Welcome to STEMology – Show Notes
Season 1, Episode 29
Fossilized Lolly Lovers, Glowphers, Mozart Effect, Chinese Ancient Space Secret
In today’s episode of STEMology…
Sophie & Dave will discuss cavities found in ancient mammals teeth, fluorescent gophers and other animals, the calming effect of Mozart’s sonata on epileptic brain activity and the mystery surrounding the first supernova spotted over China
The reason they say this is important, is dietary shifts are important ecological events affecting the biology of extinct animals. These events provide information for understanding how and why species immigrate, emigrates, go extinct, compete with others, adapt and evolve.
They actually went to the Georgia Museum of Matural History and looked at all the archived pocket gopher species. And they found that those also emitted biofluorescent. So even like the dead ones that have been hanging around in a museum for a bunch of years, still glow under UV light.
They also cite this paper, which is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the effect in the first place, which is that K448 (the Mozart Sonata) reduces interictal discharge activity in subjects who are comatose.
Listen to the Mozart Sonata Two Pianos in D (K448) here
So in Chinese astronomy, a guest star is a star, which has suddenly appeared in a place where no star had previously been observed and then becomes invisible again after some time
This is a “kind of, sort of, vaguely close” copy of the words that David & Sophie speak in this episode.
IT IS NOT 100% accurate. We are very sorry if we have spelt something completely incorrectly. If it means a lot to you to have it corrected, email us at email@example.com
[00:00:00] Sophie: Welcome to episode 29 of STEMology.
[00:00:03] David: a podcast sharing some of the interesting fun, and sometimes just patently bizarre news in science, technology, engineering, or maths.
[00:00:11] Sophie: Your hosts are Dr. David Farmer and Dr. Sophie Callabretto
[00:00:15] David: in today’s exciting episode of STEMology, we’ll be chatting about fossilized lolly lovers, glowphers,
[00:00:21] Sophie: The Mozart effect and an ancient Chinese Space Secret.
Fossilized lolly lovers
[00:00:27] David: Sophie. Do you have any cavities?
[00:00:29] Sophie: Uh, no, not right now. I think I had, I’ve had like one filling on an adult tooth and that’s because I have very fissured back teeth
[00:00:38] David: Ooh,
[00:00:39] Sophie: So at what is, cause one of my Fisher’s seals came out and we didn’t realize, and then stuff got in there and we had to do it. What are we talking about?
[00:00:46] David: So our new study has discovered the oldest known cavities found in a mammal 54 million years ago. this animal Microsyops latidens a pointy-snouted animal no bigger than a raccoon, part [00:01:00] of a group of mammals known as stem primates, which means that they’re now extinct that walk the earth for 500,000 years before going extinct about 54 million years ago.
[00:01:08] Sophie: Can I tell you something very fun about this particular, uh, stem primate
[00:01:12] David: I would love it if you did
[00:01:13] Sophie: apparently it appears to have had a more developed sense of smell than the other early primates
[00:01:18] David: How do they know that?
[00:01:19] Sophie: I don’t know, but it was on the
[00:01:21] David: it’s like in Jurassic park when Alan Grant goes, don’t move, its vision is based on movement. It’s like, how would you know that from fossils?
[00:01:28] Sophie: You know, fossil eyes and the rods and cones are preserved somehow. And no, that’s not real. I loved Jurassic park, but there,
[00:01:37] David: I do too. It’s a great movie.
[00:01:38] Sophie: But there are some problems for sure.
[00:01:40] David: you posted. It was problematic,
[00:01:41] Sophie: yeah, so,
[00:01:42] it’s not just kids eating candy, Dave, apparently everyone was getting cavities in the past and they think it had to do with their highly fruited diet.
[00:01:51] David: Frugivorous. Frugivorous means fruit eating animal, and these animals are frugivorous.
[00:01:56] Sophie: Love that didn’t know that.
[00:01:58] David: Yeah. That’s what I learned when I [00:02:00] was researching this article. Um, and so the story here seems to be that. So when you find fossil teeth, they’re often damaged and basically people apparently paleontologist, presumably had presumed that this damage was part of the fossilization process or part of damage to the tooth that occurred after the
[00:02:18] Sophie: animal
[00:02:18] David: the
[00:02:19] Sophie: Yeah. Like just where over time anyway, like, you know yeah, for sure.
[00:02:22] David: So the story here seems to be that no, Some of this is due to damage that occurs when the animal is actually alive and therefore can tell us something about how the animal lived and specifically what it ate.
[00:02:32] Sophie: Yes. so I think as you said, they sort of assume that these holes and the damage, you know, it just happened over time naturally, or part of the fossilization process, et cetera. But the weird thing was that these, this damage always occurred in the same part of the tooth and it had a consistently smooth rounded curve, which is a bit weird. If you’ve got a bunch of fossilized teeth, it’ll all have this sort of same kind of smooth rounded curve So apparently, yeah, This particular M Latidens, as in the fossil,[00:03:00] there are very few fossils of the entire body, but apparently they’ve just got like a heck ton of teeth.
[00:03:05] Right. they all, they started being unearthed in the seventies, in Wyoming, Southern Big Horn basin, and then they’ve studied,
[00:03:12] David: It’s like my favorite basin.
[00:03:13] Sophie: is it?
[00:03:13] David: I don’t know.
[00:03:14] Sophie: okay? I was going to make like, Well, mine is this. And then I just could not think of a single other basin in existence
[00:03:21] David: Well, I can’t either. That’s why this one is now my favorite
[00:03:23] Sophie: Also big horns, a great word. and, Uh, yeah, this is the first time that we’ve actually looked at these in terms of cavity. So let’s quickly get into cavities, Dave. So cavities form and bacteria in the mouth turns food containing carbohydrates into acid. So basically what you do is when you eat things and you don’t brush your teeth. You eventually start acid washing your teeth. And then that will erode at the tooth enamel, which is our hard, protective, outer layer before eating away at the dentin, which is the softer part of the tooth beneath the en, enamel.. And then if you don’t do anything and you just keep eating away at the dentin that makes holes so this is what I learned. Cavity hole. The paper [00:04:00] constantly refers to dental caries. And I was like, what is a dental caries? Is that same as a cavity? No. So a carries just tooth decay. So you know how you can have like decay without having a whole yet. So a dental caries is like any kind of decay, but a cavity is obviously like a cavity
[00:04:15] David: That’s interesting. I thought they meant the same thing. yeah, so they had to do some fancy stuff in order to do this in fossils, because in present day you can spot caries due to discoloration, apparently. So you can do something that dentists and scientists called “looking” at the tooth to identify the cavity.
[00:04:32] and also, apparently when, when you get to that dentin level, it’s a bit, it makes the tooth a bit, well, you get to the squishy bit, so you can take a dental probe and poke it. You can do what scientists and dentists called poking. So by looking and poking, you can identify cavities and people, but because these teeth are fossilized, you can’t do that because apparently, these teeth are black because that’s the rock they’ve been assumed from is black and they’re fossilized.
[00:04:57] So they’re black teeth. So you can’t look for discoloration. [00:05:00] Yeah. So the only thing they could do was look for the characteristic shape and they did some fairly in-depth analysis on the shape of the tooth, which I’m hoping you’re going to explain to me.
[00:05:09] Sophie: Oh, the bit that I really got into was just the things that they were looking for. So as you said, they were looking for that smooth, rounded lesion. That’s your number one to identify the, um, what did I say is not a cavity? Caries,Carie, thank you. Then we’re also looking for sclerotic dentine, which apparently what happens is when you kind of wear away at the top and then you start wearing away at the dentine.
[00:05:31] the tooth tries to like, well, you try to help yourself and your tooth and you get this mineralized material kind of filling the gaps to prevent further destruction and The structure is slightly different and that’s called sclerotic dentine. So they were looking for that. So apparently that’s also something you can see.
[00:05:47] And then they were also looking for the presence of caries in hard to reach places. And then I just had this image of this, like we had like raccoon sized, like rodent, primate, like trying to brush its teeth and not being able to Like reach. And then it turns [00:06:00] out, they mean like its tongue couldn’t reach
[00:06:02] David: Oh yeah. So it’s, it’s not like it has a tooth in the middle of its back that it can like go out and just reach.
[00:06:07] Sophie: and then, so that was the looking, but then yet to verify this, they did some micro CT scan. So you micro CT is a type of x-ray
[00:06:15] David: Yeah, so that it’s some topographical analysis, which I didn’t really understand, which cause it involved maths.
[00:06:20] Sophie: Well, topographical is just like, you’re looking at a topography. So you’re looking at kind of a shape, a landscape of a surface.
[00:06:27] David: But even from the CT scan. So this is like three-dimensional reconstructions of the tooth and the jaw, um, even just eyeballing them and looking at the lesions in the tooth, you could see these like scooped out regions that like, if you presented them to a non-expert person and said, spot the cavities, they might say, well, there they are.
[00:06:44] it was pretty convincing like that that’s where they would be.
[00:06:47] Sophie: Yeah.
[00:06:48] I agree. So what was interesting though? And so you talked about how this can sort of tell you things about what these animals ate. so, what they did is they looked at 1,030 fossilized teeth individually and they found [00:07:00] 77 of them had cavities,
[00:07:02] David: I think it’s1,030 like animals.
[00:07:05] Sophie: sorry. Yeah, Yeah.
[00:07:05] no, not individual teeth. Yeah. no, sorry. So fossilized teeth of 1,030 individuals as an individual animals. Yes, yes,
[00:07:13] yes. Yeah.
[00:07:14] David: Cause they, they talk about there’s this bit where they talk about how do they determine the number of individuals based on the number of teeth. And they use like the minimum individual number, which is this conservative way of doing this.
[00:07:23] Sophie: Yeah. And so that, and they had cavities in 77 of the individuals. Yeah. And so that’s 7.4, 8%. Right. But then I think, like, I wasn’t quite clear, but it looks like then they looked at kind of them, they grouped these individuals in terms of kind of like time periods. And what they found was that for a more recent group, it was actually 17.24% of the more recent group contained cavity. So like as a whole, it was 7% ish. But then for this more recent group, it was 17% ish, which would suggest that their diet has shifted to include more kind of fruit and other sugar rich [00:08:00] foods. And what I did not know, Dave that fruit became more abundant around 65 million years ago.
[00:08:05] David: I was not aware of that. Didn’t know that about fruit, I know as much about fruit, as I know about basins, which is very little.
[00:08:11] Sophie: Yeah.
[00:08:12] I don’t, I like vegetable better than fruit. To be honest, I’d rather eat my five a day of vegetables.
[00:08:17] David: Yeah. So basically it seems like this corresponding increase in the amount of fruit correspondent with these animals getting more cavities, which makes kind of rough sense. And they also say to as evidence of the fruit in general, so they can trust it, their results with studies in primates today. So apparently.
[00:08:35] Caries are very rare in the wild, for example, in wild chimpanzees, with only 0.7% of the population tend to get, cavities. but if you look at animals like tamarins
[00:08:47] Sophie: Which are my favorite, Dave? My, uh, golden lion tamarin is one of my favorite animals in the world. And I’m like, I got a sweet tooth. Tamarins got sweet tooth. I understand this connection now.
[00:08:59] David: I are [00:09:00] tamarin. So basically they’re known, we’ve watched them consume high levels of sugar, rich foods, like fruit and SAP, and the results and frequencies are very similar. And these fossils, as they are to this animal, therefore they consume fruits. We conclude..
[00:09:14] Sophie: Yeah,
[00:09:15] David: this is important. They point out.
[00:09:16] So the, the reason they say this is important, is it dietary shifts are important ecological events affecting the biology of extinct animals. These events provide information for understanding how and why species immigrate, emigrates, go extinct, compete with others, adapt and evolve.
[00:09:31] Sophie: Right. And then, so who knew that cavities were so good at science? Like telling us all of these things from teeth, love it. brush your teeth, you tamarins.
Dave from teeth to pocket glue glue. [00:10:00] Goddammit. I’ve tried to say gophers, that can glow in the dark and I couldn’t even read the sentence.
[00:10:04] David: Desco golfers, if you will.
[00:10:06] Sophie: Disco gophers. So Dave, this is some work that’s coming out of the University of Georgia. And then I’m just going to quote the media release just for a second because it made me giggle.
[00:10:15] So we’ve got these researchers that found that feisty solitary round cheeked pocket gophers are biofluorescent. So they give up a colored glow when you aluminate them with UV light.
[00:10:26] David: Why,
[00:10:27] why should it be.
[00:10:29] Sophie: Well, I feel like the first question is like, why are you illuminating things with UV light? Leave them alone. But also then the question is why would they biofluoresce??
[00:10:36] Which is really, yeah. So quickly. Cause we’ve done luminescence, we’ve done fluorescence, we’ve done all the bunch of
[00:10:42] David: All the kinds of glowing.
[00:10:43] Sophie: All the times of going to, just to reiterate. So, biofluorescent so the bio is just like, these are happening in animals. Fluorescence is when, and because it’s, it works with UV light.
[00:10:52] So we’ve got UV light, which is very high frequency. It’s being absorbed by something. And then it’s being readmitted [00:11:00] at a lower energy which then turned into visible light because visible light is lower energy. And so then we can see it. So we already knew that like a bunch of animals did this, but then apparently since 2019 identifying mammals that could bio fluoresce became like this it thing.
[00:11:17] And then this is what this study is based on sort of.
[00:11:20] David: Yeah. So I went into this. So apparently this has been previously described in animals like the flying squirrel, which is a nocturnal animal.
[00:11:27] Sophie: that would be the bubblegum pink, glowing
[00:11:30] David: That’s
[00:11:30] Sophie: squirrel
[00:11:31] David: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:11:31] Sophie: is that I wished I glowed bubblegum pink.
[00:11:34] David: Fluorescence in varying intensities of pink was observed in females and males of all extent species. And this raises this really interesting question of why, because so, and they say it because they see a nocturnal animals, but not diurnal animals, which are animals that, do the opposite.
[00:11:50] so basically one of the ideas is that it’s important for their vision somehow. And there’s some evidence for that because apparently if you look at the lenses of the [00:12:00] eye of the flying squirrel and they’re capable of transmitting UV light, so UV light will go through them.
[00:12:06] Whereas when you look at diurnal squirrels, these lenses filter that light. So. Even if animals do biofluorescent the animals they’ve looked at that are diurnal they’re are awake during the day, can’t even see the UV frequencies because the lens, won’t have it through.
[00:12:22] so they say one of the other things, one of the most. So there’s a bunch of reasons that I find them all fascinating. And this was in a different paper by someone called Kohler. but one of the most interesting ones was that co-occurring Barred owls and great horned owls are known predators of flying squirrels that also display display bright pink or magenta UV fluorescence on their ventral surfaces.
[00:12:42] So basically they say, because these animals are present in the same habitats and one eats the other, the squirrels are pretending to be owls basically. So the eye will see the fluorescence and are just basically like, “oh yeah, whatever, it’s an owl. I’m not going to eat that. Cause it’s like, it might be Jeff”.
[00:12:58] Sophie: About Yeah I don’t want to eat, Jeff, I don’t want [00:13:00] to be that guy who accidentally eats Jeff. So it’s interesting. So I ended up reading papers out platypuses. So apparently, yeah. So he said this happens to a lot of things. So this is. The paper that we talked about right now, as in the original paper we were meant to be talking
[00:13:11] David: Yeah, I probably carried away.
[00:13:13] Sophie: no, don’t worry because I’m about to talk about some other paper as well.
[00:13:16] But Yeah,
[00:13:16] so this is the first time biofluorescent has been documented in pocket gophers. Uh, by the way, if you Google a pocket gopher, it’s just a gopher, Dave, like, I Don’t know why, like it’s a cute name, but fun fact, a pocket gopher is classed as a prohibited new organism under the New Zealand. hazardous substances and new organisms act 1996, preventing them from being imported to the country because,
[00:13:39] you know, in. New Zealand is just mainly native insects.
[00:13:41] I think They’re really not interested in anything that might eat an
[00:13:44] David: They’re big on they’re big on ground birds.
[00:13:46] Sophie: True. So they’re really into native animals that cannot defend themselves against predators. But, um, but yeah, so they, we knew about, so this is first time about the pocket gophers. We are new, as you said, we talked about, flying squirrels, apparently that [00:14:00] you’ve got your nocturnal spring hat, but we’ve got a bunch of Australian animals that also do this thing.
[00:14:04] So you’ve got your Platypus, which is where I ended up with, depending on the Platypus and where you shine the light and the intensity. It can be anywhere from purple to cyan, to green, which I love, also wombats, bandicoots and bilbies and, echidnas, but bilby is I went down a bilby rabbit hole. If you shine UV light at a bilby its ears and its tail but the rest of it doesn’t
[00:14:27] David: that’s weird.
[00:14:28] Sophie: Isn’t that weird. but Yeah.
[00:14:30] So in terms of The Platypus, the suggestion has been that it’s as kind of a cloaking device. So the idea is that at dusk and dawn, when there are more predators, there’s also more UV light and they’re absorbing the UV light. And then they’re kind of likere-emitting in a different way.
[00:14:47] They sort of, it’s like an invisibility cloak for a Platypus,
[00:14:50] David: yeah.
[00:14:50] Sophie: but yeah.
[00:14:50] So this particular, the study in the beginning, what they did was looking at the pocket gophers made words are hard.
[00:14:57] David: Go for it. Yeah, they are the pocket gophers, gophers for your [00:15:00] pockets.
[00:15:00] Sophie: Gophers, apparently in the wild, they emit this intense orange, pink glow, but then they actually went to the Georgia museum of natural history and looked at all the archived pocket gopher species. And they found that those also emitted biofluorescent. So even like the dead ones that have been hanging around in a museum for a bunch of years, still glow under UV light.
[00:15:21] David: Yes.
[00:15:21] Sophie: And the idea is that this probably like a there’s many proteins and stuff that they’ve identified, that’s in the animal tissue. That means that this, Yeah, so, I mean, that’s not going to deteriorate or anything it’s going to stay. So that probably makes
[00:15:32] David: so, and they say the, so about the state, that hypothesis was that because nocturnal animals have been shown to have this fluorescence for whatever reason. We’re not very sure why yet maybe what they describe as a fossorial mammals, which is what the gopher is, which means that it digs underground at burrows.
[00:15:47] And maybe it would be beneficial for them too, which is why they shine the light at it apparently. And when they did, as you say, it glowed bright orange pink with, and some individuals fluresce blue around [00:16:00] the mouth.
[00:16:00] Sophie: Hmm, which maybe they just ate a lot of ghost drops, you know, that rural blue candy, maybe it’s completely different. They just, they didn’t know.
[00:16:07] David: So, em, they make a point that it’s unlikely. So they have a bit of an argument with themselves where they say that pocket gophers don’t typically hang out above ground. So they tunnel an average of 20 centimeters below the ground. And their burrows typically have no opening to the surface when they’re just hanging out.
[00:16:22] Sophie: Okay.
[00:16:23] David: So it’s unlikely that it has to do with site enhancements or identification of other animals. Cause as you say, it needs incident light in order to work. And, but they do come above ground to move from their birth site to their breeding sites. So it may have something to do with identifying other animals under those circumstances for breathing breeding.
[00:16:42] Sorry, not for breathing. But yeah, as I pointed out earlier that the lenses of the eyes of the squirrels can transmit the light, whereas the day squirrels couldn’t. And, but it’s not even known whether the eyes of these gophers can see the lights. So we don’t even know if the gophers can identify.
[00:16:58] So we don’t know whether [00:17:00] or not they’re using it to identify other individuals of their species.
[00:17:03] Sophie: What a mystery, Dave.
[00:17:05] David: What a bloody mystery. What I liked about the paper was that they had a hypothesis and they were like, yeah, we find that they fluoresce and then they go in quite a lot of detail, the reasons why they don’t understand why, which I appreciate an, a paper when you, when you tell me a length, why you don’t know something.
[00:17:18] I appreciate that.
[00:17:19] Sophie: Yeah, It’s like you’ve thought about it for a while, you’ve had a fair whack. Still got no idea. Just be honest about it. Scientists love
[00:17:25] David: that shit. Love it.
[00:17:27] Sophie: Now, this is why I go grow and foot Dave Mozart was a brain wizard as well. I’ve captioned this story with
[00:17:45] David: He was a brain wizard. He was a wizard of the mind, apparently.
[00:17:49] Sophie: apparently. So apparently.
[00:17:50] there’s a specific Mozart Sonata that can calm epileptic brain activity. So this is some research that’s come out of Dartmouth college. And specifically we’re talking about [00:18:00] Mozart Sonata for two pianos in D major or K 448.
[00:18:04] David: Yes. I was highly skeptical about this w ere you highly skeptical about this.
[00:18:08] Sophie: Um, it, seems, I don’t wanna say improbable because like it’s published in a paper that has been peer reviewed and like, I’m not an expert in this particular topic, but this. sounds it’s a little bit crazy to me, Dave.
[00:18:21] David: It seemed I was skeptical, although there is some reasonable evidence. So there is a meta analysis and a meta analysis for anyone that doesn’t know is when you look at a whole bunch of other published studies and then using some quite complicated statistical techniques, combine all the results together.
[00:18:36] And try and come up with an overall picture of what’s going on. And apparently there is a meta analysis, which I am not qualified to interpret very well. that does show support for this idea that MozartK448,, and just for anyone know, the K number is the Kochel catalog number, which is a chronological catalog of compositions by Mozart created by Ludvig Von Kochel.
[00:18:57] Sophie: So I think just to, before we get into the details, Dave, [00:19:00] just to preface this, I’ve got a quote from one of the coauthors of the study, Robert Quan. And he says, our ultimate dream is to define an antiepileptic music genre and use music to improve the lives of those with epilepsy, which I love the, intention.
[00:19:15] but I also just love the phrase anti-epileptic music genre. Cause it sounds like does it stop epilepsy? Or they against people with epilepsy? In which case, like not really into that genre, like we’re all friends here.
[00:19:26] David: I’m a big fan of antiepileptic music, genre core, which is music that’s antiepileptic. That’s characterized by screaming, vocals. It’s a personal preference. I’m just more into it.
[00:19:35] Sophie: And, uh, yeah. Anyway, so back to the science, so we had, Dave, we had 16 patients who had already been hospitalized with a type of epilepsy called refractory focal epilepsy, and that’s big. And so the refractory here means that this type of epilepsy is not responding to medication. So this is why that they they’d been hospitalized and they were already, they had these kinds of brain implant sensors, or intracranial monitoring is what we call that.
[00:19:59] David: [00:20:00] Which is full on. Like, what they’ve done is it’s pretty full on
[00:20:02] Sophie: It’s nuts, like it’s in your brain. Yeah. And then there, refractory focal epilepsy through the folk who just means that the epileptic activity starts in one area of the brain, so that we’re monitoring these people for intracranial interictal epileptiform discharges, which have brief, but harmful brain events suffered by epileptics between seizures.
[00:20:21] So the idea is they’re already there, they’re monitoring and then Dave, they played 30 seconds of a song to them and it helped.
[00:20:27] David: Yeah. So they divided them into two groups. There were a 15 second group group, or a 90 second group, um, which is interesting in itself because they’re not playing the music for a long time. They’re there are short term acute measurements, which does kind of lend some weight to what they’ve done. I think, What they say is in particular, in the 90 second group, looking at the overall just absolute data, the number incidents of, interictal discharges, which are not quite seizures, basically.
[00:20:56] as you said, so they looked at the number of these and then the 90 second group. [00:21:00] After 30 seconds, they saw a statistically significant decrease in the number. They didn’t present the data for the 15 seconds. Presumably because they didn’t see anything, but they didn’t say that.
[00:21:11] Sophie: didn’t say that.
[00:21:13] David: Yes. And there’s a number of instances in the paper where I think they’re playing statistical silly buggers because they say two things interchangeably.
[00:21:22] They say. We observed statistically insignificant differences and we observed no statistical difference just for anyone who doesn’t know those two statements mean the same thing. They both mean there was no evidence of a difference, but one is misleading and the other is not. So they did that a few times and I didn’t like it, but nevertheless, I’m kind of convinced by their 90 second data, it looked reasonable to me.
[00:21:47] Sophie: Yeah. and so I think apparently there to there, this is called the so-called Mozart effect, and it’s actually been subject of research since scientists in 93, claimed people who had listened toK448 [00:22:00] for 10 minutes showed improved spatial reasoning skills. What this study did is they, they were interested in the structure of the piece and the response in terms of like where we are in the piece and what’s actually happening in the music.
[00:22:16] David: Yes, that’s right. So they did some analysis of the musical content of the piece, which I didn’t really understand. But basically my understanding was when they looked at this analytical method for breaking down what’s happening in the music. So basically when there are changes on the music, you’ll be able to see the changes on the music represented graphically.
[00:22:34] And what they observed was increased FITA brainwaves at areas where their transitions and the music, and this apparently corresponded with transitions that happen on the musical notation. And this leads them to suspect that what might be the benefit of. Raise the, so what, the reason for the beneficial effect of the music is the transitions in the music of themselves and a thing that happens.
[00:22:59] And one [00:23:00] of the reasons it’s suggested that music is pleasurable and why it gives us emotions is because we anticipate what’s going to happen. So we have this anticipation of what’s going to happen. And then when it happens, we get a little dopamine hit because we were right.
[00:23:14] And that’s why that’s like, and the extreme example of that is presumably when music gives you, you know, shivers down your spine,
[00:23:20] Sophie: Yeah.
[00:23:20] And so you’ve got a, just a positive, emotional response from kind of this sense of anticipation and. The thing happens that you’re anticipating. So, apparently David all has to do with the harmony though. Cause what they did is this is where I go into the paper.
[00:23:33] So they, they presented other types of auditory stimuli, such as other pieces of music. that were not K448, and then said even those from their preferred music genres. did you look at the music that they played for the music? Oh mate, so they only listed three. So apparently this group of 16 people and they either didn’t report everything or they all just had one of these three preferred, musical genres.
[00:23:57] There was classic country. So classical [00:24:00] Country, heavy metal and rock and roll. So some examples of songs they would play for classical country lovers was Tumbling Tumbleweeds by Sons of the Pioneers and Barbara Allen by Bradley Kincade. Heavy metal, Dave, they played Junky Later by Judas priests. And Just For by Nickelback, I’m sorry, weakling, Nickelback, heavy metal at
[00:24:21] no, And then for the rock and roll, it was Na Na Hey, Hey, Kiss Him Goodbye by Steam, which I love. And I’m Peggy Sue by buddy Holly. So those are just some examples of that. Obviously ask them, what’s your favorite music? They have picked songs from this preferred genre and, but you don’t get anything that is even similar.
[00:24:40] And then they went so far as to play the 90 seconds of Wagner’s prelude to act one of Lohengrin. Which is characterized by changing harmonies, but no recognizable melody. And did not produce any calming effect, Dave.
[00:24:54] David: Yes. And one of the most interesting things they did was they also played a filtered version of [00:25:00] K448.. So they said they boosted the gamma, which I understood to mean they boosted the fundamental frequencies of the piece. Was that your understanding as well?
[00:25:07] Sophie: I think that’s what the, Yeah. that’s what I took it to me.
[00:25:09] David: Yeah. So what they say was that that didn’t do anything.
[00:25:13] So they’re clearly getting, they’re trying, they’re doing something, which is the right thing to do, I think, which is they’re trying to look at why it should be that this piece does it. So they’re looking at two things. One was the transitions in the music. So is it the musical content? And the other they’re looking at is the frequency content.
[00:25:27] So the actual frequencies of the sound and trying to pick it out. and they say something. So they kind of contradict themselves here as well. So the filtered version of K448 didn’t do anything. And they say that’s because it may have decreased emotional salients, which is to say the frequency distortions made it less acoustically pleasurable.
[00:25:46] But that seems unlikely because they also cite this paper, which is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence for the effect in the first place, which is that K448 reduces interictal discharge activity in subjects who are comatose.[00:26:00]
[00:26:00] Sophie: Oh,
[00:26:00] David: So that’s, that’s an indication that something really interesting is happening at it’s not necessarily
[00:26:06] Sophie: It’s not about, yeah, it’s not about enjoyment or like how pleasurable it is. If you if you’re in a coma, I don’t know if you’re enjoying music necessarily.
[00:26:14] David: So, and they don’t really talk about, they actually go into the brain regions and they kind of break it all down and they’ve only got 16 patients. And I don’t know if they’re private to do that, but they’d look at all the regions and they don’t really talk about how that comatose states would relate to those, which I think is a really interesting point because that’s such a compelling piece of evidence for the effect in the first place.
[00:26:33] really interesting study. I really enjoyed.
[00:26:36] Sophie: Yeah, no. So did
Ancient Chinese Secret Space
[00:26:47] David: I feel like I can’t talk today.
[00:26:49] Sophie: I’m struggling with literally saying small sentences that I have written down verbatim. Can’t read, can’t read words are hard where the changing order numbers are changing order. [00:27:00] it’s called space madness. Dave, Speaking of space madness
[00:27:04] David: Speaking of space
[00:27:05] Sophie: A 900 year old cosmic mystery surrounding the origins of a famous supernova first spotted over China in 1181 BCE has finally been solved.
[00:27:16] David: That’s right. So apparently Sophie, I didn’t realize this, but there have been only five bright supernova in the Milky way in the last millennium, which from a human beings perspective is quite a long time.
[00:27:29] Sophie: and that’s not many. I mean, I have five fingers on one hand.
[00:27:33] David: that’s right. And we’re talking about all the stars in the Milky way, and there’ve been only five observed of these very dramatic observable, observable from earth explosions in the sky. and of these, the Chinese supernova also known as the Chinese guest star of 1181 has remained a mystery. So the other four in the last thousand years we’ve explained, and this one requires explanation.
[00:27:59] Sophie: and do you know why it’s [00:28:00] called the Chinese guest star? Dave?
[00:28:01] David: No, tell me.
[00:28:02] Sophie: So in Chinese astronomy, a guest star is a star, which has suddenly appeared in a place where no star had previously been observed and then becomes invisible again after some time. And the term is a literal translation from ancient Chinese astronomical records. So
[00:28:16] David: I was not
[00:28:17] Sophie: it it’s just a guest, right? Just visiting star.
[00:28:20] David: It’s a guest star put a little chocolate on his pillow. Cause he’s not staying
[00:28:24] Sophie: But don’t make it mint chocolate, everyone. Um,
[00:28:27] David: really tell like meant to wait, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
[00:28:28] Sophie: Okay.
[00:28:29] No, so here’s the thing about mint chocolate. It makes me feel like I’ve brushed my teeth and now I’m eating a chocolate.
[00:28:34] David: okay.
[00:28:35] Sophie: I like mint. I like the concept of mint. I like the flavor of mint. I love chocolate. I’ve got a real penchant for a chocolate. I don’t love them. I just feel like of all the things you could mix mint.
[00:28:45] David: We’re going to talk further about this, but, um, so the, the back to the guest star, the guest star, so this star was seen undocumented by Chinese and Japanese astronomers. And who said it was as bright as the planet Saturn, and it was visible for 185 days. And we’ve got very [00:29:00] specific information.
[00:29:00] It was from August the sixth, 1181 to February 6th, 1182, which is very, very specific.
[00:29:07] Sophie: Yeah. That’s like good records. They kept good records.
[00:29:11] David: so present day astronomers thought this might have been due to the supernova remnant G one 30.7 plus 3.1. But apparently this one is too old because that one is calculated as being about 7,000 years old and the way they work that out apparently, and correct me if I’m wrong is that they’ve been physically watching that gas cloud expand for 20 years, which means they can make very good calculations about how fast it’s expanding, which means they can work out pretty well how old it is.
[00:29:42] Sophie: Yeah, exactly. and so it turns out that the culprits, Dave, for our guest star are actually a fast expanding cloud or Nebula. As we discussed called PA 30 surrounding one of the hottest stars in the Milky way called Parker’s star. So apparently these two mates together, fit the [00:30:00] correct profile location and age of the historic supernovas.
[00:30:02] So they did exactly what you were talking about, but so for PA 30, they worked out that it’s expanding at a velocity of more than 1,100 kilometers, a second, which is real fast. And very helpfully, according to the press release at this speed you could travel from the earth to the moon in only five minutes at that speed.
[00:30:22] David: Also did you spot that one of the authors of the paper is himself called Parker?
[00:30:26] Sophie: Oh, I didn’t
[00:30:28] David: So I think it might be, I think it might be Quentin’s star
[00:30:32] Sophie: Uh, Quentin always naming stars after yourself.
[00:30:34] David: You and
[00:30:35] Sophie: so,
[00:30:35] David: star.
[00:30:36] Sophie: so with that particular expansion velocity, they derive the then age of this, Nebula to be around a thousand years old, which would mean that it coincided with our events of a 1181 BCE. I’m trying to say BC more than AD Dave I’m trying to correct all the biblical references and things that have nothing to do with the Bible.
[00:30:55] Dave: So Sophie, you say that this has been expanding at [00:31:00] 1100 kilometers per second, and they use that velocity to derive the age of the star, the supernova remnant rather.
[00:31:07] And so they worked with something called the wind Ram pressure. Is that a fluid thing?
[00:31:12] Sophie: Wind Ram, yeah, it is Dave. So basically it’s actually about the drag. So basically the Ram pressure is given intensive form by, so you’re looking at it’s the Ram pressure is the density of the fluid.
[00:31:25] and then you have UJ which have fluid velocities. Yeah. So basically it’s just, it’s like the pressure that it’s exerting that. Cause you’ve got a gas as a fluid, a gas is a fluid that can be compressed. And so you’re going to have this fluid that it’s expanding out into, I guess kind of like the vacuum of space, but then this other stuff around it.
[00:31:42] Right. So it’s basically, yeah, they use the, I’ve never heard of that before. It’s very much a fluid thing. It’s
[00:31:47] about the pressures that we exert on things when we have gases and, we expand.
[00:31:51] Dave: and presumably you can work that out by looking at it with a telescope.
[00:31:54] Sophie: Yeah.
[00:31:55] cause you would need to know the density of this particular Nebula, which I’m sure you could [00:32:00] work out cause density. I’m sure they’ve got ways to measure that. And then you literally just need to know the velocity. And as we’ve said, you know, the velocity based on, you know, looking at it for a very long time and going like, all right, it’s been one year and it’s this much bigger.
[00:32:11] It’s been two years and it’s this much bigger. Yeah.
[00:32:13] Fluids everywhere.
[00:32:15] Dave: So there you go. And it turns out that PA 30 that’s Parker’s star are so PA 30 is the remnant, Parker star is the central star. And that’s because, so supernova usually don’t leave a star at the middle, but this one, they reckon it has because they reckon this is what they call a type lax supernova, which is when two white dwarfs collide with one another and merge and a white dwarf star is a Nova remnants.
[00:32:40] Sophie: Yeah, So it looks like it says lax on everything, but it’s actually one A X, but they’ve used a capital I for the one. Yeah. So a type one AIX supernova. They are the largest class. Peculiar white dwarf, Thermo nuclear supernovae. And there were over 50 members known and that what’s different about these as they have lower [00:33:00] objective velocity and lower luminosity is. Um, but to get back to the question you were talking about. Yeah. So basically we’ve got kinds of remnant stars, so it’s like sort of the final. the end stage of like the evolution of a star, you’ve got white dwarf neutron stars and also black holes. And so we’ve had the, of these two things have kind of merged and, what’s meant to be quite interesting about, yeah.
[00:33:20] These type of supernovae is that they’re just, yeah, there’s very few of them and it’s like the lower luminosity is. And I wonder if that, because they have lower objective velocity, it then makes it more, it makes measurements easier for us or
[00:33:32] Dave: Ah, okay. I
[00:33:33] Sophie: I don’t know if that was just conjecture, which possibly based on nothing.
[00:33:37] Dave: and they also, I really enjoyed this. So this was a bit of historical detective work, as opposed to the scientific detective work, which was also cool, but they also make this suggestion based on a supposition that, because the star was described as being similar and brightness to Saturn. and it was only spotted by cultures with well-developed astronomical capability at the time I E China and Japan versus Korea and Europe, which didn’t.[00:34:00]
[00:34:00] And that this is also evidence that this was a type lax just based on the long time that it existed suggests it’s a supernova and that brightness and the fact that it was only spotted by people who are actively looking suggest that it was not a dramatic supernova of the type that would produce more brightness for them.
[00:34:17] Sophie: Yeah. Okay. They enter an also, apparently Dave, I’ve just found this other thing in the notes that I’ve written to myself is that merging of these remnants does give rise to extreme nuclear reactions and form heavy, highly neutron, rich elements, such as gold and platinum. T
[00:34:33] Dave: hat’s fun.
[00:34:34] Sophie: But yes, basically Sparkly.
[00:34:36] but just kind of low key. So like slightly casual, slow, low key sparkly compared to like another kind of supernova that might not be one AIX. I don’t know what the other types are, but, uh, I do know what I want to X is vaguely
[00:34:49] Dave: So there you go. Solving of an ancient Chinese space secret, huh?