Sunday, 24 December 2006

A Very Fuzzy Christmas Eve

Our Christmas Eve show is now available:

powered by ODEO

Happy holidays everyone!

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Thursday, 7 December 2006

Fuzzy Logic 3rd December 2006

The first of Fuzzy Logic “in Summer Mode”: imagine, if you will, Fuzzy Logic in a hammock swinging gentle in the warm coastal breeze while sipping some iced beverage from a coconut shell. Pretty darn relaxed.

First up was a story on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and how it’s used to “see” water diffusion in the pain sensing areas of the brain. This was used recently in a German study on people who had chronic lower back pain but without any discernable cause. See the Radiological Society of North America’s website

Second was the discovery by Claude Herzberg that the Earth recycles quite a bit of its own crust after subduction. Herzberg reports in Nature (Nature 444, 605 - 609 (30 Nov 2006) Letters to Editor) that the chemistry of Hawaiian magma has low calcium levels; something you’d expect in recycled crust. Further studies on the content of sulphur and other chemicals could tell us more about the cycles that volcanoes go through.

In the middle of the show was my soap box section where I editorialised (read ranted on and on) about the recent report by Ziggy Switkowski et al. on the potential nuclear future for Australia and the implications for water. There have been several other reports that have also come out and reports in the press (ABC) and I just though I’d put all these numbers about gigalitres and gigajoules in perspective with my own extraction from the ABS Water Accounts 2004-05, Table 1.3, page 8. The numbers I quoted were that 25 nuclear power plants using around 25 Gl of water a year each (total of 625GL/year), would use more water per year than the water consumption of every household in NSW (572GL/year). In fact, if you add together the household consumption of Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT that’s approximately 649 GL/year. So, all these nuclear power plants had better be on the coast right? Well that’s not exactly specified in the Zwitkowski report, probably because the current transmission lines emanate from coal fired power stations plonked next to rivers and lakes. Hmmm.

Next up was a story on epigenetics and DNA methylation which was derived from the AAS website (

And finally a story left in the fridge from last week’s Food Theme Show: asparagus and why it makes your pee pong. All you want to know about asparagus but were too afraid to ask can be found in the journal article; Drug Metabolism and Disposition vol 29. No.4 Part 2 p539 (2001).

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The Food Show 26th November 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producer’s Report for 26th November 2006

The Food Themed show had some tasty science. While veering decidedly towards the cheesy, there was a smorgasbord of food facts and, just to prove it IS possible, we never mentioned chocolate.

Waste olive oil put to good use
New strains of wheat provide better nutrition
Edible cotton (seed)


Cheese in a can! Actually, Dean went about deconstructing the cheese in a can and found that there’s a whole bunch of things other than cheese in those cans. For more information on what the numbers indicating food additives really mean try starting here .

Genes, tolerance and tastebuds. Jeevan delves into the link between your dinner and your DNA: why some people can handle chilli, cow’s milk and alcohol (occasionally at the same time!) while other’s can not. More information in the book “Some Like It Hot” by Gary Paul Nabhan.

Interview with Bruce Chapman from Jones the Grocer in Manuka about cheese making throughout history and throughout the World. Incidentally the Spanish cheese washed in a local red wine that Bruce mentioned in the interview was fantastic. Want to know more? Try

How to make cheese: The quick and simple way to coagulate milk with vinegar. It doesn’t exactly happen in front of your eyes but it does happen. This was a (first ever?) Fuzzy call out to listeners to actually perform an experiment with instruction over the air. When tried at home I found small lumps of “cheese” did actually drop out of the milk – after some stirring, for some time. A much better bet would be to use rennet as they do in regular milk production. Don’t know what rennet is? Try .

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Sunday, 12 November 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producers Report – Broadcast 12 November 2006

Producer: Eamon

Presenter(s): - No one else!

Newsy Bits:

Saturn storm found, blind mice get to see how they run (that’s what the article header was!) and glider to collect soil and climate info.

Feature Articles:

Senate passes stem cell Bill, sea urchins have similarities to humans, see-saw ocean currents, silent aircraft readies for take off, new technology to treat water and computer waste.

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Friday, 20 October 2006

ANU Bee guru wins Prime Minister's award for Science

OK, I admit a little bias here because it involves one of my PhD supervisors, but I think it's worth a mention. Professor Mandyam Srinivasan, a world expert on honeybees and pioneer of a field of robotics that takes its inspiration from insect vision, was awarded the Prime Minister's award for science on Monday night during a ceremony at Parliament House.

Professor Srinivasan's work has contributed significantly to our knowledge of how insects solve complex navigation problems with such apparent ease, despite possessing a brain the size of a pin head. He has concentrated mostly on the vision system of the honeybee, which is known to be highly specialised to the tasks it performs. Perhaps the most significant lessons learnt from this work are that you can achieve a lot with a small amount of computing power, which is why robotics researchers are so keen on insects. Srinivasan was one of the first to implement insect-inspired navigation strategies on robots equipped with cameras. This is now a well established field of robotics research, and has helped bring robotics research forward many years, after a long time spent getting seemingly no where.

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Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Science careers, as mentioned in 13 August show

On the 13 August show, Rebecca, Jacinta and I had a bit of a chat about science careers, and mentioned a panel discussion being hosted by Robyn Williams as part of the Australian Science Festival.

The audio of that discussion is now available from the Science Show web site and featured:
  • James Bradfield Moody (CSIRO Land and Water and ABC TV's The New Inventors)
  • Jenny Graves (Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University)
  • Barry Marshall (University of Western Australia and winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2005)
  • Penny Sackett (Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics Mt Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Australian National University)

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Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Podcasting Fuzzy Logic

Fuzzy Logic is now podcasting via Odeo! Our first offering is Tim's interview with Amanda George from the Centre for Mental Health Research at ANU about Ecstasy. This interview was recorded in March 2006.

More (including whole shows) coming soon.

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Fuzzy Logic Producer’s report for 23 September

Producer: Janine
Contributors: Dean, Kate and Jeevan

Today’s show was somewhat dominated by Dean’s hangover. He was determined to check out if some of the accepted hangover cures actually work – but more on that later.

The show started normally enough with our newsy bits:
a new supernova has broken all the rules, scientists are confused
sunless tanning
Indonesian blrd flu toll hits 50
Doubts over the efficacy of the morning after pill (for social reasons, not medical ones)

Then, in true Fuzzy style, we started talking about sex:
• the world’s first penis transplant has taken place, but was removed two weeks later after his wife freaked out
crickets face the dilemma of calling for a mate, but becoming prey for a parasite if they do (shag and die, in other words)
adult male prairie dogs are being taken by predators because they’re so preoccupied with sex (again, shag and die)
hope for a new IVF technique
• and we couldn’t help but wonder what the first female space tourist was doing while she was up there…

We talked about hangovers – what they are medically, how they happen and why you feel so bloody awful when you’ve got one. Dean was testing the fatty-morning-after-breakfast cure, as well as a sports drink to try and rehydrate whilst replacing lost electrolytes. By the end of the show, he reported feeling “much better” but I can’t help but wonder if that had more to do with his scintillating company than anything he ate or drank.

The science contained with reports of spinach in the US being contaminated with E. coli and killing people; I had serious food poisoning last week from I don’t know what, so I had HUGE amounts of sympathy for anyone affected. The spinach story tied in with a recent ruling by the Queensland DPI that processed effluent can be used on food crops.

A huge storm cloud study in the Northern Territory will have big impacts by improving weather forecasting. And the Bureau of Meteorology calendar goes on sale this week.

Getting towards the end of the show, we hit what I like to call our science slam (headlines to fit in the stuff we didn’t have time to talk about in detail):
development of a new intestinal robot
• discovery of a 3.3 million year-old juvenile Australopithecus skeleton (dubbed Lucy’s baby)
Guidance being provided for people buying groceries online
Naturally dead embryos yielding stem cells
• The Australian Medical Association backing calls for adding labels to alcohol warning that it causes cancer
• A new ring has been discovered around Saturn

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Sunday, 17 September 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producer's Report – Broadcast 17 September 2006

Producer: Eamon

Presenter(s): Pip

Newsy Bits:

  • Liver disease treatment,
  • good mood food and
  • sex changing fish.

Feature Articles:
  • El Nino,
  • study clears Sun of climate change role,
  • Pluto no longer a planet,
  • plant genomics,
  • bats in far north Queensland after cyclone Larry and
  • the role LSD has in headaches.

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Sunday, 20 August 2006

Producer's Report 20 Aug 06

Producer: Amy

This is what we discussed on Sunday:

Book Review:

Author: Malcom Gladwell

Titles: 'The Tipping Point' & 'Blink'

News Items:

tests you can take to tell you about your personality and your body—if you have lots of money floating around— (MRI's CT etc)

Missing Genes Tied to Metal Retardation (Science News)

Hurricanes Heating Up (Science News)

Killer Whales Kiss and Make Up (Science News)

Holy Smoke: Burning incense, candles pollute air in churches (Science News)

Science Week:

Amazing World of Science


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Friday, 18 August 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producer’s report for 13 August

Producer: Janine
Contributors: Jacinta and Rebecca

We completely threw out the standard Fuzzy Logic format and decided to rely on our natural wit, talent and vast knowledge of lots of useless things to have an hour-long conversation based loosely around the Australian Science Festival.

With this in mind, we made a huge list of the things we wanted to talk about then competed to see how to segue them together in the most creative way.

It ran something like this (spot the connections if you can):
  • Maths writing competition
  • Importance of the invention of the number zero – incidentally by an ancient Indian civilisation
  • Decimal versus older measurements
  • A foot is the distance between the crease of your elbow and your wrist (complete with on-air testing of said theory, contortions of feet to arms) – and the realisation that Bec’s not quite proportioned like that (she's quite tall, whereas I'm fairly short).
  • Marfan’s syndrome and Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man
  • I was then going to a break and called myself Jacinta by accident, which was a good lead into the National Memory Test as part of Science Week. Everyone (deservedly) laughed heartily at my stupidity.
We dew breath during the song and launched into it after a call from Leigh, who was ‘nearly running off the road due to pissing herself laughing whilst driving’.

Act 2:
Act 3:
  • Sphinx cats with no hair, but colouration on their skins that indicate what their coat colour would have been
  • Hippos sweating blood (not really, and we wondered whether it was iron making the sweat red)
  • Elephants make their way to specific salt licks to ingest minerals
  • Yak’s milk is pink and high fat (v good for high altitude nutrition)
  • Magnesium deficiency in cows, importance in muscle metabolism
  • Back to coat colours in cats, dogs and zebras – and that individuals zebras can be identified by the stripes on their butts
  • Schrödinger’s cat – vague biologist explanation to freak Bec out
  • Quantum computing
  • Fire research at CSIRO and fire-proof ceramics
Another song, more wonder at how we can link seemingly unconnected ideas together and made the final sprint for home:
  • Roundup of Science Festival events for the coming week
  • Tobin Brothers open day – respect for the dead
  • Forensics
  • Skills shortage – broadly based on recently released DEST audit
  • Importance of taxonomy in Australian science
And that filled an hour.

I taped the show, the reception is a little rough in patches, but I will look at finding a way to get snippets on the blog.

Much fun was had in the studio – reports indicated that it translated into people’s homes (I know Dean is still laughing that I forgot my own name).

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Sunday, 6 August 2006

Producers Report 06-08-06

Producer: Tim
Contributors: Pip & Eamon
Panel: Chris

- Just like Mum used to make (transgenic goats milk) (Science News)
- Japanese moon base for 2020 (JAXA press release)
- Gas for greenhouses (from Nature)
- Spy photos help locate ancient Syrian ruins
- Curry for the brain (from New Scientist)

Feature articles:
- Rare clouds over Antarctica suggest global warming
- Cosmic dust in ice cores used to gauge climate change 7000 to 30000
yrs ago
- WHO to endorse DDT use: report
- Weather makes Earth wobble
- Controlling the instinctive behaviour of fruit flies

... and finally Fat vaccinations (from Science News)

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Monday, 31 July 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producer's report for 31-7-06

Producer: Tim
Contributor: Amy

Aye Up!

Amy and I had ourselves a radio show on the weekend roughly around the theme of astronomy and cosmology.


Stimulating wound healing with electrical current

Hot water bottles help with pain – no it’s not placebo!

Lakes of liquid methane on Titan


Interview with Robert Zubrin on terraforming Mars

How the Moon and other things were formed

Interview with John D. Barrow


New braile writing machine

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Monday, 24 July 2006

Producer's report for 23 July 2006

Producer: Janine

Ably assisted by: (the late) Dean and Brendan

We did a split show this week, with the standard news stories we liked from the week as well as chatting about fears, phobias and anxieties.

Feature stories:

Science slam (the quickies at the end of the show):

Be afraid...
Our discussion of phobias centred around the fact that we all have a fear of something, even though we know it's irrational and disproportionate to the situation. For me, it's spiders, for Dean it's magpies and Brendan's just plain afraid of losing.

But fear does have its place and the fear of snakes could have driven pre-human evolution. And fear could become costly for those afraid of crossing the Chesapeake Bay bridge in the USA.

There are some strange phobias out there (for a pretty full listing, go to, but there is hope for treatments, whether it be using cortisol or D-cycloserine.

This was Dean's first time at the Fuzzy microphone (he previously featured as our Silent Barrell Boy on the second Radiothon trivia show) - well done, please do come back. But no more Manhatten Transfer. Ever.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2006


What are you afraid of? Flying? Heights? Do dolphins get your flight/fight response going? Maybe pickles make you scream & run?

This Sunday on Fuzzy Logic we'll be talking about fear and phobias, so drop us a note in the comments, tell us what your phobia is & we'll try & put a name to it on air.

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Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Fuzzy Logic Producers Report – Broadcast 16 July 2006



Special guest:
Mike Watson – ATSB

Newsy Bits:

New asthma pills, decoding genes, genes show gender differences and the effects of olive leaves on cancer

Feature Articles:

Antarctic winds, more complex vegetation on the way in Antarctica, penguin spies and alchemy by bacteria.

Program summary:

Overall, a great show. Our special guest gave an interesting insight into the world of air crash investigation as well as flying in general. A whole program could have been devoted to the subject. Naomi adding in the event occurring around time is an excellent idea, as there are some great events coming up.

As always, have a great week and take care

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Saturday, 15 July 2006

Coming Up - Special Interview

Don't miss Fuzzy Logic tomorrow. Eamon has a special interview with Mike Watson from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau on air crash investigations.

Fuzzy Logic - Sunday, 11.30am on Canberra's community station 2XX 98.3FM.

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Monday, 10 July 2006

Music on Fuzzy Logic

Hi everyone,

If you like any of the music that we play on Fuzzy Logic; just put up a comment to this post with the date of the show and we'll track it down for you.

Have a great day,

Report 9 July 2006

Hi everyone.

This is the full listing of the show on July 9 2006. We have links to all of the stories.

Producer; Amy & Chris
Contributors; Osman, Mike

1. Mice appear to continually create oocytes

2. Medicine used for HIV in Africa without clinical trials

3. Over the counter depression medications Valerian and St Johns Wort. For more information about depression see

4. "Rats taking cannabis get taste for heroin" - Study suggests cannabis-users may be vulnerable to harder drugs. From news at

5. "Sex before the big game?" - Experts say it doesn't hamper performance. From news at

6. "Anti-smoking vaccine" - A vaccine which could stop smokers getting a nicotine buzz from tobacco is being tested in America. From Ananova

7. Exercise during chemotherapy is good for you

8. Yoga - who's doing it? why? and for what benefits?"

9. Top Five Science Blogs: by Nature and Technorati

Yoga online survey

On Sunday's show I presented a story on yoga, and mentioned an on-line survey being conducted by RMIT (and others) to gather statistics on what sort of people are doing yoga, and for what reasons (among other things). The website for this study is

Sunday, 9 July 2006

Depression, Valerian & St John's Wort

If you're after more information following Amy's discussion of depression on today's show, head on over to Beyond Blue.

Sunday, 2 July 2006

Show Report - 2 July 06


Brendan, Margot and special guest Stuart Cooney (a real live scientist)


  • Pica (having an appetite for non-foods) and geophagy - following on from last week's coprophagia (eating pooh!)
  • Margot did a fabulous interview with Stuart. He is researching the hooded parrot in the NT (it has a wonderful relationship with termites and a newly discovered species of moth)
  • Scientists are too busy to talk to the general public about their work. They're busy applying for grants and doing such crazy research as...
  • Shortening and lenghtening (using stilts) ants legs to discover that ants have an inbuilt 'pedometer'
  • Drunk people can't tell the difference between a person and an ape

And wacky story to end

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Show Report - 25 June 06


Nicole, Jamos and Eamon

  • Pluto's moons have been named...
  • ...but is Pluto (and the much larger 2003 UB213) a planet?
  • Baby bonus increases births scheduled for the new financial year (and decreases for the end of the last one)
  • Bats and their tasty fish/cane toad dinners
  • Swans aren't as monogomous as we thought


Quickies at the end
  • Eamon's important date in science history
  • And there was a quick story from Nicole
  • Diamonds accidently made when producing and storing hyrodgen