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

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

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 AEDT

Professor Lucie Green is a Professor of Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow who studies the sun. Ed and Lucas sat down with her to talk about solar research, the Solar Orbiter mission, the Carrington Event, the Eclipse Mega Movie project and much more!

Direct download: SoT_Special_021_Lucie_Green.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:00pm AEDT

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

00:01:05 By monitoring two wild elephants, researchers have found that elephants in the wild only have about two hours of sleep each night, and sometimes they go for days without sleep.

00:08:21 Archaea are single-celled organisms that are difficult to study, so scientists don't study them. "Because they don't study them, they don't know very much about them. Because they don't know very much about them, they don't know how best to study them."

00:24:46 How and when did modern humans come to Australia? We have evidence of human habitation dating back to 50,000 years, but no further. Now the genomes of 111 Indigenous Australians could give us some clues.

 

This episode may contain traces of Emre, asking science communicator and Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye a question about time travel.

Direct download: SoT_0258.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:22pm AEDT

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

00:00:52 Researchers have trained bees to play soccer! Well, move a tiny ball into a hole, which is a bit like human soccer only faster and more entertaining.

00:06:15 NASA Astrobiology Institute director Penelope Boston has announced that NASA has found life - in liquid, in crystals, in a cave on Earth. But some of these microbes have been dormant for tens of thousands of years, and Dr. Boston claims to have awoken some of them!

00:17:24 Facial recognition technology has come a long way - and now researchers are using it to track and identify lemurs in the wild!

Direct download: SoT_0257.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:06pm AEDT