29. Salmon, Streams, & Suction Dredge Mining

A healthy stream ecosystem is an intricate fabric, where pulling one thread could cause the whole system to unravel. Furthermore, each aspect of this ecosystem may provide a service to you directly, but in ways you probably often overlook. You eat the salmon, but the Aquatic Reed Sweetgrass makes your oxygen, the Western Pearlshell Mussel filters the toxins out of your drinking water, and the stable riverbanks supply nutrients that eventually end up in the food you eat.

On this episode, Keera and Kira talk with Jack Williams of Trout Unlimited and Matt Sloat of the Wild Salmon Center, 2 of Oregon’s premiere experts on fishery science and aquatic ecosystems, about our streams, why they matter, and what’s threatening them.

********(Looking for the information about how to send this show to your legislators? Go here: Contact Your Oregon Legislators)*********

(Looking for more information about Suction Dredge Mining and healthy stream ecosystems? Go here: OLCV 2017 Legislative Priorities, here: Trout Unlimited, or here: Wild Salmon Center

28. Yes, We Have Many Bananas.

Ah, the banana. Cornerstone of Snack Time, foundation of the banana split… and genetically identical to every other banana you’ve ever eaten (in the US, anyway). How did we end up with a banana monoculture? What’s the difference between the DNA of a naturally evolved banana plant and a banana plant clone? And what’s the connection between bananas, Big Mike the rapper, and 100 unicorns? Find out, on today’s episode.

27. Resistance Is Futile.

What goes through the mind of a bee? Does it have its own thoughts, or is being part of a hive-minded collective like being a part of the Borg?  Can an organism with swarm intelligence have a private identity, or does the community simply add each individual’s biological and technological distinctiveness to its own?

Lower your shields. Resistance is futile.

On this episode, Keera and Kira examine the decision making process in communities of bees, birds, neurons, and slime mold, and discover what life is like as part of a hive mind.

26. They’re Wet & Weird & Wild, You Make Them Come Alive…

Every now and then, Keera and Kira hang out and do stuff OTHER than talk about science. Like, sometimes they reminisce about growing up in the 90’s, and the strange toys and commercials and fashion that shaped their impressionable little minds.

That’s how K+K stumbled upon the Amazing Live SEA MONKEYS! Remember getting those eggs in the mail, and how excited you were for your microscopic primates to come alive with just a little water? Kira and Keera do!

On this episode, the Science Ladies talk about this aquatic crustacean species, Artemia salina, (Spoiler Alert: they’re not monkeys. Sorry.) as wells as where they come from, how they evolved, and why you can send them through the mail like a pack of tomato seeds. They also explore the story of Harold von Braunhut, the man who sold these little creatures as living magic tricks, and the science behind really good marketing. 

How to Make Your Own Aquatic World

On today’s Everything Is Interesting episode, we talked about Sea Monkeys (you’re welcome) and those neat little glass biospheres they live in sometimes.

The self-contained biospheres are both beautiful and amazing, because everything Sea Monkeys (spoiler alert: brine shrimp) need to survive is provided by their habitat. The shrimp, algae, and bacteria inside a self-contained biosphere complete a nutrient cycle loop, where all organisms are providing the oxygen, CO2, and nutrients that sustain the other organisms in the system.

As promised, here’s a link to some instructions on how to make your OWN aquatic biosphere.

*Note* We did not craft this document, it belongs to Anne Schultz. Thanks for letting us link to your instructions, Anne!

Click here for: DIY AQUATIC BIOME INSTRUCTIONS

*Another Note*  Science Project has a glass biosphere that has been sustaining itself for the last 2 years! However, we used cherry shrimp because they require less salty water, meaning there’s more plants that will survive in a cherry shrimp habitat than in a brine shrimp habitat. If you live in Portland, OR, we happen to know that there are shrimp and plants at Pets on Broadway in NE!

25. Affairs Of The Heart (The Science Of Love)

 

It’s Valentines Day! So in true nerd fashion, Keera and Kira delve into the biochemistry of love. Why DO your palms get sweaty when you see the person your attracted to?

Also, they explore the heart throughout medical history. Why do we use the heart as the symbol for where love comes from, when we now know that emotions, thoughts, and sweaty palms all begin in the brain?

24. Volcanoes & Geysers & Lava, Oh My!

On today’s episode, Kira & Keera explore the immense geological forces that help to shape our planet, and then share some of the places you can go to see them, right here in our own National Parks.

Talking points:

  • LAVA!
  • The discovery of plate tectonics
  • The Cascadia Subduction Zone
  • How geysers form
  • MORE LAVA!

23. SPIDERS!

On today’s episode, Kira and Keera quiz the XRAY team on the life and times of Amazing Arachnids! Can spiders get caught in their own web? Why DO spiders have 8 eyes? What would a 20 foot tall spider be like? And what would really happen if you were bitten by a radioactive spider?

The most cuddly thing on 8 legs.

Then in the last 5 minutes, we share some ways that you, the listener, can be active in our national democracy and advocate for science!

How to Be a Science Advocate

How to Be a Science Advocate: Your Guide to Standing Up For Science

Science at it’s purest is non partisan. Even when the way we use science becomes highly political, what we discover through science applies to the entire planet, and all the people living on it.

It’s not a matter of believing in it. Science just is. It’s the endless process of discovering how things work, so we can better understand the nature of the world. Even so, science and government end up intertwined.

If science matters to you, here’s a guide to to starting to influence public policy.

1) Know what legislation is being proposed, and pay close attention to which ones directly impact the scientific community.

  • Legislation moving through Congress is listed here:

https://www.congress.gov/search?q={%22source%22:%22legislation%22}

  • The American Geophysical Union has compiled a list of which legislation and congressional actions will affect science research and climate change:

www.actioncenter.agu.org/action

2) Know who your representatives are, and tell them what you think. Call them. Write them. Even better, if you can, show up in person and go to the town hall meetings they hold and speak up.

  • If you live in Portland, Oregon, your representatives are:
    • Earl Blumenauer: 202-225-4811
    • Jeff Merkley: 202-224-3753
    • Ron Wyden: 202-224-5244

These ideas have been compiled by Science Project, but partially submitted by community members. This document can and will change over time, as more Citizen Action Ideas come to light. For best results, use frequently! And share!

22. Solar POWER!

Today, Kira and Keera talk about the incredible power of that fiery ball in the sky, the sun! how we clever humans have devised the technology to harness it.

We also answer some of your burning questions (get it?), like:

  • What is nuclear fusion?
  • How does old dead plant matter become fossil fuels?
  • How do photo-voltaic cells capture sun energy?
  • What is artificial photosynthesis, and how do we make it happen?