Science On Top
The Australian Podcast putting Science on Top of the agenda

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely, Dr. Mick Vagg

00:03:26 The recent discovery of dunes on Pluto surprised planetary scientists. With very little atmosphere or wind, what could cause them?

00:11:48 A sample from Mars, analysed by the Curiosity rover, has found organic molecules - the building blocks of life.

00:18:25 One of the most famous psychology experiments, the Stanford marshmallow test, looked at delayed gratification in children back in the 1960s and 1970s. It's now been reproduced, a lot more rigorously, and the results are very different.

00:24:32 A proof-of-concept blood test can determine how far a long a woman is in her pregnancy, and how likely she is to give birth ahead of term.

00:28:22 An emerging field of diagnostics, liquid biopsy, is seeing impressive results. Recent studies correctly diagnosed people with ovarian and liver cancers 80 percent of the time.

00:31:51 Planet Nine is an exciting hypothesis that goes part of the way towards explaining the strange orbits of many rocks in the Kuiper Belt. But another idea could answer a lot of the same questions, without the need for a giant undiscovered planet.

 

Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely is an instrument scientist for the WOMBAT high-intensity powder diffractometer at the Bragg Institute. She writes “The Shores of Titan” column on The Conversation.

Dr. Mick Vagg is a rehabilitation and pain medicine specialist, and a Clinical Senior Lecturer at Deakin University.

This episode contains traces of dogged CBS Philly reporter Nicole Brewer on a groundbreaking communication study.

Direct download: SoT_0300.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:05pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:01:04 Vitamania is stronger than ever, with more than half of Americans and nearly a third of Australians regularly taking vitamin supplements. But a new study finds that most vitamin supplements have little or no benefit, and some can even be doing harm.

00:10:03 If there's life elsewhere in the universe, there's a good chance it's bacteria or something much like it. Now astrobiologists are pushing for more attention to be paid to extra-terrestrial viruses, as viruses are the most common form of "life" on Earth.

00:18:24 Europe's oldest tree has been dated, which is a bit more complicated than counting growth rings.

00:24:40 Australian magpies that live near airports seem to be less afraid of aeroplanes. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing remains to be seen.

This episode contains traces of an ad for Flintstones Vitamins.

Direct download: SoT_0299.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:39pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:01:12 Jaundice, fairly common in newborn babies, could be an evolutionary advantage.

00:10:14 France is being invaded by giant, carnivorous, cloned flatworms. And it has been for more than two decades.

00:16:16 The rare birds native to the South Georgia islands, in the middle of nowhere, are no longer at risk from introduced rodents. They have been saved by a successful eradication project.

00:20:51 Asteroid 2015 BZ509 has mystified astronomers with it's retrograde orbit. A new theory suggests it could orbit the wrong way because it's an intruder from another solar system.

 

This episode contains traces of WCVB reporter Mary Saladna's story about a new restaurant in Boston.

Direct download: SoT_0298.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:02pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall, Alayna Hansen, and Peter Miller.

00:02:13 The internet blew up with the Yanny/Laurel audio illusion. Why do some people hear one thing, others hear another, and some people can hear both?

00:08:50 A new look at old data reveals signs of plumes of water coming from Jupiter's moon Europa.

00:13:35 Watching Europa is Peter's audio-visual artwork imagining life on Europa.

00:23:02 The chytrid fungus is devestating amphibian populations, but geneticists have finally traced its origins back to the pet trade, and East Asia in particular.

00:30:32 Ice cores have long been used to track global climate change, but a team from Oxford have studied ice cores for a more archaeological purpose - detailing the economic booms and busts of the ancient Roman empire.

00:36:55 Australian magpies appear to have learnt the calls of other birds - eavesdropping on their communications to learn of nearby predators.

 

This episode contains traces of Deep Look's video, "You've Heard of a Murder of Crows. How About a Crow Funeral?"

Direct download: SoT_0297.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:10pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Carolyn de Graaf

00:11:15 Harvard researchers have systematically profiled every cell in developing zebrafish and frog embryos, showing how one cell develops into an entire organism.

00:15:28 81-year-old James Harrison has saved millions of babies. His weekly blood donations have been used to create a treatment to protect unborn babies from the deadly Rhesus D Haemolytic Disease (HDN).

00:23:16 Experts from around the wold have signed a letter to the World Health Organisation calling for more action to fight the cancer-causing retrovirus HTLV-1.

00:29:36 Ancient tools found on Mediterranean islands could suggest that Neanderthals had at least rudimentary seafaring skills.

 

This episode contains traces of US congressman Mo Brooks grilling climate scientist Dr. Philip Duffy before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee about the causes of sea level rise.

Direct download: SoT_0296.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:18pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Sarah de Garis

00:01:25 A study by a team from University of Sussex shows that horses can not only distinguish human facial expressions, but they remember people's emotional states several hours later.

00:08:23 Male fruit flies enjoy sex.

00:17:07 There's a fungus that uses tiny crystals to sense gravity. And it can do that, because it stole genes from a bacteria.

00:21:06 Kids have a lot of energy - but in terms of endurance and recovery, they can even perform better than highly-trained adult endurance athletes.

 

This episode contains traces of Amazon and Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos sharing his vision of a space-faring future.

Direct download: SoT_0295.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:42pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall

00:01:31 While studying the enzyme produced by a bacteria that eats plastic, an international team has accidentally made it even better.

00:08:57 NASA's new planet-hunding spacecraft has launched. TESS will study 85% of the sky, and will be able to study the mass, size, density and orbit of thousands of exoplanets.

00:23:37 Retrotransposons - elements of DNA that can spread to other species - are being found more and more often. And they're almost ubiquitous in marine animals, especially shellfish.

 

This episode contains traces of French President Emmanuel Macron speaking before the US Congress.

Direct download: SoT_0294.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:44pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Lucas Randall, Peter Miller

00:01:13 The bowhead whale sings a different tune to the humpback whale. It's more jazz to the humpback's classical.

00:07:38 The closest star outside our solar system just did a big burp. And it wouldn't be good for any life on its planet.

00:21:57 The hottest chilli in the world was the Carolina Reaper. A competitive eater ate one, then regretted it.

 

This episode contains traces of Will Smith interviewing astronaut Drew Feustel on the International Space Station.

Direct download: SoT_0293.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:06pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall, Jo Benhamu.

00:01:00 New York researchers have detailled the "structure and distribution of an unrecognized interstitium in human tissues". Or as some are calling it, a brand new organ.

00:16:37 New evidence lends credibility to an old theory of how Vikings navigated the seas. They could have used 'sunstones' and polarised light to find the sun in cloudy conditions.

00:24:39 Thanks to gravitational lensing, astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have imaged the most distant star ever seen - 9 billion light years away.

00:29:28 Non-profit news service Kaiser Health News has launched a large database tracking pharmaceutical companies and where they spend their money. In one year drug companies spent $63 million on political lobbying activities but almost double that on Patient Advocacy Groups.

00:41:39 You probably didn't realise it, but the puffins have flourescent beaks. So why is this researcher making them wear sunglasses?

 

This episode contains traces of Breakfast Television Toronto hosts Kevin Frankish and Frank Ferragine discussing the interstitium.

Direct download: SoT_0292.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:29pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:01:06 The Draw-A-Scientist test has been a regular investigation of children's ideas about science. The proportion of women being drawn has risen sharply since the test was first done in the 1960s.

00:09:09 70,000 years ago a small red dwarf star hurtling through space came within a light-year of our sun. Scholtz's star is now about 20 light years away but it's likely responsible for the orbits of a lot of comets and asteroids in our solar system.

00:20:52 Newspapers are dying, especially local newspapers. But the decline in local news outlets has a big effect on epidemiology, as researchers try to track the spread of diseases that aren't recorded anywhere else.

 

This episode contains traces of CBS News correspondent Anna Werner describing a new Californian requirement for a cancer warning on coffee.

Direct download: SoT_0291.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm AEST