Episode 241 – Botanivores

Unless the plant has thorns, then it can defend itself.00:00:00 – (Beginning with a brief plug from Joe seeking volunteers for a cool STEM even in the LA area, check it out here.) But today’s actual first topic is part one of our interview with Matt Candeias, Ph.D. student as well as author and host of the In Defense of Plants blog and podcast (which you can support on Patreon). We talk about his research into rare versus common grassland species, and what made him want to get into science outreach, particularly as a promoter of plants. In our typical rambling style, we also touch on a number of other topics, including how computers used to be rooms full of women.

00:52:06 – You may need to compute some things if you want to make your own booze, but it doesn’t take much math to enjoy the final product. Patrick is again disappointed to learn that Ryan has also tried the beer he’s having this week, the Faceplant IPA from Lost Rhino Brewing Company, whom we’ve interviewed before. Matt keeps it local with the Paw Paw Tripel from Scratch Brewing Company. And Ryan quizzes our guest to see if he can figure out that he’s drinking a dry martini made with The Botanist gin.

01:05:51 – And since we know you love it when we talk about booze, we keep the drink chat going with the handy reference manual The Drunken Botanist. Ryan solicits Matt and Patrick’s favorite booze-producing plants which leads to a discussion of the C3, C4, and CAM photosynthetic pathways. Somehow we made it about science, yay!

01:29:33 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like plants, they both grow like weeds when left unattended. Patrick begins with a new recurring donation from Lisa K., who also donated to Ryan’s current crowdfunding campaign to support his Ph.D. research. Thanks for both Lisa! Ryan is excited to present a new 5-star iTunes review from ViTuanPeterPhan, and it spurs a contest to drive our ratings up to 500! Write a review between now and the summer solstice (June 20th) and you’ll be entered into a drawing for a free t-shirt!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week’s show:

Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree – Tony Orlando and Dawn

Drunken Lullabies – Flogging Molly

Keep Off The Grass – Todd Snider


Image Credit: In Defense of Plants


Episode 240 – Moon Rocks Don’t Glow

I mean, your Roomba would be better if it glowed in the dark, right?00:00:00 – Kelly is back and she’s got an update on some scientists that seem to have found a way to stem the spread of the chytrid fungus affecting all those poor froggies. Hope on the horizon? Maybe, but it’ll be a hard technique to apply large scale. We also spend some time talking about a Civil War story involving glowing wounds the help soldiers survive. A science fair project may have found the answer, but Ryan still thinks a body farm experiment needs to be done.

00:28:10 – A stiff drink used to be the only painkiller you might get. Kelly’s drink isn’t stiff but it still provokes a strong reaction: water kefir. After painstakingly explaining what is and how she made it, Abe and Ryan have nothing good to say. Abe tries to salvage the conversation with some Romantic Chemistry, but alas it falls a bit short. Ryan tries to avoid Kelly’s wrath when talking about the Pinchgut Hollow Buckwheat Moonshine his Dad gave him.

00:40:50 – Did you know China has a rover on the moon? Turns out China has a rover on the moon. And it did some science! Researchers have announced that they’ve found a new type of lunar basalt. Sounds straightforward enough but Abe explains the complexities.

01:01:58 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like Chinese lunar rovers; most Americans don’t even know they exist. Kelly has an e-mail from former guest of the show Zeka Kuspa, who wants to know if the now extinct Condor louse makes her list of eradicated parasites. Abe reads an e-mail from Steven who’s asking for some help tracking down a particular SoCal beer. We don’t have a specific answer, but it sounds like he just needs to keep trying Imperial Pilsners. Ryan rounds out the show with a new recurring donation from Leong all the way in Taiwan. Thanks, Leong! Ryan, of course, plugs his ongoing crowdfunding campaign, go watch the video and consider donating here!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week’s show:

Glowworm – Apples in Stereo

Moonshine – Lit

The Rover – Led Zeppelin


Image credit: DailyTech modified by Ryan


Episode 239 – Echinodermathon

It's cheering... for science.00:00:00 – Bev and Abe are back from Antarctica and are back on the show! Ryan had to give a guest lecture on echinoderms, which happens to be a thing Bev knows a lot about. So our first segment is dedicated to getting Abe up to speed on these weird marine animals.

00:40:05 – Talking about sea creatures gives one a powerful thirst. This episode we sate our thirst in three ways. Bev opts for a Squishy apple and cherry cider, Abe keeps it nautical with a Dorado DIPA, and Ryan can’t wait to enjoy a Pliny the Elder Abe gave him.

00:47:28 – Now that we all know what echinoderms about we can talk about Bev’s actual research! For her Masters, she wanted to figure out how brittle stars were (or weren’t) being preserved in the fossil record. She tells us just how she got it done, and you can read the paper she published about her work too! (Lots of cool figures in that paper, be sure to check them out!)

01:13:54 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like echinoderms, only occasionally edible. Ryan begins by plugging his crowdfunding effort to do some sloth research. Next up, Abe has an e-mail from Rebecca abut a nephew who wants to be a volcanologist. He suggests junior ranger programs at National Parks, geology summer camps, and some cool resources over at kids.gov. Beverly has an e-mail form Bennet T. in response to our time zone and metric talk from episode 226. She gives us her take and explains how things like this work in Antarctica. Ryan wraps things up with a new recurring donation from Denise N. Thanks, Denise!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music of this week’s show:

Anthropology rap – Community

Beauty Is Only Skin Deep – The Temptations

Eldorado 1997 – Manu Chao

Dissolve – Jonathan Coulton


Image credit: Beverly Walker


Episode 238 – Fiat Guano

Hate the movie, help out a bat. Win-win?00:00:00 – Charlie and Ryan are joined by the one and only Tim Dobbs from the Encyclopedia Brunch podcast. In addition to being a fellow podcast and editor for our show, Tim is also a chemical engineer focusing on biotechnology. Our first subject talks about just what the heck biotechnology is, and how it’s growing as a part of our economy.

00:29:43 – Biotechnology can apparently make milk, but that’s weird so we’re drinking other things. Tim is have kombucha. Whatever. Ryan is having a Southern Belle from 3 Stars made with pecans. Also, DC has a nice flag, get on board people. Charlie drinks some fancy espresso because he’s fancy like that. We get a bit off track talking about how fruits are all just out to trick us into spreading their seeds. Kind of gross if you really think about it, but you might learn something anyways.

00:42:15 – And for our final topic as we all brace for Batman v Superman: BATS! Bats are great, and if you didn’t know that then strap in for some knowledge bombs falling on your head like guano. Our first, more specific story is about a pitcher plant that has evolved to show up really well on echolocation. Why would the plant want to show up? Because it gives the bat a place to roost for the day and uses the guano for food. EVOLUTION IS SO COOL. Next up, bats eat insects. A lot of them. Insects that would eat food we’re trying to grow to the tune of about a billion dollars every year. Thanks, bats! Our final story is directly related to the film. Turns out when Zach Snyder learned that North American bat populations were struggling to survive due to White Nose Syndrome (WNS) and decided to use leftover production materials to build bat houses. Regardless of how the movie turns out, that’s downright decent. If you want to buy a bat house or learn how to build your own, check out Savebats.org. They really do need your help.

01:15:54 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like bats, they make up roughly 20% of the diversity of the show. Tim thanks new (old) recurring donor Andrew G. This is especially relevant for Tim because we pay him a bit to edit the show. So thanks, Andrew! Tim is also looking for a job at the moment, so if you’re hiring biotech people, consider Tim! Charlie has a photo from Shanna H. in which some ice has done something seemingly inappropriate. It’s called a pingo, and it’s a pretty cool process that forms them. Charlie explains. Ryan has a voicemail from Anne because Ryan was WRONG when he decried tungsten wedding bands as a safety hazard. Way to be misinformed, Ryan. Fortunately, Anne was there to help fix it. Thanks, Anne!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week’s show:

Technology – Corey Smith

Espresso (All Jacked Up) – Todd Rundgren

Batman Intro (1966)


Image credit: Save the Bats Ebay Auction


Episode 237 – Taste for Exploration

Two sins for the price of one!00:00:00 – This episode Ryan is joined by Jessica Glass and Matt Davis, who recently published an open-access paper exploring the claims of a 1950’s Explorer’s Club dinner with giant ground sloth (or mammoth) on the menu. What did they find with their fancy genetics? Listen and find out!

00:41:25 – Supposedly the Explorer’s Club drinks were chilled with glacial ice, a thing we used to be pretty good at transporting, but our modern drinks are chilled with the power of refrigeration instead, and it’s important for us to tell you what they are! Matt kicks things off with an Orange Lazarus in a tiki mug, leading of course to a discussion of all things tiki. Jessica’s up next and Matt brought her a local beer called the Ginga’ Ninja, a gingery red IPA for the wilds of Connecticut. Ryan rounds off the round with a new favorite of his: a dry manhattan. Just replace the sweet vermouth in your manhattan with dry vermouth, you dummy!

00:55:43 – Next up Matt forces Jessica and Ryan to team up for SLOTH TRIVIA. The stakes are high but you’ll have to listen to hear the final scores.

01:10:50 – PaleoPOWs are a lot like trivia in that some say they’re trivial. They’re wrong. First up, Ryan has a donation from Ryan J. Ryan J. was disappointed by a joke our Ryan made about the Gamergate movement a few episodes back. This leads to a brief and one-sided discussion and explanation of a particularly thorny internet issue. Enjoy! And thanks, Ryan J. for the donation! To end strong, Ryan also read a quick 5-star iTunes review from RLB633, which we’re also thankful for!


Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the Brachiolope Media Network for more great science podcasts!


Music for this week’s show:

Dead Meat – Bush

Manhattan – Ella Fitzgerald & The Buddy Bregman Orchestra

The Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough – Cyndi Lauper


Image credit: joehavasy Esty Shop


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