Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 9th Mar 2008

Naked Science Q&A Show

An arch of colourful party balloons (c) Ishmael Orendain

On this week's Naked Scientists, we tackle your questions.  We find out what creates a 'Moonbow', how much water there was on Earth over one million years ago and what happens to milk in the freezer.  Also, how butterflies could remember what caterpillars learn, why electric cars may stress stretched water supplies and how the 'smell' of a coral reef attracts fish from miles around.  Plus, we speak to Marc Abrahams, creator of the Ig Nobel awards for science that makes you laugh, then makes you think!  And in Kitchen Science we try to strike a balance between two balloons!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 11:30 - Can you get moonbows?

    I was driving home one night, six weeks ago. There was a full moon and it was a beautiful clear night. There was just a bit of rain coming in from the west. I had to put my windscreen wipers on and it was making a horrible smear across my screen. What I saw at first I thought was...

  • 14:22 - Why does milk change colour when it freezes?

    My son Robert has been wondering about this question: when we freeze milk it changes colour from white to yellow. Why is this?

  • 21:09 - What's the difference between salt and fresh water?

    I'd like to talk about the difference between salt water and fresh water. Are they two different substances or is one an artificially altered version of the other? If the latter, which is the natural version? It occurs to me they have the same chemical formula, H2O, so I presu...

  • 23:22 - Should you walk or run through rain?

    I got wet and rained on today in Cambridge. Is it better to walk through the rain or to run through it? When do you get most wet?

  • 24:03 - How much water does a dripping tap waste?

    If you've got a dripping tap, which I did have a while ago, and it's dripping once every five seconds or ten seconds how much water does that actually waste over time?

  • 25:07 - Why does the windscreen mist up faster when it rains?

    I was sitting in the car with the engine off and no heater or cooling fan on and the weather's dry or overcast but not raining. It takes ages when breathing normally inside the car for the windows to mist up. When it rains the windscreen mists up faster even though there's no obv...

  • 33:27 - The Ig Nobel Prizes

    The Ig Nobel prizes honour achievements that make people first laugh and then think. They celebrate the unusual, honour the imaginative and also to spur people's interest in science, medicine and technology. Marc Abrahams joined us in the studio to tell us more...

  • 40:22 - Skygazing

    We're joined by Rick Fienburg from Sky and Telescope magazine, with news about the night sky...

  • 45:52 - Clean Cut Hair Grows Quicker?

    If you don't cut and /or wash your hair, does it grow any slower?

  • 54:20 - Where does dust come from?

    I want to talk about dust. At this time of year the sun starts coming through the window and you can see the surfaces you've dusted carefully are covered with dust . You can actually see dust in the sun beams. I wanted to know where all this dust comes from. My dictionary defi...

  • 56:20 - Do fizzy drinks contribute to global warming?

    I am curious to know if our fizzy drinks are adding significant CO2 to our atmosphere. Think about all the soda that is served each day is sure to be a significant quantity of escaped gas. Additionally what happens to the CO2 once inside the body, that CO2 must go somewhere or b...

  • 57:29 - Could we engineer a microbe to absorb carbon-dioxide?

    In theory, might it be possible to engineer an airborne microbe or virus which could be released into the atmosphere where greenhouse gases are highly concentrated? These microbes would be designed to feed off the gas, but expel harmless gas as a by-product.



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I was catching up with Pod Casts and I just heard the 11/3/08 with the story about electric cars using up scarce water supplies.  This is not a very well thought out study and offers up another excuse not to keep using gasoline powered cars.  That the study was from University of Texas, a state where the oil industry is very powerful, is no surprise.

The statement was made, "an electric car uses three times as much water as a gasoline powered car."  Possibly true while at the same time meaningless.  My current gasoline powered car had 6 liters in the radiator when I bought and 40,000 miles later has had no water added. Three times a very small number is still a small number.

During the recent drought electric generators had trouble getting water because there was none to get, not because they used so much water.  Far more water is used for agriculture than is used in electrical generation. 

Speaking as an American, the last thing we need is another excuse to keep wasting gasoline. Mikeblanco, Thu, 5th Nov 2009

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