We Have Concerns
Summary: Jeff Cannata and Anthony Carboni talk about the personal philosophical concerns they find lurking inside everyday things. It's fun?
Studying its effects in the brain, researchers set out to genetically engineer mice that would be more prone to cocaine addiction. Instead, they created mice that appear impervious to it. Even after the genetically engineered animals were given the drug repeatedly, they did not appear to crave it the way typical mice do. Jeff and Anthony discuss these cocaine-proof mice, and what it might mean for addiction treatment in the future.
Human activity has changed the ocean - rising temperatures and acidifying waters has caused fish populations of all kinds to dwindle. But not all creatures are adversely effected. New research shows that these changes to marine environments are leading to a surge of cephalopods, the invertebrate group that includes octopuses, squid, and cuttlefish. You know Anthony and Jeff have their eyes on cephalopods, so they have to monitor this story.
Piaggio, the same company that created the Vespa scooter, has announced it will sell a robot called Gita, which is designed to carry and deliver your stuff around town. It will follow you, or move autonomously, and has a top speed of 22 MPH. Anthony and Jeff are ready for the robot future, especially if it looks as cute and useful as Gita.
Many different emotions have similar bodily symptoms. When we are angry, our pulses race, we breathe faster, we feel our faces flush, and our skin becomes sweaty, but when we are happily excited we also breathe faster, feel our faces flush, and our skin becomes sweaty. A new article by researcher Ian Robertson suggests that how you interpret the symptoms of stress can have a big effect on how stressed you actually become. Anthony and Jeff debate whether re-calibrating your interpretations of symptoms can effect the problem itself.
More than 80 years after it was predicted to be possible, a Harvard University team has finally managed to create metallic hydrogen. Why? For one thing, physicists predict that metallic hydrogen is an authentic superconductor. This gives metallic hydrogen a myriad of potential applications. But did they do it? Jeff and Anthony analyse the results to see if the world has actually seen a new man-made substance.
Extreme music – such as heavy metal – can positively influence those experiencing anger, a study by The University of Queensland has revealed. In contrast to previous studies linking loud and chaotic music to aggression and delinquency, research by UQ’s School of Psychology showed listeners mostly became inspired and calmed. Jeff and Anthony discuss their own calming music of choice, and remember back to a time when they each banged their heads for happiness.
A very different kind of episode of We Have Concerns, this one was recorded live at the PAX South convention in San Antonio Texas, and consists entirely of questions from the audience. Thanks to everyone who came out to the live performance!
The Austrian town of Saalfelden in the state of Salzburg is looking for someone to live in a nearby hermitage which was built more than 350 years ago in steep, rocky cliffs. So they put out an ad for a hermit. Meanwhile, a hermit in Gothic, Colorado, a ghost town deserted since the 1920s, spent the last 40 years recording all sorts of data, from daily snowfalls, temperatures, snow melting, animal sightings, and became one of the best resources scientists have to better understand global warming. Jeff and Anthony discuss these 2 hermit stories and decide whether the hermit life is for them. This episode was recorded LIVE at PAX South 2017 in San Antionio. Thanks to everyone who came out to the live performance!
Scientists have created the first successful human-animal hybrids. The project proves that human cells can be introduced into a non-human organism, survive, and even grow inside a host animal, in this case, pigs. Anthony, Jeff, and special guests Mikey Neuman and Kris Straub from Chainsawsuit discuss the pros and cons of creating human animal hybrids in the lab. This episode was recorded LIVE at PAX South 2017 in San Antionio. Thanks to everyone who came out to the live performance!
Why do we, as humans, have a sense of self? One new theory is that a "self" actually contributes to a stronger and more robust group dynamic. In order for a group to be more capable of surviving, it needs to be made up of specialized individuals who are drawn to disparate tasks. Anthony and Jeff selflessly tackle this subject, and try to figure out if being one is better for the many.
Scientists have created bacteria that thrive using an expanded "genetic alphabet". The blueprint for all life forms on Earth is written in a code consisting of four "letters": A, T, C and G, which pair up in the DNA double helix. But the lab organism has been modified to use an additional two, giving it a genetic code of six letters. Jeff and Anthony try to figure out why they are doing this, and discuss what this might mean for the future.
During WWII, there was a mathematician named Abraham Wald. Wald had an idea about allied bombers. Essentially, bombers were coming back after bombing runs with a lot of damage. Engineers were saying "okay, there's a lot of damage in the wings and tail, so that's where we should put the armor." Right? Not so much. Wald's analysis of where they should really be putting armor became the fundamentals of Operational Science. Jeff and Anthony discuss this idea and what it means today.
It's generally thought that the evolution of complex life was a rare, once-in-4.5-billion-years event. But new research suggests that conditions were right for complex cells to evolve and die off at least once - or perhaps several times - before our lineage even got started. The reason? New evidence that there was enough oxygen in Earth's atmosphere between 2.4 and 2 billion years ago before it dropped off again suddenly. This suggests that the ingredients for complex life were present before the first fossil evidence of complex life. Jeff and Anthony discuss the uses for oxygen, and propose some reasons why it may have fluctuated.
Everything we eat is flooded with “virtual water,” or water used indirectly to produce food from cradle to grave. In fact, 70% of the world’s water consumption feeds the agriculture industry, and demand for fresh water is increasing at a rate of one trillion liters a year. The GRACE Communications Foundation wants people thinking more critically about the water in their food, and has released a report that includes the average global water footprints for some of our most beloved—and resource-hogging—foods. Anthony and Jeff step through these findings and try to decide what to do with the information.
After exploring a virtual world, some people can’t shake the sense that the actual world isn’t real, either. Does the new technology of VR bring with it a new kind of depression? Anthony and Jeff discuss a world where real life is a let down compared to VR.