Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 25th Jul 2010

How do Ants Count?

Ant feeding on Honey (c) Fir0002 at Wikipedia

How do we know that ants count their footsteps?  We'll find out in this Naked Scientists Question and Answer show, as well as ask if rubber soles really protect you from electric shocks, if hair will clean itself when you don't, and why a layer of shaving foam stops the mirror from steaming up.  Also, the spores that fly on smoke rings, new ways to capture carbon, pain free vaccine patches and the vaginal gel that could block HIV transmission.  Plus, Meera investigates vintage computers and in Kitchen Science, Dave discovers how popping candy gets its pop!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:34 - Spores Travel on Mushroom Clouds

    Moss spores get extra lift from the same process that generates smoke rings and mushroom clouds, according to new research published in the journal Science this week...

  • 03:47 - Electrolysing carbon-dioxide

    A new more efficient way of converting carbon-dioxide back to carbon has been invented that uses solar energy very efficiently.

  • 06:12 - Painless vaccine patches

    For most of us, vaccinations are a normal, if not very pleasant, part of life. But what if there was an alternative? What if it was just as easy as putting on a sticking plaster? Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University reported in Nature Medicine...

  • 09:42 - Solid Li-ion batteries

    New solid batteries could store more energy for longer without catching fire.

  • 12:16 - Gel offers protection against HIV infection

    A vaginal gel which contains the anti-AIDS drug called tenofovir has been found to reduce transmission rates of HIV amongst women by up to 50%. To explain a bit more about the study, which was carried out in South Africa, we spoke to Salim Abdool Karim from the University of Kw...

  • 19:00 - How does popping candy work?

    Popping candy or pop rocks is a strange sort of children's sweet which seems to explode inside your mouth we try to investigate what is going on.

  • 23:58 - How do the filaments in a toaster work?

    When you look at the glowing filament in the toaster, are each of those wires in the toaster actually running at 240 volts or does the toaster step the voltage down? Are they all in series so as this big voltage drops, the actual potential in each of them is quite low, so how d...

  • 25:10 - Are there foods that flavour breast milk?

    Hello Naked Scientists, I really enjoy your shows. I listen to the podcasts while I work the night shift at a hotel here in Fairbanks. The other day I was talking with a pregnant friend of mine while walking through the dairy section of a store and I got to wondering; I kno...

  • 28:58 - Can we justify the dangers of nuclear power?

    Well the first thing that I’d like to say is we love your program completely. My question is this: Can we justify an involvement with nuclear power in the UK when we have the greatest potential for renewables in Europe? If we think about offshore and onshore wind power, ti...

  • 33:00 - The Vintage Computer Festival

    For this month's tech segment, Meera chats to Chris Vallance about the first ever Vintage Computer Festival held at Bletchley Park...

  • 38:57 - How does hair clean itself?

    Hello, I have heard and read all over the place that hair cleans itself, but HOW does it do it? That's my question. I can't find it on the internet. Every time I punch in: 'how does hair clean itself?', i get all these 'how to wash your hair without shampoo', etc. but that...

  • 47:51 - How do ants and spiders count?

    Hi In a recent podcast you talked about spiders and ants counting steps etc. How does anyone know/find out whether these creatures count? And if they do, how do they do it? What would they use that's equivalent to our number system ? Thanks. Anne BC Canada

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