Sunday, 24 December 2006
Thursday, 7 December 2006
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 http://www2.rsna.org/pr/target.cfm?ID=300
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 (http://www.science.org.au/nova/098/098key.htm).
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).
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 http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/foodmatters/foodadditives.cfm .
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 http://jonesthegrocer.com/
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 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rennet .