SoT 350: Rocks Were Never Not Great

February 28, 2020

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

[00:01:14] A team at Howard Hughes Medical Institute has been working with Google, and has just announced that they have mapped the “connectome” in the central region of brain of a fruit fly. That’s means they’ve worked out the precise meanderings of 25,000 neurons and their 20 million connections.
[00:15:14] About 2 billion years ago, a giant meteorite smacked into the thick glaciers that then were covering Western Australia. The result could have been the end of a ‘snowball event’ and the beginning of complex life!
[00:24:15] Parkinson’s Disease affects more than 10 million people worldwide, yet we know so little about it. But we do know that a build of a protein, alpha-synuclein makes it worse. Now researchers in the US claim to have developed a compound that can target and reduce the levels of alpha-synuclein.
[00:28:40] Usually one of the top ten brightest stars in the night sky, the orange giant Betelgeuse has been dimming a lot in the last few months. So is it, like many media outlets have proclaimed, on the verge of going supernova?
This episode contains traces of This episode contains traces of actress Taraji P. Henson, who played NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson in the film “Hidden Figures”, describing some of the highlights of a remarkable life. Johnson passed away on February 24, 2020, aged 101.