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

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:01:11 It's an old computer trick, but a gyroscope on the Hubble Space Telescope has been fixed - with a shake and a reboot.

00:08:22 The tiny worms in dung beetle brood sacks - which are sexually transmitted - are beneficial for the beetle larvae.

00:14:33 Polychlorinated biphenyls - better known as PCBs - are industrial chemicals that have been banned in most countries for decades. But their legacy remains and has dramatic consequences for orcas and other marine mammals.

00:23:38 Humpback whales go quiet, and sometimes even silent, when large boats are around.

00:24:37 Why do male gorillas seem to enjoy babysitting so much? One possibility is that females choose good carers to mate with.

 

To help us make the show, please consider donating on Patreon.

 

This episode contains traces of Michael J. Fox talking to Alan Alda on the Clear and Vivid podcast.

Direct download: SoT_0314.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:18pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall, Dr. Pamela Gay

00:00:58 What happens when octopuses are given ecstasy? They get... cuddly.

00:07:23 Gene Roddenberry got it right, there IS a planet orbiting the star 40 Eridani. That's where the Star Trek creator said the planet Vulcan would be, homeworld of the pointy-eared logicians.

00:10:23 The Japanese space agency, JAXA, has had a spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Ryugu since the end of June this year. It has now deployed three of its four rovers onto the 1km wide near Earth object.

00:17:00 The failure of a gyroscope onboard the Hubble Space Telescope was a concern for NASA engineers, who scrambled to resurrect a backup gyro. It also raised questions about the future of the telescope, and the its ever-postponed successor the James Webb Space Telescope.

00:33:09 Questions from the audience.

 

This episode was recorded in front of a live audience at the Kathleen Syme Library and Community Centre in Carlton, Melbourne.

Dr. Pamela Gay is astronomer, podcaster, and artist. She is the co-host of the AstronomyCast podcast and the Director of Technology and Citizen Science at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. She is also the principal investigator of CosmoQuest.org.

This episode contains traces of NASA's video detailing all the things that could go wrong with the upcoming InSight Mars landing.

Direct download: SoT_0313.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Jo Benhamu, Kirsten Banks.

00:03:03 Wiradjuri astronomer Kirsten Banks tells us all about Aboriginal astronomy - from emu eggs to moon halos.

00:13:20 The conventional wisdom that taking a low dose of aspirin every day can improve health and delay dementia in the elderly is unfounded for most people, according to the largest and most comprehensive clinical trial conducted in Australia.

00:25:44 Many infections in humans of antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been traced to the unnecessary use of antibiotics in puppies as 'preventatives'.

 

Become a Patreon and help us out!

Come see Dr. Pamela Gay and the Science on Top team in Melbourne on 10 October 2018!

Get your tickets to the Australian Skeptics National Convention!

 

This episode contains traces of an adorable caller to Dr. Karl's Triple J radio show.

Direct download: SoT_0312.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Peter Miller, Ross Balch.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honour achievements that first make us laugh, then make us think. We take a look at this year’s winners: from rollercoaster medicine to Voodoo in the workplace!

You can watch the award ceremony here.

00:03:13 MEDICINE PRIZE went to two Americans, Marc Mitchell and David Wartinger, for using roller coaster rides to try to hasten the passage of kidney stones.

00:09:41 ANTHROPOLOGY PRIZE went to an international team for collecting evidence, in a zoo, that chimpanzees imitate humans about as often, and about as well, as humans imitate chimpanzees.

00:15:14 BIOLOGY PRIZE was awarded to an international team of eight scientists for demonstrating that wine experts can reliably identify, by smell, the presence of a single fly in a glass of wine.

00:21:07 CHEMISTRY PRIZE was given to three researchers from Portugal for measuring the degree to which human saliva is a good cleaning agent for dirty surfaces.

00:25:04 MEDICAL EDUCATION PRIZE went to Akira Horiuchi from Japan, for the medical report "Colonoscopy in the Sitting Position: Lessons Learned From Self-Colonoscopy.".

00:29:42 LITERATURE PRIZE was awarded to four researchers from the University of Queensland for documenting that most people who use complicated products do not read the instruction manual.

00:34:29 NUTRITION PRIZE was won by James Cole, for calculating that the caloric intake from a human-cannibalism diet is significantly lower than the caloric intake from most other traditional meat diets.

00:38:59 PEACE PRIZE went to a team of scientists from SPAIN and COLOMBIA, for measuring the frequency, motivation, and effects of shouting and cursing while driving an automobile.

00:43:43 REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE PRIZE was given to three urologists for using postage stamps to test whether the male sexual organ is functioning properly — as described in their study "Nocturnal Penile Tumescence Monitoring With Stamps".

00:47:42 ECONOMICS PRIZE went to a team from CANADA, CHINA, SINGAPORE, and USA for investigating whether it is effective for employees to use Voodoo dolls to retaliate against abusive bosses.

 

Become a Patreon and help us out!

Come see Dr. Pamela Gay and the Science on Top team in Melbourne on 10 October 2018!

Get your tickets to the Australian Skeptics National Convention!

Direct download: SoT_0311.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:34pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:02:34 Archaeologists working in the Blombos Cave in South Africa have discovered what could be the world's oldest drawing - from 73,000 years ago.

00:10:40 Surfers have long believed that nearby dolphins are a good sign that there are no sharks around. But new research suggests that's not the case, as attacks on dolphins have increased in line with rising ocean temperatures.

00:19:33 The mirror test is an attempt to measure self-awareness in non-human animals. Now the Cleaner Wrasse has become the first fish ever to pass.

 

Become a Patreon and help us out!

Come see Dr. Pamela Gay and the Science on Top team in Melbourne on 10 October 2018!

Get your tickets to the Australian Skeptics National Convention!

 

This episode contains traces of Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson commenting on the dangers of smoking weed in space.

Direct download: SoT_0310.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:48pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:02:22 The exciting family of planets less than 40 light years from Earth could each have 250 times more water than Earth, according to a new study.

00:11:09 Not just a meat-eater, the bonnethead shark is the first species of shark to be determined omnivorous.

00:17:49 Someone drilled a hole on the International Space Station. Was it sabotage? Space madness? We don't yet know.

00:26:35 As the planet-wide dust storm settles, the Opportunity rover has just 45 days to phone home before NASA gives up on it.

 

Become a Patreon and help us out!

Come see Dr. Pamela Gay and the Science on Top team in Melbourne on 10 October 2018!

Get your tickets to the Australian Skeptics National Convention!

 

This episode contains traces of Harrison Ford addressing the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco.

Direct download: SoT_0309.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:51pm AEDT

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

00:03:09 A large study has identified 35 genes that can influence you take up marijuana use. The study also also found links between those genes and other drug dependencies, as well as ADHD, autism and depression.

00:13:31 Scientists at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that microorganisms in colder climates darken themselves to capture more heat and improve their chances for survival.

00:18:45 String Theory, the theoretical framework of cosmology, could permit trillions of trillions different universes. But one problem with it, according to a controversial new paper, is that it doesn't allow a universe like ours.

00:29:09 Archaeologists found a few broken jars in a 3,500 year old Egyptian tomb. Their contents were analysed, revealing an ancient love affair with one of life's true miracles: cheese.

 

Become a Patreon and help us out!

Come see Dr. Pamela Gay and the Science on Top team in Melbourne on 10 October 2018!

Get your tickets to the Australian Skeptics National Convention!

 

Dr Carolyn de Graaf is a geneticist from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

 

This episode contains traces of Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele criticising climate change deniers.

Direct download: SoT_0308.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm AEDT

Dr Morgan Cable is a planetary scientist and astrobiologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her work is primarily focussed on developing technologies and instruments for spacecraft searching for organic molecules and biomarkers in our solar system. She was the Assistant Project Science Systems Engineer for the Cassini Mission, and is currently working on numerous projects to Europa and Enceladus.

Ed and Lucas caught up with Dr. Cable to discuss the exploration of the Saturn system, the Jupiter system, Mars, Iceland and the search for life. Dr. Cable's Twitter handle is @starsarecalling. For more information about the projects we talked about, see NASA's pages for Cassini, Europa LanderMars 2020, and Wikipedia's Enceladus Life Finder page.

Direct download: SoT_Special_025_Morgan_Cable.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:00:56 We're hosting Dr. Pamela Gay for a talk, Q&A session and live show in Melbourne on Wednesday 10 October! Tickets $20 from scienceontop.com/live All proceeds go to the non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

00:02:06 A study finds that smaller dogs lift their legs higher when they pee. Could they be lying, and trying to fool other dogs?

00:09:30 After a delayed first attempt, NASA's Parker Solar Probe has been successfully launched on a course for the Sun. This will be the fastest spacecraft ever made, and will get up close and personal with our nearest star. For more on solar research, listen to our interview from last year with Professor Lucie Green.

00:20:21 Geologists have been studying tiny grains found in a Russian meteorite. They've found a new mineral, that they call uakitite, which has never before been found on Earth.

 

This episode contains traces of National Party of Australia deputy leader Bridget McKenzie daring to say "the C-word".

Direct download: SoT_0307.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm AEDT

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

00:00:58 We're hosting Dr. Pamela Gay for a talk, Q&A session and live show in Melbourne on Wednesday 10 October! Tickets $20 from scienceontop.com/live and all proceeds go to the non-profit Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

00:02:23 The government of Sierra Leone has announced the discovery of a new species of Ebola virus. Fortunately there's no indication that it's spread to humans yet, but that could be just a matter of time.

00:10:23 Hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on the Caribbean, causing extensive damage and hundreds of deaths. But it did provide a rare opportunity for a team to study how natural disasters affect the evolution of some small tree-dwelling lizards.

00:16:52 Researchers are insisting that the hybrid cross of a melon-headed whale and a rough-toothed dolphin that was discovered in Hawaii is not a "wolphin". So of course, everyone's calling it a "wolphin".

00:23:08 For the first time physicists at the Large Hadron Collider have accelerated atoms at near the speed of light. Usually the LHC fires sub-atomic protons and atomic nuclei, so this is a big step up and could herald a new branch of particle physics exploration.

 

This episode contains traces of astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talking with Melissa Francis about the newly announced Space Force on Fox Business.

 

Alayna Hansen is a journalism student and freelance science writer. Check out her application for BBC Presenter Search on her YouTube Channel.

Direct download: SoT_0306.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:41pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Professor Jonti Horner, Sarah de Garis

00:01:22 The longest lunar eclipse in 18 years gave viewers in much of the world a stunning spectacle - a blood red moon.

00:03:08 Radar data from the Mars Express probe has revealed a large lake of liquid water beneath the red planet's surface.

00:14:49 CRISPR is a defence mechanism used by bacteria against viruses. And it's pretty good - but it has one major weakness that viruses exploit.

00:22:22 Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and Yale University have now made a significant breakthrough - by using gene editing to treat a genetic condition in utero. In mice.

00:30:15 Dr Jurgen Otto loves peacock spiders - a lot. And his passion has let him on a journey through southern Western Australia in search of a tiny (but cute) spider he saw 23 years ago. Check out his site: Peacockspider.org

 

This episode contains traces of Journalist Simone Boyce discussing the lunar eclipse with Dr. Jackie Faherty and Hanneke Weitering on NBC's "Space is Awesome" live stream.

Direct download: SoT_0305.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:17pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Lucas Randall, Dr. Carolyn de Graaf

00:01:04 It was one of the most incredible news stories of the year - the rescue of twelve kids and their soccer coach from the flooded Thai cave. Made even more remarkable that they all returned in relatively good health - especially considering all the diseases and illnesses they were at risk of catching.

00:10:48 Whether it's Ebola, Hendra, SARS, or rabies; bats are often blamed for the spread of viruses. But is that fair? Are bats more likely to host diseases that spread to humans?

00:17:34 While hunting for Planet Nine, astronomers accidentally discovered 12 new moons around Jupiter. One of them is on a collision course!

00:28:54 Scientists Australia have developed a blood test which, in a recent trial, was successful in detecting melanomas in 81.5% of cases.

 

Carolyn de Graaf is a geneticist from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute.

 

This episode contains traces of astronaut Scott Kelly describing the creepiest thing he encountered on the ISS.

Direct download: SoT_0304.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:42pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Lucas Randall, Daniel Midgely

00:01:18 Billed as having "mastered sign language", Koko The Gorilla has passed away. But was she all she was cracked up to be?

00:29:43 An international team has discovered a galaxy unlike any other. Smaller than the Milky Way, the mysterious galaxy appears to have very little dark matter - possibly none at all.

00:41:00 Artificial Intelligence is becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our lives. But a Wall Street Journal report finds that many of the big tech companies are using humans where computer bots fall short.

 

This episode contains traces of a report about Koko's death on CBC News.

 

Daniel Midgley is a linguist at the University of Western Australia and presenter on the weekly podcast and radio show Talk the Talk.

Direct download: SoT_0303.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:38pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall, Dr. Brad McKay

00:01:55 The WHO calls "gaming disorder" a mental health condition - so what is it, how serious is it, and what can we do about it?

00:14:08 Satellites have found the coldest place on Earth and it could kill you!

00:18:20 Can parasites control animals they haven't physically infected? Probably not, but tapeworms infecting stickleback fish can indirectly influence other, noninfected fish. Remember to watch Ed Yong's parasite TED Talk!

00:28:24 A drawing of an Australasian cockatoo in a 13th century Vatican manuscript could spark a rethink about trade routes between Europe and Australia in medieval times.

00:36:23 The Australian National Skeptics Convention will be held October 13-15 in Sydney. Get your ticket today!

 

Dr Brad McKay is a General Practitioner, a writer and TV personality. Follow him on Twitter.

 

This episode contains traces of Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney talking with Dr. Marc Siegel about gaming disorder.

Direct download: SoT_0302.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:01:05 A critically endangered frog lives underground in a remote mountainous region of Australia. Researchers are now trialling an adorable new method for finding and studying them.

00:07:15 Diabetes is a growing problem around the world, and now some researchers are looking to an odd-looking Australian icon for a potential new treatment.

00:16:07 A new paper published in Science has caused quite a buzz, by demonstrating that honeybees understand the concept of zero.

00:21:19 Every year, thousands of Giant Spider Crabs congregate in Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay, where they shed their hard shells. What happens after that, is a mystery.

 

This episode contains traces of Jet Black, Luke Edwards,and Jenny Gray from CEO Zoos Victoria lamenting the plight of the Baw Baw Frog.

Direct download: SoT_0301.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:54pm AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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

00:01:15 Stephen Hawking led a remarkable life, and a brilliant career in theoretical physics and cosmology. His genius will be sorely missed.

00:08:53 Contrary to many news reports, NASA's twin experiment did NOT find that 7% of astronaut Scott Kelly's DNA was changed by space travel. There were some health effects, but he definitely remained human.

00:15:58 Some media outlets, such as LiveScience, issued corrections.

00:17:56 The long-billed corella is a parrot may have become a pest to many farmers in Australia, but not so long ago their numbers were very low.

00:22:27 There's a Chinese space station that's hurtling out of control towards Earth. We don't know when it will hit, where it will hit, how much will burn up in the atmosphere or what toxic substances may still be on board. But you'll probably be fine.

00:29:37 NASA's super-successful planet-hunting spacecraft, Kepler, is running out of fuel.

 

This episode contains traces of Stephen Hawking talking to Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke about black holes in 1988.

Direct download: SoT_0290.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:45pm AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Dr. Helen Maynard-Casely

00:02:37 The Juno spacecraft has returned extraordinary new data about Jupiter's cloud system and interior.

00:14:51 Diabetes, which affects about 415 million people around the world, has conventionally been categorised into three types - Type 1, Type 2 and gestational diabetes. But a new study indicates that there may in fact be 6 different types of diabetes.

00:20:39 Using satellite and drone technology, researchers have found a new supercolony of more than 1.5 million Adélie penguins.

00:25:54 A tribe of people that lived in Southern Africa nearly a thousand years ago have unintentionally left a legacy that is now a new source of information about the Earth's magnetic field.

 

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. Her most recent scientific paper, The Acetylene-Ammonia Co-crystal on Titan, is published in the journal ACS Earth and Space Chemistry.

 

This episode contains traces of Liz MacDonald, a space scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, describing a newly discovered type of aurora.

Direct download: SoT_0289.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:47am AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Penny Dumsday

00:01:04 In April 2015, unusually heavy thunderstorms flooded Chile's Atacama desert, the second driest region in the world. This messed up the plans of researchers there to study life in the Mars-like desert, but it also told them more about how life can survive in long periods of drought.

00:09:27 Two Dutch researchers have looked at more than 100 examples of dice from the last 2,000 years. This huge collection can give us some clues about how people have thought about chance, fate and probability over the centuries.

00:16:23 The crickets on the Hawaiian island of Kawaii have gone quiet. They're still there, they're still trying to chirp, but they're not making any sound].

00:22:53 There are 167 known species of tardigrades - the virtually indestructible eight-legged micro-animals. But the recently discovered 168th has unusual eggs.

00:26:31 And speaking of tardigrades, Shayne has some feels about Star Trek: Discovery.

 

This episode contains traces of the Today Extra TV program discussing a study that didn't suggest eating McDonald's fries could cure baldness.

Direct download: SoT_0288.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:27pm AEDT

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

00:01:06 SpaceX successfully launched the most powerful operational rocket in the world, sending a car into space.

00:12:34 An invasive species of crayfish has been tracked back to single animal, which reproduces by cloning itself.

00:19:50 Researchers have found a surprising amount of bacteria-eating viruses in an unlikely place - women's bladders.

00:27:16 DNA analysis and facial reconstruction techniques have revealed a surprising portrait of a Cheddar Man, a human who lived in England 9,100 years ago.

00:31:41 Palaeontologists have found spectacularly well preserved proto-spiders suspended in amber. The ancient arachnids had tails longer than their tiny bodies.

 

This episode contains traces of "Starman" being deployed into space to the music of David Bowie, and the celebrations of engineers at SpaceX.

Direct download: SoT_0287_correct.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:01am AEDT

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:00:55 On January 31st, a super blue blood moon could be seen from Australia, South East Asia and the West Coast of the US. A super moon is when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit to Earth, a blood moon is a total lunar eclipse where the moon turns orange-red, and a blue moon is a second full moon in a calendar month.

00:03:50 Researchers using high-tech LIDAR have found more than 60,000 previously undetected Mayan buildings, defence installations and pyramids in the dense jungle in Guatemala.

00:09:58 A team led by NOAA scientist Camryn Allen has been studying the Pacific green sea turtle in the Great Barrier Reef. Worryingly, she's found that most of them are female.

00:16:17 A glaciology postdoc at Princeton University has proposed an audacious plan to reduce or delay the threat of catastrophic sea-level rise. Michael Wolovick wants to build walls to stop glaciers sliding off Antarctic land into the ocean.

00:24:02 An analysis of birds-of-paradise feathers led by Dakota McCoy from Harvard University, has discovered exactly how the birds achieve the blackest of blacks.

 

This episode contains traces of BBC Breakfast hosts Dan Walker and Louise Minchin discussing a killer whale that has been 'taught' to 'speak' English.

Direct download: SoT_0286.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:24pm AEDT

1