A podcast about science, sort of science, and things that wish they were science. - Paleopals et. al.

Transcript of Science... sort of Episode 5: Avoiding Extinction

Transcript of Science... sort of Episode 5: Avoiding Extinction

Listen to this episode and read the show notes here.

Episode 5: Avoiding Extinction

Announcer: Hello and welcome to Science… sort of.

Justin: Welcome to Science… sort of. I'm Justin. And he's Ryan.

Ryan: Hello.

Justin: And he's Patrick. 

Patrick: Hola. 

Justin: And together we're the Paleo Pals. The purpose of our show is to discuss things that are science, things that are sort of science and things that wish they were science. In the before times, to quote South Park, Charles Darwin suggested that natural, that natural selection was the primary mechanism that resulted in evolution. The idea that species could go extinct was a vital component in the theory that may have seemed preposterous in the Victorian era but when you could just wade out in the ocean and catch a whale with your bare hands. But our modern era has shown that extinction can happen all too easily. This week's theme is avoiding extinction.

Patrick: Are you going with the what are we drinking still, Justin, or are you…

Justin: Yeah, let's yeah, why don't we, ah, what are you drinking Patrick?

Patrick: Ah, I'm still on the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, so, nothing fancy. 

Justin: The same pack from last week?

Patrick: It is actually, yeah.

Ryan: You did not get through that stuff very quickly.

Justin: It gets better with age.

Patrick: Well, it works, I thought I had such a great show last year I wanted to drink my lucky Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. It's kind of..

Ryan: That's pretty superstitious for a science show.

Patrick: …not washing my socks…

Laughter.

Justin: How about you Ryan, what are you drinking? 

Ryan: Ah, I'm drinking a gin and tonic.

Justin: Ah, excellent. With ice?

Ryan: With ice and lemon. It's, ah, you use good gin and sweet Meyer lemons and ah, it's tasty. 

Justin: That sounds really good. 

Patrick: It does sound pretty good.

Justin: I'm happy to inform you both that I am not drinking cheap brandy or Budweiser this week. 

Laughter.

Justin: I'm drinking Glenfiddich.

Patrick: Ooh, somebody got paid.

Justin: I got paid, finally. A couple months but, better than brandy.

Ryan: Well, if it makes you feel any better the bottle of gin that I got for my gin and tonic this afternoon was a third of the entire cost of my groceries. 

Justin: That sounds about right. That sounds like the correct ratio for alcohol. 

Ryan: Yeah. Yeah. It'll last. It's not like gin goes bad, right.

Patrick: I don't think so.

Justin: I don't think so. 

Patrick: It already is bad.

Ryan: I mean, once you open the bottle you've got to drink it.

Justin: Yeah, I guess if you could…

Patrick: I don't even think that's true. I think you can pretty much leave alcohol sitting around and it's still going to be alcohol.

Ryan: I was actually thinking about that. About how gin and tonic is probably the absolute worse thing for any kind of organism to try and survive in because you've got the gin which is alcohol and then you've got lemon juice which is this citric acid and then you've got a tonic water so you've got your carbonic acid and um, is it quinine, what's in the, yeah, quinine. I mean, it's got to be rough for any microbe trying to survive in a gin and tonic. It's really cold, metabolism would be difficult.

Patrick: I'd take it over liquid, hot magma. 

Ryan: I don't know man. I think the gin and tonic might be the deadliest drink on the planet.

Justin: If you leave it sitting around long enough I'm sure something will figure out how to survive. I'm sure something will try to, will figure out a way to avoid going extinct.

Ryan: Ohhhh. Nice segue. So, um, speaking of keeping the human species from going extinct, my story this week was on men loosing their minds when they talk to pretty girls. Or, to put it in the scientific title, “Interacting with women can impair men's cognitive functioning” from the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology and coming out of Radboud University in the Netherlands by Johan Karremans.

Justin: I love science that just quantifies things people already know.

Ryan: This is such a cool study.

Patrick: Alright, how come? Lay it on us.

Ryan: Okay, so, I don't know how often you guys deal with somebody trying to convince you about some wacky pseudoscience by telling you an anecdote. And my response is always well the anecdote is a great place to start a discussion but it's not actual evidence. And that's exactly what happened here. Um, the intro to the paper said some time ago, or in the before times, ah, “one of the male authors was chatting with a very attractive girl he had not met before. While he was anxious to make a good impression, when she asked him where he live he suddenly could not remember his street address. It seemed, as if his impression management concerns had temporarily absorbed most of his cognitive resources.”

Laughter.

Justin: Story of my life.

Ryan: This paper is fantastic. 

Patrick: I hear it there. 

5:00

Justin: So, when did this come out? This was ah, this was really recently right?

Ryan: Yeah, this was this year.

Justin: Oh, I see. So it's July 31st according to the link that you sent us.

Ryan: Yes.

Patrick: And so they, they go on to prove that this is, in fact, true? That chatting with a pretty woman will impair your judgement, well, impair your intelligence if you're male. 

Ryan: Yes. Well not necessarily intelligence but cognitive functioning. So, the way they designed the study was that they had, ah, a bunch of male students ah, average age 20. So the male students were given a two-back task which is where they had to see a series of letters and then determine whether the letters they had just seen matched the letters they had previously seen. Um, and they were given this test when they first arrived at the experimenting place, lab, I guess. Then after that they were sent into the next room while the test was “reset” but really they were being sent into the next room to talk to either a male experimenter or a female experimenter. And they were sent in there to talk for 7 minutes where the experimenters were given a list of 10 neutral topics to discuss with this person. And then they came in and had to do the test again. And if the male had been talking to the female experimenter after the second test he had to rate her attractiveness and indicate whether or not they were currently involved in a romantic relationship.

Patrick: Hmmm.

Justin: That's interesting. And did they do this both ways? Did they test men on women and women on men?

Ryan: The second study talked about in this paper did do that. Where they had, um, 53 male students and 58 female students average age 21. So they did the same test with same sex interactions versus mixed sex interactions. 

Justin: Huh. What were the results for the women?

Ryan: The results for the women were that they were the same whether the woman had been talking to a man or a woman. But for the men it was staggering how much more poorly they performed on the test after talking to a woman. 

Justin: But it mattered how beautiful the woman was, right?

Ryan: Yes, it did seem to be related to how attractive they found the woman.

Patrick: I could, I mean, I guess I can see this. I think, maybe, I'm sure you could overcome this if the test was, seemed, to be a little more important than like memorizing, being able to read back pairs of letters or whatever it was.

Ryan: You think?

Patrick: Ah, I think that if you came back and it seemed more substantial, like, the test seemed more substantial or relevant, that you might be able to pull yourself out of this haze. But, I don't know, obviously that's just speculation. I have no, I have no evidence.

Ryan: I'm really not sure because I know when my current girlfriend and I were first getting to know each other I've never been so tongue-tied around a woman before. And if four previous episodes haven't given you enough of a clue, I'm not often a person who is tongue-tied. 

Justin: Yeah, I could see it, I could see it being difficult no matter what the situation was, whether it was important information or not. I guess you'd have to test it in an environment where the test subject would have to consider the information important like a flight simulator or something where you're really involved with what's going on and care about the results.

Ryan: Yeah, I don't know if a flight simulator would work because I feel like men would perform better in a flight simulator after talking to a pretty girl because there's still the desire to impress her. A flight simulator is a, you know, bad-ass thing to be doing.

Justin: Than's true.

Patrick: I guess so.

Justin: I usually feel pretty empowered when I fly test-flight simulators.

Ryan: I bet you do.

Patrick: Or play another video game.

Ryan: Actually one of the things they talked about, was, in the discussion was that they thought that maybe women would show a stronger affect if it wasn't a formal setting like a laboratory. And they actually put, in the study, um, “whereas the men's self presentational concerns in mixed sex interactions may be largely independent of context” basically meaning men act like idiots in the lab or anywhere else “perhaps the women would engage in similar cognitively taxing self presentation towards attractive opposite sex others and in other more formal, informal environments” e.g., a bar. So, they need to rerun this test with women in a bar and see if women perform more poorly on the test.

Justin: Yeah, try to get funding for that.

Ryan: The discussion for this was actually pretty interesting. They talk about debates for single sex versus co-ed schools and how that might make a difference.

Justin: So, what department was this published out of?

Ryan: The department? The Psychology department.

Justin: Psychology department.

10:00

Ryan: Department of Social and Cultural Psychology Behavioral Science Institute. 

Justin: Yeah, it, I don't know, I think it's just quantifying things that are innately, I mean, if you would have polled people on this, whether men loose their mental capabilities around beautiful women and if the reverse was as true as the former then, I mean, I think people would be able to guess at the results. But it is cool that they went out and actually validated it.

Patrick: Ah, so one of the comments left in the, Ryan, in the popular press version of the article you, somebody commented and they said that they thought that men might perform better on the test if they were still in the presence of the female and there was a chance to impress the female with the results on the test.

Ryan: Well, what do you think?

Justin: Oh, that would be the flight simulator scenario.

Patrick: Well, except she's still around. If you go in the other room and fly a flight simulator, I'm not sure, you're changing a variable.

Ryan: Oh, she'd know.

Justin: Yeah, if you know that she was going to know the results. 

Patrick: Oh, okay. If you knew that she'd, yeah, I guess, yeah. Maybe.

Ryan: This is real interesting.

Justin: So, would a beautiful women be considered, so, this is in the context of avoiding extinction. What's the link? What do you think the link is?

Ryan: Um, men trying to mate with women. Because that's the only way that we're going to avoid extinction.

Patrick: Huh. I didn't pick that up.

Justin: If you're living in a stressful environment though, maybe going after a beautiful woman would ah, be disadvantageous because you wouldn't be as aware of what's going on in the environment, you're too distracted by the beautiful woman. Maybe our, what we consider beautiful would change.

Ryan: Well, I think the subtext of beauty in general is that someone who is beautiful is a better genetic match for your particular gene set. They've done some interesting studies that show that people tend to be more attracted to the smells of people who have different immune systems than they do. 

Justin: Right. But no matter what we consider beautiful, if it distracts us to the point that we would be sacrificing our ability to survive in certain situations, ah, you'd think that would eventually, you know, evolutionarily dampen the response that, you know, a male would get from a female.

Ryan: Well, there's the Darwinian equation for reproductive success and fitness and it, there's a pretty strong trade off between survival and reproductive success in a lot of different areas. Like, a good example is the peacock. It's got these really bright feathers that make it really obvious to predators but also make it really obvious to females so, you know, as long as you get, as long as you finish mating before you are eaten by the sabertooth tiger you're good.

Patrick: Peacocks get eaten by sabertooth tigers a lot? 

Laughter.

Patrick: Right, the ah, point is, right, you've got selection acting in two, you know, it's pinching you. Basically, you've got sexual selection acting one way and then, sort of, survival selection acting in another.

Ryan: And what this is suggesting is that in the presence of a very pretty woman you're sexual selection instinct takes over and you become, as they call it in the study, reproductively focused. 

Patrick: Well, right, because I mean, basically the name of the game is reproducing before you die so here, you're basically represented with a chance to reproduce with someone you deem to be, to have excellent genes, so sure, you know, why not? The shots are long, take a shot. 

Justin: It's worth the risk, basically. 

Patrick: I guess, you know, she's right there, give it a shot. 

Laughter.

Ryan: Um, the only other thing that I thought was interesting was that the participants had to indicate whether they were currently involved in a romantic relationship but that wasn't, pointed out, that wasn't mentioned in the results.

Justin: Really?

Patrick: Yeah, that's interesting.

Justin: That seems like it wouldn't, it seems like it wouldn't, I would predict that it would not make a difference for men but that it would probably make a difference for women and hopefully I'm not revealing any… 

Patrick: Well women don't care anyways. 

Ryan: Oh, wait, here it is, here it is. I found it. Ah, “relationship involvement did not reveal main or interaction affects.”

Justin: Now, this is just between men and women? This is just when men are observing women.

Ryan: Yes, this is, exactly. 

Justin: So, we don't know if the reverse is true or not.

Ryan: It would be worth exploring.

Justin: Yeah.

Ryan: Why is it, every time we do a show we get a new idea to write a grant for? 

Laughter.

Patrick: It's how science works man.

Ryan: Science… sort of. 

Music

Announcer: Hey ya'll, it's trailer trash talk.

14:51

Justin: Well, in 1979 the world was rocked with the release of Alien. Ah, one of the first truly gothic horror science fiction movies that was done well, anyway. I'm sure you could find something earlier. Um, it followed up with The Thing in 1982 which is actually a remake of a 1951 movie, also a very well done gothic horror science fiction film. And then, slightly, in my opinion, slightly not as good, but still a classic, Predator in 1987. And, you know, you keep going and I think quality diminishes a little bit until we end up with Aliens vs Predator Requiem in 2007 where the genre hits a new low.

Ryan: I disagree.

Laughter

Ryan: Not about the Alien vs Predator but about…

Patrick: I hear the ice cubes clinking over there.

Ryan: I'm not saying that my logic isn't fueled by the gin and tonic but um, there are two movies that I feel, have come out in the past two decades that have been good sci-fi horror movies. Ah, the first is Event Horizon.

Patrick: I was going to mention Event Horizon.

Ryan: I don't know when that came out but…

Patrick: I don't either…

Justin: The 90s.

Patrick: What's your other one while we're chewing on that.

Ryan: Sunshine

Justin: Oh, Sunshine was good.

Justin: I don't know if I'd classify it as gothic horror.

Patrick: Those were the same movie.

Ryan: Well, yeah, but they were both good. Alright, so…

Patrick: But they're not gothic horror. And Sunshine was good, it had some science problems. 

Ryan: How was Event Horizon not gothic horror?

Justin: No, Event Horizon is gothic horror, Sunshine I wouldn't classify as gothic horror. 

Patrick: Um, it's more of a, a little bit, I'd classify both of them as The Shining in space. You're unsure if people are just going crazy or if there really is a monster. 

Ryan: Well then define gothic. How is Aliens gothic? 

Patrick: There's a monster.

Justin: Okay, before we get off, too far off on a tangent, I only mention those previous films to introduce the trailer for the new film that we'll be talking about which is Pandorum which comes out in 2009, I think, in a couple weeks. 

Patrick: Okay, yeah, so the Quaidster, he's in it.

Justin: The Quaidster…

Patrick: That's good, right?

Ryan: Ben Foster.

Patrick: Um, so, another…

Justin: Who is Ben Foster? I recognize the name. 

Ryan: He was in 3:10 to Yuma. I think, was he Charlie Prince? I think he was Charlie Prince which is one of the coolest western… is he… yes, he was Charlie Prince in 310 to Yuma, um, the second in command of the gang, Russel Crowe's gang. So he was a really cool gunslinger character.

Justin: Is he a leading part in the film.

Ryan: Ah, he was in 3:10 to Yuma and he was in the vampire movie up in Alaska. 30 Days of Night. He was the vampire first in the town, he was in the jail cell. Apparently he was in some movie called Alpha Dog.

Justin: Oh, that was that ah…

Ryan: Justin Timberlake one?

Justin: Yeah, N-Sync movie, right?

Ryan: N-Sync movie… no, apparently it had Bruce Willis in it.

Justin: Alpha Dog?

Ryan: Yeah.

Justin: Yeah, I didn't see it.

Patrick: Sidebar here, ah, gothic horror is a genre of literature that has elements of both romance and horror. Although sometimes confused with paranormal romance according to some horror writers. Gothic horror is considered a more atmospheric type of literature. So, um, yeah, maybe not the romance but they definitely set the, I think, the scene is the creepiness factor maybe. It's setting up the atmosphere adds a lot to the horror. So, setting the situation maybe is what makes it gothic horror. 

Ryan: Event Horizon was all about the romance. 

Justin: Yeah, I agree. Event Horizon was almost the far edge of gothic science fiction horror.

Ryan: It has Sam Neil in it.

Justin: He's pretty scary. 

Ryan: I mean, you know, you'll never get him out of the mountains because he's like me, he's a digger. 

Laughter

Justin: He was good in that movie.

Ryan: Jurassic Park or Event Horizon.

Justin: Both.

Patrick: Um, he was probably better in Event Horizon. I don't know, I wasn't the biggest fan of Jurassic Park

Justin: What?

Ryan: That's a discussion for another day. Let's just, just bite your tongue Justin, bite your tongue. We'll talk about it later. 

Justin: I'm trying, it's hard.

Laughter. 

Patrick: You can even edit that out if you want.

Laughter.

Ryan: I won't edit it out, I want people to know it's coming.

Justin: Yeah.

Patrick: Alright, okay, so, here we are. Pandorum. Okay, we set the scene, it's very similar to all the movies we've mentioned. Ah, Event HorizonSunshineAliens, so there's some…

Ryan: And the video game Deadspace.

Patrick: Yeah, you're way out in space, right. You are, I don't know, something goes wrong, I guess. Right, there are people waking up from suspended animation. It's kind of hard to tell from the trailer.

20:01

Justin: So, the story is the Earth is overcrowded and so there is a recolonization effort to another Earth-like planet. And so they send out this big colonizer ship and ah, a 100 light years from Earth a subsection of the ship wakes up and finds that they are cut off from the rest of the ship and the hyper drive isn't working anymore. Whatever the engine of the ship is not working. And, so they've got to, you know, find a way out of their little enclosure where they are inside the ship and everything is dark and there's things running around. Little monsters running around, ah, and it's scary and that's, I think, the premise. 

Patrick: This kind of takes a, takes a real nod from a lot of recent horror movies, I think, like, like The Ring and like, I don't know, The Orphanage maybe, where you've got these weird humanoidesque things where just…

Ryan: The Descent as well.

Justin: Ooh, yeah, that was scary. And actually, the monsters in the movie Pandorum were compared to ah, the ones in Descent.

Ryan: Yeah, well, they look, I mean, they are like these pale bat creatures. Um, I don't know, I thought that the trailer gave a lot of the movie plot away. I don't feel like I'm going to be surprised by anything that happens in this movie.

Justin: Well if you feel that way about the trailer, definitely do not read the Wikipedia page because it's a complete plot giveaway. 

Ryan: Well, I mean, it seems like in the trailer they are talking about, um, there are these monsters running around but at the same time all of the women are missing and so that's a giant red flag, hey, the women are the monsters. And, then, like, they are turning into the monsters and there's a scared kid and Dennis Quaid is, ah, you know…

Patrick: Awesome.

Justin: He needs access to the mainframe. 

Laughter. 

Patrick: So, what do you guys think then? It sounds like we're leaning, maybe, negative on this one.

Justin: I remain forever positive. I think there are a lot of ways they could screw this one up but I'm remaining hopeful that they don't.

Ryan: I am also remaining hopeful but am skeptical.

Patrick: Okay. I think, well, I'm not the biggest fan of this genre. I did like Alien and Aliens was okay and then it went downhill after that. Um, you know, I'll watch these lost in space and something goes wrong movies and they can be pretty good but I definitely don't have any movies in my top ten or probably even top twenty that kind of work like this. Um, that being said the trailer didn't look horrible, you know it wasn't an Alien vs Predator so…

Ryan: It looked very claustrophobic. 

Patrick: Yeah, I think this movie's probably going to do what it wants to do and I think it's going to be a pretty freaky movie given the trailer's kind of creepy so. You know, I go thumbs down on the fact that I don't necessarily care to see it but thumbs up on I think they might do a fair treatment of this genre. 

Justin: Yeah, I think the general ambiance of the film is going to be really well done just from the visuals of the trailer. Ah, it's the story that I'm worried about. If they're just going to get really flakey with it at the end. Um, but, who knows.

Ryan: Well, let's see, how did Alien end? It ended with Sigourney Weaver just escaped, right? She didn't actually kill the alien…

Patrick: No, she did…

Justin: She did, she blasted it off

Patrick: She blew it out the, yeah.

Ryan: Does that kill an alien?

Justin: It does.

Patrick: I don't know but it's not in the ship anymore, she didn't escape. That's the thing, in space, no one can hear you scream and you also can't escape. 

Ryan: Wait, wait, wait. Justin proclaimed very boldly that the vacuum of space will kill an alien.

Justin: Well. Okay. So, so, aliens, ah, things that can kill aliens differ between the different alien movies. In the first one the vacuum, it's not only the vacuum of space. The alien, if you remember, get's somehow sucked up into the rocket booster of her spaceship, so…

Patrick: Oh, that's right, it was tethered and then like…

Justin: … get's blown away. In the second movie, you know, bullets and a lot of other things can kill the aliens. It's just a big action movie. Um, but in the third movie they tried to kill it with the ah, with the liquid lead. Remember that? They trapped it in that enclosure and then the release that, I don't know which they had liquid lead but they, they covered it with liquid lead. 

Ryan: The third movie was really bad.

Justin: Yeah but it didn't kill it. It leaps out of the liquid lead but, I guess like, somebody turned on an overhead shower or fire system and when the water fell on the alien and you know, cooled off real quick, it exploded.

Ryan: Oh, so that's where M. Night Shamalan got the idea for water killing aliens.

25:00

Justin: Oh.

Patrick: Maybe. I don't know.

Ryan: Cause, Signs. We had mentioned Signs on our sci-fi horror list…

Justin: Which, I…

Patrick: Um

Justin: I haven't met anybody who has liked that movie, I liked it okay.

Patrick: That, well, that one differs a lot in that it's on, it's an invasion movie rather than like out in space on some, when something goes horribly wrong. 

Ryan: Yeah, I thought Signs was really good until the last ten minutes, like Justin said, the end of the movie and the reveal of what the aliens actually were was such a huge let down.

Justin: Yeah, you just need to not reveal anything at the end with those kinds of movies.

Ryan: Because with Signs you know you're seeing a foot or a hand or a blurry camcorder image and it's scary. Or you're seeing a shadow on the rooftop, and those are all, or hearing the voice through the baby monitor, and those are all really creepy and scary and then when you actually see the alien and you're like oh, they didn't really spend much money on the special effects budget.

Patrick: Yeah. Well, yeah, all the, you know, all these… well, they've gotten better lately at making really, things that really kind of creep me out and filming them in whatever that weird speed is that makes everything creep along…

Justin: Oh, right, what is it, like the 16 frames per minute, or second or something like that, instead of 32.

Patrick: Yes. So film in anything in that, that's all kind of creepy so that, they can make things look really horrible now. Whereas before, you know, I think, horror movies were all about the suspense. Well, I guess, I guess early monster movies, you saw the monster and that was really scary to people who had never seen a lot of make-up on somebody before. But then it went through an era of cinema where you didn't see the monster very much and I thought that was a much scarier era and now we're sort of back to new tricks. You know, basically interesting ways, not so much the make-up but interesting ways of filming or other things to make things look otherworldly and creepy again.

Ryan: So the question is whether not Pandorum succeeds at that. 

Justin: I think, I think… I don't know… they could, I could easily see them not succeeding as well but I think a great example of that, um, the creepy factor of movies, a movie that does it really, really, well was The Thing From Another World in 1951, the precursor of The Thing because the monster is not scary at all. It's a guy in a green suit running around. But even in the scenes where the monster wasn't there you just knew that something bad was going to happen.

Ryan: well, for a modern analog to that I would point to Cloverfield which is not sci-fi, and it's not really horror, it's just a straight monster movie but I thought that JJ Abrams did a really good job of creating a monster that you never really saw for long enough to get a full picture of.

Patrick: Yeah.

Ryan: And

Patrick: Yeah, that's okay.

Justin: I wound up getting car sick.

Ryan: Well, honestly if you watch it again on a small screen it's not that bad.

Justin: Oh, you were saying that, right. It's made for a small screen kind of thing.

Ryan: I feel like it really was, having seen it on both the big screen and the small screen. The small screen you don't get that nausea from the shaky cam.

Patrick: Yeah, so, I'll go with you on that on Ryan. That was an okay movie. I never saw it in theaters, I saw it on the small screen. Ah, yeah, so that movie, yeah, I enjoyed it okay but a really similar movie where you don't get to see the monster much and it didn't work out was Godzilla, um, the most recent one I guess.

Ryan: The 1996 one with Mathew Broderick. 

Justin: Oh, that was awful. 

Patrick: Right. So, that one…

Ryan: And Hank Azeria…

Patrick: That one was, when was that? And they hold off for showing the monster for so long and I think that movie could have been saved by showing Godzilla wrecking a few buildings.

Ryan: Well, that's different because there's an expectation because you already know what Godzilla looks like. You already have a mental image of Godzilla when you go into the theater. Cloverfield, you don't know what to expect.

Justin: I don't think they could have saved Godzilla no matter what they, no matter what.

Ryan: the cool thing about Cloverfiled is the monster is so big that it actually makes you feel claustrophobic inside New York City.

Justin: Right.

Ryan: The buildings, because the buildings themselves are a threat because they obscure your view from the giant monster which is pretty cool. And definitely after seeing that movie I went up to San Francisco and was just kind of walking around like looking over my shoulder thinking about how creepy it would be if there was something so, you know, so terrible that it could destroy the entire city but I couldn't see it because of the city itself.

Justin: I'll have to go back and see that movie again.

Patrick: So, let's see, business time. Hollywood Stock Exchange. What are we going to do for this movie.

Ryan: I say 50/50 long and short it.

Patrick: Okay, I'm with you on that one. Justin, you all long?

Justin: Ah, yeah, no, I'm 80/20.

Laughter

Justin: 80/21

Patrick: Alright, I'll do the math tomorrow.

Laughter.

Justin: Figure that out.

Patrick: I'll have you know, my shorts have been saving us lately though.

30:00

Justin: We could write an program to automatically incorporate all of our bids.

Ryan: And remember, if you want to join our league you can go to the Hollywood Stock Exchange which is hsx.com and we're Science sort of league and you can join our league and see how we all do together. I'm doing terribly. 

Patrick: So I have to, I should mention that, um, Science sort of, if you type that into the search won't get you there. Science… sort of (with eclipses) will get you there or just sort of is really the best way to search.

Ryan: So, search “sort of” at the Hollywood Stock Exchange and join our league and you can see how well our podcast does versus how poorly I individually do.

Patrick: Alright, and if you forget that website you can link our site www.sciencesortof.com

Justin: Hell yeah. 

Music

Patrick: So, the article I picked for us, actually, strangely enough is about a potential genetic bottleneck in the Nile crocodile. Ah, the article is by Jacqueline Bishop and others. It appeared in Biological Conservation and the title is “Reduced effective population size in an overexploited population of the Nile crocodile.”

Justin: What is effective population size?

Patrick: This paper talks a lot, about, effective population size and what the effective population size is, it's almost always smaller than the actual number of individuals in a population. And, the effective population size is how big that population would be if everybody was behaving and mating in an ideal way. So, there's a couple of assumptions that we…

Ryan: That's awesome. I always try to behave and mate in an ideal way.

Laughter.

Justin: That's important.

Patrick: That's good. You should be a missionary.

Ryan: For mating?

Patrick: So you could show everybody how to mate in an ideal way.

Justin: Ryan, you are in the effective population.

Ryan: Well, good. I'm glad to know that I'm effective. I've actually been worried about that for quite some time. 

Justin: Right.

Patrick: Ah, so, things that can make your effective population size smaller than your actual population size are having an uneven number of males and females or non-random mating. Which happens in almost every population, right, there's some sexual selection which gives some individuals more of a chance at mating than others.

Ryan: I should hope so. I work hard.

Patrick: Yeah, to be in that category?

Ryan: Hell yeah. 

Patrick: Ah, let's see, some other factors. So, people, or, animals coming into the population or leaving the population can upset this as well. And also, age classes interfere with this. So, sometimes individuals are too old to mate or too young to mate so that interferes with this as well. So, all these things contribute to your effective population size likely being smaller than your actual population size. 

Justin: Or some individuals becoming so enamored with the opposite sex that they get hit by busses.

Patrick: This happens.

Ryan: Because their cognitive functioning is so impaired that they are no longer effective.

Justin: Right. They're no longer observing the world around them, they get hit by a bus, no longer a part of the population.

Ryan: Fortunately as scientists, we're always observing the world around us. 

Patrick: Ah, so, this study looked at the genetic variability amongst Nile crocodiles in the Okavango River Basin.

Ryan: That's a very lyrical story.

Patrick: And, oh, the Okavango?

Ryan: Well, and the Nile crocodile, that rhymes.

Patrick: Okavango Nile crocodile. Have you been to to the Okavango, Justin?

Justin: Ah, I have. 

Patrick: Seen Nile crocodiles? 

Justin: Ah, we did see Nile crocodiles and they were very large and and scary. 

Ryan: Are they the biggest reptile in the world?

Patrick: Ah, I think the Australian saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile but Nile crocodiles get close. 

Justin: Yeah, it's not something you'd want to swim with.

Ryan: How big would the Nile crocodile be…

Patrick: Um, I couldn't tell you exactly how big they are.

Ryan: Probably 30 feet or something like that right.

Patrick: Ah, I think that's a little excessive. I think 20 feet is quite a large one. 

Justin: And, I think they are responsible for more deaths of any large animal in Africa. Obviously, mosquitoes are responsible for the most deaths in Africa.

35:01

Ryan: I've always heard that it was hippos.

Justin: Hippos are the, ah…

Patrick: Most deadly mammal. 

Justin: Most deadly mammal. Mosquitoes are the most deadly animal…

Patrick: More dangerous than than lions.

Justin: They are. Because lions will typically, you know, run away when they see humans. Hippos are very territorial so they don't have any qualms with chasing down and killing humans.

Ryan: So, it looks like the male Nile crocodile is usually between 11.5 to 16 feet but they get up to 23 feet. That's a big animal. 

Justin: Yeah, it's about the size of a great white shark.

Ryan: Don't remind me.

Patrick: They're really big in terms of mass and weight. So, they are much bigger than any other predator.

Ryan: They can get up to 8.5 mph on land.

Patrick: Yeah, but I don't think they usually chase you down. I think they…

Ryan: They can gallop. The word is gallop. That's terrifying.

Patrick: Yeah, they can gallop. 

Ryan: You've got to zigzag, right? I that the trick Justin?

Justin: I don't know. I've never gotten close enough to one to need to know how to escape from one. 

Ryan: Your guides never told you?

Patrick: That's what they tell you on the University of Florida campus, is to run in zigzags if one comes at you. 

Ryan: Right, because they can't turn very fast.

Patrick: Yeah, I think they have trouble…

Ryan: Or jump on it and hold it's mouth shut. Because, as we all know…

Patrick: But you, really, if you're in a race with an alligator or crocodile you're going to, you'll win, as long as they don't overtake you in the first five feet.

Ryan: Unless you trip and fall in the water and another one gets you. 

Patrick: Yeah. That's true.

Justin: So, Patrick, what's the story. Why is the Okavango crocodile, what's threatening this animal versus…

Patrick: Well, I think, it just appeared to be a stable population and then they, um, you know, they've had hard times. They're still, they've been over exploited there but there's a pretty good sized population there. And, but, at one time, they thought there were like 48,000 adult individuals there or more, actually. Actually, yeah, they estimate that 48,000 adult individuals were removed during the period of 1957 to 1968.

Justin: Wow.

Patrick: And now they're, yeah, so now the population is…

Ryan: Hunting? Or what was killing them?

Patrick: Yeah, well, I think they are hunting them down and they are also trading their, you know, body parts, for… leather, you know, crocodile boots or trading the teeth or the claws or you know, whatever. Selling trophies basically. 

Justin: Hmmm. Is any part of the equation, ah, loss of habitat due to ah, drying? Dryer conditions because I know Southern Africa is supposed to experience more aridity as we get into climate change issues. 

Patrick: Well, they, I don't, ahhhh, maybe I didn't read the paper as carefully as I should have but I don't recall that being a concern as to having already killed the animals. They are worried about, in the future, because if your effective population size is low you're more susceptible to environmental changes like that.

Justin: Right.

Patrick: Once you've lost all the genetic diversity you would need to, you know, hoping that individuals are able to cope with it, odds are not good that you're going into have that in a small effective population size.

Justin: Hmmmm.

Patrick: Or, even if you do have a few individuals, those by themselves are not going to be enough to found a new population because that's going to be an even tinier effective population size. 

Justin: So, when you're population size gets low enough, any oscillation in the environment or your food supply or anything else could, or any random oscillation could accidentally tip you below some threshold that you can't recover from. 

Patrick: Right.

Ryan: Right, which is, Patrick, can you give us like, a broad, general definition of what a genetic bottleneck is.

Patrick: Um, so, so it's when your population, basically it's when your population used to be much bigger than it is now so that your population is used to operating with all this genetic diversity and events happen that cause your numbers to drop dramatically and that's the bottleneck. So, now you have a lot fewer individuals mating for some time and even if your numbers expand back out you still lost a big chunk of your genetic diversity, you've gone though that genetic bottleneck and it's hard to recover genetic diversity after that. So, even if your numbers recover your genetic diversity may still be so low that you're basically doomed. 

Justin: I know that this is a big concern among lions and cheetahs, genetic bottlenecks are a huge concern, especially among cheetahs. And one of the things that, ah, they are starting to do, the governments down there, are starting to do is to go in and artificially inseminate individuals with, um, DNA from very different populations of the same species obviously and introduce genetic diversity artificially. You know, if, could they do the same thing with crocodiles, or, is there any effort to do that?

40: 17

Patrick: So, they discuss the possibility of doing that at the end of the article and they basically say that that's going to be logistically very difficult to do and that doesn't wind up being one of their recommendations. Um, I think the problem is, um, I'm actually not sure what the problem is. They say that ranchers, so, if you're commercially ranching crocodiles, which apparently happens in Africa, um, you're supposed to return 5% of your stock to the wild and that would actually help this problem a lot but ranchers just don't do it. 

Ryan: So, what they need are enforcers. They need us to go there and we'll lead the ranchers into following this rule of 5% back into the wild. 

Patrick: I have a feeling it's hard to bully a crocodile rancher. 

Ryan: Or, or we have to go down there and artificially inseminate some crocodiles. 

Patrick: Yeah, I think..

Ryan: Get your snorkel Justin, we're going.

Justin: Pack your bags.

Ryan: Pack your bags with a snorkel and a crocodile artificial insemination thing.

Justin: Yeah, I think I got one.

Patrick: Yeah you bought one the last time you were in Africa. 

Justin: … crocodile insemination stick. Oh, they're popular. You can buy them at the airport.

Ryan: For souvenirs.

Justin: Yeah.

Patrick: So, it was thought that, it was thought that crocodiles would be fairly immune to these problems because they too behave, in some ways, a lot like an ideal mating population. They have long lives and that's helpful. And they have, so, they do have age classes but one nice thing about it is that it takes the juveniles a while to mature. A Nile crocodile sexually matures around 11 or 12 years so that reduces the chance that a parent is going to mate with an offspring. 

Ryan: Hmmm. That seems useful. 

Patrick: Yeah, but that's not working so well, apparently. There's been, the genetic bottleneck at this point is getting worse because of inbreeding and they think most of it is parents mating with offspring.

Justin: Now, what about, what about just going, cause Nile crocodiles are spread throughout Africa, from south to north, I think. Well, yeah, if they're Nile crocodiles, right. Um, and, so, so could you just go to the North Africa regions and trade a bunch of crocodiles. Bring the north ones south and the south ones north kinda of thing? 

Patrick: I think in general that's the way that you try to solve this but I don't know what they're not such a fan of that. I think they must just think that this area is going to… so, all the mating and all the egg laying takes place in one really small area which makes this population really, I don't know what word I'm looking for is, really vulnerable because poachers and anyone else harvesting can all congregate in this one spot and they estimate that 99% of all the egg clutches are laid in this one small area. So, I guess, I guess maybe that's the problem as much as the logistical problems of moving in other Nile crocodiles…

Ryan: I'm actually glad to hear about this study because I thought I was just racist against crocodiles but it turns out, because of the genetic bottleneck, they really all do look alike.

Justin: You're not alone Ryan. I've also had that thought.

Ryan: I'm glad to know I'm not alone. It's hard to talk about, you know? I don't want to come off as a bad person. If we have any crocodile listeners, I think you all look great, but all the same. It's not you, it's me.

Patrick: So, one thing I'd like to point out, um, in terms of genetic bottlenecks, sort of, again, I'm loosing my words again, a flagship study of this sort of thing would be a classic case of genetic bottleneck, or having a smaller effective population size than your actual population size, that's a better way of saying it, so a classic case of that.

Patrick: Exactly. Because you have one male that mates, essentially, they buy up beach by running all of the other males off of it and then they are the only one mating. So, yeah, you're loosing all your male genetic variability because, basically, one male has a big harem. So, your effective population size, things like elephant seals are much more susceptible to genetic bottlenecking than… 

Ryan: Well, and have gone through a genetic bottleneck.

Patrick: Yeah, they have. Almost all marine mammals have. 

Ryan: Really?

44:56

Justin: What was really amazing about this crocodile paper, I think, if I read the abstract correctly, the ratio of effective crocodiles, you know, crocodiles that are in the effective population versus the total population was .05, so, I think that means that for every 95 crocodiles, oh, sorry, for every 100 crocodiles, 95 of them would not be a part of the breeding pool. Only 5 of those 100 crocodiles would be actively breeding. Is that the right way to interpret that?

Patrick: Ah, I think the genetic variability is low enough that effectively that's, it's not that only 5 breeding for every 100, it's just that genetically it might as well be that way. 

Justin: Right.

Ryan: Wow.

Justin: That's pretty incredible. 

Music

Justin: So, I've also heard that, um, ah, the wolfman is a part of a small effective population size.

Ryan: Listen, Justin, they prefer werewolves. Okay? 

Justin: Oh, I'm sorry.

Ryan: Wolfman is an outdated, racist term.

Justin: I've never actually seen a wolfwoman. 

Ryan: Well, you haven't been looking very hard. Listen, you know, just because they all look the same to you.

Justin: I thought that only men were susceptible to the ah…

Patrick: Lycanthropy. 

Ryan: Lycanthropy. I pronounce it Lycanthropy. 

Patrick: Either way. I will again, point you guys in the direction of two excellent movies that make the round on the Sci-Fy Channel. Ginger Snaps and Ginger Snaps Back

Laughter.

Justin: You mentioned these last time and I've no idea what they are. 

Patrick: Female werewolf movies. You should line them up on your Netflix cues. Yeah, so, Ryan and I are going to lead you out of The Astounding Wolfman, Vol. 1.

Ryan: Yeah, take that Justin!

Justin: Apparently I am the odd man out. 

Patrick: Ah, Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard are the artists and the ah artist.

Ryan: Author and artist.

Patrick: Author and artist. That's not what I meant.

Justin: Is it a comic book or a graphic novel.

Ryan: It's a comic book. It's a collection of issues from the series of The Astounding Wolfman. Yes.

Justin: Right.

Patrick: And before, ah, Ryan, do you want to say anything about Robert Kirkman .

Ryan: Ah, sure. Robert Kirkman is a prolific writer who helms such titles as The Walking Dead and Invincible, um, and The Astounding Wolfman and is now a partner at Image and is ah… Oh! Battle Pope is another great series of his. He also wrote a bunch of stuff for Marvel but broke his exclusive contract to become a partner at Image, which is kind of a big deal and he has this theory that um, the big two, Marvel and DC should be used to make comics for kids and the independent companies like Image and Dark Horse and all the other independents should be used to make artistic, hard core comics for adults. But um…

Patrick: Hard core comics… is where the industry is headed.

Ryan: But, The Walking Dead and Invincible are both fantastic series and ah, Robert Kirkman has kind of created his own Invincible based super hero universe within Image that includes all of the original Invincible titles, or, all of the original, Image titles, ah, such as Savage Dragon and Spawn and Super Patriot and ah, Astounding Wolfman was his latest contribution to that universe. Ongoing series that's getting ready to wrap up about a werewolf superhero. Does that about sum it up Patrick?

Patrick: Ah, yeah. So, initially, so, I read this book when you loaned it to me after I complained about there being no werewolf protagonists when vampires are included in the story. And, ah, so you loaned me this book and in fact, there is a werewolf protagonist and there is a vampire in the story. So, I stand corrected. And when I initially read this book I thought, ah, it's not, it wasn't the greatest story, I thought. But going back and thinking about it I think the actual story is pretty good. I think if you just, there are a few details that really bug me. Um, but I think it actually could have been a pretty decent book with a few minor changes. What was your feeling on it Ryan?

Ryan: Well, what were the details that bugged you? I'm really curious.

Patrick: Um, okay, so one thing is that the protagonist, I forget his last name. Gary is his first name. 

50:05

Ryan: You've got the book in front of you, not me.

Patrick: Right. And they are at Willow Creek Camping Ground in Willow Creek Montana and the first panel has RVs and picnic tables and trash cans, so, you know, really, a blue collar campground. And Gary gets bitten at this campground, right. He's barely alive and they take him to the hospital and he's in a coma for awhile. Then he wakes up right and he's healing remarkably fast. Um, like, he's walking around the day after he gets out of the coma and he feels fine. Um, one month later, we cut to his, I guess his name's Gary Hampton. we cut to his estate and it's huge. It's like Bruce Wayne style. What were you doing in an RV in a campground in Willow Creek Montana if you owned this enormous estate. 

Laughter

Patrick: That makes no sense. 

Justin: So, so, okay. Um, obviously I have no idea what's going on but does the wolfman wear tights? I mean, is he a tight-wearing, ah, superhero? 

Patrick: An excellent question and initially, no, he basically pulls the Incredible Hulk thing with, like, some shredded boxer shorts when he turns and he's not expecting it, otherwise he's nude.

Justin: Is this, basically, the recreation of the Incredible Hulk. Is he able to control his urges when he's a wolfman?

Patrick: So, initially, no. Right, so, the first full moon that happens he basically wakes up out of his coma for a full moon, right. Because he turns and that's that. And so, then he meets this vampire named Zachariah and Zachariah, initially seems to be all very helpful and he's going to teach Gary to control the transformation. So then, pretty soon, Gary is able to change whenever he wants. And he thinks he's got it all under control. So, not so much Hulk, I guess. He can pretty much change when he wants. He has to be at night, he can't wonder around as a werewolf during the day. But at night he can change when he wants.

Ryan: Apparently, Robert Kirkman, the initial conception for this idea, was a werewolf with a domino mask. And, ah, a domino mask in superhero comic book “parlance” is the, ah, mask that just covers the eyes kind fox like what Robin in Batman and Robin wears. So, it's not the full head, but it's just the two little eye coverings. That's called a domino mask. So, he originally wanted, um, the Wolfman to have a domino mask but everyone else thought that was dumb. Because, why would a werewolf need to hide his face in anyway.

Patrick: Yeah. You don't know who he is anyway, in real life.

Ryan: Right. So…

Justin: Well, as you guys were describing this story you were saying that he was bitten in Willow Creek Montana and that's only 800 feet from the Canadian border. So, there could have been, ah, the werewolf that he was bitten by could easily have been Canadian which raises the question, is this character now part Canadian? Is he, does he gain dual citizenship by being ah, a Canadian werewolf but an American human?

Patrick: A Canadian werewolf in America. 

Justin: Yeah.

Ryan: I don't know if your citizenship changes once you're bitten by a werewolf. I think that's ah, I don't think that can change. 

Justin: Because, certainly he's, some kind of DNA transference has to occur in the werewolf bite, um, and so, technically, he might be partly Canadian. 

Ryan: Yeah, but if, I mean, to make an extreme example, if you went to Africa and got HIV which is virus and you're assuming that if it's changing your DNA it's some kind of viral compound. And you came back to the United States and tested positive for HIV no one would say oh, you were tested positive for HIV, a piece of DNA you picked up in Africa, therefore you are part African now, that's not logical. 

Justin: We might have to leave it up to the listeners and put a poll on our website. 

Ryan: Alright. 

Patrick: Yeah, okay. We can poll the listeners. 

Ryan: See the show notes and vote, let us know what you think.

Patrick: Um, okay, so, another thing that annoyed me about this book is that, like I said before, he's basically this Bruce Wayne figure, he's got all this money, and pretty quick into the story he starts to loose this money. He's getting, after the coma, he's getting pushed out of his company that he helped build and so the fact that he was rich, hardly, I mean, why, it didn't even need to be in the story and it would have made more sense for him to have been in the campground. I don't understand the rich billionaire side of this. Um, another thing that annoys me about this is, it's set in one of these universes where there's lots of, ah, super heroes running around, you know, sort of fighting crime in the streets. Are you familiar with this sort of setting Justin?

Justin: Ah, yeah. 

Ryan: We're supposed to be leaving him out. I don't even know why you're bothering to ask.

54:58

Patrick: Okay, good point. Oh yeah, so, one of these universes where there are super heroes fighting in the street. I prefer my superhero stories to be a lone vigilante not, you know, not a, the Tick, you guys ever watch that?

Ryan: So, Patrick, you don't like the concept of a shared universe?

Patrick: Ah, not so much. I like my super heroes working, I mean, I'm okay with ah… Actually, sometimes it works. So, X-Men, that situation works. But when this guy is running around fighting crime and he's just bumping into other superheroes. So, how do you feel about those Ryan? Are you okay with the multiple superheroes fighting crime in the city?

Ryan: Ah, the multiverse, well, not the multiverse. The multiverse is probably a different… the shared universe is an interesting concept. So, for the first, roughly 20 to 30 years of superhero comics, there was no such thing. Every superhero existed independently. Ah, except Batman and Superman, they were kind of together. But Marvel Comics, when they first kind of hit big in the 60's were the first company to really hammer home the idea of this shared universe. So, you'd have Spider-Man standing on top of a building and you'd see Thor fly by and then it had, you know, a little editors note “Want to see where Thor was going? Check Thor issue 77!”

Justin: They were advertisements for each other.

Ryan: Yes, it was, marketing more than anything else. 

Patrick: I think I could be okay with that, maybe. These other superheroes played too much of a role in this, I felt like. There was too much bumping into each other, I thought.

Ryan: Well, those other superheroes doesn't have their own title or anything like that so they were only existing in this book. Invincible, Robert Kirkman's other big superhero book does exist in the same universe and there is a point at which where Wolfman and Invincible cross over and have a couple things together but, ah, beyond that Wolfman is kind of on his own just knowing that he exists within this same world.

Justin: I see.

Patrick: I'm okay with the, the band, like, you know, I don't know if you guys ever watch the cartoon Justice League.

Ryan: Yes.

Patrick: So, I'm okay if you sort of set-up this operation where you're working together. I'm more okay with that than just everybody operating as an independent and bumping into each other in the streets without any kind of plan or any kind of coherent shifts or anything like that. No one's in charge, no one…

Ryan: You want a union is what you want.

Patrick: Kind of, yeah, I guess. 

Ryan: Well, funnily enough, Robert Kirkman wrote a book called Capes Inc and it's about a, um, it's about a company that hires superheroes to work a shift, basically. So…

Justin: Mmhmmm. It's very Watchmenesque.

Patrick: Yeah, that's not a, that's… go ahead Ryan.

Ryan: No, no, no, it's just, you know, you'd get hired to work for them and you'd work either the dayshift or the nightshift and you'd get salary and benefits and things like that for being a superhero. And that actually exists within the same universe as the Wolfman.

Patrick: That's actually a fairly common idea, I've seen that treatment a couple of times, I think.

Ryan: Where else.

Patrick: Um, on, I'm trying to think right now. I, used to, I don't so much anymore, listen to a podcast called Escapepod and that's a weekly science fiction story, basically. Basically an audiobook once a week except they are taking lesser known literature, a lot of times. But, occasionally there is a well known story. Um, and one of the recurring authors on that podcast has a treatment very similar to that. But I can't, I can't remember the title at the moment.

Ryan: The only book I can think of, there's a book called Ultra, um, Ultra subtitled Seven Days by the Luna brothers published also by Image but not really taking place within the same universe. And that is also has an agency that controls superhero activities.

Justin: I have to say, I'm not a big fan of this shared universe idea except for a few instances, um. Actually, no, I don't think these instances even count. Um, like in Watchmen where there's many superheroes but of course they only exist within the Watchmen universe and it's more…

Ryan: But they also only exist within that one book.

Justin: Yeah, that's what I just said and…

Patrick: They're also not even really superheroes right? They're just…

Justin: Well, there's one superhero…

Patrick: …vigilantes. There's one superhero.

Justin: Yeah. The point I'm trying to make is just that, ah, it's used more as a device to explore the idea, or the concept of superheroes not as a part of the, not as just an addition to the story arc. You know, it's a central concept for exploring the ideas. But I've never liked the shared universe idea.

Ryan: I just remembered that in Marvel comics in the 70's there was Luke Cage and Iron Fist who were the heroes for hire and they were ah, privately contracted superheroes. You would go to them and ask them for help and pay them.

Patrick: Okay, well, I'll just say…

60:00

Ryan: Real quickly, Patrick, I would like to know what you thought of the art in Astounding Wolfman.

Patrick: Um, art is okay. I guess the big the big deal is that it is Jason Howard's first big deal, right?

Ryan: Yeah. It's his first book that he's ever done.

Patrick: So, it's as good, I mean, you wouldn't necessarily know that. I mean, I don't think it's the best art I've ever seen but it certainly doesn't stand out as amateurish in any way. So, I think it's definitely good enough.

Ryan: It's perfectly capable of telling the story. I was, at no point, confused about what was going on.

Patrick: Right. Um, I will, quickly, Ryan, and if you want to add anything to this. So, Zachariah, the werewolf that's helping Gary to figure out, kind of control his powers

Ryan: Do you want to have a spoiler warning here?

Patrick: Um, I guess so. Yeah. And so I'll, so after that spoiler warning I'll mention that, so, Gary still looses control on the full moon. He turns into a werewolf and he can't really control himself and Zachariah appears to be using that to his advantage sometimes and it's also, we are becoming less and less sure that Zachariah is 100% helping Gary and he may have an ulterior motive but you don't find out exactly what's going on in volume 1. I'm still not sure if he's friend or foe.

Ryan: Well, I actually really like the whole idea that, ah, Gary still looses control once a month because that's the big problem I have with the werewolf idea is that, ah, you know, with the vampire. The vampire is still in control and they have this decision to make whether or not they want to suck on human blood or not. Well, with a werewolf, traditionally, it's just been once a month, you loose control and go crazy like the Hulk and the rest of the time they're just normal. And I like the idea that most of the time he can control the change and he's cognizant and aware and is fighting crime but once a month he does have that loss of control so there's still this element of the horror monster, ah, taking over.

Patrick: Yeah, so like I said, there's some, it actually could be a good story and I think I really could have enjoyed it a lot more with a few minor, sort of twists in the story telling. 

Ryan: Well, more spoiler warnings, we find out later that there is a tribe of older werewolves.

Patrick: That's right. The old brood I think it's called, or something like that.

Ryan: That's actually a cool idea.

Justin: Yeah. 

Ryan: I haven't actually picked up volume 2, I should, but…

Patrick: So, basically the idea is that, if you were bitten by one of the original werewolves or somebody close to the original werewolf, you are stronger than if you've gotten a watered down bite from a…

Ryan: Yes. The closer you are to the source of the original werewolf infection or whatever, the more powerful you are as a werewolf. 

Patrick: And that's a cool idea, yeah.

Ryan: Yeah. 

Patrick: So, what do you think Justin? Are you going to read it?

Justin: Ah, I think I'll pass.

Ryan: Really?

Justin: Yeah. I'm not so interested. 

Ryan: In werewolves or in our description of the book.

Justin: Um, I think the ah, multiple, ah, I think, I think exploring the werewolf on its own would have been interesting. I don't think this inclusion, this inclusion of other superheroes turns me off a bit. 

Ryan: Really? I'm so surprised. The whole shared universe is such a revolutionary idea back in the day.

Justin: Ah, that was a long time ago. I'm more of a, I guess I'm more of a separatist. I like separate stories and, typically I enjoy books that are cut off from the larger universe. Like the, the Batman stories and the Superman stories I enjoy are ones where they're not, they're not involving other characters. So, they're superhero characters that are popular. 

Ryan: That's fair. 

Patrick: I'll chime in there quickly and say that I think part of what makes superheroes interesting is the fact that they basically are alone in the universe and when you start adding other superheroes into the mix I think that changes some of what makes their psyche intriguing. 

Justin: Yeah, I think I'd agree. 

Ryan: See, I almost disagree, completely, because I think part of the, what makes Superman and or Batman super interesting is when they are standing next to each other. Because, they are both, they both have the same goal of justice and stopping crime but their methods and mentality about that is so different and dynamic, I think that's a really interesting angle to explore.

Justin: Yeah, I think I should put in there that it's something that can be well done and occasionally I do enjoy cases where it is well done. Especially contrasting something like Superman and Batman and, you know, there's been some great stories involving both of them. But generally, I think I'm not a big fan.

Ryan: That's fair.

Patrick: Alright.

Ryan: Well, if you disagree and think The Astounding Wolfman sounds like a pretty good read you can go to our show notes and you can find a link to Amazon to buy the book yourself and check it out and let us know what you think.

65:02

Patrick: Otherwise, we'd love to hear from you about anything else we talked about in this show. You can email me at patrick@sciencesortof.com.

Ryan: And me at ryan@sciencesortof.com.

Justin: Or myself at justin@sciencesortof.com

Ryan: And quickly, speaking of feedback, we did get a little bit of feedback on episode 1, our Superman photosynthesis vs photovoltaic argument. I'd like the point out that the poll on the website currently, currently, and I think we're going to see a change, any day now, says that 86% feel that Superman is photovoltaic versus 14% that say he is photosynthetic. 

Justin: I think I'm the 14%.

Ryan: Okay, well, we did get some listener feedback on this from Jameson.

Patrick: Wow.

Ryan: And what Jameson had to say was that he is both. Photosynthesizing, high strength collagens and invulnerability. And photovoltaic producing ion gradients for super strength. 

Justin: I think he should ah…

Ryan: What do you guys think about that?

Justin: I think he should go into politics. That's a very politically correct way to go.

Ryan: So you say he's sitting on the fence, you don't think he was actually making a strong enough stance?

Patrick: I heard another comment that was that he had, that he must be photovoltaic, there must be some capacitors involved in order to turn the sun's energy into that much energy. Which we kind of touched on in that first podcast.

Ryan: It's hard because it's all fictional.

Patrick: When it's all make believe.

Laughter.

Justin: Right. It's hard to loose and it's hard to win. I guess you can loose in the arena of popular opinion.

Ryan: You could still be right. When has the popular opinion necessarily been the correct?

Justin: Absolutely.

Ryan: Slavery used to be popular Justin.

Patrick: The wisdom of crowds.

Justin: The wisdom of crowds.

Patrick: I disagree. Crowds are stupid.

Music.

Justin:Thanks for listening. See us next week on Science… sort of. 

Ryan: Bye!

Patrick: Sayonara 

Justin: Hasta la vista.

Patrick: Toodles. Noodles.

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Ryan: I put Toodles Noodles in the show.

Patrick: That was hasta la pasta.

Ryan: And you guys said stupid stuff. I mean, we are talking about experimental psychology, that about as sordid as it gets.

Justin: Right. We'll have to experiment with that aspect but in a bar setting… 

Patrick: I got nothing.

Justin: Long awkward pause.

Laughter.

Transcript of Science... sort of Episode 3: Going to the Dark Side

Transcript of Science... sort of Episode 3: Going to the Dark Side