Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 11th Apr 2010

What do worms do in the rain?

Common Earthworm (c) Michael Linnenbach

What makes bruises disappear, how do you date a fossil, how can orchids make themselves smell like bees and how do they work out the number of calories in a chocolate bar? We tackle your science questions this week as well catch up with the movement known as Steampunk and the new musical genre of Chap-Hop! Plus news of a new species of early human, active volcanoes on Venus and a new drug to combat cancers. We also solve a surface tension teaser in Kitchen Science and wonder where worms go in the rain for Question of the Week!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:31 - New Species of Early Human – Australopithecus or Homo?

    A new species of early human has been described this week – Australopithecus sediba. And it looks like it’s a key member of the family as it links the more archaic, small-brained ‘australopithecine’ with the more modern species of Homo.

  • 03:18 - Active volcanoes found on Venus

    Suzanne Smrekar and colleagues have been studying Venus using an instrument on the ESA Venus Express mission and found active volcanoes...

  • 06:03 - Sushi-digesting marine gene turns up in human intestines

    Scientists have discovered that bacteria inhabiting the intestines of Japanese sushi-eaters have picked up seaweed-digesting genes from marine microbes!

  • 09:23 - Boron Carbide Nanowires

    One of the hottest areas of materials science is the development of composite materials that combine the useful features of two or more pure materials. It is often useful to mix the materials as thoroughly as possible but this can be difficult as you get smaller, because the par...

  • 11:16 - New Peptide to Fight Tumours

    Researchers in California have shown how a new drug, called iRGD, can help to fight tumours by boosting levels of chemotherapy agents just in the cancer...

  • 17:11 - What happens to bruise as it disappears?

    When I get a bruise and it's on my fingers or my toes, then it grows out under the nail and it comes out like a scab when I cut my nails. But if I get a bruise on my leg or anywhere else then it just turns purple and then yellow, and then it's gone. So, obviously, it gets broke...

  • 21:05 - How are fossils dated?

    Dear Chris,   Something I should like to know: How do scientists know the age of the earth? In so many texts (or in the BBC series, "Walking with dinosaurs, for instance), one hears or reads: "T-Rex lived 165 million years ago" How do they know this for a fact?   Regards, ...

  • 23:16 - Why do Gums recede?

    Why do Gums continue to recede, even if your teeth have fallen out?

  • 28:13 - Steampunk

    Meera Senthilingam explores the online movement of steampunk with our technology expert Chris Vallance...

  • 34:35 - Why do some batteries last longer than others?

    Why do some batteries last much longer than other less expensive brands? And are different types more suitable for certain applications than others where the savings would not be as great?

  • 36:45 - How do some orchids mimic insects?

    Hello,   Could you please tell me how some orchids can replicate a femael bee, scent and visually to attract a male bee?  Does this mean plants can see?   Many thanks   Chris Lait   ps I've downloaded a 100 plus of your podcasts and enjoy listening to them when i'm drivin...

  • 39:04 - Would a siphon work in a vacuum?

    Would a siphon work in a vacuum?

  • 47:45 - Why do spiders have such potent venom?

    Hi team, Why have certain spiders evolved poison so powerful, one bite can kill a large mammal like a cow? Most spiders feed on other insects and so it seems venom many times weaker would have the same rapid and deadly effect. But there must be a perfectly good reason as nothi...

  • 49:16 - What do Worms do in the Rain?

    Ever since the heavy snowfall in January, the water meadow I pass most days has been more water than meadow. What I would like to know is, how do the worms cope? Can they really breathe and survive conditions that range from almost totally dry to what must be utterly so...



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