Twitter, Bob Borbon Bob, Beatles discussed on Live From Here with Chris Thile


Friday. I'm John, Dan. Kofsky reflejo is away later this hour. We'll be talking meteorology and hearing what volcanoes have to say. But I it's not always easy being an aunt your small your fragile your easily stepped on. If you leave the nest you've gotta worry about hungry birds mammals, maybe clunky human feet. And if you thought that you'd be safe deep in your big nest with all your friends think again, there's something there to disguised by smell snacking on hapless workers and even eating your young here with a tale of horror and others short subjects in sciences. Emily new. It's a science journalist and author based in San Francisco, Emily, welcome back to the show. Hey, thanks for having me. So what is stalking these poor? And since a terrible story. It is a terrible a tale of terror. So this comes from an article by a couple of scientists, Wendy more and Andrea digiorno, and they were researching a typical ground beetle called Ozan a- la- multi, and it turns out that this beetle has a really unusual relationship with ants. It's not unusual for Beatles to hunt. Ants. And you know, there are a lot of beetles are predators. But these beetles live with aunts in oak trees throughout their entire life cycle. So the females lay their eggs in the ant nest. They disguise themselves by covering their bodies in smells that the ants recognizes friendly, smells because answer blind. And they kind of navigate the world through smell, and as these beetles grow older as they become larvae. And then adults they feed on the ants by piercing their abdomens and sucking the fluids out. It sounds terrible. So all that. How did they discover this particular beetle doing this particular thing? So these are scientists who were looking at Beatles who are living kind of in concert with aunts. And they discovered that this particular beetle, unlike others wasn't just sort of chomping down on the whole aunt. They were looking at the inside of their guts, and sort of looking at what was in their stomachs, and they found that these particular beetles had this odd paste in their stomachs, which showed them that they had evolved. Specifically choose suck that guts out of ants. And that also this gave them more clues about how much of the ants. How much of the Beatles? Life cycle was spent among the aunts. And so they spent time in Arizona right at the border with Mexico, observing these beetles in their natural habitat in oak trees with aunts and came up with a lot of data from that. And then brought one of the beetle larvae home with them to observe. Eating ants up close and the ants. Don't just get together an attack these beetles because they smell really good. That's right because they have the ability to kind of cover their bodies with a assent that the ants recognize as being kind of a home center, a friend sent aunts. Navigate the world by smell. And there are a lot of insects, beetles mites. Other creatures that sneak into ant nests all the time and disguise themselves with smell. It's kind of like putting on an invisibility cloak, and it's a great way to protect yourself. If you're a Beatles because ant nests are really safe. All right. So let's move on from that somewhat. Disturbing story to story about Twitter, which can in its own way, be disturbing. It turns out that our tweets are kind of predictable. Like, I guess this isn't news to some of us. But what are we learning about the predictability of our tweets? This is a really interesting story. So a couple of researchers data scientists and psychologists looked at the. Twitter streams of about nine hundred and fifty people and what they did was they took. I'll give you an example like say, you're Bob, and you have a Twitter stream. You've tweeted a bunch of stuff the question. They had was how easy would it be to predict your next tweet? So they take all of Bob's tweets. They feed them into the algorithm, they're using which is a predictive algorithm. And they find out that by looking at Bob's pass tweets they can predict with fifty three percent accuracy. What the first word of his next tweet will be. That's when things get weird because then they started looking at all of Bob's closest friends on Twitter. So they said all right. Who were Bob's? Who are the fifteen people that Bob tweets that the most those are we're gonna call those Bob's friends. And if they look at the combined tweets of Bob's fifteen friends, they can then predict the first word of Bob's next tweet with fifty seven percent accuracy. So it's actually. More like, your friends tweets are more predictive of what you'll say next, then your own tweets are and then it gets even weirder. Because that means conclude the researchers that we can even predict what you might tweet. If you're not on Twitter, we can predict what you might not even on Twitter, you might be able to tell just by looking at what your friends tweet. That's right. Because when when Bob signed up for Twitter or just then keep picking on Bob Borbon Bob signed up for Twitter Twitter said would you like to upload your contacts list? And this is something that lots of social platforms. It's not just Twitter and Facebook does it what's up does it. And so Bob uploads his contact and Alice's in his contacts and Alice doesn't use Twitter, but she now is known to Twitter because they have her contact information, and maybe fourteen other people also have Alice's contact information. So now, even though Alice is not a member of Twitter and has never tweeted in her. Life those fifteen people's tweet streams can predict what she might say next. And for now, you know, we're only predicting kind of unimportant words that people might say. But the researchers say that soon this kind of algorithm could predict important words like how you feel about a presidential candidate. Or how you feel about a brand of soap? And that's the kind of information that political parties want institutions, want advertisers want. And that's why there's so much pressure to be coming up with algorithms that are even better at doing this. All right. Well, that actually that's even scarier than the in story now worried about this to all right? We're going to get to one more story. Here you found something interesting about what happens in our brain. When we're enjoying music. So tell us what's happening. So this comes from a study by neuroscientists who are actually just interested in weather, our enjoyment of music is caused by dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that's associated with lots of different kinds of good feelings and a sense of accomplishment and things like that. So. What they did was. They gave test subjects a common drug. That's actually use a lot in Parkinson's disease is called leva dope. And it's a precursor for dopamine that just allows dopamine to circulate more on your brain and be taken up by nerves in your brain. And so what they found was that people who were under the influence of leave a dope were likely to pay more money for music that they enjoyed then people who were not on leave a dope, and in people who had actually had dopamine dampened dopamine transmission dampened in their brains. So basically, we have drug that makes you willing to pay more money for music. But only very quickly only music that you like or any music on typically, this was music that people liked so you couldn't get, you know, someone who hated country music to suddenly be willing to spend tons of money on country music. Okay. That's the that's the code. They still need to crack. I suppose. In the music business. That's all the time. We have I want to thank our guest. Once again, Emily new. It's a science journalist and author in San Francisco. Thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate your having me. Oh announced time to check in on the state of science. This is your WWE St Louis. Radio news a local science stories of national significance. New England salt Marsh can certainly seemed like a bucolic spot with those bushy reads dotting the landscape at those tall Reed like plants that we think of as quintessentially New England and a big part of the Marsh ecosystem are actually an invasive species called frag mighties, and it's choking out life in the wetland Fragmin as is tough to get rid of and recent efforts have gotten even more complicated because of climate change. Here's that story. Now is Barbara Moran. Environmental editor at WBZ. You are in Boston. Hi there, Barbara, hey, how you doing John doing? Well. So there's been a long campaign to get rid of frag mighties across New England and elsewhere and marshy areas why why are people trying to get rid of him? Yeah. It's funny because it's actually kind of a pretty plant and people hate hearing me say that about sort of public enemy number one. As far as invasive species in marshes and salt marshes are really important part of that New England ecosystem, and the frag mighties is a really tough invader that can come and crowd out the native mar species. I talked to Liz doff when I was researching the story she's been studying sought marshes her mass Audubon for more than two decades. And she really laid out the case for why we should be getting rid of fragments and here's a cut from her when there's less. Brag mighties it's easier safer migrating birds to find a place to land. It's easier for our needed grasses to thrive. It competes for things like golden ride, which is important food for migrating monarch butterflies. So there's definitely disadvantages for having the Fragmin news around. So this is why people been trying to get rid of them for years. But now there's some questions about whether or not we should just leave those frag mighty someplace what are they finding? Yeah. This is really interesting. So I should say it's also fragment. He's is really really hard to kill. You know, like they they when they tried to kill. They do stuff like cracking its neck open and dripping poison down with an eyedropper. Are they try flooding it, and it it often just comes back? So it takes a lot of resources to try and kill. Well, it and the questions have been rising for the past couple of years about whether frag mighties might might actually provide some useful. You know, what they call ecosystem services, especially with growing concerns about climate change. So what what does it do? Why might actually help us combat climate change? Yeah. So it's really interesting study came out of the Smithsonian last fall by scientist named Ian Davidson. And he found kind of ironically that the same stuff that makes frag mighty such a tough invader. The fact that it's really tall. It has deep roots. It grows really close together. All these things actually make it sequester carbon better than the native species. So frag mighties can take carbon out of the atmosphere, and when it decomposes into Pete it actually can sequester carbon better. There's also this other evidence that fragment he's just because there's it's a bulky this such biomass that it can buffer these marshes. Against sea level rise. So these are a couple sort of maybe pluses for this invasive species that people are starting to sort of look at make make look at this plant a little differently. Susan maybe make make friends with the enemy over time. The enemy that they've been trying to get rid of her all these years. Exactly. I know they're not quite quite there yet. I mean, everybody was very quick to say don't go out and plant Fragmin, as you know, we're not we're not there yet biodiversity is still the most important thing for marshes. But you know, they're they're starting to talk. You know, we're living in those really high CO two world climate change advancing more quickly than expected, and we're really going to have to start looking at things in different ways. We go forward. Maybe Barbara Moran is environmental editor WBZ in Boston. She's been following the story force, Barbara thanks so much for joining us. I appreciate it. Thanks is great. When we come back your local forecast. How different is it today from what it was say one hundred years ago, stay with us because there's a one hundred percent chance. We'll be right back after this short break..

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