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UnDisciplined: January Science News Roundup

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In January, China successfully landed a robotic probe on the dark side of the Moon.

In UnDisciplined's first ever monthly science news roundup, we're joined by three researchers, plus a fellow science enthusiast, to take a look at recent science news through a bunch of different perspectives. 

Science news we're excited about this month includes:

  • China's successful landing of a robotic spacecraft on the dark side of the Moon
  • A study in the journal Science Advances indicating it might be time to reconsider the blend of sugars, salts, vitamins and amino acids used for the past 60 years by researchers who want to grow and study animal cells in the lab
  • Four new papers suggesting whale songs are much more complex than we previously thought
  • New research in Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly that found people over the age of 65 are much more likely to share fake news on social media than other age groups 

We're joined by herpetologist Grace DiRenzo, who studies the ecology of disease, population and communities and last joined the show in October to talk about tropical animals that have evolved to beat deadly diseases. 

Also on the line is Shefali Patil, an expert on organizational and group decision-making who last joined us in November when we talked about the ways fear and misunderstanding play into the on-the-job decisions of police officers. 

Joining us in the studios of KCPW at Library Square in Salt Lake City is biologist Joseph Wilson, who was kind enough to talk with us again just a few weeks after his UnDisciplined debut.  Wilson helped identify hundreds of new species of bees in Utah's Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. 

Also in studio and making her debut on UnDisciplined was Sheena McFarland, a communications professional and former journalist with a degree in biology teaching who remains an ardent science enthusiast. 

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.