Graycen and Alison start off with some science stories from the last few weeks, including stories about birds, fake!Bacteria, bones, and snakes. Sorry about the fun new background hum! It won’t be there next episode, we promise. After the break, we talk to Charli Fant about her experience advocating for science in Washington, D.C. and how she helped stop a fracking company from fracking up her dog park. Listen here or subscribe on iTunes!
Friend of the pod Julie Sadino sent us this incredible re-evolving bird story, which was a delight to read. Alison also found the original paper (not open access, sadly) if you want to see more pictures of wing-bones. Here’s the kind of bird we talked about, the white-throated rail:
Graycen read about how we’re making bacteria with genomes hand-constructed by scientists! Carl Zimmer asks: Is this artificial life? We have mixed opinions.
Alison read about the connection between osteoporosis and your mitochondria here and here. Gotta keep those powerhouses healthy!
Finally, Graycen learned about the “snakebite crisis” — how snakebites are still difficult to treat because we haven’t developed great anti-venoms. Luckily, the Wellcome Trust is helping out by throwing a large amount of money at the problem. [We took a short detour here, sadly missing from the final cut, to talk about Sir Henry Wellcome, truly an interesting fella, namesake of the afore mentioned trust and of the Wellcome Collection, Alison’s favorite museum in the entire world.]
After the break, we speak with Charli Fant, biochemist at CU Boulder, about her experience advocating for science in Washington, D.C. with the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB). We also talked about how she took political action closer to home when a fracking operation threatened to move in next door. Not to be too corny, but it’s an inspiring interview.