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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!

Feb 2, 2017

As scientists and people who value science we are too often reluctant to brave the maelstrom of politics. It drains us of energy and time, resources that are in everlastingly short supply. We value our reputations as open-minded and neutral arbiters for evidence, so taking sides on political issues just doesn't feel right.

But why does the current situation make us so angry and unnerved?

It distresses us because we are passionate about science!

As scientists and scientific thinkers we understand that we must be dispassionate about the data. However, that requisite detachment is limited only to the evidence. Science itself, the vocation, the way of thinking, the calling, permeates our lives and our existence. If there ever was anything worthy of fighting for it is science and reason.

Here's our chance to get out of the lab and on to the streets.

On Earth Day, 22 April will be the March For Science. Mark you calendars and make your reservations early.

It's game on!

The main march will be held in Washington, D.C., but satellite demonstrations will take place worldwide. These protests give us an opportunity to collectively voice our opposition to the silencing of scientists, funding freezes, and other White House attempts to censor climate science. The demonstrations also represent a broader call for politicians to make decisions based on evidence, rather than ideology or corporate agendas.

From the March for Science website:

The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The politicization of science, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

ON APRIL 22, 2017, WE WALK OUT OF THE LAB AND INTO THE STREETS.

We are scientists and science enthusiasts. We come from all races, all religions, all gender identities, all sexual orientations, all socioeconomic backgrounds, all political perspectives, and all nationalities. Our diversity is our greatest strength: a wealth of opinions, perspectives, and ideas is critical for the scientific process. What unites us is a love of science, and an insatiable curiosity. We all recognize that science is everywhere and affects everyone.

Science is often an arduous process, but it is also thrilling. A universal human curiosity and dogged persistence is the greatest hope for the future. This movement cannot and will not end with a march. Our plans for policy change and community outreach will start with marches worldwide and a teach-in at the National Mall, but it is imperative that we continue to celebrate and defend science at all levels - from local schools to federal agencies - throughout the world.

ScienceDebate.org is the fiscal sponsor of The Science March. Science needs your support. Any donation would help.


What The Hell Was That?

Make yourself a cup of hot chocolate, sit down, and play the What The Hell Was That Game!


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.

Folsom Lake, 2015

Before and After: The Rain's Impact on Three California Reservoirs
On more than one occasion I’ve made reference to the severe drought we’ve been experiencing here in California.  But we’ve had a little rain this winter, which is our normal rain and snow season.  And by “a little rain” I mean a lot of rain, and crazy snowfall in the mountains.

Current statistical reports on rainfall and the water content of the Sierra Nevada snowpack show that so far, we’re in the midst of one of the wettest California rainy seasons on record. All the precipitation has transformed a state that suffered through five years of severe drought.

One of the most visible effects: high levels of the state’s major reservoirs. Ah, but the drought isn't quite over yet.

Still, what a difference a few drops of rain make!

International Effort Announced to Save the World's Most Endangered Marine Mammal
There’s species of porpoise in Mexico called the vaquita, but sadly there are less than 60 of them left.

An emergency plan to help save this lovely little porpoise from extinction in the northern Gulf of California has been recommended by the International Committee for the Recovery of the Vaquita.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/semarnat/5931901236
Vaquita

The plan involves relocating some of the remaining vaquitas to a temporary sanctuary, while crucial efforts aimed at eliminating threats from their environment continue.

For more information about this plan to save this wonderful creature please go to: VaquitaCPR.org.

Researcher Proposes Novel Mechanism to Stop Tsunamis In Their Tracks
Devastating tsunamis could be halted before hitting coastlines by firing deep-ocean sound waves at the oncoming mass of water. That’s according to Dr Usama Kadri, from Cardiff University's School of Mathematics.

He believes that lives could ultimately be saved by using acoustic-gravity waves (AGW) against tsunamis that are triggered by earthquakes, landslides and other violent geological events. AGWs are naturally occurring sounds waves that move through the deep ocean at the speed of sound and can travel thousands of meters below the surface.

Is this a plausible idea, or is it sharks with frickin' laser beams?

Rabies Viruses Reveal Wiring In Transparent Brains
Scientists under the leadership of the University of Bonn have harnessed rabies viruses for assessing the connectivity of nerve cell transplants: coupled with a green fluorescent protein, the viruses show where replacement cells engrafted into mouse brains have connected to the host neural network.

A clearing procedure which turns the brain into a 'glass-like state' and light sheet fluorescence microscopy are used to visualize host-graft connections in a whole-brain preparation.

The approach opens exciting prospects for predicting and optimizing the ability of neural transplants to functionally integrate into a host nervous system.

The results have now been published in the journal Nature Communications.


Pub Quiz!

Stop! Who would cross the Bridge of Death must answer me these questions three (plus seventeen), ere the other side he see.

How did Tom and Sophie do? Did they make it to the other side, or were they cast into the Gorge of Damnation?

Uh, I don't know that!

AHHHHHHhhhhhhh!!!!


Shout-outs and Acknowledgments

March for Science!
The science community in the United States, under threat from a new Presidential Administration whose prides itself on willful ignorance, is speaking out. The time for silence is ended. 

And now, the March for Science. Upon its inception on 23 January this idea grew quickly to over 800,000 members of their Facebook group, and 300,000 followers on Twitter.

This movement emerged as a response to the Trump administration’s stifling of scientists and the outright hostility to open scientific inquiry.

The March for Science website states that they are a “diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good, and for political leaders and policymakers to enact evidence-based policies in the public interest.”

The date for the march is not yet set, but are awaiting word. 22 APRIL, 2017! We'll be sure to inform you on the next episode of this podcast.

We encourage you to join us as we support the many Marches for Science that will be held around the world.  

March for Science on Twitter

March For Science Website


The Blue Streak Science Podcast comes to you from Washington, D.C.; San Francisco, California; and Cambridge, England.