Nature Podcast
Nature Podcast
Dec 2, 2020
Cellular ageing: turning back the clock restores vision in mice
Play • 46 min

A trio of genes may be key to making cells young again, and ultra precise measurement of a fundamental physics constant.


In this episode:


00:47 Reversing ageing

Researchers claim to have identified a method to revert cells in mice eyes back to a younger state.


Research article: Lu et al.

News and Views: Sight restored by turning back the epigenetic clock

News: Reversal of biological clock restores vision in old mice


09:39 Coronapod

We discuss emergency-use approvals for COVID-19 vaccines. Approvals are coming in fast, which presents a dilemma for scientists - they’re critically needed, but what could it mean for research?


News: Why emergency COVID-vaccine approvals pose a dilemma for scientists

News: The UK has approved a COVID vaccine — here’s what scientists now want to know


27:04 Research Highlights

Ancient megalodon nurseries, and predicting mud volcanoes.


Research Highlight: Even Earth’s largest-ever sharks needed nurseries for their babies

Research Highlight: How mud volcanoes are born under the sea


29:38 Fine measurement of the fine-structure constant

The fine structure constant is a fundamental number that gives researchers an understanding of the laws of the universe. For years, scientists have been trying to get better measurements of it. This week, we see the most precise measurement yet.


Research Article: Morel et al.

News and Views: Fine-structure constant tests standard model


35:00 Briefing Chat

We discuss some highlights from the Nature Briefing. This time, a holistic plan to tackle climate challenges, and the rarest pollinator of them all - a lizard.


Washington Post: An ancient people with a modern climate plan

The Guardian:


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Science Friday
Science Friday
Science Friday and WNYC Studios
Valley Fever And COVID-19, Structure of Conspiracy Theories, New Climate Wars. Jan 15, 2021, Part 2
How The West Is Battling COVID-19 And Valley Fever For the past year, the COVID-19 crisis has taken up much of our attention. But the pandemic can come with complications: Some states face an onslaught of pre-existing diseases. In the American West, doctors, scientists, and patients continue to battle valley fever, a respiratory illness caused by breathing in the fungus Coccidioides. In desert hot spots, communities are now facing what doctors at Kern Medical’s Valley Fever Institute in Bakersfield, California are calling it a “triple threat”: COVID-19, valley fever, and the flu. Valley fever is already a commonly misdiagnosed disease. Initial symptoms often overlap with other respiratory diseases, raising concern that the pandemic could further delay proper diagnosis. SciFri producer Lauren Young tells the story of patients who have encountered both COVID-19 and valley fever. She speaks with Valley Fever Institute clinicians Rasha Kuran and Arash Heidari about diagnosing the disease, and checks in with UC Merced immunologist Katrina Hoyer on delays in valley fever research during the pandemic. How To Spot A Conspiracy Theory 2020 was a fruitful year for conspiracy theories: QAnon gained followers, COVID-19 misinformation proliferated in viral YouTube videos, and in November, President Trump helped proliferate the entirely false narrative that the election he’d lost was, in fact, stolen. The details holding these falsehoods together get complicated quickly. But according to a group of researchers at UCLA and the University of California, Berkeley, even the most convoluted of conspiracy theories has a distinct structure. That’s different from real-life scandals, which tend to unravel as new evidence emerges—take former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s ‘Bridgegate’ scandal, a completely verified event in which several of the governor’s staff and appointees colluded to close toll bridge lanes during morning rush hour, intentionally clogging traffic to the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey. The researchers wrote in the journal PLOS One in June that applying machine learning tools to conspiracy theories reveal them to be less complex than things that actually happen. Ira talks to UC Berkeley’s Tim Tangherlini, a co-author on the research, about how these analyses might help actually disarm dangerous conspiracy theories. A New President, An Ongoing Climate Crisis In The New Climate War, author and climate scientist Michael Mann writes that climate messaging is distorted. To prevent a climate crisis, individual actions are useful, but insufficient. In the past, focusing on individual action distracted viewers from focusing on the harm of industrial polluters. For real change, we have to fight the vested interests of the fossil fuel industry. On January 20th the United States has a new opportunity to do just that. The incoming Biden Administration will have a full plate of issues to tackle—among them, hustling to re-engage with foreign allies, and reversing the climate damage of the last four years. But there is room for cautious optimism. President-elect Biden campaigned more aggressively on climate issues than any of his opponents, and has appointed John Kerry to the newly created position of Climate Envoy within his administration. Climate scientist Michael Mann joins Ira to discuss what President Biden can do in his first 100 days to show he’s serious about enacting climate policy, and his new book The New Climate War: The Fight to Take Back our Planet.
47 min
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