Is it just my noticing, or perhaps it's that I've been listening to a lot of technical / scientific folks on NPR, but I've been really sensitive to the use of the word "so" in interviews. For example:
Question: Can you describe the effects of the blankity-blank-blank on the harrumph-a-lumpha?
Answer: So, the blankety-blank-blank.....
Apparently, this is not a wholly unknown phenomena. The anatomy of a scientific staple from Seed Magazine, 4/28/08.