We Have Concerns

We Have Concerns

United States

Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni talk about the personal philosophical concerns they find lurking inside everyday things. It's fun?


Take Your Peak  

Aging can seem like a scary prospect, but a wealth of scientific studies have found that youth isn't all it's cracked up to be. There are plenty of cases in which human beings peak well into middle and old age. Anthony and Jeff look at a chart about when we peak at certain activities and contemplate what that means for their own lives.

You Can't Handle the Tooth  

Hardened plaque harvested from Neanderthal teeth is loaded with genetic material from plants and animals these prehistoric hominins ate, as well as remnants of microbes that reveal a surprising amount about how they lived and even what made them sick. Researchers extracted the ancient DNA and bacteria from the jaws of three Neanderthal individuals from Belgium and Spain, and described the results in a paper published in the journal Nature. Jeff and Anthony discuss the findings and what it might mean for the history - and future - of man.

Man Oar Board  

South African surfer Chris Bertish just pulled off one of the most remarkable feats of human determination, perseverance and sheer grit of all time by paddleboarding for 93 days, 4,050 miles across the Atlantic Ocean - by himself. Jeff is definitely trying to make his "Chronicles of a Badass" a recurring feature. Does Anthony think this one holds up?

Monitor Moniker Modeler  

Low self monitors tend to use inner beliefs and values in deciding how to behave, while high self monitors tend to monitor their surroundings and change their behavior to fit in. Anthony and Jeff take a test to see where they exist on the spectrum, and discuss what that means for their lives.

Snake Smile Salesman  

Python breeder Justin Kobylka says he spent over eight years selectively breeding ball pythons to finally achieve a smiley face emoji pattern on the reptile's skin. Jeff and Anthony discuss pastimes, evocations, and what it takes to dedicate 8 years to make emoji snake skin.

The Immortal Cult Hokum  

In 1939 a secretive cult known as the Royal Fraternity of Master Metaphysicians made headlines when its leader, James Bernard Schafer, announced their intention to conduct an unusual experiment. They were going to raise an immortal baby. Has there ever been a more perfect story for We Have Concerns to cover? No, there has not.

Raindrops Keep Sprawlin' All the Dread  

After noticing an uptick in a rare disease called melioidosis during the rainy season in parts of Southeast Asia and northern Australia, researchers used high-speed cameras and fluorescent dye to observe raindrops delicately catapulting the microbes into the air. Jeff and Anthony react to the idea that glorious, refreshing rain itself can spread disease.

Time Change  

The longest personality study of all time, published in Psychology and Aging and recently highlighted by the British Psychological Society, suggests that over the course of a lifetime, just as your physical appearance changes and your cells are constantly replaced, your personality is also transformed beyond recognition. Jeff and Anthony discuss permanence and personality, and whether they think they, too, have changed.

Left Out  

UPS trucks almost never take left-hand turns. By favoring right-hand turns at all times -- unless a left is unavoidable -- the carrier saves millions of gallons of fuel each year, and avoids emissions equivalent to over 20,000 passenger cars. Anthony and Jeff discuss the inefficiencies of turns, and how this info might be applied to their own lives.

Stop, Chop, and Roll  

A French electrician proved himself to be a bona fide MacGyver by building a makeshift motorbike out of his wrecked car after becoming stranded in the Moroccan dessert. Jeff thinks this also makes him a bona fide bad ass, but Anthony keeps poking holes in the story.

Magnetical Mystery Ewer  

By analyzing the pottery from an archaeological dig near Jerusalem, scientists have learned that the geomagnetic field around the earth fluctuated wildly during early human civilizations —and the news isn't good for a world that depends on electrical grids and high-tech devices. Jeff and Anthony discuss magnetic fields, scientific sleuths, and Santa Claus.

Taking Debate  

When you don’t know the actual, statistical likelihood of something, the brain uses the most readily surfaceable image. This is known as the availability heuristic, and it has been used by politicians to create unrealistic concepts that stick for decades. In light of the current political climate, Anthony and Jeff discuss this phenomenon, and how we can protect ourselves against it.

Spoiler Assert  

The majority of Americans have no clear idea what “sell by” labels are trying to tell them. But after 40 years of letting us guess, the grocery industry has made moves to clear up the confusion. The Food Marketing Institute and the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the two largest trade groups for the grocery industry, announced that they’ve adopted standardized, voluntary regulations to clear up what product date labels mean. Jeff and Anthony discuss their stance on eating past-date food, and when something should be thrown away.

All CPU Can Bee  

Honeybees' role in pollination enables the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops, including apples, blueberries, melons and broccoli, but recently a dwindling bee population has led to concerns for the stability of this eco system. Industrial design major Anna Haldewang wanted more people to understand the significance of bees to human life -- so she created what's essentially a "bee drone" to be a functional teaching tool that couples technology and design. Plan Bee is a personal robotic bee (controlled by a smart device) designed to mimic how bees pollinate flowers and crops. Similar to how bees transfer pollen from one flower to another, the drone sucks in pollen from a plant and expels it onto other flowers to enable cross-pollination. Anthony and Jeff discuss robot bees and whether this might be the solution the planet is hoping for.

Addiction Subtraction  

Studying its effects in the brain, researchers set out to genetically engineer mice that would be more prone to cocaine addiction. Instead, they created mice that appear impervious to it. Even after the genetically engineered animals were given the drug repeatedly, they did not appear to crave it the way typical mice do. Jeff and Anthony discuss these cocaine-proof mice, and what it might mean for addiction treatment in the future.

Squid Pro Grow  

Human activity has changed the ocean - rising temperatures and acidifying waters has caused fish populations of all kinds to dwindle. But not all creatures are adversely effected. New research shows that these changes to marine environments are leading to a surge of cephalopods, the invertebrate group that includes octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. You know Anthony and Jeff have their eyes on cephalopods, so they have to monitor this story.

Scooter Commuter Computer  

Piaggio, the same company that created the Vespa scooter, has announced it will sell a robot called Gita, which is designed to carry and deliver your stuff around town. It will follow you, or move autonomously, and has a top speed of 22 MPH. Anthony and Jeff are ready for the robot future, especially if it looks as cute and useful as Gita.

Reckoned That Emotion  

Many different emotions have similar bodily symptoms. When we are angry, our pulses race, we breathe faster, we feel our faces flush, and our skin becomes sweaty, but when we are happily excited we also breathe faster, feel our faces flush, and our skin becomes sweaty. A new article by researcher Ian Robertson suggests that how you interpret the symptoms of stress can have a big effect on how stressed you actually become. Anthony and Jeff debate whether re-calibrating your interpretations of symptoms can effect the problem itself.

Metal Near Solid  

More than 80 years after it was predicted to be possible, a Harvard University team has finally managed to create metallic hydrogen. Why? For one thing, physicists predict that metallic hydrogen is an authentic superconductor. This gives metallic hydrogen a myriad of potential applications. But did they do it? Jeff and Anthony analyse the results to see if the world has actually seen a new man-made substance.

Headbanger's Calm  

Extreme music – such as heavy metal – can positively influence those experiencing anger, a study by The University of Queensland has revealed. In contrast to previous studies linking loud and chaotic music to aggression and delinquency, research by UQ’s School of Psychology showed listeners mostly became inspired and calmed. Jeff and Anthony discuss their own calming music of choice, and remember back to a time when they each banged their heads for happiness.

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