How Gamification Has Taken Over, Brewing An Ancient Beer Again. Oct 14, 2022, Part 1

Oct 14, 2022, 05:17 PM

Scientists Are Trying To Study Human Neurons… In Rat Brains?

Scientists have a tricky time studying neurons, partially because they are remarkably difficult to grow in a lab. They need other cells around them, and they don’t replicate or reproduce like other cells do. In a new study in Nature, researchers figured out that they can take a ball of human brain tissue and frankenstein it into a rat’s brain, and the rat can respond to it. This exciting discovery could offer scientists a new way to study the human brain.

This week’s co-host Kathleen Davis talks with Umair Irfan, staff writer at Vox, about this story and other science news of the week. They chat about neurons that can play ping pong, COVID updates, a disturbing uptick in STI cases, how deep sea mining could destroy an underappreciated ecosystem, and how a mummified dinosaur named Dakota is challenging what paleontologists knew about dino preservation.


How Gamification Has Crept Into School, Work, And Fitness

Gamers often spend hours embarking on quests, unlocking new levels, and collecting badges. But what about when aspects of games start popping up in other parts of life—like work, school, and exercise? Adrian Hon created the fitness app “Zombies, Run!” and has thought a lot about how the principles of gaming have crept into so many different corners of our lives, and why it may not always be as innocent as it seems.

Ira and co-host Kathleen Davis talk with Adrian Hon, author of You’ve Been Played: How Corporations, Governments, and Schools Use Games to Control Us All. Hon is also the CEO and founder of the game developer, Six to Start, based in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.


A Taste Of New York In A Hyper-Local Beer

If you’re a person who enjoys beer, you’ve likely been aware of the craft beer boom of the last couple of decades. India Pale Ales, or IPAs, have become some of the most popular types of beer brewed in local breweries. But it doesn’t get more local than a type of beer that most people have never heard of: the gruit.

The gruit traces its origins back to the 11th century. Historically, instead of hops, brewers used herbs and spices native to wherever they lived. This results in a flavorful beer that changes taste depending on the plant life in the region.

Fast forward a few hundred years to now, and you’ll find brewers getting back to this hyper-local brewing tradition. Those brewers include Isaac Patient, head brewer of Sixpoint Brewery in Brooklyn, New York. His team partnered with Saara Nafici and Brendan Parker at Red Hook Farms to procure four key herbs for the brew: rosemary, tarragon, lemongrass, and mugwort.


Transcripts for each segment will be available the week after the show airs on