Science On Top (general)
The Australian Podcast putting Science on Top of the agenda

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

00:00:40 There's a lot of talk about the supposed health benefits of sourdough bread. But a new study seems to suggest that some people may be better off eating white bread, and others may have more to gain from sourdough bread.

00:10:34 A group of about 1200 giant bumphead parrotfish have been caught in the act of mating off Palau in Micronesia. It's the first time they have ever been seen doing so in such large numbers.

00:15:42 A strain of the lactobacillus bacteria has been extracted from yogurt and used to slow down the growth of 14 multidrug-resistant bacteria.

 

This episode contains traces of a message from French President Emmanuel Macron to American climate change researchers.

Direct download: SoT_0267.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:59am AEST

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

00:00:39 Baleen whales - the toothless filter feeders - used to be around 10m long. Then 3 million years ago they started to grow to the enormous size they are today (blue whales can grow be 30 metres long!).

00:07:08 A new study has found that gastric bypass surgery disrupts the gut microbiome so significantly, that patients have a completely different bacteria makeup in their guts after surgery. And the new gut flora appears to promote weight loss.

00:14:14 An increase in the number of baby dugongs on the Great Barrier Reef indicates a revival of seagrass meadows following the devastation wrought by Cyclone Yasi in 2011.

00:18:11 Newly developed recognition software is helping underwater drones search for submerged mines and even map starfish colonies. Not only do the drones pilot themselves, they use pattern-matching to identify points of interest and relay that back to humans.

 

This episode contains traces of meteorologist Kait Parker at The Weather Channel responding to Breitbart's misrepresentation of climate data.

Direct download: SoT_0266.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:21pm AEST

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

00:01:03 The first results from the Juno spacecraft are in, giving us new and surprising insights into the largest planet in our solar system.

00:09:39 Some media reports of flooding at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault were somewhat exaggerated. Some water got in at the front door, which happens every year, but the seeds were never in any danger.

00:14:36 Have you ever seen a flamingo fall over? Probably not. Turns out they're extremely stable, especially on one leg. A pair of biologists set out to find out why.

00:22:11 The first steps have been taken towards space-based baby-making, with healthy mouse pups being born from sperm that went to space.

00:29:28 Please help support the show by pledging on Patreon!

 

This episode contains traces of astronaut Dr. Peggy Whitson talking with President Trump, after breaking the US record for the most time in space. Dr. Whitson was already the world's most experienced spacewoman and the oldest woman in space.

Direct download: SoT_0265.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:42am AEST

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

00:00:41 Rare childhood cancers are, of course, rare. But that means limited access to tissue samples making them harder to study. But the archives of London's Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children could be a previously unconsidered repository of 165 year's worth of samples.

00:05:34 There's a species of bacteria that seems to use quorum sensing to switch on or off its attacking abilities. And that's how it infects animals where normally it would only thrive in insects.

00:12:44 For the third time since 2012 a study has looked at whether the famous Stradivarius violins made in the early 18th century are actually better than their modern counterparts. They aren't.

00:21:55 A new study suggests that the microbes in our guts may initiate disease in seemingly unrelated organs, and in completely unexpected ways. In particular, our gut bacteria may be linked to brain lesions that can cause strokes.

 

This episode may contain traces of morning television presenters discussing the 'scientific benefits' of eating snot, as reported on the ABC's Media Watch program.

Direct download: SoT_0264.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:04pm AEST

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

00:00:48 A study seemed to find a link between artificially sweetened drinks and serious health problems. Many media outlets quickly proclaimed that "Diet drinks triple your risk of stroke and dementia" (Daily Fail). But how seriously should that study be taken?

00:05:27 Humans produce about 311 million tons of plastic each year, a number that's is predicted to double in the next twenty years. But an accidental discovery from a Spanish bee scientist points to some caterpillars that might help break plastic down.

00:12:07 A new paper published in the journal Ecology finds that female dragonflies are faking their own deaths in order to get away from horny males!

00:17:34 A team led by Viviane Slon from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology has managed to extract and sequence the DNA of ancient animals from sediment - not bone - that's up to 240,000 years old.

 

This episode contains traces of Mary Bubala and Tracey Leong talking about artificial sweeteners on CBS Baltimore.

Direct download: SoT_0263.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:16pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:00:47 NASA's Cassini probe has been studying Saturn and it's rings and moons for thirteen years and is now running out of fuel. And as it comes to the end of it's life, it's begun a series of risky orbits between the planet and its rings.

00:11:03 A team of researchers mostly from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have successfully created an artificial womb in which premature lambs can be brought to term.

00:17:37 NASA and ESA have produced a joint proposal to explore Jupiter's icy moon Europa.

 

This episode contains traces of NASA at Saturn: Cassini's Grand Finale, a video by NASA explaining the Cassini mission and the end of its mission.

Direct download: SoT_0262.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:45am AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall

00:00:43 The naked mole rat is one of the strangest - certainly the ugliest - creatures on the planet. But on top of all it's other extraordinary abilities (highly resistant to cancer, limited ability to feel pain etc) it can also survive for up to 18 minutes without oxgyen.

00:08:35 For a long time we've assumed our nearest extra-solar neighbour, the Alpha Centauri system, was a trinary star system. But for the first time the calculations have been done to confirm it.

 

This episode may contain traces of what Neil DeGrasse Tyson calls the most important words he has ever spoken.

Direct download: SoT_0261.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:58pm AEST

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

00:02:34 For the first time, an atmosphere has been detected around a nearly Earth-sized exoplanet.

00:08:45 Results of a large study suggest that a cap that generates electric fields might successfully fight brain cancer. But there are still many doubts about this "sci-fi treatment".

00:27:06 There's a radiation-resistant bacterial spore found only in spacecraft cleanrooms. To know if they might potentially contaminate other worlds, NASA needed to see if they can survive in space. So, they sent some into space!

00:35:31 What if identifying and monitoring the 3,000 different species of mosquitoes was a simple matter of using an app on your phone? A pair of engineers at Stanford University are working on creating "Shazam for mosquitoes"!

00:43:01 For more information, or to get in touch with us, or to donate head to scienceontop.com/260

 

This episode contains traces of Dara O'Briain talking about the War on Bacteria.

Direct download: SoT_0260.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:15pm AEST

Dr Steve Salisbury is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Biological Sciences at The University of Queensland, and a Research Associate at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Ed and Lucas spoke with him about finding the world's largest dinosaur tracks on the North West coast of Australia, and searching for dinosaur fossils in Antarctica.

Direct download: SoT_Special_022.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:23pm AEST

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

00:01:03 The difficult thing to do when growing artificial organs is building the intricate networks of tiny blood vessels that keep the tissue alive. A team at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts found a simple way to do that: with spinach.

00:12:00 Set to launch in 2018, the Solar Probe Plus is a mission to study the Sun from a very close distance - about 6 million kilometres. It will become the fastest manmade object ever built.

00:21:49 A team of ecologists and microbiologists have been studying the bacteria found in the blowholes of killer whales. And while their results were somewhat worrying, they're not as conclusive as many media reports have claimed.

 

This episode contains traces of Elon Musk after SpaceX successfully reused a rocket.

Direct download: SoT_0259.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52pm AEST