SoT 300: Science and Selfies

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely, Dr. Mick Vagg

[00:03:26] The recent discovery of dunes on Pluto surprised planetary scientists. With very little atmosphere or wind, what could cause them?

[00:11:48] A sample from Mars, analysed by the Curiosity rover, has found organic molecules – the building blocks of life.

[00:18:25] One of the most famous psychology experiments, the Stanford marshmallow test, looked at delayed gratification in children back in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s now been reproduced, a lot more rigorously, and the results are very different.

[00:24:32] A proof-of-concept blood test can determine how far a long a woman is in her pregnancy, and how likely she is to give birth ahead of term.

[00:28:22] An emerging field of diagnostics, liquid biopsy, is seeing impressive results. Recent studies correctly diagnosed people with ovarian and liver cancers 80 percent of the time.

[00:31:51] Planet Nine is an exciting hypothesis that goes part of the way towards explaining the strange orbits of many rocks in the Kuiper Belt. But another idea could answer a lot of the same questions, without the need for a giant undiscovered planet.

Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely is an instrument scientist for the WOMBAT high-intensity powder diffractometer at the Bragg Institute. She writes “The Shores of Titan” column on The Conversation.

Dr. Mick Vagg is a rehabilitation and pain medicine specialist, and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University.

This episode contains traces of dogged CBS Philly reporter Nicole Brewer on a groundbreaking communication study.