Ritual murders in the neolithic, why 2023 was so hot, and virus and bacteria battle in the gut

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A different source of global warming, signs of a continentwide tradition of human sacrifice, and a virus that attacks the cholera bacteria


First up on the show this week, clearer skies might be accelerating global warming. Staff Writer Paul Voosen joins host Sarah Crespi to discuss how as air pollution is cleaned up, climate models need to consider the decrease in the planet’s reflectivity. Less reflectivity means Earth is absorbing more energy from the Sun and increased temps.


Also from the news team this week, we hear about how bones from across Europe suggest recurring Stone Age ritual killings. Contributing Correspondent Andrew Curry talks about how a method of murder used by the Italian Mafia today may have been used in sacrifices by early farmers, from Poland to the Iberian Peninsula.


Finally, Eric Nelson, an associate professor at the University of Florida’s Emerging Pathogens Institute, joins Sarah to talk about an infectious bacteria that’s fighting on two fronts. The bacterium that causes cholera—Vibrio cholerae—can be killed off with antibiotics but at the same time, it is hunted by a phage virus living inside the human gut. In a paper published in Science, Nelson and colleagues describe how we should think about phage as predator and bacteria as prey, in the savanna of our intestines. The ratio of predator to prey turns out to be important for the course of cholera infections.


This week’s episode was produced with help from Podigy.


About the Science Podcast


Authors: Sarah Crespi; Paul Voosen; Andrew Curry


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