Episode 163: Limitless

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Laura, Lauren, and Gem discuss people who push their bodies to the limit, including saturation divers, ultramarathoners, mountaineers, and stratospheric skydivers.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that explores the intersection of science and society.

Additional Music: “Friends” by Dragon Sound, “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service

Saturation Diving: The Weird, Dangerous, Isolated Life of the Saturation Diver (Atlas Obscura) | Nutritional considerations during prolonged exposure to a confined, hyperbaric, hyperoxic environment: recommendations for saturation divers (Extreme Physiology & Medicine) | What It’s Like to be a Saturation Diver (ScubaDiving.com) | High Pressure Diving Nervous Syndrome (NCBI Bookshelf) | Saturation diving (Wikipedia) | SEALAB (Wikipedia) | Saturation diving; physiology and pathophysiology (PubMed)

Ultramarathons: 120 Minutes Over 26.2 Miles: A Statistical Approach (FloTrack.org) | The new Vaporfly NEXT% (Nike) | Eliud Kipchoge Two-Hour Nike Shoes (Runner’s World Inside Look) | What happens to your body during an ultramarathon (Washington Post) | Why ultramarathons are easier than you think (RedBull.com) | Eliud Kipchoge Marathon Strategy (Runner’s World) | The sub-2 hour marathon attempt: The pacing strategy (The Science of Sport) | Craziest Ultramarathon Races (Men’s Journal) | Barkley Marathons (Wikipedia) | Nike Vaporfly Shoes Controversy (NPR) | LZR Racer (Wikipedia)

Such Great Heights: 14 Fast Facts about Mount Everest (The Explorer’s Passage) | There Are Over 200 Bodies on Mount Everest, And They’re Used as Landmarks (Smithsonian Magazine) | Climbing Mount Everest, explained (National Geographic) | Edmund Hillary (Wikipedia) | Tenzing Norgay (Wikipedia) | Tourism, Waste, and the Effects of Climate Change on Everest (National Geographic) | The Problem (Mount Everest Biogas Project) | Reinhold Messner (Wikipedia) | Peter Habeler (Wikipedia) | Mountaineering (Wikipedia) | Interview with Climbers About Reaching Mount Everest Summit Without Oxygen (National Geographic) | Norton Couloir (Wikipedia) | Astronauts Hail Skydiver Felix Baumgartner’s Record-Breaking Supersonic Jump (Space) | Alan Eustace Jumps From Stratosphere, Breaking Felix Baumgartner’s World Record (The New York Times) | Space diving (Wikipedia) | Red Bull Stratos (Wikipedia) | World’s Highest Skydive! Daredevil Felix Baumgartner Makes Record-Breaking Supersonic ‘Space Jump’ (Space) | Skydiving From the Edge of Space (The Atlantic) | All About Stratosphere Jumps (Skydive Taft) | Ask the Captain: Highest altitudes for planes (USA Today) | The Composition of the Stratosphere (Encyklopedia klimatologiczna) | Helium shortage: Why the world’s supply is drying up (CNBC)

Something Nice: Whoops! We forgot to actually say the name of the show that Ashlyn recommended (or maybe I accidentally cut it out)! It’s called Taskmaster.

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Episode 162: Nutrition Myths

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Laura leads the panel on a discussion of several nutrition myths that just won’t die. Topics include expiry dates, nightshades, and pink salt.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that explores the intersection of science and society.

Expiry Dates: Expiration Dates Don’t Mean What You Think (Adam Ruins Everything) | This man ate ‘expired’ food for a year. Here’s why expiration dates are practically meaningless. (The Washington Post) | Is Your Food Expired? Don’t Be So Quick to Toss It (TIME) | Date labelling on pre-packaged foods (Canadian Food Inspection Agency)

Nightshades: Are Nightshades Bad for You? Not If You’re Healthy (Vice) | What are dietary lectins and should you avoid eating them? (Mayo Clinic) | Solanaceae (Wikipedia)

Pink Salt: Stabilization of iodine in salt and other feed materials (Wisconsin) | An Analysis of the Mineral Composition of Pink Salt Available in Australia (Nutrition Research Australia) | Chemical Composition of Table Salt (ThoughtCo) | Sodium: Dietary Reference Intakes for Adequacy (NCBI Bookshelf)

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Episode 158: Public Health History

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Gem, Laura, and Lauren discuss the history of several public health initiatives: handwashing, toothbrushing, and nutrient fortification of food.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that explores the intersection of science and society.

Updated: During his segment, Gem mistakenly said “postpartum examination” when he meant to say “postmortem examination”. This has been corrected.

Handwashing: Hand washing (Wikipedia) | When and How to Wash Your Hands (CDC) | Ignaz Semmelweis (Wikipedia) | Daily Deaths, 2018 (Statistics Canada) | Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System (Maternal and Infant Health, CDC)

Oral Hygiene: Monkeys may have better dental hygiene than you (Science, AAAS) | Miswak (Wikipedia) | Efficiency of traditional chewing stick (miswak) as an oral hygiene aid among Muslim school children in Lucknow: A cross-sectional study (NIH) | The evolution of the toothbrush | Who invented the toothbrush? (HISTORY)

Nutrient Fortification: Overview of Food Fortification in the United States and Canada (NCBI Bookshelf) | A brief history of food fortification (Baking Business) | History of U.S. Iodine Fortification and Supplementation (NIH) | Iodine (Wikipedia) | Fortification and Health: Challenges and Opportunities (Advances in Nutrition, Oxford Academic) | Rationale and Plan for Vitamin D Food Fortification: A Review and Guidance Paper (NIH)

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Episode 155: COVID Quacks

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Gem, and Laura discuss the charlatans and snake oil salesmen trying to profit off of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Links: Researchers are tracking another pandemic, too—of coronavirus misinformation (Science, AAAS)

Alex Jones: Alex Jones: 5 most disturbing and ridiculous conspiracy theories (CNBC) | The Pandemic’s Shameless Profiteers (The New Republic) | Alex Jones’s Bogus Coronavirus Cures (The New Yorker) | Alex Jones ordered to stop selling fake coronavirus cures (Quartz) | “Aurum Potable”: the “Drinkable Gold of the Alchemists” (The BMJ) | Medical uses of silver (Wikipedia) | Argyria (Wikipedia)

Vitamin C and Garlic: In Vitro and In Vivo Immunomodulator Activities of Allium sativum L. (Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine) | Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects (Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine) | Vitamin C and Immune Function (Nutrients) | Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds (Journal of Immunology Research) | Vitamin C for preventing and treating the common cold (Cochrane Library) | Garlic for the common cold (Cochrane) | Antimicrobial properties of hydrophobic compounds in garlic: Allicin, vinyldithiin, ajoene and diallyl polysulfides (Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine)

Herbal Cures: Medical experts warn against claims by Winnipeg acupuncturist advertising ‘coronavirus prevention tea’ (CBC News) | Coronavirus: Scams, hoaxes, fake sites, and myths (Radio Canada International) | Superfoods for COVID-19 Prevention (Cooking with Yoshiko) | Richmond Chinese medicine stores advertising ‘coronavirus prevention tea’ (Richmond News) | Misrepresenting traditional knowledge during COVID-19 is dangerous (High Country News) | COVID-19 Herbal Resource Hub (Red Moon Herbs) | Coronavirus: Herbal remedies in India and other claims fact-checked (BBC News) | Coronavirus ‘cures’ and prevention techniques are popping up all over the world. So we asked the experts what actually works (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Hydroxychloroquine: Some Patients Need the Drug That Trump Keeps Pushing (The Atlantic) | Doctors worry unproven Covid-19 drug will do more harm than good (STAT) | Hydroxychloroquine For COVID-19: Cure-All Or Flim-Flam? (Forbes) | FDA approves hydroxychloroquine new drug application to address COVID-19 related shortage (Healio Rheumatology) | Potential of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19 causes fears of shortages among people with systemic lupus erythematosus (Nature Medicine) | Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine Can Have Serious Side Effects (National Capital Poison Center) | Trump’s support of hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19 could slow cure (USA Today) | Fearing coronavirus, Arizona man dies after taking a form of chloroquine used in aquariums (CNN) | Does Trump Benefit Financially by Promoting Hydroxychloroquine as COVID-19 Treatment? (Snopes)

Ashlyn’s Patreon: Noble & Whimsical is creating art from glass, vinyl and creativity (Patreon)

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Episode 153: “The Game Changers”

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem, Laura, Ashlyn, and Lauren are joined by Dave Bonwick to discuss The Game Changers, a Netflix documentary that advocates for the healthfulness of a vegan diet.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Links: The Game Changers (Netflix)

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Episode 152: SandwichCast!

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Laura leads Ashlyn, Lauren, and Gem in a discussion of the history and science of sandwiches, then everyone attempts (and fails!) to define what, exactly, makes something a sandwich.

On this episode: Ashlyn maintains that open-faced sandwiches do not exist, Gem argues that soup in a bread bowl is in fact a sandwich, Ashlyn and Laura dispute whether pie qualifies as a casserole or a dumpling, and Lauren opines that once a sandwich is put in the Snackmaster sandwich maker, it ceases to be a sandwich entirely.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

John Montagu, Fourth Earl of Sandwich: Warfare on the Mediterranean in the Age of Sail: A History, 1571–1866, by David S.T. Blackmore (Google Books) | A Tour to London, Or, New Observations on England and Its Inhabitants, by Pierre Jean Grosley (Google Books) | Earl of Sandwich (Wikipedia) | John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich (Wikipedia) | The Story of the Sandwich (History) | History of the Sandwich (PBS Food) | Trencher (Wikipedia) | Meze (Wikipedia) | Poker Night in Napa (Food & Wine)

Biphasic Sleep: Biphasic and polyphasic sleep (Wikipedia)

Processed Meat and Cancer: International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC (MSDS HyperGlossary) | This is the only known thing that is not a carcinogen (Business Insider) | List of IARC Group 1 Agents (Wikipedia) | Bacon, salami and sausages: how does processed meat cause cancer and how much matters? (Cancer Research UK) | Processed meat and cancer – what you need to know (Cancer Research UK) | Red meat, processed meat and cancer (Cancer Council NSW) | Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat (WHO)

The History and Science of Bread: Wheat (Wikipedia) | Bread (Wikipedia) | History of bread (Wikipedia) | Bread in culture (Wikipedia) | Bread (History Magazine) | Science of Bread: Bread Science 101 (Exploratorium) | Science of bread making (Baking Industry Research Trust) | Bread Baking Clinic: Under-Kneading & Over-Kneading (The Kitchn)

Cultural History of Sandwiches: Important Sandwiches That Changed America Forever (Thrillist) | The History of Five Uniquely American Sandwiches |(Smithsonian Magazine) | To Evade Pre-Prohibition Drinking Laws, New Yorkers Created the World’s Worst Sandwich (Gastro Obscura) | Raines Law (St. Louis Public Library) | Who Invented the Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich? (National Peanut Board) | The Curious History of Vietnam’s Bánh Mì Sandwich

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Episode 151: July at Christmas

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn, Lauren, Laura, and Gem escape winter briefly to talk about summery things: sunscreen, butterflies, the summer solstice, and whether drinking hot tea can really cool you down.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Note: Additional music this episode by Tim Minchin and Rajaton.

Christmas in July: Christmas in July (Wikipedia)

Sunscreen: Ask the Expert: Does a High SPF Protect My Skin Better? (The Skin Cancer Foundation) | Vitamin D Fact Sheet (MS Society) | UV Radiation (The Skin Cancer Foundation) | The science of sunscreen (Harvard Health) | Safety of Oxybenzone: Putting Numbers Into Perspective (JAMA Dermatology) | Five Common Sunscreen Myths You Need To Stop Believing (Forbes)

Butterflies: Butterfly (Wikipedia) | Mud-puddling (Wikipedia) | Butterflies remember a mountain that hasn’t existed for millennia (Gizmodo) | What happens in a chrysalis? (WSU Ask Dr. Universe)

Summer Soltice Festivals: Indigenous Day Live | National Indigenous Peoples Day (Wikipedia) | Dragon Boat Festival (Wikipedia) | Willkakuti (Wikipedia) | Willkakuti Winter Solstice (Aymara New Year) | Tirgan (Wikipedia) | Day of Private Reflection (Wikipedia)

Thermoregulation: Thermoregulation in humans (Wikipedia) | Waste heat (Wikipedia) | Thermoregulation (Healthline)

Pseudoscientific Articles on Temperature and Food: 7 Food And Drinks Scientifically Proven To Warm You Up (Tastemade) | Foods That Produce Heat In The Body (NDTV) | 8 Foods That Help Cool You Down (HuffPost)

Scientific Articles on Temperature and Food: A Hot Drink on a Hot Day Can Cool You Down (Smithsonian) | What are the effects of alcohol on the brain? (Scientific American) | Ayurveda (Wikipedia) | Ginger (WebMD) | Going nuts for coconut oil (Dietitian at Home)

Dwarf Mistletoe: Thermogenesis-triggered seed dispersal in dwarf mistletoe (Nature Communications)

What Are You Enjoying?: All-Star Superman, by Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely | Amazon Warehouse Reports Show Worker Injuries (The Atlantic) | The Bell Curve (Shaun) | Overcooked (Nintendo Switch)

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Episode 148: Medical Myths

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem talks about Anthroposophic medicine and some of the weird myths it promotes, Lauren discusses medicalization, Laura busts some myths about food, and Ashlyn quizzes the panel about sexually transmitted infections.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Anthroposophy and Waldorf Education: Rudolf Steiner (Wikipedia) | Anthroposophic medicine (Wikipedia) | Waldorf education (Wikipedia) | The Heart is not a Pump: A Refutation of the Pressure Propulsion Premise of Heart Function (Rudolph Steiner Research Center) | Rudolf Steiner’s Quackery (QuackWatch) | OTA Report: Herbal Treatments (QuackWatch) | Spotlight on Anthroposophy (Sharon Lombard) | Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, by Paul Offit | The Foundations of Human Experience, by Rudolph Steiner | My Waldorf-Student Son Believes in Gnomes—and That’s Fine With Me (The Atlantic)

Medicalization: Medicalization (Wikipedia) | Medicalization and Social Control (Annual Review of Sociology) | The medicalization of life (Journal of Medical Ethics) | Revisiting Medicalization: A Critique of the Assumptions of What Counts As Medical Knowledge (Frontiers in Sociology) | Medicalization (ScienceDirect) | How Do Medicalization and Rescue Fantasy Prevent Healthy Dying? (American Medical Association Journal of Ethics) | Between hope and acceptance: the medicalisation of dying (British Medical Journal) | De-Medicalizing Death (Health Affairs) | How Halitosis Became a Medical Condition With a “Cure” (Smithsonian) | Get the Facts: Bill C-14 and Assisted Dying Law in Canada (Dying with Dignity Canada)

Food Myths: Fact or Fiction?: Chewing Gum Takes Seven Years to Digest (Scientific American) | Bezoars (Merck Manuals Professional Edition) | Bezoar (Wikipedia) | Gastrointestinal Bezoars: History and Current Treatment Paradigms (Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology) | Chewing gum (Wikipedia) | Chew on This: The History of Gum (History.com) | Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load (Diabetes Self-Management)

STI Myths: Myths and Misconceptions about HIV/AIDS (Peel HIV/AIDS Network) | 5 STI Myths That Just Won’t Die (HuffPost) | Our Whole Lives (Wikipedia) | HPV vaccine: Who needs it, how it works (Mayo Clinic)

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Episode 146: Standardized Testing

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Ashlyn explains standardized testing in Canadian high schools, Lauren introduces the SAT and ACT, Gem rambles about the MCAT, and Laura asks some pointed questions about citizenship testing.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Standardized Testing in Canada: List of Canadian primary and secondary examinations (Wikipedia) | What is the Value of Standardized Testing? (EdCan Network) | Here’s what standardized tests look like around the world (INSIDER) | Assessment and Evaluation (Manitoba Education) | Canadian Achievement Test (CAT) | What is the Value of Standardized Testing? (EdCan Network)

SAT/ACT: SAT (Wikipedia) | College Board (Wikipedia) | ACT (test) (Wikipedia) | ACT (nonprofit organization) (Wikipedia) | The SAT (The College Board) | The Real Problem With the SAT (The Atlantic) | Lewis Terman (Wikipedia) | SAT Prep Free Resources (Why SAT Test Prep is Broken) | Stereotype threat (Wikipedia) | The ACT Test for Students (ACT) | Math–verbal achievement gap (Wikipedia) | College Readiness Exams Measure the Wrong Things (Nyack News and Views) | Beyond the Rhetoric: Improving College Readiness Through Coherent State Policy (HigherEducation.org) | Different Tests, Same Flaws: A Comparison of the SAT, SAT II and ACT (FairTest)

MCAT: Medical College Admission Test (Wikipedia) | AAMC

Citizenship Testing: Applying for Danish citizenship: the process explained (The Local) | The U.K. Has a Citizenship Test and It’s Dreadfully Hard (WSJ) | Europe’s citizenship tests are so hard not even citizens can pass (The Washington Post) | What does US citizenship exam actually test? (PRI.org) | Over 80% of Canadians would fail a citizenship test, new poll reveals (Global News)

Ian’s New Single: Fangs of Winter by Ian James and the Combo Breakers (SoundCloud)

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Episode 144: Twenty Questions

On this episode of Life, the Universe & Everything Else, Gem talks about Google’s search autocomplete feature, then Lauren, Ashlyn, Laura, and Gem answer twenty of the most popular questions suggested by Google.

Life, the Universe & Everything Else is a podcast that delves into issues of science, critical thinking, and secular humanism.

Correction: When answering the question, “Where is your liver?” Ashlyn misspoke: the liver is of course located below the diaphragm, not above it. Whoops!

Google and Autocomplete: How Google autocomplete works in Search (Google Blog) | Censorship by Google (Wikipedia) | Leaked Google research shows company grappling with censorship and free speech (The Verge) | Google to End Pentagon AI Contract, Will Remain a Defense Contractor (Tom’s Hardware)

How: Avoirdupois system (Wikipedia) | Troy weight (Wikipedia) | How to Make Slime: Our 4 Most Popular Slime Recipes (Home Science Tools) | How to Tie a Windsor Knot (Ties.com) | How to write a cover letter (Youth Central) | Hard Boiled Eggs Recipe (Food Network)

Where: Stages of transcription: initiation, elongation & termination (Khan Academy) | Archibald (Wikipedia) | Where is Xur? | History of pizza (Wikipedia)

Can: Can You Start a Sentence with "Because"? (Writer’s Digest) | Can I give my pet…? (Park Road Veterinary Clinic) | Ibuprofen Poisoning in Dogs (VCA Animal Hospital) | What Shall You Not Wear to an Indian Wedding Reception as a Guest? (Discover India) | Is it Legal to Marry Yourself? (Parry & Pfau)

Why: Rayleigh scattering (Wikipedia) | Diffuse sky radiation (Wikipedia) | Photosynthesis (Wikipedia) | Polar bear (Wikipedia) | Effects of Earlier Sea Ice Breakup on Survival and Population Size of Polar Bears in Western Hudson Bay (Journal of Wildlife Management) | Why Asparagus Makes Your Urine Smell (Smithsonian) | Benjamin Franklin’s Letter to the Royal Academy of Brussels (Early Americas Digital Archive) | Moore’s law (Wikipedia) | Why is Caillou bald? (Chouette Publishing)

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