Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Mon, 27th Jul 2015

Why do Scientists say "So"?

So what? (c) Daikrieg el Jevi

From why scientists so often use the word "so" to the feasibility of charging a human by USB, how much Silly Putty it would it take to cover the entire Earth, and whether we could genetic engineer super-abilities into humans, we answer your burning science questions.

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:21 - Could you mix human and animal genes?

    I recently saw a movie called "Splice" a Canadian-French science fiction-horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley, who portray a young scientist couple, choosing to introduce human DNA into their work of splicing animal genes. The two sc...

  • 06:38 - How do fish survive the pressure underwater?

    In the deepest ocean where the pressure may be 8 tons per sq inch, why are the creatures which have evolved not simply crushed by the force?

  • 17:46 - Why do all scientists say so?

    Many times on radio and television, scientists, doctors, engineers etc are asked questions about what they do or how a particularly thing they are talking about works. Very often (lately - in the last ten years or so) they will begin their answer almost always with the word "So ....

  • 20:23 - How long to charge a human by USB?

    If a human could be fed with energy via USB ports rather than food (like the synths in Channel Four's 'Humans) how long would it take to fully charge an average human with, say, 2000 calories of energy?

  • 26:16 - Why is spelling some words so hard?

    Why is it I can remember the most obscure trivia, but can't spell the word "necessary" . For the record, I have written the word out hundreds of times on paper, put it on a flash card, and spelled it out letter by letter verbally. Yet, I still can't remember it after a few hours!

  • 28:46 - Can cranberry juice help urinary infections

    Louise called the show to ask whether cranberry juice can help prevent urinary tract infections, as she had been told, or whether it was simply an old wives' tale

  • 30:47 - Will a foetus change the carrier's DNA?

    I recently heard that the DNA of a child mixes back into the blood of a natural mother, such that the mother then carries that DNA ever after. Is this the case with surrogate mothers as well? Will an unrelated surrogate foetus change the carrier's DNA?

  • 33:20 - How many elements in the Periodic Table?

    Mark called the show to ask how many elements there are in the periodic table, and whether it had changed since he was at school, 40 years ago.

  • 35:57 - The four-legged, hugging snake

    A fossil snake unlike any other has been discovered - it has 4 legs! Could this settle some arguments about the evolution of snakes?

  • 38:47 - How much silly putty would cover the Earth?

    We have a tin of Silly Putty and it is slowly enveloping a can of 35p energy drink. It is a 3oz blob and we were wondering how much of this we would need the putty to envelop the globe?

  • 42:50 - Do yoga and meditation change the brain?

    Very often when I read articles about meditation or yoga I hear that these practices are somehow special because they cause changes in the brain. I thought that anything we do changes our brains- learning another language, studying, learning how to drive a car, everything! Are t...

  • 46:36 - What does salt do to Silly Putty?

    What effect does salt have on Silly Putty? And could you really cover the Earth when the putty wouldn't flow up slopes?

  • 49:25 - Is there a habitable zone for gravity?

    The Keplar space telescope has found a planet similar to the earth but 60% larger. How would its stronger gravity affect human-like life forms? Is there a gravitationally habitable zone for planets?

  • 51:45 - What's the best source of human DNA?

    What is the best sample of DNA that I can make? Spit in a bottle, a scraping from inside my cheeks, a patch of dead skin off my elbow, a snip of hair or what?



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"DNA of a child mixes back into the blood of a natural mother, such that the mother then carries that DNA ever after. "

aka  fetomaternal microchimerism ...
RD, Wed, 29th Jul 2015

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