Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Mon, 4th Jul 2016

Can toads predict earthquakes?

toad (c)

This week, we're answering the science questions that you've been sending in, including: is the Earth’s core cooling down, how do messages from space probes get back to Earth and why sleeping on your front might increase your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:11 - How do toads predict earthquakes?

    The toads that "predict" the earthquakes, are they hearing the noises from the rocks? Another episode mentioned that they were researching the sounds the earth makes before a volcano erupts. I'm thinking the earth must make sounds before a quake as well. Frogs and toads have amaz...

  • 03:39 - How do space probes send signals to Earth?

    What is the medium that carries the signals from space probes, like Voyager, to receivers on Earth?

  • 06:02 - How do dominant and recessive genes work?

    I recently tuned in your naked genetics podcast. Great job! Thank you! Got a "burning" question: Dominant/recessive alleles of a gene was studied long before gene's molecular structure was known. What is the current understanding of molecular/physical basis for the dominance/...

  • 09:07 - Why do we get fatty lumps?

    My Mother in law has quite a few (fatty lumps) Lipomates all over her body. She has had 10 previously removed and they just seem to re-appear. They are not painful in any way but they are quite large and some of them noticeable through her clothing. Could you please supply some i...

  • 11:04 - What happens to the brain when we're sleepy?

    Does brain produce anything when we sleepy? (Which may cause our behaviour quite bizarre and unusual, such as depression, catatonic stupor, being violent, or other mental related disorders, yet some may behave in an extreme hyper mood.)

  • 14:12 - Did the Big Bang create dark matter?

    If the Universe is comprised of 96% of dark matter/dark energy, do we have concrete proof the big bang actually created dark matter/dark energy? Could it not be the case dark matter/dark energy already existed, and it was an interaction with an unknown particle and dark matter...

  • 18:35 - How does the Earth's core stay hot?

    I believe the Earth has a solid core made of Nickel and Iron at a temperature of several thousand DegC (correct me if I'm wrong). Why does this core keep its temperature? Why did the core not cool down over the last 3-4 billion years or so? Keep up the good work, love the sho...

  • 21:08 - Can we genetically modify plants to absorb more CO2?

    Can we modify the genes of plants so that they can absorb more carbon dioxide and grow faster? If happens, it will both create more biomass and reduce green house gas. Thank you.

  • 24:50 - Is our universe filled with black holes?

    We have observed two sets of gravitational waves so far, does this mean our universe is full of black holes?

  • 25:36 - Can I improve my short-term memory?

    I am male aged 43 and I have such a short memory that I can forget certain names so easily - even 5 mins later. I also have problem recollecting events or major words or names at work. I can even forget to complete a statement while talking to someone and my attention gets interr...

  • 28:11 - Why is space cold?

    I'm teaching a bit of physics in my grade 4 class. We were having a lesson on heat transfer and when I was explaining 'radiation' I gave the example of the sun, even though it being so far away, the heat travels along way and can still warm us. Anther example was being warmed fro...

  • 29:50 - What is the healthiest position to sleep in?

    What is the best healthy pose to sleep in? It is said that left side is not desirable because of the heart beating there. Is it be true? Are we are expected to lie on the back or belly? I believe there were a lot of research in this area. I realize that everybody sleeps as they l...

  • 34:09 - How are cryovolcanoes different to magma volcanoes?

    I heard recently that there may be cryovolcanoes on Pluto. This was explained to me as ice-volcanoes where instead of magma, molten rock, there is water. But what is the difference between ice and rock? Ice is frozen water.... Rock is frozen magma. Right? Is there a fundamental ...

  • 36:26 - Why can't I conceive a boy?

    I have 5 girls. For 15 years, I have wanted to have a boy - I changed my diet, used ovlution kits, etc but they did not work. Could you please try to explain to me why I could not conceive a boy????

  • 44:40 - How do volcanoes affect global warming?

    How do volcanoes affect global warming?

  • 48:12 - Could you simplify gravity for me?

    Could you simplify gravity for me? My problem is if the ISS has microgravity only 400km above Earth. How does the Sun have an effect on us and even more unbelivelby have a gravitional effect on the outer planets (keeping the planets in orbit) when it losses its affect so quickly?

  • 50:27 - Why are rates of cancer different?

    Why do countries with similar standards of living have different rates of cancer? There are two countries that I know well to be generally similar in standard of living, but are very different mainly in physical size and climate: Australia and Switzerland. But they have very diff...



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