Life Sciences

The show where real doctors tell you what’s real, what’s not, and what’s maybe possible in your favorite movies and TV shows.

September 25, 2020

Episode 17: Alien vs. Parasite

SUBJECTIVE

In this episode, we're heading back into outer space to talk about maybe the most iconic alien of all time — Alien! I mean, the xenomorph! From Alien! What a great and confusing movie. Why is everything so wet on that spaceship? Why didn't the crew have fire safety training? Why are we storing milk and spaghetti inside robots??? Really, we're left with more questions than answers. We'll discuss why you should be careful what you put in your mouth (Spoiler: the answer is worms), mutagenic tumor fluid, and how bad company policies can create more than just a toxic work environment.

Sidebar:

  • We mention that malaria is caused by Plasmodium falciparum, and this is true! But there are four other species of Plasmodium (specifically, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. knowlesi) that can also infect humans and cause malaria! They usually cause milder disease. A lot of the discussion about malaria is about P. falciparum because that is the species responsible for the vast majority of deaths from malaria.

OBJECTIVE

Resources, Citations, and Mentions:

ASSESSMENT

Of the parasite life cycle in Alien:

  • Deepa: 4 out of 10 spaghetti robots in milk
  • Jen: 3 out of 10 highly mutagenic fluids

PLAN

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Theme Music and SFX: Kevin MacLeod (CC BY) - RetroFuture Clean, Danse Macabre-Big Hit 2

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