Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 5th Apr 2008

Naked Science Q&A and the Edinburgh Science Festival

A lion looks for lunch (c) Tracey Rich

Can cold water cause weight loss, is my mother-in-law turning into a reptile and why doesn't a mobile phone interfere with itself are all answered in this week's Naked Science Question and Answer Extravaganza. We also find out about a new way to keep track of your favourite online bands and musicians, and hear how the whole world harmonises - turning news into music in just three hours! Plus, in Kitchen Science, Dave pulverises an egg to explain the basis of air pressure, and for Question of the Week Diana finds out whether alcohol can rehydrate a lost traveller in the desert.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 13:50 - Can snakes die from their own venom?

    After watching the TV series ďLife in Cold BloodĒ I was wondering how the venomous snakes didnít poison themselves when they ate their prey. I know theyíre not immune to their poison because they donít use it on each other when they fight for their territory battles for example. ...

  • 16:55 - Sucking an egg into a bottle

    With the power of air pressure, force an egg into a bottle, and then try to work out how to get it out again.

  • 19:11 - What are the causes of a low body temperature?

    My future mother-in-law has a normal body temperature of 35 degrees [Celsius]. When she has 37 degrees sheís suffering from a heavy fever. How can it be that some peopleís body temperature is significantly lower than the 37 degrees that we assume is normal? Could it be that sheís...

  • 28:04 - Why does a mobile phone interfere with the radio or stereo?

    Iíve got a question regarding mobile phone interference. If my mobile is in close proximity to, say, my stereo it interferes with it. It causes that beep-be-beep beep-be-beep noise. Why doesnít my mobile phone interfere with itself then, when itís playing music for example?

  • 29:31 - What happens when you hold your breath for a long time?

    Iím wondering if someone holds their breath for very long, how they can stand the acidity they receive in their blood and also if the acid will harm their body in any way? Whatís actually happening when you improve holding your breath for a very long time?

  • 31:47 - Can you lose weight (diet) by drinking cold water?

    Why is it that, since when you take cold water into the body, you have to warm that water up? Why canít you just diet by just drinking lots of cold water because the energy you burn off raising the temperature of the water up to a certain temperature would be quite a lot? You cou...

  • 34:44 - Do animals photosynthesise?

    Are there any moving animals that have chlorophyll in their skin cells that they use as an energy source?

  • 38:26 - Tracking Tunes with Technology

    Finding local live music and song writing under pressure are our tech topics with Chris Vallance this week...

  • 44:21 - Drink Wine or Drink Nothing?

    If I'm walking in the desert and becoming dehydrated, would drinking wine accelerate my dehydration or would it help? If I left the wine out so that the alcohol could evaporate, how long would I have to leave it to be safe to drink?

  • 54:14 - Where do snails go in summer?

    Where do all the snails go in the summer? When itís rainy and wet and Autumn time we see loads of snails but when itís hot there are no snails in sight. Where do they go?

  • 54:48 - How efficient are energy saving light bulbs?

    Iíve heard something about these energy saving light bulbs not being as efficient as we thought. Is this true and should we carry on using them or just switch back to the normal ones?



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Hi Naked Team Regarding Dave's answer on bouncing light between mirrors: Trapping light between highly reflecting mirrors is in fact extremely useful. It's one of the tricks used to produce extremely stable optical atomic clocks. If you put near perfect mirrors (eg with power losses of less than parts in 10 thousand or more) at the end of a near perfectly rigid spacer you can make an extremely frequency-stable laser. There is a means of making the the length of a rigid body with mirrors on each dictate the frequency of laser light. John Hall, a recent Physics Nobel Prize winner, was largely responsible for creating and implementing this technique. Once the laser frequency is stabilized to what is commonly referred to as an optical cavity, the light can then be used to probe (scan across) very narrow atomic transitions (in the visible part of the spectrum). Some transitions are ideal for accurate frequency standards, i.e. clocks. Possibly some day in the future the second (the SI second) will be defined in terms of a number of cycles/waves of optical light, which will be a number approximately 100 thousand times greater than the present 9 192 631 770 cycles governed by a transition in the caesium atom (all in the aid of improving accuracy). Look at what GPS does for us now with microwave clocks; goodness knows what the future holds for us with optical clocks. Wiki touches on it here: Here's another: Cheers John Postdoctoral Research Associate Frequency Standards and Metrology, Optical Division School of Physics, Fairway Entrance #2 University of Western Australia, Nedlands, Perth, WA 6009 John, Sun, 25th May 2008

I wish I had known about this, I would have come along. I could have had a good discussion about string theory and how it affects Edinburghs one way system. turnipsock, Thu, 5th Nov 2009

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