SoT 321: Our Favourite Science Stories of 2018

January 15, 2019

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Peter Miller

[00:01:10] There’s a planet orbiting star HD26965, exactly where Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry said Spock’s homeworld Vulcan would be.

[00:04:16] A fresh analysis of 10 year old data finds the best evidence yet of water vapor venting from Jupiter’s fourth largest moon, Europa.

[00:05:17] Watch Peter Miller’s artistic imagining of life on Europa here.

[00:06:11] The oldest example of abstract art, from 73,000 years ago, resembles a hashtag.

[00:10:14] Scientific debate has erupted over what could possibly be the world’s oldest fossils ever found – or they could be just rocks.

[00:14:09] Eating a California Reaper is probably a bad idea, as one man found out when he tried what was then the world’s hottest chili.

[00:18:06] Hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the Caribbean, but they also provided a unique glimpse at evolution. The research involved a lot of measurements, some lizards, and a leaf blower.

[00:21:16] This year, we found out how wombats make cubed poops.

[00:25:02] Ice cores have long been used to track global climate change, but a team from Oxford have studied ice cores for a more archaeological purpose – detailing the economic booms and busts of the ancient Roman empire.

[00:28:48] Geneticists around the world were shocked when Professor He Jiankui announced he’d created the world’s first ever gene edited babies. His claims of HIV immune babies are extraordinary, but mired in contention amongst ethical and procedural controversy.