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Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of science... the thrill of discovery... and the agony of failed experiments... the human drama of scientific advancement... This is the Blue Streak Science Podcast!

Nov 26, 2016

The atmosphere during COP22 was decidedly gloomy after the result of the US election. One would expect the mood to only get worse as the realization that the United States elected a President who considers climate change to be a worldwide conspiracy created by the Chinese, and promised to pull out of the Paris climate agreement. 

Our host Tom Di Liberto, who attended COP22 in Marrakech, informs us that there was a change of mood after the initial shock. Despair was soon replaced by an attitude of resistance and a resolve to fight this new threat to the world.

Join us for this discussion, and the rest of episode 47 of the Blue Streak Science Podcast!


What The Hell Was That?


Blue Streak Science News Roundup

These are summaries of our discussions on the podcast. For the full conversation please listen to this episode of the Blue Streak Science Podcast.

dinosaurasteroidDinosaur-killing asteroid turned planet Earth inside-out
From New Scientist on 17 November. An expedition to the Chicxulub Crater at the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico has drawn a new timeline of how the cataclysmic impact that probably killed the dinosaurs happened.

The article also explains how this impact may have carved out new niches in which life could flourish, even in the face of utter destruction.

An Unreliable Sink: how much longer can the Southern Ocean delay global warming?
The waters of the world’s oceans have been absorbing the excesses of humankind for many decades; from billions of tons of plastic pollution, chemical pollution, all the way to the CO2 exhalations of our civilization. Much of the heat generated by the burning of coal and other fossil fuels gets absorbed up by the oceans, too.

In the 16 November issue of the journal Nature is an article titled “How much longer can Antarctica’s hostile ocean delay global warming?” This article takes a deep look at past and present research of the Southern Ocean to see if its waters will continue doing us the favor of moderating global warming, and will it continue doing so in the future.

Fiji Ants Are Plant Farmers
I’m sure some of you have heard of different species of ant and termites that farm fungi. But now, for the first time ever researchers have observed and documented ants farming plants in a mutually beneficial relationship. From Phys.org on 21November, the ant – known as Philidris nagasau – grows and harvests fruit plants that grow on the branches of various trees.

Geneticists hope to unlock secrets of bats’ complex song
From Nature on 18 November. A project called Bat 1K was recently announced at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California. Its organizers hope to learn how bats’ learn their songs.

Yes, they sing, but most of the time their melodies are out of human hearing range. The researchers also want to learn about bats’ ability to navigate in the dark through echolocation, and how their strong immune systems that can tolerate Ebola so well

US launches GOES-R weather satellite
Again, from the journal Nature we have news of the launch of a satellite from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The article was dated on 14 November and the launch was scheduled for Saturday 19 November, which was last Saturday.

I’m pleased to report that the launch was a resounding success.

What exactly did they put into orbit? Only the most scientifically capable weather satellite the United States has ever launched, that’s what.

From 35,800 kilometres above the earth and nearly a tenth of the way to the moon — the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-R Series (GOES-R) is going to take pictures of weather and atmospheric phenomena as they roll across North America.

Worrying Traces of Resistant Bacteria Detected in Beijing Air
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From The Science Explorer.com on 21 November. Polluted air in Beijing has now been identified as a possible means of transmission for antibiotic resistant bacteria. Researchers have shown that air samples from the city contain DNA from genes that make bacteria resistant to the most powerful antibiotics we currently possess.

Air pollutions itself kills many ten of thousands of people without the help of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Now we have these superbugs in the air, too? 

Watch some of the most endangered seals caught napping underwater
From New Scientist on 17 November. Some of the most endangered seals in the world, Mediterranean Monk seals, have been caught on video snoozing underwater.

There were six separate observations of seals sleeping at sea from 2011 to 2016, across different Greek coastlines. In most cases, the seals were documented by speargun fishers who happened upon them at depths of approximately 7 meters or shallower.

Here's a terrific video of a sleeping monk seal that New Scientist has put up on YouTube.


Pub Quiz!

Today we introduced the newest contest in our gallery of games. It's Pub Quiz! Very simple. It's just science trivia, rapid fire. Grab a pint and join in the fun!


Shout-outs and Acknowledgments

Blue Streak Science Cafe'
Still building the Patreon page. The official launch will be on Monday, 5 December. 

Just bought a video camera so that Blue Streak can bring you a visual element to science and nature. We're going to record short features on nature, wildlife and science.

For instance, in a few weeks we'll be filming elephant seals on the beach as the battle one another for rights to claim their harems. We’ll be taking you along to the largest geothermal power generation field in the world. You can join us in our quest to find the California Condor, and more. These will be posted up on our YouTube channel.

Also, Blue Streak will also be going to Facebook Live, and YouTube Live. The Blue Streak Science Cafe’ is already there, but we’re working on doing this podcast LIVE in those venues, as video. Watch this space. 


On behalf of Ivy, Tom, Nevena, and Sophie, I’m JD Goodwin saying “follow the science”.

Goodbye everyone!


The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from North America, Great Britain, and Australia.