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

Hosts: Lucas Randall, Dr Shayne Joseph and Dr Rachael Dunlop.

Topics covered:

- Rachael Dunlop's research at the HRI in to the links between motor-neuron disease and blue-green algae
- A gene defect appears to cause the most common sight-disorder, near-signtedness or Myopa
- A team has found an association between long-term dietary patterns and the bacteria of the human gut
- Blood shortages are a global problem, and a French team have now published the results of their study which may be a crucial step towards addressing it - with stem cells
- A newly discovered star which formed back when the universe was just a toddler is challenging our current understanding of star-formation
- Cognitive dissonance FTW

Direct download: SoT_0024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:39pm AEST

Hosts: Lucas Randall, Dr. Shayne Joseph and Penny Dumsday.

Topics covered:

- Jumping genes helped evolution
- Cavemen sex gave humans a health boost
International team discovers planet made of diamond
Fossil Discovery Represents New Milestone in Early Mammal Evolution
Kamikaze Satellite Could Be Earth’s Last Defense Against Asteroid
Fossils hints on Earth’s first life
Fruit bacteria to curb dengue

Direct download: SoT_0023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:46am AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall Tom Sidwell and Mike McRae.

Topics covered:

Scientists reprogrammed the immune system to target cancer cells, and suicide bombing bacteria targets other bacteria. Can evolution be predicted? And a new study reveals the moon may be up to 70 million years younger than we thought.

Mike McRae is a science writer for the CSIRO's education department and author of Tribal Science: Brains, Beliefs and Bad Ideas. He blogs at and is on Twitter.

Direct download: SoT_0022.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:05am AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Dr. Shayne Joseph, Lucas Randall and Simon Taylor.

Topics covered:

 An electronic temporary tattoo is really really awesome! When developing medications, the differences between men and women - and even individuals - aren't always taken into account. Mealybugs have bacteria living in their bacteria! The European Space Agency plans to hurl a spaceship at an asteroid to see if they can change it's course, and our panel takes the National Science Week Fact or Fiction test.

Direct download: SoT_0021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:09pm AEST

SoT 20: Smooshed

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

Topics covered:

Earth may have had a second moon billions of years ago, 'comfort food' works not just by taste but also in the gut, and your belly button is a bacterial zoo. Scientists have 'sorta' made sperm in a lab, vampire bats have a molecular heat sensor and is there flowing water on Mars?

An award-winning Philosophy teacher with over ten years experience in education, Kylie Sturgess has lectured on teaching critical thinking, feminism, new media and anomalistic beliefs worldwide. She is a member of the JREF Education Advisory Panel and regularly writes editorial for numerous publications and CSI’s ‘Curiouser and Curiouser’ online column. In 2010, Kylie was a co-author of the paper ‘The structure of superstitious action – A further analysis of fresh evidence‘, in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, a peer-reviewed publication. It involves a re-analysis of Wiseman and Watt’s short scales of positive and negative superstitions.

Kylie blogs at PodBlack Cat, hosts the Token Skeptic podcast and is on Twitter.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:08pm AEST

Hosts: Ed Brown, Penny Dumsday, Lucas Randall and Tom Sidwell.

Topics covered:

People living in polar regions have bigger eyes and bigger brains. Neaderthals might have been wiped out by the sheer numbers of modern humans. Trojan asteroid discovered sharing Earth's orbit. Volcanoes discovered on the moon suggest it was geologically active only 800 million years ago, much more recently than previously thought.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:26pm AEST

On Thursday Dr. Leslie Cannold - author, ethicist, commentator and award-winning columnist - spoke to a packed audience at Embiggen Books. She spoke about the various social and economic forces undermining trust in science, and what can be done to restore that trust.

Embiggen Books is Melbourne's newest bookshop, specialising in scientific and skeptical books. According to their website, they boast “the biggest range of popular science titles instock in the observable universe”. They also have a growing range of technical science books as well as fiction, history, economics and much more.

This event was organised by Embiggen Books, Melbourne Skeptics and Melbourne Eastern Hills Skeptics.

Direct download: SoT_Special_002_-_Leslie_Cannold.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:10pm AEST

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

Topics covered:

Belinda tells us a bit about working at the Gemini South Observatory in Chile, and the possible cancellation of the James Webb Space Telescope. We talk about Pluto's new moon, the mouse that stole a poison-resistance gene from another species, and the mouse that runs a lot more because it's missing a gene. A high school class DNA-tested lots of tea and found some surprising extras.

And while talking about that last story, something happened. Not sure what, but the recording stopped abruptly and we never realised. We talked a lot about a how the mass-extinction event that happened right before the dinosaurs started to rule the world, probably happened a lot quicker than previously thought. Ed gives a summary of the study at the end, and links to the story can be found on our website.

Belinda Nicholson is an astrophysicist and Masters of Science student at Melbourne University.

Duration: 0:40:40

Direct download: SoT_0018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44pm AEST

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

Topics covered:

We find out about Dr. Krystal's work developing a live malaria vaccine. The internet and search engines are changing how our memory works, a study sheds new light on the effectiveness of carbon sinks, but parks and gardens in cities are often overlooked carbon sinks. Genome-wide association studies lack racial diversity, a 'Roundup Ready' GM lawn could make stronger weeds, and the crops Greenpeace destroyed were of negligible risk. Also scientists have now mapped the complicated genome of the potato and a Great Barrier Reef coral.

Dr. Krystal Evans is a regular panellist on 102.7FM Triple R's science program Einstein a Go Go, she's a malaria researcher working at the Walter & Eliza Hall Institute and was instrumental in the Discoveries Need Dollars campaign that we talked about a few weeks ago when science funding was looking like it would be slashed in the Federal Budget.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:16pm AEST

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

Topics covered:

The end of an era - Space Shuttle Atlantis launches for the last time ever. Is Australia overdue for volcanic eruptions? Polar bears share a common ancestor with brown bears. NASA tests a suit that recycles astronaut's urine, and humans cling to old beliefs even when repeatedly shown contradictory evidence. Shayne and Ed rant about Greenpeace protestors destroying GM wheat experiments.

Our theme music, Step On It, kindly provided by The Upstanding Members.


Direct download: SoT_0016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:57pm AEST