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#134 Artemis moon mission; decoding the dreams of mice

Season 1, Ep. 134

The launch of NASA’s Artemis moon rocket didn’t go to plan this week. The team looks at the problems that stopped this long-awaited launch. And with the launch rescheduled for Saturday, they find out what the mission hopes to achieve.

 

Deep below the surface of the Earth live nearly half of all microbes on the planet. While studying life in the deep biosphere is tough, the team shares an exciting development. Researchers have managed to find and analyse a type of heat-loving bacteria, called thermophiles, that eat petroleum.

 

As the global climate warms, some areas of the world will become unlivable, forcing people to leave their homes and countries. In her new book ‘Nomad Century’ Gaia Vince explains how the tragedy of mass climate migration can also be seen as an opportunity. She explains her thinking, and the action we urgently need to take to survive in a warming world.

 

Why do our eyes dart around when we dream? It’s long been a mystery, but the team learns how mice are helping us understand what really happens during REM sleep.

 

Mucus is incredibly important for mammals, keeping everything running like a well oiled machine. Now surprising new research looking at species as diverse as rhinos, pangolins and ferrets has revealed its unusual evolutionary history, and the team discusses these findings.

 

On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, James Dinnean, Clare Wilson and Corryn Wetzel. To read about these stories and much more, subscribe at newscientist.com/podcasts.


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11/24/2022

#150 Megadrought in the US; how to move an elephant

Season 1, Ep. 150
The southwestern US is currently in the midst of a megadrought - the worst in 1200 years. And it has put the Colorado River in crisis, an essential source of water for more than 40 million people. Can it be saved? Chelsea Whyte investigates.The team unveils the fun new names that have been chosen to define incomprehensibly massive and incredibly tiny numbers. These prefixes describe measurements that have more than 27 zeroes, created as part of the International System of Units.Like mac and cheese but hate the faff of making a roux? You’re in luck. Sam Wong shares a science-based one-pot mac hack, that’ll save you time and up the flavour too.Was COP27 in Egypt a success or a flop? Madeleine Cuff describes it as a mixed bag. After returning from the climate summit in Sharm El-Sheik, she reports on the progress that was made, and the vital issues that must be addressed over the next 12 months.Have you ever wondered how to move an elephant? Well, Ugandan wildlife vet Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka has done it, andit’s a struggle. She was given the task early on in her career, working at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, and she shares her experience.On the pod are Penny Sarchet, Chelsea Whyte, Alex Wilkins, Madeleine Cuff, Graham Lawton and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. For New Scientist’s in depth series on the US megadrought, visit newscientist.com/megadrought.Events and discount codes:Black Friday deal: www.newscientist.com/blackfridayNew Scientist Business: newscientist.com/b2bsurvey
11/17/2022

#149 COP27 treaty emerges; a method to discover wormholes

Season 1, Ep. 149
Cheering greeted Brazil’s president-elect, Lula da Silva, when he appeared at COP27 this week. Madeleine Cuff brings us a report from the climate conference in Egypt, where Lula has made bold promises to protect the Amazon. She also tells us what we can expect from this year’s draft treaty - and why the text has been causing quite a stir.There’s plenty going on in Space, with NASA’s Artemis mission now finally launching to the Moon. And the news that we may be able to look for wormholes (if they exist). These are different to black holes because they are traversable - handy if you happen to be an interstellar traveller looking for a fast route across the universe.Our ancestors may have begun using sophisticated cooking methods as long as 780,000 years ago. The team explains how fish teeth have been discovered near hearths at an ancient settlement in Israel. And X-ray analysis suggests they may have been cooked in some sort of earthen oven.Rowan visits a colony of leaf-cutter ants, who use an incredible method of farming fungi that evolved between 45 and 65 million years ago. David Labonte at Imperial College London explains how this complex and decentralised society operates.And have you ever wondered why some poos float and others sink? Too much fat in your diet? Fibre maybe? Or is it gas? Well, new research has lifted the toilet lid on this age-old question, and the team shares the results.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane, Alice Klein and Sam Wong. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com.Events and discount codes:New Scientist Discovery Tours: www.newscientist.com/toursAmazon Future Engineer: www.amazonfutureengineer.co.uk/ayicBlack Friday deal: www.newscientist.com/blackfriday
11/10/2022

#148 Climate action from COP27; world population reaches 8 billion

Season 1, Ep. 148
Warnings over the world’s mad dash to create new supplies of fossil fuels, discussions about climate loss and damage, and talk about nature-based solutions. COP27 in Egypt is in full swing. Our reporter Madeleine Cuff brings us the latest, direct from Sharm el Sheikh.This week’s Sci-fi alert is the unusual discovery of a star with a solid surface. The team explains how on this magnetar (the dense corpse of an exploded star), gravity would be immense and time would behave really weirdly - that’s if you’d be able to land on the thing. They also discuss how the IceCube Neutrino Observatory in Antarctica has been able to plot the course of cosmic neutrinos back to their home galaxy.The 15th of November has been chosen by the UN to mark the point that the number of people on the planet passes 8 billion. Despite this, the team explains how the world’s population isn’t accelerating, and is expected to peak sometime this century - sharing surprising statistics from Japan and China.Birds that migrate long distances are more likely to break up with their partners. Usually bird species are pretty much monogamous, so the team finds out why travelling species find it harder to stay together.“May this tusk root out the lice of the hair and the beard.” The team shares news of the discovery of the oldest readable sentence written using the first alphabet.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff, Leah Crane and Michael Le Page. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at newscientist.com. Events and discount codes:Half price offer: www.newscientist.com/halfpricedigitalThe Perception Census: www.perceptioncensus.dreamachine.worldWild Wild Life newsletter: newscientist.com/wildwildlife