Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 13th Feb 2011

What Makes Mucus Green?

White handkerchief (c) mcfarlandmo

How do magnets multiply?  What keeps an aeroplane in the air?  How do wild animals avoid incest?  It's open season on science questions in this week's Naked Scientists.  We'll find out if oil extraction leaves a cavity, can cranberry juice cut urine infection rates and what happens when two lightning bolts collide?  In the news, evidence of bipedalism in an early human ancestor, how oily fish helps avoid common causes of blindness and how smartphones are taking the pain out of cardiac rehabilitation.  Plus, in Kitchen Science, the unexpected physics of a flying balloon.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:51 - Lucy (A. afarensis) had arched feet

    Researchers have found that this species of early hominin had rigid, arched feet. This means that afarensis would have spent a great deal of time walking only on two feet, which is just a step away from full bipedalism.

  • 04:28 - Seeing inside the body

    A new way of seeing inside the body has been developed that uses normal light

  • 07:21 - Omega-3 Prevents Common Forms of Blindness

    If you're a big fan of eating oily fish then you're probably doing your eye sight a big long term favour, because scientists at Harvard Medical School have discovered that the omega-3 fatty acids that are found in the fish can block the damage that's done to the retina by diseas...

  • 14:13 - Greener method for making paint, glue, fixative...

    This week scientists from China have identified an environmentally-friendly way of making acrylic acid. Typically, acrylic acid is derived from propylene (so ultimately it comes from crude oil) and over the years it’s become a very important industrial material: used in everythi...

  • 16:20 - Cardiac rehab by smartphone

    Seeking to overcome the poor attendances at cardiac rehab classes by patients recovering from heart attacks and surgery, Brisbane-based scientists have brought modern technology to bear...

  • 19:24 - Bendy superconducting cables

    High temperature cables can save weight and energy, but the problem is they are brittle, and difficult to get around corners. A new design may help

  • 22:36 - Would water from 2000 ft up evaporate befoe it hits the ground?

    Dear Naked Scientists If you put a showerhead over a 2000 ft high cliff would the water keep going to the ground or would it evaporate? From Sophie Drummond age 11 In Rochford, Essex

  • 25:54 - Does oil extraction leave a cavity?

    Hi Chris, Thank you for your interesting podcast! My question is, when people pump billions of gallons of fossil fuels out of the earth, does the huge empty hole cause the earth's crust to become unstable and possibly collapse? Does the fossil fuel replenish? I alway...

  • 37:15 - Celebrating William Ramsay

    In London, Blue Plaques have been placed on buildings across the city for over 140 years to highlight where notable people in history have lived. This week, Meera Senthilingam went along to the unveiling of just such a plaque for a scientist whose work actually changed the fiel...

  • 43:34 - What keeps jets in the air?

    What keeps jets in the air? Pressure differentials, force from the air, or a combination?

  • 44:49 - What makes mucus green?

    Often when people have colds or sinusitus, their mucus is green. Is it produced green by the mucus membranes or does it turn green in the nasal passages? What is the culprit that produces the thick green mucus in our noses? And why do many young children have an affinity for pick...

  • 47:27 - How does magnetism multiply?

    If I stick two bar magnets together do they pick up more paperclips than if i only had one bar magnet?

  • 57:13 - Do wild animals avoid incest?

    Hello, Inbreeding is a very bad idea from an evolutionary point of view, which leads you to think that powerful mechanisms should have been evolved to limit its occurrence. Humans have created cultural taboos against it, but lacking this possibility how do wild animals do to a...

  • 59:42 - What would happen if 2 lightning bolts should hit each other?

    What would happen if 2 lightning bolts should hit each other?



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