossil ground sloths.

00:26:51 - One way to slow down to sloth speeds is a depressant, in this case: beer! Ryan begins with an Amarillo Brillo, purchased solely for the fact that the label contains a cousin to the sloths: an armadillo. Robert heads south to Cincinnati for some Rhinegeist Brewery's Hustle, which prompts a discussion of just how much Prohibition screwed up American brewing. Those jerks.

0035:15 - For the second aspect of Robert's research, we discuss some functional morphology, i.e. how do we know what ground sloths were capable of just by looking at their bones? Robert explains. Be sure to check out for more sloth research and follow @docsloth on Twitter for continued updates!


Learn more about paleontology's favorite statistical test: the Principal Component Analysis! Was Bigfoot actually a sloth? Who knows, but here are some other cryptids that did turn out to be real animals. Get to know rum better with this book Welcome... to Park

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Slow Brains - Honeyhoney

The Hustle - Van McCoy

Ep 241: Science... sort of - Botanivores  

00:00:00 - (Beginning with a brief plug from Joe seeking volunteers for a cool STEM even in the LA area, check it out here.) But today's actual first topic is part one of our interview with Matt Candeias, Ph.D. student as well as author and host of the In Defense of Plants blog and podcast (which you can support on Patreon). We talk about his research into rare versus common grassland species, and what made him want to get into science outreach, particularly as a promoter of plants. In our typical rambling style, we also touch on a number of other topics, including how computers used to be rooms full of women.

00:52:06 - You may need to compute some things if you want to make your own booze, but it doesn't take much math to enjoy the final product. Patrick is again disappointed to learn that Ryan has also tried the beer he's having this week, the Faceplant IPA from Lost Rhino Brewing Company, whom we've interviewed before. Matt keeps it local with the Paw Paw Tripel from Scratch Brewing Company. And Ryan quizzes our guest to see if he can figure out that he's drinking a dry martini made with The Botanist gin.

01:05:51 - And since we know you love it when we talk about booze, we keep the drink chat going with the handy reference manual The Drunken Botanist. Ryan solicits Matt and Patrick's favorite booze-producing plants which leads to a discussion of the C3, C4, and CAM photosynthetic pathways. Somehow we made it about science, yay!

01:29:33 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like plants, they both grow like weeds when left unattended. Patrick begins with a new recurring donation from Lisa K., who also donated to Ryan's current crowdfunding campaign to support his Ph.D. research. Thanks for both Lisa! Ryan is excited to present a new 5-star iTunes review from ViTuanPeterPhan, and it spurs a contest to drive our ratings up to 500! Write a review between now and the summer solstice (June 20th) and you'll be entered into a drawing for a free t-shirt!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree - Tony Orlando and Dawn

Drunken Lullabies - Flogging Molly

Keep Off The Grass - Todd Snider

Ep 240: Science... sort of - Moon Rocks Don't Glow  

00:00:00 - Kelly is back and she's got an update on some scientists that seem to have found a way to stem the spread of the chytrid fungus affecting all those poor froggies. Hope on the horizon? Maybe, but it'll be a hard technique to apply large scale. We also spend some time talking about a Civil War story involving glowing wounds the help soldiers survive. A science fair project may have found the answer, but Ryan still thinks a body farm experiment needs to be done.

00:28:10 - A stiff drink used to be the only painkiller you might get. Kelly's drink isn't stiff but it still provokes a strong reaction: water kefir. After painstakingly explaining what is and how she made it, Abe and Ryan have nothing good to say. Abe tries to salvage the conversation with some Romantic Chemistry, but alas it falls a bit short. Ryan tries to avoid Kelly's wrath when talking about the Pinchgut Hollow Buckwheat Moonshine his Dad gave him.

00:40:50 - Did you know China has a rover on the moon? Turns out China has a rover on the moon. And it did some science! Researchers have announced that they've found a new type of lunar basalt. Sounds straightforward enough but Abe explains the complexities.

01:01:58 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like Chinese lunar rovers; most Americans don't even know they exist. Kelly has an e-mail from former guest of the show Zeka Kuspa, who wants to know if the now extinct Condor louse makes her list of eradicated parasites. Abe reads an e-mail from Steven who's asking for some help tracking down a particular SoCal beer. We don't have a specific answer, but it sounds like he just needs to keep trying Imperial Pilsners. Ryan rounds out the show with a new recurring donation from Leong all the way in Taiwan. Thanks, Leong! Ryan, of course, plugs his ongoing crowdfunding campaign, go watch the video and consider donating here!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Glowworm - Apples in Stereo

Moonshine - Lit

The Rover - Led Zeppelin

Ep 239: Science... sort of - Echinodermathon  

00:00:00 - Bev and Abe are back from Antarctica and are back on the show! Ryan had to give a guest lecture on echinoderms, which happens to be a thing Bev knows a lot about. So our first segment is dedicated to getting Abe up to speed on these weird marine animals.

00:40:05 - Talking about sea creatures gives one a powerful thirst. This episode we sate our thirst in three ways. Bev opts for a Squishy apple and cherry cider, Abe keeps it nautical with a Dorado DIPA, and Ryan can't wait to enjoy a Pliny the Elder Abe gave him.

00:47:28 - Now that we all know what echinoderms about we can talk about Bev's actual research! For her Masters, she wanted to figure out how brittle stars were (or weren't) being preserved in the fossil record. She tells us just how she got it done, and you can read the paper she published about her work too! (Lots of cool figures in that paper, be sure to check them out!)

01:13:54 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like echinoderms, only occasionally edible. Ryan begins by plugging his crowdfunding effort to do some sloth research. Next up, Abe has an e-mail from Rebecca abut a nephew who wants to be a volcanologist. He suggests junior ranger programs at National Parks, geology summer camps, and some cool resources over at Beverly has an e-mail form Bennet T. in response to our time zone and metric talk from episode 226. She gives us her take and explains how things like this work in Antarctica. Ryan wraps things up with a new recurring donation from Denise N. Thanks, Denise!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music of this week's show:

Anthropology rap - Community

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep - The Temptations

Eldorado 1997 - Manu Chao

Dissolve - Jonathan Coulton

Ep 238: Science... sort of - Fiat Guano  

00:00:00 - Charlie and Ryan are joined by the one and only Tim Dobbs from the Encyclopedia Brunch podcast. In addition to being a fellow podcast and editor for our show, Tim is also a chemical engineer focusing on biotechnology. Our first subject talks about just what the heck biotechnology is, and how it's growing as a part of our economy.

00:29:43 - Biotechnology can apparently make milk, but that's weird so we're drinking other things. Tim is have kombucha. Whatever. Ryan is having a Southern Belle from 3 Stars made with pecans. Also, DC has a nice flag, get on board people. Charlie drinks some fancy espresso because he's fancy like that. We get a bit off track talking about how fruits are all just out to trick us into spreading their seeds. Kind of gross if you really think about it, but you might learn something anyways.

00:42:15 - And for our final topic as we all brace for Batman v Superman: BATS! Bats are great, and if you didn't know that then strap in for some knowledge bombs falling on your head like guano. Our first, more specific story is about a pitcher plant that has evolved to show up really well on echolocation. Why would the plant want to show up? Because it gives the bat a place to roost for the day and uses the guano for food. EVOLUTION IS SO COOL. Next up, bats eat insects. A lot of them. Insects that would eat food we're trying to grow to the tune of about a billion dollars every year. Thanks, bats! Our final story is directly related to the film. Turns out when Zach Snyder learned that North American bat populations were struggling to survive due to White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and decided to use leftover production materials to build bat houses. Regardless of how the movie turns out, that's downright decent. If you want to buy a bat house or learn how to build your own, check out They really do need your help.

01:15:54 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like bats, they make up roughly 20% of the diversity of the show. Tim thanks new (old) recurring donor Andrew G. This is especially relevant for Tim because we pay him a bit to edit the show. So thanks, Andrew! Tim is also looking for a job at the moment, so if you're hiring biotech people, consider Tim! Charlie has a photo from Shanna H. in which some ice has done something seemingly inappropriate. It's called a pingo, and it's a pretty cool process that forms them. Charlie explains. Ryan has a voicemail from Anne because Ryan was WRONG when he decried tungsten wedding bands as a safety hazard. Way to be misinformed, Ryan. Fortunately, Anne was there to help fix it. Thanks, Anne!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Technology - Corey Smith

Espresso (All Jacked Up) - Todd Rundgren

Ep 237: Science... sort of - Taste for Exploration  

00:00:00 - This episode Ryan is joined by Jessica Glass and Matt Davis, who recently published an open-access paper exploring the claims of a 1950's Explorer's Club dinner with giant ground sloth (or mammoth) on the menu. What did they find with their fancy genetics? Listen and find out!

00:41:25 - Supposedly the Explorer's Club drinks were chilled with glacial ice, a thing we used to be pretty good at transporting, but our modern drinks are chilled with the power of refrigeration instead, and it's important for us to tell you what they are! Matt kicks things off with an Orange Lazarus in a tiki mug, leading of course to a discussion of all things tiki. Jessica's up next and Matt brought her a local beer called the Ginga' Ninja, a gingery red IPA for the wilds of Connecticut. Ryan rounds off the round with a new favorite of his: a dry manhattan. Just replace the sweet vermouth in your manhattan with dry vermouth, you dummy!

00:55:43 - Next up Matt forces Jessica and Ryan to team up for SLOTH TRIVIA. The stakes are high but you'll have to listen to hear the final scores. 

01:10:50 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like trivia in that some say they're trivial. They're wrong. First up, Ryan has a donation from Ryan J. Ryan J. was disappointed by a joke our Ryan made about the Gamergate movement a few episodes back. This leads to a brief and one-sided discussion and explanation of a particularly thorny internet issue. Enjoy! And thanks, Ryan J. for the donation! To end strong, Ryan also read a quick 5-star iTunes review from RLB633, which we're also thankful for!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

Dead Meat - Bush

Manhattan - Ella Fitzgerald & The Buddy Bregman Orchestra

The Goonies 'R' Good Enough - Cyndi Lauper

Ep 236: Science... sort of - Inyo Science!  

00:00:00 - Ryan is joined this episode by Claire Lukens, a fellow Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geology and Geophysics at the University of Wyoming. Claire is a geomorphologist who studies the evolution of the shape of mountains over time. In the first part, we talk about a bit about the basics of her field and some of the techniques she employs. See some photos of her field area at the bottom of the post.


00:18:01 - One of the primary drivers of erosion is water. Beer is mostly water, and it's also fuel for geologists. Ryan has brought a sampler pack from Bristol Brewing Company in Colorado Springs, a favorite from Claire's undergrad days. She has her old standby, a Laughing Lab, and Ryan has a Red Rocket Pale Ale.


00:20:48 - Next we discuss Claire's recent publication in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which is open access so can go read the whole thing and see the pretty figures. Claire's research group has used two different techniques to trace the history of sediments in Inyo Creek coming from Lone Pine Peak. Much is learned, and future projects are discussed. Also, see their research featured by the University of Wyoming, with another brief audio snippet from Claire!


00:57:19 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like geomorphology, you have to be pretty cool to do it. Ryan is flying solo this week but that doesn't stop him from playing a voicemail from recurring donor Clay the Human and getting thanked by Moe S. for introducing him to the Machete Order so he could begin showing his son Star Wars. Though his son may have found some subversive material in his school library. It just so happens this episode roughly corresponds with Ryan's reappearance on the Star Wars Minute podcast to discuss a minute of Episode I: The Phantom Menace. Go listen!



Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!



Music for this week's show:

I Melt With You - MEST

Going to Bristol - The Mountain Goats

Crystal Baller - Third Eye Blind

Ep 235: Science... sort of - Relative Chaos  

00:00:00 - This episode Ryan and Patrick are joined by Samuel Hansen, who podcasts about math. The first part of the show is learning a bit more about Samuel, his ACMEscience podcast network, and most importantly his math show Relatively Prime, currently Kickstarting its third season. Also, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension is a movie Samuel heartily suggests you see.

00:39:24 - A brief break for drinks! Patrick is fighting a cold and drinking some herbal tea because he's off caffeine and alcohol for a bit. Ryan goes entirely the other direction based on some advice from Richard P. who provides a recipe for a beer cocktail called "Heart of Darkness":

0.5 L of imperial stout (Ryan used this one) 250 mL of cold brew coffee concentrate (Ryan used this one)

Take that health!

00:43:25 - Next up we have Samuel explain the concept of chaos and how it can be used in ecological modeling. While Samuel looks up something, Ryan plugs the graphic novel Strange Attractors, which is about math but is also interesting. The story claims the models are now equation free, which is nonsense, but is light on the math and Samuel explains why. Also, don't forget about his Kickstarter.

01:15:29 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like equations; you learned that they were important a while ago but can't quite remember why. Ryan receives a follow-up from Richard P. questioning the wisdom of his cocktail creation. Patrick has a smorgasbord from Cob W. who sent in a very generous donation, plus an e-mail, plus a voicemail, plus a drawing that brings the ephemeral concept of the Timer Duck to life! You can see it on our Flickr page. Thanks, Cob!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week's show:

In Our Prime - The Black Keys

When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer - Eric Clapton and B.B. King

Living In Chaos - Offspring

Ep 234: Science... sort of - Drunk and Unstable  

00:00:00 - Let's get straight to it: scientists figured out a way to make booze using lasers, and they're calling it sunshine instead of moonshine because they're clever. Since that sounds like chemistry we brought Chad to the podcast table to explain what's going on. LISTEN AND LEARN.


00:40:53 - Chad begins by pre-empting his own paleoPOW with an e-mail from Dave asking about a brand of "Neuro--" drinks. Are they just vaguely tasty snake oil? Pretty much, but in the US they can still get away with all sorts of silly claims thanks to this law. Also, a brief discussion of chemophobia and MSG, good thing Chad is here. Ryan is drinking Dryk Julmust bought on clearance at IKEA spiked with some very old Panamanian rum, and then gets the part of Canada that likes rum wrong. Ben bought a weird pear soda from a Japanese Dollar Store.


00:57:42 - GOOD NEWS EVERYONE! There are some new elements on the periodic table! Chad explains the process of getting new elements officially approved, then the conversation mostly devolves into debating what the new elements should be named with mixed results...


01:41:15 - PaleoPOWs are a lot like moonshine, you got to know a guy to get some and they can be bad for your health. Ben begins with a limerick about him written by Xander. Ryan finishes the show on a somewhat somber note with a donation from Shlomo in memory of his father Ezra, who recently passed away.



Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts like The Titanium Physicists and The Collapsed Wavefunction, both of which you can contribute to on Patreon



Music for this week's show:

Sunshine - Matt Costa

Bliss - Muse

Crumbs off the table (feat. Aaron Livingston) - RJD2

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