Monthly Archives: September 2014

Episode 011: Jurassic Cat Park SHOW NOTES

Tagline: You have now been subscribed to cat facts.

(Reference for tagline: http://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/owx3v/so_my_little_cousin_posted_on_fb_that_he_was )

Look at that! Show notes posted within just a couple days of the episode release! Amazing! Hopefully this trend will continue and the next episode might even, dare we say, post the episode and the show notes ON THE SAME DAY?!?!

Topics discussed: You like animals? We got animals! Smart animals like chimps! Dumb animals like koalas! Crows that can recall a face and geckos making love in space! Not to mention superb fairy-wrens, cuckoo birds, sponges, woodpeckers, turkeys, cats, guinea pigs, sea otters, and many more! Plus, some stuff about humans, I guess. Also we bang jars together.

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SHOW NOTES

Vantablack: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235702
– another article with the “new black” reference: http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/shortcuts/2014/jul/14/vantablack-nanofabric-new-black
– None More Black: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46kXH6GGtT0
– the story on Ivory soap purity (sorry, in the podcast we misspoke and said Dove): http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/870/ivory-soap-is-99-and-44-100-pure-what
– Ken Jennings on Twitter, if you are inclined to follow: https://twitter.com/KenJennings
– the true origins of the “is the new black” phrase: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/myl/languagelog/archives/003981.html
– also, a related Wikipedia article that is just a cool term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowclone
– in case you’re now wondering about India ink: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India_ink

Superb fairy-wren: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superb_fairywren
– doesn’t look much like a cuckoo to us: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuckoo
– the cuckoo bird vs. superb fairy-wren battle: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/03/0311_030312_cuckoo.html
– – the short story: apparently lots of birds can recognize cuckoo bird eggs and kick them out of the nest, but if they fail to do so, they then can’t tell the chicks from their own; superb fairy-wrens are the opposite, unable to tell the eggs apart but they can kick out the chicks based on the vocal “password”
– actual scientific article on embryonic learning of passwords: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982212011256
– a bit on bird names: http://birding.about.com/od/birdingglossary/fl/How-Birds-Get-Their-Names.htm
– – and some more? http://www.birdsofeden.co.za/index.php?comp=article&op=view&id=1438
– – some particularly awesome ones: http://blog.aba.org/2013/12/the-top-10-most-awesome-bird-names-in-the-world.html
– shibboleths — just a cool word/concept/origin story: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shibboleth
– babies’ language learning shaped in womb (popular press coverage): http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091105092607.htm
– – actual Current Biology paper (link to academic article PDF): http://www.utdallas.edu/~assmann/hcs6367/mampe_friederici_christophe_wermke09.pdf
– good summary of the memory-transfer-through-feeding experiments; the original (discredited) ones were in flatworms: http://biology.stackexchange.com/questions/2875/can-rats-pass-on-memories-of-a-maze-to-their-offspring
– – a recent (good) paper on the topic, summarized — mice inherit smell memories: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2013/12/01/mice-inherit-specific-memories-because-epigenetics/
– – the actual paper (link to academic article PDF): http://courses.washington.edu/bsjc/papers/2-25-14.pdf
– all about Lamarckian evolution: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism
– – including a good summary of current thoughts: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamarckism#Current_views
– – a summary including the giraffe idea: http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/history_09
– a good (longish) Discover Magazine article on epigenetics in humans, including effects of stress: http://discovermagazine.com/2013/may/13-grandmas-experiences-leave-epigenetic-mark-on-your-genes

Russia lost a satellite full of lizards having sex: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28490744
– and recovered it — but they died; RIP, sexy geckos: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2014/sep/01/russia-death-five-geckos-space-sex-mission
– awesome iguana mohawk: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/51158145741904278/

Smart animals / dumb humans:
– crystallized vs fluid intelligence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fluid_and_crystallized_intelligence
– chimpanzee better than humans at short-term memory: http://www.livescience.com/27199-chimps-smarter-memory-humans.html
– magical number seven: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
– – the actual paper (link to academic article PDF): https://www.msu.edu/~ema/802/Ch6-1-Miller56.pdf
– history of 7-digit phone numbers in North America: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_number#U.S._history
– memory for digits is indeed limited by the number of syllables / time to pronounce — several studies
– – academic article PDF; third page, see ref. 27: http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~port/HDphonol/Baddely.wkg.mem.Science.pdf
– – one such study in Welsh and English — link to abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.2044-8295.1980.tb02728.x/abstract
– – another one in several languages — link to paper PDF: http://macal.missouri.edu/articles/DigitSpanReadingRateLinguisticReactivity.pdf
– – and one more, in Chinese and English, as discussed — Chinese got ~2 more digits (link to paper PDF): http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/26140/0000216.pdf
– – number pronunciation in Chinese is, of course, more complicated than as we discussed, but we got the essence: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_numerals#Reading_and_transcribing_numbers
– – but NPR gives basically the same simplified summary as us, suggesting language as the reason behind the Chinese math advantage: http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2011/07/01/137527742/china-s-unnatural-math-advantage-their-words
– – Malcolm Gladwell too: http://gladwell.com/outliers/rice-paddies-and-math-tests/
– – both of the above two links reference this book — we haven’t read it but it looks interesting (Amazon link): http://amzn.to/1oVrEbk
– Baddeley’s model of working memory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baddeley’s_model_of_working_memory
– – in his own words (same link as above, academic article PDF): http://www.cs.indiana.edu/~port/HDphonol/Baddely.wkg.mem.Science.pdf
– – link above references the 2-second limit in rehearsal, here’s the actual study (link to academic paper abstract): http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022537175800454
– a bit on chunking, including telephone number example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunking_(psychology)
– – if you really want to dive deep into different countries’ phone number representation schemes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Telephone_numbers_by_country
– subitizing — we may not have used the term exactly correctly, but the idea is related: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subitizing
– – one academic article reviewing the concept (PDF embedded in page): http://escholarship.org/uc/item/9fn27772
– magical “mystery” number 4 (ha; link to academic article PDF): https://www.msu.edu/course/psy/401/snapshot.afs/Readings/WK14.Lecture.Cowan%20(2010).pdf
– – visual memory capacity differs according to item complexity (link to academic article PDF): http://psych.unl.edu/mdodd/Psy498/AlvarezCavanagh.pdf
– one paper referenced in regard to memory for conjunctions of features being remembered automatically, even when instructed just to remember a single feature (link to academic article PDF): http://psych.stanford.edu/~jlm/pdfs/LuckVogel97.pdf
– – (although, of course, later studies have complicated that story…)
– chimps better than humans at a game theory task: http://news.sciencemag.org/brain-behavior/2014/06/chimps-best-humans-game-theory
– the Nobel-Prize-winning research of Kahneman and Tversky into some of the psychological heuristics and biases underlying economic decision making:
– – Judgement Under Uncertainty (academic paper PDF but a relatively easy read even for non-academics): http://psiexp.ss.uci.edu/research/teaching/Tversky_Kahneman_1974.pdf
– – Prospect Theory (ditto): http://www.princeton.edu/~kahneman/docs/Publications/prospect_theory.pdf
– – Daniel Kahneman’s book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow” — we haven’t read it but people seem to like it (link to Amazon): http://amzn.to/1srMgsM
– dumping a bunch of babies on a desert island with no societal influence = “the forbidden experiment”: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Language_deprivation_experiments
– Aesop’s crow fable: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Crow_and_the_Pitcher
– – Aesop fabulist bio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aesop
– – the PLOS ONE paper MK described of crow’s doing the Aesop’s fable task: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0103049
– – 4chan crow war story: http://usvsth3m.com/post/69700674556/has-an-anonymous-4chan-user-really-started-world-war
– – crows remember faces of “dangerous humans” — popular article: http://news.discovery.com/animals/zoo-animals/angry-crows-memory-life-threatening-behavior-110628.htm
– – actual academic paper for the above finding (link to abstract, with link to download full text for free): http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/early/2011/06/20/rspb.2011.0957.short
– – this is nuts — some of the same authors as above later scanned crows’ brains with positron emission tomography (PET) while looking at familiar human faces: http://www.pnas.org/content/109/39/15912.short
– – Wikipedia (citing Snopes) claims the MIT pigeon prank has never been verified: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacks_at_the_Massachusetts_Institute_of_Technology#Famous_hacks
– – David Attenborough narrates this video of crows using traffic to crack nuts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGPGknpq3e0
– – (although see the following dissenting view: http://people.wm.edu/~dacris/pdfs/crows_as_nutcrackers.pdf)
– – related/overlapping crow facts from our scientific brethren at cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/article_19042_6-terrifying-ways-crows-are-way-smarter-than-you-think.html
– a bunch of links on the possible origins of the silly “ten percent of your brain” myth embraced by Limitless [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limitless ], Lucy [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucy_(2014_film) ], etc.:
– – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_percent_of_brain_myth#Origin_and_culture
– – https://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/tenper.html
– – http://gizmodo.com/where-the-10-percent-of-our-brains-myth-comes-from-a-1598507369
– – in short: Lucy (2014 film), you’ve got some ‘splaining to do!

Dumb animals
– all about koalas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koala
– William Sleator, awesome author of young adult sci-fi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Sleator
– – Strange Attractors, the book where MJ learned the word “bifurcation” (link to Amazon): http://amzn.to/1tUpZG5
– – some of his other best works, all links to Amazon:
– – House of Stairs: http://amzn.to/1q682AF
– – The Boy Who Reversed Himself: http://amzn.to/1qVR7oi
– – The Green Futures of Tycho: http://amzn.to/1s7Bbgt
– – Interstellar Pig: http://amzn.to/1q68kaG
– overview of lateral/radial symmetry, asymmetric sponges: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symmetry_in_biology
– – other animals, including fish, that are asymmetric: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_featuring_external_asymmetry
– the Pleistocene epoch: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene
– lissencephaly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lissencephaly
– story on the couple days of real-time Old Spice commercials: http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/how-old-spice-ruled-real-time-web-102823
– – a playlist thereof: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL484F058C3EAF7FA6
– – or, if you just want the highlights: http://mashable.com/2010/07/18/old-spice-guy-videos/
– RIP Richard Attenborough (aka John Hammond of Jurassic Park, aka brother of crow-narrator Richard Attenborough) — he died after we recorded the podcast but before we released it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Attenborough
– visual neuroscientist Horace Barlow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horace_Barlow
– about 20% of your calories are used by your brain:
– – http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/3083/do-you-burn-more-calories-when-you-think-hard
– – http://hypertextbook.com/facts/2001/JacquelineLing.shtml
– it’s true — pandas really ought to be carnivores. Stupid pandas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_panda#Diet
– – although they’ll still eat meat occasionally: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/12/29/panda-eats-an-antelope-meat-carnivore-bamboo_n_1174023.html
– red pandas — indeed, not closely related to giant pandas: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_panda
– some links on why woodpeckers are protected from brain damage:
– – http://mentalfloss.com/article/30731/why-dont-woodpeckers-get-brain-damage
– – http://www.popsci.com/article/science/ask-anything-why-don%E2%80%99t-woodpeckers-get-brain-damage
– – one academic article cited by the above popular articles: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%253Adoi%252F10.1371%252Fjournal.pone.0026490
– – and one more: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/454236
– contrecoup injuries: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coup_contrecoup_injury
– macaque monkeys — sadly, not Shakespeares:
– – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/3013959.stm
– – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem#Real_monkeys

Random facts:
– sea otter pouches with favorite rocks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_otter#Foraging
– see! Cat kidneys really do make it possible for them to drink sea water: http://ajplegacy.physiology.org/content/196/3/633.abstract
– – remember, don’t forget to give your cat its Red Bull (or meat)! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurine#In_animal_nutrition
– – the lysine contingency (again — RIP, Richard Attenborough): http://jurassicpark.wikia.com/wiki/Lysine_contingency
– turkey and tryptophan — the Thanksgiving sleepiness myth debunked: http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/turkey.asp
– – foods with more tryptophan than turkey: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/25/what-has-more-tryptophan-_n_4317151.html
– – MK’s top tryptophan foods source from the show: http://www.healtharticles101.com/top-10-foods-with-tryptophan/
– – although this tryptophan content data might be the most reliable (mmm… sea lion): http://nutritiondata.self.com/foods-000079000000000000000.html
– – a review of tryptophan depletion studies and depression (link to academic article abstract): http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/178/5/399.full
– – (although the role of serotonin in depression has been increasingly challenged, e.g. http://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/2ewyn1/serotonin_not_found_to_be_a_major_player_in/)
– – don’t throw out the soy just yet — phytoestrogens are probably not a huge problem: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/27/ask-well-is-it-safe-to-eat-soy/
– – (unless you’re a rat, in which case watch out for that pancreatic-cancer-causing raw soy flour: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soybean#Carcinogenicity)
– Tommy Westphall hypothesis of TV — warning, possible rabbit-hole!
– – overview: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Westphall
– – origin: http://www.slushfactory.com/content/EpupypyZAZTDOLwdfz.php
– – site with a map (see lower down on final post): http://thetommywestphall.wordpress.com/
– Vitamins and such
– – vitamin C immune myth: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5184850
– – … and other vitamin supplements have issues as well: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/07/the-vitamin-myth-why-we-think-we-need-supplements/277947/
– – animals that can’t synthesize vitamin C: bats, guinea pigs, and the primate suborder that contains humans, apes, monkeys, and tarsiers (third paragraph of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C)
– – vitamin naming history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin#Naming
– – a slightly longer bit on vitamin names: http://gizmodo.com/why-are-vitamins-named-using-the-alphabet-1555934736
– – just a random link off the above page — why there are no B batteries: http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2012/05/why-are-there-no-b-batteries/
– – … which leads us to this classic Demetri Martin bit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t841Xo9mDck
– – crazy-ass looking vitamin B12 molecule: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_B12#mediaviewer/File:Cobalamin.png
– – vitamin C loss and rediscovery blog post: http://idlewords.com/2010/03/scott_and_scurvy.htm
– – as it turns out — dietary experiments on guinea pigs actually serendipitously yielded an animal model for studying scurvy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_C#Discovery
– – retraction of papers claiming to synthesize stem cells by exposing regular cells to acid: http://www.nature.com/news/papers-on-stress-induced-stem-cells-are-retracted-1.15501
– – history of the guinea pig as a research animal (and why we say “guinea pig” to mean research subject): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guinea_pig#Scientific_research
– – Maniac Mansion, the NES game that allowed you to microwave a hamster (not a guinea pig): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maniac_Mansion
– – video of said hamster microwavery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oE8PhNMjqM
– – the “creepy Xenopus frogs” MK hates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenopus (in particular this species: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_clawed_frog)
– – why rats (and horses) can’t vomit: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/why-rodents-cant-throw-up-in-case-you-were-wondering-25707720/
– – Snopes confirms: the carrots-improving-vision story is a myth started during World War II: http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/carrots.asp
– – an amazing (and long) history of the carrot myth, with some great pictures, at the World Carrot Museum — WHO KNEW THERE WAS A WORLD CARROT MUSEUM?!?! http://www.carrotmuseum.co.uk/history4.html
– – the specific role of vitamin A in vision and how it is used to make light-sensitive opsins in the retina: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_A#Vision

Cool sound videos:
– Euler’s disk spinning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ug2bKCG4gZY
– MK and MJ trying to explain the disk spinning reminds us of this classic Calvin & Hobbes strip: http://www.freewebs.com/calvin-hobbes-org/dadandcalvinsrecordplayer.jpg
– another closely related cool thing — Hurricane Balls: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvq8laPb498
– the original jar-bouncing video that they want people to license the sound from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TeFJ49zcCYw
– inelastic collisions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inelastic_collision
– screenshot of our the waveform of our audio during the (successful) jar-bouncing replication: https://sshhmm.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/jar_waveform.png