People more likely to vote based on how healthy a candidate looks rather than how smart they seem

This week we started the This Week in Science podcast on a low note talking about the climate, or as we like to call it on TWIS, 'Climytia.'

The IPCC is done futzing about with its most recent report, and as we have been told all along… the climate is going to change, and unless we get off our arses and do something about it, we will be affected. Also, a recent LBNL study found that far infrared radiation from the surface of the earth outward is probably a much more significant forcing agent on the climate than has been thought. As a result, models will have to be adjusted accordingly, but will likely become more accurate in their predictive power.

Done with the 'End of the World' talk, we shifted to a story out of the University of Washington in which researchers successfully demonstrated brain-to-brain communication. Thought signals recorded via EEG from one person's brain were sent over an internet connection to the brain of a second person, where they then used a magnet to stimulate the motor cortex to send commands to the second person's hand to tap specific commands on a computer control pad. Will this research lead to robo-people?

Justin brought up a story about how women smell better than men… I mean, about their sense of smell, and why it might be better than most men's. Then we talked about an ancient 20 pound groundhog that lived during the time of the dinosaurs. And, we finally wrapped up the first half of the show with a discussion of a study that found people are more likely to vote based on how healthy a candidate looks rather than how smart they seem.

The second half of the show was filled with evidence about how fat is good for our brains, why you should be your own financial advisor, a new synthetic biology tool called the Telomerator, how much water life needs to survive, third-hand smoke, private space flight disasters, Ebola, and more!


Also, this week I interviewed the Outpost and Capsule Project Manager for the Mars One mission to put people on Mars. It's a fascinating project that is part hype, part dreams, and part real science.