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Weird Science on FIVEaa

Every fortnight RiAus science communicator Ben Lewis catches up with FIVEaa presenter Will Goodings in the FIVEaa offices to chat about the latest, and weirdest, science news.

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Produced in association with FIVEaa


Bird Songs and Human Screams

[ Download Link | | Duration: 12:06 | File size: 16.63M ]

Once a fortnight RiAus science communicator, Dr Ben Lewis, catches up with Will Goodings at FIVEaa to discuss the latest weird science.

Researchers from Canberra have taught a bird a different language to recognise different warning calls, a development which could be important for birds brought up in captivity and then released into the wild. Then, why is the scream such a blood-curdling sound? The neuroscience of hearing a scream is actually quite interesting. We’ll never watch Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho the same way.

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Produced in association with FIVEaa

Sea Slugs and Sailing Spiders – Weird Science on FIVEaa

Ben regales to Will the hermaphroditic sea slug which has worked out how to impregnate itself… by stabbing itself in its head with its penis. And then in a terrifying new development Ben describes how, and why, spiders can sail across water. Not content with flying, now they can sail too.  Read More »

Chimps Go On a Bender And Why Returning Always Seems Quicker – Weird Science on FIVEaa

This week Ben tells the story of West African chimpanzees who have been discovered drinking alcohol. Sap from palm trees ferments into a tasty alcoholic beverage, and the chimps have been observed drinking it and showing signs of intoxication. Then Ben and Will tackle the question of why a return trip always seems quicker than the outward journey. Turns out it’s your memory playing tricks on you.  Read More »

Chocolate! – Weird Science on FIVEaa

It’s Easter so Ben brings in some of the great science of chocolate – turns out it can help you improve your heart and memory, and as an added bonus Ben answers why chocolate is the most romantic of foods.  Read More »

Doggie Business and Show Business – Weird Science on FIVEaa

This week Ben brings a story no one expected – dogs orientate themselves with the Earth’s magnetic field when they defecate. Following the plot of a movie that Ben loves, scientists have also created memories in a sleeping mouse of events that never occurred. It’s not exactly Inception, but it’s pretty darn close! And finally they discuss why you need to be wary of recent reports explaining why Super Mario runs from left to right.  Read More »

The One Weirdest Thing You Don’t Know You Do – Weird Science on FIVEaa

This week Ben brings in a study which he thinks may be the weirdest thing they’ve covered on Weird Science – people sniffing handshakes. A study shows that people instinctively smell their hand after a handshake, suspected to pick up the other person’s chemical signals. Moving on Ben and Will then talk about penguin’s taste buds, and it turns out they can only taste sour and salty according to a new study.  Read More »

Popping Popcorn, Dog Emotions and Sexy Red Gadgets – Weird Science on FIVEaa

What makes popcorn pop? Ben and Will discuss the mechanics of a popping kernel of corn – the critical temperature, what makes them jump, and just why they make that popping sound. Then can a dog tell your emotion? New research suggests they can, and that they know when you’re angry. Finally a message for the single ladies – carrying a red laptop or gadget makes you more attractive to men.  Read More »

Leaping Seconds and Marching Coffee – Weird Science on FIVEaa

In the new year’s first episode Ben explains why 2015 will seem even longer than normal thanks to an extra second being added to our clocks. Ben and Will then discuss the difficulties of carrying coffee and how physics is working against you when you try to walk with your mug. But is it only coffee? Ben has found another study which takes it to the next level.  Read More »

Tractor beams and violent bees – Weird Science on FIVEaa

Ben and Will revisit the sci-fi inspired idea of tractor beams, with researchers from Canberra developing a system using a laser to capture, move and control particles. But what could it be used for? Will is thinking big, Ben is hungry. Then do the dimensions of your face indicate your aggression? New research seems to find a link, and they finish talking about bees and their invasion tactics.  Read More »

Cheesy pizzas and coffee genetics – Weird Science on FIVEaa

Will and Ben get cheesier than usual when they discuss the perfect cheese for pizzas and the science which proves the victor is Mozzarella (as it should be). Then, what are Archerfish teaching us about how to control water’s behaviour? The spitting fish from Thailand manipulates water using its mouth like a nozzle. And finally the genetics of coffee drinking – this is literally caffeine-powered research.  Read More »

Robots making tools – Weird Science on FIVEaa

After last fortnight’s reprogramming of memories, this week Ben tackles more science that we’ve seen in sci-fi – robots which make and use tools. Researchers have developed a robot which is able to produce and then use tools for the first time. Ben and Will then discuss whether it is possible to teach a turtle (and other animals) how to use an iPad.  Read More »

Messing with your memories – Weird Science on FIVEaa

Could Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind become a reality? Ben and Will discuss new research where scientists have reprogrammed memories. And then try to work out whether their poker faces are a good as a pigeons – it turns out the birds gamble the same way as humans.  Read More »


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