Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 28th Nov 2010

Why do Men's Bits Shrink in the Cold?

Winter swimming championship in Latvia (c) Rronis

How heavy is the Earth?  How do snakes digest huge meals? Should I fear falling bullets?  We take on these questions and more in this Naked Scientists Question and Answer show!  We'll discuss the ideal hair for head lice, the mechanics of using a straw and why men's bits shrink in the cold!  In the news we explore the link between jetlag and forgetfulness, discover a moon with an oxygen atmosphere, and a new technique to tell someones age by their blood.  Plus, in Kitchen Science we find out why a full carton is much harder to shake.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 02:05 - Jet-lag linked to forgetfulness

    Psychologists working at the University of Berkeley have found that jet lag affects the brainís ability to retain facts long after returning to a more regular schedule...

  • 04:03 - Aged by blood

    In a move that could make a critical contribution to forensic investigations, scientists have developed a powerful new technique to predict a person's age from a sample of their blood.

  • 07:12 - Bose-Einstein condensate of photons

    A Bose-Einstein condensate of photons has been produced that works at room temperature.

  • 10:14 - How HIV Kills Bystander Cells

    Wednesday, December the 1st is going to be World Aids Day and 2011 actually marks the 30th anniversary of the discovery of HIV Ė the agent that causes AIDS. So itís very timely that this week scientists have announced that they have solved one of the big outstanding questions t...

  • 21:12 - How do snakes digest large meals?

    I love your program. Question Some large snakes are able to swallow large animals. Is it true they could go months if not a year between meals? Also if this is true why does the food not spoil and get the snake sick? What happens to the bones of the food.

  • 23:05 - How is bone marrow turned to blood?

    How is bone marrow turned to blood and how is the marrow replaced once itís used up?

  • 28:34 - Why do the male private parts shrink in cold weather?

    I am not sure quite how to phrase this... but in this very cold weather why do the male private parts shrink so much?

  • 30:55 - Planet Earth Online - Friendly Fires

    In July this year, five devastated a Surrey beauty spot. Fire fighters from three counties tackled the blaze on Frensham Common but 86 acres of heathland were reduced to a scene of blackened devastation. It may take up to five years for the affected land to recover, but not ev...

  • 36:07 - How does a drinking straw work?

    When you sip a beverage through a straw, what exactly is going on inside your mouth to create the suction strong enough to bring up the liquid? I know it doesnt have anything to do with breathing, because i could breathe just fine when i used the straw (ha ha no i didn't inhale ...

  • 37:37 - Do sea shells all spiral in the same direction?

    I noticed that all the sea shells with Spiral growth patterns (I have not yet seen otherwise) all grow in the same direction. What would the reason for this be? What forms or creates sea shells to "grow"?

  • 43:00 - Why is an unopened carton so much harder to shake?

    Hi Chris and Team, Love the show. I have a physics question. I don't think it's been covered much or at all, even though it's of course, incredibly important! I can't find much info online, mostly because it's difficult to phrase the question in a search engine. Here goes.....

  • 46:24 - Are falling bullets dangerous?

    Lying on the floor, revolver in one hand, rifle in the other, if you fire straight up in the air, will the bullets be harmful when they hit the ground?

  • 47:33 - Does it weigh less to transport flying birds?

    I look forward to the podcast each week.† It took me quite a while to catch up to the present shows as I've listened to all of them to date.† I hope the show runs as long as you folks want it to. † My question actually comes from a cartoon panel in a 1940 New Yorker magazine: ...

  • 48:17 - Did cave-men hunt and cave-women cook?

    I have a question about prehistoric humans. The stereotype is that prehistoric man went out and hunted and prehistoric woman stayed in the cave and looked after the kids. Is there actually any archaeological evidence for this? Thanks you. Lia Svilans

  • 52:31 - How accurate is GPS for measuring speed?

    Hi Dr. Smith Would you be so kind to clarify this relating to GPS speed monitor on next week's show with Redi? My thoughts are as follows, but they are ever so slightly incoherent. In South Africa a good signal will allow a WAAS enabled GPS to be around 3m accurate on a...

  • 54:35 - What happens as the universe expands?

    The universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate. a) How fast is that now? b) Presumably the limit will be the speed of light - what will happen then? Will the rate of acceleration slow down as we approach the speed of light or just suddenly stop? Will the universe begin to c...



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